Published On: Sat, Aug 18th, 2012

Chief Prosecutor breaks lance for prevention of youth crime

PHILIPSBURG - Chief Prosecutor Hans Mos said youth crime will be the spearhead of the Prosecutor's Office policy. He said this during the installation of new resident Judge Tamara Tijhuis Friday afternoon at the Courthouse.

Tijhuis (36) was installed during an extraordinary sitting of the Joint Court of Justice of Aruba, Curaçao, St. Maarten, and of Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba. Among the audience were newly appointed Chairman of Parliament Rodolphe Samuel, Acting Governor Reynold Groeneveldt, and Dean of the St. Maarten Bar Association Remco Stomp. Minister of Justice Roland Duncan was not present.

Tijhuis was appointed by caretaker Kingdom Minister of Safety and Justice Ivo Opstelten on June 25. She started working as a criminal judge at the Court of First Instance as per August 1. She was born in Utrecht, The Netherlands, and studied law in Amsterdam. She graduated in 2002, and joined the Court in Haarlem in 2009.

Joint Court President Hoefdraad seized the opportunity to inform the audience, mainly consisting of lawyers and other workers in the judiciary of the Joint Court's efforts to simplify court procedures for small claims, as well as a new lawyers' ordinance. Chief Prosecutor Mos introduced new Prosecutor Georges van den Eshof, who has also been appointed as per August 1. The 37-year-old worked lastly at the Prosecutor's Office in Roermond, The Netherlands, and is highly internationally oriented, said Mos. He said Van den Eshof command of French, Spanish and Russian would come in handy.

Mos was less pleased with the state of affairs among the island's youths, whose future is far from rosy-red. The 2008-2010 Crime Image Analysis painted a dark image of little parental supervision, insufficient schooling, street culture, gang formation etc. This led the Prosecutor's Office and the Police to make juvenile crime the number one priority in their annual plan.
"Prevention and counselling are first and foremost," Mos said. Youth crime will be tackled in cooperation with a Youth Policy Plan, while making use of the new Criminal Code would make it possible to deal more effectively with juvenile delinquents. Better schooling, after school activities, (sport) activities in the districts and training in parenting would greatly contribute towards crime prevention, according to the Chief Prosecutor. "However, without the possibility to detain young delinquents the Prosecutor's Office will remain a toothless tiger," said Mos, pointing at the necessity of a youth detention facility. Mos added that in this respect electronic surveillance could offer some solace.

Mos said the Prosecutor's Office had opened a vacancy for its very-first youth prosecutor, who is to replace Prosecutor for Saba and St. Eustatius Marleen Overmeer, who will be transferred to Bonaire. The Chief Prosecutor also made an appeal to non-profit organisations to make their organisation available for supervised community service.

The Daily Herald

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