Fracas outside parliament building leads to criminal investigation Romain Laville apologizes for death threats against James

POSTED: 06/13/12 1:49 PM

St. Maarten – Independent MP Romain Laville used yesterday morning’s parliament meeting to offer his apologies to the people of St. Maarten, to the parliament and to United People’s party MP Jules James for an incident that took place outside the parliament building on Monday evening after the conclusion of a central committee meeting. During an argument between James and Laville, the latter threatened to shoot and kill James; after things calmed down, James went to the police to file a complaint.

Chief Prosecutor Mr. Hans Mos said yesterday that he was aware of the incident, but he declined to comment any further.

Laville offered his apology in veiled terms without mentioning James’ name. For the latter that was the reason to decline participating in a handshake photo-shoot for this newspaper to show that the hatchet is buried.

“In the heat of the passion for different views things were said by my person and I hold myself responsible for it,” Laville said.

“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.”

Jules James said in response that he was pleased to note that Laville had stood up to make a public apology, though he seemed miffed that Laville had not mentioned his name.

“I am calling his name. I personally felt threatened last night (Monday – ed.) 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.”

James said that others might be called in for the investigation.

“I do not believe that any person should walk with a gun, and especially when it is an unlicensed gun. I made sure that the complaint was filed in case anything should happen to me.”

James said he was glad that others had restrained Laville who was “launching buy valium walgreens himself forward to fight me.” He also noted that Laville had used a barrage of “expletives, curse words and bad words” during the argument.

National Alliance MP George Pantophlet expressed his disappointment with the fact that James had gone into the details of the incident. He also said James is considered “a brother in church, adding that it is unfortunate that his remarks may “instigate more problems.” Pantophlet furthermore referred to the problems at the former Pelican Resort and James role in it as general manager.

“I think it was very wrong for him to make these statements,” he said.

UP-M Ruth Douglas noted that ever since she entered parliament two years ago she had experienced “childish behavior and bad words.” She noted that when someone accepts an apology he also forgives.

Douglas said that she knows the feeling that results from threats.

“I know what that feeling is when you think that your life is in danger when I got divorced and my husband threatened me. You can’t go anywhere, you have to walk with other people and look all over the place.”

Douglas gave her colleagues something to think about.

“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.”

NA-MP Louie Laveist was brief in his comments on the Laville-James encounter.

“What is done is done. We should consider this water under the bridge.”

UP-MP Sylvia Meyers-Olivacci: “Some of us need to grow up. We need to set examples and stop the childish behaviors.”

Meyers-Olivacci also criticized remarks she had read on a gossip blog about her family.

“I became a female dog for someone who does not even know me, because I went to the police as a witness,” she said.

Parliament President Gracita Arrindell noted that article 65 of the State Regulation, aka constitution, gives Members of Parliament immunity for statements they make during deliberations in the parliament. That article does not apply to the confrontation between Laville and James, since it took place after a meeting and outside of the parliament building. The criminal investigation into the threats is now in the hands of the National Detective Agency, the Landsrecherche.


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