Van Raak asks about St. Maarten prison

THE HAGUE–Member of the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament Ronald van Raak of the Socialist Party (SP) wants to know what immediate measures will be taken by the Kingdom Government to improve the situation at the St. Maarten Pointe Blanche prison.

Van Raak submitted a series of written questions to Dutch Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk on Thursday to get answers on the deplorable, unsafe situation at the prison following several media reports earlier this week in which Prison Director Edward Rohan expressed his grave concerns.

The Member of Parliament (MP) asked the Minister whether he shared the concerns of the prison director about the safety at the penitentiary and the danger of escapes and riots, and the detrimental effect that these would have on the St. Maarten population.

“How do you qualify the situation that this director cannot depend on his entire staff; that he has an insufficient overview of the weapons and other goods that are being smuggled into the prison, and that he also cannot guarantee the safety of the prisoners?”

Van Raak specifically referred to two news reports of NTR Caribbean Network earlier this week titled “Damaged St. Maarten prison poses danger” and “Warden suspects night guards of corruption.” The Algemeen Dagblad newspaper in the Netherlands on Wednesday published an article based on the NTR Caribbean Network reports.

The MP asked about the shared responsibility of the Kingdom in this regard. “Do you share my opinion that the Kingdom, through the guarantee function of the Charter, is partly responsible for good governance and the protection of human rights in St. Maarten?”

The St. Maarten Government has been doing too little or has not been able to act accordingly to solve the problems, Van Raak stated. “Do you share my opinion that the human rights can no longer be guaranteed?”

Finally, the MP asked Minister Plasterk what actions he would be taking in the realm of the Kingdom to immediately improve the situation at the prison and to better protect the safety of the St. Maarten people.

Source: The Daily Herald