~ Ministry has no comment ~
PHILIPSBURG–The Justice Ministry owes Fennix Global Technologies close to US $200,000 in outstanding fees for the maintenance and upgrade of 25 electronic ankle bracelets purchased in 2015.
The company has a three-year contract with the Ministry signed by former Minister of Justice Edson Kirindongo and Pointe Blanche prison Director Edward Rohan, which started in 2015.
The company has been reaching out to current Minister of Justice Rafael Boasman for several months now, but Boasman continues to avoid meeting with the company representatives. Meanwhile, the monthly payments for the 25 devices are still being billed to the Ministry.
The Daily Herald obtained several e-mails exchanged by Fennix Global Technologies Executive Regional Director Chey Rodriquez, Minister Boasman and his cabinet. Rodriquez forwarded an e-mail to Boasman in January this year, informing him about the commitments made by the previous Minister and what his company can offer the Pointe Blanche prison.
Fennix Global Technologies is one of seven companies in the world dedicated to design, develop, manufacture and implement technological solutions for the Criminal Justice industry. Fennix’s Criminal Justice Division, which operates under the trademark brand monitorINMATES, has current successful projects in Colombia, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador and Puerto Rico with both its Pro-Active Tracking (PAT) and Prisons Electronic Management (PEM) modules.
The e-mail stated that since February 2014, “our company has a Service and Maintenance Agreement with the Government of Sint Maarten. We have run a successful programme for some 14 months and for the past seven months we have been waiting to train your personnel on our new platform.
“Since March of 2015 we informed Director Edward Rohan of the updated platform. We have a signed addendum to our agreement extending our service an additional five years of our aforementioned agreement. In such agreements we as a company are donating our PEM module to your Ministry.
The PEM module includes: Prison Telephone System, which manages all mobile telecommunications inside the prison, while providing a pre-paid calling system for inmates. The module also includes a digital currency system for inside –the-prison purchases by inmates.”
The PEM module includes software for prison management which contains digital entry logs, inventory of inmates, guards and visitors with profiles and can include closed-circuit cameras.
“Our programs have been very successful in some 80 prisons across the region. We have also other sub-modules in PEM such as Virtual Courthouse, which reduces transportation costs and security risks,” Rodriquez wrote.
In an interview with this newspaper, Rodriquez said his company knows that the Government of St. Maarten can save around $6,000 per inmate per month or $72,000 a year.
“Our agreement was for 25 units, which saved thousands annually. Our current contract with St Maarten is close to US $200,000 in outstanding fees. We are willing to negotiate such debt and properly train personnel as well as implement PEM to the prison facility,” stated Rodriquez.
The 25 units are not being used at present. “I am a solution-maker, not a trouble-maker. I am willing to sit down with the Minister and work in the interest of making the prison in St. Maarten safer. All I would like is to have my e-mails answered and find a solution to the agreements we already have with the Justice Ministry,” stated Rodriquez.
This newspaper contacted Minister Boasman’s cabinet on Monday and Boasman answered via his Press Secretary Fernando Clarke that he had no comment at that time.
Fennix Global Technologies is an American company established in Panama. Rodriquez has appointed Arthur Lugisse as Executive Representation in the Caribbean. Fennix360 has its local technical crew in St. Maarten and all its other subsidiaries. The company was contracted to head two programmes.
Minister Boasman’s Executive Assistant Marilyn Pieters informed Rodriquez and Lugisse via e-mail on January 30 that after discussing their meeting request with Minister Boasman, the cabinet informed them that Minister Boasman is currently analysing the situation at the prison. “Due to this fact he will not be able to meet with any company regarding this matter at this time. Hoping to have informed you correctly,” stated Pieters.
Fennix Global Technologies has a record of all correspondence between the Ministry and its office. Since Boasman’s swearing-in on January 6, the company started requesting meetings with him.
“On January 29 this year we presented an agenda in order to show we want to move forward. On January 30, we received confirmation from the cabinet that our correspondence and request for a meeting was received,” stated Rodriquez.