Joint police services stumbling block

During the Political Steering Committee of yesterday evening, Curacao and St. Maarten could not agree with the Netherlands on one important issue on the consensus statutory law Police: the joint police services.

“The corpses are too small to do everything alone”, says state secretary Ank Bijleveld-Schouten (Kingdom Relations, CDA). Therefore, the Netherlands wants to determine what is going to be arranged in the joint police services that must be established as stated in the final declaration. However, Curaçao is afraid for the undermining of the own police corps and doesn’t want to already lay down everything in details.

According to Jesus-Leito, the Justice-ministers’ periodic deliberation between the Netherlands, the Neth.Antilles, and Aruba must serve as example. “Certain cooperation areas are specifically designated when necessary, but as new country, we also want to have a full-time police corps.”

Bijleveld sees it different: “It’s going to be a full-time corps in Curacao and St. Maarten, with investigation duties.” According to the state secretary, the problem is that ‘some think that there is no need for joint services’. The Netherlands is strong on joint police services. “Good investment in joint services is very important for the quality of the organization, for the trainings, for the improvement of the entire corps. To me it is clear that the joint provisions are settled in the final

The passage in question in the final declaration is concise though: “The position and organization of the joint police services are regulated by consensus- statutory law, univocally driven, and have a budget fixed by the council of ministers for the Kingdom.” The joint police services must be driven by the ministers of Justice of the different countries Curacao and St. Maarten, and the Netherlands on behalf of the BES-islands.

Jesus-Leito: “We are not saying ‘no joint service’. Absolutely not! But you do see that there is a difference in opinion.” She named the matters that can be regulated jointly: education and trainings, ranking system, cross-border criminality.
Also Commissioner Sarah Wescot-Williams of St. Maarten says: “We agreed on the formulation in the final declaration, which means that we’ll have to work together in certain areas; that a joint service ought to be set up. But what shape it’s going to get and which are going to be its tasks, must be worked out still.”

The political deliberation was started with a list of 15 decision issues. Jesus-Leito: “We could notice very early in the meeting that we could agree on 8 issues without any problem. We got a long way on also other issues, with the exception of the joint services.” Bijleveld lists the issues on which an agreement was reached: a corps for each of the two countries and for the BES-islands; the minimum police power; the general job description; regulate the police authority; mutual availability of police officers; authority of the procurator-general; integrity policy; consultation obligation; and possibility to take actions with the order in council for the kingdom (AMvRB).

(Source: National Newspaper Amigoe)

July 10, 2008

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