Vegter and Pesselse Visit detention facilities

Prof. mr. P.C. Vegter and Mr. G. Pesselse visited Sint Maarten on the request of Governor Holiday in order to monitor the implementation of improvements with regard to Sint Maartens penitentiary facilities from Thursday 17 January through Saturday 19 January 2013. This year’s visit was the fifth since 2008.


In June 2007, the Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) of the Council of Europe, whose task is to visit places of detention in order to assess how persons deprived of their liberty are treated, visited the then Netherlands Antilles and Aruba. In December 2007, following its visit, the CPT issued a critical report outlining a number of shortcomings with regards to the detention facilities that were visited. In order to monitor the developments more closely, the Kingdom Council of Ministers in January 2008 decided to ask the Governors to report periodically about the penitentiary situation in the respective countries and the improvements made at the various penitentiary facilities. The Governors subsequently requested independent experts in this field to perform the monitoring visit on their behalf. This approach has been continued after 10-10-10. This year the team of independent experts was comprised of Prof. P.C. Vegter and Mr. G. Pesselse. The latter replaced Mr. J. de Lange who was unable to accompany Prof. Vegter on this visit due to prior engagements.

Vegter and Pesselse started their assignment by paying a visit to His Excellency Governor Holiday. In the course of their visit, Vegter and Pesselse met with Prime Minister Wescot-Williams as well as senior officials from the Ministry of Justice. Further, consultations were held with the Director of the Point Blanche facility Mr. A. Rohan, Attorney General T. Stein and Chief Prosecutor H. Mos, the Chief of Police Mr. P. de Witte, the Clinical Director of Turning Point Mrs. J. Arndell as well as two members of the Supervisory Board, Mr. R. van Veen and Mr. W. Manning. Furthermore, Vegter and Pesselse also examined the actual situation of the persons detained in Sint Maarten, visiting the Point Blanche facility and the police stations in Philipsburg and Simpson Bay. The experts were also given a bird eye view of the Turning Point facility and the treatment of persons residing there. The experts will draft a report, which report will be presented to the Governor in the months ahead.