April 21, 2008



Leader of Government Concerned about Crime Rate

**Michelle's note: At least their leaders are concerned...

Philipsburg– Leader of Government Sarah Wescot-Williams, says she is very concerned with the recent incidents of crime such as another daring broad-daylight robbery of a store on Front Street and a couple of others in the past weeks as well as other criminal activities within the community.

The island leader says she fully supports the initiatives set out by Acting Chief Commissioner of Police, Richard Panneflek where he reportedly stated that more attention would be given to enhancing the sense of safety in Philipsburg and in apprehending those responsible for the recent armed robberies.

Commissioner Wescot supports the stance taken by the Police that with scarce resources available, priorities must be set and that the priority for the police at this time is the safety of residents and visitors.

“As a nation we cannot afford any threats to our tourism industry because the crimes committed will impact everyone and every-one’s livelihood on the island.”

“...Our nation’s well-being is under threat. I appeal to the Antillean Minister of Justice to provide short-term manpower assistance to the Windward Islands Police Force Section..."



A recent study was done that paints a picture of a considerable problem with regards to crime on St. Maarten. One of the most specific forms of crime on the island is drug-related crime. The reason for this, says the report, is that St. Maarten plays an important and varied role within the (international) drugs trade.

The report further mentions that “a problematic situation also applies in relation to financial and economic crime” but notes that
“the unsatisfactory involvement of investigative and law enforcement agencies has created a situation in which it is difficult to establish precisely the scope of such activities and their links to organized crime”.

In addition to drugs and financial and economic crimes, people smuggling and trafficking in human beings were also examined during the course of this study. The report confirms that concerns exist regarding the availability of weapons and the increasing prevalence of crimes involving firearms that are being committed on the island.

...Richards regrets that in some Dutch newspapers, St. Maarten has been depicted as a ‘paradise for criminals’. In elaborating further, it was reported that the “multiplicity of circumstances, arising from the logistical (harbor and airport) and the economic infrastructure (banking system) that are available on St. Maarten and which provide opportunities for drug smuggling, people smuggling and illegal financial transactions are being addressed using controls and powers that, do not reflect, or hardly reflect, the scope of the problems”.

Governor Richards finds it regrettable, though, that no attention is paid, in the report, to one essential aspect, namely how to fund the implementing of the recommendations listed...Richards believes that combating organized crime is not the exclusive responsibility of the island government of St. Maarten alone. He says that it is also that of all the partners comprising the judicial and law enforcement chain of the Netherlands Antilles and the Dutch Kingdom.


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