Young people are our future: St. Maarten signs agreement with Dutch ‘Stichting Horizon’

POSTED: 10/23/14 7:42 PM

St. Maarten – A delegation of professionals who are concerned about the St. Maarten youth population participated in a meeting at the conference room of the Philipsburg Police Station yesterday.

During this meeting a historic agreement was signed by  Minister of Justice Dennis Richardson and one of the directors of the Dutch ‘Stichting Horizon Jeugdzorg en Onderwijs’, Krijnie Schotel. In the agreement both parties promised to cooperate in the implementation of the new Youth Rehabilitation Center for St. Maarten which will be named ‘Miss Lalie Center’.

In a brief introduction Karola van Nie, youth prosecutor, stated that significant steps have been taken by the partners in this project. Those partners are Richelda Emanuel (director of the court of guardianship Sint Maarten), Cynthia van Samson-Filemon (director of the Probation Department Sint Maarten), Ron Verhaar (advisor Department of Justice), Sandra Voorneman (project manager ‘Miss Lalie Center’)and Van Nie herself.

“It’s very important to connect with the Dutch in this project, because their expertise is more than welcome.” Van Nie further stated that this ‘Miss Lalie Center’ is a very ambitious project for St. Maarten and it’s unique for the Caribbean part of the Dutch Kingdom.

Minister Richardson reiterated these words and added that the building of this Rehabilitation Center is the latest milestone in which St. Maarten shows to truly care for the youth on this island. “The fact that partners in the Justice chain like the Public Prosecutor’s Office, the Court of Guardianship and the Probation Department put hands together to develop a unique Rehabilitation Center like the ‘Miss Lalie Center’ is an example for the entire Caribbean region. The support and cooperation of the Dutch ‘Stichting Horizon’ is a perfect example for the manner in which Kingdom partners could work together.”

The director of ‘Stichting Horizon’, Krijnie Schotel, extended gratitude to both entities for their inspiring words and expressed how valuable and meaningful this project is to her organization. “It perfectly subscribes the ambitions of the company in the Netherlands, because the organization works with similar youth groups as the ones in St. Maarten.” She highlighted that employees of ‘Stichting Horizon’ hope to not only bring their knowledge to the island, but they tend to take back a lot of knowledge to the Netherlands. ‘Stichting Horizon’s’ working ways are based on the vision that youth’s own strength and own responsibility are the key in the process of rehabilitation. They work in a very intense manner with the youngsters to let them make a better future for themselves and teach them to take responsibility for their own life and the choices they make in that life. This should be similar to the way the St. Maarten ‘Miss Lalie Center’ will work.

To check on the intense learning and working processes of the ‘Stichting Horizon’, eight local employees of the St. Maarten Rehabilitation Center, that were recently appointed, will travel to the Netherlands next Friday. They will participate in a two weeks internship in one of the juvenile institutions of the ‘Stichting Horizon’. After that period employees of ‘Horizon’ will come to St. Maarten and visit the ‘Miss Lalie Center’ to share their knowledge. By signing this agreement, the Minister officially ratified this intense and firm cooperation.

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