THE HAGUE–Dutch Minister of Justice and Security Ferd Grapperhaus says detective work in important criminal and subversive cases did not suffer due to past problems at management level of the Kingdom Detective Cooperation Team RST.
The RST and the Subversive Crime Team TBO, which is mainly active in St. Maarten, have booked successful results despite the complex constitutional relations in which they have to operate within the Kingdom and the fact that the teams work with police officers who have been posted there from different organisations.
Grapperhaus stated this in a letter to the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament on Monday in response to a request of the Second Chamber’s Permanent Committee for Kingdom Relations and written questions submitted by Member of the Second Chamber Ronald van Raak of the Socialist Party (SP) in December 2018.
Van Raak and the Committee had sought clarity after media reports of a management crisis at the RST and the adverse effects on criminal investigations and Dutch Caribbean police forces.
Grapperhaus mentioned the murder case of Curaçao politician Helmin Wiels and the fraud case of former Curaçao Prime Minister Gerrit Schotte as examples of the successes the RST and TBO had booked. He said a good cooperation with all partners was essential in this, and that the working relations with the police forces in the Dutch Caribbean as well as with foreign security services were good.
Despite the positive results, it remains important to keep investing in investigations of organised, major and international crime in the countries of the Kingdom. “That is why the ministers of justice of the four countries have given the order to develop a new vision on the detective cooperation and to arrive at a modernisation of the protocol for the RST,” stated Grapperhaus.
He explained that this new cooperation agreement would also make the internal structure of the RST more visible which will contribute to more clarity for the team’s chief and employees. He said that “naturally” this had been done in cooperation with the Dutch Caribbean countries, the Prosecutor’s Office, the police chiefs and the RST. Further agreements will be made on this matter during the upcoming Judicial Four Party Consultation JVO late January.
Responding to Member of Parliament (MP) Ronald van Raak’s written questions about the poor functioning of former RST chief Martine Vis and the lack of follow-up from the side of the Ministry of Justice and Security and the National Police to these reports of ill-functioning, Grapperhaus stated that action had been taken.
“However, the signals that we received were not unequivocal and could not be pinned on one specific cause,” he stated, adding that the signals were “immediately discussed with the RST management and have resulted in various actions.”
Previous RST chief Vis has resigned from the RST and has been replaced by an interim team chief, Frank Brouwer, who is well-acquainted with the RST and the situation on the islands.
Grapperhaus emphasised that the cooperation with the local police forces was good.
Bron: Daily herald