Court orders Olivier Arrindell to rectify insults about Prime Minister Jacobs and Minister Ottley

Court orders Olivier Arrindell to rectify insults  about Prime Minister Jacobs and Minister Ottley

The two cabinet members with their respective verdicts

PHILIPSBURG—This morning the Court in First Instance found that Olivier Arrindell’s accusations of corruption and other defamatory statements about Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs and Minister of Public Health, Social Affairs and Labour VSA Omar Ottley infringe on the personal privacy of both ministers.

Arrindell has meanwhile filed an appeal in the related defamation cases brought against him.

In a new video, posted at 9:01am, within half an hour of hearing the judge's two rulings, which ordered him to “immediately refrain from publicly engaging in any making misleading, incorrect and unfounded and unlawful statements about Jacobs and Ottley,” Arrindell again accused Ottley of corruption.

“For me Omar is still a dirty, corrupt politician. I said it again: you are dirty and corrupt,” said Arrindell, who was ordered by the Court to rectify these type of statements within 24 hours after the verdict in a video or audio recording to be handed to the attorneys of the PM and Minister. “The judge wants me to make some statements, which I am not going to do,” Arrindell said. He then removed the video.

In a next video, posted at 09:24am. Arrindell claims: “This was not a win against Olivier Arrindell, this was a slap in the face of the people of St. Maarten.” He announced that he will be working on his appeal this Friday morning. “On the Omar subject matter, and the Silveria Jacobs matter,” he said, predicting that when these cases are brought before a three-judges panel in Curacao on appeal, “it will be a different story”. This video was later removed as well.

During the hearing of the cases, Arrindell argued in his defence that what he says in his videos are not public statements because the videos are posted within a closed WhatsApp group. “This defence fails,” the judge stated in the judgment, “on the basis of Article 6:167 of the Civil Code, a conviction for rectification can be imposed if there is incorrect or misleading publication of data of a factual nature due to incompleteness.”

The concept of publication is interpreted broadly and can refer to any disclosure, even if it has not been made in the press, the judge explained. “In the opinion of the court, Arrindell's statements on social media fall under the concept of publication. WhatsApp may be a closed group, but Arrindell says he has 10,000 friends in this WhatsApp group. His reach is therefore large, especially since it is likely or not impossible that his friends in this group will further spread the videos by forwarding them to people outside the WhatsApp group.”

For each time that Arrindell - after the verdict at 8:30am on Friday, November 24, 2023 - violates the ban on making defamatory statements in public, the judge imposed a penalty of US $ 10,000, up to a maximum of $1,000,000.

The Daily Herald

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