Election fraud trial: Prosecution wants to revoke voting rights all defendantsPOSTED: 08/5/14 11:26 PM
St. Maarten – The prosecution has demanded conditional prison sentences, community service and revoking the active voting rights of the four suspects in the 2010 election fraud case. From one suspect, UP-representative Roy H., the prosecution also wants to take away the passive voting rights. The court will pronounce its verdict in all cases four days before the August 29 elections, on Monday August 25.
There were four defendants in court yesterday morning for a session that would take all of five hours. Against Roy H. (60), accused of giving money to his co-defendants in exchange for their vote for the United People’s party, prosecutor Maarten Noordzij demanded a 3-month conditional prison sentence with 2 years of probation and 200 hours of community service. In addition, the prosecutor demands that the court takes away H.’s active and passive voting rights – the right to vote and the right to be elected – but he did not indicate how long such a measure should stay in place.
Against two other defendants – Cernick Jan Lionel C. (45) and Ashwin Rodney Wilfred M. (43) – the prosecution demands a 3-month conditional prison sentence with 2 years of probation and 180 hours of community service. The last defendant, Robert Charles Henry J. (63), faces a similar sentence but with 150 hours of community service. The prosecution wants to take away the active voting rights of all three defendants, though it is doubtful whether this punishment will take effect before the August 29 elections, as the defendants are likely to appeal their sentences.
Notably absent was the fifth defendant, Glinda Patricia W., who passed away in June. The prosecution declared itself inadmissible in W.’s prosecution. Yet it was Glinda W. who got the ball rolling towards the inevitable court case.
In a statement she made to the Internal Affairs Department of the police she stated on September 20, 2010, three days after the elections, that she had heard a conversation between three colleagues that the UP was giving money in exchange for votes. The three – the defendants in the case – went by car to the UP-office in Pointe Blanche and W. asked if she could come along. There the men asked to see Theo (Heyliger) or Al (apparently Al Wathey, the judge noted) but in the end they met with Roy H. The men asked $700 for their vote and W. wanted $350 because she was unable to pay her rent. Roy H. said that he would see what he could do for them. The next day he called Robert J. who went to Pointe Blanche where he reportedly received four envelopes, each containing $300. When he came back to the police station he told W. that he had not received anything; she did not believe him.
On Election Day 2010, Glinda W. encountered Roy H. in Cay Hill who asked her, “did you get through?” to which she said that she had not received anything. H. said on that occasion – according to W.’s statement – that he had given Robert J. four envelopes.
Later that day W. met Ludwig Ouenniche, currently advisor to Tourism and Economic Affairs Minister Ted Richardson, who confirmed to her that he had seen H. give the money to Robert J.
When Glinda w. demanded her share from Robert J. and did not get it, she took her story to police Commissioner John and the rest is history.
The National Detective Agency interrogated Ouenniche, but his answers to most of the questions varied from I don’t know to I don’t remember. Asked why so many people came to the UP-office in Pointe Blanche two days before the elections, Ouenniche told the detectives, “they had to register to see if they were eligible to vote.”
Roy H. claimed under interrogation that people did not come to the UP-office for money, but to collect “promotional gimmicks.”
Roy H. however acknowledged that the co-defendants had asked for help with their electricity bills and school fees and that he had put $150 in envelopes. Later he admitted that the amount could have been $300 as well. “I took it out of my own pocket and told nobody,” he said.
The defendants retained their right to remain silent, also when it came to their personal circumstances. Roy H. was the exception: he said that he is on pension with monthly income of around $5,000 and that he had recently sold his marina.