Opinion: Devon Otto

POSTED: 09/18/11 10:56 PM

What to do with Devon Otto? The man who killed Civil Registry employee Stanley Gumbs in a case of mistaken identity in 2008 and who is currently serving thirty years for the murder, added two more crimes to his record this week by shooting two inmates in the prison in Curacao.

Understandably, Curacao wants to get rid of the guy and send him back to St. Maarten. The reason for Otto’s detention in Curacao however is that he had problems with other inmates in Pointe Blanche – or maybe it was the other way around and other inmates had problems with Otto.

St. Maarten is not happy, but Justice Minister Roland Duncan has little choice. He is, after all, our prisoner, and he still has a long time to go before he ever becomes a free man again. After the recent shooting it seems doubtful that Otto, a native of St. Kitts, will ever walk the streets of any island again – which is probably good news for everyone who is not looking forward to getting shot by a psychopath.

Duncan wants to get rid of Otto at the first opportunity he gets. Understandable. The guy will be a lot of trouble in Pointe Blanche and if he gets to talk to Chucky, he also might find a way to escape. And then what?

Attempts to cart Otto off to his native St. Kitts will probably be futile. There is no extradition treaty between St. Maarten and the Kittitian authorities will most likely wish our Justice Minister a nice day after politely listening to his request.

Another option is to send Otto to the Netherlands. The Dutch have a prime accommodation for characters like Otto: the high security prison Nieuw Vosseveld in Vught. This facility was constructed in the nineties to house violent criminals. Among the infamous guests in Vught are Theo van Gogh-killer Mohammed B. and Heineken kidnapper Willem Holleeder.

Nieuw Vosseveld has just 25 cells and it’s one prisoner to a cell. The regime is very harsh: inmates spend most of their days in their cells and when they are aired they are accompanied by several guards and they remain shackled. The airing space consists of a cage with thick bars over the top to prevent escapes with the help of a helicopter. The high security prison was built in the nineties after several notorious and violent criminals escaped from detention. The criminals used extreme violence during their escape and some of them also took hostages, but since the opening of the facility in Vught there have been no more escapes of this nature.

But will the Netherlands accept Otto? We think it should, even though we also think that the man needs psychiatric treatment. If Minister Duncan manages to transfer him to the Netherlands, St. Maarten will be rid of a serious troublemaker. Both Holleeder and Mohammed B. have complained about the regime in Vught and several attorneys and action groups in the Netherlands have claimed that it violates universal human rights and European legislation.

The shooting in Curacao shows that inmates who have no perspective – and serving a 30-year sentence takes a lot of perspective away – are capable of anything. It is not surprising that there are rumors that Otto was paid for shooting the two inmates. He didn’t have anything to lose, or so he thought.

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Comments (1)


  1. denise says:

    they had to mess with him,he aint crazy.