AG Schram wants to tackle petty crimes

POSTED: 03/18/15 8:14 PM

WILLEMSTAD – Guus Schram, the highest boss of the Public Prosecutor’s Office, was shocked beyond belief during his first year in office about frequently occurring high impact crimes like robberies and murders, Dick Drayer reports on Caribisch Netwerk. “If at the basis we do not work on anti-social behavior and tackling petty criminality, combating high impact crimes is akin to swimming against the tide,” he says.

Schram wants to begin his second year by tackling frequently occurring petty crimes. It is abhorrent, he says, that many small cases remain stuck. “That frustrates police officers. Writing tickets or handling complaints become useless of the case gets stuck further down in the process.”

In consultation with Curacao’s Chief Commissioner Maurice Sambo the prosecutor’s office works on a model that puts police officers back on the streets and prosecutors behind their desks. “Cases have to be tagged within two days so that the police officer sees that it makes sense to write a ticket.”

The reputation of the prosecutor’s office is also under fire, due to the perception that filing complaints is useless. “The law is not always on our side either,” Schram says. “Ticketing cars based on number plates cannot be done and alcohol in traffic is something we cannot tackle either. If we want to prevent that people disappear into hard criminality there must first be the awareness that throwing a piece of paper out of your car window is not okay.”

The Public Prosecutor’s Office could also present itself better towards the public. “We explain insufficiently that not every arrest is intended to bring a suspect to a court hearing.” According to Schram this especially applies to ‘undermining-cases’ like investigations into corruption by politicians and managers. The attorney-general is nevertheless convinced that in these kinds of cases, like the investigation into the principals behind the assassination of Pueblo Soberano leader Helmin Wiels, the perpetrators will be brought before the judge.

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