PHILIPSBURG:— Several invited dignitaries and members of the business community attended the long-awaited launching of the camera surveillance system that would assist the police in solving crimes on St. Maarten. Those in attendance include Governor Eugene Holiday, Acting Governor Reynold Groenveldt, Prime Minister William Marlin, Minister Silveria Jacobs, Minster Angel Meyers, MP Frans Richards, MP Sarah Wescot William, MP Maurice Lake and others.
The ceremony was held at the Captain Hodge’s Wharf in Philipsburg on Thursday. Speakers include Prime Minister William Marlin, Minister of Justice Edison Kirindongo, Elma Etnel from TELEM Group of Companies and Chief of Police Carl John.
In his address Prime Minister Marlin gave credit to MP Frans Richardson whom he said insisted that the camera surveillance system must be made a priority when they were holding discussions to form the current coalition government. Marlin also credited the Minister of Justice Edison Kirindongo for getting the job done and the hard work he and his placed into getting the camera surveillance up and running.
Marlin said this topic was discussed by many for years but it took his government who only got nine months in office to get the much-needed system up and running. He said that all the people of St. Maarten got was empty promises, and excuses while the island especially Philipsburg is plagued with crime and even took the life of a police officer.
Marlin spoke of the some of the other achievements his government managed to achieve during their short stint in office.
Minister of Justice Edison Kirindongo elaborated on the importance of having such a system in place. He said that many would ask why now or why only now, but one must remember that St. Maarten is a young country which is just six years old and the country needs space to grow. He did emphasize that every country has to protect its economy “or the chicken that lays the golden egg” for St. Maarten he said that is tourism which needs to be protected. He said that the cruise lines rates countries by the level of crimes and security measures that are in place before those cruise lines decide to send their ships to that destination. The Justice Minister said that alone would show the importance of the system in Philipsburg gives a sense of security. It’s a measure of preventing crimes such as robberies and vandalism.
Minister Kirindongo said that having such a system in place will greatly assist the police when it comes to solving crimes, while it would also give the prosecutor’s office crucial pieces of evidence when prosecuting cases. The camera system will be monitored the camera system 24/7 which would give the police to act in a timely manner.
The Minister of Justice said while working on the project he also did research on the negative aspects of such a system in place. He said while doing that research the first question one would ask is the privacy of people. He said when that question was posed the response, was what type
Frans: Police now have a new essential tool to fight crime.
Leader of the United St. Maarten Party (USP) MP Frans Richardson said after years of talk, surveillance cameras in Philipsburg is finally a reality. Phase 1 of the project was unveiled on Thursday at the Captain Hodge Wharf in Philipsburg.
Phase 1, budgeted for this year, covers the Philipsburg area until and including the outer-skirts (until the round-abouts). Phases 2 and 3 which extends out to cover the entire Dutch side will get underway as of next year. The system will be monitored 24 hours by the police force. There will also be informative signs placed throughout Philipsburg to warn the public and visitors alike that cameras are in place and the area is being monitored.
“We are proud today to be able to give the police force another tool to be able to fight crime. Surveillance has been spoken about for quite some time but we were determined to stop the talk and finally get this very important project off the ground. Our people and our visitors depend on us to keep them safe. Our police force depends on us to give them the tools to keep people safe. This was a priority for the USP and the Minister when we assumed responsibility for the Justice Ministry, putting our people first,” Richardson said.
He stressed that the main benefit of surveillance cameras in public spaces is also the increase of public safety. Additionally, crimes can be deterred before they even begin in some cases. “If a suspicious individual or individuals or items are seen in an area, the authorities can move into the area before any damage is done or any crime is committed. People’s fear of crime can also be reduced, while their sense of security is enhanced.” MP Richardson also explained that surveillance camera footage could possibly be used in court as evidence against a culprit.
“This is also important for our tourism sector upon which we depend. Will cameras prevent crime? No. But it’s a step in the right direction in serving as a deterrent in some cases and in giving the police another “weapon” to fight crime with. Our party congratulates the Minister of Justice who continues to work hard for St. Maarten and the Council of Ministers for getting this done,” MP Richardson said.
Source: St. Martin News Network
“Let us safeguard the chicken that lays the golden egg- St. Maarten’s Economy” — says Minister of Justice Kirindongo at the launching of the Camera Surveillance System.