On Friday, January 27, 2023, the Immigration and Border Protection Services (IBP) announced to the public that a gentleman in holding that was experiencing medical challenges was being examined by medical professionals.
Mr. Josea Ossie Laville’s engagement with Law Enforcement began when police officers were notified about a man wielding a machete in the Philipsburg area. They were then dispatched to the scene at 2:40 PM on Thursday, January 26. The officers observed that Mr. Laville appeared to be intoxicated and was in the possession of a machete. He was then arrested for illegal weapon possession.
After being taken to the Philipsburg police station, Mr. Laville was processed by the Police and the Prosecutor’s Office and handed over to IBP as it was established that he was residing on Sint Maarten illegally and without proper residence.
Subsequently, the formal procedural preparations were started by IBP which would have finally led to his deportation to his birth country Dominica. While detained, Mr. Laville indicated that he was feeling “a bit dizzy” to the immigration officer. The officer asked him if he would like to see a doctor to which Mr. Laville replied “No.” The officer went on to ask Mr. Laville if he had any medical problems or needed to take any medication to which he replied, “No, I just need to eat, I am very hungry.” He was given food and water, after which he asked for more, a request that was granted. Sometime after, a guard passed by his cell and observed him lying in a strange position on the bed in his holding cell. At that point, medical professionals were called in to assess the situation.
After an investigation of the scene and establishing that the proper procedures were followed, Chief Prosecutor Hieke Buist informed the Honorable Minister of Justice Anna E. Richardson on Saturday, January 28, that the investigation concluded with no signs of criminal act or wrongdoings as the cause of death. The body of Mr. Laville has since been released to his next of kin as the case has now been closed.
IBP assures the public that all persons they encounter are treated with respect, dignity, and proper care, which includes being fed three times daily. This is a very unexpected and unfortunate turn of events.Minister Richardson, IBP, KPSM, and the Prosecutor’s Office all express their deepest condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Laville and wish them peace and strength during this difficult time.