Call a Spade a Spade

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - One would think that after the court ruling in both my colleague and I case against the Sint Maarten Housing Development Foundation (SMHDF), the present board of SMHDF would actively be seeking a different approach.

However, Mr. Bloem, who is still acting on behalf of the board of the SMHDF, wants to possibly advise his client to appeal the verdict. The case was one to dissolve the labor agreement contract between parties (s), "ontbinding zaak" for which appeal is only possible under exceptional circumstances which are evidently not present!

Since which it has become a general accepted norm on Sint Maarten in engaging shenanigans in appointing persons on boards (not making use of the Corporate Governance Council), let me try and advise the SMHDF board from a professional point of view as to not allow themselves to be misled for whatever personal gain purposes. After all, you were appointed as board members and thus you are above your lawyer and cannot hide behind of him when personally being held liable for claims and damages. I am certain that board members have other things that they would like to do with the money on their bank accounts. If you cannot accept such a responsibility as a board member then you should not accept such roles. The SMHDF/SMHFF will have some very challenging times ahead for many reasons that will soon be reveal, not by me but by natural law which states "For nothing is hidden that will not become evident, nor anything secret that will not be known and come to light." ~Luke 8:17. This is just one of the reasons I am an open book and my story consistently remained the same in court because it is easier to defend truth than lies as you have to consistently remember all the lies less you confuse yourself.

The SMHDF board should either call a spade a spade and just pay out and move on and stop wasting more of the people money to prove a phantom story, or worst case they should seek other legal advice other than from Mr. Bloem. If the board had cared to read and understand or even took note of the many presentations that were given concerning a 20 point document with a number of outstanding things of which the prior board never took a decision on, they would know that every nickel will be needed to resolve the many issues that we kept getting derailed on to execute.

After being left in uncertainty for over 4 months, having to deal with all kind of negative rumours about embezzlement, fraud which of course caused severe damages to our good name and reputation, we was left with no choice but to take action as a last resort. For us it was obvious that we were dealing with a witch-hunt and we were "collateral damage". I released a press message in March in which I already indicated the sloppy manner in which the Supervisory Board or better said their lawyer Mr. Bloem dealt with this matter. I will even leave a little tip for Bloem for next time: Mr. Bloem, since neither I nor my department have ever been over the warehouse and certainly never had a key to it, the person over the technical department should have also be suspended and not made an interim director. In that way the witch hunt would at least look more believable. If a coup is being staged, cover all bases thoroughly and stick with a consistent story as in all my years experience, I have never seen anything done right hastily.

Our lawyer Ms. Cindy Marica tried first to settle our case out of court and proposed a payout for both me and my colleague, which was done since February /March. Bloem didn't even respond to these proposals. Only when he became aware of the petition filed by Attorney Marica is when he responded to these letters and he even went as far as stating that he had sent a letter before in March; strange enough this letter was never received before the petition was filed.

In any event the judge basically agreed with us that the manner in which our suspension was handled was in direct conflict with the principles of "good employership". We were accused: without proof or a basis, left in the dark for too long, and there was no swift handling of this matter despite our repeated requests for information. To top things off, to date my colleague and I were never heard, not by the board, not by forensic auditors (Forensic Services Caribbean) who were given the assignment since January, and not even by the interim directors. Even though the judge gave Bloem a second chance to elaborate on the almost 100 exhibits he submitted, he failed to prove that the suspension was based on correct facts and that the accusations of embezzlement fraud etc were founded! Even a first report from the forensic auditors was given to SMHDF but yet Bloem never submitted this in the second round.

The claims for outstanding salary and vacation pay as well as damages were not handled as the judge ruled that we have to file separate procedures. Our lawyer Marica already requested Bloem to voluntarily comply with these judgments. We honestly don't expect the SMHDF to do so with the experience over the past months and thus we are prepared to proceed to Court and claim these as well. It is a pity that more of the SMHDF funds will be wasted on legal and other fees whilst by now the message should be clear. If I was SMHDF lawyer I would advise management and the Supervisory Board to settle these claims and save unnecessary costs, legal interest, penalties and time. If the Supervisory Board members are so naïve to allow themselves to be misled, I think Government should do the honourable thing and dissolve the board immediately.

For now, we are very relieved with the judgment and that the judge determined the unlawfulness of the Board's and Bloem's actions. We might not have gotten the apology but the compensation with kantonrechtersformula 2 for me says enough.

It is said that the battle is not for the swift as these last months have not at all been easy as defamation of one's character is worse than living in poverty. So for these first results I must thank Jah for his holy words which allowed me to keep that white veil up less my own desire precede me. Justice has been served for us two and we hope soon also for Mr. Lynch. We also thank our family and friends for their support and prayers and our lawyer Ms. Cindy Marica (Mariflex Attorneys, Longwall road 18) for taking on our case and representing us in the professional manner she did. And lastly, it is a pity that when a young professional has proven that acquiring property and building affordable homes are possible even when others claimed for years it was not, one needs to only ask now if affordable housing will remain a fantasy for many persons on the island.

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