Published On: Wed, Jun 19th, 2019

Prosecutor: Heyliger got his passport back immediately upon second request

Screengrab Jeroen Kuipers

PHILIPSBURG – Following media reports about suspended MP Theo Heyliger legal troubles the United States cancelled his ESTA (electronic system for travel authorization. This made it impossible for Heyliger to travel directly to the US for medical treatment.

Anti Corruption Task Force (TBO) teamleader Jeroen Kuipers shed some light on the reported trouble Heyliger had to get his passport back from the prosecutor’s office.

“The first request we received was permission to travel to Boston for medical treatment for a period of four weeks. We thought that was a bit long and we asked for an explanation. We did not get it,” Kuipers says. “Then the United States cancelled his ESTA.”

This cancellation made returning the passport for traveling to the United States obviously pointless.

The second request the TBO received – via Heyliger’s attorney Eldon Sulvaran – was permission to travel to Curacao. There, Heyliger would go to the American consulate to apply for a visa via the regular application procedure.

“We do not stand in the way of anybody’s medical treatment,” Kuipers emphasized. “We honored the request for traveling to Curacao and returned the passport on the day the request was made.”

Heyliger is not out of the woods yet – and certainly not yet in Boston. One of the questions he will have to answer truthfully during his visa application interview at the American consulate is whether he has ever been in trouble with justice. A truthful answer is the only option – since the Americans already know the answer. It remains to be seen how this will influence the decision about his visa-application.

“I have no idea how long a visa application takes,” Kuipers says, adding that Heyliger will have to relinquish his passport again upon his return to St. Maarten.

In case the Americans refuse the visa, Heyliger will have to consider other options for medical treatment in – for instance – Colombia or the Netherlands.

UPDATE 1:
According to sources close to the family, Theo Heyliger has been granted a travel visa valid for one year with certain restrictions by the US Consul in Willemstad, Curacao, today. However, a new obstruction has come to light.

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