Open letter to the Prosecutor of St. Maarten

As a citizen who is being victimized by the Minister of VROMI [Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure – Ed.], Mr. Egbert Jurendy Doran, I address this public plea to you with the sincere hope that you will stand up for us, the common men and women on this island, and ensure that an impartial investigation is launched into the wrongdoings of Minister Doran, his colleague minister(s) and his subordinates within the Ministry of VROMI in regard to all matters surrounding the so-called Vineyard Heights Project in the Over the Bank area, based on the following:

  * Prior ministers issued official signed government documents indicating the intention of government to issue specified parcels of land to several citizens;

  * These citizens made payments to the Cadastre upon indication of a former Minister of VROMI, Mr. Angel Meyers;

  * The Cadastre issued certificates of admeasurement to these citizens, which were provided to the Minister/Ministry of VROMI;

  * The then Director of the Cadastre, Miss Marcia Richardson, is actively involved in the current process as the new Head of the Domain Affairs Office and is fully aware of the payments that were made and certificates of admeasurement that were issued;

  * These citizens were informed that the land would be issued when Government won the court case. This has not been done;

  * Over the years contact was made with the ministry, ministers and civil servants, as well as complaints filed to the Ombudsman to get the matter finalized. It has not been finalized;

  * Minister Doran stated in an interview on Lady Grace that our decrees expired and we therefore have no claim to the land. We find this to be a wrongful act towards us, as the delay is due to Government inaction. We could not get a deed passed at the notary without Government involvement;

  * Minister Doran has decided to disregard our rights and chosen to reissue the land to 25 other people, one of which is his first cousin;

  * Minister Doran secured renderings for his project in a questionable and possibly illegal manner, according to information released in the media and mentioned in the Parliament;

  * According to documents released publicly, a public tender for the renderings was held and a bid was accepted for NAf. 3000, whereas all parties involved knew that this was not a “real bid”, given the real costs of such renderings;

  * According to these documents the bid of NAf. 3000 was submitted to solidify the role of the company in the development project, which according to media reports was agreed upon with an official of the VROMI ministry;

  * Minister Doran has chastised the Ombudsman for trying to investigate the matter to ensure our rights are protected;

  * Although serious concerns have arisen, Minister Doran has not made any statements of halting the ongoing process until matters have been cleared up.

  I am thankful that the Ombudsman is making serious efforts to investigate this matter. However, given the reaction of Minister Doran and the questionable actions in the ministry where it pertains to the bidding process, I am fearful that the land will continue to be granted to the 25 new individuals and we will be left with our hands empty.

  From past investigations you have launched into the fires on the landfill and the management thereof, as well as the inquiry into the harbor, it is clear that you have far reaching authority to look into matters that are directly impacting the population. In this case I am convinced that there could possibly be criminal factors involved that warrant your urgent attention.

  I beseech you as a citizen of this island to please intervene and ensure justice is served, as Ministers and civil servants are there to work for us, the people, and not to abuse their power and work against us.

M. Blijden