This week’s Judicial Four-Party Consultation in Aruba (see related story) could prove very important. New Justice Minister Raphael Boasman has said safety and security remain top priority, but some would say talk is cheap.

When it comes to executing the Plans of Approach for the police and prison agreed on with the Netherlands, the same old argument of lack of funds has already been heard from the incoming Government. Although the Minister rightfully pointed out that St. Maarten should not be labelled as a crime haven, his Dutch counterpart will no doubt want to see some signs that continued shortcomings, including non-use of the ACTPOL Justice information system, will be addressed once and for all.

If indeed money is the issue, this needs to be clearly explained, along with suggestions on how to overcome that problem. After all, simply not executing agreements that are seen as essential to bring local law enforcement up to par is hardly an option.

So, while evaluation of the relevant Kingdom Laws is mentioned, their implementation cannot be considered successfully completed by any means and that’s where the focus ought to be. If Philipsburg shows a tangible commitment to make the necessary improvements and find the funds to do so, The Hague has already indicated it is willing to provide support.

Also in light of Friday night’s fatal shooting, added investment in law enforcement certainly doesn’t seem a luxury, especially for a destination with a one-pillar tourism economy. What the current situation requires is fruitful cooperation within the Kingdom of the Netherlands that facilitates decisive yet responsible action, rather than wasting too many more words on this matter.

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