First of all, I would like to welcome you all warmly, on behalf of Roos Barelds, Director of the Probation Office of the BES-islands, and myself, at the official opening of this new building of the Public Prosecutor's and Probation Office on Saba. I also welcome you on behalf of Mr. Dick Piar, the Attorney-General of the BES Islands, who unfortunately, due to circumstances, cannot attend today.
We cordially welcome in his place the solicitor-general of St. Maarten and the BES Islands, Mr. Taco Stein who represents Mr. Dick Piar.
Furthermore I welcome the Governor of Saba, Mr Jonathan Johnson, who has expressed his willingness to give a speech. I do appreciate this.
I acknowledge the presence of the representative of our Minister of Safety and
Justice, Mr. Just Stam; he will perform the official opening on behalf of the Minister and say some words. Many thanks!
I could go on in mentioning a great many names of people who were invited and who have come to witness this ceremony, but that would take too much time, so I immediately will go over to the order of the day. In front of you, Ladies and Gentlemen, stands a proud chief prosecutor of the Public Prosecutor's office of the BES Islands. And why proud? Because the young and small Prosecutor's office BES has succeeded in having splendid buildings on all 3 islands. And all this was realized within 2 years after the transition. In January of this year we opened a very fine office building in Bonaire, today we are in the Bottom on Saba, and tomorrow we will be in Statia, in the historical Fort Orange, where a beautiful workplace will be opened.
This embodies in various respects a beautiful symbolism: it concerns adequate working space, where the workers will feel safe and at ease, and where they will experience the stimulus to come to a good and solid approach for the benefit of the island population. This office lies in the heart of town, which means accessibility and involvement, but especially also visible co-responsibility for integral safety.
Furthermore, it is obvious that we want to take and share that responsibility together with others; we are at a stone's throw of the government, the police is our neighbor and we share the building with the Probation office.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the Public Prosecutor's office shares the building with the Probation office. When ordinary people do this, living together, people say jokingly, they are living in sin, but here it's totally different. When Prosecution and Probation share the same building, we call this the ultimate realization of justice chain cooperation. Each with their own responsibility – surely- but close together, under one roof and cooperating.
I assume the director of the Probation services, Mrs. Roos Barelds, to say something about this too.
In the past two years, the Prosecutor's office BES and the island of Saba had to get used to each other, but got to know each other well, because of the experiences and events over the past years. Prosecutor's office BES provided for a professional Public Prosecutor in the person of Marleen Overmeer, as well as for continual professional representation on the island in the form of rotating Legal Assistants of the Public Prosecutor, who at the same time act as Public Prosecutor.
Saba did not disappoint us and delivered some severe criminal cases, thus the energy and input of the Prosecutor's office BES has not been proven futile.
The police force on Saba had its changes too and did its utmost to face ongoing capacity problems that seem to dominate our lives as public servants.
I -on the one hand- briefly refer to the urgently needed and failing detention capacity, the police cell problems, the physical distances to be bridged between the islands, -and on the other hand – the creativity with regards to these phenomena of the Justice tripartite ad the Justice chain partners confronted with these problems. In this respect I mention the project: 'Responsible release', the Electronic surveillance, the Execution of the punishment of community service, and the youth project; I have to mention the name of James Williams with regards to the aforementioned.
Much time and many efforts, especially by Marleen Overmeer, were put in developing the judicial chain cooperation.
Just like in Bonaire, we started with Youth and Domestic Violence Case Meetings.
We, in cooperation with probation officer and the police, strive for a constantly better and more intense cooperation for 'a hands-on policy and approach'. This will increase clarity to the community, victims and the suspect at short notice and the required aid, if present, can start as soon as possible.
Indeed, Ladies and Gentlemen, we, law enforcement and judicial organizations, find through our cooperation and chain meetings a common solution for many challenges, a solution that has to contribute to Saba staying a safe and peaceful island, where life is friendly and pleasant.
Having said this, I keep it short and I thank you for your attention.
David van Delft
Chief Prosecutor BES