~ Defense admits that Arrindell went too far. ~
PHILIPSBURG: --- The Court of First Instance had to make two courtrooms available on Friday afternoon to accommodate members of the public who showed up at the Courthouse in support of Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs who filed a civil case against businessperson Olivier Arrindell for slander and defamation.
Arrindell who is currently in Congo Africa, was supposed to attend the hearing virtually but he did not do so because his lawyer claimed that his internet connection in Africa was not stable. His lawyer Geert Hatzmaan asked for a second postponement, but it was not granted.
Representing Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs was Attorney at Law Melinda Hoeve who presented the court with over thirty videos that were made by Arrindell with the sole purpose of creating torture, defamation, and slander. “His attacks are baseless and his attorney did not provide the court with any factual evidence to substantiate the statements made by his client.
His intentions are to influence the upcoming elections that are slated for January 11, 2024, Hoeve said.
Hoeve said the statements made by Arrindell are tasteless and offensive, and the way it looks he does not intend to stop unless the court intervenes and sends a clear message to him. Hoeve said Arrindell attacked the Prime Minister's personal life, her sexual orientation, her childhood past all of which has nothing to do with her role as Prime Minister of St. Maarten. Her family, including her children, were attacked, and she was accused of being part of the Carbon Group yet no evidence to support his claims.
Hoeve pleaded with the court to do justice by Jacobs since the people of St. Maarten are being misled through lies and unfounded statements by a man who is interested in power himself.
She said all procedures followed the correct channels and that included how the law firm obtained Arrindell's registration information along with how he was served at his legal address on St. Maarten, she explained that Arrindell was also served by email.
The attorney lamented the fact that Arrindell did not make an effort to attend the court case but he was able to make videos and distribute them while the hearing was taking place.
Attorney at Law Geert Hatzman agreed that his client went too far, he described him as a loud bird ( seagull) that sings loudly to get attention, however, he does not believe the behavior of his client warrants a rectification.
Hatzman based the allegations of corruption on articles printed in one of the local newspapers and the Ombudsman report on the bidding process for the garbage collection contracts. He did not present any actual evidence to substantiate the claims made by Olivier Arrindell against Silveria Jacobs.
In her address to the court Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs asked the judge to restore her good name, she made clear that for her 55 years of life, she has lived with integrity, the same that she imparted to students as a teacher and to her two children as a mother. Jacobs informed the court that her daughter completed her studies abroad and returned to St. Maarten where she is working and has a right like everyone else to purchase a home through a loan from the bank, as for her son she said he obtained a scholarship like many St. Maarten students and he has to repay that loan when he completed his studies. She also clarified that she is the one paying for this case and not the government of St. Maarten as stated by Arrindell.
As for the statements made by Arrindell, Jacobs said that the defendant's sole intention was to create more hurt and pain for her and her family. She said Arrindell has been repeating things that may have happened to her as a child as such he is revictimizing her.
She reminded the court that a former president of the United States of America was indicted for causing incitement and public unrest and the action of Arrindell is the same.
Jacobs said that based on Arrindell’s behavior she has compassion for him because she could see that he himself was abused as a child or neglected and as such he is extremely angry and has now become the abuser.
Another point the Prime Minister raised was the fact that Arrindell is presenting himself as an ambassador of St. Maarten even though he has never been bequeathed such by any government.
She reminded the court that a person’s right to democracy and freedom of speech does not give them the right to infringe on anyone’s rights or freedom.
The court will render its verdict on November 24 2023.