PHILIPSBURG– On Friday, June 17th, 2022, the Court of First Instance rendered its decision denying a request to suspend the decision of the Honorable Minister of Justice Anna E. Richardson regarding the detention and deportation of a woman of Venezuelan nationality who has been residing on St. Maarten illegally for the past three years.
The woman’s Attorney Mr. Remco Stomp, in his petition to Court claimed that the situation in Venezuela is inhumane and that his client has pressing interest in remaining on St. Maarten with her two children that are also residing illegally on St. Maarten and attending school. Although the woman’s Attorney claimed that the woman has a partner on French St. Martin with property on the Dutch St. Martin who was willing to act as her guarantor, the Court agreed with the Minister’s Attorney Ms. Cindy Marica that the detention and deportation order of the Minister were justified in the interest of public order and in respect of the Immigration laws and policy of St. Maarten.
The Minister of Justice must be allowed to execute her authority to detain and deport persons that are illegally staying on St. Maarten, especially those persons as the woman who have failed to make any efforts to regulate her legal residency on St. Maarten and by doing so, blatantly disrespected the immigration laws on St. Maarten. The woman never requested a residence permit for herself or her children during the time she has been residing illegally on St. Maarten and allegedly has been working on both the French and Dutch sides of the island.
The Attorney on behalf of Minister Richardson argued that her detention is extended due to her own fault, as she has been refusing to cooperate with the immigration officials by taking a PCR test in order to be deported to Venezuela. Allowing the woman, who is also suspected of a crime for which she is summoned by the Criminal Court later this year, to stay on St. Maarten, would create a dangerous precedent for persons who reside on St. Maarten illegally, which St. Maarten could not afford. The Court agreed with the arguments on behalf of the Minister of Justice and denied the request to suspend the detention and deportation of this woman to Venezuela.
Minister Richardson stated, “All visitors are urged to respect the immigration laws of St. Maarten. If you plan on residing on the island, you must apply for a residence permit at the Immigration and Border Protection Services. First time applicants should not be on St. Maarten during the processing of their application.”