MP Van Dam asks about reported prison hostage | THE DAILY HERALD

THE HAGUE–A hostage situation at St. Maarten’s Pointe Blanche prison on November 2 this year reported on by the crime blog Bondtehond has led to written questions by Member of the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament Chris van Dam of the Christian Democratic Party CDA.

  Van Dam sent a set of written questions to Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Raymond Knops, Minister for Legal Protection Sander Dekker and Minister of Defence Ank Bijleveld-Schouten on Wednesday in which he asked about a blog on Bondtehond titled “Pointe Blanche prison: St. Maarten’s Devil’s Rock.”

  On his November 17 blog, crime reporter Eric de Bondt wrote about the “horrendous” situation at the prison where human rights are grossly violated. He referred to the prison as an “inhuman hell.” He published both the letter of inmates to prison management and the latter’s reply, as well as photos from inside the penitentiary which show the unhygienic and neglected situation.

  The blog mentioned a number of violent prison incidents of recent years, including the reported event on November 2 when two inmates from the Dominican Republic were held hostage in their cell by two other prisoners who used a knife and a razor blade to threaten their fellow inmates.

  Via a video filmed with a smart phone, the hostage-takers demanded a ransom of US $1,500 from the family. The Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant also reported on November 13 about the 2.5-hour hostage-taking. According to the newspaper, other inmates tried to alert prison management by pressing the panic button, but without result. The family of the victims alerted the police when they received the video, after which the hostage situation was ended.

  Member of Parliament (MP) Van Dam asked the ministers to provide an update on the developments that have taken place at the Pointe Blanche prison since he was provided in September 2019 with answers to his earlier questions. “Are you regularly informed about the developments at the prison and do you monitor whether the St. Maarten government sticks to the agreement [with the Netherlands – Ed.]?”

  Van Dam asked about media reports about the “explosive situation” at the prison where inmates have been on strike to protest against the violation of human rights. He wanted to know whether it was correct that Dutch Defence personnel recently were again deployed to assist with the situation at the prison and to conduct multiple searches for contraband. He asked why Defence’s assistance was necessary.

  The MP inquired how the developments would affect the termination of the supervision that the Dutch Kingdom has been placed under by the Council of Europe in light of human rights violations at the Pointe Blanche prison. “Can you indicate how this trajectory is progressing?”

  And lastly, Van Dam asked whether the Court of Justice in the Dutch Caribbean imposed a sentence for the treatment of mentally ill criminals, so-called TBS (“ter beschikking stelling” in Dutch).

  He wanted to know whether there were facilities to treat mentally ill convicts on the islands, or whether these persons used TBS facilities in the Netherlands. “In what way is this measure implemented if there are no TBS facilities in the Caribbean part of the Kingdom and how do these people return in society?”

Source: The Daily Herald