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Published On: Thu, Apr 26th, 2018

URGENCY PRISON SITUATION BROUGHT TO THE ATTENTION OF THE FORMATEUR

Formateur Theo Heyliger in discussion with Progress Committee - 20180425 TR

Progress Committee discussed risk for public safety with Theo Heyliger

PHILIPSBURG – “If action is not taken soon, the prison situation can turn into a serious risk for the public safety.” Chairman of the Progress Committee Sint Maarten Nico Schoof said to formateur Theo Heyliger in a meeting on Wednesday, April 25th, 2018. “The alarming situation at the prison calls for immediate action, not only on Sint Maarten but also in The Hague as well.”

The Progress Committee is presently in engaged talks with the various stakeholders in the justice chain as a part of its quarterly monitoring of the plans of approach for the prison and the police force. The situation at the prison with critical understaffing of security guards, the lack of a prison director and half of the staff not at work for a variety of reasons ranging from sick leave and suspension to being assigned elsewhere but still on the prison payroll with the result that replacements cannot be hired due to budgetary constraints.

The Progress Committee invited the formateur to discuss the safety and security issues of the prison in particular and the issues surrounding the plans of approach for the prison and the police force in general. The formateur shared the concerns of the Progress Committee.

“I am happy that the committee took the time to inform me about the situation at the prison.” said Theo Heyliger. “I believe that St. Maarten cannot develop its economy and tourism product without properly addressing the safety and security issues on the island first.”

The formateur thanked the committee and promised to bring this issue forward in the discussions with the coalition partners as a part of the governing accord talks.

Progress Committee in meeting with Formateur Theo Heyliger - 20180425 TR

Photo caption: Progress Committee in meeting with formateur Theo Heyliger Wednesday, April 25, 2018. From L to R: Gert-Jan Stortelers (secretary), Theo Heyliger (formateur), Nico Schoof (chairman), Jason Rogers (member SXM) and Michel Marijnen (Member NL). Photo by Terrance Rey.