St. Maarten Police gets ever closer to communitiesPOSTED: 06/7/12 1:14 PM
Usona finances substation furnishings
St. Maarten – Justice Minister Roland Duncan and the Director of Usona’s operations in St. Maarten Angela Dekker have signed a financing agreement of 540, 000 guilders ($300, 000) for the furnishing of police sub-stations that will cover St. Peters/South Reward and Belvedere. The actual buildings have not yet been constructed. A group of unnamed people have come together to build the St. Peters/South Reward substation on a plot of land owned by the Labega family on L.B. Scott Road and the Belvedere substation will be placed in a building owned by the St. Maarten Housing Development Foundation. The foundation’s director Henry Lynch announced on June 3, 2011 that the ministry would be granted space in a commercial center that they plan to build and dedicate to a “community pioneer”.
“We have drawings but we need agreements on start dates for construction,” Duncan said.
Duncan finds it interesting that the money for the furnishing has been signed off on, while the government waits for the actual construction of the buildings. He said these substations will serve as command centers and will function next to the police offices that will be establish in the various districts as part of the community policing initiative. An agreement has already been made to open a police office in a room at Royal Islander in Maho. The ministry is also preparing to open a police office at the former Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. School
Officers from the community police are currently using the police substation on the Cyrus Wathey Square.
Duncan places the substations and the police offices in the context of a broader strategy to put more police officers directly in the communities. Dekker and Head of the Dutch Representation in Philipsburg Marsie Jonkers have commended that effort.
“This is cooperation between the ministry and Usona that can lead to people to people feeling more protected, the prevention of crime and better cooperation between the police and the community when it comes to reporting crimes. That makes this a beautiful project,” Dekker said.
“This is a good development in line with the development of the police force and putting more officers on the street. People can now reach the police and that is a very positive line,” Jonkers added.
Police Spokesman Ricardo Henson spoke of “an important time.”
“We can go out and serve in a timely manner,” Henson said.
Next to the offices and the substations the ministry of justice is planning to install more surveillance cameras “throughout the island” that will be patched into a central reporting center. Duncan would not give any specific locations, but did point out that the cameras will be placed at strategic locations. The purchase of the cameras is being financed by the St. Maarten Harbour Group of Companies and the Princess Juliana International Airport Operating Company.