Philipsburg – On Sunday, July 17th, 2022, the Justice Week celebrations culminated with a church service, followed by the Justice Parade, ending with a night of elegance at the First Annual Justice Ball to recognize workers of the Ministry of Justice.
Justice Week events began on Monday, July 11th, consisting of a three-day Justice Conference at the Simpson Bay Resort which saw department heads, management teams, and external partners discuss various topics of concern for the ministry while receiving critical feedback from a panel of experts in the field. This was followed by the Ministry of Justice expo held on Thursday, unveiling 12 years of accomplishments within the ministry and the certification of 7 extraordinary immigration police officers. On Friday, a block party was held where justice workers celebrated their hard work, followed by the Justice Week Amazing Race team-building activity on Saturday, that saw more than six departments come together for great fun.
On Sunday morning, workers of the Ministry of Justice gathered at the Philipsburg Methodist Church for divine worship. The service was attended by His Excellency Governor Eugene B. Holiday, Honorable Chairlady of Parliament and Chair of the Justice Committee of Parliament Grisha Heyliger-Marten, Honorable Minister of Justice Anna E. Richardson, Honorable Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport drs. Rodolphe Samuel, department heads, management teams and workers of the Ministry, as well as members of the Voluntary Korps of St. Maarten (VKS) and the St. Maarten Youth Brigade.
“I am grateful as Minister of Justice, to be given an opportunity to express my profound gratitude to all workers of the Justice Chain for their dedication and unwavering commitment in serving the people of St. Maarten. In your presence today church, on behalf of myself as Minister of Justice and the personnel of the justice chain, we want to express our profound gratitude to you for your prayers. Thank you for including us in your prayers for protection, wisdom and guidance,” Minister Richardson said as she rendered words of thanks during the service.
Following the church service, the Justice Parade consisted of officers of the Police Force of Sint Maarten (KPSM), Customs St. Maarten, Immigration and Border Protection Services, Coast Guard, and members of the Voluntary Korps of St. Maarten (VKS) and the St. Maarten Youth Brigade who marched through Philipsburg, ending at the Police Station. During the ceremony, an updated plaque of the Walter R. Kramers Police Station was unveiled by Minister Richardson, Chief of Police Carl John and Ms. Suzette Kramers, daughter of former Commissioner of Police and former Chief of Police, the late Walter R. Kramers who contributed significantly to the establishment of the station where it now stands. Minister Richardson and Chairlady Heyliger-Marten also laid a wreath in honor of the late Officer Gamali “Benji” Benjamin. The justice parade ended with words of encouragement to the officers by Chief of Police Carl John.
The First Annual Justice Ball was held on Sunday evening as the final event to recognize workers of the Ministry of Justice who have been committed to service for 25, 30, 35, and 40 years as well as outstanding workers. The well attended ball was filled with a night of elegance. Present at the function were His Excellency Governor Eugene B. Holiday, Honorable Chairlady of Parliament Grisha Heyliger-Marten, Deputy Prime Minister Egbert J. Doran, and Honorable Minister of Justice Anna E. Richardson, all who delivered congratulatory speeches. Also present were department heads, management teams, and workers of the Ministry together with their loved ones.
Following the speeches, workers of the Ministry were presented with certificates of recognition and awards by Minister Richardson and their respective department heads during the evening. 36 persons within the various departments of the Ministry received certificates for 25 years of service, 35 persons for 30 years of service. 7 persons within KPSM and one person of Immigration and Border Protection Services received certificates for 35 years of service, and 4 persons within KPSM and one person from the Point Blanche Prison and House of Detention for 40 years of service. In addition, 12 persons received awards of recognition; 7 for 35 years of service and 6 for 40 years of service. Addressing the audience, Minister Richardson thanked all justice workers for their hard work, commitment and dedication to building the Ministry to where it is today.
A special highlight during the evening, was the awarding of Agency of the Year won by the Point Blanche Prison and House of Detention. This was a deciding factor from the select panel of experts tasked with providing critical and structured feedback at this year’s Justice Conference, based on the progress made at the prison during the past 12 months. The award was received by Prison Director, Mr. Steven Carty.
Another highlight was the special recognition of His Excellency Governor Holiday by Minister Richardson. In light of the Governor’s tenure coming to an end in a few months, Minister Richardson opted to recognize his remarkable service and support, not only to the country over the past 16 years, but quite specifically to the Ministry of Justice. In a few words, Minister Richardson addressed his Excellency and expressed how she appreciates the wisdom and guidance he has shared with her in the past two and a half years. “Your support and wealth of knowledge that makes you who you are can’t be described in words. Thank You!” said Minister Richardson as she addressed His Excellency Governor Holiday on stage.
Minister Richardson presented His Excellency Governor Holiday with a crystal award that reads ‘The Minister of Justice Anna E. Richardson Presents this award of appreciation to His Excellency Governor Eugene B. Holiday for all his years and dedication of service to Country St. Maarten. We salute you for a job well done!’
“I would like to humbly thank all who were in attendance for the various Justice Week events held in celebration of the justice chain of St. Maarten and the Justice Week Committee and sub-Committee for making it a success. Since 2020, the Ministry has made significant strides such as the achievement of the entire Ministry’s Function Book. However, there is much work to be done, as such, I will continue to work in the interest of all workers of the justice chain to continue improving the ministry so that we can carry out Justice with optimal efficiency,” concluded Minister Richardson.