Island Justice Ministers want revaluation of RST Agency

~ Ministers sign DNA profile privacy agreement ~

DAWN BEACH–Netherlands Minister of Security and Justice Stef Blok, Aruba Minister of Justice Arthur Dowers, Minister of Justice St. Maarten Rafael Boasman and Curaçao Minister of Justice Quincy Girigorie took part in the annual Judicial Four-Party Consultations JVO this week, at the Westin Dawn Beach Spa & Casino. Two agreements were signed by the ministers during a press conference on Tuesday morning.

Boasman deemed the meeting to be very positive and said that all ministers managed to sign a DNA privacy agreement which allows the countries to protect the privacy of persons who DNA profiles are shared between justice authorities.

The other agreement had to do with the decision lists made during the consultations. Minister Boasman said one of the most important topics discussed in the meeting was the revaluation of the RST on St. Maarten. Back in January, during the JVO meeting, the Netherlands wanted more cooperation from the islands especially St. Maarten, to allow the RST more autonomy. Boasman, however, did not agree with this point and the proposal was shelved until this meeting.

Boasman said that the RST comprises of Dutch detectives and St. Maarten detectives and should be more of a support team then an independent agency. Aruba’s Minister Dowers completely agrees with Boasman and said the functioning of the RST must be a joint task as well as the quality of the investigations they conduct, their efficiency must be looked at before moving forward.

The islands have agreed to establish a working committee who will put in place the topics for the evaluation to which the Dutch government has yet to agree to. Dowers added that when the committee completes its work, the ministers could proceed with the evaluation which will help improve the quality of services given to the countries by the RST.

“I want to make it clear that RST does a good job and has a good working relationship with local authorities, but we need to look at the bigger picture. They are there to support and should not create a void if taken away,” stated Boasman during the press conference.

Curaçao’s Justice Minister Girigorie opted not to sign the agreement on DNA profiles because Curaçao’s privacy laws are different from the other islands. The minister said he agrees with the agreement and will sign once Curaçao does its homework to makes sure that the agreement does not hamper any existing laws.

Minister Blok said the Netherlands was again happy to take part in the discussion and the parties agreed to share information on flight passengers and the countries plan to take a closer look at providing adequate care for prisoners with a mental disease.

The ministers also spoke about the recently installed Asset Recovery Team on St. Maarten. Minister Girigorie will make a presentation about the workings of the team on Curaçao at the next JVO meeting. He said that the team has no issues in Curaçao and persons who had an issue with the seizure of assets could go to court and let a judge decide if the confiscation was done within the law.

“Most of the time, the Asset Recovery team win the cases because it works with laws already in place for them. Remember the team consists of departments that already have the authority to operate within their means, the only difference is that they are together and working in the interest of the country,” stated the newly appointed Minister of Justice for Curacao.  

The next meeting of the Judicial Four-Party Consultations will be held in Curaçao in January 2018.

Source: The Daily Herald