PHILIPSBURG – Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Justice Rafael Boasman updated members of the press in Wednesday’s, July 26, Council of Ministers Press Briefing.
He started by giving an update on the status of life insurance policies for the workers at the Ministry. “Those policies are being signed off right now by the Secretary General of the Ministries and hopefully by the end of the week, all employees would have their policies in their hands. So that chapter has been finalized as far as the life insurance policies are concerned,” Minister Boasman informed.
Then he addressed the gun policy. “The release was made and it appeared in the newspaper and in the National Gazette pertaining to the general extension of the gun policies and based on that the Ministry has received a lot of queries. A lot of those questions were circled around one particular point, where it was being asked if someone in ‘my family’ had a gun permit and they passed what then? And I think it was mentioned in the policy that the extension of a gun permit is not hereditary. It doesn’t pass on to anyone. I just want to make that very clear. So if someone in your family had a gun permit and unfortunately they passed, then I strongly advise to take that weapon to the Police Department and deposit it there. Otherwise, you could be facing charges for illegal gun possession,” the Minister explained.
Then he touched on the violent attack of an elderly woman. “Sorry that something like that took place, but the picture in general, where an elderly woman would be assaulted in such a fashion should make all of us sit up and as we say, ‘smell the coffee,’” the Minister said.
“Luckily, this is not something that happens every day, and I don’t want to make it sound like it is a common something that happens every day, but it should make all of us reflect and ask ourselves where we going, what is happening in our society. Last week, I mentioned about the fact that many of our violators are very young residents, very young folks and we have seen a breakdown in society as it is. As far as these crimes are concerned they are getting more violent, more heartless and it’s about time that all of us start paying attention,” Minister Boasman continued.
“I would be getting together with my fellow Ministers, especially Ministers of VSA and Education and will be proposing to organize a sort of a forum, a reflection, if you may call it that, with the relevant community leaders and stakeholders and for us to just reflect on what is taking place, not so much the crime itself but the breakdown. What is causing our youngsters to be acting this way. It is all of our responsibility. Once it happened it becomes the police responsibility, but in situations in our communities where there are a lot of elderly people, for instance, living alone, and as neighbors, we should also try to pay attention to what is going on with them, and look after them,” Minister Boasman informed.
He also mentioned that later that same Wednesday afternoon, he will meet with a delegation of the Anguilla government headed by Chief Minister Victor Banks to discuss immigration matters.
“Anguilla, to a great extent is dependent on St. Maarten’s airport. For a lot of the visitors who go to Anguilla sometimes problems arise…There is an agreement between Anguilla and St. Maarten for residents of Anguilla who are applicable to enter St. Maarten, but they are legal residents of Anguilla, and sometimes when going on vacation, going to different countries, they have to pass through St. Maarten to get to the airport, and the period that they take is longer than what is considered a transit period and sometimes that causes some issues. So we will be sitting this afternoon with the government of Anguilla and we will be discussing these issues and reviewing the agreements,” Minister Boasman explained.
On Thursday, the Minister was scheduled to meet with the Progress Committee, which is charged with the reporting on the progress of the plans of approach for the police and the prison. “Thus far we have been doing pretty okay in the sense that the reporting is less negative than it used to be…It is very important also because of the fact that St. Maarten, for the first time in many years, would have its own representative on the committee,” he stated,
According to the Minister, Jason Rogers was recently appointed as a member of the Progress Committee. “So hopefully in the briefing of next week, I’ll be able to give more information on those two meetings,” Minister Boasman concluded.