St. Maarten organized crime topic of emergency talks in Netherlands

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Sint Maarten Minister Dennis Richardson is heading to the Netherlands next week for emergency talks with Minister Ronald Plasterk of Home Affairs and Minister Ard van der Steur of Security and Justice about the organized crime on the island.

The reason for this meeting is a leaked report by National Police Chief Gerard Bouman after a visit to Sint Maarten, NOS reports. In the report Bouman makes it clear that he no longer wants to cooperate with corrupt leaders on the island. Bouman also states that everyone on the island knows that the gambling industry is in the hands of the mafia. "The criminal subversion of the community and the integrity issues are reaching extremely worrisome proportions", the report reads.

According to the broadcaster, the background to this is Sint Maarten's refusal to cooperate in the establishment of a separate criminal intelligence service which can work outside of the local police. The Netherlands wants such a service to be established, so that the fight against the "gambling mafia" is not dependent on the island's police force. Minister Richardson, on the other hand, believes that Sint Maarten itself is responsible for law enforcement on the island and stopped the establishment of the service last month.

The Netherlands also wants to do an investigation on the cash flows on the island, a proposal by SP member Ronald van Raak that was approved in the Tweede Kamer, lower house of parliament, in April. There may be a link between the funding of political parties and gambling mafia, so Van Raak can understand why the leaders of the island do not want to cooperate, he said to NOS. "But it must be done."

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