Former MP Laville stands trial for threatening James and YorkPOSTED: 01/26/16 8:50 PM
St. Maarten – Former Member of Parliament Romain Jules Laville stands trial tomorrow morning for firearm possession and for threatening his former fellow-faction member Jules James and, on a later date, steel pan icon Isidore York.
Officers of the National Detective Agency arrested Laville on March 26 of last year in the context of an investigation into alleged threats he made against former UP-parliamentarian Jules James on June 11, 2012 and against Isidore York on November 28 of the same year. The officers confiscated two firearms during the arrest.
Laville’s beef with Jules James, goes back to the highly emotional conflict about the former Pelican Resort – now Simpson Bay Resort and Marina. Laville was at the time the faction-leader of the United People’s party faction in parliament. James belonged to the same faction but was also the managing director of the Pelican Resort.
In November 2011, Laville threatened to vote in favor of a motion tabled by the National Alliance that held James responsible for the situation at the Pelican Resort, where many long-time employees lost their jobs when the owners sold it and transformed it into the Simpson Bay Resort and Marina. The UP-faction however, somehow managed to influence Laville’s position. /when he found out that he could not abstain, he left the meeting. The motion was voted down 7-6 – with James voting in favor of the motion – a move that became yet another controversy.
During the carnival coup in April 2012, Laville left the UP-DP coalition and in June of that year he had his confrontation with James, outside the parliament building. The next day, Laville publicly apologized for his behavior in a meeting of parliament, but James was not impressed. He said that his fellow-MP had used a lot of swear words and that he had threatened to shoot him.
“In the heat of the passion for different views things were said by my person and I hold myself responsible for it,” Laville said in that parliament meeting on Tuesday, June 12, 2012. “Sometimes when things get heated words come out of our mouth and if we look back on it we would probably have chosen different words. Thinking that what happened I passed a bad shadow over our parliament. I apologize to my colleague for this. I am looking forward to have a discussion with my colleague outside of this hall to be able to move forward. I realize that there are a lot of young kids looking at us as an example. It was a letdown for a lot of those young kids and I apologize for it from the depth of my heart. The words I said did not have any real meaning and I hope my apologies will be accepted.”
James said at the time that he was pleased with the public apology, but he seemed miffed that the gun-toting parliamentarian had not mentioned his name. “I am calling his name. I personally felt threatened last night with the statements he made that he will shoot me and kill me. I went to the police station to launch a complaint because of this threat that I felt was uncalled for.”
Other parliamentarians reacted to the exchange between the two MPs in a rather remarkable way. National Alliance MP George Pantophlet did not target Laville with criticism for his behavior, but James for his statements about it. He “regretted” that James had described the incident in detail and added that it was ‘very wrong” of James to make them.
Ruth Douglass, at the time a member of the UP-faction made a sharper observation, saying that ever since she hand entered parliament in 2010, she had experienced childish behavior and bad words. “As a medical doctor I had expected to be working with professionals, and that things would have worked differently. But there is no difference in being a parliamentarian, there is no pride in being a Member of Parliament. We don’t get respect because there is no respect for our own colleagues. We have to learn from this and move on. We have to treat others with the respect we expect from them.”