Port St. Maarten expresses serious concern for armed robberies in the heart of Philipsburg and the threat to national economy

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PORT ST. MAARTEN – Port St. Maarten management firstly and foremost expresses its support and extend prayers to the family of Police Officer G. Benjamin who is fighting for his life after being shot in the line of duty on Wednesday morning.

Port St. Maarten management also expresses its support to the Sint Maarten Police Force during this very difficult time, as one of their own was shot in the line duty.  The port has worked closely with the Police and other emergency services in the past, and continues to do so in order to ensure security and safety for cruise passengers and residents on the island.

Port St. Maarten management at the same time expresses its concern with respect to the recent spate of armed robberies on Front Street over the past months.

On Wednesday three cruise ships, namely, Independence of the Seas (5730 passengers/crew carrying capacity), Carnival Sunshine (4000), and Carnival Conquest (4124), were in port with over 10,000 cruise passengers.

This tragic incident took place on Front Street, the heart of Philipsburg which is considered the duty free shopping capital of the Caribbean for tourists.  Philipsburg was pretty busy on Wednesday.

Port St. Maarten management is very concerned with what happened today, and would like to see some form of plan drafted with the input and support of various stakeholders in order to deal with the criminal element that has been targeting Philipsburg and in particular Front Street for several months.

Port St. Maarten has made considerable investments in security over the years and these are very much prevalent at the various venues that the port owns/operates or manages.  This investment is not only to protect guests, but overall to ensure the economic viability of country St. Maarten.

Port security staff have gone through vigorous training in International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS Code) as required to ensure that the image of St. Maarten as a safe and secure cruise destination remains in place, and that the thousands of people that are employed by the sector, that their jobs are protected.

Security and safety of cruise passengers are a top and number one priority for the cruise industry and at Port St. Maarten.  Safety at this point is key for St. Maarten to remain a successful cruise destination.

Port management is calling on all stakeholders to work closely together in addressing security and safety of the destination.