Minister of Justice: Nobody inside prison is above the law, immediate action to be taken

On Monday afternoon the Minister of Justice, Hon. Dennis Richardson, held an emergency meeting on the situation in the Point Blanche prison.


The recent incidents, where an inmate was seriously injured and illegal goods such as firearms, other weapons and mobile phones were found, will lead to immediate action.


Minister Richardson explained that the security of both inmates and prison guards is at stake: “Incidents like we have seen last week can and will not be tolerated”.


Several concrete actions are being looked at during the next few days. Different law enforcement agencies, such as the police force, customs, VKS and prison staff, will form a Multidisciplinary Prison Assistance Team (MPAT) that will perform frequent and unannounced checks of both cells and inmates to make sure weapons, phones and drugs will no longer be available inside the institution at Point Blanche.


If necessary the Minister of Justice will contact Kingdom partners for further assistance.


To prevent weapons and other illegal goods coming into the prison, existing controls for all those who want to enter – visitors, guards and others – will become stricter.


Minister Richardson stated: “Nobody is above the law, so all persons will be checked thoroughly at all times when they enter the prison.”


The Minister met with trade unions on Tuesday 16th to discuss the new measures.


“Unfortunately it has become clear that some of the guards must be actively or passively helping the smuggling of arms and other stuff into the prison. In doing so, they endanger the lives of their colleagues and the inmates. This is crazy and will be stopped.


“The National Detectives will do a large scale investigation into the recent incidents and I may even ask my colleagues in Oranjestad, Willemstad and The Hague for extra detectives to give assistance to that investigation. The Public Prosecutors Office is looking into that right now,” Minister Richardson disclosed


Minister Richardson wants measures implemented to check the guards that report ill all the time and therefore add to the problem of an understaffed prison facility: “Management perhaps has been lenient in the past, but those lenient days are over,” Minister of Justice Hon. Dennis Richardson concluded.