PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten – On Tuesday May 19, 2020 Minister of Justice Anna E. Richardson was scheduled to have a closed door meeting with the Justice Committee of Parliament, to discuss the pending approval of the draft Penal Procedure Code. However, due to the requested urgent meeting of Parliament concerning government’s deadline to respond to the conditions posed by the Kingdom government as it relates to St. Maarten receiving financial assistance to cover the cost of the St. Maarten Stimulus and Relief Plan (SSRP), the scheduled meeting has been postponed until Friday, May 22, 2020.
Considering that to date, little headway has been made by various Ministers of Justice and various Parliaments in moving the handling of the Penal Procedure Code forward considerably, Minister Richardson has opted for a different approach by requesting the scheduled meeting of Tuesday May 19, 2020 to be held behind closed door. Prior to Tuesday’s meeting being requested, the Minister and her legal team reviewed the proposed amendments made by Members of Parliament and considered the proposed amendment achievable.
Minister Richardson is of the opinion that further discussions in a closed setting will allow for a more open exchange of views and will lead to all parties reaching consensus. After which the discussions will then be brought to a public meeting for decision-making and will see the majority of Parliament vote to pass the law.
“The deliberations on this draft Penal Procedure have been ongoing for some time now. It is lamentable that to date, the public discussions that were held did not produce satisfactory results. What we have seen is St. Maarten been given a public statement. Thankfully, despite being in the same space as it relates to the draft Penal Procedure Code, the FATF matrix was completed and sent on to the CFATF Secretariat in the Trinidad and Tobago on April 30, 2020 to further confirm the passing and enactment of the Civil Code and the Penal Code in 2019,” said Minister Richardson.
St. Maarten having submitted the matrix puts the country on a positive rhythm with the FATF regulations and brings it closer to move out of the third round and into the fourth round. Minister Richardson looks forward to attending the CFATF Plenary session in November 2020, gaining a positive review for St. Maarten and thereby applying to move to the fourth round in May, 2021 and having the public statement lifted for the country.