Constructive consultation between the Ministers of Justice of the Netherlands, Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten
Today the Ministers of Justice Grapperhaus (Netherlands), Bikker (Aruba), Girigorie (Curaçao) and Richardson (St. Maarten) met to discuss cooperation in the field of justice within the Kingdom. During the meeting, Grapperhaus of course also represented the interests of the Caribbean Netherlands; Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius (BES-islands). Because of the corona crisis, this time the ‘Justitieel Vierpartijen Overleg’ (Judicial Four Parties Consultation, hereinafter JVO) did not take place physically but by videoconference, under the chairmanship of the Netherlands.
Needless to say, the ministers first reflected on the major impact of the coronavirus on the countries and the strict measures that have been in place to get the virus under control. These measures have had an impact not only on everyday life but also on the performance of the justice chain. The ministers stressed that it is precisely in times of crisis that good cooperation in the field of justice is of great importance. The JVO is the biannual moment to enhance this cooperation.
On Curaçao's initiative, agreements have been made to intensify the cooperation between the National Criminal Investigations Department of St. Maarten, Aruba, Curaçao and the Central Criminal Intelligence Agency of the Netherlands. This will include joint training courses, the exchange of experts to one another’s criminal investigation teams and the provision of internships. The ministers also discussed the further progress in equalizing the protection of personal data.
At the end of the judicial consultations, Aruba joined the so-called ‘Samenwerkingsverband ICT rechtshandhaving’ (ICT Law Enforcement Cooperation), with which all four countries have now signed this arrangement. Joining this cooperation not only improves the exchange of information within the justice chain in Aruba itself. It also promotes the cooperation and exchange of information between the BES-islands, Curaçao, St. Maarten and now Aruba. For example, by working with equal police and border security systems, the local services can exchange (tracking) information more easily and quickly.
The next JVO will again take place under the chairmanship of the Netherlands on the 7th and 8th of January 2021.