Published On: Mon, Dec 10th, 2018

A thankless job

StMaartenNews EditorialDuring the interview, Chief Prosecutor Jeroen Steenbrink expressed deep respect for the work his colleagues and others in the justice chain do. He especially mentioned the police force. The fact that he arrived at a time when many of his newfound colleagues had suffered both personally and professionally from the impact of hurricane Irma apparently made an impression on him when he saw how everyone still managed to do their jobs with the limited resources at their disposal.

Being a public prosecutor is not a thankful job, especially here on St. Maarten. However Steenbrink clearly has no need to get praise for his work. As a matter of fact, he managed to keep a very low profile during his brief stint on St. Maarten. He has managed to let his work speak for itself. That the criminal investigation into the dump has been initiated under his leadership and the surprising move to join the civil case against the government of St. Maarten and the company that manages the sanitary landfill will clearly leave its mark on our community. In that sense, Steenbrink has achieved his personal goal of showing that the Public Prosecutor’s Office exists to serve the people of St. Maarten and to fight against all forms of crimes, whether they are criminal, economical or environmental in nature.

Steenbrink kept reiterating his appreciation and gratitude to his staff, the colleagues that he worked with in the justice chain and especially to the prosecutors he worked with on a daily basis. We get the feeling that the easy-going Steenbrink is definitely passionate about the thankless job his colleagues have to do in St. Maarten knowing that they forever have to fight against the impression that their work is directed by outside forces behind the scenes in Holland. Nothing could be further from the truth as Steenbrink was adamant to point out. We believe him. For the simple fact that he does not make the impression to be someone who can be easily influenced by outsiders when it comes to doing his job. The quiet sense of pride in his work that he exudes and his strong preference for fairness, justice and integrity are inherent traits and characteristics befitting a public prosecutor who has to work independently, transparently and – like Lady Justice herself – blindly with those who are involved in the cases he prosecutes.

If you happen to meet him on the boardwalk before he leaves, Steenbrink will gladly welcome the opportunity to explain the what, the how and the why of his job. You may even consider becoming a public prosecutor one day. The officers of the Public Prosecutor’s Office do not have the time to visit schools to inform students about their work, so take it from us here at, we need more young people to consider working as a public prosecutor as a career option. St. Maarten needs critical thinkers and investigators, who can, just like the media on the island, hold authorities in government, in business and elsewhere in society, to a higher moral and ethical standard.


Related article:
Interview with the departing Interim Chief Prosecutor Jeroen Steenbrink