PHILIPSBURG – The best option is to replace the Pointe Blanche prison,” Minister of Justice Rafael Boasman said at Wednesday’s Council of Ministers press briefing. “The final assessment is still being made but the costs to repair the facility will be so high that it does not make sense to do this.”
Minister Boasman described the process of transferring 59 inmates to prisons in Curacao and the Netherlands, adding that this was not done because of staff shortage but as a security measure. “This was a tremendous operation; a job well done,” the minister said. You see, if we work together and we respect each other’s responsibilities we can get things done.”
The local police worked on this project together with the national police from the Netherlands and the Royal Marechaussee.
The detention facility in Simpson Bay is ready to be put to use, the minister said. An arrangement for staffing is still under consideration, but the troubles with the high percentage of sick leave among the prison personnel seem to have been solved. “The last two people who were on long-term sick leave return to work this week,” Boasman said, adding that per November 1, all staff is back to working normal 8-hour shifts instead of the 12-hour stints they were forced to do before.The prison staff gets help from fourteen officers the department of Judicial Affairs in the Netherlands has made available for guarding the outside perimeter of the prison. The ministry is still in talks with the Netherlands about additional prison personnel.