Speech Rafael Boasman launch of Asset Recovery Team

PHILIPSBURG - Speech by the Minister of Justice of Sint Maarten, Rafael Boasman, today at the occasion of the launching of the "Asset Recovery Team Sint Maarten" (Afpakteam Sint Maarten)

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As a Minister of Justice I find it important to continuously look for new approaches to make our society a safer place.
To seize illicit generated money is an example of such a new approach while tackling organized crime.
The Government of country Sint Maarten takes the tackling of organized crime very seriously.
It is important that citizens feel safe in their country, and understand that crime does not pay.
It cannot be that while upright citizens are busy earning an honest living, others are making money by being involved in criminal activities. That sends a wrong message to our society.
Our youth has to realize that crime does not pay, If you are involved in earning a living in partaking in criminal activities, it should be realized that the Asset Recovery Team will seize the illicit funds.
The focus of most forms of criminal activities are geared towards generating money. Therefor it is logical to deter the motive to partake in criminal activities by seizing the illicit funds, subsequently, the motive to commit crimes.
In general, criminals assess time in prison as a business risk, however, seizing their illicit funds hits them harder.
Therefore, I wholeheartedly support the establishment of the Asset Recovery Team. This team will comprise of civil servants of the Sint Maarten Police Force, the Coast Guard, Customs, the Tax Office, under the supervision of the Public Prosecutor’s Office.
I like the idea that this team is comprised of local agencies.
Sint Maarten finds it of utmost importance to tackle crime with the aforementioned agencies.
I am pleased with the cooperation of these agencies. The investigative capacity of the different agencies is limited. Choices has to been made whether or not investigate a particular case, and by which means to do so.
With the cooperation within the Asset Recovery Team, we as a Government, can utilize all our administrative, criminal and fiscal capabilities. This is very effective!
Only by making maximum use of all the resources that are at our disposal as a Government, we will be able to deal crime a heavy blow.
However, I would like to warn that cooperation is harder than it seems.
This is due to the respective agencies having different goals and ways of doing things. Cooperation is to comprise. The Department Heads play an important role in ensuring that this cooperation is effective.
This makes your contribution very important. You play a role in building bridges between the agencies.
I would like to take this moment to emphasize that the Asset Recovery Team will not seize houses, yachts, cars or money without a legitimate cause. Persons with a clear conscience should not have anything to fear.
We live in a democratic state governed by the rule of law, where citizens are protected by rules and legislations. This also applies to this new approach to tackle crime.
As previously mentioned, criminals have something to fear in that their illicit funds will be seized, and be distributed to the community. The money can be used to initiate projects to make society a safer and therefore better place. In a nutshell, this is a win-win- situation. Our society will become a safer place and funds will be available within the justice chain.
In conclusion, I wish the members of the Asset Recovery Team lots of success, but also pleasure in their work and to make this new working model effective.
You have an important task ahead. A task that bears a heavy burden and will demand a lot out of you. You have been chosen by your heads for a reason to be a part of this special team.
By having a good cooperation, using an integral work approach, being result oriented and being creative, this new approach will succeed.
I therefore conclude with the theme of my ministry;
“Impetus, a force that causes an object to begin moving, or to continue to move”.
Thank you for your attention!

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