Former MP and leader of the US (United St. Maarten Party) Frans Richardson and former leader and founder of the UP (United People’s Party) Theodore Heyliger are presently before the court having been charged with criminal conduct involving Millions of dollars either stolen or having accepted bribes at the expense of Government and tax payers in overpriced projects that landed millions in their pockets in a string of large scale corruption on St. Maarten.
Heyliger has been found guilty in some of the charges brought against him by the prosecutor’s office to the point where they are eying reclaiming some $ 17 Million of which the prosecutor’s office deems criminal proceeds, Heyliger has illegally earned over the years. Heyliger knew all along that he was being investigated while continuing to serving as one of the most popular politicians on St. Maarten, until he learned his fate after he was picked up on February 19th 2019 and had all these corruption charges brought against him. He of course denied all allegations. His preliminary detention was suspended for medical reasons on May 21st 2019.
On the other hand former US MP and leader of his party Frans Richardson who is also facing a string of bribery cases and wrong doings had his hearing rescheduled for April this year. The many charges brought against Richardson involving Bureau Telecommunication & Post (BTP) Building sale and resale as well as his alleged involvement and accepting of bribes in the code name Emerald Investigation at Port St. Maarten. All of the cases brought against Richardson took place while he was in Parliament and leader of his US Party.
His hearing was scheduled for March 8th and 9th 2021 but was suspended for later this year in April at the request of his lawyer, due to family circumstances. Richardson was also picked up by the Anti-Corruption Taskforce (TBO) and the Kingdom Detective Corporation Team (RST) on September 02nd 2019 on suspicion of accepting bribes, committing official intimidation and abusing his position.
The pattern we are seeing here by our political leaders give reason to believe most politicians on St. Maarten are getting involved in politics solely to enrich themselves once they get in power. These two famous politicians who, no doubt were admired and voted for by the citizens to represent them in Government; yet they are today been accused of wrongdoings and of accepting bribes on the back of the people whom they represent. Its either they will be found guilty or they are profiled unfairly as corrupt by the Justice system.
Are we to believe the new breed of politicians are poised to follow the footsteps of those before them, making decisions based on their personal interest and covering up for anyone who will engage in misconduct by calling on the Netherlands to stay out of what happens politically on the Island, and allow for full internal self-government even while their actions while leading the Country, remains questionable.
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