Published On: Tue, Mar 12th, 2019

Second Chamber majority: Returning prisoners to St. Maarten is allowed

190128_Detention Center_Roof renovations_after

PHILIPSBURG — News coming out of The Netherlands reports that a majority in the Dutch Second Chamber in The Hague yesterday rejected a motion to suspend the relocation of prisoners back to St. Maarten. This despite the growing number of reports from independent experts that situation in the Pointe Blanche prison is untenable and even poses a danger to the society on the island.

A motion by MP Nevin Özütok (GroenLinks) to suspend relocation “as long as human detention conditions are not guaranteed according to human rights standards” received insufficient support in the votes in the Second Chamber on Tuesday, March 12, 2019.

In addition, there is now a rift in the coalition. Where VVD and CDA (with the PVV) voted against the motion, it was supported by the other two coalition parties D66 and ChristenUnie. The SP, the PvdA, Party for the Animals, Denk, the SGP and Forum for Democracy also voted in favor, but that was not enough. Last week, official government documents were leaked to the media pointing out the risk to The Netherlands being guilty of violating fundamental human rights principles if it sends prisoners back to St. Maarten.

Özütok also saw her second motion rejected in which she called on the Dutch government in consultation with the government of St. Maarten to improve the conditions in the Point Blanche prison in accordance with human rights standards. Various independent organizations – including Knops ‘own’ Progress Committee Sint Maarten – insist on a more active attitude on the part of The Netherlands, but a right-wing majority in the Chamber does not agree.