Published On: Wed, Nov 8th, 2023

Minister Richardson: “Decision is vital to meet the pressing needs of the Pointe Blanche prison”

PHILIPSBURG — Minister of Justice Anna Richardson has reacted in a hurry to criticism from the police union NAPB about her decision to make the police force responsible for the detention center at police headquarters. “This decision is vital to meet the pressing needs of the Pointe Blanche prison while ensuring the safety and security of our community,” she states in a press release.

The minister explains the difference between holding cells (where detainees can stay a maximum of ten days) and detention facilities like prisons where inmates are forcibly confined under state authority. In 2011, former Minister of Justice Roland Duncan designated a detention center at the police station to address the cell shortage at the Pointe Blanche prison.

Minister Richardson has now returned the police cells to their original status of short-term holding cells. “The international human rights perspective and the personnel shortage at the Pointe Blanche prison and the Ms. Lalie Center necessitate this change,” her press release states.

“The current staff shortages within the prison have led to operational challenges, with personnel being spread between the police station and the Miss Lalie Center.”

Minister Richardson furthermore states that her decision is “in line with the organizational structure of the police force, worldwide practices and a long-awaited decision from an international human rights perspective and a cry for change from management and staff at the prison.”

The minister dismisses a claim by the NAPB that job functions for working at the detention center at the police station are missing in the function book. “This is factually incorrect because the finalized function book by Versant includes the updated positions for this function.”

Read also: Press release board NAPB

“Safety and security of both colleagues within the prison and the broader St. Maarten community are paramount,” the press release states. ‘Cooperation between the managements of both the police and the prison is essential to ensure the effective execution of their roles and responsibilities in maintaining a safe and secure society.”


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Urgent need to return police cells to Management of Police is vital to meet pressing needs of Point Blanche Prison