PHILIPSBURG – Theo Heyliger, the leader of political party United Democrats Party who was arrested on Tuesday, will appear before a judge on Thursday. The Office of the Public Prosecutor assumes that he ‘will remain in custody for now’.
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By Tim van Dijk [English subtitles]
Heyliger is under investigation for taking bribes and money laundering in the Larimar investigation. The investigation focusses on how construction contracts were awarded when Heyliger was a minister. The Office of the Public Prosecutor assumes that several individuals within the government might have been involved.
Last year the FIOD in Rotterdam arrested a consultant who Heyliger and others allegedly bribed in 2011 to award government contracts to Volker Construction/Stevin and Devcon. He remains incarcerated on Sint Maarten. He is also a suspect in a different investigation where he supposedly took money from construction companies. The Office of the Public Prosecutor also believes that he laundered almost 9 million guilders.
‘The Dutch have to deal with their own corruption scandals first and leave our Theo alone’ – a woman on the streets of Sint Maarten
Heyliger’s arrest had been in the works for months. The reactions on the streets of Sint Maarten vary and there is plenty of support for him.
“We’re one big family on Sint Maarten and we’ll always stand by our family members, whatever happens”, says the guard at the number plate office.
Few people want to appear on camera but most of the interviewed individuals support Heyliger completely despite all of the accusations. “The Dutch have to deal with their own corruption scandals first and leave our Theo alone”, says a woman who walks away quickly as the camera gets closer.
Wrench thrown into coalition
With Heyliger’s arrest, a wrench has been thrown into Sint Maarten’s current coalition, who governs with the slightest of margins. The ability to maintain a ruling coalition shrinks daily and the United Democrats Party has indicated that they are looking into how to steer the party forward.