~ No punishment for damaged vehicles ~
PHILIPSBURG–Justice Minister Rafael Boasman reassures the community that the Police Force of St. Maarten and visiting law enforcement officials on island are conducting general controls for public safety purposes, which is the norm.
Boasman was responding to a number of questions posed by The Daily Herald last week about the timeline in which police are conducting these controls following the passing of Hurricane Irma that devastated the island just last month.
“Public safety, which is one of the tasks of the police, will not be compromised. These controls are part of securing public safety. We have not decided to conduct controls one month after a major hurricane hit St. Maarten. Such controls have always been conducted as a part of police routine,” stated Boasman on Tuesday.
The visiting law enforcement officials, including members of the Police Forces of the Netherlands, Aruba and Curaçao; the Royal Marechaussee and the Volunteer Corps of Curaçao VKC, as well as members of the Volunteer Corps of St. Maarten VKS, continue to assist the local Police Force.
Boasman was also asked what his opinion is about the hurricane devastating the economy and what impact he think it will have on St. Maarten. “No comments on this matter. I leave that for the Minister of Economic Affairs,” he replied.
Just last weekend a total of 443 cars/trucks and 63 scooters were controlled by police. Window tint was removed from a total of 165 cars, 15 cars/scooters were towed and four arrests were made for illegal drugs, weapon possession, threat and illegal status on the island.
Authorities also visited the bars and nightclubs after hours, as they were looking for any irregular or illegal activity.
The police intend to continue their actions throughout the country and remind the public to walk with proper identification to avoid any inconvenience. A number of persons have been arrested in the past weeks for not having their identification card in their possession.
“We are aware that there are many vehicles that suffered damage as a result of the hurricanes. Under normal circumstances such vehicles would not be allowed to drive on the public roads. As this is not the fault of the owners, the police will take this into consideration during their controls. For the time being vehicle owners will not be punished for broken windshields or windows or other damage to their vehicles caused by the hurricanes.
“However, the police will be focusing on man-made violations such as illegal tint, possession of illegal firearms and drugs, etc. Police controls should not be seen as a hindrance to the public, but as an effort to provide public safety. Law-abiding citizens have nothing to worry about when stopped during controls,” Boasman stated.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/70175-justice-minister-weighs-in-on-police-general-controls