Opinion: Prison

POSTED: 06/13/11 1:09 PM

Inmates at the Pointe Blanche prison will have another bone of contention to gnaw on, after Finance Minister Hiro Shigemoto announced on Friday that there is not enough money to execute the complete renovation plan for the prison.

As we understand it, there is something like 6.6 million guilders (around $3.65 million) available in Usona-funding, while the renovation requires 1.4 million guilders ((around $775,000) more.

We also note that all the money for the renovation comes from Usona, the executive branch of the foundation for the development of the Netherlands Antilles. Not a penny comes from St. Maarten’s budget.

We read a rather mysterious remark by Finance Minister Hiro Shigemoto about the shortfall. He would “seek to acquire” the rest of the money, without saying on whose door he is going to knock.

Maybe Usona has a forgotten million or so somewhere in a drawer, and maybe, just maybe, the foundation is prepared to make this available for the renovation.

We wouldn’t count on it, though we’re always ready to be pleasantly surprised by strokes of genius that make the impossible possible.

So our inmates may as well get used to the idea that for the time being 17.5 percent of the plans will not become a reality, unless the Finance Ministry manages to find the money that is now lacking within the eighteen months after the renovation starts.

And mind you, a date for the work to begin has not been announced yet, even though Chief Prosecutor Mr. Hans Mos told the Inmates Association recently that this could happen in August.

In a letter to Justice Minister Duncan the Chief Prosecutor wrote recently that he told the inmates that “this is St. Maarten and that nothing is certain.”

The inmates already knew that, Mos reported. Let’s just wait for August to roll around and see what will happen.


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