Government works on restoring border management system

POSTED: 01/11/13 12:21 PM

GREAT BAY- St. Maarten’s disconnection from the border management system whose data was stored in Curacao did not come entirely by surprise, Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams said Wednesday, especially since the country did not agree with a shared system in the first place.

The cutoff came on November 24 and when Today first reported on it, immigration officials denied that the main port of entry, the airport was left vulnerable.

Minister of Justice Roland Duncan feels that all of the blame should be laid squarely at the door of the Kingdom government for allowing Kingdom partner Curacao to proceed with the disconnection. The prime minister says that the minister has made his sentiments very clear and if St. Maarten was wronged, then it ought to seek it rights. However no letter has been dispatched from the Council of Ministers to the Dutch government. She is skeptical about the success of such a venture.

“While I believe in that approach, I don’t believe in putting too much energy in things you feel you will get nowhere with,” the prime minister said.

In meantime, she assures that the government is working hard remedy the problem by implementing a new system.

“The so-called disconnect from the shared Border Management System (BMS) between Curacao and St. Maarten did not come completely unexpected.  The view of the minister regarding St. Maarten being part of the system the way it was set up is very clear. By St. Maarten not agreeing to be part of it, we were told, and eventually it happened, that would be disconnected. The minister is working extremely hard to get our system in place and pick up where it was cutoff.”

Apart from the security issues that surround the disconnection of the border management system, the prime minister said that there is also an economic effect.  Data processed through the BMS is often used to tally traffic at the one of the busiest aviation hubs in the Caribbean.

“Indeed why that information would not be here on St. Maarten would be a question that I too would have had.  We are making do with what is there right now; it is not ideal, we don’t have a complete system in place right now but are working hard to get that system up and running as soon as possible.”

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