Assistance for justice chain would be tailored made for needs of the country

Minister of Justice of St. Maarten Dennis Richardson said the so called “leaked” proposal to send 50 to 55 persons to St. Maarten to strengthen law enforcement was part of the original draft kingdom measure on the integrity chamber and has since been off the table.

According to media reports last week the proposal states that the Netherlands would be investing some ten million euros per year in the period 2015-2016 to strengthen St. Maarten’s law enforcement. Additional manpower of 50 to 55 persons would be needed in Philipsburg. These persons, who would be involved in extensive criminal investigations, would be in addition to the already present Royal Dutch Marechaussee and the Kingdom Detective Team RST.

Richardson said this proposal was referred to during the four countries justice Ministers consultation in the Netherlands last year. However, it was explicitly stated that whatever support is forthcoming for St. Maarten will be done within the present division of powers and tailor made to the needs of the country involved. Each Minister would be given the opportunity to make proposals on how the assistance can be used.

Following that process, a small group of Dutch experts would draft a plan for strengthening the justice chain based on these proposals. “We understand that the justice chain can use some strengthening, I even requested specific aid from the national detectives of the Netherlands to our national detective agency because of the heavy load of cases here. That was more than a year ago and we’re still waiting.” The Minister said.

“So yes there was on the table the proposal to strengthen the attorney general’s office with special investigators, but it is not acceptable to assume you can do that in general and not acceptable to me as Minister of Justice. To whom will he be accountable? One guess would be the Netherlands. It is a game being played and it is disgusting. We can be using much more positive energy to do positive things for the countries rather than having to focus on these distractions that gives the impression that we would just roll over and accept them if presented again.”

The Minister added that he was very pleased to see the police union make very strong statements about any unilateral measures without consultation.