Windward Islands will not have coastal radar system before 2021

Dutch Minister of Justice and Se­curity Ferd Grapperhaus stated this week that a coastal radar system for St. Maarten, St. Eustatius and Saba will only be installed in 2021, and not sooner as the Law Enforcement Council would have liked to see.

The Law Enforcement Council (“Raad voor de Rechtshandhaving”) of Cu­racao, St. Maarten and the Caribbean Netherlands, in its June 2018 inspection report about the execution of the investigative tasks of the Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard, had suggested look­ing at the possibilities of so-called real-time gather­ing of information in and around the Windward Is­lands, ideally with a perma­nent radar installation. Grapperhaus stated in a re­action to the report, which he sent to the Dutch Parlia­ment earlier this week, that the long-term plan 2019­2028 for the Dutch Carib­bean Coast Guard included the purchase of a coastal radar system for the Wind­ward Islands in 2021.

Ferd Grapperhaus

He said he was satisfied with the cooperation within the Kingdom where it con­cerned the Coast Guard, a collaboration that involves no less than 17 depart­ments of the four countries. In the Netherlands alone, six ministries are repre­sented in the Coast Guard Presidium: Justice and Se­curity, Defence, Foreign Affairs, Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations, Infra­structure and Water Man­agement, and Economic Affairs.

“The Coast Guard is a cooperation organisation between countries and de­partments with different interests and responsibili­ties. The inspection report of the Law Enforcement Council clearly illustrates this. Parties strive for con­sensus and this is mostly successful,” stated Grap­perhaus.

According to him, the Council concluded that the

issues it found within the Coast Guard organisation were not the result of the legal set-up or the organ­isational structure. “This confirms the usefulness, ne­cessity and the basis of the Coast Guard.”

The Law Enforcement Council in its report ex­pressed concerns about budgetary issues at the Coast Guard. Grapperhaus noted that this issue has been solved in the mean­time by adding a structural annual contribution of 10 million euros, paid for by the Netherlands, starting this year. “Therefore, cost-cutting measures are no longer an issue.”

He said that as far as he was concerned there was constructive cooperation be­tween the countries. “Natu­rally, a good cooperation is of eminent importance for the Coast Guard’s success. The input of all stakeholders is focused on this; also, for example, during the Judicial Four Party Consultation and the Kingdom Attorneys Gen­eral Consultation.”

The Law Enforcement Council had recommended promoting a constructive co­operation between the par­ticipants in the Coast Guard Presidium.

Grapperhaus did address the financial component. “Maritime law enforce­ment in the Caribbean part of the Kingdom benefits from a well-functioning and adequately-equipped Coast Guard. That is why it is of essential importance in the cooperation structure that all countries deliver their fair share to the joint financing of this important security part­ner in the Caribbean.”

The Law Enforcement Council further recommend­ed organising detective ca­pacity for the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard gathered information for investigations on which the detective depart­ments of the countries some­times could not follow up due to prioritising and limited rapacity. The Coast Guard is striving for better cooperation with the law enforcement en­tities, coordinated by the Pros­ecutors’ Offices.

As stated in the Coast Guard’s 2018-2021 Judicial Policy Plan, the Prosecutors’ Offices want to invest in a combined team of the in­volved departments to enable a quicker input by detectives based on information gath­ered by the Coast Guard. Grapperhaus stated that he wholeheartedly supported this.

The Daily Herald.

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One comment

  1. The persons living on Saba should note that because the Coast Guard is trying to detect boats and ships, the best location for such a radar is on top of the Cable and Wireless tower on Mount Scenery.

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