THE NETHERLANDS — On Thursday September 23, 2021, in her pursuit to forge relationships and seek opportunities for Sint Maarten youth in the Kingdom, Minister of Justice Anna E. Richardson visited the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee’s Education, Training and Knowledge center in Apeldoorn, better known as the OTC. At the OTC Minister Richardson and her delegation received a warm welcome from Commander of the OTC Frank Rippens, deputy Commander of the OTC Willemijn Arends and their colleagues.
The Royal Netherlands Marechaussee also referred to as the KMAR has been supporting Sint Maarten through the assistance that is being provided to the Border Protection and Mobile Unit of the Immigration and Border Protection Services (IBP) and to the Police Force of Sint Maarten (KPSM).
At the OTC Minister Richardson first received an in-depth presentation on the overall structure, mission, vision, and operations of the KMAR. As part of its on-going support to Sint Maarten, based on the mutual regulation on border control of 2018 (Onderlinge Regeling Versterking Grenstoezicht Sint Maarten), and continued in the joint protocol to further strengthen border control along with Aruba and Curacao of 2021, the KMAR has developed and educational curriculum that also includes an E-Learning environment specifically designed for Sint Maarten recruits and Immigration officers.
During the discussions, Minister Richardson inquired with the Commander and deputy Commander of the KMAR if there was any interest at the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee in promoting the organization as a learning and career institution in the Caribbean countries of the Kingdom. Deputy commander Willemijn Arends expressed her pleasure to receive this question from Minister Richardson as did Commander Frank Rippens, who advised that in fact becoming a more inclusive organization is something that the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee finds worth pursuing.
While at the OTC Minister Richardson also met with Sint Maarten’s local Immigration officer Mr. Rignald Gressman who is currently in the Netherlands following a course to become Sint Maarten’s first certified document three expert (DOC 3) after he successfully obtains his certification. Documents specialists are charged with examining travel and identity documents or other documents to determine their authenticity for the Immigration organization as well as external partners.
In their daily operations the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee increasingly has more technical resources at its disposal to become a more effective organization. While visiting the OTC’s Educationcal Development department, Minister Richardson was offered a glimpse into a virtual reality training setting, through a VR-simulation headset, created to enact real-life scenarios that will help to sharpen KMAR officers skills, knowledge and responses in daily operations.
“Visiting the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee’s Education, Training and Knowledge center and seeing their operations firsthand was quite impressive. I am truly grateful for the experience and the warm welcome received and the willingness and dedication expressed to continue to assist Sint Maarten in strengthening its borders” Minister Richardson stated.