Heyliger meets telecom providers on cameras

POSTED: 10/2/11 11:50 PM

St. Maarten – Vice Prime Minister Theodore Heyliger recently met with both United Telecommunications Services (UTS) and the Telem Group of Companies to discuss placing surveillance cameras in Philipsburg. The idea of installing cameras as crime prevention (deterrent) and crime repression (investigation tool) measures has been a point of discussion for some time. It resurged again this week as MPs expressed their concern that nothing seemed to be happening.

Justice Minister Roland Duncan has told Parliament that it would likely be 2013 before he had the room in his budget to finance the cameras. He’d also hinted it could happen earlier depending on whether the government chooses to “tag along” with the Princess Juliana International Airport and the Harbour Group of Companies on a contract with Bosch to purchase cameras. A proposal is expected shortly. Heyliger has now announced that he’s trying to work with the island’s telecom providers to set up the system.

“Telem is very anxious to have the project done because we can use the bandwidth on their fiber optic cable. More generally both companies understand the importance of this project and they have the technical expertise and equipment. I commend both UTS and Telem for their willingness and hope they follow through,” Heyliger said on Thursday.

There are no dates yet for installation because negotiations have just started. Glen Carty, who is Chief Executive Officer UTS and President of the St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce, has pledged to move things on the private sector end by raising the matter in meetings he’ll have through to the end of next week. Those meetings are at aimed at getting companies to provide the financing of both the investment costs and the operational costs as staffers will be required to do the monitoring.

“In the meantime we have to continue to be creative and I think it would be a great idea to send one patrol officer out in a car to each district. If there is a situation he can’t handle then he calls for back up. It’s not just about cameras. We all – security companies, police and VKS (Voluntary Korps St. Maarten edi.,) – have to find the resources to make it happen in terms of beating crime,” Carty said.

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