St. Maarten investigation into vote-selling underway

POSTED: 11/24/10 10:27 PM

St. Maarten – The St. Maarten Public Prosecutor’s Office confirmed yesterday that an investigation has started into allegations of vote-selling by two police officers and a member of the VKS ahead of the September 17 elections. Two weeks ago, the prosecutor’s office received a report from the police about the alleged vote-selling.
Press officer Mr. R. Mud said at the time that the investigation is a matter for the landsrecherche, but that this unit was still in the process of being established.
The allegations target three suspects who allegedly sold their vote for $300 a piece to St. Maarten’s Vice Prime Minister Theo Heyliger’s United People’s party.
Vote buying or selling carries a maximum penalty of 6 months imprisonment or a fine of 300 guilders, approximately $165.
People found guilty of the offense could also lose their active and passive voting rights.
The investigation is sensitive, because it will not only look at the sellers of the votes, but also at the buyers. If it becomes clear that the suspects in the case indeed sold their vote to the United People’s party, the role of the Vice Prime Minister, as well as that of the Minister of Economic affairs and Telecommunication Franklin Meyers, who is the president of the UP party, will also come under scrutiny.

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