PM and defense Minister Hillen agree about Marine base

POSTED: 09/5/12 10:35 AM

St. Maarten – On Monday Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams met with the Kingdom Minister of Defense Hans Hillen about aspects related to safety and defense on the island. One of the focal points was the establishment of a marine base.
“The meeting with Minister Hillen was in his capacity as Kingdom Minister for defense. Defense is a Kingdom responsibility. In St. Maarten there is also a national ministry that coordinates defense matters and this falls under my Ministry of General Affairs. Keeping this in mind one of the things Minister Hillen wanted to specifically talk about was the establishment of a marine base. There is already a base both on Curacao and on Aruba,” Wescot-Williams states in a press release
The prime minister stated that the establishment of such a base in St. Maarten is important when one takes into account the protection and defense mission of the marines. “In cases of disasters St. Maarten would previously have had to request the deployment of marines for assistance all the way to the Minister of Defense in Netherlands via the governor after which the Marines would be able to be deployed if necessary. Having such an establishment on St. Maarten will assist that procedure and will ensure that we have a faster deployment in the event of a hurricane for example.”
The PM also stressed that the base will also give an economic impulse by having a contingent of marine officers stationed on the island full time, with rotating groups coming in frequently.
“We will have as part of the base a social formation program for young local people. The marines would be instrumental in taking care of this program. So if we look at the economic aspect, the safety and defense aspect, and the social formation project we agree with the minister to have such a base come to St. Maarten,” the prime minister stated.

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