Unbelievable, but all this monkey business between the former executive council and the Buncampers was concocted on April 1 2008 "All Fools Day," the irony of all ironies.
The Buncampers received their long lease on April 1 2008 for a property they were subleasing two weeks before they obtained their first one year lease on January 1 2005 to St. Maarten Building Supplies.
Three years later the Buncampers became wiser and decided that they would make sure they get the long lease of the property while there were legal battles ongoing on who should get the long lease.
When the Buncampers obtained the long lease they did not stop there, they decided to
manipulate the legal terms of the lease by selling the economic value of the property for a whopping USD 3. 000, 000, 00 and granting the buyer a mortgage to the value of USD 2.000.000, 00. In reality article (e) of the long lease states that the lessee is not authorized to transfer or sub-lease (sublet) the rights of the long lease. "Economic Ownership is the legal loophole to circumvent this clause because (1) the rights of the long lease were not transferred, (2) they did no sublet or sublease since economic ownership is not a lease, but the end result is the same as an outright sale."
While there is a legal loophole in the long lease contract, it behoves the leader of the Democratic Party now Prime Minister Sarah Wescot Williams to tell the people of St. Maarten how ethical this is and if any other former commissioners had done the same as the Buncampers and how is good governance reflected in these shady transactions. The Prime Minister should also tell the people (voters) of St. Maarten why the Democratic Party government that she led gave the Buncampers the yearly lease and long lease when she knew Elmer Moses Mardenborough had submitted an application for long lease since April 21 1995.
We are forced to be reminded of a statement former Lt. Governor Franklyn Richards made when he said Lt. Governors are like the Sherriff among the cowboys.
According the deed made by notary Francis Edgar Gijbertha, the Buncampers received a down payment of USD 1,631,297.00 from the buyer Theodore Oniel Walters, managing director of ECO GREEN N.V. Walters has committed himself to paying USD 18,750 monthly installments beginning January 2009. The buyer in this case would also have to live with the mistake which has "ninety (73) consecutive monthly installments."
The irony in this "All Fools Day" lease leaves us to question the Buncampers on whether or not they received this sum of money or are they in the business of laundering money if so for whom are they fronting. Should reporters now look for the Buncampers tax declaration to see if they declared the USD 1, 631, 297.00 as income tax or is the Minister willing to make that available to the people of St. Maarten after all good governance is built upon transparency.
We believe Minister Buncamper Molanus should tell us exactly what transpired on All Fools Day 2008 because on Sunday the Minister said "I did not sell any long lease land for any amount of money," she went on to say at no time she used her office to benefit her or her family and certainly not in this case.
The mortgage clause in the deed SMN News obtained seems rather technical, stating that the seller (Buncampers) will grant the buyer (Eco Green) a mortgage on the long lease which the seller still holds in the event the court should condemn the seller to pay the buyer damages because the seller failed to comply with some unspecified conditions, seems more like a catch all clause.
SMN News obtained copies of the contracts at the Kadaster's office which is posted below for your reading pleasure. While there have been numerous articles on the sale of the economic value of the long lease and the denial from Minister Buncamper Molanus we believe our readers have a right to know what is happening in our country, they also need to know who our leaders are and the example they are setting for the youths of St. Maarten. The prosecutor's office said they received some documents but are yet to take a decision on whether or not to investigate. Let us hope with the releasing of these documents the prosecutor's office would by then tell us exactly what they intend to do with the documents they received.
Signature on first lease—
SMN News posted the first lease the Buncampers received from government on Sunday so that our readers could see for themselves that a lease was granted to the former commissioner and her husband Claudius Buncamper who is a senior civil servant. While the document bears the name of the former Lt. Governor of St. Maarten Franklyn Richards we realised that the signature on the document did not match the signature of Franklyn Richards. Our research shows that former Acting Lt. Governor Mathias Voges (current Minister of Plenipotentiary appointed by the Democratic Party) signed that document when Richards was probably off island.
The Deed of Land Transfer from the Buncampers to Eco Green.
The Kadaster Extract
The Long Lease the Buncampers obtained on All Fools Day 2008
Elmer Mardenborough's official request for the Long Lease.