PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten – Addressing crime activity as experienced in past months, on St. Maarten, remains high on the priority list for parliamentarian Johan Leonard.
The UP parliamentarian says that while concern for the most recent armed robberies is certainly warranted, a remedial approach requires structural solutions, empowering law enforcement agencies and the judicial chain, in general, to address the issue.
Leonard praised the police force for their quick response to a daring daylight robbery last Friday, which led to the arrest of suspects in the case. The parliamentarian is of the opinion that the police officers in question performed professionally while apprehending the suspects without possible casualties to civilians. He said that the case illustrated how suspects can be quickly apprehended when citizens volunteer information.
Meeting with Minister of Justice
According to Leonard, parliament looks forward to a meeting with the Minister of Justice to exchange views on safety and security of St. Maarten in general, and the recent acts of violent crime, in particular.
The minister’s presence in parliament had been expected recently but could not take place due to scheduling conflicts.
Leonard says that having had over 40 years of experience in law enforcement; he continues to look forward to putting this expertise at the disposal of the people St. Maarten, in a not too distant future, adding that residents “have every right to expect greater safety and security in their own communities”.
Forms of Cooperation
Parliamentarian Leonard is of the opinion that forms of cooperation contributes to maintaining confidence in our police force and the ability of our own officers to play a decisive role in curbing crime, sometimes risking their own lives, in the process.
But while law enforcement agencies and members of the judicial chain do what they are called upon to do, it is really up to all of, as a community, to remain alert and assist in doing everything possible to curb crime and restore the situation to a more adequate level of public safety.
New initiatives are always welcome and may very well compliment earlier proposals made by the then St Maarten Police Force to carry out highly visible ‘zero tolerance controls’, at strategic locations on St. Maarten.
Leonard recalls Operation Trust as having been an effective mechanism in the fight against crime and the influence of crime prevention.
“It would appear as if criminals are becoming more reckless and this we cannot accept”, says Leonard. He advocates an approach whereby criminals involved in any form of criminal activity, in our community, should be put on notice that response to their activities will be swift and decisive.
Law and order policies
Member of Parliament Leonard believes that cooperation and joint controls amongst the different entities within the Justice Ministry is of great importance in order to combat crime, on St. Maarten, more effectively. Leonard says that he will be “championing the aforementioned idea wholeheartedly, upon receiving the mandate of the law abiding citizens of St. Maarten”.
The parliamentarian says that once returned to parliament he, along with his faction, would seek to get budget support enabling an inventory of the resources and personnel needed for the implementation of law and order policies in St. Maarten, over the course of the next four years.
Recognizing the importance of human resources in any attempt to improve the present situation, Leonard appeals to the Minister of Justice to pay keen attention to the employment conditions and concerns of members of police force in St. Maarten. (Contributed by UP Candidate Janchie Leonard)