Minister of Justice, Ms. Anna E. Richardson, celebrates one year tenure: Not a celebration that the work is over, but a celebration for stability to continue serving the people of Sint Maarten.
Philipsburg – On March 28th 2020, His Excellency, the Governor – Drs. Eugene Holiday, gave the mandate for Sint Maarten’s first female Minister of Justice, Ms. Anna Richardson, to be sworn in. Today marks 1 year since the Honorable Minister of Justice has taken her oat and pledged to serve the people of Sint Maarten.
The Hon. Minister, after taking oath, expressed the urgency in addressing top priority items that have been long overdue. Over the years, due to the political climate, many issues that fall under the Justice portfolio have not been able to be thoroughly reviewed and effectively managed. The lack of stability in our Government in the past has created a concerning environment which has left Sint Maarten with both visible and underlying scars that required urgent attention.
As the new Minister of Justice, the role along with its responsibilities and its realities were acknowledged and embraced. Accepting this realization and the realization of the critical issues that were evolving negatively, the Minister has taken an aggressive approach since then with confidence to effectively and efficiently carry out the function during her tenure. The Hon. Minister refused to let the fear of ‘challenging times’ dictate what can be done within her term, whether it be 1 month, 1 year or a full-term.
The Minister’s approach in executing tasks, enforcing the law, and implementing changes has been met with both criticism and praise. Despite the negative skepticism of her approach, the Minister is proud of the strides she has made with the support of the entire Ministry.
In her one year tenure, the Hon. Minister has been able to successfully advocate and execute changes in the best interest of Sint Maarten:
- Minister of Justice accomplishes number one priority: completion of draft Function Books before 2021.
- Ministry of Justice making progress with UNOPS on the rebuilding of a New Prison- 30Million Euros allocated by the Netherlands.
- Minister of Justice prioritizes Domestic Violence Policy, Task force established to complete Domestic Violence Policy.
- Immigration and Border Protection reunited under one umbrella
- Ministry of Justice announces the strict application of Immigration regulations.
- Minister of Justice initiates inter-ministerial covenant with Ministry of VSA/ Ministry of TEATT to tackle loop holes
- Minister of Justice currently amending the gun policy
- Ministry of Justice in the process of establishing Victim Support Services.
- Ministry of Justice works closely with CFATF Team to ensure Sint Maarten successfully qualifies and completes CFTATF Force Compliance Mutual Evaluations.
The Hon. Minister’s message to the public: “I encourage the people of Sint Maarten to continue to ask the relevant questions and to hold me accountable for the role that I have been sworn into and taken an oath to execute. My goal is for a better Sint Maarten, a safer Sint Maarten, and a stronger Sint Maarten.
To do so, we must all be open to changes to a system that we have grown too comfortable accepting. I have vowed to take a stance on current issues and I promise to execute my role to the best of my abilities within the parameters of the law.
As the Minister of Justice, my aggressive approach with implementing changes is warranted by the urgency of the current issues at hand. As people, I understand that abrupt and/ or extreme changes to a structure that we have become used to may not always be easy to adapt to. But in our current situation, we do not have the luxury of gradual changes, we need to be able to make the hard BUT right decisions.
I know that many may be critical about decisions and changes that have been made and that will be made. So on behalf of the Ministry of Justice, and as your right as the people of Sint Maarten we welcome you to follow our Facebook page (Ministry of Justice Sint Maarten) and our website (www.ministryofjustice.sx) where we will be updating you on all matters regarding the Ministry of Justice, educating you on decision by the Ministry, and dispelling misinformation.
As your Minister of Justice, Ms. Anna E. Richardson, I am grateful for your trust in me thus far over my 1 year tenure, and I look forward to the opportunity to continue serving our people”.