Seventy ideas to enhance fight against crime: Parliament sends money to justice ministry

POSTED: 08/19/15 4:54 PM



President of Parliament Dr. Lloyd Richardson. Photo contributed

St. Maarten – The parliament will transfer 300,000 guilders of its travel budget to the Ministry of Justice as one of the measures to enhance the security and safety of the country, President of Parliament Dr. Lloyd Richardson says.

The parliament discussed close to 70 points with the Council of Ministers in its closed-door meetings last week, following the killing of Police Officer Gamali Benjamin. Parliament has asked the government to present a definitive plan of action for ratification on Friday, August 21.

The country’s current financial challenges have the executive and legislative branches of government looking at ways to address situations of national concern.

The 300,000 guilders is to be transferred after the parliament passes a motion. The money will go towards crime fighting initiatives such as the emergency action plan the Voluntary Corps of Sint Maarten has submitted for the Philipsburg area.

Other points that came up in the meeting were measures to tackle home burglaries and armed robberies, 24-hour surveillance of Philipsburg and a ban on of motorcycles and quads in certain areas. Studying root causes of crime and implementing proactive and preventive measures, increased police presence in every district and stricter immigration controls were also part of the discussion. Among the myriad of issues MPs brought to the table are also intervention programs to deal with anger, aggressive and anti-social behaviour, alternatives to the incarceration for young people, a surveillance camera project and the deployment of retired police officers. Furthermore, a specialized unit to monitor and investigate social media, a regulation for pawnshops, and the review of laws regarding self-protection and additional streetlights in the districts as a crime prevention measure were some of the ideas that are now percolating. Increased controls to reduce the availability of guns and prevent the illegal import of weapons, the development of neighbourhood watch programs and targeting of white-collar crime are now also on the political radar.

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