Prime Minister Wescot-Williams, Marlin and Duncan met before scandal broke Marlin: Bada Bing scandal resembles James Bond movie

POSTED: 03/14/13 12:18 PM

St. Maarten – “The new twist that has been given to the entire matter; that it involves the leader of another political party Theo Heyliger adds a totally new dimension to it and it is starting to look now like a James Bond movie,” the Deputy Prime Minister William Marlin commented when he weighed in on the scandal involving Independent Member of Parliament Patrick Illidge’s alleged acceptance of bribery money from the owner of Bada Bing Adult Entertainment Club. Marlin was at the time responding to questions posed at the weekly Council of Ministers press briefing on whether Illidge should resign in lieu of the investigation that is currently underway as a result of a tape showing Illidge in the act.

Marlin said that he has deliberately kept his statements short on the very “serious event,” although he has been asked repeatedly whether Illidge will be allowed to attend Parliament when it convenes.

“Of course he is allowed to attend. In the Constitution provisions have been made. Before an investigation is conducted against a minister of Member of Parliament, there is a certain procedure that needs to be followed. If a person is condemned he automatically loses the seat and if a criminal investigation is started that person is suspended. When you are suspended another person replaces you until the entire matter is cleared up,” Marlin stated matter-of-factly.

Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams said that she “would not want to run ahead of any situation and clearly the wheels are turning and I think that is important that we establish that. When and how a Member of Parliament should resign or be legally suspended or dismissed even that is clear in our laws as well.”

Articles 36 and 50 of the Constitution are always foremost in her memory, the prime minister said, since there was much discussion on them to create a balance for politicians.

Neither of the two condemned the action out rightly, with Marlin stating that the opinions of politicians on the issue would only add to the gossip.

“In this case, everyone in the political arena can have their take on it. The public is having a field day with Facebook and every possible electronic medium that is available to them,” Marlin added.

He added that since the Constitution contains much updated legislation, some of which are similar to the Netherlands, alleged corruption will be handled in St. Maarten the same way that it would have been handled in Holland.

Marlin said that no coalition meeting has been held since the scandal broke; neither himself nor the prime minister has met with Illidge.

Marlin also revealed that before the alleged corruption tape was even written about by the Telegraaf or released on St. Maarten, he had called a meeting with the prime minister and Justice Minister Roland Duncan based on information that was circulating in the Netherlands about “a tape.”

“When I started to hear that the Dutch government claims that the Telgraaf has a tape and they too are aware of it and what is St. Maarten doing about it, I immediately had a meeting between the prime minister, the minister of justice and myself.  The minister of justice immediately upon hearing this sent a letter to the competent people saying that there is a rumor and I want this matter thoroughly investigated. His letter did not go out after the fact but before the fact. When the tape was released again another letter was sent saying, there seems to be such a tape so ensure that it gets in the hands of the proper authorities and he is demanding a thorough investigation of it,” Marlin said.

But while he referred to the discussion being called because of rumors of a tape, the prime minister apparently remembered a different version of events at that meeting with herself, Duncan and Marlin.

“The meeting did not have to do with a tape to start with it. It was on information that the minister of finance brought back from the Netherlands. There were different rumors that the minister of finance picked up in the Netherlands, and that is what we wanted to discuss,” she stated.

When asked whether the national security service VDSM had possession of the tape before its release online, the prime minister declined to answer the question.

“Whether the VDSM had the tape is something I did not want to know and even if I did I do not think it would be prudent to divulge that information. That is why I stressed the independence of that service in terms of its operations.

She and Marlin both said that they were not aware of any other corruption tape as is being suggested in the society.

 

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