PHILIPSBURG:--- Having taken note of the senseless act of violence carried out by bikers on Friday, October 15, 2021, on a family, whereby a four-month-old baby suffered serious injuries to her head and eyes, after a group of bikers threw a rock through the rear window of the vehicle that she was in, Minister of Justice Anna E. Richardson has renewed her call on the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Sint Maarten to take serious and swift action against all reckless behavior exhibited by riders of motorcycles and scooters on the island.
As a point of the first action, Minister Richardson sent a communication to the Attorney General of Sint Maarten and Curacao; Mr. Ton Maan, calling for his attention to prioritizing this matter.
Minister Richardson also contacted the parents of the four-month-old baby on Monday, October 18, 2021, to offer her apology for the unfortunate experience and expressed that her thoughts were with the family during this time. “I’m grateful the baby is recovering well and that she’s said to be in good spirit,” said Minister Richardson.
It was in April 2020, soon after taking office, that Minister Richardson, because of the numerous complaints received from residents about the unabated nuisance experienced from bike riders while driving in traffic and residing in their neighborhoods, that Minister indicated that a crackdown would be set in place to combat bikers’ illegal activities.
Despite efforts from the Sint Maarten Police Force since then to address this matter, which have resulted in a number of successful confiscations of motorbikes and scooters, the problem remains. Minister Richardson finds it unfortunate to note that further activity to maintain consistency in this area is lacking.
The illegal behavior of riders of motorbikes and scooters continues to be a safety hazard for not only the law-abiding persons living in Sint Maarten but also for the illegal operators of said vehicles and it is for this reason that Minister Richardson is taking immediate steps to put a zero-tolerance policy in place to combat all illegal activities by riders of motorbikes, scooters, dirt bikes, etc. along with the unauthorized street races organized for these bikes.
In addition, the Sint Maarten police force has been requested to seek the cooperation of the authorities on the French side of the island, who themselves are familiar with the bodily harm that illegal riders can inflict on innocent persons as a result of their behavior, to discuss a joint approach to get illegal bikes off the roads.
Minister Richardson would like to reiterate that all persons making use of the public roads on Sint Maarten must adhere to the rules and regulations noted in our national traffic ordinance.
Far too many persons in the community have had the unfortunate experience of these riders who demonstrate an outlaw attitude toward motorists and despite being in violation of countless traffic laws, the reckless riders are quick to violently react to drivers despite being in the wrong. They constantly ride on the wrong side of the road. There is video footage circulating on social media of wheeling through and moving through traffic as these riders ensure to exhibit an attitude of being untouchable.
The community of Sint Maarten has been calling for action to be taken to deal with this matter and Minister Richardson has escalated the call to the Attorney-General to see to it that the Police Force of Sint Maarten receives the needed support to execute a joint action plan to address these lawbreakers.