Dutch St. Maarten Community Police Officer Inspector Felix Richards; Nathalie Chauviré of the French St. Martin Gendarmerie; French St. Martin Immigration Police Chief Jean-Luc Deras and Prosecutor Yves Paillard; Anguilla Attorney General John McKendrick; Dutch St. Maarten Solicitor General Jan Spaans; Anguilla Crown Counsel Erica Edwards; and Anguilla Commissioner of Police Paul Morrison.
ANGUILLA–A meeting was held on June 12 between Prosecutors from Anguilla, French St. Martin and Dutch St. Maarten. Following the meeting, Attorney General for Anguilla, John McKendrick welcomed the media to share the intention and focus of the one-day joint meeting. He introduced Solicitor General Jan Spaans from Dutch St. Maarten and Prosecutor Yves Paillard from French St. Martin as well as their accompanying staff.
McKendrick opened the session by saying, “This is the first time that we have held a meeting with all senior police officers, prosecutors and criminal and justice investigators. We have had a very productive morning of discussions on numerous topics to include: information sharing in the areas of criminal justice; our mutual legal assistance request system; intelligence cooperation and evidential cooperation.
“We also briefly touched on the consequences for effective criminal justice and law enforcement cooperation given the possibility of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union. We discussed our respective jurisdictions’ responses to Hurricane Irma and how that impacted on the criminal justice system and our preparedness as we enter into the next hurricane season from a criminal justice perspective.”
McKendrick then addressed gun crime in the three jurisdictions, saying, “What we have all recognised as a key priority is the effective detection and tracking of those involved in gun crime. We spent considerable time this morning discussing our systems for tracking those involved in gun crime and forensic information-sharing both regionally and internationally in respect to handguns. We recognise that a shared difficulty is that those involved in criminal behaviour seek to exploit our three jurisdictions by moving between them. To better counter this, we have agreed that we will more effectively share information pertaining to prison releases, arrests, charging decisions as well as other areas.” He also mentioned that there would be a push to include St. Kitts and Nevis in these efforts going forward due to their close connections with the three jurisdictions.
He ended his opening remarks by noting that there is already a huge level of criminal justice and law enforcement cooperation existing between the three territories, and Tuesday’s meeting jointly strengthened the cooperation to deter and disrupt criminal activity. Included in this cooperation will be a financial effort to freeze criminal assets and return the proceeds of crime to the respective governments.
Both Paillard and Spaans added that they were happy to take part in the exchange of ideas and views to look for opportunities to fight crime together. Although they represent different jurisdictions, they each share the same human rights values and want to tackle crime and to fight against criminals who take advantage of the porous borders of the three jurisdictions. There was consensus that these meetings would continue to be held on an annual basis, if not more frequently.