The Daily Herald – Jacobs: Secret audio recordings set dangerous precedent
PHILIPSBURG – Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs (National Alliance) fails to condemn threats made by Minister of Public Housing, Environment, Spatial Development and Infrastructure VROMI Egbert Doran (National Alliance) to the Progressive Party MK (PFP) Raeyhon Peterson two years ago, under his administration.
“I would like to give our minister the opportunity to elucidate and clarify certain statements,” Jacobs said Wednesday during the Cabinet press briefing.
It was Jacobs’ first public appearance since returning to St Maarten on Monday after attending the United Nations’ High Level Political Forum (HLPF) in New York, followed by a week of private engagements. While off the island, Jacobs said, “I wasn’t able to keep up with all the hype that was going on in St. Maarten.”
Since returning on Monday, she has taken the time to review media reports, including radio interviews. “I have to say that while I can see good intentions on both sides, I think it’s a time of peace and calm, and for us to take time to assess what our aim and purpose is here.” , said Jacobs.
She said while the coalition understands that ‘the opposition has a role to play’, she warned that a ‘dangerous precedent has been set’ by the PFP secretly recording the meeting with Minister Doran in the government building on Pond Island on July 15, 2020. .
“Although the legality of such an action has been mentioned, it is intended to be used in court,” Jacobs said. Referring to the broadcast of “The Breakfast Lounge” radio show with Lady Grace on Monday July 25, in which part of the recordings were shared, Jacobs concluded that “publishing it in this way is certainly not considered as a legal act and I heard that the deputy in question [Raeyhon Peterson – Ed.] is aware of this and is ready to face whatever it brings.
She warned: “We have to be careful as a country. It’s becoming a bit fashionable to record and leak parts of the most interesting parts, I suppose, of our recording. I think if you say you’re clarifying, you’re doing an injustice to the people of St. Martin because they haven’t heard the whole story. I believe that the whole story has not yet been disclosed.
What she saw and read “isn’t necessarily 100% consistent,” Jacobs said. “I will leave it to the Minister to address all the points on which he is suspected of having made threats. I do not have the complete recording and I think it is too early to pass judgment on recordings partials that have been cut for this purpose.
Part of the recording of a July 15, 2020 meeting was released by Peterson a week after Minister Doran publicly accused him of playing both sides in the Alegria affair, in his role as chief acting estate affairs. “I am a politician like you. I can use it now to discredit you 100%. And it will work,” Doran can be heard saying. He was referring to a transcript – “the minutes” – of a meeting Peterson had as head of domain affairs with the Alegria team on March 20, 2019.
“The minutes. That’s also what paints a different picture. Because that’s going to discredit you now,” Doran told Peterson, who firmly replied, “No, it wouldn’t. Because, as I I said I got those minutes but again I don’t think they understand how the meetings are going That doesn’t mean anything until there’s a positive notice signed on the table.
Peterson reiterated to Doran that as Acting Head of Estate Affairs, he had been instructed by Minister VROMI’s office to sit down with Alegria and gather all the necessary information to prepare an opinion on the issuance of rights. of water for which Alegria Resort had requested. The resulting opinion was negative, Alegria was denied the right to water.
Peterson was removed as Acting Head of Estate Affairs on October 11, 2019 by Doran’s predecessor, former VROMI Minister Chris Wever, and the negative water rights opinion was converted to a positive review on February 28, 2020. “I don’t see how I could have had anything to do with it,” said Peterson, who had become a PFP MP, like Melissa Gumbs.
The two deputies decided to question the new Minister of VROMI, Egbert Doran, on the change of opinion on the granting of water rights to Alegria Resort.
Doran then asked Charlon Pompier, permits manager at VROMI, to set up a meeting with Peterson and Gumbs at his office in the government building on Pond Island. During this meeting, Doran made it clear that he knew that the information he intended to use against Peterson had no legal value, but that he would use it anyway to “discredit him to 100%”.
Doran followed up on this threat on Tuesday, July 19, 2022.