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St. Maarten parlementarian Laveist no longer will appeal court verdict


PHILIPSBURG–National Alliance (NA) Member of Parliament Louie Laveist says he no longer will appeal the recent court verdict that convicted him on two counts of bribery, with three years’ probation, payment of a NAf. 5,000 fine or 55 days in jail, and a three-year ban on holding appointed office. The verdict does not affect his post as an MP, which is an elected position.

Laveist, speaking on The Lloyd Richardson Show on PJD2 Sunday morning, said he “will instruct” his attorney “to pull back” the appeal, because he just wants “to squash this thing.”

“It is killing me financially. I will definitely instruct my attorney to pull the appeal and let me go on with my life,” he said.
He said the impression was being created that the entire situation was “an Al Capone kind of thing,” when the case and charges against him involved “small, petty things,” such as a plane ticket given to him by “a friend of mine.”

The ticket, he explained, had been bought as “a campaign promise.” His friend did not have the money to support his election campaign and promised a plane ticket for after the elections, so he could get some rest.

It occurred later that the provider of that vacation ticket was a bidder, as part of a consortium, for work on the “new” government administration building on Pond Island, which was overseen by Laveist when he was a commissioner for the Democratic Party (DP) government.

Laveist pointed out on the radio programme that the consortium hadn’t even won the bid to provide furniture for the government building. He said he was aware that this whole situation “could have looked like a bribe,” just as the court had pointed out.

He put his legal troubles down to his not vetting some of his projects and involvements properly during his time as a commissioner. He said in hindsight that he should have resigned as president of the Culture Club, which also was embroiled in the court case about possible misuse of money from the Rally Around the Flag programme.

“I should have pulled back as president of the foundation and I wouldn’t have been in the whole thing,” Laveist said.
Addressing a recently-published letter to the editor from former DP commissioner and party president Michael Ferrier, in which Ferrier asked a number of questions about Laveist’s family business, about the ownership and sale of a piece of land in Simpson Bay, and about Laveist driving what Ferrier said was an expensive vehicle, Laveist said Ferrier’s intention was to cast a bad light on him and his family, who have acquired things legally.

He accused Ferrier of “small-minded, petty, crab mentality,” of making “purposeful, slanderous allegations,” of exaggerating things and of attacking him because of “politics and hatred.”

He said the so-called expensive vehicle in question was a “second-hand” Range Rover that belonged to a friend who had left it in his care and that he drove occasionally, and on two occasions when Ferrier had seen him driving it, Ferrier had seemed very surprised.

“If you see the constipation on that man’s face … The man looks as if he is on the toilet and can’t go off. He is shocked to see me in a Range Rover. It is unacceptable to Michael Ferrier … The look on this man’s face is like: ‘What is that black Cole Bay boy doing in a Range Rover?”

Laveist also said he intended to request Infrastructure Minister William Marlin to carry out “a forensic investigation” into the supposed sale of land in Simpson Bay that once had been occupied by building company BBW.

Laveist said it was not good that a fellow coalition partner should have attacked him in such a way as Ferrier had done. Contending that for some unknown reason Ferrier had been attacking him ever since he had taken over Ferrier’s portfolio as a commissioner, Laveist said he wished to enter into “a truce” with Ferrier and asked Ferrier to desist from attacking his extended family.

“Please consider the truce,” Laveist said.

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