St Maarten expand bribery probe of Opposition leader

Tuesday, March 12, 2013 | 12:10 PM

PHILIPSBURG, St Maarten (AP) — Authorities in St Maarten are investigating the leader of the island’s main opposition party following allegations that he asked the manager of a strip club to help blackmail a fellow legislator.

Solicitor General Taco Stein said late Monday that officials expanded the probe after local media reported that United People’s Party leader Theo Heyliger allegedly sought to blackmail legislator Patrick Illidge so he could break the current ruling coalition and seize control of government.

Illidge is an independent parliamentarian but forms part of St Maarten’s governing coalition.

He appeared in a recently publicised video as seeming to accept stacks of money from the manager of the Bada Bing strip club as they discussed business permits.

Heyliger did not respond to requests for comment.

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Attorney General Denies Giving UP Leader Preferential Treatment — Heyliger was questioned at his Home in Guana Bay.


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tacostein11032013Attorney General of St. Maarten, Taco Stein. (File Photo)

Philipsburg:— The Attorney General of St. Maarten Taco Stein denies the allegation made by several persons including politicians that the leader of the United Peoples Party and Former Deputy Prime Minister Theodore Heyliger was given preferential treatment by the national detectives that are investigating the alleged bribery involving Member of Parliament Patrick Illidge and Bada Bing strip club owner Jaap van den Heuvel.
According to information provided to SMN News, the detectives working under the helm of Ademar Doran chose to interrogate Heyliger at his home because they did not want the media to get the word that they had spoken to Heyliger on Tuesday. When SMN News confronted Deputy Attorney General Taco Stein for an explanation on where the interrogation took place, Stein said that the national detectives tried to reach Heyliger by phone and he was not responding to their calls. He said they got word from Parliament that Heyliger was off island and they were also tipped off when he returned to the island but when the detectives called his phone Heyliger still did not respond. Stein said that the detectives then decided to go to Heyliger’s home in Guana Bay and they found the UP leader at home and decided that since both parties were there they would interrogate him at his home because it was convenient for both parties.

When SMN News asked the Deputy Attorney General why his office or the office of the Prosecutor chose to withhold the information from the media and the public in general for two days after they questioned Heyliger, Stein said they do not see the need to inform the media or the people of St. Maarten as to who they speak to on the case, and where these interviews took place. He said a press release was issued two days later when several other witnesses were also heard.

When SMN News asked Stein where was the Minister of Justice Roland Duncan, Minister of TEATT Romeo Pantophlet, and others were questioned, Stein said both Ministers were questioned at the Office of the National Detectives.

The Deputy Attorney General said that at no time they chose to give Heyliger preferential treatment. “The only reason the interview was done at Heyliger’s house was because he was not responding to the phone calls made to his phone, secondly we needed to speak to him so we went to his home and he was there and the interview was conducted there.”

SMN News also learnt that some focus is being placed on the leader of the National Alliance because according to comments made on SMN News and what was told to the detectives by Heyliger, all politicians including the Prime Minister knew of the tape and the only person who would have benefited if Illidge is taken out of Parliament is the National Alliance since the seat MP Patrick Illidge holds will return to the National Alliance.

It should be noted that the National Detectives is also tasked with investigating the election fraud case which is sitting on their desk for the past two and half years. When asked if Heyliger was questioned on that case, Stein said that the detectives only dealt with the Bada Bing Investigation.


PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten – The video tape scandal involving Bada Bing owner Jaap van der Heuvel and MP Patrick Illidge has taken another turn based on statement attributed to van der Heuvel.

Van der Heuvel told the today news paper that he made the tape based on a request from the UP party leader Theo Heyliger and that MP Patrick was not taking a bribe but was in fact being repaid money he had lent to the business man.

He stated that it all started when MP Illidge gave his support to the present coalition government which removed the UP leader from power.

He Theo Heyliger had even tried to pay off MP Laville in a bid to regain his support.

That did not work van der Heuvel stated and it was at that time that Heyliger came to him for his help. Attorney General Taco Stein told our news room on Monday that this information is being looked into as well; all aimed at determining if a crime was committed.

March 11, 2013

Bada Bing owner Jaap van den Heuvel said on Monday in an interview with the English-language daily Today in St. Martin that he is the video that shows how he pays money to the independent Member of Parliament Patrick Illidge made at the request of Theo Heyliger, the leader of the opposition party UP.

Jaap van den Heuvel

“I have the recording to Theo and he has the material to the Daily Herald handed,” said Van den Heuvel over the phone from the Netherlands.

The payment to Illidge is a term for a loan that the Member in 2011 to the strip club owner was doing. Van den Heuvel said Heyliger him initially aanwreef Illidge that he had paid to obtain a license for his business which includes the restaurant Neverland belongs. ”I have denied and explained that I had borrowed money from Patrick. That’s why he regularly came to me, in order to collect installments. “

Thereupon Heyliger for one of these encounters on video capture. ”I had while Deputy Prime Minister William Marlin moot. Heyliger knew That there were problems between Marlin and Illidge. That was the only part of the video that he would use with the aim Patrick back to his side. “

Illidge was in 2010 by 593 votes to parliament elected on the list of National Alliance William Marlin’s, but he declared himself independent where he soon Heyliger led by the UP-DP coalition supported. During the so-called calypso-coup in April last year Illidge concluded an alliance with former UP leader Romain Laville and former National Alliance member Frans Richardson. The three independent MPs then formed a coalition with the National Alliance and the Democratic Party. The coup took Heyliger – said Minister of Housing, Spatial Development, Environment and Infrastructure was the first Wescot-Williams cabinet – politically sidelined since none of his group was willing his or her seat in parliament for him to give up.

“Theo was very angry about this and he spoke with many people, including me,” says Van den Heuvel. “He said he would do on return to politics. Romain Laville first he tried to buy back $ 135,000 and when that failed, he came to me to ask a favor. “

The Bada Bing owner stated that the video Heyliger told The Daily Herald had given. ”His friend Michael Granger would be the part where I pay Patrick delete.”

Granger is employed as a reporter at the newspaper. He is a former press secretary to Mary Buncamper-Molanus, which in December 2010 was forced to resign after revelations about speculation leasehold land.Granger worked in the past as an assistant for Heyliger. Granger is currently also chairman of the local carnival.

Van den Heuvel said that UP-leader Heyliger left the island just before the story by the Telegraph in the Netherlands was brought publicity. ”This is politics played. Theo wanted the fire to subside and return to his place in politics again occupy. “

Justice Minister Roland Duncan says Van den Heuvel nothing to do with this affair, although his name is mentioned in the video. The license that the picture is spoken in the strip club owner called a removal permit in 2006 for which he has paid to his case moved to a new address. The license he has never received. The paperwork has to come from the Ministry of Economic Affairs, not of Justice.

Van den Heuvel returns on Tuesday returned to St. Maarten despite the fact that the Dutch Security Service has let him know that his life may be in danger on the island.

Van den Heuvel said he has discussed the situation with Illidge. ”He was obviously very angry and disappointed. We’ve known each other for years.I know Heyliger also long. But I do not participate in political games. Can not anyone in this way the pages leave while he is innocent. I would be better off if I were to say Illidge is corrupt. But that is not so. Heyliger wants at all costs back into politics. “

“My friendship with Illidge goes back to the beginning of his political career. Our children went to the same school. He helped me when my marriage broke down and now I have this to him. I have enormous regret what I did. “

The Bada Bing's logoThe Bada Bing’s logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
11 maart 2013

Bada Bing eigenaar Jaap van den Heuvel verklaarde op maandag in een interview met het Engelstalige dagblad Today in Sint Maarten dat hij de video waarop te zien is hoe hij geld betaalt aan het onafhankelijke parlementslid Patrick Illidge heeft gemaakt op verzoek van Theo Heyliger, de leider van de oppositie partij UP.

Jaap van den Heuvel

“Ik heb de opname aan Theo gegeven en hij heeft het materiaal aan de Daily Herald ter hand gesteld,” zei Van den Heuvel via de telefoon vanuit Nederland.

De betaling aan Illidge betreft een termijn voor een lening die het parlementslid in 2011 aan de stripclub eigenaar deed. Van den Heuvel zei dat Heyliger hem aanvankelijk aanwreef dat hij Illidge betaald had voor het verkrijgen van een vergunning voor zijn onderneming waartoe ook het restaurant Neverland behoort. “Ik heb dat ontkend en uitgelegd dat ik geld van Patrick had geleend. Dat is de reden dat hij regelmatig bij mij kwam, om termijnen te incasseren.”

Daarop stelde Heyliger voor een van deze ontmoetingen op video vast te leggen. “Ik moest daarbij vice premier William Marlin ter sprake brengen. Heyliger wist that er problemen waren tussen Marlin en Illidge. Dat was het enige deel van de video dat hij zou gebruiken met als doel om Patrick weer aan zijn kant te krijgen.”

Illidge werd in 2010 met 593 stemmen tot parlementslid verkozen op de lijst van William Marlin’s National Alliance, maar hij verklaarde zich al spoedig onafhankelijk waarbij hij de door Heyliger geleide UP-DP coalitie steunde.  Tijdens de zogeheten calypso-coup in april vorig jaar sloot Illidge een verbond met voormalig UP fractieleider Romain Laville en voormalig National Alliance-lid Frans Richardson. De drie onafhankelijke parlementariërs vormden vervolgens een coalitie met de National Alliance en de Democratic Party. De coup zette Heyliger – die minister van volkshuisvesting, ruimtelijke ontwikkeling, milieu en infrastructuur was in het eerste Wescot-Williams cabinet – politiek buiten spel omdat geen van zijn fractiegenoten bereid bleek zijn of haar zetel in het parlement voor hem op te geven.

“Theo was hierover ontzettend kwaad en hij sprak hierover met veel mensen, ook met mij,” aldus Van den Heuvel.”Hij zei dat hij alles zou doen on terug te keren in de politiek. Eerst probeerde hij Romain Laville terug te kopen voor $135,000 en toen dat niet lukte kwam hij mij om een gunst vragen.”

De Bada Bing eigenaar verklaarde voorts dat Heyliger de videobeelden aan het dagblad The Daily Herald had gegeven. “Zijn vriend Michael Granger zou het gedeelte waarop ik Patrick betaal verwijderen.”

Granger is in dienst als verslaggever bij de krant. Hij is een voormalige perssecretaris van Maria Buncamper-Molanus, die in december 2010 tot aftreden werd gedwongen na onthullingen over  speculatie met erfpachtgronden. Granger werkte in het verleden ook als assistant voor Heyliger. Granger is op het ogenblik ook voorzitter van de plaatselijke carnavalsvereniging.

Van den Heuvel zei verder dat UP-leider Heyliger het eiland verliet vlak voor het verhaal door de Telegraaf in Nederland in de publiciteit werd gebracht. “Dit is politiek gespeeld. Theo wilde het vuur laten uitwoeden en bij terugkeer zijn plaats in de politiek weer innemen.”

Justitie Minister Roland Duncan heeft volgens Van den Heuvel niets met deze affaire te maken, hoewel diens naam op de video wordt genoemd. De vergunning waarover op de beelden wordt gesproken is volgens de strip club eigenaar een zogeheten verhuisvergunning waar hij al in 2006 voor heeft betaald toe hij zijn zaak naar een nieuw adres verhuisde. De vergunning heeft hij echter nooit ontvangen. Het papierwerk moet komen van het ministerie van Economische Zaken, niet van Justitie.

Van den Heuvel keert op dinsdag terug naar St. Maarten ondanks het feit dat de Nederlandse Veiligheidsdienst hem heeft laten weten dat zijn leven mogelijk in gevaar is op het eiland.

Van den Heuvel zei dat hij de situatie met Illidge heeft besproken. “Hij was natuurlijk enorm kwaad en  teleurgesteld. We kennen elkaar al jaren. Ik ken Heyliger ook al heel lang. Maar ik doe niet mee aan politieke spelletjes. Ik kan niet iemand op deze manier op de voorpaginas laten staan terwijl hij onschuldig is. Ik zou beter af zijn als ik zou zeggen: Illidge is corrupt. Maar dat is niet zo. Heyliger wil ten koste van alles terug in de politiek.”

“Mijn vriendschap met Illidge gaat terug tot voor het begin van zijn politieke carrière. Onze kinderen gingen naar dezelfde school. Hij heeft me geholpen toen mijn huwelijk kapot ging en nu heb ik hem dit aangedaan. Ik heb enorme spijt van wat ik heb gedaan.”



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