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Editorial - A promise made …

Governor Eugene Holiday gave a solid commitment for the deployment of a security camera system during the opening of the legislative year on Tuesday. He was speaking on behalf of the Gumbs cabinet at the time, of course.

The term “country-wide” was used, but this probably should not be taken too literally. After all, it’s almost inconceivable to fully cover every nook and cranny of every neighbourhood.

More plausible is that the main roads will be targeted, along with crime-sensitive locations like downtown Philipsburg and areas frequented by visitors such as Pelican/Simpson Bay, Oyster Pond/Dawn Beach and Maho/Cupecoy. In fact, many businesses and accommodations already have their own video surveillance in their immediate surroundings, so there is no need for excessive overlapping either.

The most logical vehicle to transmit the images would seem to be fibre optic cable, which is slowly but surely being laid underground in the various districts. It also should go to individual homes sooner rather than later, stated UP leader Theo Heyliger earlier this week in an interview with Oral Gibbes.

One of the issues with a possible closed circuit television system discussed up to now has been what would happen in case of a power failure. Cameras can be equipped with batteries, but it’s just as important that the signal and recordings are not interrupted.

According to the Governor’s speech, the preparations to implement this public safety measure are in their final stages, although some may be wondering where the money is to come from with the current budgetary constraints and a financial instruction. It would be nice if some of the 22.1 million euros the Netherlands is making available to strengthen law enforcement in the Dutch Caribbean could go towards this project, but these funds probably will be reserved strictly for specific matters outlined in the protocol between the Justice Ministers in question.

Nevertheless, it appears to be a worthwhile, long-overdue investment that must be realised by whatever legal and responsible means possible at this point, in the best interest of St. Maarten, its tourism economy and its people. A promise made is a promise kept.

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