Inmates spokesperson critical of justice stakeholders meeting | THE DAILY HERALD

PHILIPSBURG–Spokesperson for the inmates at Pointe Blanche Prison attorney-at-law Sjamira Roseburg criticised the meeting of justice stakeholders, which took place on Tuesday.

During this meeting the St. Maarten Progress Committee, the Law Enforcement Council, the Pointe Blanche Prison supervisory board and the Prosecutor’s Office, discussed the lack of prison cells and the poor quality of prison life in St. Maarten.

St. Maarten needs a proper prison with enough cells to ensure safety, said the group on Tuesday. “Criminals belong in jail, not on the streets,” they said. The group also said they will meet on a regular basis to remain informed and share developments.

“Apparently a meeting has taken place in which they [justice stakeholders – Ed.] express their concerns about the prison … but the people who are actually dealing with the prison situation are not being visited,” said Roseburg.

“It is said of detainees they belong in jail and not on the street. But they cannot be held in more liveable conditions? So, I find it very remarkable that people talk about, ‘we will talk to each other more often’ … When will they talk to the prisoners themselves? … I hope, and I speak on behalf of my clients, that they too will be visited and discussions held with them about recent developments and recent plans in the prison and the police cells,”’ she said.

“When will it be decided to solve short-term problems?” asked Roseburg. Some short-term problems she mentioned include provision of free dental and health care, and having appliances such as a functioning washing machine, microwave or television set.

“People are aware that it will not be possible to get to a new prison 1-2-3, but certain things can be resolved in the short-term. Ensuring that there is an actual daily programme, that there are recreational facilities.

“Everything to ensure that one can live in prison as a human being. And not as if a beast is locked up there.

“Newcomers have to end up in prison. Must stay in prison. Must be locked up. We all understand that, but for the right conditions,” concluded Roseburg.

Source: The Daily Herald