~ 3rd 8 days extension granted to the Prosecution on Thursday.~
PHILIPSBURG:--- Leader of the United Democrats Theodore Heyliger will be spending another 8 days in pretrial detention since the Judge of Instruction granted the prosecution their request to extend the pretrial detention for the third time since Heyliger’s arrest on February 19th, 2019.
The spokesman for the TBO Roderick Gouvneur confirmed that the pretrial detention was extended on Thursday and Heyliger will remain on Bonaire while in custody.
Heyliger is a suspect in the LARIMAR investigation, that involves Windward Roads, Ronald Masdaam and several others including top civil servants.
The case has been described as a corruption case where it is alleged that several persons took bribes from Masdaam. Heyliger is accused of accepting bribes from Masdaam and offered bribes to former MP Romain LaVille. The case involing LaVille is codenamed Catfish.
The attorney representing Heyliger already filed a petition with the court to have his client brought back to St. Maarten but so far no date has been fixed for that hearing. Heyliger's attorney claimed that he was not informed that his client would have been taken to Bonaire.
Last week supporters and relatives of the longtime politician protested outside the Court of First Instance and behind the Philipsburg Police station. The protestors were demanding Heyliger's immediate release due to the unhygienic conditions of the Philipsburg holding cells. Already the UN condemned the Netherlands for human rights violations when a well-known businessman on St. Maarten spent 8 months there pending his extradition.
Since the arrest of the UD leader who is also a Member of Parliament, the parliament of St. Maarten has been lacking one MP to complete the full membership of parliament based on article 45 of the Constitution of St. Maarten.
Since Heyliger extension last Friday he was automatically suspended from parliament, however, the United Democrats and the Electoral Council have not appointed or swore in the person who would be deputizing for Heyliger based on article 50 of the Constitution of St. Maarten.
Based on parliamentary procedures the next in line for the seat in parliament is former MP Jules James but that is not clearly outlined in the constitution of St. Maarten or the Electoral Ordinance. The Parliament of St. Maarten will be meeting on Friday to further discuss the letter sent by the Prosecutor's Office to the Minister of Justice officially informing him that MP Theodore Heyliger has been officially suspended from parliament and their way forward.