Concerns about central radio room

POSTED: 09/13/14 11:47 PM

Fourteenth report Progress Committee

St. Maarten – The Progress Committee Sint Maarten observes in its fourteenth report with some dismay that no progress has been made with the joint radio room for police, fire department and ambulance services. “There is financing available from Usona for equipping a central radio room, but that ends on October 1, 2014,” the report states. “There still does not seem to be an agreement about who will participate in the radio room and where it will have to be established. Chances are that on behalf of the police the technical equipping will continue, but that not all stakeholders, in particular the fire department, will participate in the radio room. Therefore the minister has not taken a decision yet about this project.”

The committee advises the Ministerial Consultation to insist that the ministers of justice and general affairs soon take a decision about the central radio room.

The committee doubts whether it is feasible to bring into use the youth detention facility in Cay Bay in October. Operating the facility requires specialized staff that is not available in St. Maarten. Recruiting has started in the Netherlands. “Given the time this will require, the committee doubts whether the new location can be put to use in October.”

The report shows that the operational strength of the police force is still below where it ought to be. In October of last year the actually strength was 115 personnel, 48 percent of the desired strength of 241. In October of last year the force should have reached 75 percent of the desired formation. There was a perspective for 32 so-called “zij-instromers” to join the force and for 37 others to go to the police training but due to financial restraints this did not materialize.

The committee states in its report that, when the renovation and expansion of the Pointe Blanche prison is completed, the detention capacity at the police station in Philipsburg and in Simpson Bay will be disposed off. The committee furthermore notes in its report that the communication between the Justice Ministry and prison Director Edward Rohan has to improve.

The committee has “great admiration” for the performance of the National Detective Agency. “This department has to complete complicated investigations with a minimum of human resources. After completion there is still no guarantee that the prosecutor’s office and the judicial will handle the case soon.”

The committee is however disappointed that the personnel strength at the NDA has remained unchanged. Within the formation the department was allowed to recruit four detectives. “Candidates have not been selected yet, let alone that there is a perspective for these people to enter the service. The recruiting process is too slow and the ministry has to be more on top of it.”

The committee is furthermore disappointed about the request to the Dutch minister of Safety and Justice for the deployment of Dutch detectives at the NDA. “The request does not sufficiently express the urgent character of the requested capacity.” The committee expects that Dutch detectives will not join the NDA before a year has elapsed after the initial request. “What this means for ongoing investigations does not require further explanation,” the report soberly observes.

The responsibility for the NDA rests first and foremost with the minister of justice, the report states. The committee refers to earlier suggestions to recruit detectives in other kingdom countries, the same way this was done for the police.

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