Published On: Thu, Jan 21st, 2021

A typical St. Maarten drama

By Hilbert Haar

All the ingredients for a typical St. Maarten drama are there: a minister, a president of parliament and his driver and a businessman with a questionable reputation.

Related article: The questionable background of the owner of District 721

District 721, a $1.2 million investment according to its owner Mario di Palma Jr., is in trouble after inspectors of the economic department closed the place down for a variety of (alleged) violations on the evening of January 14.

Di Palma claimed in a local news article that he is being harassed by Minister of Tourism and Economic Affairs Ludmilla de Weever who happens to live right next to his business. District 721 is located on a piece of land that belongs to her uncle, while another adjoining parcel belongs to other family members.

There has been quite a ruckus about the involvement of MP Rolando Brison who argued with inspectors on the night of the closure. According to Di Palma, Brison “arrived as a customer” but he is of course first and foremost the president of parliament.

Related article: Brison’s political interference with economic controls is an old story

So why was Brison suddenly so interested in the work of these inspectors? Word on the street is that his driver (yes, the young MP has a driver) is one of the tenants at District 721. Please correct me if this is incorrect but if this is true it seems that the man behind the wheel inspired Brison’s attempt to intervene.

According to Di Palma, the minister complained about loud music. That is the right of every citizen who feels harassed by a wall of sound on a peaceful evening and the minister is no exception. The question is whether she gave direct instructions to the inspectors of the control department about how to handle the case. In that case Mrs. De Weever has used her political position to settle a private beef.

That Di Palma has a bad reputation on the French side of the island should not have any influence on the way Dutch-side authorities handle alleged violations or business practices.

Di Palma says in the news article that he has a director’s license that allows him to operate the business. That’s almost too funny: the same minister who is now apparently complaining about loud music from District 721 approved Di Palma’s director’s license.

No matter how you look at this whole sordid affair, something stinks but without pertinent information we cannot pinpoint where the stench is coming from. Has it to do with Minister De Weever’s abuse of her political powers? Or has it something to do with MP Rolando Brison’s ill-advised attempt at intervention, possibly on behalf of his driver?

The video recordings of Rolando Brison chastising inspectors at District 721 went viral with many on social media posing a barrage of questions about what is going on. Only when those questions receive their rightful answers will we know what is really going on here.

Watch these videos online here>>>

Related article: The questionable background of the owner of District 721