Country misses revenue by not collecting fines

POSTED: 06/28/13 11:49 AM

St. Maarten – The Public Prosecutor’s Office is concerned about the fact that increasingly court rulings cannot be executed and that fines are not collected. “The justice system will only be effective if imposed punishments and measures are actually executed. Violations of the law must be linked to tangible consequences,” the office states in the chapter about execution of its 2014 year plan.

Those consequences touch all parties, not just those who break the law. “Police officers will be more motivated when it appears that there is a follow up to the work they did. Apart from actual enforcement, collecting fines also has positive consequences for the revenue of the country St. Maarten. That is one more reason to invest in this field.”

The report states that in the course of the years “the undesirable situation has come into existence” those verdicts that carry a prison sentence cannot be executed for convicts that are at the moment of their conviction not detained. “This is due to the cell shortage.”

The report notes that the cell shortage cannot be solved in the short term: “Taking into consideration to combat a deterioration of standards it is of the utmost importance to make a beginning with the execution of unpaid fines and not-performed community service. If these forms of handling a case no longer have a deterrent effect, an important policy instrument lacks. If it becomes clear to the community that unpaid fines and not performed community service are going to be executed the expectation is that the number of defaulters will go down and that convicts will faster comply with the imposed community service.”

The Prosecutor’s Office notes that country St. Maarten is missing out on a significant source of income by not collecting fines. “Extra cell capacity is a must, as well as a proper computerized tracking register for unpaid fines.”

The Prosecutor’s Office wants to actively approach the ten largest defaulters that surface in such a system on a monthly basis.


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