SATURDAY, 31 AUGUST 2013
SIMPSON BAY–The office of the Attorney General in St. Maarten was officially opened Friday afternoon in the Puerta del Sol Plaza building, Simpson Bay, with a cocktail and ribbon cutting ceremony attended by a sizeable gathering of invited guests.
Attorney General Dick Piar described the opening as an important milestone and credited the efforts of Solicitor General and Acting Attorney General Taco Stein, the cooperation of the government of St. Maarten and the Ministry of Justice in making it happen.
“The completion of this project to put in place the infrastructure for improving the professionalism of our organisation, I consider a mission accomplished,” he said in his speech. “It’s time for change and to hand over the sceptre to another generation. After 38 years as a government official of which 16 was as Chief Public Prosecutor and 11 years as Attorney General, it’s now time for change.
“According to my plans, I will resign as Attorney General on February 1, 2014. You can be sure that St. Maarten will always have a special place in my heart and you can always count on me. I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your cooperation through the years I have had the honour to serve your country as a government official.”
Taco Stein noted articles stipulated that each island should have an office of the Attorney General and how the one in St. Maarten should be, but it took from October 10, 2010, to April 1, 2012, before it began to exist.
“My return to St. Maarten on April 1 was not an April Fool’s joke, but since that day, we have been building the office and acquiring the staff,” explained Stein. “We now have a fully functioning Attorney General’s Office and we will do our utmost to fulfil the tasks set out for us. I want to thank everyone that helped us to bring this about…the contractors, electricity and telecommunication companies, and our friends and colleagues in the main office in Curaçao.
“And my colleagues here, Cindy and Luke, for being patient with me during the months it was taking shape, and for believing in it. Also, the Prosecutor’s office in the Vineyard Building that took me in temporarily and never complained and finally Dick Piar without whose support and trust the office would still be in limbo.”
Stein also welcomed back Acting Chief Prosecutor Hans Wesselink, who was the prosecutor in St. Maarten from 1989 to 1993 and is helping out for the next half year.
“A warm welcome to you and your wife. You will find St. Maarten has changed, but it is still very familiar.”
Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams and Minister of Justice Dennis Richardson cut the ribbon outside the office on the top floor after the speeches.
Richardson said St. Maarten is a young three-year-old country and he was “ecstatic” at the progress it is making despite the criticism.
“St. Maarten is not falling back. We may be small, but we stand tall,” he said.
Governor of St. Maarten Eugene Holiday, President of Parliament Gracita Arrindell, Chief Prosecutor of Curaçao Heiko de Jong, Acting Prosecutor of Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba Jacques van der Horde, Vice-President of the Common Court of Aruba, Curaçao, St. Maarten, Bonaire, Saba and Statia Koen Luijs, Dean of the Bar Association Remco Stomp, French-side Prosecutor Flavien Noailles and various judges were among other dignitaries attending the event.
Bron: The Daily Herald, St. Maarten