Chief of Police Herman Oosterveen explained the role of the police in enforcing a court decision to remove a child off-island. He said the police assisted Youth and Family Centre (YFC) on Monday, to implement a court decision to place a 15-year-old boy in a correctional institution on Curaçao. The court decision to remove the minor from his parents’ household and place him in a correctional institution on Curaçao was deemed to be in the best interest of the child, but ignited controversy especially about the enforcement process, exacerbated public stigma and trauma inflicted on the child.
A public announcement about the youngster, who reportedly had gone missing, was plastered throughout The Bottom last week. The notice complete with the boy’s full name and date of birth asked anyone with information on his whereabouts to contact YFC. “Anyone who withdraws a minor from the parental authority commits a legal offence and is punishable by law,” the notice read.
The 15-year-old disappeared Tuesday, October 2, and was found on Thursday, October 4, with the help of the police. The child presented behavioural but not criminal problems, stressed Oosterveen, pointing that enforcement of the court decision falls under the authority of the YFC. The police only assisted upon request when YFC representatives could not find the child at home or school. “The police went to the home of the child and investigated his whereabouts with family and friends,” Oosterveen explained. The minor showed up on Thursday at his parents’ home where he was counselled to comply with the court decision and cooperate with the authorities to be taken-off island. The child is to be institutionalised on Curaçao for at least a year.
Oosterveen described the minor as “quiet and calm” during discussions with the authorities on Thursday. “He agreed to present himself to the office of the school director on Monday morning, from where he was taken to the airport,” Oosterveen said. His parents were present to plea again for their child not to be taken to Curaçao but to Holland instead.
Oosterveen professionally limited his remarks saying only that “it was very emotional.” He refrained from expressing any view on the court decision, stating, “We don’t make the decisions, the court has and we have to enforce that.” Asked if family or friends may be allowed to visit the youngster, Oosterveen suggested this might be one of the reasons why the court decided to place him on Curaçao and not in Holland, so as to facilitate such visits.
Source: “The Daily Herald” 2012-10-10