Published On: Wed, Jan 17th, 2024

Justice Bob Wit passed away

PHILIPSBURG — Justice Bob Wit passed away aged 71, the Caribbean Court of Justice stated in a press release dated January 6. Wit served at the court since its establishment in 2005 until he retired in December 2023 for health reasons. Wit was also the first President of St. Maarten’s Constitutional Court.

The President of the Caribbean Court of Justice, Justice Adrian Saunders expressed his sorrow at the news of Wit’s passing. “It is a sad day for the court. Justice Wit and I worked together since 2005 when we formed part of the inaugural bench. He was the lone civil law judge on the current CCJ-bench with rich experience in military law, administrative law, constitutional law and international human rights law.”

Wit was also involved with the CCJ Academy for Law and he played a pivotal role in coordinating the Academy’s recent Biennial Conference and Regional Town Hall, an event that focused on crime and regional criminal justice reform.

Justice Wit was a ranking member of the CCJ Academy for Law. In 2020 he received the Nederlandse Juristen Vereniging Award.

The inaugural Constitutional Court in St. Maarten consisted next to Justice Wit of Justices Pieter van Dijk and Jan de Boer.

On July 12, 2014, a committee led by Justice Wit published a report entitled Doing the Right Things Right. The report contains research about integrity issues in the public sector in St. Maarten and an avalanche of recommendations. Among them are the establishment of an independent Integrity Chamber and a public register containing the paid and unpaid side jobs of Members of Parliament. The report also urged the government to establish a Gaming Control Board within twelve months. So far, only the Integrity chamber has become a reality.

In September 2021 Governor Eugene Holiday appointed Wit for a second 10-year term. but Wit stepped down on January 1, 2023. The ordinance regulating the Constitutional Court decrees that members have to step down on the first day of the month after they turn 70. Wit celebrated his 70th birthday on December 24, 2022.