photo: Harriot Voncken

PHILIPSBURG – Aruba hopes to introduce ESTA, an electronic pre-clearance for travelers, in September for individuals travelling from Venezuela. Sint Maarten is also interested in the system.

This became clear during a summit between the ministers of Justice of Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten, and the Netherlands this week on Sint Maarten.

Minister of Justice for Sint Maarten Cornelius de Weever on record with Harriot Voncken)

The border with Venezuela has been closed since May. In June, Aruba extended the closure for a period of three months which will end in September. The island is trying to have the ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) set up by that point.

Minister of Justice for Sint Maarten Cornelius de Weever on the subject; “We will examine if there are legal grounds for us to introduce it and whether or not we can introduce it simultaneously with Aruba or shortly thereafter.”

Improvement of undocumented immigrant detention on Curaçao and Sint Maarten
Additionally De Weever says that the detention center for undocumented immigrants in Simpson Bay has been reopened. “We have enough staff members to man it, ensure that there’s a doctor, and that they have all the supplies to ensure that everything happens in a humane manner.”

From left to right: Ministers Grappenhaus (NL), Weever (Sint Maarten), Bikker (Aruba), and Girigorie (Curaçao)

During the summit the flow of migrants from Venezuela and border security were discussed. The Netherlands will be making 4.4. million euros available to train the four police forces (including Caribisch Nederland) and the Coast Guard.

Curaçao has indicated that it intends to use a portion of the funds to man the Coast Guard 24/7. Curaçao also wants to use a portion of the funds to improve the detention facilities for undocumented immigrants.