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St. Maarten minister Duncan: Justice Park progressing

MONDAY, 31 DECEMBER 2012

PHILIPSBURG–The planned US $100-million Justice Park is getting closer. Justice Minister Roland Duncan said he is “pretty close” to finalising the lease for the land and buildings to be constructed in Cay Bay.

Speaking on “People’s Voice,” a radio programme on PJD2, Duncan said he expects some finalisation on the lease and other aspects of the Park by the end of January/early February. The “headings” of the lease agreements have been worked out with the park developers. He is working on shortening the lease period from 32 years.

The Justice Minister pointed out that the multi-million dollar project would have significant impact on the economy in the three years the park will take to be constructed. He said people need to see the spin off for construction and other companies and the jobs that will be created.

Immigrants will foot the bill for the planned Justice Park in Cay Hill via a pending amendment to the Admittance and Expulsion Law LTU that seeks to establish annual fees for residence permits.

The draft amendment has set the fee for a “basic” residence permit at NAf. 1,500 per year, NAf. 2,500 for residence permit holders in managerial position and NAf. 5,000 for permit holders who are directors. The residence permit fee for youngsters under age 18 will be NAf. 750. Payment of the fees will be for the account of the permit holders, not the business they work for. Some NAf. 20 million is expected to be collected from these pending new fees.

The development of the Justice Park will allow for the Pointe Blanche House of Detention to be renovated and changed into a maximum security prison, with provision for prisoners who need psychiatric care. The park in Cay Hill will house the medium security prison, youth correctional facility and youth detention centre, as well as the central kitchen, medical and conjugal visit cells.

The Justice Park will also house the Courthouse and the Court of Guardianship. Duncan said the historical Courthouse on Front Street is too small for the needs of the justice change and has “serious security risks” being in the centre of town.
Government will pay a rent of 10 per cent of the value of each building the Justice Ministry puts into use in the Justice Park. Rent will not be levied until the ministry has moved into the buildings. “This gives us flexibility.” Rental amounts paid to house Justice Departments elsewhere in the country will also be put to the Justice Park rent, once the department has moved there. Rent levy for commercial buildings is set at 12 per cent in the rental regulation. Government will be paying 10 per cent in rent.

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