William Marlin: ‘These senseless killings must stop’


Leader of Government expresses condolence to family and friends of slain Dutch Quarter Afoo Supermarket manager

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Leader of Government, Commissioner William Marlin has expressed deep sadness at the senseless murder of the manager of the Dutch Quarter Afoo Supermarket, Eric Yuan Sam, two days before the New Year, and one day after celebrating his 48th birthday.

Marlin also uncorked government’s plans to combat rising crime in the community saying that several St. Maarteners are being trained to bolster the police force and that the new Police Force being designed for Country St. Maarten will be a modern operation "that is information-driven, and pro-active instead of reacting to calls that come into the station.

Marlin said Eric, as he was affectionately called, was much-loved in the community, and certainly did not deserve this tragic fate.

Describing his killing during a robbery as "cold-blooded murder", Marlin said this was a grim reminder that crime has gotten out of hand in our community.

"This is not who we are; this is not what St. Maarten is about, and we must all come together to take back our island from the hands of those who are intent in sowing fear and tears in our midst," the Leader of Government continued.

He said government was well aware of the current situation where crime is concerned and that is why in his New Year’s address he focused on what government is doing to tackle the problem. He reiterated that the Executive Council is initiating a "national crime prevention program" aimed at making St. Maarten safer and more secure for all residents.

"Let me repeat that for this program to be successful, our approach must be holistic and everyone must get onboard," Commissioner Marlin stated.

"These criminals live among us. They have neighbors. It is the duty of every man and woman to be part of our effort to fight crime and make our island safer for all."

"Everyone, in every section in St. Maarten, must support the Police effort to prevent, investigate, solve and prosecute crime and perpetrators of crimes," he stressed, adding that it cannot work any other way.

He said government will seek further reinforcement to put "more police on the streets. The perpetrators of these crimes will not go scot free," he vowed.

Speaking on the new Police Force that is being designed for Country St. Maarten he said: "We have designed a new Police Force that will also be territorially-bound. In other words, it will function in teams distributed around the districts – with the Simpson Bay Police station becoming more or less on the same par as the Police station in Philipsburg. These teams will generate information and be expected to know all that is happening within their assigned districts," the Commissioner revealed.

"We will also establish our own basic Police Training Academy in St. Maarten and provide the Force with the necessary equipment it needs to carry out its duties effectively. This means investment in Information Technology, which has already begun. We will continue with and possibly expand the Bicycle Patrol (the so-called Bike Police)."

 At the helm of this new Police Force will be a Chief of Police with experience and expertise, the Commissioner said. "I am happy to announce that our search for that person will soon result in the appointment of a Chief of Police with undisputed credentials. We will however, continue to invest heavily in the training of our own officers to fill in the top management positions in the Force as these become available."

Commissioner Marlin expressed his deep condolence to the family and friends of the late Eric Yuan Sam, whom he had personally known for many years, and called on the community to assist the Police in capturing his killer or killers.

"This senseless loss of lives must stop," Marlin concluded