Volkskrant depicts Justice Minister as brothel-owner – No comment from Duncan and PM

POSTED: 03/20/13 11:15 AM

St. Maarten – While the opposition UP has demanded that independent MP Patrick Illidge and Justice Minister Roland Duncan step aside until the investigation into the Bada Bing bribery scandal has brought more clarity, Duncan and Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams so far have declined to comment on the situation.
The UP said on Monday that its party-leader Theo Heyliger is ready to comment on the situation, but text messages to his mobile phone yesterday afternoon were met with silence.

For Minister Duncan there is an added complication stemming from reports in this newspaper about his ties with Hypnotic Hotel and entertainment, the management company of the Seaman’s club brothel in Sucker Garden.

Yesterday the Volkskrant in the Netherlands published a story by its correspondent Jean Mentens under the headline Justice Minister is also brothel-owner. It shows an enchanting night-picture of Bada Bing in Simpson Bay and relates the story of the bribery tape as well as Duncan’s involvement with the Seaman’s Club.

After earlier publications in the Telegraaf and a devastating broadcast in the TV-program EenVandaag this is the umpteenth report in the Netherlands that puts St. Maarten in a dubious light.

To get clarity about the situation we submitted an email with four questions to Minister Duncan on Monday, but up to yesterday afternoon we had not received a reply.

We stated in the email that court documents and rulings show that Minister Duncan’s signature is on the management contract between Hypnotic Hotel and entertainment and Richbenzwan, the company that owns the license for the Seaman’s club. We also stated that two of the ministers companies – Duncan and Brandon management and collection services and the foundation Duncan Holding Pension Fund – are registered at the Chamber of Commerce as the directors of Hypnotic.

We asked Minister Duncan: when you accepted the appointment as Minister of Justice in 2010, did you report your ties to Hypnotic to the prime minister? If you did, what was the prime minister’s reaction? If you did not, why not?

Lastly we asked if the minister agrees that – in case he did not report his ties to Hypnotic – this is a violation of article 2 of the Landsverordening integriteitsbevordering gezagsdragers. This is the national ordinance designed to promote integrity among ministers.

It obliges minister to report all their assets and their business interests within thirty days to the prime minister.

This newspaper also sent an email to Prime Minister Wescot-Williams with questions about the position of her justice minister. Up to yesterday afternoon there was no reaction to our questions. We asked, obviously, whether Minister Duncan declared his ties to Hypnotic in 2010 when he accepted his post. We also asked if these ties would have disqualified him for the appointment to justice minister. Furthermore we asked the prime minister whether she considered that Minister Duncan’s ties to Hypnotic represented potential conflicts of interest, and whether she considers it proper for a justice minister to have ties with the prostitution sector. Lastly, we asked whether the PM intends to take action against Minister Duncan for not properly reporting all his business interests. For now, all these questions remain unanswered.


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