MEN IN BLUE DO CRY 

2012

 

Dear editor,

While the NA/UPP coalition members in government are busy presenting their report card to the electorate, while pretending to be excellent, our country is in a state where our national security is at risk.

The Law Enforcement Council of Sint Maarten outlined in its last report dated November 2023 that the situation within the St. Maarten Police Force is not so rosy at all, which paints a bleak picture of the Ministry of Justice.

The report can be found on their website: www.raadrechtshandhaving.com

In the report it clearly states that the Minister of Justice is NOT adhering to the many recommendations made by the Council. Some recommendations were partly followed, but not fully. Thus, causing the problems to remain partly unresolved. Furthermore, the personnel within the already understaffed police force continues to decline. There are many reasons for this.

Over the years we have seen reports of victimization, abuse of power, sexual assault and sexual harassment within the Ministry of Justice. It is apparent that the management of some of these departments within this Ministry remains to be the major factor in the decline in personnel. The complaints by the Justice workers continuously fall on deaf ears and/or are not given proper attention by management. This lack of attention leads to bigger issues. The Minister of Justice chooses not to tackle the problems raised, which is questionable.

The Minister of Justice recently co-signed the Function Book among other documents for this ministry. Important to note is that this Minister stated on several occasions namely on July 6th, 2023 in a presentation to the Justice workers that the Function Book goes retroactively to October 10th, 2010. However, no clarification is given to the change of heart as the signed documents that have been publicized state that the Function Book goes retroactively to December 20th, 2021.

The presentation can be viewed via this link: https://www.canva.com/design/DAFnoO6FCGg/7abylqbvowx7tIe1I_pSwA/view?utm_content=DAFnoO6FCGg&utm_campaign=designshare&utm_medium=link&utm_source=publishsharelink.

The games that are constantly played with the justice workers over the past years are despicable and most disgusting. The Minister of Justice has no regard for the Justice workers as to their legal position, their function, salary and monthly obligations. With the rise in cost of living, the stress of life weighs heavily within this community. The rise in mental health cases is significant to say the least.

More specifically the Police Force of St. Maarten continues to see a further decline in their personnel as well as a high rate of personnel on sick leave. With stories circulating of one police patrol on duty for the entire island is stifling and nerve wrecking. Recently, the Chief of Police announced in the press briefing of the Main Voting Bureau on Wednesday, January 9th, 2024, that a group of 24 police officers arrived on the island to assist his staff for election day. After election day this group of officers will return to their country leaving Sint Maarten in the same state. It is known that KPSM consists of a meager staff.

These same problems are experienced at the Prison, the Immigration and the Customs Department, where the Minister of Justice is micromanaging. Whereas the school children say that the Minister of Justice orders customs officers on which containers to release without the proper controls. Whereas the Minister of Justice uses her errand girl to address a problem between an Immigration Officer and an arriving passenger.

As a concerned citizen, questions remain floating around such as: “Are we safe in our own country?”, “How safe are we when those who are to serve and protect continue to quit?” and “Is our national security at risk?”.

One thing is for sure and that is that the Minister of Justice has to give accountability!

Signed by,
A concerned citizen.