Opinion: Willem Holleeder and Marcel Loor

POSTED: 10/16/12 1:16 PM

Decades ago children used to grow up with the idea that crime does not pay. That good always beats evil. By now we know better and those who don’t have not been paying very much attention.

In the Netherlands Willem Holleeder is all the rave these days. First he kidnapped Heineken tycoon Freddy and his driver Ap Doderer. After he had served his time for that one, he went into the extortion business, a field where liquidations seem to be not uncommon.

Since his latest release from prison, Holleeder suddenly has become palatable to some. The magazine Nieuwe Revue gave him a column and after that he was invited for an interview on the TV-show College Tour.

In St. Maarten we do not have criminals of Holleeder’s caliber and that is something to be grateful for. That does not mean we do not have our share of bad boys, but they somehow do not have his charisma. The only exception is probably Marcel Loor, the former head of the immigration department (when it was still part of the police force), who did time for money laundering.

The other heavyweights in prison – the Regatta-killers Roberts and Richards, but also the seven suspects in the Vesuvius-trial that started yesterday – simply don’t have that appeal and they definitely do not have the stories up their sleeve Holleeder has.

The question is now whether somebody who has been sentenced for a crime – or for more crimes – has to suffer the consequences from his (let’s stick to the male criminals for now) bad behavior for the rest of his life.

The principle seems simple enough. You do the crime you do the time. And when the doors of the prison open and you are a free man again you get on with your life.

Ask attorney Cor Merx how easy it was to get back on his feet after his legal troubles. Or former Lt. Governor Ralph Richardson, for that matter.

On some level former wrongdoings are forgiven, but they are somehow never forgotten. Does this benefit society?

That is the question. If we keep harassing people about stuff they should not have done – even though it happened ten or twenty years ago – we won’t have a lot of time left to do things that really matter. Such an attitude does not sit very well with the re-socialization we claim as the basis for our judicial system.

But still. Holleeder. Loor. They are two completely different characters who live in different worlds.

Would we offer Marcel Loor a column in this newspaper? Would we have to nix that idea because he has a conviction to his name?

Loor has not approached us, though we think he could tell some interesting stories about the inner workings of law and order in St. Maarten. But we guess he would not even do it if he was asked, because Loor has kept a very low profile after his court cases went south.

But still. A man with a conviction to his name is still entitled to his freedom of expression, and he is still entitled to opportunities to earn a living. So would we get into business with Loor the way Nieuwe Revue contracted Holleeder?

If we thought he would contribute something this paper does not have yet, we’re inclined to say that there are no objections – as long as it does not deteriorate into a crash course in money laundering.

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