PORT INVESTIGATION ST MAARTEN: THE REQUEST FOR AN INQUIRY WAS REFUSED BY LOCAL JUSTICE.
Port investigation: St Maarten prosecutor’s office denies Supreme Court in The Hague
The Sint Maarten public prosecutor’s office on Thursday lodged an appeal with the Supreme Court in The Hague following the refusal by the justice of Sint Maarten to open an investigation into the Sint Maarten Harbor Group.
On September 1, 2017, the Sint Maarten Public Prosecutor’s Office submitted a request for an investigation to the Joint Court of Justice in Philipsburg regarding the Sint Maarten Harbor Group; the prosecution, having “doubts about the group’s policy over the past decade”, wished to conduct an “in-depth investigation” into the management of the port establishment “for reasons of public interest”. He justified the need for these investigations by “the results of other criminal investigations known as Emerald and Larimar which revealed the commission of serious mismanagement”, precisely of fraud and corruption. These practices generated “a financial loss of over ten million US dollars” for the local government; bribes were paid in several bidding processes, including the construction of the Causeway Bridge. In the Emerald and Larimar cases, the former CEO of the port was sentenced to 46 months in prison in early 2020 and an influential politician was sentenced to 5 years in prison.
“These facts highlight the importance of having full transparency on the state of play within this public company. More information could prevent similar mistakes made in the future, ”said the prosecution. Hence his request for an investigation by the Joint Court of Justice of Sint Maarten which refused him.