Meeting continues on Friday: MPs discuss crime behind closed doorsPOSTED: 08/14/15 9:39 AM
St. Maarten – Yesterday’s closed-door Central Committee meeting about crime will continue on Friday when ministers will answers questions from MPs. The meeting started at 10 a.m. and concluded after 3 p.m. The entire Council of Ministers was present to hear suggestions from parliamentarians.
Minister of Justice Dennis Richardson told this newspaper that the meeting was informative and that the ministry shares the concerns the Members of Parliament have. “They gave their suggestions and we have taken note of them. We will now formulate the answers and will be back to meet with them on Friday.”
Member of Parliament Franklin Meyers called for the meeting, after the shooting incident that took place just a few steps away from the Parliament Building on Front Street. “The country’s budget is almost paper thin,” Meyers said last week in a press release. “St. Maarten is called on to adhere to numerous Kingdom expectations without the resources and expertise to sustain a growing country. Yes, we need to get the criminals off the street. Yes, we need to lock them up and I believe we also need program to reform and make them productive members of our society. How do we do that? We need the financial resources.”
He continued that “Parliament has approved the 2015 budget. Yet, under the Dutch rules, the Committee for Financial Supervision Cft somewhat out ranks us. They get the last say on our budget. We have the money to proceed with the expansion of the Pointe Blanche Prison. It’s in the budget. The expansion is stalled because of the Cft. Every week, I am sure the Prosecutor’s Office and the prison have to make tough choices about who to keep in and who to let go. As long as the criminals know their chance of being locked up is slim to none, they will be brazen and no MP or minister can stop them.”
The meeting will continue at 10 a.m. on Friday again behind closed doors. The UP is expected to present a motion instructing Minister of Justice Dennis Richardson to take measures to combat crime on the island immediately. Parliamentarians also said that more should be done by the parliament for the safety and security of its members.