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Published On: Mon, Sep 6th, 2021

Doubts about BTP-director’s integrity trigger suspension

PHILIPSBURG — Bureau Telecommunication and Post (BTP)-director Anthony Carty has been suspended for the duration of the criminal investigation against him that started back in 2019. After the completion of the investigation, the Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication will take a decision about Carty’s future.

This appears from the relevant national decree that was published in the National Gazette on September 3. Carty’s suspension went into effect per August 13.

The suspension is based on article 3 of the National Ordinance that regulates BTP. This article states that the BTP-director is appointed, suspended and dismissed based on a nomination by the Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication – in this case Ludmilla de Weever who has in the meantime left her post to become a member of parliament. Her proposal has the support of the Council of Ministers.

Carty was appointed as BTP-director on January 11, 2013. He is a business partner of Frans Richardson, a former member of parliament and the founder of the United St. Maarten party (USp). The anti-corruption taskforce (TBO) arrested Richardson in February 2018 on suspicion of membership of a criminal organization, taking bribes and tax fraud.

In March 2020 the Court in First Instance sentenced Richardson to 36 months in prison for tax fraud and for accepting $370,000 in bribes in exchange for his political support for a dredging contract.

In November 2020, Richardson had to appear in court on charges of accepting $120,000 in bribes from a construction company in connection with work on the BTP-building.

Carty was arrested by TBO-officers in September 2019. The criminal investigation against him is still not completed. State Secretary Raymond Knops mentioned in a letter to the dutch Second Chamber “the investigation into real estate fraud at the Bureau Telecommunication and Post” as an example to justify the continued existence of the TBO.

Richardson, Carty and their company Paradise Real Estate are also the former owners of the Sunset Building in Simpson Bay. Because they defaulted on a $2 million mortgage, the court auctioned the building, overruling Richardson and Carty’s objections. Port de Plaisance owner bought the building for $2.2 million.

The national decree that confirms Carty’s suspension states that it is “impossible to make statements about BTP’s 2017 annual account due to the ongoing criminal investigation.”

The decree also notes that, because of the investigation against Carty, it is impossible to get a qualified opinion about the remaining annual accounts from 2016 and later years.

“The integrity of the BTP-director is questionable and it must be prevented that this affects the trust in and the legitimacy of the public administration,” the decree states. “Integrity is an essential basic condition for the confidence in and the legitimacy of the public administration.”

Carty is reportedly fighting his suspension, expecting a big pay day if he manages to force the government to fire him. His attorneys are from the office of Duncan and Brandon.

Chances that the government will fire Carty right now are slim, because the only objective of the suspension is to make way for the investigation of the TBO into wrongdoings at BTP.

Photo caption: File photo of BTP-Director Anthony Carty signing a settlement agreement with TelEm Group CEO Kendall Dupersoy in the presence of the then Minister of TEATT Ludmilla De Weever.

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