St. Maarten Police escort armed Gendarmes to French border due to no permission to carry weapons on St. Maarten

POSTED: 11/20/14 11:44 PM

St. Maarten —Four armed Gendarmes were yesterday escorted to the border by police from Dutch St. Maarten, in what many view as retaliation for the embarrassment suffered by Dutch police at the hands of Gendarmerie on St. Maarten Day.

At approximately 11.30 a.m. yesterday “the central police dispatch received several phone calls stating that there were four armed Gendarmes walking around at the Princess Juliana International Airport. Immediately after receiving this information a police patrol was sent to investigate the situation. On the scene the officers encountered two Gendarmes dressed in civilian clothing and two officers from the PAF who were armed and in the process of having someone deported.

“The French officers were asked if they had any permission through the Ministry of Justice to carry their weapons on the Dutch Side. The officers immediately denied having any permission and decided to immediately return to the French (side) with their weapons because they did not have the necessary clearance to have their weapons on the Dutch Side.

“After finalizing the deportation process of the person they brought to the airport, the investigating officers escorted the French officers to their vehicles which were parked in front of the terminal building. They noticed that during their absence unknown persons had punctured one of the tires of each of the vehicles they were driving. The Detectives were immediately informed and arrived on the scene to investigate the situation. After having the tires replaced the officers were escorted to the border,” a police report from spokesman Inspector Ricardo Henson states.

On St. Maarten Day, the Dutch police showed up to the joint parade in French Quarter with their guns and were confronted by Gendarmes who told them that they do not have the necessary permission to carry their guns on French St. Maarten and were asked to remove them. This caused a tense situation and St. Maarten Justice Minister Dennis Richardson has requested a meeting with Prefect Choppin to discuss the situation. On the heels of yesterday’s development Today contacted the justice minister for a comment. He explained that he does not believe that this is any sort of retaliation but that this will also be discussed during the meeting with Prefect Choppin and all attempts will be made to arrive at an amicable solution. The date for this meeting is not yet known.

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