Minister Lewis re-assures prison personnel, says political game-playing has no place



PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — Minister of Justice Lyndon Lewis re-assured personnel at the Point Blanche prison, as he did when he took office, that all their concerns have his fullest attention and to be careful with politicians who will seek to gain political mileage on the serious issues they (prison personnel) are contending with.

One of the first things the Minister did when taking office was to meet with prison management about several pressing issues and seek a responsible and prudent way forward. Issues such as remuneration, increasing the quantity of staff in particular male staff, and more. There will also be a major recruitment drive for justice week. 

The Minister stressed that these issues are too serious to play politics with. “You cannot play politics with people’s lives,” he said, “so I try not to engage in meaningless back and forth.”

“Politicians who speak of neglect by a government that has only been here 7 weeks cannot be taken seriously. The issues at the prison with its personnel did not spring up in the past few weeks. Former Ministers sat next to each other for 4 years watching problem after problem compound and today expect everything to be solved in a few weeks. Proper planning and structural changes are necessary and have been so for a long time,” Minister Lewis said.

“I would like to re-assure prison personnel that my attention has not waned. I also would like to advise them to ask any former Minister who is suddenly so concerned about their wellbeing, why they didn’t press their colleague Minister over the past four years to prioritize them and not neglect them,” the Minister concluded.