Police relocate inmates to restore order at prison

POSTED: 06/4/12 2:00 PM

St. Maarten – The prison’s management and the police issued seperate statements Sunday announcing that several inmates were removed from the Pointe Blanche prison in an effort to restore order. The group includes members of the Inmates Association, who have been leading a strike that began on May 27. Both Chief Public Prosecutor Hans Mos and Solicitor General Taco Stein have been informed of the developments.
According to the statement from the prison management a lockdown was put in place so that inmates who chose to continue working could not be threatened and beaten. This decision is based on the experience from the last strike.
The prison management also stated that they’d made the Inmates Association responsible for sharing meals and told them to appoint one person to carry out the duty. The association reportedly refused and so the inmates could not eat. That lead to them becoming rowdy arond 7:00 p.m. on Friday evening. The unhappy group then reportedly became rowdy, made lots of noise and started fires. The police had to be called in to assist in restoring order.
Things escalated on Saturday morning when the female watch commander and a nurse began distributing medicine in one of the cell blocks around 8:30 a.m. Two inmates charged the watch commander, slammed him with a gate and grabbed his keys in hopes of opening other cell blocks and releasing more prisoners. They were unsuccesful as they’d grabbed the worng set of keys.
Prison management then called in the police for a second time to help prevent an escalation of the disturbance and to help restore order. The strategy included removing the inmates that caused the uproar from the prison and initiating discussions for the inmates to return to work.
The police report focused on assistance that was given on Saturday and on the extraction. Police Spokesman Ricardo Henson states that the situation “started peacefully on Friday June 1st and had become extremely serious on Saturday June 2nd and was seemingly getting out of control.”
“The personnel of the prison that were on duty during the protest would not have been able to handle the situation if it became worse,” Henson said.
The full extraction team consisted of officers from the Voluntary Korps St. Maarten and one of the police dogs. There was a certain level of resistance by some of the prisoners but Henson states this was “quickly broken.”

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