photo: Tim van Dijk

PHILIPSBURG – Minister of Justice Cornelius Weever wants to tackle the lack of rehabilitation in the Pointe Blanche prison on Sint Maarten by letting the inmates repair the hurricane damaged building. The minister made that clear at the end of the Justice Four-Partite Talks (JVO) on Wednesday.

Minister Weever on the rehabilitation programs and container cells

De Weever: “We are working with the National Institute for Professional Advancement on a program where the inmates learn roofing, plumbing, mortaring, and electrical work.” It’s the intention that the inmates will repair three sections of the prison that were damaged during the hurricane in 2017. Other rehabilitation courses such as English and the General Education Development (GED) have already started.

Photo by Tim van Dijk

Sint Maarten’s lack of cells and rehabilitation has been on the radar for a while. The cells in the police stations are even under the supervision of the European Court of Human Rights. Read more about it here:

The prison, social services, and the Foundation Judicial Institutes (SJIB) have signed an agreement to provide former inmates with medical, financial, and legal support.

Regarding the issues with capacity De Weever points to the container cells which are coming over from Bonaire for temporary relief. “Those will be added to the prison structure to enhance the capacity.”

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

The United Nations Office for Project Services has been contracted to evaluate the prison system on Sint Maarten. Sint Maarten is awaiting a confirmation from UNOPS as to when they can start.

Justice Four-Partite Talks
The ministers of Justice for Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten, and the Netherlands spoke to each other during the Justice Four-Partite Talks on July 9th and 10th. According to minister Bikker from Aruba, Sint Maarten, Aruba, and Curaçao are all facing the same struggles when it comes to the budget for improving their prison systems.