Judge rules in favor of inmates on St. Maarten, parliament requests meeting with minister Duncan on prison issues

MONDAY, 18 JUNE 2012

PHILIPSBURG--The United People's (UP) party fraction in Parliament has requested an "urgent" Central Committee meeting with Justice Minister Roland Duncan about the "recurring prison fracas."

The request for the meeting was submitted on June 11 and it should be called by President of Parliament Gracita Arrindell (UP) in the coming days. It was signed by UP Members of Parliament (MPs) Silvia Meyers-Olivacce, Johan "Janchi" Leonard, Dr. Ruth Douglass and Jules James.

The UP members also want Duncan to provide information about the continued protests by Pointe Blanche House of Detention inmates that have grown into a court case.

Judge C.T.M. Luijks ruled in favour of the Inmates Association on June 11, in its lawsuit filed against country St. Maarten. The association, represented by lawyer Shaira Bommel, had demanded that inmates who had been removed from the facility in Pointe Blanche to holding cells in the Philipsburg police station be returned to the Pointe Blanche prison.
It also had demanded that the court deny country St. Maarten's request to forbid the association from organising future strikes.

Judge Luijks ruled that the inmates be returned to the Pointe Blanche prison within two hours after the service of his judgement; that they be returned their rights to receive visitors; and that three meals per day be provided to them. If his ruling is not implemented, country St. Maarten will be fined NAf. 1,000 for every day, to a maximum of NAf. 250,000. Several other monetary penalties were levied against government. Government is appealing the verdict.
Duncan had told MPs during the Parliament meeting dealing with the Penal Code in May that he wanted to have a separate meeting with them to report on the so-called riots staged by the prisoners.