Attorney says eviction in Fort Willem is legal – Brooks: “This is wrong and unfair”

POSTED: 02/19/13 12:29 PM

St. Maarten – “We have been wrongfully accused of drugs and weapon possession and we want to set that record straight,” Phyllis Brooks, a member of the family that was evicted from its houses in Fort Willem last Saturday, said. “No drugs, weapons, ammunition or whatsoever have been found in our house, this is wrong and unfair.”

Last Saturday around 11 a.m. a police squad together with a court marshal evicted the families from their house, based on complaints from surrounding neighbors about illegal activities, drugs and weapon possession.  The families, consisting of 25 people of which 16 are children,  were shocked when they saw their house and belongings being searched and mashed up by the police force, leaving them homeless. “We don’t have anything anymore, they blocked our house so we can’t come in,” Brooks said. “There are babies as well involved; you can’t leave them without a roof above their heads.”

The eviction is the result of a dispute over the property with the marshal Solange Apon that goes back many years. “She wrongfully accused us of having drugs and weapons in our house, so she could do a raid in our house to claim the property,” Brooks said. “We are not allowed to go back to pick up our belongings or clothes, not even stuff for the babies. My daughter can’t even go to school because her uniform is at the house.”

The four houses on the Fort William premises are owned by the stepfather of the Brooks family who lived there with their mother for 36 years. The mother of Phyllis Brooks gave the mother of the marshal a house for taking care of her over the years. After Brooks’ mother died their stepfather went back to Guadeloupe, leaving them to live on the premises.

According to attorney Shaira Bommel, who represented the family in a summary proceeding last year, the family lost the case for eviction against the heirs of the property due to lack of evidence. “The Brooks family did lose their case against the heirs because they could not provide the judge with any piece of paper of their stepfather that said that they could stay there,” Bommel stated to this newspaper. “So in this case an eviction was completely legal.”

The family spoke yesterday to Justice Minister Duncan and Public Health Minister de Weever to ask for assistance in this matter. “The ministers are really trying hard to help us and we are very thankful for that,” Brooks said. “They provided us with water and food and they placed us in a hotel for a couple of nights.”

“Also we are seeking legal help to try to get our belongings back; we spoke with the Housing Development Foundation to see if we qualify for emergency homes.”

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