Judge Tamara Tijhuis presided over a court session at the Government Administration Building in The Bottom on Tuesday morning. Approximately 10 civil cases appeared before the judge in closeddoor hearings, followed by a series of traffic cases. Prosecutor Marleen Overmeer said many traffic fines were paid in advance, with seven cases remaining in which the suspects had not paid the fines and appealed their cases. These cases concerned failure to pay road tax or car insurance.
In an interview, both Overmeer and Saba Chief of Police Herman Oosterveen stressed the importance of complying with car insurance and road tax regulations. They explained that in a tragic car accident, drivers who had not paid car insurance would have to pay bills that could well be beyond their means.
Overmeer also pointed at the fact that the proceeds obtained from road tax are used for road maintenance. Drivers also need to have in their possession a valid driver’s licence when driving a vehicle. This also includes medical students. “If you live on Saba, you either can get a permit from the Governor’s Office to use a foreign driver’s licence, or you need to have an international driver’s licence,” said Overmeer.
Police Major Wingrove Baker explained that “Saba is a member of the 1945 Geneva Treaty, based on which signatory country’s issued licences are recognized on Saba. This applies to tourists using foreign licences, but not to residents. Once registered residence on Saba is issued, the individual has to apply for a local driver’s licence. The exception to this is for people in possession of an international driver’s licence from a country signatory to the treaty.” Baker highlighted that there will be no lenience on the enforcement of this law. He personally informed medical students of these aspects during orientation days. First semester students are still in the local registration process, and are not considered residents, but by the end of the semester they become residents and are warned to settle their driver’s licence status.
Decisions on the traffic cases were suspended for a follow-up court day, while the two criminal cases were given priority. One of these cases concerned a 22-year-old man, who had threatened two people. He was sentenced to two months suspended, on three years’ probation. He will also be submitted to 60 hours aggression regulation training.
The other case involved a 22-year-old man, who was sentenced for the import and possession of cocaine, crack cocaine and 90 grams of marihuana on May 26. He received three months suspended, on three years’ probation and 120 hours community service.