PHILIPSBURG – In Wednesday’s, February 1, Council of Ministers Press Briefing, Acting Prime Minister Raphael Boasman made two announcements before updating the press on the matters his Ministry was dealing with.
He said first that Prime Minister William Marlin was off island attending to overdue matters, and secondly, congratulated Policy Adviser in his cabinet Richinel Brug and spouse on the “addition to their family with a brand new baby boy, and I have in my notes, another reason to make St. Maarten safe, and that’s what we are doing it for.”
Although he could not go into detail, Minister Boasman said, “Last week I met with Chief John of the Police Force and Chief Prosecutor and we discussed the acute situation at the prison and events surrounding it. In that discussion it was decided that immediate action was needed and certain plans were put in place.”
“While I cannot elaborate on those plans and action, I can say that the recent search at the prison was one of those actions. By finding the weapon, which has long been rumored to be in the prison, another potential major disaster has been averted. And actions will continue and everything possible will be done to make the situation at the prison safe for the inmates, and the workers working there and the community at large,” Boasman assured.
He congratulated Chief John and the Chief Prosecutor for a job well done in the prison search, and thanked “all of those who participated and assisted, such as the Marines, the Justice Canine Unit, and the prison officers for their job well done.”
Boasman mentioned the armed robbery, and said “due to the cooperation with the public and prompt response, and quick action from the police, a number of robbers were apprehended. The police will take the lead in releasing information on this case as it is an active ongoing investigation.”
“So I would suffice by just giving that information, but it was important to note that public involvement and quick action by the police led to the results of these culprits being apprehended,” he continued.
“I also met with the Progress Committee, and the Progress Committee is the organization, is a team that was put together to evaluate the progress on the plans of approach. There are still two plans of approach that are not finalized, which is the KPSM, and the police and the prison. We had very good discussions on the status of events, and what is being done to make sure that the things that are necessary are done,” Boasman stated.
“I said from the very beginning that especially the prison has high priority. Unfortunately, with some of the things, I cannot go much into details, but rest assured that together with law enforcement we have been from day one very active, very busy working on the situation with the prison. This was also discussed with the Progress Committee, the situation at the prison,” he continued.
Also discussed was the appointment of a St. Maarten representative on the committee. “Since Mr. Gibson, who was a member on that committee became Minister, St. Maarten no longer had a representative on that committee, which is not a good situation. So within a week or two, I’m sure that someone would be appointed on the Committee representing St. Maarten,” Boasman informed.
Minister Boasman also said that he will meet with the Ministry of TEATT’s SG Miguel de Weever and the Head of the Civil Aviation to discuss the situation surrounding InselAir, which is having “an impact on us here, and we need to assess actually what that impact is and if we need to take some alternative measures…It’s having its effect on air travel between the islands. So we need to look into the situation, and see if anything needs to be done from our side, if anything can be done from our side, so that we can alleviate the issues for now.”