St. Maarten Tourist Bureau director demands her job back, sues govt

POSTED: 11/24/10 10:21 PM

St. Maarten – Mr. J.G. Bloem, the attorney for Regina Labega and Edward Dest, filed a request with the court for civil servants affairs at the end of the afternoon yesterday for a temporary provision. Labega and Dest, director and head of marketing at the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau, want to be admitted to their work within 24 hours after a court decision.
If the court does not honor this request, the plaintiffs demand to receive all information relevant to their suspension, including an audit report about the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau. They also want their laptops back. “We want all information concerning my clients’ alleged neglect of duty,” Bloem said.
If the court does not reinstate Labega and Dest, they will also ask the court to set a term for their suspension. At the moment, both have been suspended indefinitely.
“What I do not understand is that the government does not answer letters and that it waits for court cases,” Bloem said. “That happens too often and these court cases are costing the government money. I expect that we will receive our information one day before the court case.”
Bloem said that it was better to simply answer letters and to enter into negotiations to figure out if a solution or a settlement is possible.
Judge Mr. R.W.J. van Veen will deal with the court case and he will also, after receiving the request, decide the court date.
On November 5, St. Maarten Tourism Minister Franklin Meyers suspended Labega and Dest for unspecified reasons. At the end of that day, Meyers issued a statement saying that the suspension had to do with irregularities the finance department had discovered at the tourist bureau already before the September 17 elections.
So far, no specific allegations have been leveled against Labega and Dest. Meyers said in his statement that the suspension was designed to facilitate the investigation and that it was “not a finger pointing exercise but a due diligence and legal process based on the principles of good governance and the rule of law.”

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