PHILIPSBURG:---Leader of the USP, MP Frans Richardson on Monday disclosed that two members of the TBO arresting team stole jewelry from Francesco Corallo during his arrest and the raid on his residence in December 2016 and was subsequently sent back to Holland without punishment. Richardson made the revelations during the meeting of Parliament on Monday in the presence of Minister of Justice Cornelius DeWeever.
MP Richardson is in possession of a document to former Chief Prosecutor Ton Maan from the Gemeenschappelijk Hof van Justitie (Common Court of Justice) in which the situation was confirmed and outlined.
H. Festen of the Common Court informed Maan that officers R.S. and S.L. stole an amount of jewelry from the home of Corallo on December 13, 2016. They were reported by one of their colleagues who saw them with the jewelry in their possession. The jewelry was taken from the two officers and returned to Corallo’s home.
MP Richardson was especially upset at the fact that Festen informed Maan that he did not see where a crime was committed and the two officers were returned to Holland without punishment. This is stated clearly in his letter. Even worse, Richardson said, Festen said in his letter that “we are all human and we all make mistakes” and that “the most important thing was the arrest of Corallo, that is what matters.”
“Imagine that. So two Dutch officers commit a crime, they stole, and all of a sudden they are humans who make mistakes. While on St. Maarten our officers and others are branded criminals and thieves and locked up. We are parade and made a show of. But they get a slap on the wrist and sent back to Holland on a nice KLM flight to continue working. Impossible,” MP Richardson said.
The MP went on to ask Minister DeWeever to investigate the issue as the letter is apparently part of an existing Landrecherche report. Additionally, MP Richardson said he will seek a Parliamentary inquiry into the Justice system of St. Maarten.
“How is it possible that only our people are being prosecuted? They went to the property and was filling their pockets with expensive jewelry and did not report it, but was caught by a colleague. Then was simply sent back home. These things are wrong. They should have been arrested for theft, and paraded like they do our people,” Richardson said, adding that he will provide the Minister and Parliament with the documents he has.