St. Maarten Justice Minister Duncan orders inmates to end their strike

POSTED: 06/10/11 1:33 PM

POINTE BLANCHE/St. Maarten – Justice Minister Roland Duncan has ordered the Pointe Blanche Inmates Association “to immediately cease illegal strike actions” at the prison.”You are hereby ordered to cease and desist from your actions immediately. Failure to comply will result in the full weight of the law being brought down against you,” the Minister wrote in a letter dated June 3.

Duncan notes in the letter that a group of inmates has been on strike since May 13 and that they refuse to carry out instruction issued by or on behalf of prison director Rudsel Ricardo.

“These actions are in contravention of the law, among others the national ordinance principles of the detention system, and the national decree detention measure of 1999,” Duncan wrote.

The minister refers in his letter to an article from these ordinances that oblige inmates “to carry out the work he/she is ordered to carry out inside as well as outside the center to the best of his ability.”

A second article obliges inmates “to strictly follow the instructions given by the prison director in the interest of security, order or the proper functioning of matters in the center.”

Other articles state that inmates must refrain from behavior that is incompatible with prison security; there is also a list of what is considered improper behavior, but this is not specified in the letter.

Duncan points out that the prison director is authorized “to deviate from any of the rights granted by the virtue of this regulation,” if this is necessary in his opinion. The director is also authorized to “take all reasonably necessary measures” when there are irregularities or even the threat of irregularities in the prison.

“You have refused to carry out the work and assignments issued to you (….). This and other disruptive and unacceptable behavior is against the legal regulations we have just mentioned and make you subject to punishment, disciplinary and other legal measures as well as the loss of privileges,” Duncan wrote, adding that the reasons the inmates are giving for their actions are “unacceptable.”.


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