Bas Roorda’s attorney qualifies Duncan’s statements as nonsense

POSTED: 04/12/11 12:18 PM

“The grounds for dismissal are fabricated”

St. Maarten / By Hilbert Haar – “This is nonsense,” Bas Roorda’s attorney Maarten Le Poole told this newspaper to statements by Justice Minister Roland Duncan about the reason for his client’s dismissal.

Duncan was quoted in a story that appeared in the Daily Herald yesterday as saying that the dismissal has to do with “insubordination,” but Le Poole said that it is “clear as glass that the grounds for the dismissal are fabricated.”

The dismissal letter states that Roorda was fired because he violated his oath of secrecy; it does not refer in any way to insubordination. “The reproach is now that he explicitly ignored instructions, but there is no indication whatsoever that this happened,” Le Poole said.

Duncan’s statement that Roorda had failed to question civil servants that are named in his complaint to the prosecutor’s office – like Tourist Bureau director Regina Labega – has no meaning at all, the attorney said.

Duncan was quoted as saying that the Council of Ministers had questioned Roorda extensively about proof for the embezzlement at the Tourist Bureau, and asked him why he had not questioned the civil servants that are mentioned in the complaint. The Minister said that such questioning is “a requirement of the law governing civil servants,” but Le Poole said yesterday that this is incorrect.

“Interrogating civil servants is not up to Roorda. The penal code states clearly that a civil servant who becomes aware of a criminal fact is obliged to report it.”

Minister Duncan maintains that there is absolutely no link between Roorda’s complaint about embezzlement at the Tourist Bureau, but Le Poole has a different opinion. “Of course this is the reason for his dismissal. That is clear. This is all becoming a big mess and I don’t know what else they will come up with.”

Le Poole refrained from commenting on Minister Duncan’s statement, as quoted in the newspaper article, that labels Roorda as “a notorious liar” and an “incompetent on an ego trip.”

Duncan also stated in the article that the court did not find grounds for the suspension of Regina Labega last year, but in fact, this case never went to court. When Tourism Minister Meyers failed to respond to a November 22 ultimatum to give Labega and Dest an explanation for their suspension, the civil servants filed a lawsuit. Shortly afterwards, Meyers lifted their suspension, but at the same time he filed a lawsuit for forgery and embezzlement against them. Prosecutor Mr. R. Mud confirmed this at the time.

“It is likely that we will file summary proceedings, but this will have to be timed towards Roorda’s return to the island,” Le Poole said. Roorda told this newspaper on Friday that he plans to come back at the beginning of next month.

“We will file the lawsuit before he is back,” Le Poole said. “We will ask the court to allow my client to return to work. I do not know if the working relationship is still open for re-establishment, whether this is reasonably possible. Roorda is at this moment not of the opinion that it is impossible for him to go back to work. But if the court has a different opinion, then the case will have to be settled with money.”

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