Council for Law Enforcement presents report to judicial chain on St. Maarten


PHILIPSBURG--Chairman of the Council for Law Enforcement Franklyn Richards presented the report "The complaint filing procedure in St. Maarten" to representatives of leading entities in the judicial chain on Monday.
The report was presented to Minister of Justice Roland Duncan, Chief Prosecutor Hans Mos and Chief Police Commissioner Peter de Witte. They all welcomed the report and indicated their commitment towards implementing its recommendations.

The report is based on research conducted by the Council and draws attention to a substantial number of challenges when a complaint has to be filed. The Council generally concluded that the police force faces shortcomings in resources and personnel while it also suffers from a lack of sufficient expertise. This, in turn, affects the quality of reports drafted about complaints, resulting in negative consequences for investigations.

The Council for Law Enforcement's report also concluded that the services surrounding the filing of complaints faces pressure and that information provided by both Police and the Prosecutor's Office could use some improvement.
The Council, however, also agreed that identified deficiencies within the police force have been recognized and that several improvements are already underway, albeit that more has to be done in several areas.
However, the Council considers there is more to be done. The report has thus listed a number of concrete recommendations to the police organization and to the Prosecutor's Office with the objective of improving the procedure to file complaints.

The Council for Law Enforcement was established in 2011 by Kingdom decree. It is an inter-insular body, responsible for the inspection of the various organizations within the justice system. The ultimate objective is to provide recommendations to the Ministers of Justice of the three countries of the Dutch Kingdom to correct shortcomings.
The Council consists of three members who are appointed by royal decree and represent Curaçao, The Netherlands for Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba, and St. Maarten.

The representative of Curaçao is Glenn Camelia. Representing The Netherlands is Jacques van Eck, while former Lt. Governor Franklyn Richards represents St. Maarten. The latter has been chairman of the Council since July 1.
The Council has inspection authority in Curaçao, St. Maarten and the Caribbean Netherlands. This entails checks of all organizations within the justice system, with the exception of the Joint Court of Justice.

Important organizations in the judicial chain are the Police and Prosecutor's Office. The Council is additionally tasked with safeguarding the quality and effectiveness of judicial cooperation between St. Maarten, Curaçao and the Caribbean Netherlands. The Council reports to the Ministers of Justice. Six weeks after sending a report to the Minister, the Council can make that report public.

The investigation into the complaints procedure is the Council's first study. This investigation was conducted simultaneously in St. Maarten, Curaçao and the Caribbean Netherlands. The results of that survey were presented to the respective Ministers of Justice of the three countries. Under the law, the ministers formulate a response to the report and forward such to the relevant body of the country concerned.

The Council operates with an annual plan. For 2012, three investigations are still on the agenda and are related to the process regarding assistance to victims, detective investigations and the Court of Guardianship.
The Council has a secretariat with offices in St. Maarten, Curaçao and Bonaire.