SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) first official working visit to St. Maarten is scheduled to take place from Friday, May 27th until Thursday, June 2nd. The Ministry of Justice has planned this working visit with the purpose of finalizing the UNOPS Project Agreement and Project Proposal for the first phase of the prison’s new construction project. A delegation consisting of UNOPS technical team and the Director of the UNOPS Multi-Country Office for Costa Rica, Panama and the English and Dutch Speaking Caribbean Mr. Alejandro Rossi will arrive today, May 27th and on May 29th for the introductory visit. The visit will also allow UNOPS technical team to get its first impressions of St. Maarten by gathering information through site visits and discussions with important stakeholders.
The Honorable Minister of Justice Anna E. Richardson stated, “I am delighted to finally welcome UNOPS technical teams to St. Maarten as we begin the discussions for the new prison with all stakeholders at the table. During my working visit to the Netherlands in September 2021, my support staff and I gained much-needed insight into how prisons function in the Netherlands and how St. Maarten’s detention facilities compare to them. As such, the Ministry’s goal for the prison is to firstly replace the thirty plus years, damaged and restricted structure we currently have. With the building of a new structure, even more rehabilitation programs can be offered as the new prison will be outfitted with proper facilities and operational spaces.
During the visit, the working group will be meeting with His Excellency, Governor Eugene Holiday, the Council of Ministers, the Justice Committee of Parliament, the Steering Committee Representative for St. Maarten, the Point Blanche Prison Director, the National Recovery Program Bureau, the World Bank Steering Committee Representative for St. Maarten, the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Dutch Representation Office in St. Maarten, the Public Prosecutor Office, the Probation Office (SJIS), St. Maarten Medical Center, Mental Health Foundation, and Turning Point. The working group will also tour the Pointe Blanch Prison, Immigration holding cells and KPSM holding cells.
UNOPS is an operational arm of the United Nations (UN that implements projects on its behalf, as well as for international financial institutions and governments. UNOPS’ proposal for the construction of the new prison, divides the project into two phases. The first phase will last 13 months while the final phase will take four years. “Now that UNOPS is on the ground, I look forward to the discussions going into higher gears so that we can get all the necessary agreements signed and the work to commence. The Ministry of Justice will remain committed to finalizing the process for the first phase,” concluded Minister Richardson.