Philipsburg – The Crime Fund of St. Maarten was established in October 2010 by means of the National Ordinance Crime Fund. The fund is intended to finance crime prevention projects, is managed by the Minister of Justice and currently carries a balance of over 1 million ANG. The fund’s income, amongst others, are paid fines and confiscated criminal funds.
On December 22, 2020, St. Maarten and the Netherlands signed a mutual arrangement for the implementation of the Country Package for St. Maarten. The aim of the project under country package measure H.12 titled ‘Improvement of the Management of the Crime Fund,’ is to enhance the organizational structure of the Crime Fund in such a way that it will meet the following vision: The implementation of the Crime Fund is characterized by improved management and supervision to be objectively determined by law enforcement, which supports the realization of the policy objectives set for the Crime Fund, with due observance of applicable laws and regulations.
The project to restructure the management of the Crime Fund will result in a Crime Fund with stable management that relies on a well-described administrative organization with unambiguous processes and procedures for those wishing to apply for funding from the Fund. The amendment of the legislation and its sub-legislation that will be realized in this project must also contribute to further limiting the risks with regard to improper use and misuse of the Fund. Furthermore, the management of the Fund must be focused on the mutual coherence of funded projects and the contribution these projects make to the policy objectives formulated in the policy plans and budget approved annually by Parliament.
The project begins this month, April 2022, and will be carried out by the Government Accounting Bureau SOAB. The project has an estimated execution period of 6 months, with various deliverables, including the legislative process, throughout that period. One of the first obligations in this regard was to designate an independent organization to monitor the Crime Fund for the implementation of the recommendations from the reports of the Law Enforcement Council (hereafter: the Council) and to report on whether the Fund is functioning properly.
According to Article 3 of the Kingdom Act Law Enforcement Council, the Council is charged with the inspection of the Crime Fund. As such, reporting on the effectiveness, quality of the execution and management of the Crime Fund, as well as conducting review investigations to verify whether previous recommendations regarding the Crime Fund have been implemented, are part of the Council’s duties. Given the fact that the Council already exercises the role of an independent monitoring organization for the Crime Fund, the Council has been formally appointed as the independent organization to monitor the Crime Fund from June 14, 2021.
“The Ministry of Justice recognizes the great value of a well-managed Crime Fund. These funds, collected from fines and criminal seizures are used for initiatives to combat and prevent crime in the community of St. Maarten. As such, in addition to making the necessary improvements to the management of the Crime Fund, the Ministry of Justice, in collaboration with the Public Prosecutor and the Ministries of Finance and General Affairs, will also be focusing on improving the process of fine collection to increase the available funds of the Crime Fund,” stated Honorable Minister of Justice Anna E. Richardson.