St. Maarten Police Force


The statements by some Justice experts from the Netherlands that the Police Forces for Curacao and St. Maarten will not be ready to function properly by October 10, 2010 should not come as a surprise to anyone. They were mostly concerned about St. Maarten whose police force could take some 10 years before it get where it s supposed to be. We have to understand that one of the consistent statements coming from The Hague besides St, Maarten needing to have good financial management and a proper administration has been the Justice system

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What I am surprised about however is that I thought these Justice experts were asked by the Dutch government and members of the Second chamber to investigate whether the Kingdom Charter could be amended with a simple majority and not whether the police forces of Curacao and St. Maarten would be able to function properly come October 10, 2010. In the document we call The Final Accord of November 2, 2006 (Slotverklaring) the issues of the Police, Finance and Justice were dealt with and what remained was how to fine tune these agreements. And hearing the words quality and quantity sound very familiar as these are found in documents such as the decision list which was signed on September 30, 2009 during a meeting of the Political Steering Group comprising of the Netherlands, the Netherlands Antilles, Curacao and St. Maarten. One of the decisions was that together a proposal will be developed to set up the (Gemeenschappelijke Voorziening Politie) different departments and structures to ensure that the police force is being improved. It mentions a small committee of 5 members. It mentions representatives of the Netherlands Antilles, Curacao, St. Maarten and the Netherlands (representing Bonaire St. Eustatius and Saba). It mentions the fact that every country will be responsible for quality a mature and professional police force. Also mentioned was that there should be continuity in the combating of organized and border crime. The protocol with the RST has been extended for two years after the transition period. I believe this information is already known to the public. On November 2, 2006 the delegations of the Netherlands, the Netherlands Antilles and the Island Territories of Curacao and St. Maarten during the discussion agreements were made regarding future cooperation with the new entities in the areas of among others the maintenance of law and order, jurisprudence and finances and about the criteria the constitutions and the legislation the civil apparatus of the new entities have to comply with. There might be a few but I know of no country in the world that has a functioning police force that is the pride and joy of all. The discussion should not be whether St. Maarten’s police force will be ready by October 10, 2010 but what steps are being taken today. Based on statements by one of the experts St. Maarten will not be ready for another 10 years while Curacao not for another 7years. As I stated before working agreements have been signed as to how to proceed in the areas where St. Maarten will not be ready. Will the Kingdom Justice Laws that are proposed effectuate immediate change in the operation of the police force or will it take years? Why should it be expected that a situation which has existed for over 25 years or more to change overnight? What would have happened in the initial stage if we had gotten the cooperation of all when the people of St. Maarten decided on June 23, 2000 for separate status? Having working agreements between the Police forces for St. Maarten, Curacao and the BES islands should not be a problem. We should be able to regulate amongst ourselves how we will work together. What stops the islands from agreeing amongst each other on rotating their police officers? A delegation is travelling from the Netherlands Antilles with persons of Parliament and the Island Territories to hold discussions on some consensus kingdom Laws and here is where the agreements made should be concretized. I understand the concerns of the experts as the issue of familiarity where a police officer might become too friendly with persons in the community. This might not be a bad idea. Maybe it will allow us to solve more crimes. I am trying to understand the undue pressure placed on St. Maarten. First the Budget, now our Police Force and I believe that the Administration is next or maybe is already under pressure. There is a statement from one of the justice experts Mr. Visser that I can agree with which is that he praises the local government for being cognizant of the precarious situation and truly wanting to make improvements. Government wants to build a force with a strong leadership and where integrity is the rule. To this I say Let us get going. The people of St. Maarten are tired