27.06.2017

Sint Maarten driver’s license: genuine or forged?

A Cole Bay resident was summoned before the Saint-Martin Court, because he had a forged driver’s license issued by Sint Maarten.

In early September last year, a Cole Bay resident driving a car registered with the Dutch side was pulled over by police (border police) in Bellevue on the French side at a checkpoint. He presented the papers for his vehicle and his driver’s license, which raised suspicion with border police.

The license appeared fake upon visual inspection as well as to the touch. The police officer, qualified in the analysis and detection of fake documents, noticed that the plastic film did not cover the whole document and the quality of the printing was suspicious. Under UV light, the document turned blue: a sign of an anomaly. According to the Policeman, the license is forged. The document was confiscated and the driver was questioned. He appeared before the Saint-Martin criminal court on Thursday, May 22.

On the stand, he confirmed what he had explained already to the police officers: he received the documents from services of the Dutch government. The licenses issued are valid for five years and it was his second license. He received his first license ten years ago after exchanging his old one in Saba.

He also produced his insurance papers and his identification card, but the quality of the latter is poor because it had gotten wet. He said that he had already initiated the process to obtain a new license from the government. “I am waiting for the card. I have to go get it on August 23,” he said.

After enumerating the ways to identify a real license from a fake one, the public prosecutor requested additional investigation as there was no notice of issuance for a Sint Maarten driver’s license. The court also asked the driver to come back on September 28 with the new license to assess the quality. In the meantime, the old license is still confiscated.

However, the court has no doubts about an international driver’s license presented to the border police at a checkpoint last September at Belle Plaine by Guyana citizen living in Sint Maarten. The document provided was forged. “It is written international driver’s license in all the languages, but the name of the issuing authority is not mentioned,” the presiding judge said. The defendant explained that he has paid $400 to an officer of the court police in Guyana to renew his license. He was given a 15-day suspended prison sentence and fined €400.

Fanny Fontan

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