Published On: Wed, Mar 7th, 2018

Checkmate Security director released again

Public Prosecutor's Office logoPHILIPSBURG – Checkmate Security director O’Neal A. was released from custody on Tuesday after he was arrested a week earlier on Wednesday as a suspect in the Squid-investigation. The director remains a suspect in the case.

Squid is an investigation into vote buying during the 2016 parliamentary elections.

Hazel Durand - 20180301 HH“A number of suspects and witnesses are still to be questioned and confiscated items are being carefully analyzed,” spokeswoman Hazel Durand stated.

Earlier this month, a week before the elections, Frans Richardson, leader of the United St. Maarten party (USp) was also arrested as a suspect in this case. On the Friday before the elections he was released. Investigators searched Richardson’s house on the French side on Valentine’s Day.

During the 2016 elections, the USp won three seats in Parliament; Richardson won 488 votes, Chanel Brownbill 428 and Silvio Matser 347.

The Court in First Instance sentenced Matser on February 21 to 8 months of imprisonment with 2 months suspended and 3 years of probation for vote buying during the 2014 elections, when he ‘won’ out of nowhere 498 votes as a candidate for the United People’s party (UP) to become the party’s number three vote-getter behind party-leader Theo Heyliger and Franklin Meyers.

Chanel Brownbill won just 94 votes that year, also as a candidate for the UP. But in 2016, when Brownbill was a candidate for the USp he suddenly surprised with a score of 428 votes. In the most recent 2018 elections, held on February 26, Brownbill, now as a candidate for the United Democrats, won 270 votes, ranking him fifth among the party’s 23 candidates.