Attorney General Taco Stein: “Stop, Drop & Go… This is a golden opportunity.” (turn in your illegal firearm campaign)

POSTED: 10/20/14 6:30 PM

St. Maarten – “Just as we are cleaning up the island after the passing of Hurricane Gonzalo, now is the time to clean the streets of illegal firearms with Stop, Drop & Go. This is a golden opportunity to surrender your firearms,” Attorney General Taco Stein said at Friday’s press conference on the Stop, Drop & Go campaign. This campaign is a joint initiative of the French and Dutch side law enforcement authorities to get as many illegal firearms off the streets of St. Maarten as possible.

“We have seen an increase in the use of guns… it’s a problem in our society,” said Stein. He added that persons who are in possession of illegal firearms can surrender their weapons at the Attorney General’s Office on Buncamper Road without any fear of prosecution during this grace period which ends October 31. Already four guns have been surrendered, two shotguns and two imitation guns. The projects calls for the surrendering of all illegal firearms, imitation guns included.

“If someone faces you with a gun in a robbery, you’re not going to stand to argue if the gun is real or not,” explained Stein. Minister of Justice Dennis Richardson, Acting Chief Commissioner Carol John, Public Prosecutor Tineke Kamps and Acting Chief Prosecutor Karola van Nie were in attendance.

“In recent years, the island has been terrorized with robberies where guns have been used,” Minister of Justice Dennis Richardson noted, “and as a result of this, the police have intensified their efforts to rid the streets of illegal firearms.” Prior to the Stop, Drop & Go campaign, police confiscated some 26 illegal firearms and approximately 57 people have been incarcerated. Persons who are discovered to have illegal firearms in their possession after the Stop, Drop & Go grace period will be punished more severely, Minister Richardson cautioned.

“The Criminal Intelligence Bureau is gathering all necessary information, and after this effort, the police will dedicate their investigative powers to finding out how these weapons are coming into the community. The police will invest all of their power to rid the St. Maarten community of weapons,” assured Acting Chief Commissioner Carl John. As part of this effort, the police will visit schools and go into the community to spread the word and target the youth. The police’s involvement in the community aims to help youth who have been marginalized due to their involvement in crime within the St. Maarten community: “Many youngsters have the impression that they have been forgotten about. The police officers can help them by giving them information about how to get a better life… these youths need to get help so that they can come back into the community,” John said. He added that the police will be heading out to schools as early as next week.

Acting Chief Prosecutor Karola van Nie presented Minister of Justice Dennis Richardson with a red, white and blue colored wristband. These bands will be given out to the community to help raise awareness about the campaign, which was done through the cooperation between the Police Force of St. Maarten (KPSM) and the prosecutor’s office. “We have been working hard in the past few weeks to get this project up and running with the bands. I hope that with these bands, everyone will support this project,” said van Nie.

 

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Attorney General Taco Stein: “Stop, Drop & Go… This is a golden opportunity.” (turn in your illegal firearm campaign) by

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