PHILIPSBURG–Minister of Justice Anna Richardson, on behalf of the government of St. Maarten, has extended condolences to the family of the man L.T. (48) who died in a police holding cell on Thursday. Richardson confirmed that the authorities are conducting an in-depth investigation.
It must be stated clearly, Richardson said, that the patient was not detained at the police station in Philipsburg but was placed there under the supervision of the Mental Health Foundation.
A press release from the Ministry of Justice stated: “In light of an agreement between the House of Detention and the Mental Health Foundation, a facility is created for temporary placement at the House of Detention as a means to assist the foundation. Placement in a dedicated cell may be opted for in the interest of the patient and in protection of the public, as was done in this instance.”
The investigation is being conducted by the National Detectives of St. Maarten.
The Ministry of Justice declared: “While the results may address the circumstances around the passing of the patient mentioned, this incident has brought to the foreground the fact that facilities in St. Maarten may not have the required capacity for persons struggling with such health issues.
“While this issue will be addressed within a broader context within the government, the minister of justice will continue to pursue available avenues and means to ensure persons suffering with mental health issues housed at the House of Detention continue to receive the required expert attention and care.”
Richardson was quoted as saying: “We shall await the outcome of the investigation underway and further actions will be determined and undertaken as may be required based on the results.”
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/in-depth-investigation-into-passing-of-mental-patient