Thursday , February 2 2023

Focus on further development justice sector public entities

Specific measures for youth delinquents, continued focus on financialeconomic and border transgressing crime, combating of corruption and border security are some of the policy themes to further develop the security and justice sector in Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba.

Ard van der Steur, Minister of Security and Justice
Ard van der Steur, Minister of Security and Justice

Dutch Minister of Security and Justice Ard van der Steur and State Secretary of Security and Justice Klaas Dijkhoff sent a nine-page letter to the Dutch Parliament on Thursday with details about the plans to further develop the security and justice sector in the Caribbean Netherlands in the coming years.

The cooperation with the partners in the Dutch Caribbean countries plays a role in these efforts. Progress has been achieved in the cooperation with the “natural partners” in the region, Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten. This cooperation will be further intensified. (See related article)

The Ministry of Security and Justice plans to change the fact that the Caribbean Netherlands currently doesn’t have specific regulations for youth delinquents. The Ministry is looking at adding a title to the Penal Code BES with stipulations on how to deal with delinquent youngsters. The idea is to introduce youth detention and possibilities to give youth delinquents assistance or impose alternative sanctions.

Klaas Dijkhoff, State Secretary of Security and Justice
Klaas Dijkhoff, State Secretary of Security and Justice

The Caribbean Netherlands Public Prosecutor’s Office will keep its focus on investigations in the financial-economic sphere and the combating of undermining crime. In this context, two laws will be adapted: the regulation of special investigative authorities will be adapted, as well as the law regulating the police data for the Caribbean Netherlands. Further content will be given to the cooperation with Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten to confiscate criminal assets.

Additional input will be made available to combat border-transgressing crime, in particular human trafficking and human smuggling. A special register for the Caribbean Netherlands will be established for this purpose in which signals of human trafficking and smuggling will be noted. Cooperation with the Dutch Caribbean countries in this area will be continued as well. Corruption will remain a focal point from a point of view that it has to be “combated with force.” The small size and close-knit community makes it harder for authorities to make a distinction between corruption and politically motivated accusations against persons, which complicates the investigation and prosecution. The Ministry aims to get a better view of the nature and size of corruption, based on which additional input will be deployed.

The execution of border control and the supervising of foreigners will be further strengthened together with the Dutch Royal Marechaussee which operates in the Caribbean Netherlands. The Admittance and Expulsion Law will be evaluated next year based on which it will be decided whether adaptations are necessary.

The cooperation agreement based on which the immigration and border services of the Caribbean Netherlands, Curaçao and St. Maarten work together to fight illegal immigration and human trafficking and human smuggling is being evaluated.

Van der Steur and Dijkhoff noted that the small population size of Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba, the insular character, the special circumstances and the distance between the Windward and Leeward Islands, and between the islands and the Netherlands presented a “complex challenge” to realise an effective, efficient and uniform security and justice sector in the Caribbean Netherlands.

Much has been done to improve the justice sector since the islands became Dutch public entities in October 2010. A lot has been invested and good results have been booked, stated Van der Steur. “That is satisfying, but after six years of building it is time to take the next steps that will result in an efficient and inter-connected security and justice system.”

The security and justice organisations will be further developed and further embedded in the region so they remain sufficiently equipped to combat crime and offer legal security and protection, where possible in cooperation with the partners in the region.

The cooperation within the security and justice sector within the Caribbean Netherlands, but also between the islands and the Netherlands will further be strengthened. “The local circumstances and the small size require custom fit measures. The law enforcement sector can only be strong and effective when all involved work intensively together. This is even more so the case in small, insular societies. The organisations will support each other in the execution of their tasks.”

Van der Steur and Dijkhoff said that investments in the past six years have resulted in a security and justice sector which, together with the public entities, was “considered able to continue building on a safe and fair society in a sustainable manner in which crime is adequately combated and the citizens offered security and legal protection.”

The Daily Herald.

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