Opinion: Incomprehensibility

POSTED: 08/25/14 11:03 PM

Dear Editor,

I will quote from the Daily Herald paper regarding the Daily Herald and the report of the Integrity Committee (your paper from last Friday) and you may tell the public (in a note under this article) that what is quoted by your paper and the mentioning of the name of my client while her name was never mentioned in the report.

May be is not “Incomprehensibility or Integrity” but just a shame to blame a hardworking citizen…..

The Report: “The committee notes that the airport (just like the harbor and other public enterprises) as vital infrastructure a large number of positions know, especially at managerial level. It is in this context noteworthy that a senior officer, the director of the airport, against whom a fraud investigation by Landsrecherche runs, has been appointed. The committee finds it incomprehensible that the outcome of that investigation is awaited before the appointment was effectuated.”

The Daily Herald: “The Committee found it striking that the airport’s current director, Regina Labega, had been appointed while a fraud investigation against her was ongoing. “The committee finds it incomprehensible that the “results of that investigation were not awaited before effectuating the appointment.”


–       Do you see the word striking in the original text? No. This is done by the Daily Herald.

–       Do you see the name of my client, Regina Labega, in the original text? No, this is done by the Herald.

–       Did the Committee find it incomprehensible? No. Even the mistakes in the language are not quoted….


If you quote something than do the right quote or, “if you do a thing than do it in the right way.”  Otherwise it is striking.

Furthermore, “the Committee believes it is equally unacceptable that this research now lasts for several years, without making clear whether it is clear that prosecution will be initiated. The person involved has been in uncertainty now whether she will be prosecuted or not”.

At the same time, “it is also important to indicate clearly what term is reasonable for an investigation. Integer investigation and prosecution policy implies that people should not have to wait unreasonably long to know whether or not they are a suspect and will be prosecuted”.

The Daily Herald wrote: “However the Committee also called it unacceptable that this investigation has been ongoing for several years without clarity as to whether “the person in question” will be prosecuted or not. People should not have to wait unreasonably long to know whether they will be prosecuted.

–       Did the Committee mention “the person in question?” No. That’s what the Herald made out of it.

–       Did the Committee say: Whether they will be prosecuted? No. The Herald wrote whether they will be prosecuted.

It is my client’s opinion that the Daily Herald does not understand anything from the report because of the way they are quoting from it.

Regarding the Committee:

A suspect should not wait an unreasonable time before ….. being prosecuted” . A person is not a suspect and for that reason not prosecutable.

Next to it: the law does not speak about the length of the “investigation.” The law only talks about an “undue delay” in handling a case. In general: a case should end in court within a timeframe of 2 years (I will keep it short and understandable).

The statements are very far from the truth of the situation with my client, Ms. Regina Labega, and unjustly and unfairly cast a shadow on her integrity and character.

The following are (again in short) the facts of the situation.

  1. My client was suspended from her position as Director of the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau along with another staff member of the office in connection with certain spurious allegations made by the former Head of Finance of the island government. The allegations also implicated a former commissioner of tourism whose name seldom comes up when this matter surfaces in the media.
  2. The suspension was lifted weeks after and my client was reinstated in full to her former position (suspension was done because of investigations. This is a reminder for the Committee).
  3. Since the allegations were made, the Public Prosecutor’s Office has never once called in my client, or indicated to her that she was under any investigation, nor interrogated her as a suspect in any criminal investigation. This is now almost four years ago.
  4. My client had long before the allegations, applied for the position at the Princess Juliana International Airport and had to go through a rigorous selection process conducted on behalf of the airport by external (Dutch) experts.
  5. My client was consequently selected and appointed purely on merit. Her performance since taking office on July 1, 2011 more than bears this out.

The Committee is talking about a fraud case. The prosecutor talks about embezzlement (Today-paper from June 19, 2014). The prosecutor stated in that article in the Today: “about the progress of the investigation and the state of affairs with regards to her interrogation (as a witness and/or as a suspect we cannot and will not make any statement for the time being (Tineke Kamps to the Today)”.

How in heavens name it is possible that the Committee talks about a suspect when even the prosecutor does not want to confirm or deny anything about it and the Committee is of the opinion that my client is a suspect for fraud and the prosecutor is of the opinion that it is embezzlement?

Who is saying the right things right here?

If, indeed, there is a criminal investigation ongoing against my client she has never been officially informed about, shouldn’t the issue of integrity be that an innocent citizen is suffering psychological and other emotional damages without one charge being officially leveled against her?

My client and I will be studying the Committee’s report in detail to determine whatever legal action would be necessary to restore her good name.

PS: See the note under this chapter (7.2) from the Committee saying: (in the Dutch version) a complaint should be serious enough and not to be done just to get someone suspended (for political reasons).

Cor Merx,

Attorney at Law


Editor’s note:

Today also reported on June 19: “Airport Director Regina Labega is a suspect in the embezzlement-investigation at the Tourist Bureau, the prosecutor’s office confirmed yesterday.”


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