ALL PHOTOS JUDITH ROUMOU

IS JAMES RICHARDSON HEAD OF VDSM SXM’S INTELLIGENCE SERVICE MISSING?

Sarah Wescot Williams declined to answer whether head of VDSM James Richardson disappeared without a trace.

SERIOUS SIGNS OR IRREGULARITY AT VDSM
vdsm has far reaching , intrusive, special powers to execute its tasks.
The National Security Service of St Maarten VDSM, established during the formation of Country St Maarten with far reaching, intrusive powers, has has to endure an investigation that has revealed serious signs of irregularities that possible could range from abuse of power to compromising or leaking of information that could affect national security. Though exactly why the investigation was started and what it revealed was not disclosed by Prime Minister Sarah Wescot WIlliams, the twenty page ordinance that regulates the VDSM and outlines its tasks leaves lots of room for speculation about what exactly these irregularitites at the young agency could entail, especially considering that almost all actions executed by the VDSM require prior permission from the Prime Minister. The main tasks of the VDSM are to investigate persons or groups who pose a threat to the legitimacy of democracy on the island and the integrity of government, to provide security screenings in relation to positions of confidentiality, and to give advice to the vital sectors, in relation to national security.
VDSM has a range of “special powers t can use in the execution of its taskes, these include, but are not limited to observing individuals or businesses an in the process capturing data by recording means, or otherwise tracking individuals or businesses using tracking devices and surveillance eqpuipment, entering and seraching enclosed spaces, recording and intercepting communications, telecommunications or automated data, opening letters and oter consignments, and intruding computerised files. The VDSM has undisclosed amount of funds at tits disposal to execute these powers These special powers are applied only with the PRime Minister’s approval based on a written proposal by the VDSM head. Written permission from the PM must be otained for each case. This permission shall, infofar as theordinance provides, be granted for up to three months and may be renewed by request of the head of VDSM. It is clearly specified that the processing of data takes place only for a particular purpose and only to the extent necessary for the proper implememntation of the ordinance. VDSM does not collect data related to a person’s religion or belief, race health or sexual lifestyle, unless this relates to other collected data.
VDSM is also charged with the screening of persons for confidential positions. If a person has applied for a job considered a position of confidentiality “vertrowuwensfunctie” or if someone presently holsds a postion that requires a so called declaratiton of no objection “verlaring van geen Bezwaar” (VGB, he or she will have to undergo a security screeing. POstions of confidentiality are postions in the private or public sector that are deemed vulnearble and require a security screening by the VDSM to ensure that individuals placed in these roles do not pose a threat to national security. These may include, for example, functions in which access is given to or needed in relation to confidential information, or the individual needs access to the secure area of an airport or seaport.

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