In a brief statement, Hatzmann said he had noted that his recent statements about the systematic violations of human rights in Pointe Blanche prison and about the government of St. Maarten have led to “great controversy and polarization” among the Bar Association’s membership.
“This observation leads me to the conclusion that I am no longer a binding factor and for that reason I am no longer the right person to represent the Bar Association,” Hatzmann said, adding that he had no other choice but to immediately step down as dean of the Bar Association.
“I wish my successor much success and I am determined to continue my fight for human rights in St. Maarten together with my colleagues,” Hatzmann stated.
Last week, the criminal-case lawyer came under fire after he expressed his opinions about St. Maarten’s prison system and political comments on various matters in the media.
The Bar Association and its members immediately distanced themselves from these statements. The Bar Association said in a statement that it was “regrettable” that Hatzmann’s personal opinions have been interpreted as being reflective of those of the association and its membership as a whole. The Bar Association said that Hatzmann’s opinion “in no way, shape or form” reflected the opinions or sentiments of its members.
Hatzmann also came under heavy criticism in the social media and United People’s (UP) party Member of Parliament Grisha Heyliger-Marten characterised his statements as racist and bigoted.