Open letter to MP Theo Heyliger (Emilio Wilson Estate purchase)

POSTED: 04/25/14 8:37 AM

Honorable Mr. Heyliger,

Concerning the Emilio Wilson affair the following: What will you do to put an end to this?

I, as co-owner, would like to point out that owners of the estates always cooperated with your suggestions and proposals concerning the development of the property.

1. You introduced owners to RFT. Owners were willing to sell RFT 33 hectares (¾ of the property) to be paid mainly in shares of a new to be formed company because you as minister of VROMI then, said that government at the same time would purchase the remaining 10 hectares. The deal would have been done long ago if you had kept your word and come up with the finances to purchase the 10 hectares for $6 million, which we had reduced from $7.3 million, the amount of the appraisal by ICE.

2. Also on your request owners entertained talks with the Harbor Group of companies because you wanted to pursue the plans with RFT and RFT was in a hurry. Initially Mr. Mingo said that the harbor would purchase EWE for the same amount of $17 million as government. In order to continue the talks with the harbor, government said they first had to terminate their contract with us. Most naturally we didn’t accept this for obvious reasons. Soon after, this venture became futile due to the fact that the harbor did not want to make the owners a reasonable proposal. Why? The owners can only guess. In court government argued that owners’ talks with the harbor prove that government never entered into an agreement. The judge dismissed that argument.

3. During one of the meetings with you, you told owners to take government to court which the owners did. Now that the court has landed its verdict, Minister Maurice Lake appealed that verdict. So far he brought 3 reasons forward. His main objections to the court ruling are that the former VROMI Minister handled on his own to purchase the estates and that he did not follow proper procedures making the purchase illegal. Recently the prime minister admitted in a weekly press briefing of the Council of Ministers, that it was a joint decision of the former government to purchase the estates. So this very important main reason of appeal is no longer valid.

4. In the coming weeks the appeal court will deal with the request for suspension of the imposed fines for the 4 deadlines that the judge has ordered the SXM government to comply with. Even if this ruling will be in favor of government, the actual decision whether or not to overturn the court’s verdict, will be taken by the appeal court, let us say in the beginning of 2015. This entails that if the verdict will not be overturned, government at that time will have built up fines amounting to the tune of $13 million, almost the amount of $17 million, to be paid for the purchase of the estates. These fines will come on top of the purchase price making the total costs $30 million. How will you justify the risk of having to pay almost double the price, knowing that it was a joint decision of the council of ministers to purchase the property.

5. I don’t understand why you keep saying that the purchase price of $17 million is too much money paid. The harbor had 2 appraisals made, both amounting to $20 million and up. A question to you is who would be willing to sell their land at present moment for $45 a square meter because that is the price government is paying per square meter for the EWE property. Would you?

Can you inform me where on St. Maarten one can purchase property for this price now?

In a meeting where the minister of Finance Hassink, the minister of Vromi Lake, the ceo of the harbor Mingo, my attorney Mark Meijjer, co-owner of the property Maurice Paas, you, and yours truly were present, you even offered to purchase the whole EWE property for $22 million, an offer that you were even willing to increase. Finally we agreed to sell an extra two of the six hectares that were to remain in our possession. Government purchased these 2 hectares for 2 million dollars.

6. It is my opinion that owners are the victim of a political vendetta between the UP and NA, which we, the owners, have nothing to do with. Fight your political battle with William, but leave the owners out of it. Since your party is part of the present coalition, I appeal to you to use your wisdom and power to put an end to this EWE story which has been going on too long now. We have given you enough opportunities to obtain the properties and now the judge has ruled.  I count on your support to bring this matter to an end by having the government execute the verdict of the judge.


I thank you sincerely for your understanding.

Henri Brookson

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Comments (2)


  1. John Dalton says:

    Dear Mr. Brookson,
    I can only speak to point #1 as I was personally involved and confirm that what you say is accurate. I would also like to point out that our agreement for purchase of the 33 hectares was based on an independently assessed value of $4M which was confirmed in our signed Cooperation Agreement. You agreed on price but rejected the LOI from government in 2012 for 10 Ha at $6M due to lack of specific closing date (gov had to vote on financing). So total value in early 2012 was agreed upon at $4M + $6M = $10M. You did however accept the LOI from Minister Marlin a few months later, with no closing date but more than double the property value at $17M + $3.6M(value of subdivision land) = $20.6M.
    We at RFA recognize that the property is absolutely unique when it comes to the history and culture of St Maarten and should be historically preserved, culturally celebrated and environmentally rejuvenated in a sustainable way for the benefit and enjoyment of St Maarteners and visitors alike. If you really want to put this to an end you should treat your country with respect, renegotiate an acceptable price with fixed closing date and get it over with.

  2. Hodge says:

    Its funny how this island is so greedy when it comes to other peoples property. People come out the wood works to claim something that never belonged to them in the first place and try to keep the real people who are the real owners away because of their greed.

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