Justice Minister Anna Richardson (second right) and her support staff in a virtual meeting with UNOPS representatives.
PHILIPSBURG--Justice Minister Anna Richardson and her support staff met virtually with the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) on Monday to discuss the construction of a new detention facility at Pointe Blanche.
UNOPS is an operational arm of the United Nations (UN) that implements projects on its behalf, as well as for international financial institutions and governments.
“UNOPS comes highly recommended by the Netherlands, as they are an internationally renowned organisation that funded the Jericho Prison Project (2009-2011) in Palestine. This project was implemented by UNOPS on behalf of the government of Netherlands and the Palestinian National Authority,” said the Justice Ministry in a press release on Thursday night.
During the meeting, Richardson and UNOPS discussed the demolition of the current prison and constructing a new prison that adhered to the Nelson Mandela Rules.
“UNOPS put forth a clear methodology towards achieving a safe, decent and humane correctional facility, and other technical guidance plans for the Justice Ministry to consider.
“In the coming weeks, subsequent meetings with UNOPS will take place whereby the discussions will focus on the specific needs of the detention facilities in St. Maarten and other critical aspects to have this project completed,” said the Justice Ministry.
Richardson said the ministry has yet to select an entity to build the new prison, adding that the issue is “still in discussion.” Former Justice Minister Egbert Doran said in late February that approximately NAf. 27 million has been budgeted to build the new prison.
Richardson said the Ministry of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure VROMI has already developed a preliminary floor plan for the new prison.