Philipsburg:--- The Attorney General of St. Maarten and Curacao Dick Piar handed over the first Crime Pattern Analysis to Minister of Justice Roland Duncan on Wednesday at the A. C. Wathey Legislative Hall.
The Attorney General asked the police to draft the CBA (criminaliteitsbeeldanalyse) in order to provide policy makers and the prosecutor's office with an instrument that would allow them to focus on the actual crime situation on St. Maarten. The CBA is intended to assists law enforcement agencies in setting priorities and making plans for tackling general and organized crimes. It provides insight into different criminal phenomena varying from property, violent, environmental, and juvenile crimes to drug trafficking and money laundering from 2008 to 2010.
According to a press release issued by the Attorney General, it is the first time actual facts and figures on general and organized crime are set out objectively in a very readable report. The CBA was compiled by two researchers from the Netherlands assisted by the local senior police officers who worked on the project for a period of nine months, three of which was spent on St. Maarten conducting research and interviews. Piar said a total of 46 organizations from St. Maarten and abroad were consulted during the research.
Minister Duncan told reporters that he will be presenting the documented facts to the Council of Ministers and the Parliament of St. Maarten before making it public.
The CBA Sint Maarten presents its readers with a description of the nature and scope of more than twenty criminal phenomena and concludes with suggestions in dealing with them. Some of these phenomena are reported upon frequently in news bulletins, such as violent robberies or murders. Other phenomena are fairly unknown. In that sense the CBA provides some new insights, for example in the case of health insurance and social benefits fraud. These types of fraud are a costly matter for the country of Sint Maarten. According to the researchers much can be gained by taking effective preventive measures and implementing strict identity checks of applicants.
In the CBA, the developments in crime are depicted against the rapid economic development of the island of Sint Maarten in the last few decades. An important finding is that many government agencies have been unable to keep pace with that rapid economic growth. The vast group of illegal migrant workers drawn to Sint Maarten as a result of this growth – estimated at more than a third of the original population – has put Sint Maarten's infrastructure under pressure. As a result, government agencies such as the police, customs, Special Investigation Unit, prison, Immigration Service, Court of Guardianship, the Foundation for Social and Health Insurance, but also inspectorates and monitoring bodies had to contend with serious understaffing. The researchers state that this development caused various types of crime to thrive on Sint Maarten. Fact is that since October 10th 2010 Government has adopted and implemented plans to increase staffing at practically all agencies mentioned.
This CBA gives those who are involved in law enforcement a clear picture of the background of the crimes that take place as well as a picture of the root causes of crime that need to be addressed.
Not surprisingly also youth crime is a major concern which must be addressed swiftly and in the long term. Drug abuse and drug dealing, school absence and hanging around with the wrong crowd are key issues. Tackling the problem of youth crime should not only be the responsibility of law enforcement agencies. The government as a whole, NGO's and the private sector will all have to contribute, primarily in crime prevention. Only when the approach enjoys broad-based support, will it have a chance of success. The Attorney General emphasized this point while presenting the CBA to Minister Roland Duncan.
This Crime Pattern Analysis on Sint Maarten follows those made on Aruba, Curacao and Bonaire. The production of these CBA's is the result of an agreement in the consultation among the Attorneys-General of the countries in the Kingdom.
The full Dutch text and English summary of the Sint Maarten Crime Pattern Analysis is posted on the Government Website www.sintmaartengov.org. , click on " Ministry of Justice" and subsequently on "What's new".