On Friday, June 17th, 2022, the Court of First Instance rendered its decision denying a request to suspend the decision of the Honorable Minister of Justice Anna E. Richardson regarding the deportation of a man who previously resided on St. Maarten legally for an extended period of time. The man requested his permanent residence permit, however, during the processing time of the application for the permanent permit, he committed a crime for which he served a prison sentence.
Even though the man at the time of submitting the application did not have a criminal record, the Minister is by law, authorized to take into consideration facts and circumstances that could result in a person not being eligible for issuance of a residence permit. In this case, the man's permit request was denied based on the Ordinance Admittance and Expulsion of St. Maarten, in the interest of public order since he had committed a crime on St. Maarten. In addition, even though the man is a Director of a Company, for which he received his previous residence permit, he could not prove that he met the income requirements due to his incarceration.
The man's appeal against the denial was also filed too late and deemed inadmissible which resulted in him residing on St. Maarten illegally. The Minister issued a detention and deportation order based on the above facts. The man has been detained for a couple of days but because he cooperated with the deportation, he only stayed in detention for a couple of days before being deported. Based on the deportation order of the Minister of Justice, he is not allowed to return to St. Maarten for a period of three years.
The man’s Attorney, Mr. Edwin Maduro submitted a petition to the Court requesting a suspension of the deportation order and to instruct the Minister to allow the man to return to St. Maarten as he is a director of a company that is still operational, and his wife and two kids are residing on St. Maarten. Attorney Maduro complained about the manner in which persons are deported within a couple of days after being detained without allowing them to appeal the deportation orders and deemed the manner in which the man was deported unlawful.
On behalf of the Minister of Justice, Attorney Ms. Cindy Marica, explained to the Court that the man is a convict who based on the Immigration Laws of St. Maarten, cannot obtain a residence permit. The Minister is by law authorized to deny an application (or even revoke an existing residence permit) in the interest of public order in cases like this. The fact that the man is a director of a company and/or has a family on St. Maarten under these circumstances is not a decisive factor. The man should not be allowed back to St. Maarten as he has brought himself in this situation by committing a criminal act. Moreover, his appeal against the denial of his residence permit was submitted too late and even if the appeal would be successful, he will not be able to submit a Declaration of Good Conduct given his criminal record.
The Court agreed with the arguments on behalf of the Minister of Justice and disregarded the arguments of the man with regard to the manner in which the deportation took place. The Court denied the requests to suspend the deportation order and allow the man to return to St. Maarten to run his business.
All visitors are urged to respect the immigration laws of St. Maarten. If you plan on residing on the island, you must apply for a residence permit at the Immigration and Border Protection Services. First time applicants should not be on St. Maarten during the processing of their application.