Published On: Tue, Oct 23rd, 2018

Dutch government forced to hire law firm to handle court case in St. Eustatius

Charles Woodley - Clyde van Putten - Denicio Bryson 20181023 TR

ORANJESTAD, ST. EUSTATIUS — At the 11th hour the Dutch government made the decision to hire regional law firm HBN Law on St. Maarten to represent them in court in the case brought forward by Van Putten c.s., a case that will determine the future of the deposed island government of Statia and that even has legal ramifications for the existence of Kingdom-imposed government rule over the rest of the countries that form part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

With this decision, the Dutch Kingdom government has basically agreed to participate in the dialogue as it stands to discuss the merits of the case. Judge Lemaire, who presided over the case on the morning of Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018,  in St. Eustatius held at a temporary location, informed the complainants, represented by Clyde van Putten and Charles Woodley, that the court received an email informing them that the Dutch government had hired St. Maarten-based law firm HBN Law with attorney Charles Rutte as their legal counsel to represent them in the court case brought forward by Van Putten c.s.. HBN Law immediately requested postponement of the case.

Judge Lemaire & Griffier Evers - 20181023 TRDespite the short postponement, this is a case that not only the Dutch government will be closely following but also the governments of the sister islands of the former Netherlands Antilles: Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao and Saba.

The possible outcome with a court ruling that indeed the international law that the Netherlands signed on to supersedes the Kingdom law will have legal ramifications for the role of the island governments as it pertains to self-determination and self-governance and also that of the crown appointed governors on these islands.

Clive van Putten speaking with the media after court hearing - 20181023 TRThe court has granted the Dutch government a 4-week extension giving their newly appointed legal counsel the time to prepare a response to the petition filed by the ousted government of Statia. The hearing will now be held on November 20th, 2018. Then the Dutch government will give their rebuttle to the petition filed by the ousted Statia government. Procedure-wise the legal counsel of the Dutch government has the right to request a second extension of another 4 weeks before they are obliged to present their side of the case to the court.

StMaartenNews.com will continue to monitor this story and bring you the news surrounding this case as it develops.


Photo captions: Top photo: Former Commissioner Charles Woodley, PLP Leader Clyde van Putten, legal advisor Denicio Bryson. Mid photo: Judge Lemaire and Griffier Evers. Last photo: Van Putten speaking to the media outside the makeshift court at Statia’s Gertrude Bicentennial Library. Photos by TR.