Philipsburg – The Ministry of Justice held the second annual Justice Week Conference 2022 hosted by the Honorable Minister of Justice Anna E. Richardson from Monday, July 11, 2022, through Wednesday, July 13, 2022, at the Simpson Bay Resort. The conference themed ‘Justice with Efficiency’ is the first activity carried out by the Ministry in commemoration of Justice Week. The conference aims to provide a platform where departments, agencies, and external partners of the Ministry can discuss topics related to their operations such as year plans, policy-based budgeting, challenges, and plan of action geared towards their efficient functioning. Present at this year’s conference were representatives of the Staff Bureau, Judicial Affairs Department, Coast Guard, Customs St. Maarten, Immigration and Border Protection Services, the Police Force of Sint Maarten, National Detectives, Point Blanche Prison and House of Detention, Financial Intelligence Unit Sint Maarten, SJIS Foundation Judicial Institutes St. Maarten (SJIS), Court of Guardianship, Public Prosecutors Office, Turning Point Foundation and the Ministry of Justice Course Coordinator, Ms. Miralda Martina.
During the three-day conference, each department delivered elaborate and critical presentations to a selected panel tasked with providing critical and structured feedback based on the agenda points. The panel consisted of Former Lieutenant Governor and St. Maarten’s Representative on the Progress Committee Mr. Franklyn Richards, and Former Lieutenant Governor, former Minister of Justice and Task Master for the Plan of Approach on the Protocol of Border Security Mr. Dennis Richardson. Mr. Richards and Mr. Richardson also formed part of the same panel during the first Justice Week Conference in 2021. Their presence at this year’s conference was crucial in continuing the trajectory of monitoring the progress achieved by the Ministry over the past year to provide constructive feedback.
Minister Richardson stated, “As we celebrate Justice Week, I congratulate and thank all civil servants and stakeholders within St. Maarten’s justice chain. Despite the challenges, faced by the Ministry, we have made significant progress over the past 12 months as presented by each department. I am truly happy to see the immediate effects of the conference which has allowed for more synchronization in communication and strengthened collaboration between the various departments and agencies within the Ministry.”
Mr. Richards stated, “Kudos to the Minister of Justice, Minister Anna E. Richardson, for a job well done in organizing the Justice Week Conference 2022, wherein members and related members of the law enforcement have displayed among others their dedication, passion, and commitment enhancing the Justice chain with the limited available resources at their disposal to safeguard the wellbeing of the people of St. Maarten!”
One of the highlights of the conference this year was the inclusion of special presentations by invited guests Chief Inspector of the Law Enforcement Council (LEC) Ms. Lixzandra Marquez, Former Ombudsman Dr. Nilda Arduin, Court Interpreter and Former Commissioner of Education Dr. Linda Richardson, and Counsellor Lisa Wilson-Gittens of The Listening Companion counseling and therapy firm. Ms. Marquez presented the tasks, responsibilities, reported inspections, and annual plans of the LEC. Dr. Arduin and Dr. Richardson rendered a presentation together concerning the ways in which the justice chain deals with language issues such as working in the Dutch language versus English. Mrs. Wilson-Gittens of The Listening Companion Firm presented the importance of mental health and justice.
Presentations at the Justice Week under the leadership of Minister Richardson made a positive impression on Former Lieutenant Governor and former Minister of Justice Dennis Richardson. “Notwithstanding the financial limitations imposed on the ministry, the justice chain has managed with dedication and creativity to achieve improvements in the quality and quantity of the services by the justice system,” Mr. Richardson stated in an invited comment. He warns, however, against further financial cutbacks in the ministry as they can threaten to prevent further development in essential services and even undo the progress that has been made. He points out that many necessary changes have been mandated in the course of achieving country status for St. Maarten and therefore neglecting them could undermine the autonomy of the country.
Minister Richardson hereby extends a special thank you to the Honorable Deputy Prime Minister Egbert J. Doran, the Council of Ministers Secretary-General Cassandra Janssen, the selected panel, her cabinet staff, the Management of the respective departments, and external partners of the Ministry of Justice, Dr. Nilda Arduin, Dr. Linda Richardson, Mrs. Lisa Wilson-Gittens, the Law Enforcement Council and the Department of Communication.
“I remain of the notion that together we can achieve much more in the Ministry’s quest to ensure order and the safety and security of the people of St. Maarten. As such, we will continue to utilize this platform where management teams have expressed their appreciation in receiving and sharing knowledge, resources, and best practices within the justice chain so that they may improve their service and operations, concluded Minister Richardson.”