June 12, 2006

HOOP--NICE SHOT



NATALEE HOLLOWAY: CARIBBEAN STUDY
ON VIOLENCE AGAINST CHILDREN



Posted by: HOOP


In March of 2005, numerous Caribbean countries gathered together to implement a directive for a global study, initiated by the United Nations which urged all nations to explore and find solutions to the issue of Violence Against Children.


Following the March meeting of
Caribbean nations, held in Spain, the Caribbean nations report was released through the United Nations. Apparently, Aruba, a tiny island in the Caribbean Sea elected not to be part of the CARICOM nations dedicating themselves to this issue.


As an entity of the Dutch Netherlands,
Aruba is subsidized in the area of law enforcement by the Kingdom of the Netherlands, which does maintain membership in the United Nations. The results of the Caribbean report on Violence Against Children raises questions regarding Aruba's claim to being a "safe island", particularly when its' purported "record of safety" is not subject to public scrutiny through any membership such as through CARICOM, which would allow for such public scrutiny of exactly what and how Aruba reports crime statistics.


"The impact of violence on the lives of children is a blemish on the face of nations in all parts of the world..." stated the Deputy Director of UNICEF, Rima Salah, who spoke to delegates to the Caribbean regional consultation on violence against children, which Aruba did not participate in. "There is no doubt that the solutions must come from within.."….however, "it is unlikely that any community can overcome these challenges without opening up to the experiences of others."



On
May 30, 2005, Natalee Holloway, a bright honors high school graduate from Mountain Brook High School in Alabama, U.S., was abducted on the island of Aruba while celebrating her graduation with honors, along with fellow classmates.


Despite repeated efforts from the U.S. FBI to become involved and assist Aruban authorities in aiding in the recovery of Natalee, FBI officials were limited by Aruban officials in information they were permitted to see, as well as the degree in which they could participate in solving the abduction of Natalee. Unbelievable as it may sound, Aruban officials kept the expertise and resources of the U.S's finest law enforcement officers at bay, in what now is believed to be a purposeful coverup, in an attempt to aid those involved in the abduction of Natalee Holloway while attempting to protect the island from any bad public relations that might result in a drop in tourism dollars to the island.



It would seem that the level of corruption involved in protecting the individuals involved in the disappearance of Natalee, may implicate members of law enforcement, high ranking government officials, as well as people with a good deal of privilege, money and power on the island.



Natalee, the victim has vanished under a cloak of silence, eerily apropos to a statement made by Professor Sérgio Paulo Pinheiro, an independent expert who leads the global study looking at violence against children, of which numerous
Caribbean nations participated; however, Aruba did not. Pinheiro reminded the participants that " violence against children is hidden beneath a cloak of silence and invisibility"…a heavy cloak of blatant arrogant silence, that continues to conceal the horrors that Natalee Holloway faced on May 30, 2005, as she celebrated her final night in Aruba, before her intent to head back home to the United States.


Furthermore, a sinister cover-up that appears to include the destruction of evidence, the purposeful limitations of a search conducted in the home of a suspect whose father was a former judge in training, as well as changed documents, and selectively not collecting evidence from certain suspects, as well as not documenting statements by certain witnesses, leaves serious questions unanswered regarding Natalee's right to a thorough investigation as the victim of crimes committed against her as well as questions regarding the integrity of this investigation into her abduction.


Natalee was last seen with three suspects, who continue to band together in their attacks on Natalee's character while refusing to cooperate further with police in answering questions as to what was done to her.



The three suspects have been implicated in numerous lies regarding their involvement in Natalee's abduction, and Natalee's parents continue to not know what was done to their daughter, or by whom, nor where her body was taken. The three main suspects were seen where two of them seemed to have led Natalee to a waiting car, which was driven by the third suspect. It is believed that Natalee was drugged and then led away, thus rendering her a helpless victim, unable to reason nor to defend herself in any way.



A chilling comment: "No body, no case", made by Paulus Van der Sloot suggests a real possible tragic and harrowing cruel end to Natalee's life where the police chief reported the desecration of her body, in that "someone" literally moved Natalee from one location to another, so as to deny any possible DNA or any other evidence to ever be collected. Other arrests included "heavy battery", leaving chilling pieces to what remains an "un-solved" case amidst freely walking suspects. This heinous crime against this beautiful child remains an open case, with none of the suspects being held and all of them released to enjoy their freedom, while Natalee has never been heard from again.



One has to wonder how serious
Aruba is concerning the safety of its tourists from America when such a heinous crime is covered up through such a travesty of justice that would allow the last three suspects seen leading Natalee away, to never be held accountable regarding her disappearance. Numerous lies, conflicting stories, and even blaming one another as well as two innocent men, has revealed the main suspects to be men lacking in moral conscience and moral character because of a chilling disregard not only for Natalee and what she was subjected to, but the brutal silence inflicted upon her family by the refusal of suspects to reveal what they did to her.


Aruba allows this charade of what they call an "investigation" to continue, with a police chief going on national television in what appears as an attempt to slander and discredit the victim by claiming she was "highly intoxicated", and "soften" the blow that Natalee is dead by suggesting the suspects "are not killers", while telling the USA that one of the suspects changed major components of his alibi numerous times, with other facts changed perhaps more than 25 times.



In addition to this, one suspects father, a former judge "in training" who failed his exam, was permitted to speak with all three suspects where the "no body, no case" plan was believed to have been put into action along with plotted lies to tell police that were later proven as being lies. Time lines were changed, stories were changed, even so chilling as one in which the parent of one suspect never let on that he indeed seemed to be sitting next to Natalee at a casino, based on video surveillance, on the night Natalee disappeared, and where his son had claimed to initially not know her, and then later, to have "dropped her off at the hotel", only then to be changed to one where he claims to have "left her on the beach".



A step back in looking at the a report released by the United Nations on violence against children specific to the Caribbean nations, reminded participants at the Caribbean conference of this study, "that all Caribbean nations have ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and that Article 19 of the Convention requires States Party to provide adequate care and protection to children from all forms of violence." Sadly,
Aruba miserably failed to protect and to honor Natalee. And yet, the young participants in attendance at the Caribbean conference (of which Aruba did not send any participants) noted, "violence against children in the Caribbean region seems to be increasing".


The UN report indicated that "The (
Caribbean) countries share a similar historical and cultural background, including some factors that are considered by many to underlie some of the violence that takes place. For example, the indigenous people of many of the countries were almost wiped out after the arrival of European settlers in the late fifteenth century. People were brought in from Africa into forced labour in the sugarcane plantations and later East Indians and other groups were brought in for indentured labour. This history of slavery and brutal plantation life are believed by many to explain in part why people use and accept violence."


Further information released indicates that "drug trafficking throughout the region, and trade links between drugs and weapons" not only promotes violence but broadens the arena in which violence occurs. Other reported information noted that in the
Caribbean, there exists some of the highest youth murder rates in the world.


It is inconceivable that Aruba would choose to not participate in the violence study initiated by the UN, by virtue of their claim that they are a happy and safe island, especially against the backdrop of the story of Natalee Holloway who was not only denied a thorough and honest investigation into her abduction, but even in what is believed to be her death, is denied simple common traits of human decency in allowing her parents the right to bury their child with dignity and respect.



The brutal realities of Aruba's unconscionable treatment of Natalee and her family raises serious questions about their commitment to the safety and well being of children, when it is a known fact that children are allowed to drink and gamble under age as one of the suspects, Joran Van der Sloot was known to be a regular at casinos and bars on the island. Through statements made to an Aruban journalist, it was also reported by various classmates, that Joran would brag at school about drugging girls. This statement was reported directly to US media by a journalist who stated that several classmates had reported that Joran had bragged at school about his conquests of young girls. Add to this, the chilling findings in the United Nations report that "in this culture of violence, some of the perpetrators and victims of violent crime are male adolescents and young adults"….and that "young people are the victims of violence".



It is believed that a shared cultural history of violence towards human beings has contributed to the level of violence seen in the Caribbean. "The legacy of slavery in the (Caribbean) region not only explains many of the social and cultural traditions that have hindered acceptance of children's rights, including the right to be protected from violence, it also is considered to underlie the widespread acceptance of physical punishment ….and the emphasis at other levels on criminal sanctions as a means of solving social problems rather than addressing them through conflict resolution or mediation." Problems are linked to "a particular great concern in the region , that being the problem of 'absent parents'. The gathered
Caribbean nations who elected to be concerned and involved in the study of violence against children, heard that "homicide rates in the Caribbean are nearly twice the world average: 22.9 per 100,000 compared with 10.7 per 100,000".


Furthermore, the conference of
Caribbean nations studying violence against children heard that "the involvement of young men in crime and violence in the Caribbean region is a significant problem. Children are caught up in this as both witnesses and victims and, as they move into adolescence, some may also be involved as perpetrators".


Children in
Caribbean countries have stated that they live in fear and with daily violence. Furthermore, they say that "violence is portrayed as 'normal' and even 'acceptable". A further belief throughout the Caribbean region is that "the media are insensitive to the problem and tend to sensationalize violence against children rather than report on it responsibly." "Of grave concern is the fact that one quarter of all major crimes – armed robbery, assault, rape and murder -- ...are committed by young people, mostly adolescent males between the ages of 13 and 19. The same problem occurs across the region, and adolescents are said to look upon violence as a survival tool, a passport to social mobility".


In looking at whether any serious commitment on the part of Aruban officials exists in wanting to find Natalee, one must ask whether the lack of information given to FBI agents, is a reflection of the lack of transparency in the way police officials shut out the FBI as to avoid any public scrutiny regarding the manner in which they conducted their "investigation".



Aruba's lack of participation in the CARICOM conference perhaps may illustrate the possibility that children who are tourists, while providing the backbone to Aruba's economy, may perhaps be a low priority given the example of how low a priority the solving of the disappearance of Natalee Holloway has appeared to play out despite Aruba's claims that they did "everything"….which tellingly excluded the gathering of DNA, and keeping of meticulous paperwork and records, and the throwing out of statements of confession from one of the three suspects last reported to be seen with Natalee.



Recommendations from the violence study included the knowledge that children at times could be deprived of their liberty due to having "committed an offence but also because they are deemed to be 'uncontrollable'". Other measures could be taken to inusre the safety of society from young men who are predators.



A recommendation included that a national committee be established "made up of government, judiciary and civil society representatives, to visit detention centres to monitor the conditions …as a necessary step" in addressing youth violence. However, one must consider that in Aruba's self-isolation from the CARICOM community, whether their separate isolation from a community that employs judicial and collaborative review and examination, might suggest a level of dysfunction on the part of Aruban officials who have choosen to remain apart and separate from such public scrutiny that would expose them to judicial and collaborative review and scrutiny. The abstaining from the CARICOM community, and all its' collaborative efforts insures that the truth concerning crimes in
Aruba "stay on the island".


The question of
Aruba's commitment to youth safety, particularly that of it's youth tourists is fairly questioned when one considers that the findings of the Caribbean study of Violence Against Children found that throughout the Caribbean region :


"There is weak enforcement of the laws in some cases, and this should be addressed. At the same time, it is necessary to ensure that all the arms of the judiciary are trained to deal with cases involving children. One issue of concern that was raised in the consultation is that throughout the region people seem not to trust the law enforcement agencies or indeed the political leaders whose fundamental duty is to enforce law and order. Clearly there is an urgent need to find ways to restore confidence in law enforcement agencies; one way for this to be done is through strict enforcement of the law and bringing to justice those who promote or inflict violence."



In the case of Natalee Holloway, it is telling that the Aruban police and government officials granted the three suspects last seen leading Natalee into a car - a full ten days of freedom before bringing them in for any type of serious questioning. This action of granting the suspects ten days in which they could do whatever they wanted, including possibly destroying evidence, was granted to them, in spite of Natalee's mother providing police with the names of suspects from day one of the investigation. One must question what motive may have allowed for this to occur. Certainly, heinous acts of brutality against a young and innocent American girl would not be good for tourism. Furthermore, it is chilling to consider that when finally picked up by police, and despite confessions by one suspect that the three men last seen with Natalee had "buried Natalee", and that "something really bad happened" to her, the three suspects have now been released, while Natalee suffers the ultimate price in losing everything, including all those who loved her.



One can only consider the truthfulness of the United Nations Caribbean study indicating that law enforcement and political leaders entrusted with upholding the rights and safety of all citizens, would be perceived as disinterested, corrupt and untrustworthy, particularly as in Natalee's case, where some officials began a slander campaign against this beautiful young honors student, in an attempt to distract the public from scrutinizing the three suspects who were last seen with Natalee, and the involvement of the father of one suspect, a former judge in training who failed his certification exam, who was permitted special privileges in speaking to and advising all three suspects along with his chilling comment that there would be no need to worry due to "no body, no case" . To this day, Natalee's body has never been found and the continuing disinterest by police to truly solve this heinous case is reflected in the fact that when asked to fill out paper work to allow for a deep water search for Natalee's body, the police chief indicated that he just didn't "have the time" to fill out the paper work. The search then had to be called off.



For Natalee, there is no justice, as she continues in her innocence as a victim, to be subjected to a life-time sentence of the loss of everyone she loved, everything she loved, all her hopes and dreams – while those who brutally beat her, raped her and murdered her, leaving her to die alone continue to enjoy the privileges of their freedom. Even in death, she is not free, for her body remains imprisoned in
Aruba, while her honorable good name continues to be slandered and smeared in a campaign to save tourism and dollars at the cost of the rights and innocence of an American child victimized and brutally tormented to death.


For reference to all quotes from Caribbean Violence Against Children Study: Please read United Nations Caribbean Report on Violence Against Children.



1 comment:

blackhawk said...

Damn great article!!
Aruba is continuing its course to self destruction...Aruba,money is not everything...human life is everything....Your cover-up is going to COST you EVERYTHING!!