PHILIPSBURG--The police asserted Thursday that the sixteen-year old who attempted to commit suicide by hanging in a police cell at the Philipsburg police station earlier this week is a Jamaican national and therefore is not stateless.
The minor, who was born in St. Maarten, has a Jamaican passport, has a history of drug use, "is no stranger to police because of his involvement in several criminal investigations," and has been abandoned by his family, according to police spokesman Inspector Ricardo Henson.
The police also announced Thursday that the youth, whose has been identified as M.R., will be released into the custody of a friend of his family "who will allow him to stay here until all arrangements have been made for him to travel to Jamaica where he will be in the custody of Children Services."
The statement issued by Inspector Henson contradicted much of the information provided to this newspaper Wednesday by the teenager's family members in the absence of official information from the police.
Henson, referring to the attempted suicide as "the recent unfortunate incident at the police headquarters in Philipsburg," said the incident had taken place on Wednesday, May 4, and that the young man was being held for Immigration purposes.
He said the police officers on duty had gone to the cell where the teenager was being held immediately after were alerted by other prisoners about what was going on, and had thwarted the suicide attempt.
"The paramedics were notified of the incident and arrived shortly after to give the victim the necessary medical attention," Henson reported.
Contending that M.R. is no stranger to police because of his involvement in several criminal investigations, Henson said M.R. had been arrested on October 30, 2010, as a suspect in an armed robbery. That arrest took place in an old shack on the dump on Pond Island where the suspect was residing alone.
Henson continued: "He was not convicted for this robbery case and was handed over to the Immigration Department due to the fact that he could not provide any sort of identification. Several attempts by local Immigration officials were made to have the family members of M.R. bring in proper identification; however, to no avail.
"The victim has been abandoned by his family because of his negative behaviour. In January 2011 through the intervention of the Court of Guardianship a caretaker was located where M.R. would be able to stay until his identification was properly established. He was then released into the hands of the caretaker.
"In February 2011 the caretaker informed Immigration officials that due to the uncontrollable and negative behaviour of M.R. he would not be able to stay [by her] any longer. The caretaker also stated that M.R. was involved in the excessive use of drugs and at one time pulled a knife on her and threatened to use it. The caretaker was forced to flee her home to avoid being injured.
"The Immigration officials were obligated to again place M.R. in custody because he seemingly became a threat to public safety."
Henson said there had been regular communication and consultation with the Jamaican High Commission in Trinidad and Tobago and with the British Consul and they also had been informed of this recent incident.
"Immigration officials have also received confirmation from the Jamaican High Commission that M.R., who has a Jamaican passport, will receive travel documents to travel to Jamaica after all necessary costs have been covered [and] these documents will be delivered to the Immigration Department in the coming days," Henson said.
Stressing, "M.R. is not stateless," Henson said the teenager was a Jamaican who had been taken from St. Maarten as an infant to live with his grandmother in Jamaica and had returned to St. Maarten in 2006.
He said M.R. had been subjected to a psychiatric evaluation conducted by Dr. Sachin Gondotra, who declared that he did not suffer from any mental defects.