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Taking crime to a higher level

Dear Editor,

Wednesday morning, August 4th, was another busy day in Front Street, Philipsburg, as three tourist ships were in at the time, filling the streets with many shoppers and tourists. Everyone seems to be enjoying the peace and tranquillity that midday. However, there were two particular young men, who also made their way to the busy Front Street area. But their presence was to fulfil a different mission. A daring daylight robbery that would shock the community of St. Maarten and raise the concern of the safety of citizens, business people, as well as the crime situation among our youths out there.

For a moment it may have looked like a scene from an action-packed movie of a shoot-out between robbers and officers. It's not the first time these Front Street stores were targeted by robbers. But we are dealing here with a reality, something of its kind that is not common here on this little island of St. Maarten. Times are changing, and criminals are also changing their way of getting their jobs done.

Criminals are now sending a strong message to the island that crime has now taken on a new face. Robbers have become fiercer, merciless, bold, daring in their acts of violence, and will stop at nothing in achieving their goals. Their intention is to shoot to kill, having no regard for innocent citizens, the law, or police officers, who are there to protect and safeguard the nation.

Crime in St. Maarten has now been taken to a higher level. If proper measurements are not taken, then it may not be long before St. Maarten will become like many other neighbouring islands or countries where, killing of police officers as well citizens is common. This act of violence will definitely create a sense of insecurity among the various businesses, because robbers are not waiting until nightfall to commit their acts of crime, but are bold enough to commit their acts even when people are around.

During this week, I happened to be meditating on a scripture passage, which talked about having a righteous mindset. I thought to myself, God is right. If everyone would have a righteous mind, and therefore do what is right, there would be no crime, hatred, discrimination, robbery, innocent people becoming victims, abuse, and the list of unrighteous deeds goes on.

I know there are some people who become very offended when you use the name "God". Everyone has their own opinion. But scenes like these will come back to haunt us, because we are living in a world among certain people, who are, as we would say "above the law", and therefore some of us can become victims to such acts of violence of those out there who are lawless. It's now up to the authorities to come up with a solution to curb, minimize or prevent these kinds of violent crimes.

It's a known fact that too many of our young people here in St. Maarten have guns, and the bigger problem is that most of these youths either have a criminal background, are involved in drugs, gangs, are school drop-outs, or unemployed. Resolving the problem may not be easy. In the meantime, while waiting for a solution, we may have to brace ourselves for a level of crime. That should not be taken lightly, especially when it pertains to the business community.

St. Maarten has only one main source of income that drives our economy that is tourism. We need the tourists, we need the businesses, and therefore it's necessary to provide them with proper protection. A safe atmosphere of security, peace and tranquillity is of utmost importance.

A concerned citizen

Name withheld upon request.

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