St. Maarten Justice Minister planning fifteen bed youth detention center

POSTED: 10/31/11 12:57 PM

St. Maarten – Justice Minister Roland Duncan announced on Sunday that a 15 bed Youth Detention Center will be constructed in Cay Hill on the same property as “The Box”. The announcement was made on For the Record with Eddie Williams on Radio Soualiga 99.9 Choice F.M.

Developing the youth detention center is part of an overall plan for the area that Duncan has commissioned. The design project is for revamps to “The Box” and the development of the youth detention center. The two projects should not cost more than 20 million guilders.

Duncan received the terms of reference on the design project some two Sundays ago. From what he’s seen of a concept the new youth detention center will be able to house boys and girls and the building can be expanded if the need manifests.

“I have a superficial report of five or six years ago that estimates that we should have 31 beds but there was no justification attached. Though it’s on the same property the detention center will be separated from the prison facility planned for the box so the youth detainees and the older prisoners will not be able to see, hear or communicate with each other. We’re only building it (the youth detention center) there because there’s land available there,” Duncan said.

The minister has also made clear that the youth detainees should not expect they’ll be living in a hotel, even though the facility won’t be a “prison”. He also said he’d considered allowing abused young people to stay in the facility if they lean towards criminal activity because of their own abuse.

In terms of the box itself Duncan has requested the report show how exactly it can be turned into a prison with 200 beds.

Duncan is hoping that the final report will be ready for presentation to the Council of Ministers be mid-November so he can explain it to Parliament before the end of November.

“I want to do my homework completely so we can respond to any questions and I want to be able to sign off on this before year’s end,” Duncan said.


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