Philipsburg – On Monday, July 12, 2021 through Wednesday, July 14, 2021, the Honorable Minister Anna E. Richardson hosted a Conference commemorating Justice Week 2021 at the Simpson Bay Resort. The conference served as an opportunity for each department and external partners of the Ministry to discuss topics related to their operations which included their legal basis, year plans, the budget, challenges, plan of actions aimed at improving the functionality and effectiveness of same. Present at the conference was the Coast Guard, Court of Guardianship, the Police Force of Sint Maarten, National Detectives, Customs, the Admissions and Expulsions section of the Immigration Department, Financial Intelligence Unit Sint Maarten and the Foundation Judicial Institutes Sint Maarten (SJIB).
During the three-day conference, each department delivered presentations to a selected panel tasked with providing critical and structured feedback based on the agenda points. The panel consisted of Member of Parliament and Second Chair of the Parliament Justice Committee, the Honorable George Pantophlet, Former Lieutenant Governor who is currently St. Maarten’s Representative on the Progress Committee Mr. Franklyn Richards, Former Lieutenant Governor and Former Minister of Justice, who is currently the Task Master for the Plan of Approach on the Protocol of Border Security Mr. Dennis Richardson.
The presentations delivered were elaborate and critical which is essential in giving a better understanding of the operations and laying the foundation for inter-department working relationships to be established.
On July 1, 2021, the Parliament of Sint Maarten approved the budget of 2021, Minister Richardson deemed it necessary to place an emphasis on the department’s annual plans based on the budget, specifically policy-based budgeting. The purpose of placing emphasis on policy-based budgeting is that it assesses that all annual outputs and budgets contribute directly to the achievement of clearly stated expected accomplishments and objectives (outcomes and impacts) of the Ministry for efficiency and effectiveness. This ensures that it minimizes any imbalances experienced by the different departments and ensures that a direct link is provided between what the goal is the output, activities, and the resources available to do so.
The Ministry’s Financial Controllers and Human Resource Officers were also present, giving departments an opportunity to dialogue and express the challenges they experience. Overall, this platform gave the departments a stage to understand how each other operates and the process of things. Ultimately and respectfully, all departments need each other to some degree to operate optimally.
By invitation, Secretary General Mr. Randolph Duggins and Ms. Aishira Cecilia legal advisor of the Ombudsman delivered a presentation that covered their services to Sint Maarten, their experience and observations of the Ministry of Justice to date. The information shared was very enlightening and gave all attendees a better understanding of where they have an impact on society and where improvements are needed within their service and operations.
Minister Richardson expressed how pleased she was with the outcome and the results of this year’s conference, stating: “This conference has allowed for a lot of positive results for the various departments and agencies under the Ministry of Justice. I believe that through the dialogues and discussions that took place over the course of the 3 days, we were able to establish better understanding of each department’s operation and move forward with different ways of strengthening them. In order to be more effective in the way we manage going ahead, I hope that each department aims to adapt the feedback based on the insights relevant to their operation.”
Minister Richardson would like to extend a special thank you to the Honorable Prime Minister Ms. Silveria Jacobs, the selected panel, her cabinet staff, Attorney at Law Ms. Peggy Ann Brandon, the Management of the respective departments and external partners of the Ministry of Justice, the Ombudsman, SOAB for being in attendance and the contribution they will make to assist the Ministry in finalizing the 2022 budget, the Simpson Bay Resort & Marina and the Department of Communications (DCOMM). Through a great collaborative effort by all parties, this conference was a great success.