Plasterk answers MP Bosman’s questions “Coast Guard will keep sailing”

POSTED: 04/24/13 10:26 AM

Coast Guard station Simpson Bay

The Coast Guard station in Simpson Bay. The cutter that is usually docked here was on patrol when the picture was taken yesterday afternoon. Photo Today / Hilbert Haar

St. Maarten – “The Coast Guard will keep sailing, no matter what goes on between the ears of Duncan.” That was the firm reaction of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Minister Ronald Plasterk to questions VVD-MP Andre Bosman posed yesterday based on an article that appeared in Today on April 16 under the headline “Duncan repeats: I want to get rid of the Coast Guard.”

In the article Minister Duncan implied that the Coast Guard was in part responsible for the death of nine people who drowned during a human smuggling transport on December 5, 2010 in the British Virgin Islands off the coast of Tortola.

Minister Plasterk said yesterday that the Coast Guard is not to blame in any way for the drowning. “The suggestion that the coast Guard did something wrong is incorrect. It has spotted the boat (the Jesus La – ed.) and transferred it to the American and the British Coast Guard.”

VVD-parliamentarian Bosman quizzed the minister about Duncan’s statements and in the process he had some hard words for the justice minister.

Bosman said that the accusations Duncan leveled against the Coast Guard are incorrect and unfounded. “This way the justice minister of Sint Maarten puts the Coast Guard in the wrong. During the extensive investigation nothing of these allegations has come to light. The justice minister is deliberately damaging the Coast Guard.”

Bosman added that Duncan “does everything to badmouth the Coast Guard and to make working impossible.”

And this, he added, while the Coast Guard’s task is to protect the outer borders of the Kingdom. “The Coast Guard is intensively involved in tracking down drugs and illegal immigration. Especially with regard to the issues of drugs and illegal criminality St. Maarten has a bad name.

The WODC report of 2007 already points out serious shortcomings in the fight against drugs and that against human trafficking.”

Bosman put Minister Duncan’s credibility in question.”He has a direct relationship with brothel-owners. Through his holding he uses a brothel-permit for which he himself is responsible. He is subject to an investigation about accepting bribes from a brothel-owners. And he is responsible for upholding human rights in St. Maarten while everybody knows that those rights are being violated.”

Referring to the 2011 criminality analysis Bosman quoted; “On top of everything intelligence services regularly received signals, also from within the community in St. Maarten, that one or more persons in St. Maarten are involved in large-scale human smuggling.”

Bosman expressed his appreciation for the Coast Guard officers. “They have to do their job under very difficult circumstances. They feel attacked from behind by a justice minister who himself is not of irreproachable conduct (and I am putting this very mildly). The VVD is of the opinion that the role and the execution of the Coast Guard tasks in the Caribbean has to continue. The justice ministers of Aruba, Curacao and St. Maarten have to give this their full support.”

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