~ Minister of Justice has no say in pretrial detention decisions.~
PHILIPSBURG:--- The Prosecutor’s Office in a press release says that leader of the United Democrats and suspended Member of Parliament Theodore Heyliger will remain in Bonaire as he is currently in pretrial detention.
The release further states that on March 14th, 2019 during the proceedings circumstances associated with being detained in another country was elaborated on and the judge established then, that there are compelling arguments for the continued detention of Theodore Heyliger in Bonaire.
The court upheld the petition of the OM and ruled that Heyliger will remain in detention in Bonaire for the 60 days. The staff at the JCI prison on Bonaire is addressing the health concerns of Theodore Heyliger as it also does for others in the institution.
The Minister of Justice has no role in this judicial proceeding concerning pre-trial detention, contrary to what is suggested in some media. These are autonomous judicial decisions, without political interference. The Minister is responsible for the presence of an adequate detention facility on Sint Maarten, where all detainees can be housed.
At the moment, apart from Theodore Heyliger, there are other Sint Maarten prisoners being housed in detention facilities throughout the Kingdom. The Prosecutor considers this situation unfortunate because prison is an important institution for any country and prisoners should be able to be housed without risks and in a humane manner. Currently, Sint Maarten still has insufficient capacity for the number of detainees. For these reasons, the OM adjusted its detention policy a few months ago.