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ANGUILLA--The Royal Anguilla Police Force (RAPF) has informed the public of steps that will be enforced during the Summer Festival.

PHILIPSBURG--The Judge of Instruction remanded former head of St. Maarten National Security Service VDSM J.A.J.R. (41) to eight more days in Police custody on Friday.

The long-awaited placement of surveillance cameras in Philipsburg (see related story) should please most law-abiding persons. After all, such systems have proven their worth in many cities around the world, allowing authorities to solve and even prevent crimes due to the availability of video images.

They therefore serve as a deterrent too, because by now the bad guys know footage of their illegal acts could easily land them behind bars. Robbers usually cover their faces, but pictures showing, for example, the direction in which they fled or what getaway vehicle was used also can go a long way in aiding the investigation.

While the system indeed needs to be monitored by police 24/7, it’s important to ensure no misuse is made of the recordings and that law enforcement authorities properly guard people’s right to privacy. Signage clearly indicating the presence of security cameras forms an essential part of that.

Some may wonder why no public bidding process was held, as phase one alone reportedly costs about two million guilders. TelEm is, of course, a logical choice not so much because it’s a Government-owned company, but primarily due to its existing local telecommunication infrastructure and expertise.

Still, other parties might have shown interest given the chance. On the French side, for example, a similar project was put on bid.

However, that was not the case either with the closed-circuit TV surveillance network being installed in Curaçao. Chinese provider Inspur reportedly had offered to do it there for free as a showcase to the region, but this was considered undesirable for geo-political and strategic reasons, taking into account the close ties with the Netherlands and the European Union (EU) as well as the USA.

The Finance Ministry in Willemstad then approved continuing with Inspur despite the lack of a bidding process. Justice Minister Nelson Navarro explained this also had to do with protecting sensitive information from ending up in the wrong hands.

For St. Maarten, the main thing is that the promised cameras are finally becoming a reality to enhance the sense of security first in the downtown shopping area and later – with phases 2 and 3 – at other locations on the Dutch side, including those frequented by visitors who drive the island’s tourism economy.

So yes, “big brother” will be watching, but if done right it’s in the public’s best interest.

A weather system coming off the West Coast of Africa is being monitored closely in the region. It’s still far East of the Cape Verde Islands so there is no reason for concern up to now.

Nevertheless, this might be a good occasion to ensure that preparations for the Atlantic hurricane season, which began on June 1 and ends November 30, are in order. That goes for households,

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados--As the region flirts with the idea of making the sale of ganja legal, it’s worth considering some of the unexpected issues we might encounter along the way. And the real-life experiences of some American states can be our guide.

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados--Scientists have discovered a new specie of the vibrantly coloured scorpionfish in the Caribbean Sea.

HOUSTON--Chevron Corp posted its worst quarterly loss since 2001 on Friday and Exxon Mobil Corp reported a 59 percent slide in profit, as the long crude price rout and tumbling refining income inflicted pain across the energy sector.

BRASILIA--Interim President Michel Temer believes the end of the impeachment trial of suspended President Dilma Rousseff, expected next month, will greatly boost investment and confidence in Brazil and help restore its creditworthiness.

MILAN--Italian fashion designer Giorgio Armani said on Friday he would create a foundation in his name, for the first time shedding some light on succession plans for his fashion business.

MINNESOTA--A Minnesota judge has excluded nearly 30 would-be heirs from the estate of the late pop star Prince, bolstering the inheritance claims of the performer's sister and surviving half-siblings, probate court records released on Friday showed.

WASHINGTON--A U.S. appeals court on Friday struck down a North Carolina law that required voters to show photo identification when casting ballots, ruling that it intentionally discriminated against African-American residents.

DETROIT--Six Michigan state employees were charged on Friday in an investigation into dangerous lead levels in the city of Flint's drinking water.

OSWIECIM, Poland--Pope Francis made an emotional and silent visit to the former Nazi death camp at Auschwitz on Friday and later said many of the horrors committed are happening in places at war today.

SAO PAULO--Brazil's former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and the former chief executive of investment bank Grupo BTG Pactual SA will stand trial for obstruction of justice, documents from a federal court in Brasilia showed on Friday.

SPRINGFIELD, New Jersey-- Americans Jimmy Walker and Robert Streb shared a two-shot, 36-hole lead at the PGA Championship on Friday with heavyweights Jason Day, Henrik Stenson and Martin Kaymer lurking nearby.

HOCKENHEIM, Germany-- Nico Rosberg, aiming to seize back the championship lead at his home German Formula One Grand Prix, got his weekend off to a strong start by topping the opening two practice sessions on Friday.

Dear Queenie,

My aunt told me that my parents only got married because she got pregnant with me. Then they got divorced after my sister was born and I hardly ever see my father. I guess he paid child support but he never visited us or had us visit him.

Queenie, what do you say to someone who just doesn’t want you even though you are his natural child?—Abandoned son

Dear Abandoned son,

If you have the chance, you ask him why he abandoned you.

You may find out that your parents’ divorce had nothing to do with you and your sister, no matter what your aunt has told you, and that your father’s absence from your life was not because he did not love you, but because your mother kept him away for some reason – in which case you ask her why.

Dear Editor,

We applaud the move to install cameras around Philipsburg as a deterrent to crime, but we must start the discussion on the socioeconomic factors, particularly the socioeconomic problems like youth unemployment, migration and an increasing sense of inequality – all of which are a hot bed for crime – if we are serious about deterring crime.

Having the cameras in just one area initially may serve to move crime from that area to another and not necessarily deter the criminals from committing crimes. There is now more interest locally in the economics of crime which has been stimulated by the dramatic spike in brazen crimes that have been occurring. Research indicates that a widening income gap with respect to richer regions – which compared to most of the other islands we are – increases the probability of delinquent behaviour.

Growing inequality is an important factor of crime and we cannot expect to tackle crime without tackling this head on. The time for this discussion is right now.

Demographic factors reveal important and significant influences with higher crime rates occurring in highly urbanised areas. Being young and unemployed tends to increase the probability of committing crime so why aren’t we doing more to get our young people into work?

The “Chicago school of thought” claims that criminals are ordinary people of all racial backgrounds who were profoundly influenced by the poverty and social instability of their neighbourhoods and that such factors may produce all types of crimes. Visit our jail cells and examine the background of the inmates and you will find that this explanation can be applied almost across the board.

We need to have discussions of what we can do to encourage, motivate and guide people away from crime. We need to address the socioeconomic factors and provide more opportunities. The cameras are a good start to deter criminals but it’s also important to take action to discourage people from seeing crime as an option or a solution.

Therefore it is important to revisit proposals from the OSPP that were sent to every member of the present and past parliaments of St. Maarten. We are referring to the proposed Van Hugh Law (Lei di Bion) sent on February 10, 2015 to parliament and the Council of Ministers.

This would have encouraged the business community to employ young people between the ages of 18 to 30 years that were registered as unemployed. The business in return would receive a tax credit of NAf. 9,000 per year, per employee. Secondly, the OSPP proposed the establishment of a loan guarantee fund to help create new businesses. The backbone of every economy is small businesses and these small businesses create real jobs. These are just some of the ways that we can deter crime and alleviate poverty.

Deterring crime is not just the job of the police since the policy makers are the ones to introduce programs to tackle the factors of crime, examples of which are increased levels of unemployment, poverty, transiency and decreased levels of economic opportunities and community participation, poor housing conditions and a lack of access to services.

Lenny F. Priest

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