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Minister Richardson signs decree to relax restricted hours for heavy equipment operators. (UPDATED)

annajustice07122022PHILIPSBURG:--- 

– On Sunday, December 4, 2022, the Honorable Minister of Justice Anna E. Richardson met with a group of heavy equipment operators together with her support staff. A meeting was held after the operators raised concerns in response to a publication released by the Ministry of Justice reminding the general public of the strict enforcement of the reinstated restricted hours for heavy equipment vehicles to be on the public road per December 1, 2022. In attendance were the Chief of Police Carl John, Chief Inspector Delano Baptist, Head of Judicial Affairs Romona Ismail, and Senior Legal Policy Advisor of Judicial Affairs Geertje van Haperen.

Minister Richardson stated, “For the past 4.5 years, heavy equipment operators have been operating during the restricted hours that were relaxed by the former Minister of Justice after hurricanes Irma and Maria with the intention to do so until the island was cleared of debris. However, with the increase of complaints the Ministry has been receiving from the public concerning heavy equipment driving behavior on the public roads, I believe it was best to reinstate the restricted hours as stated in the Traffic Ordinance.”

During the meeting, operators stated that the Traffic Ordinance prior to the relaxing of the restricted hours poses an impediment to their operational ability during a time when there is still a very urgent need for reconstruction material, concrete and lumber, and general goods and services resulting in an increase of costs. Minister Richardson took the time to hear the grievances of the operators and presented them with an alternative proposal to implement a Ministerial Decree that will temporarily limit the strict enforcement of Article 60A of the Traffic Ordinance to all school zones.

Minister Richardson’s decree as per December 6, 2022, will serve as a temporarily limited implementation of one article of the Traffic Ordinance prohibiting any heavy equipment vehicle from being operated or driven on the public road in school zones to ensure the safety of not only students but all public road users. During weekdays, heavy equipment vehicles may operate on the public roads with the exception of school zones during the following hours: 6:30-8:30 AM and 12:00-2:00 PM. The school zones included in the decree consist of several streets in Philipsburg, Dutch Cul-de-Sac, St. Peters, Ebenezer, South Reward, Cay Hill, Cole Bay, Simpson Bay, Cupecoy and Belvedere. In addition, operators must adhere to all the other technical requirements in the regulation and traffic rules for heavy equipment vehicles as determined in the regulation.

mapheavyequipment07122022“The concerns of the public have been heard and hence the reason the law has been restored. At the same time, I understand the challenge the operators and other affiliates are subjected to with the restricted hours. The decree is of a temporary nature and will be evaluated after six months. It is quite an adjustment but we must all co-exist and this is the reason I have proposed the decree as we explore options that ensure the safety of the community at large,” stated Minister Richardson

The safety and security of all who use public roads remain an important matter for the Ministry of Justice. As such, the Police Force of Sint Maarten (KPSM) will carry out regular traffic controls to enforce the regulations of the Traffic Ordinance and related legislation. Failure to adhere to the reinstated traffic regulations can lead to imposed sanctions.


Ministry of Justice responds to complaints filed regarding the search of suspects.

annarichardson11012022PHILIPSBURG:--- The Ministry of Justice values informing the public about the circumstances of the complaints made by arrested suspects concerning the searches of their bodies in the police station. Due to the fact that the criminal cases are still ongoing, a substantive response about these cases is not possible, so as not to obstruct the course of justice.

In general, an arrested suspect may be subjected to an examination of the clothing, body, and even inside the body according to the Code of Criminal Procedure and the official police instructions (ambtsinstructie), including upon detainment in a cell for safety reasons and to be able to seize illegal or dangerous materials that a suspect may have hidden. Examination of clothing may also include partial undressing. As the searches on and inside the body concern personal integrity, these searches may only be carried out when an (assistant) public prosecutor or examining magistrate determines that this search type is necessary for the investigation and the safety of all concerned, and so justifiable reasons warrant this type of search.

Following complaints filed, an internal investigation was immediately launched by the Internal Affairs Bureau of the Police Force of Sint Maarten (KPSM). The investigation focused on the complaints filed against particular officers, while procedures and policies regarding searches were also reviewed and assessed. As the investigation progressed, all intermediary findings were responded to with immediate measures as this relates to procedures and policies. In this process, the organization was assessed per layer on roles of supervision relating to searches and a reinforcement of the legal requirements to be fulfilled when searches are conducted. While the final results of the internal investigation have not yet been formulated, to substantiate the further (disciplinary) measures to be taken, the investigation did indicate that the procedures set by law were not fully followed for the type of search conducted with the complainants. The apology extended underscored the acknowledgment that a procedure was not fully followed.

As it relates to the accusations of lewd acts and acts of tort committed by the officers in question during the searches, the completion of the internal- and criminal investigations has to be awaited.

While the aforementioned processes are ongoing which is restricting the release of further details at this time, the management of KPSM has in its meetings and in team meetings handled these complaints through every segment of the organization. The update of the search protocol and retraining on search requirements and methods for officers have also been followed up with a workshop for assistant public prosecutors, held by the Public Prosecutors office.

The Ministry of Justice stands for the values of the rule of law and the rights of suspects in the criminal process. The authorities assigned to the police officers regarding the search of suspects must be properly implemented and adhered to, in the interest of both the criminal process and the safety of suspects and police officers. With the measures taken so far, the Minister of Justice is confident that respective protocols and legal framework that are in place for investigative authorities will be adhered to and this transgression of authority will not occur again. Upon the conclusion of the investigations, the public shall be further updated.

COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic Closed Thursday.

PHILIPSBURG (DCOMM):---  The Collective Prevention Services (CPS), COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic, would like to inform the general public that the clinic at the CPS Offices at the Vineyard Building Office Park in Philipsburg is closed on Thursday, December 8 due to unforeseen circumstances.

Persons aged 12 years and older can receive their COVID-19 Pfizer Bivalent Booster on Thursdays. The booster is entirely free of charge and voluntary.

Please bring your vaccination card and a form of Identification (ID). CPS is requesting all visitors to wear a mask while inside the clinic.

COVID-19 vaccines continue to help protect against severe illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19 disease.

For more information, you can call CPS 914, 542-1222 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Ife Badejo chosen for International Visitors Leadership Program.

~Ife was nominated by the U.S. Consulate and is the first St. Maartener to be selected for this premier program~

ifebadejoe06122022PHILIPSBURG:---  A delegation from the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Consulate Curacao traveled to the island of Sint Maarten during Global Entrepreneurship Week. In addition to other official courtesy meetings, the Chief of Mission and Consul General, the Honorable Ms. Bond, invited a handful of key stakeholders to dinner for an opportunity to share challenges pertaining to economic growth, explore commercial opportunities, and discover ways in which the U.S. Consulate and by extension, the U.S. government, can effectively support sustainable economic growth on Sint Maarten.

Those invited to the “Dream Up Innovation” dinner included the Branch Manager of the Centrale Bank van Curaçao en Sint Maarten, Ms. Raquel Lo fo Wong, a faith-based leader and IEP Peace Ambassador, Dr. Alicia Liverpool, Damien Schmidt, Project Coordinator at the Princess Juliana International Airport, Minister of Finance, Hon. Ardwell Irion and his chief of staff, Christian Grannum, and Ife Badejo assisted the Consulate in organizing the dinner.

Representatives of the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Consulate included the Director of the Office of Caribbean Affairs, Katharine Beamer, Shannon Rooney, Washington desk officer for the Dutch Caribbean, Chief of Mission and Consul General, Margy Bond, Consul for Political, Economic and Public Affairs, Kristin Lundberg, and Public Affairs Specialist, Sady El Hage.

During this dinner, guests discussed strategies for increased economic growth and proposed creative solutions to common entrepreneurial problems. One topic was on the Orange economy being a key driver for economic growth in St. Maarten. Another topic was digital payments and how to engage with bigger firms to help solve this problem. There were also discussions on how to keep the people motivated and support them in cultivating an innovative mindset and thus building an innovative culture.

A few months ago, Ife Badejo was nominated by the U.S. Consulate in Curacao to participate in the State Department’s premier professional exchange program, the International Visitor Leadership Program, due to her work empowering entrepreneurs in Sint Maarten. Fellows of this program can only participate once they are selected by the U.S. State Department after receiving a nomination from a local Embassy or Consulate. The U.S. invests in current and emerging foreign leaders around the world and offers them an opportunity to go to the U.S. for three (3) weeks to foster relationships with their global counterparts in their area of expertise. Ife will be focused on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.

The Director of Caribbean Affairs, Katharine Beamer, made the announcement at the Dream Up Innovation Dinner which took place on Wednesday, November 16. At the closing of the dinner, Mrs. Beamer thanked Ife for assisting in coordinating the dinner and then said,

“I understand that my colleagues at the Consulate in Curacao nominated you for a program called the International Visitor Leadership Program. I am really thrilled to say that you have been selected by Washington to travel to the United States to participate in this program on entrepreneurship in the spring of 2023. We’re super proud and inspired by you. We’ll be investing in you and we know that this will be another step in building an incredible relationship between you and the United States, and your contribution to your country, the region, and the world. Thank you so much and we’re delighted to have you.”

Ife will be the first St. Maartener selected for the multi-regional entrepreneurship program and will join 19 other fellows from around the world in the U.S. in April 2023. A few notable IVLP alumni include former prime ministers Margaret Thatcher (UK), Tony Blair (UK), and Julia Gillard (Australia). Ife Badejo was selected for her commitment to entrepreneurship development, advocacy on digital economic inclusion, and the work she has led under Islandpreneur.

In addition to the dinner, the U.S. delegation joined the final pitch practice session of the National Youth Pitch Competition on November 17 before departing the island. Consul General Margaret Bond, Vinod Kotaai, board member of the St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Vincentia Rosen- Sandiford, director of the Bureau of Intellectual Property for Sint Maarten served as mock jury panelists. Other members of the community and the delegation served as a practice audience. The delegation and audience also provided valuable feedback for students in preparation for the finals which took place on November 20.

For more information about the International Visitor Leadership Program, visit https://exchanges.state.gov/non-us/program/international-visitor-leadership-program-ivlp. To learn more about the US Consulate in Curacao, visit https://cw.usconsulate.gov/.


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