Some may be surprised by the 2016 choice for Person of the Year (see related story). After all, not everyone always appreciated the “modus operandi” of the mostly European Dutch prosecutors, supported by law enforcement personnel often sent here from the Netherlands.
Examples include the interrogation of vote-buying suspect Silvio Matser’s elderly mother by the National Detectives, although it turned out she had offered to go there. The manner in which officers of the Anti-Corruption Taskforce TBO/RST recently came to Parliament during the budget debate asking to speak with US Party fraction member Chanel Brownbill did not go down well with many either, but an appointment to interview him at a later date was subsequently arranged.
Observers questioned how authorities went after several local adult entertainment clubs, while Government had basically prompted them to hire illegal workers when it stopped issuing exotic-dancer permits without a feasible alternative. However, human trafficking, abuse and exploitation amounting to modern slavery have been mentioned among the possible charges, in addition to arms possession.
People also wondered about the role of the prosecution in the screening of candidate ministers, with Prime Minister William Marlin saying he did not sanction blocking someone’s nomination based on suspicions that have not yet been looked into. There was more criticism, such as why Windward Islands Teachers Union (WITU) President Clair Elshot was held so long for allegedly making death threats on Facebook, while Rene “Koto” Wilson had done basically the same to the Prime Minister and wasn’t even called in for questioning.
But all in all, the annual selection is about the impact on society and neither a seal of approval nor even a form of public recognition. Similarly, while certainly not everyone agrees with what US President-elect Donald Trump stands for, few will argue with his being Time magazine’s Man of the Year.
Actions by the Prosecution undoubtedly made a huge impact this year and can be compared with a Justice broom sweeping through St. Maarten, which should ultimately work out in the interest of law-abiding citizens.