Successful meeting about judicial cooperation with Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten

The biannual Four-Party Judicial Consultation (JVO) took place on the 17th of January 2024, and was attended by the Dutch minister for Legal Protection (Weerwind), the minister of Justice and Social Affairs for Aruba (Tjon), the minister of Justice for Curaçao (Hato) and the minister of Justice for St. Maarten (Richardson). The meeting was held on and chaired by Curaçao.

The countries within the Kingdom cooperate intensively on a variety of themes, including how to address organised subversive criminality, migration, investigatory and police collaboration, and the improvement of law enforcement chain. The JVO helps to ensure effective cooperation in these areas and is extremely important for the judicial chain in the Caribbean Netherlands. Regional cooperation is essential due to the small-scale nature of the various islands. The Dutch delegation includes the Chief of Police of the KPCN and the Chief Public Prosecutor of the OMBES.

The ministers talked about the performance and budgets of various (shared) institutions, such as the Recherchesamenwerkingsteam (investigatory cooperation team, RST), the Stichting Beheer ICT Rechtshandhaving (foundation for managing ICT in law enforcement, SBIR) and the Public Prosecutions Office. They also addressed the execution of the Onderlinge Regeling Vreemdelingenketen (mutual agreement for the Aliens chain), the progress in the administrative approach to subversion as well as the foundation of the Ondermijningsplatform Cariben (Caribbean subversion platform).

In addition, the meeting also involved highlighting the theme of forensic care. The JVO Forensic Care working group provided an update about its activities. The task of this working group is to offer advice about forensic care for youngsters and adults in the Caribbean part of the Kingdom. Because there is a major overlap between the field of mental healthcare and forensic care, the JVO working group sought to cooperate with the mental healthcare working group that is part of the Kingdom's four-country consultation for health ministers. During the JVO, the ministers called on the working group to cooperate with the mental healthcare working group to realise a proposal for forensic care and secure care during a joint conference (spring 2024).

The other issue that was highlighted was the imbalance within the legal enforcement chain in the Caribbean part of the Kingdom. Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten had identified this imbalance during past JVO's because priorities and capacities were not being effectively coordinated. The JVO's Imbalance working group has analysed the imbalance in the meantime and identified several potential solutions. The ministers asked the working group to explore these solutions and to present recommendations during the next JVO.