Security System Project

A Press conference was heald at the Chamber of Commerce & Industry at 3 pm on June 15th 2009 on the Security System Project. Liberty Consultants plans to complete its security system study for the Chamber of Commerce within the next 3 months.

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Johan de Vrieze (right) & Jack de Groote (left)

St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce and Industry hired consultants last November to devise a comprehensive safety and security plan for the island.

Liberty Consulting firm foresees at least three more months of research to complete a so-called "St. Maarten Security System" that is able to deter crime and increase public safety, while protecting privacy.

But representatives of the island’s biggest business bloc want to obtain "political blessing" from government before taking the 144,000-guilder study to the local business community, security firms, tourism reps and port services.

Touting cameras for crime-heavy areas and integrated monitoring systems, Liberty walked reporters Monday through its plan for a comprehensive security report that involved research into privacy laws, infrastructure needs, technology and financing. Consultants hope to meet the new Executive Council in coming days for talks about the study.

The chamber already has paid 10 per cent of the cost to complete the study, which includes suggestions for financing, hardware, and locations.

Chamber president Glen Carty said there was no quick fix available for the island’s crime problem, adding that the business body had chosen to look for a "structured approach to what we are doing." He emphasised the importance of having public/private partnerships and keeping residents involved.

Carty said the chamber had commissioned the study, but stakeholders must agree to see a comprehensive plan in place. Network security firm Zenitel Caribbean N.V. demonstrated its wireless camera surveillance project to police, Customs and businesses 11 days ago. "The chamber will only be the vehicle to facilitate the report," Carty said, stressing the system would be moot without government’s approval or support. "What’s the use … if it doesn’t get the political blessing?"

Liberty representative Johan de Vrieze said the study would examine areas at risk and suggest solutions. Important, he said, is getting capable people behind the monitors to spot crime in action. "You have to have trained people who know what to look for," the former St. Maarten prosecutor told reporters.

Subcontractor Unicorn Consulting Services said it also needed to pinpoint ways to keep sensitive footage safe. "You have to prevent the possibility of manipulation of the images," said Managing Director Jack de Groote.

Carty said the chamber had been working on this surveillance project since last year and that the research was necessary to ensure security worked and could be maintained. "This has nothing to do with what happened recently," Carty said.

Communities need to also work together to ensure stability. "It’s about how we can stop crime as a community effort," Carty said.

Zenitel with hardware provider Motorola networked cameras to Clem Labega Square, Captain Hodge’s Wharf and Holland House Hotel to display the cameras’ possibilities. It is a three-month pilot.