Philipsburg:--- Leader of the National Alliance William Marlin is calling on the Minister of Justice Roland Duncan to provide his faction in Parliament with more information on the contract he signed with Checkmate Security to provide more manpower for the Pointe Blanche Prison.
Marlin told reporters on Wednesday afternoon at a press conference that it came to his understanding that one of the security guards working at the Pointe Blanche Prison was held by immigration since the individual was in possession of a fraudulent Brooks Tower Accord receipt. The Member of Parliament said he was told that the person in question is held pending deportation.
However, Chief Executive Officer of Checkmate Security Michael Kuiperi said his guard was detained on Thursday during a traffic control and was released on Friday after his documents were checked by immigration. Kuiperi identified the security officer as Errol Isaac from Guyana whom he said had working permits since 2008 under Checkmate Security. Kuiperi said the guard's work permit was renewed in 2009 while the request for the renewal of his working permit for 2010 is still pending.
Kuiperi further explained that the security guard wanted to make sure his status is legal on St. Maarten and since he did not get his 2010 working permit as yet, the guard panicked and when heard of the opportunity to submit new applications late last year at the BTA office he did file an application to obtain a Brooks Tower Permit. "I want to make clear that the security guard who was detained did not have any fraudulent documents. He was stopped during a random traffic control because his vehicle did not have on the front number plate and when the officers saw he had a BTA receipt they held him. Errol Isaac submitted two requests for his working and residency permit at immigration and to date he has not received an answer from immigration."
Marlin also said that he was told that one of the security guards that is providing manpower assistance to the prison has a criminal record overseas, yet he was hired by the security company and was placed at the prison to work.
When asked about that, Kuiperi said he does not have anyone in his employ that has a criminal record. He said some time ago he hired an Antillean young man who was working for the Coast Guard but this person was dismissed about six months ago because he fought with a police officer on St. Maarten.
Member of Parliament William Marlin called on the Minister of Justice to provide answers on the contract he signed with Checkmate. Marlin said he also wants to know if there is a written contract with the security company or if this is another verbal decree issued by the Minister of Justice or if the agreement is between the director of the prison and the security company.
Marlin said he hopes the Minister of Justice can provide the much needed clarity on the specifics of the agreement regarding Checkmate Security Guards. He said he also wants to know if the guards that are providing much needed manpower at the prison were screened as required by law. Marlin said the Minister is not above the law even though he indicated to Parliament during the budget debate that "Government is the law, which would indicate that government is above the law."
Marlin said if there is a written agreement he wants to know what the financial consequences of the agreement are to government and he also wants to know how many security officers are provided by the company to the prison. Marlin said based on the law, civil servants are required to take an oath, while they are subjected to screening. Marlin said he would like to know if the persons who are providing services at the prison were screened and if they were, who did the screening.
Checkmate Security CEO Michael Kuiperi said he has been providing officers to the Pointe Blanche Prison for the past four years. He said his first agreement with the Minister of Justice of the former Netherlands Antilles started four years ago where he has to provide 12 officers to the Pointe Blanche house of detention. The Checkmate officers Kuiperi said, works under direct supervision of the prison and their duty is to assist the prison guards. Kuiperi confirmed that his contract was renewed early 2011 with St. Maarten. Some of the security guards working for Checkmate that are stationed at the Pointe Blanche Prison were given some in-house training confirmed a member of the management team of the house of detention.