Published On: Thu, Mar 21st, 2019

Déjà vu

Hilbert HaarBy Hilbert Haar

Déjà vu is a powerful experience. It brings you back in a flash to a time when something happened that is similar to a current experience. I had this feeling when I read about the Robalo-case against former Immigration and Border Protection director Udo Aron and his policy advisor Erling Hoeve.

Actually, there were two déjà vu experiences, but let me start with the first one: the use by Aron and Hoeve of DTAEs – Decision to Allow Entry-documents. These DTAEs are, according to the prosecution, a creation of Aron and they were kept out of sight of his minister Edson Kirindongo.

It made me immediately think of the Marcel Loor-case. Loor, the former head of immigration, used so-called re-entry permits to allow people back into the country who were not really allowed to be here. Chief Commissioner Derrick Holiday knew about this – he even signed a couple of them and according to Holiday, Lt. Governor Franklyn Richards had approved the practice.

The idea behind these re-entry permits was, according to Loor at the time, of a purely practical nature. When someone with questionable credentials arrived at the airport, there was always an exchange of phone calls and hastily scribbled little notes before a decision was taken. The re-entry permit regulated all that. Everybody was happy with the exception of the court because it found that the re-entry permit was an illegal document; it found no basis or justification in immigration legislation. And so, Loor and Holiday both went down for this practice.

What is the difference with the DTAEs Aron and Hoeve used? I have no idea, but they seem to be very similar to Loor’s re-entry permits. The attorneys for Aron and Hoeve even referred to the likeness by saying that the DTAEs were previously known as ‘permission to allow entry.’

This makes me think that, if the prosecution’s take on the case holds up, both defendants hang – fortunately not literally. But the case would prove once more that immigration is – and maybe always will be – vulnerable to shenanigans.

A case of the giggles

Then there is my second déjà vu experience: attorney Brenda Brooks’ annoyance with what she called “giggles” coming from the public prosecutor while she was defending her client. If the prosecutor did that it is unprofessional, to say the least.

Brooks tore into the prosecutor with terms like “blatant disrespect for our judicial process” and “an attitude of disrespect.” So far so good.

But why was all this so familiar to me? It did not take long to figure it out: because during the Vesuvius-trial in 2012 there was an attorney who giggled like there was no tomorrow when the public prosecutor made its case against the late gang leader Omar Jones. That attorney was Brenda Brooks.

Giggling professionals don’t look good in any court room but maybe the prosecutor thought it was time for payback.

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Related articles:
Attorney Brenda Brooks on the Robalo case
Public Prosecutor’s Office issue statement on ROBALO case
Witch hunt or a new Marcel Loor case?