Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte bloopers with refusal to receive St. Maarten MP Patrick IllidgePOSTED: 06/5/14 5:00 PM
THE HAGUE – Independent MP Patrick Illidge has added another feat to the embarrassment he has caused the St. Maarten delegation at the Inter-Parliamentary Kingdom Consultation (Ipko), but Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte also ended up with mud on his face. Rutte refuses to receive the MP according to a report by the NOS, “because Illidge did not appear in court” to face accusations of bribery against him.
The reason Rutte gives is remarkable and groundless, because at the most recent court hearing – on May 7 – both attorneys (Cor Merx for Illidge and Ralph Richardson for Jaap van den Heuvel) were not available and the court had informed both defendants that they did not have to appear in court.
However, in the Netherlands Illidge is first and foremost a suspect in the Bada Bing bribery case and Rutte apparently needed a reason to avoid shaking hands with him.
Rutte had offered the delegations to the Ipko from Aruba, St. Maarten and Curacao initially a reception, but he added that Illidge is not welcome. The complete delegation decided not to go. They argue that they are not able to stop Illidge from attending.
On Tuesday Illidge did not make an appearance at the Ipko-meeting, after Socialist Party MP Ronald van Raak had made clear that he did not want to talk “with the underworld about the underworld.”
Roy Marlin, the spokesman for the delegation from St. Maarten told the NOS that he finds it unpleasant that Rutte took the decision not to receive Illidge. “Prime ministers come and prime ministers go, but St. Maarten will be there forever,’ he said. Marlin does not think the incident will damage the relationship between St. Maarten and the Netherlands.