VDSM was not involved in Vesuvius-investigation

POSTED: 12/11/13 6:35 PM

St. Maarten – The National Intelligence Service VDSM was never involved in the Vesuvius investigation, as the Telegraaf suggested on Saturday in a story about VDSN-chief James Richardson. “That seems to me to be a tall story,” Bart den Hartigh, one of the first case officers for the Vesuvius investigation who has in the meantime returned to the Netherlands, said in an email to this newspaper. “As far as I know the VDSM has not been involved in Vesuvius. They are dangerous criminals but they don’t seem to be a danger to the state to me – though I do not know how the VDSM thinks about that.”

On October 18, 2012, Den Hartigh formulated the prosecution’s demand against the seven Vesuvius-suspect together with fellow-prosecutor Gonda van der Wulp.

The demand details all the parties that were involved in the investigation: police from St. Maarten, Curacao, Aruba, Bonaire and the Netherlands. Local forces, the Royal Marechaussee and the Detective Collaboration Team RST made manpower available for Vesuvius. But the National Intelligence Service VFSM was not one of them.

The Telegraaf story was correct in the sense that Richardson camped out at the Tamarind Hotel in Pointe Blanche for a couple of months in 2012 but his reasons for going to ground remain unclear.

Richardson arrived with his family and most of his belongings at the Tamarind Hotel on May 25, 2012, where he rented apartment number 54 for $2,700 per month. The invoice went to the Staff Bureau of General Affairs under the name of James Richardson. This newspaper obtained copies of the hotel bills the Richardson family amassed at the Tamarind.

They show that the VDSM-chief stayed at the Tamarind until September 25 of last year. The bills total a bit more than $14,000. Especially in August and September the electricity-component of these bills went through the roof with charges close to $400 per month. “They had the airco on all day and they left their windows open,” explains Tamarind-manager Paul Ingram.

Richardson also made a big mess in the luxury apartment. “Our cleaning lady was complaining constantly about it,” Ingram says. When they left we took pictures of the mess.”

Of the $14,000 hotel-bill General Affairs still has to pay close to $900 for utilities.

The claim by the Telegraaf that Richardson went to ground due to threats linked to the Vesuvius-trial, do not make any sense at all. All suspects in this case were arrested in November 2011, and the case went to trial in October of the following year. Richardson and the VDSM were not connected to the case in an investigative capacity or as a witness.

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