PHILIPSBURG:--- The former Leader of the United Peoples Party and MP Theodore Heyliger was found guilty as charged in the Larimar case. Heyliger was sentenced to 5 years of prison time. The court found Heyliger guilty of accepting bribes from Ronald Maasdam who was a consultant on St. Maarten and became the state witness in the trial. Heyliger was also found guilty of accepting bribes from former Windward Roads Director Janhendrick Boekaar.
The court found it proven that Heyliger laundered $4M thus he was sentenced to 5 years. The court denied the prosecutor’s request to send Heyliger to prison immediately. Co-suspects Ronald Maasdam received 36 months while Boekaar 12 months. George Pilgrim and Ronald Elferink were also found guilty and were sentenced to community service.
In the meantime, the UP Board labeled the verdict a hearsay verdict just as they did during the trial. A press release from the board reads:
UP Board: Hearsay trial produces a hearsay verdict.
The board of the United People (UP) party on Friday said that the hearsay trial of party founder Theo Heyliger resulted in a hearsay verdict, and hopes Heyliger's legal team appeal the verdict forthwith. “We are disappointed, but the fight is not over,” the board said.
The board in its response to the verdict in the Larimar Case maintained its position that despite years of creating negative and false impressions about Heyliger, the prosecutor’s office did not present any physical evidence of wrong-doing.
Instead, the board said, what the prosecutor and now judge went with the "gospel word" of nefarious Dutch contractors and a middle man who was given a deal to testify against Heyliger as a crown witness.
This crown witness who orchestrated everything, the board said, received just 36 months. "It's a joke and judicial tragedy," the board said. "The judge took the word of two men fighting for their lives and capable of saying anything, as gospel. No proof, nothing. This is what we have come to in St. Maarten," the board said
Nevertheless, the board added, by law once an appeal is in you are innocent until proven guilty still. "Theo and his legal team, as well as his family, still have a fighting chance for things to be set right and for justice to prevail fairly. It remains an uphill battle but he and his family have shown resilience in the constant onslaught to destroy them.
"They are fighters and the board of the UP will continue to support its founder throughout, believe in his innocence, and continue to anticipate his full acquittal.”