The Law Enforcement Council (hereinafter referred to as the Council) recently published its second follow-up inspection into the Sint Maarten Crime Prevention Fund. In 2019, the Council made six recommendations for the Fund. The Council then reviewed the follow-up of those recommendations in 2021, of which only one recommendation was followed. Last year, the Council again reviewed the follow-up of the five outstanding recommendations.
The state of affairs remained unchanged, because in 2022 none of the five recommendations were followed. The recommendations center on: consistent implementation of legal obligations; drawing up current policy; laying down rules and guarantees in a national ordinance in connection with risks; publicity for the fund; and the improvement of physical and digital administration/registration.
In the context of strengthening the rule of law, the Sint Maarten Country Package (2020) includes as a measure that the management and supervision with regard to the Fund must be put in order. To this end, Sint Maarten should follow the recommendations that the Council previously made with regard to the Crime Prevention Fund. An independent body also had to be appointed to monitor compliance with the agreements. At the request of the Minister of Justice,
the Council is that independent body and carried out the second follow-up inspection in 2022.
Although the Council concluded that the recommendations were not followed up, the Ministry did take steps in the desired direction. These steps are in the area of prioritisation of follow-up of the recommendations, three processes initiated for policy, a policy plan and amendment of the national ordinance of the fund; and the collaboration with the Foundation Government Accountants Bureau (SOAB).
The Council also pointed out that the five recommendations that have not been followed are interrelated. If, especially, the processes related to legislation and policy are completed, the other recommendations will also be able to be followed up relatively quickly, according to the Council. In its report, the Council indicates that at least the majority of the recommendations could be followed up in the shortest possible time. Certainly, if the legislative process is
prioritized. Prioritisation and continued monitoring are important conditions, especially given the time frame that has already elapsed.
The Council recommended that the Minister of Justice implement the five recommendations that were not yet followed. Moreover, the necessary resources should be made available in the shortest possible time. In the meantime, the Council also proposes to temporarily halt the (applications for) financing of (new) projects pending the completion of the processes that have been started.
The full Dutch and English report, and all other publications of the Council can be found on the website www.raadrechtshandhaving.com.