PHILIPSBURG--Justice Minister Anna Richardson and the Police Force of St. Maarten have sent a firm message on Wednesday that no ski masks or face coverings of any sort will be allowed during Thursday morning’s jouvert jump up.
Richardson also made clear that if the jump up gets too dangerous “the jam will shut down.”
“We are heading in jouvert and jouvert in St. Maarten is one of the largest, I believe in the world. Lots of people come to St. Maarten to enjoy themselves and we want it to be a festive time - an enjoyment for everyone, but we need it to be safe first and foremost,” Richardson said during the live Council of Ministers press briefing.
“And for that reason we are making the announcement that no ski mask is allowed during the jam,” she added, noting that while some may argue that masks were allowed during COVID, the Police Ordinance stipulates that a person’s face is not to be covered. To authorise the use of masks during COVID, a ministerial regulation had to be put in place for persons to be able to wear masks for safety and health reasons. This ministerial regulation has since been lifted.
“So the law goes back into place. So, I am advising persons who are going to participate in the jouvert, by no means is your face supposed to be covered - no shape, no form. Our faces are supposed to be very visible at all times and there will be a zero tolerance where this is concerned. I have had an extensive conversation with the Chief of Police as well as the Chief Prosecutor and we all stand firm on this and it will result in action - immediate action by the police for persons who are not abiding by the fact that - your face is not to be covered,” stated Richardson, adding, “If it gets too dangerous the jam will shut down.”
The police said in a statement issued earlier today, Wednesday that to ensure the safety of all participants during the jouvert jump-up and other similar events, the public should refrain from wearing ski-masks.
“While this has become a popular trend among many people, it has been noted that the use of these masks can pose safety risks, such as hindering the identification of individuals and potentially facilitating criminal activity,” it was stated in the police release.
“To prevent such issues from occurring, the police will be implementing necessary measures to guarantee the safety of all attendees. We strongly encourage everyone to cooperate with these efforts and abstain from wearing ski-masks. Although we understand that some may find this request inconvenient, please be assured that our top
priority is the safety and well-being of all those involved in these events. By taking all necessary precautions, we aim to ensure that everyone has a safe and enjoyable experience,” the police made clear.