Prime Minister Meets With European Committee for the Prevention of Torture Representatives

Progress report given on the improvement of conditions at the Prison and Police Holding Cells

The Prime Minister of St. Maarten the Honorable Sarah Wescot-Williams met with Dutch Justice Experts Professor Paul Vegter and Mr. Juan De Lange to discuss the progress of the improvements made at the Point Blanche Prison and the Police Holdings Cells as a follow up to the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) Report of 2011.


The CPT organizes visits to places of detention in order to assess how persons deprived of their liberty are treated. These places include prisons, juvenile detention centers, police stations, holding centers for immigration detainees, psychiatric hospitals, and social care homes.

Both Vegter and De Lange were appointed by the then Governors of Aruba and the Netherlands Antilles in 2008 following the critical report brought out by the CPT regarding the situations in the prisons of the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba. The two justice experts monitor and report on the penal institutions complying with the issued progress reports that serve to check whether there is sufficient follow-up on the recommendations of the CPT Committee.

After each visit, the CPT sends a detailed report to the State concerned. This report includes the CPT’s findings, and its recommendations, comments and requests for information. The CPT also requests a detailed response to the issues raised in its report. These reports and responses form part of the ongoing dialogue with the States concerned, including St. Maarten

During the meeting updates were given on the improvements of the condition of the Pointe Blanche Prison and the Police Cells in Philipsburg and Simpson Bay. During the meeting the Prime Minister was accompanied by Ms. Iris Chitaroe of the Justice Ministry and Mr. Hensley Plantijn of the Prime Minister’s Cabinet.