Arrindell asks Minister Duncan to review crime fighting measures

POSTED: 10/30/12 12:17 PM

St. Maarten – “Several business people over the years have succumbed to armed robberies due to gun violence. Last week Friday once again, gun violence took place where a restaurant owner was injured. The owner of L’Escargot Restaurant was shot by one or two assailants who waited until the restaurant closed. Besides the owner of the restaurant, also present were his wife and two tourist friends,” UPP Gracita Arrindell said in a press statement issued last night..

“This armed robbery could have had a tragic ending similar to the double murder in Cupecoy in the third week of September. My prayers go out as well to the victims of this latest assault on the victims, our business community, and our Country. Many homes in the past have been through the process of a home invasion experience in our neighborhoods.”

Arrindell commended the communities of Beacon Hill, Maho and Cupecoy for coming together to form a community safety and crime prevention council. “This group also organized the first Get to know your Neighbor event over the past weekend. The initiative is to create safer communities and this effort should be copied by other communities on the island which can work together with our community police officers in fighting crime.”

The former President of Parliament called on Justice Minister Duncan to review current crime fighting measures. “As one group is captured, another group becomes active, and our community is feeling unsafe. Our tourists are feeling unsafe. Our business people are targets and are feeling unsafe. We cannot allow this to continue,” she stated.

The MP pointed out that the high tourist season is upon us and that there is a need to see some form of action that is based on a strategy. “It must be a sustainable long-term action plan and not a short-term intervention as has been the case in the past. Where are the controls of vehicles especially during evening hours? In the past the authorities have confiscated a number of weapons including guns. One gun less on the road means one less crime is committed. Why don’t we have these controls anymore? Parliament needs to be informed about this matter.”

With respect to immigration; as one criminal group is apprehended, another one creeps up and starts a wave of crime, Arrindell continued.

“The community wants to know if these criminals are entering the country illegally, or that they are lawfully entering the country and overstaying their welcome. If either one is the case, what is being done to deal with these criminals? Investments have been made in border control efforts and the Coast Guard also plays a role in this area. Perhaps additional tools may be needed by law enforcement.”
Arrindell stated that if the justice minister needs additional tools “to deal more effectively with this worrisome situation and if it requires amending certain laws, we would like to know this and act swiftly.”

Last week the prime minister announced that Immigration Services has reached a level where the Plan of Approach attached to the operations of the services is no longer needed. Parliament and by extension the people now need to be informed about the status of our country’s immigration services, Arrindell stated.

She had yet another grief up her sleeve: “I too share with many the grave concern regarding the surge of barkers. Our citizens, including taxi drivers must know what corrective and or deterred measures are taken to deal with and avoid this recurrent unruly situation. It is downright unacceptable.

“The surge of barkers came last week when four cruise ships were in port with more than 20,000 passengers. I would like to know what is being done with respect to this matter especially with the high season not far off. Do these barkers and vendors of merchandise have permits to ply their merchandise? What is the status of controls? What is the planning for the upcoming season?
We have to protect our cruise tourism industry and the visitor experience must not be overshadowed by overzealous people who can put our tourism (cruise) industry in jeopardy. As a people we cannot tolerate this.”

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