Police on St. Maarten no longer responsible for immigration controls
WEDNESDAY 1 AUGUST 2012, PHILIPSBURG – Justice Minister Roland Duncan signed a covenant on Tuesday that will govern the relationship between the police and the Immigration and Naturalization Department when it comes to finding people who are living here without the required documents. The document was signed during a meeting with the three man committee monitoring the implementation of the plans of approach.
Duncan followed up the signing by swearing in roughly eight officers for the Immigration Patrol Unit and the IND’s Director Udo Aron as extraordinary police officers. This allows them to make arrests and use force. The signing also means that officers like Chief Inspector Barbij and Head of Immigration at the Airport Geronimo Juliet who previously fell under the police force will be transferred to IND. Duncan has already begun the process of drafting the relevant decrees that will also allow for relevant equipment to be transferred.
There is one issue though in that the organization and structure for the cooperation is not yet complete. The key principle is simple though. Police will patrol and maintain public order and the immigration department will work with the Customs department on securing the borders.
This development and other positive developments detailed in the past have led Duncan to indicate his belief that the targets in the plans of approach have been achieved and there is no need to continue it.