Over 80 begin basic course for uniformed services

POSTED: 07/26/11 11:58 AM

St. Maarten – Eighty-two people began a one year basic course on Monday that will lead to them becoming part of the various uniformed divisions that fall under the Ministry of Justice. The start signal for their course was given at a ceremony in the Festival Village that was attended by Acting Justice Minister Dr. Rhoda Arrindell, Justice Department heads and support staff, instructors and the relatives and friends of the recruits.

The course, which is called BAVPOL, is a modified version of the course offered in The Netherlands, Curacao and Aruba. It is designed to produce skilled and trained law enforcement officers that can serve in any arm of the ministry. The first two weeks are an orientation period that includes physical and disciplinary training and then classes will begin on August 8. Modules that will be covered in the course are self defense and shooting instruction, general laws relating to the Ministry of Justice. The language of instruction will be English and Dutch will be given as a second language.

Arrindell relished the fact that she was acting as Justice Minister and urged the recruits to take special note of the date and time that they began the course. She also stressed the fact that the course is taking place here and in English because it had led to an overwhelming surge in the number of recruits. The instruction in English, with Dutch as a second language is also part of the focus at the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport. Before now recruits were sent to Curacao for their training and had to follow the course in Dutch.

Arrindell also informed the recruits and their families that the course is an important part of the capacity building exercise that the ministry is implementing as it continues to build itself up “from scratch.”

“The minister of justice envisions that within short all recruits of Justice Personnel will be able to follow courses and even degree programs right here in St. Maarten. Both Minister Duncan and I have already been discussing strategies and possibilities to make this happen. The MOU I signed with Monroe College offers opportunities in this regard especially where it concerns forensic science,” Arrindell said.

The chief instructor Mr. Strijkers impressed on the recruits that they now have no way to turn back as they’d signed contracts to participate in the course and that the instructors stand ready to assist them all “until the end.”

“Guys we start with 80, and let us finish with 80,” he said to applause.

He also spoke of the partnership that will be necessary to make the program a success.

“This is a joint venture. We cannot do it alone. The police cannot do it alone. Customs cannot do it alone. Immigration cannot do it alone. We have to do it together and especially to avoid that the prison – who also is one of our partners – has to deal with persons, suspects and criminals that you’ll have to deal with. I think the red line in this whole course will be teaching you how to prevent criminality in this community and all over the world,” Strijkers said.

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