Published On: Sun, Jun 9th, 2019

St. Maarten Public Prosecutor’s Office to coordinate public relations in police investigation of fatal robbery of Canadian tourist man

KPSM Police SXMPHILIPSBURG  — The Public Prosecutor’s Office has assumed the responsibility for all public statements to be made in regards to the ongoing investigation into the robbery of a male Canadian tourist who succumbed to his injury after being critically wounded when he was shot in the head by an unknown gunman. The Canadian died on Friday night in a trauma center in Miami.

On Thursday June 6th the PR & Communications Department of the St. Maarten Police Force (KPSM) reported that in connection with an ongoing investigation of a shooting incident which took place on the evening of Wednesday June 5th at approximately 11:10 p.m. on the Beacon Hill Road in the Maho Beach area, the police department, seeing the indications thus far, has deemed this shooting as an armed robbery whereby one of the victims was shot and is in critical condition at the St. Maarten Medical Center. The victim has been identified with initials S.V. (48) and is a Canadian national who is vacationing on the island. The police department is asking any one who may have been in the Sunset/Maho area around the time mentioned and who may have witnessed this tragic event or may have in any other way have relevant information to please contact the Police Robbery Department by call the phone number +1721-5567498. The caller can then speak on basis of anonymity to a police officer who in turn will guide the caller through the process of giving their information. KPSM has also learnt that the victim S.V. has been stabilized by the doctors at the St. Maarten Medical Center in order for him to be able to be flown abroad today to receive further medical treatment.

Fly Always -3772

Photo caption: The Maho Beach, Sunset Beach Bar and Beacon Hill area on the Dutch Caribbean island of St. Maarten. Photo taken by plane spotter and photographer Paul G. Ellinger.

On Thursday, June 6th the ministers of Tourism and Justice issued a joint statement condemning Wednesday’s shooting as a “senseless act”.

The statement reads as follows:

PHILIPSBURG — The Ministers of Justice and Tourism on St. Maarten have united in their condemnation of Wednesday night’s shooting incident involving a Canadian tourist vacationing on St. Maarten calling it “a senseless act of violence.”

The two, Minister of Tourism Stuart Johnson and Justice Minister Cornelius De Weever, issued a press statement on Thursday evening joining the call by local authorities for the community at large to provide any information that would lead to the swift arrest of the perpetrator(s) of Wednesday heinous crime.

Minister Cornelius De Weever - 6 Mar 2019Minister De Weever says “The investigation of the events on June 5th, 2019 in the Beacon Hill area of St. Maarten continue with the highest level of priority from the Ministry of Justice. We fully intend to prosecute those responsible for this senseless act of violence and for compromising the peaceful and friendly nature of St. Maarten. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their family.”

Minister of TEATT Stuart JohnsonIn his response to the incident, Minister Johnson said, “My thoughts and prayers are with the relatives and friends of the victim.” He said, “This was a senseless act of violence perpetrated against another human being, which we will not tolerate. The people of our Country have always been friendly, hospitable and welcoming we will continue to keep these as our guiding principles. Meanwhile, as the details of this incident continue to unfold, we are working assiduously to ensure the perpetrators of this crime are brought to swift justice. Our home in St. Maarten is a haven for all to live and visit, and we take seriously any acts of violence.”

The male victim was walking through the Beacon Hill area with a member of his family, when unknown assailants in what police believe to be an armed robbery, approached them.

May-Ling Chun - Director Torurist Office St. Maarten“This isolated incident saddens us, and we, as the representatives of St. Maarten’s tourism sector are dedicated—together with the Ministry of Justice and the private sector—to do everything in our power to find this assailant and bring him to justice,” said St. Maarten Director of Tourism May-Ling Chun.

 

On Friday June 7th PR & Communications Department of the St. Maarten Police Force (KPSM) issued a statement asking for witnesses to come forward.

The Police Department and mainly the detective team investigating the latest armed robbery which took place on Wednesday June 5th at approximately 11.00 p.m. on Beacon Hill Road in the vicinity of Drift Wood Beach Bar is asking for assistance from the community.  This is where according to investigators, the victim, a Canadian national identified with initials S.V., and his daughter were attacked by an unknown person who during a brief struggle was shot. The suspect then jumped into a small vehicle and fled the scene. Police and paramedics were called. The victim was treated on the scene and then taken to hospital for medical treatment and has since been flown abroad for further medical treatment.

This investigation is moving forward but the information is not coming in quickly enough. The investigators are making an appeal to anyone who has any information and mainly those persons who were in the immediate vicinity when the robbery took place to come forward. According to information at least three vehicles left the immediate area directly after the robbery took place. Those persons leaving in these vehicles after the incident are requested to get in contact with the Robbery Department by calling +1-721-556-7498. It is definitely in the best interest of St. Maarten that we do our utmost to bring those responsible for this senseless act of violence to justice.

Police Station Philipsburg

Photo caption: Headquarters of the St. Maarten Police Force (KPSM) in the capital city Philipsburg in St. Maarten where the ongoing investigation is taking place by the detective department. Photo by Robin Pieters.

Also on Friday June 7th The Daily Herald reported detectives were seen on Beacon Hill Road Thursday afternoon conducting their investigation. The victim, who in the meantime had been flown out to a trauma center in Miami, remained in a deep coma.

Public Prosecutor's Office entrance

Photo caption: Entrance to the Public Prosecutor’s Office on the Emmaplein in the capital city of Philipsburg, St. Maarten. File photo.

On Saturday June 8th reports reaching our news desk indicated that the family of the victim had reported that he had succumbed to his injuries. In another online report the full name of the victim was released and a social media post of his daughter describing the tragic incident was published. The victim with the initials S.V. was a French Canadian from Quebec, Canada.

On contacting the PR & Communications Department of the St. Maarten Police Force, StMaartenNews.com learnt that the Public Prosecutor’s Office was now in charge of all communications with the press in regards to the ongoing investigation into this robbery-turned-murder investigation case.

Subsequently, the spokesperson of the Public Prosecutor’s Office informed StMaartenNews.com that the death of the victim S.V. had been confirmed. “This indeed came as a big shock to the Public Prosecutor’s Office and KPSM. We are saddened by this tragedy. The investigation is ongoing and efforts have increased to find the perpetrator.” According the spokesperson, these were the words of the Chief Prosecutor Mirjam Mol. “On Monday we will meet with the team and put together a detailed press release.” the spokesperson continued as she explained that “the chief could not expound too much at this time.”

This confirmed speculation that indeed a taskforce of the police force and the public prosecutor’s office was to meet on Monday. It is also expected that the hotels on St. Maarten via the St. Maarten Hospitality & Trade Association (SHTA) will form a committee to deal with the expected media attention and to coordinate responses to inquiries from hotel guests who may have any concerns about safety on the island.

Minister of Justice signing of decree police function book - 03062019

Photo caption: Minister of Justice Cornelius de Weever, in the presence of the Police Chief Carl John and the management team, representatives of the police unions NAPB, ABVO and WICSU along with a number of employees at KPSM, signing off on the function book of the police force which forms the basis for the finalization of the placement of police officers and staff of the police force in the new police organizational structure.

Just this passed Monday June 3rd the Minister of Justice, the honorable Cornelius de Weever, in the presence of the Police Chief Carl John and his management team, representatives of the police unions NAPB, ABVO and WICSU along with a number of employees at the St. Maarten Police Force (KPSM), signed the decree for the formalization of the new structure for the employees of KPSM. This short but historic ceremony took place in the conference room on the first floor of the police headquarters in Philipsburg. Minister De Weever congratulated all members of KPSM and representatives of the unions. Representatives from the unions thank the minister for making this moment a reality.

Photo caption: Minister of Justice Cornelius De Weever handing over keys to the Chief of Police Carl John in October 2018. Photo provided by KPSM.

The St. Maarten Police Force, in Dutch known as the Korps Politie Sint Maarten (KPSM), has been undergoing significant improvements to the organization’s structure since the passing of hurricane Irma in September 2017. The force has been outfitted with new vehicles, uniforms, bulletproof vests, a commando center, a new dispatch center and a camera surveillance unit among other vital improvements.

New police officers KPSM 2019

Photo caption: A contingent of police officers from the National Police in The Netherlands arrived in January 2018 to strengthen the manpower of the St. Maarten Police Force (KPSM). Photo provided.

Also more budget has been allocated for temporary police assistance from The Netherlands in a recently submitted draft budget amendment for 2019, which Parliament is expected to handle some time in July. The St. Maarten Police Force has been actively recruiting and training new police officers the past years and just recently a group of new cadets were sworn in by the Minister Justice for active duty.

New police uniforms KPSM 2019

Photo caption: Police officers in the Philipsburg Bike Patrol unit with their new police uniforms. Photo provided.

The police force expects to see a positive growth in the number of police officers employed in the force as new recruits are actively being selected and undergoing training.

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Update June 9th

Victim of Maho armed robbery dies

Detectives of KPSM investigating the shooting death of the Canadian man who was shot dead during an armed robbery which took place on Wednesday June 5th at approximately 11.00 p.m. in the vicinity of Maho beach has died. This information came from family members of the victim. The victim identified with initials S.V. was vacationing on Sint Maarten with his daughter when the incident happened.

No suspect or suspects in this case has been arrested and detectives continue to ask the community for information to assist in the investigation and mainly those persons who were in the immediate area when it happened.

Call: +1-721-556-7498 to share any information

The official Facebook page of the St. Maarten Police Force is https://www.facebook.com/Police.sx/.

For the Public Prosecutor’s Office the official Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/OMSXM.