Bonaire prison containers to St. Maarten, Aruba, Curaçao
THE HAGUE - According to a report in the Daily Herald, Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten will be taking over the 33 prison-cell containers from Bonaire early next year. Information on the individual numbers per country was unavailable.
Dutch Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk provided a written update on the strengthening of law enforcement in the Dutch Caribbean countries to the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament on Wednesday.
Dutch Minister of Security and Justice Ard van der Steur offered the prison-cell containers, which can hold 84 inmates in total, to his colleagues, the Ministers of Justice of Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten, during the Judicial Four-Party Consultation JVO held in Aruba early January.
The cell containers will become superfluous when the new prison in Bonaire becomes operational and the former penitentiary has another purpose. The cell containers are now used as temporary housing for the inmates during the construction of the new prison.
According to Plasterk, an agreement has been made with the three countries that each will take over some of the 33 cell containers. No specific number per country was mentioned in the letter. The Bonaire penitentiary is the largest prison in the Caribbean Netherlands and holds inmates from St. Eustatius and Saba also.
Plasterk also announced that possibilities were being explored to establish an agreement between the Dutch Kingdom and the United States (US) in relation to regional cooperation to combat crime.
The four Ministers agreed during the JVO to invest in the increase of crime-combating capacity through more regional cooperation. This regional cooperation is an indispensable part which can contribute to efficiency and quality, stated Plasterk.
The countries also agreed to share specialist facilities and to organise collective schooling possibilities. The Dutch Government will finance a quality impulse for the schooling of police in Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten for a period of four years. This contribution consists of 4,800 hours input of the Netherlands Police Academy.
As part of the efforts to strengthen law enforcement in St. Maarten, a phased building-up of the Team to Combat Undermining (“Team Bestrijding Ondermijning”) has been taking place since mid-2015. The Team works for a period of two years.
It concerns a specialist combination team within the Kingdom Detective Cooperation Team RST and the Prosecutor’s Office which is charged with the investigation and prosecuting of border-transgressing subversive crime. The RST has been strengthened, as well as the Court of Justice. St. Maarten also can benefit from this strengthening to tackle local crime.
The tackling of human trafficking, including in the prostitution sector, and human smuggling is an actual part of the combating of organised crime. This policy is part of the May 2015 protocol signed by the St. Maarten and Dutch Governments and part of the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the four Justice Ministers.
Plasterk concluded his letter to the Dutch Parliament with the positive news from Curaçao that the airport drugs combating team, the body scanner at Hato Airport and the facilities for drug mules who have swallowed so-called “bolitas” were operational again. The controls have yielded concrete results.