Reader’s Letter: “Consider use of Dutch Army in fight against crime”

POSTED: 03/6/11 10:11 PM

Dear Editor,

With the recent murder of a mega-yacht crew member last weekend and another body of a male found on Alexis Arnell Road (also known as the Cake House Road) on Friday, crime on the island has hit a level which is very disturbing to the entire community.

The Commander of the Dutch Army Forces, Lt. General Rob Bertholee, has proposed for military troops to be deployed on the streets in Holland.  Bertholee says that his troops have gained a lot of practical experience from missions abroad that could be very beneficial in Dutch civil society. Among the type of assistance that could be rendered is support for police bomb scouts, help with searches for missing persons or weapons, and surveillance of crime suspects just to mention a few.

St. Maarten already has a working relationship with the Dutch military during the hurricane season when there is a threat of a hurricane.  Military assistance is a phone call away and there have also been training exercises as well on the island over the years with respect to how to deal with situations.

Authorities should look into the possibility of Lt. General Rob Bertholee’s deployment of the Dutch Army and see how practical it would be for this part of the Dutch Kingdom, even if it is for a short-term period until our overstretched and understaffed law enforcement agencies are able to be resourced.

Some practical roles for our country of Dutch military assistance would be as follows: night patrols of the tourist and residential (high crime) areas and surveillance and criminal intelligence gathering.  

VKS officers could work along with the military personnel in policing different parts of the island thereby freeing-up officers of the Police Force to carry out other law enforcement activities.

We have nothing to lose but more to gain and this avenue is definitely something worth exploring.

Roddy Heyliger

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