Coast Guard Curaçao considers not intercepting drugs anymore
WILLEMSTAD - Chances are that officers of the Coast Guard Curaçao next will not intercept drugs anymore next week. They are angry at the Minister of Justice, Nelson Navarro, who has said that the coast guard officers are “criminals with ties to the underworld”.
“If that’s the case and the so called rotten apples are still there, then it is pretty dangerous for the officers who do have integrity to work,” said a trade unionist. The union representing the officers is demanding that the minister removes all those rotten apples as soon as possible. “And if that is not possible, then everyone must stay inside.”
Cause of the quarrel is the wish of the union to have the officers wear weapons after working hours. They do not feel safe and are even threatened by criminals they chase during working hours.
The current service weapon is owned by the Dutch Ministry of Defense and these are used only during working hours. It is strictly prohibited to use them after working hours. Navarro therefore decided to purchase weapons for the local officers of the coast guard. The intention is to exchange the weapons of Defense with the ones bought by the Ministry of Justice.
Now it seems that the Minister wants to put the execution of that decision on hold. Last year there were a large number of drug incidents in which members of the Coast Guard were involved. It is suspected that many more officers are involved in drug crimes.
“You don’t want to see your weapon in the hands of the ones you are fighting,” said Navarro when talking about suspending the measure of arming the coastguard officers.
The Coast Guard Curaçao has been on strike several times this week and they do not intend to give up. They have the support of the NAPB union.