De Weever clarifies Dutch police vehicles statement

PHILIPSBURG–Minister of Justice Cornelius de Weever on Sunday wanted to inform the public about his statement made in Parliament on May 8, responding to questions from a Member of Parliament about the status of the current vehicle fleet of the St. Maarten Police Force (KPSM).

He said in the meeting that the island had received 15 police cars from the Netherlands, five of these are no longer operational and the parts of the non-functional vehicles are being used to keep the other 10 operational.

On Sunday de Weever clarified that KPSM had actually received 20 police vehicles from the Dutch National Police Force that were donated to the Ministry of Justice of Sint Maarten. These vehicles arrived onboard the Zr. HM Karel Doorman at the beginning of October 2017.

Hurricanes Irma and Maria severely damaged 80 per cent of the police vehicle fleet. To increase police visibility and to be able to respond to emergencies and requests for police assistance, the Chief of Police and Management Team prepared a request for assistance which included vehicles.

The Dutch National Police Force made available 20 police vehicles comprising 14 Tourans, four vans, one mobile command centre and one truck/mobile command unit. On their arrival, the vehicles were put to use as soon as they were registered and all official documents were in order.

The truck and small command unit were returned to the Netherlands during the Zr. HM Karel Doorman’s second trip to the country at the end of October. De Weever said he had received an update on the fleet on May 11 regarding the current status of the fleet of vehicles at the disposal of law enforcement.

“On behalf of the people, Government and in particular the Ministry of Justice of St. Maarten, I would like to reiterate how thankful we are to the Dutch Government, the Dutch Ministry of Justice and Security, and the Dutch National Police Force for all the assistance and resources that they have contributed and rendered to St. Maarten, and continue to do so since the passing of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

“This form of assistance once again shows the strong bonds within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and at the same time it shows how the relations and structural forms of cooperation can be used to assist each other in times of national disaster, and the hurricanes of September 2017 were a clear example of the aforementioned at work,” De Weever said on Sunday.

Several patrol vehicles sustained damage due to the road conditions especially within districts, climbing of hills at high speed in response to emergency calls, the use of a different type of fuel, different climate conditions, and a number of the vehicles had mechanical issues.

At the moment, eight of the 14 Tourans patrol vehicles are operational and an additional three will be back on the streets. The damaged three will be restored by using parts from the other three that suffered mechanical challenges.

Road conditions in the immediate aftermath of the passing of Hurricanes Irma and Maria took a toll on vehicles in general. KPSM use the Tourans on a daily basis to carry out their duties to protect and serve St. Maarten.

Source: The Daily Herald