PHILIPSBURG The immediate resignation of Justice Minister Edson Kirindongo has been called for by United People’s (UP) party leader Member of Parliament Theo Heyliger.
Heyliger said in a press statement issued on Monday that Kirindongo must resign from his post immediately “for not tending to the safety of the country and for not taking measures to keep weapons out or Pointe Blanche Prison.”
He further claimed that “more and more information is coming out” about the situation at the prison, including talk that Kirindongo was told about the possibility of a gun in prison and about it being in the hands of inmates. “If this is indeed so, it is yet another reason for the Minister to step down,” said the MP.
“People are scared. If a gun can turn up in prison, what else is possible? Are our prison guards safe, rather do they feel safe when on the job?” Heyliger asked. “This situation is simply ludicrous. Lives of prison guards or prisoners should not be played around with.”
The short period leading up to September 26 Parliamentary Elections “should not be a fact in why he should stay on,” said Heyliger.
“This is about safety and security of our country. When St. Maarten people are worried about possible blow-back from this shooting in prison and are nervous at home and in the street, it’s the top justice official who should be out there calming fears. Instead, we saw two other shootings. One was survived and the other has resulted in yet another young man in the morgue,” the UP leader said.
The past week shows clearly that there are too many guns in the country in the wrong hands, said Heyliger. “This past week is not the only time gun violence and the harm of illegal weapons have come to the forefront. And what has the Justice Minister done? Nothing, absolutely nothing to clean up the streets.”
Heyliger also tagged the spite in crime to the 2016 budget. “The spite in crime could be linked to the so-called balance budget presented by the National Alliance (NA)-led Government,” he said in the press statement.
“The shotgun budget of the Finance Minister has robbed our justice services of all the equipment and support needed to combat crime sufficiently. It is wonderful to boast of a balanced budget, which by the way we are slowly learning is less balanced, it is quite another when real guns take real lives, because our justice chain is neglected,” said the UP leader.
Questions about the impact of Government’s financial constraints on the justice chain were raised last week by MP Tamara Leonard (UP) in a letter to Finance Minister Gibson and Kirindongo.
“Has government lapsed in payment for services and/or equipment to any sector of the justice chain, e.g. Police, Court of Guardianship and Prosecutor’s Office? If yes, which sectors? What are the amounts owed and how extensive is the backlog,” Leonard asked in her letter submitted on August 29.
She also queried how the non-payment has affected the justice chain in its critical function. “Does government consider the non-payment of its bills, say, for example, to the Prosecutor’s Office and/or for the ActPol service, thwarting the work of law enforcement and putting the country at severe security risks, internally and externally?”
Leonard is still waiting answers to these and her other questions from the two ministers.
Source: Daily Herald
Theo calls for immediate resignation of Kirindongo