~ Minister of Justice and VSA have no information on questionable death of Mental Health Patient.~
PHILIPSBURG:---- The investigation surrounding the death of Mental Health patient Lance Thomas has become a public secret even though the Landsrecherche conducted an investigation. Minister of Justice Anna Richardson said in response to questions on Wednesday that as the Minister of Justice she does not interfere or meddle in the investigations, she said the Prosecutor told her that they would inform the bereaved family of Lance Thomas on the outcome of the investigation. Richardson said she does not know if that was done or not, but made it clear that as Minister of Justice she was not given any further information.
Asked if it has been determined who is responsible for the death of Lance Thomas and if anyone that was in contact while he was placed in a police holding cell will be prosecuted. Minister Richardson said she was not given any information.
Minister of Public Health Omar Ottley in an invited comment said that he also did not receive any information on the case from the Ministry of Justice. Ottley said that he does not know if the autopsy report is in and what exactly caused Thomas’s death. “ I also need to know what happened as I need to know if any malpractice was committed by anyone working for the Ministry of VSA and its institutions.”
Ottley said the Justice Ministry took over the investigation while the Inspectorate of Health headed by Dr. Earl Best has to submit a report to him on the case. Ottley said so far the Inspectorate did not submit the report and they have asked for more time to complete their investigations.
Ottley explained that he sent a letter to the Inspectorate informing them that they have until March 2022 to submit this report to his cabinet.
It should be noted that Dr. Kitty Pelswyk’s decree expired in November 2021 and was extended pending the outcome of the investigations.
Relatives of the late Lance Thomas said they are not allowed to make comments on the case since the investigation is still ongoing.
Reports such as the one conducted by the Landsrechere should be made public since the death of Lance Thomas is not an isolated case. There are several families that have relatives with mental health issues and unless the persons responsible for the deaths of patients such as Thomas are held responsible then there will be recurrences.