On Wednesday, September 29, the Honorable Minister of Justice Anna E.
Richardson visited the National Police Academy in Apeldoorn, Netherlands as her
last stop before returning to Sint Maarten. Minister Richardson received a warm
welcome from Team Chief and Project Leader for Education in the Dutch Caribbean
Region, Mr. Rob Appelhof and Sector Head of Basic Police Education of the
Police Academy, Mr. Rik de Boer. During the work visit, a presentation was
given as it relates to the institution, the curriculum, and the training that
the National Police Academy offers in the Netherlands and in Sint Maarten.
Force of Sint Maarten (KPSM) currently benefits from a cooperation agreement
whereby instructors from the National Police Academy visit Sint Maarten to
administer courses. Minister Richardson sees this cooperation as an added value
for KPSM however, she firmly believes that an on-campus experience is more
impactful and ingraining. As such, the Ministry of Justice is exploring opportunities
for officers in training to be afforded an opportunity to experience a blended
education trajectory that includes either the ORV (Opleidingsinstituut
Rechtshandhaving en Veiligheid) Institute in Curaçao or the National Police
Academy in the Netherlands.
Richardson was particularly intrigued by Mr. Appelhof’s vision to develop a
unified learning curriculum for all the police forces within the Kingdom of the
Netherlands. He foresees a future where the Caribbean countries of the Kingdom
along with the Dutch Caribbean municipalities (Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba)
each have their own accredited training institute in an effort to train all
officers within the Kingdom in a uniformed manner. This is in total alignment
with Minister Richardson’s vision and pursuit to have the Law Enforcement
Institute of Sint Maarten, established.
Having a tour
of the National Police Academy in the Netherlands gave Minister Richardson and
her support staff a chance to see the various classrooms and training equipment
needed to ensure the institute is outfitted with the necessary environments to
help facilitate specialized courses and more. As the National Police Academy
has seven locations in the Netherlands, Minister Richardson requested that the
blueprint of the most modern institution be shared with her, so that the design
for the Law Enforcement Institute of Sint Maarten can use this as a guide when
the design is being made.
discussions, Minister Richardson stated her wish to support KPSM and its officers
to be the best that they can be and queried about the areas of improvement
needed. Mr. Appelhof stated that a fitness and dojo facility are needed for
KPSM so that they can conduct proper fitness training for the staff. Prior to
hurricanes Irma and Maria, equipment was shipped to Sint Maarten for this
purpose, however, the intended space was damaged. The equipment remains
secured, however, the Ministry is in need of a location to execute the
Richardson and her delegation were also given an opportunity to experience the
virtual shooting range. With the virtual shooting system, the cost of
purchasing ammunition for training can be reduced significantly. Where the
National Police Academy once used over two thousand rounds of ammunition, they
can now use less than one thousand rounds of ammunition as officers first
sharpen their skills on the virtual platform and test these skills with live
ammunition thereafter. This is a direction Minister Richardson wishes to
explore for Sint Maarten as a means to also reduce cost.
and his team expressed much gratitude to Minister Richardson for visiting their
institution. He expressed that it was quite an honor that the Minister saw it
of importance to visit and learn about their National Police Academy. This
working visit paves the way for the opportunity to make a connection and build
a meaningful working relationship with the National Police Academy in the best
interest of KPSM.
is expected to visit Sint Maarten in the coming weeks in connection with an
upcoming graduating class of KPSM. During that visit, Mr. Appelhof and Minister
Richardson will meet again to discuss their vision and plans.
Richardson expressed her commitment to strengthening all agencies within the
Ministry of Justice. “That is the purpose of my work visit to the Netherlands.
Mission accomplished!” stated Minister Richardson.
grateful that this work visit has brought much awareness and many connections
in various areas that directly or indirectly affect the services of the Justice
chain in Sint Maarten. The face-to-face meetings have intrigued our colleagues
and partners in the Netherlands to work more closely with us, to support us,
and give guidance where and when necessary as we are all dealing with the same
or similar matters," she continued.
work begins as my team and I forge forward to apply what we have learned. There
are a lot of changes and improvements up ahead. I assure the civil servants of
the Ministry of Justice and the people of Sint Maarten that all efforts are
geared towards the overall betterment of our justice system with the sole
interest of protection, safety and, security.” concluded Minister Richardson.