POINTE BLANCHE–About sixty Dutch marines who came to St. Maarten in April to assist the country during the coronavirus crisis are currently preparing to return to the Netherlands.
Spokeswoman of the Dutch Forces in the Caribbean Lieutenant Canan Babayigit told The Daily Herald last night that roughly 60 marines will be returning to the Netherlands this upcoming weekend. She said the extra military police (Marechaussee) will stay a bit longer in the country, but she could not say how much longer.
She said a statement had been issued last week indicating that the military personnel who came to the country from the Netherlands were preparing to return to the Netherlands as St. Maarten seemed to have the coronavirus crisis under control.
“Due to the fact that it all looks like the corona crisis – which is the reason why they are in St. Maarten, and the ship is also in this area – is more or less under control, together with Korps Police St. Maarten and local authorities, we are looking into the possibility of diminishing our presence in the area,” she said.
She said the group of Dutch marines, usually around 20, that are usually permanently posted in St. Maarten will remain in the area. Asked what equipment will be returned with the marines, she said part of the equipment of the marines are on board the ship, but the marines also have their personal equipment to take back with them.
“From what I know now, no medical equipment has been brought from the ship to shore so there was no medical equipment loaded back (on to the ship). The corporation with the local authority in maintaining public safety and order was very good,” she said when asked to give an assessment of how the assistance went.
The government of St. Maarten honoured the marines and Dutch Marechaussee with certificates of appreciation last week for their service to the country during the crisis.
On April 27, the marines arrived in Curaçao by plane, while the Karel Doorman with the equipment arrived in St. Maarten on April 25.
Bron: Daily Herald