PHILIPSBURG:--- Leader of the United St. Maarten Party (USP) Member of Parliament Frans Richardson on Friday said the party and its membership is proud of the fact that it honored the memory of Officer Gamali Benjamin by ensuring that his brothers and sisters in blue of the Police Department have received some of the tools they need to stay safe and fight crime. Officer Benjamin sacrificed his life in August of 2015 while responding to a robbery call of a jewelry store on Frontstreet. He was shot on that day, August 5, 2015 and died three days later on August 8.
“The entire island and elsewhere was thrown into a state of shock when Officer Benjamin was so brutally gunned down. In reflecting on that tragic day and remembering Officer Benjamin, we figured the best way to honor his memory is to keep our promise to his colleagues that we will do all we can to make sure they get the tools they need,” MP Richardson said. “Are we 100% there yet? No, but we have put forward a genuine and sincere effort to take care of the civil servants that fall under the Justice Ministry and that will continue,” he added.
When it assumed responsibility over justice in the current governing coalition in early 2016, the USP instructed appointed Minister Edson Kirindongo to “take care of the people first and foremost”. This directive has resulted in over 140 national decrees signed for police, immigration, customs, national detectives and coast guard, the forensic lab and shooting range building was signed, bought and executed, the camera system was finally realized, the insurance coverage for Ministry of Justice personnel, the establishment of the K-9 brigade ect.
“Officer Benjamin was a decent soul, a good Police officer and a solid member of this community. All of us felt a sense of loss, many still feel that today. He is never far from our thoughts as was expressed during the launching of the camera system and forensic building. To his family, on behalf of the USP, please take comfort in knowing that he will never be forgotten, cherished forever. The USP honors all law enforcement officers who put their own safety at risk to ensure the safety of our community. We urge everyone to take a moment to reflect on the sacrifices that have been made,” Richardson said.