Published On: Sun, Jun 23rd, 2019

No justice for people in prison

Point Blanche Prison

Modern Day Slavery

Dear community of Sint Maarten,

Certain things have been going on lately that need to shared, my article is based on people who are experiencing these real life matters at the moment. Our justice system is being continuously tampered with, prosecutors are undermining and situations in our correctional facility are unhealthy.

Sinta Duro ( Sit Tight)

Sometimes we use the word but we rarely take time to understand what the word means therefore I took the time to look up the word ” Justice”. I found that Justice means Fairness; which means: A just behavior or treatment. I followed with what is the “Purpose of a justice system” it is to deliver justice for all meaning everyone, including a suspect in a crime.

The judicial system of Sint Maarten however does not see it like that, it is usually you are innocent until proven guilty however in Sint Maarten you are guilty until proven innocent. The suspect is arrested and then the investigation begins, they serve you with 2 days in jail, then you are set to appear in front a judge to see if the arrest was lawful, if in fact it is the suspect will sit 8 days, 16 days, 60 days and then finally 30 days. This brings it to a total off 116 of imprisonment while they investigate the case
within these days the suspect is lucky if they are even questions 4 times pertaining to their case.

Every court appearance the prosecutor asks the judge for more time in order to investigate the case. There are inmates that have been detained in the correctional facility for over 8 months without being sentenced due to the above mentioned reason.

Examples Of Unjust Punishment

The chief prosecutor Mirjam Mol said: ” We need to explain much more, that we cannot go by what a person is saying or posting on the internet.” However there are inmates facing up to 20+ years from the prosecutor’s office with no evidence, meaning: no weapons being found, no trace of DNA at the scene or even camera footage and yet this is what the prosecutors are asking for.

There is a inmate right now facing a 15+ year sentence for a crime that people
allegedly stated that “he was the one who a shot after them.” The police arrested this young man, a weapon was found in his position however after testing they concluded that the weapon was not the same one used in the shooting. The fact that a group of friends stated that it’s him, this young man is now facing this time.

Another young man is serving 15+ years as well for robberies, he admitted to the crimes that he committed. His words were: “If I can do the crime I can do the time.”
The prosecutor saw this as an opportunity to add more crimes to this young man’s
rap sheet even though the young man said he had nothing to do with these added cases, the prosecutor added these cases due to the similarities and not facts after presenting it to the judge it was agreed upon and not questioned as he serves time for his case and others.

Our justice system is like a dictatorship and the judge is the dictator, we have no one overseeing or a person to go to when the judge makes an unfair decision. The prosecutor will then say if you don’t like the decision you can always appeal it, however it is not mention that appeal takes up to 1 year before you are able to appeal your case in front of those 3 judges.

The judges are not allowing the lawyers to do their job, meaning the lawyers are bringing forth cases where the prosecutor’s office is making multiple mistakes
and the judges are overlooking it. They are stating that yes they may have made a mistake but due the fact of the crime they are going to overlook the law. However that is unacceptable because the law is the law and it should remain in fact that way
whether it is a big crime or a small crime the law should never change.

Labeling Us

Chief Prosecutor Mirjam Mol said in The Daily Herald on June 17th 2019: “It hurts her that convicts have to be released from jail due to lack of detention capacity and
that this is bad news for Sint Maarten because this mean that dangerous [people, Ed.] will end up on the streets again.” I must say it hurts me that the chief of prosecutors sees everyone behind bars as dangerous people. They are all humans some have made mistakes, some were protecting their lives and some were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Nevertheless not all people behind bars are bad people same way not all prosecutors and judges that took an oath to give a fair trial gives one.

Just to help Chief Mol out, on how these dangerous people as she would call them
get back into society they are evaluated by the correctional facility meaning they completed most of their time, most likely they had a job and some have never even gotten in trouble before.

We ask that before Chief Mol label us and give us names take your time to know us,
some of us are fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, uncles and aunts. To you we may be dangerous but to some people we are family members. It surprises me that Chief Mol is not hurt by the living conditions in the correctional facility and the fact that they don’t have a rehabilitation program for the so call dangerous people as Chief Mol would call us are able to leave Point Blanche Prison on the right track into society and are able to help our island, when I say our island I don’t mean yours because this is not your home because in the next 10 years you will pack your bags, jump on a plane and never look back.

Destroying Our Youth

The prosecutor office is sending one message to our local youth, it is that they want you to work hard, they want you to become successful but not too successful because if you decide to own business, drive a nice car or own a nice home it can only mean one thing, money laundering. Looking at our local entrepreneurs go to jail for the same crimes over and over hurts. I am not here to point fingers but why can the Indians own the biggest homes on the island, own multiple jewelry stores on the island, sometimes have no clients for months and they are still able to pay rent why are they not considered to be doing money laundering? The Chinese can own up to 20 shops no problem, never a day do any of them end up behind bars like our local men.

People of Sint Maarten wake up!!!

This letter may not do anything, might not change anything but I am surely bringing awareness to the unjust that we are living in on our island.

Regards,
A Pointe Blanche Prisoner

###

Point Blanche Prison Wallbreak

Editor’s note: Whenever we think back on the situation in the Pointe Blanche prison during and after hurricane Irma, we are always amazed to think that no one attempted to break out of prison while the prisoners had all opportunity to do so. This letter from a prisoner in the Pointe Blanche detention facility is an illustration of the plight of these prisoners who are just looking to serve the time for the crime they committed and return free to society. The time spent in prison should include rehabilitation and re-socialization so that prisoners can have an opportunity to lead a better life once they return to society. Something for the justice authorities to think about when thinking about improving the situation at the detention facility. The focus should not solely be on fixing and repairing roofs and walls alone. Put facilities in place to help the prisoners rehabilitate as well. With proper facilities for education and training they can transition back into society, not as a menace, but as a productive citizen who can indeed make a positive contribution as well.

Point Blanche Prison Wall Security Installation - 25 March 2019