St. Maarten was made aware that the Netherlands would be returning three of our detainees on March 28, 2020, who were transferred to the Netherlands due to the state that our prison was in after Hurricane Irma. During the discussions with the Netherlands concerning the transfer of the detainees, it quickly became evident that it was not possible for the detainees to remain in the Netherlands any longer.
Considering the limited resources that St. Maarten has, Prime Minister and Chair of the Emergency Operations Center EOC, Silveria Jacobs, made a strong plea to the Dutch Minister of Legal Protection Min. Dekker requesting additional time of one week to get the necessary support system in place, to ensure an adequate transfer and accommodation of the detainees. Despite this plea, Minister Dekker insisted that the detainees return to St. Maarten within the time frame that was set giving St. Maarten no other option than to accept the return of the detainees.
This operation was made possible with the cooperation of the Minister of Justice of Curacao Mr. Quincy Girigorie and Minister of Traffic, Transport and Spatial Planning of Curaçao Mrs. Zita Jesus-Leto.
On March 31st, 2020, the three detainees returned from the Netherlands to St. Maarten accompanied by members of the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee. The transfer took place via Curacao to St. Maarten, where the detainees and their escorts were transferred securely. Upon successful completion of the transfer of the detainees to Sint Maarten, the security escorts flew directly back to Curacao with the same charter.
“On behalf of St. Maarten, I would like to express our gratitude towards both Minister, Girigorie and Minister Jesus-Leto, as well as all the persons involved in the safe transport and security our the detainees,” stated Minister Richardson.