PHILIPSBURG – The continuing capacity shortage in the prison on St Maarten is detrimental to street security. That is what Nico Schoof from the Sint-Maarten Progress Committee says. “Criminals realize that they don’t end up in jail for long. Crime and fear are increasing. “
The chronic cell deficit and the miserable state of the prison ensure that suspects end up on the street sooner. “This concern is widely shared in the justice chain,” says Schoof, who was with the committee on the island last week. “Yet someone doesn’t immediately get up and says, I’m going to solve it now. Political responsibility must be taken on both sides of the ocean. “
In the first half of this year, 24 crimes involving firearms were already registered. This is an increase of 50 percent compared to 2018, according to figures from the Public Prosecution Service on St Maarten.
cells To temporarily alleviate the cell deficit, eleven container cells were transferred from Bonaire to Sint-Maarten. Due to the recent government crisis, the projects to prepare the container cells are being delayed.
After the fall of the Cabinet on St. Maarten , Minister of Finance Perry Geerlings is the acting Justice Minister. According to Geerlings, the projects to prepare the container cells, such as providing sewerage, water and electricity, can continue as normal. But when the container cells are ready, there is no answer.
‘It’s not just about the cell deficit’
Schoof confirms that there is ‘technically progress’. “The prison has been technically modified in recent months. Only insufficient to be able to guarantee safety in society. The prison remains the worry child. But it’s not just about the cell deficit in prison, “says Schoof. “It affects the entire legal system. Take prevention, for example, to ensure that people do not go to jail at all or to re-socialize former detainees in the right way so that they do not return. There is no room for that now. “
The committee believes that it is really time for Sint-Maarten and the Netherlands to join forces. “The committee calls on all politically responsible people to see the need of today to see opportunities to better serve the safety of St Maarten.”
The Sint-Maarten progress committee has been monitoring the prison system since the island became autonomous on 10 October 2010. Their 35th progress report will be released next month.https://caribischnetwerk.ntr.nl/2019/11/05/toenemende-zorg-over-veiligheid-sint-maarten-door-slechte-staat-gevangenis/