On Friday, June 19, 2020 the Court of First Instance returned with a decision after reviewing a petition filed by 37 inmates and their attorneys against the Government of St. Maarten and the Minister of Justice. The court ruled that the claims are not admissible thereby ruling in the favor of the Government of Sint Maarten.
Although the outcome of the ruling being in the favor of Government and the monetary claims of the plaintiffs being dismissed, there is very little cause for celebration. The well-being of the inmates, staff and management are top priority for minister Richardson and she remains committed to improving the situation at the prison. This matter continues to have her full attention.
In response to the verdict, Minister Richardson said: “I am grateful that the court ruled in favor of Government and was able to identify that there was no basis on which the claim could succeed. With just two months in office, my team and I are working diligently on projects and plans to ensure that the situation at our detention facilities are improved while simultaneously laying the ground work to construct a new facility. This new facility will include consistent positive development programs aimed at rehabilitating the minds and attitudes of the inmates. With this court case now behind us, the Ministry of Justice will continue to push forward in cooperation with the Ministry of VROMI, consulting with UNOPS and with the assistance of SOAB and other technical experts to finally make strides with this very pressing matter. Read more.