Opinion: Helmen Wiels

POSTED: 07/23/13 11:58 AM

The story NRC Handelsblad published yesterday about the Helmin Wiels-assassination contains several worrisome observations. It is maybe good to note here that this is what they are for now: observations, though – having met the author personally – we have not doubts about writer tom-Jan Meeus integrity.

Sometimes, sources loosen up more to a stranger, than they do to local journalists.

But back in Curacao, and here in St. Maarten, many people will wonder about this question: did certain politicians know that plans existed to assassinate Wiels? If this is so, why did they not report this to the authorities?

The possible answers to these questions trigger the darkest of conspiracy theories. Hope is not a word we use lightly, but we surely wish that there simply were no truth to this.

At the same time, we realize that wishing something to be a certain way does not make that something go away. As things stand now, all politicians in Curacao are under suspicion. They knew someone was going to murder Wiels and they did not do anything. We have no doubt that these politicians will come out one by one to declare that they knew nothing about these plans.

The damage has however been done. Anybody with half a brain is able to work out the possible scenarios, and the possible motives, that could have inspired someone to hire some hoodlums to carry out the dirty work. Knowing the atmosphere in Curacao a little bit, we figure that these scenarios are now the subject of even more speculation, gossip and accusations.

It is not possible to say, ah, nothing surprises us anymore, so this does not surprise us either. But the point is, this is not healthy for the community in Curacao. As long as the true killers have not been brought to justice, many others will remain under a cloud of suspicion.

The NRC-story has now brought in the notion that politicians knew about the plans. At the same time the story underlines this does not mean that politicians are behind the murder as the principals that provided the money.

In this context, it is remarkable that NRC brings up the names of MFK-leader and former Prime Minister Gerrit Schotte, lottery-boss Robbie dos Santos and  – without mentioning his name – Francesco Corallo.

The links between Schotte, Corallo and dos Santos are public knowledge, as are the contacts between Schotte and Corallo and the United People’s party in St. Maarten.  Schotte attended an election rally of the UP in 2010; Corallo is known to fund this party, and the UP is known – since a couple of police officers got into an argument about the division of their spoils – for buying votes.

NRC describes the close relationships between the criminal underworld and the governments in St. Maarten as an established fact. For good measure “the mafia boss” is thrown into the equation. It sure makes interesting reading, but where is the solid proof that Francesco Corallo is involved with the Italian mafia? There are of course plenty of rumors, and plenty of stories, about this issue, but Corallo has a point when he says in his defense that he has never been convicted for any crime – in Italy, in St. Maarten, or elsewhere.

The sooner the authorities in Curacao clean up the mess after the Wiels-assassination, the better it is for everyone involved.

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