Bonaire – On Monday, June 27, 2022, the Honorable Ministers of Justice of Aruba; Rocco Tjon, Curaçao; Shalten Hato and St. Maarten; Anna E. Richardson met in Bonaire for a Justice Tripartite meeting between the Caribbean countries of the Dutch Kingdom. The three Ministers were initially scheduled to meet with the Netherlands’ Honorable Minister of Justice and Security Dilan Yeşilgöz-Zegerius in Bonaire for the Judicial Four-Country Consultation (JVO) meeting, however, it was unfortunately postponed to a later date due to Minister Yeşilgöz having to cancel her attendance because of an emergency situation developing in the Netherlands. Due to the postponement, the three Ministers of Justice of the Caribbean countries decided to use the opportunity to hold the first Tripartite Justice meeting between the three countries.
Though Minister Tjon, Minister Hato and Minister Richardson remain in constant contact and have met on previous occasions for multilateral events and other forums, the initiative for a structural Tripartite meeting served as a forum for regular dialogue at the Ministerial level in the field of Justice. During the meeting chaired by Minister Richardson, possible ways in which more value can be added to strengthen the ongoing cooperation efforts between the three Ministries of Justice of the Dutch Caribbean were discussed.
Minister Richardson stated, “I am very appreciative of my esteemed colleague Ministers of Justice for the positive response to this initiative when it was presented. Historically, the three Ministries of Justice have been cooperating with each other and assisting the various departments within the respective Ministries. As such, this working visit offers the three countries the opportunity to intensify the established working relationships and expand these relationships.”
Focusing on areas of mutual interest, the topics discussed during the Tripartite meeting were; Formalizing the semi-annual Tripartite Justice meeting; a proposal to incorporate investigative psychologists into the Police forces of the countries; Rehabilitation and resocialization of prisoners; Structural training and education of Justice employees through the establishment of Law Enforcement Institutes/Justice academies in the countries; Increasing the effectiveness of the countries’ Immigration laws through closer cooperation; the introduction of St. Maarten’s new weapon policy and assistance sought in weapons training of applicants; dealing with at-risk youth on St. Maarten through successful programs that have been implemented on Aruba and Curaçao with support from the Ministry of Defense of the Netherlands and other partners.
The three Ministers of Justice expressed their contentment with the efficient conduct of the Tripartite meeting as this now marks the start of increased cooperation and productive working relationships between the three countries. “These types of forums enable us as decision-makers to directly discuss issues related to Justice and in doing so, achieve positive outcomes that benefit all three countries equally,” stated Minister Richardson.
Discussions are ongoing for the next JVO meeting with the four Ministers of Justice of the Dutch Kingdom with a target date of August 2022. The next Justice Tripartite meeting is scheduled to take place in October 2022 and will be hosted by the Ministry of Justice of St. Maarten with the Minister of Justice as chair of the meeting.