PHILIPSBURG – Minister responsible for the Ministry of Justice Rafael Boasman addressed members of the press during Wednesday’s, June 7, Council of Ministers Press Briefing.
He first mentioned attending a couple of events in the past week that left a great impression on him. The first was the Moot Court. “Those who never experience it, I would advise them to head to the courthouse, sit there and listen to it,” Minister Boasman said.
“You have a group of youngsters from different schools on the island who take part in a court. And a court session is based on international law, very difficult law and a case is presented, and it’s a case based on the penal code, international law and presided by real judges,” Minister Boasman informed.
Minister Boasman also thanked the DComm, Department of Communication who are the organizers of the series of lectures that took place at the University of St. Maarten. The keynote speaker was attorney Zylena Barry.
On Tuesday, June 6, on behalf of the Prime Minister, he met with the Ombudsman, who presented a report of 2016. “We just got a report yesterday so we didn’t really get a chance to look at it. I took a peep at what the report said for the Justice Ministry and I can say there’s a lot of work to be done. It was constructive criticism. As you know the office of the Ombudsman plays a very important role in our community where citizens who feel themselves disenfranchised, who feel especially in their relation with government and they have nowhere to turn go to the Ombudsman and the Ombudsman would deal with the cases, would handle the complaints,” Minister Boasman explained.
“Also we know the role that the Ombudsman plays when it comes to judging legislation that is prepared with the Constitution to make sure that we are not in violation with our constitutions. So I guess as we get a chance to go through the report, as I assured the Ombudsman that we would take those recommendations in a report seriously,” he said.
“I also met with the commander of the Marines. Commanders that are based in the Caribbean area only stay for a limited period of time and so every now and then you have a one-day event and one incoming…On behalf of the government of St. Maarten, I thank them for their assistance and participation in the region. We are on land and we have our police, etc., and doing our business, but there’s a lot of activities on law enforcement that take place out at sea, and it is the Coast Guard who is responsible for that,” Minister Boasman informed.
Next, the Minister announced that the countries in the Kingdom and especially the Caribbean part of the Kingdom, presently the meetings of the chiefs of police are taking place and being hosted by the police department on St. Maarten, and the meetings of the Prison Chiefs are taking place on Curaçao and St. Maarten Prison directors are attending.
On Wednesday afternoon, June 7, the Minister held a meeting with all of the department heads in the Ministry of Justice, and the main point on the agenda was personnel matters. “I have installed a task force on personnel matters. Every department has issues. There are cold cases left and right, there are people who for years are waiting just on a resolution etc., and it’s about time that we get that fixed, so hopefully the next time, not next week, but soon I’ll be able to tell you that the personnel issues in the Ministry of Justice is something of that past,” Minister Boasman promised.
In conclusion he wished the Lions Club International and the Lions Club on both Dutch and French St. Martin a big congratulations with the 100-year celebration of the Lions Club International.