Arrindell cautions Duncan over stiffer penalties

POSTED: 09/13/11 12:50 PM

GREAT BAY, St. Maarten – President of Parliament Gracita Arindell has cautioned Justice Minister Roland Duncan against moving forward with proposals to have stiffer penalties for crimes against tourists. The caution was delivered during Monday’s close of the 2010 – 2011 parliamentary year – a month to the day that Duncan announced the proposal in a Central Committee meeting.
“I understand fully the Honorable Minister’s reasoning and his intent, but let us not start a journey down a slippery slope. Apart from the discriminatory nature of such a law possibly rendering it unconstitutional, let us never be caught in the trap of enacting laws, or doing anything, which suggests, however wrongly, that we value the lives and/or the properties of our tourists even more than we value our own lives and properties and the lives and properties of our own citizens and other residents,” Arrindell said.

She added, “Let us increase the penalties and the punishment, if we must or if we need to, but let us do so across the board for all are equal, and must be seen to be equal under the law. Then let the judges exercise their discretion on a case by case basis.”
Under Duncan’s proposal people who commit crimes against tourists would get sentences that are 25 percent higher than people commit crimes against residents.

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