The Prime Minister of St. Maarten the Honorable Sarah Wescot-Williams held an introductory meeting with Marine Detachment Commander Patrick Wokke (opposite PM) at her Cabinet on Wednesday afternoon. Major Wokke was joined by Lieutenant Colonel Edwin Hofma (right), commander of the Marine Base Savaneta in Aruba and Lieutenant Colonel S. A Blaas (left), Policy Advisor to the Royal Dutch Marines. As the Minister of General Affairs the Prime Minister is the National Minister responsible for defense matters on a Country level.
The Prime Minister, in previous meetings with the Royal Dutch Marines and with the Former Kingdom Minister of Defense Hillen, has held wide discussions on the establishment for a Marine Base on St. Maarten. The Prime Minister has stated previously that the establishment of such a base in St. Maarten is important consideration when one takes into account the protection and defense mission of the marines. "In cases of disasters St. Maarten previously has had to request the deployment of Marines for assistance to the Minister of Defense in Netherlands via the Governor. Having Marine Base on St. Maarten will assist that procedure and will ensure that we have a faster deployment in the event of a Hurricane for example," continued the Prime Minister.
The PM has also previously stressed that having a Marine Base on St. Maarten will also have an economic impulse by having a contingent of Marine Officer stationed on the island at a location to be determined full time, with rotating groups coming in frequently.
"What is also important is that we could and will have as part of the Marine Base on St. Maarten a social formation program for young local people. The Marines on the island would be instrumental in taking care of the program that would also be an important aspect of the Marine Base here. So if we look at an economic aspect, safety and defense aspect, and a social formation project we are in agreement with the Minister in having such a base come to St. Maarten," concluded the Prime Minister.