Published On: Sun, Jul 31st, 2022

MP Peterson strikes back at Minister Doran

PHILIPSBURG — Member of Parliament Raeyhon Peterson (Party for Progress, PFP) made mince meat of the accusations Minister Egbert Jurendy Doran (of Public Housing, Urban Planning, Environment and Infrastructure, VROMI) made against him a week ago during an interview with Lady Grace in the radio broadcast The Breakfast Lounge.

Minister Doran suggested that Peterson, in his function as acting head of Domain Affairs had been “instrumental” in giving a positive advice about Alegria’s request for the right of long lease to a water parcel near its Morgan Resort. Peterson said that, when he was removed from his position at Domain Affairs on October 11, 2019, the advice about Alegria’s request was still negative and that it only later turned into a positive advice.

Peterson also pointed out that the minutes of a meeting with Alegria are “a one-sided document” drawn up by Alegria and that these minutes have never been ratified by the minister of VROMI.

Chris Wever was chief of staff in the cabinet of VROMI-minister Miklos Giterson and he sent, on behalf of this minister, a letter to Alegria saying that there were no objections against granting the right of long lease.

Peterson said that during the meeting with Alegria the size of the parcel was discussed and also the pricing. While the so-called minutes from Alegria bluntly state that Peterson was “instrumental” in the discussions about the pricing, Peterson said that pricing for rights of long lease is established in a table that indicates these prices per area.

Peterson pointed out that Alegria used the minutes from this meeting in the court case they brought against the government. “They lost the case.”

When Giterson was asked to resign as a minister he was succeeded by his chief of staff Chris Wever. “Shortly thereafter, I was removed from my position as acting head of Domain Affairs. After that I have not been at the ministry. I became a politician,” Peterson said.

He recalled that op February 21, 2020, the latest advice about Alegria’s request for the right of long lease was still negative. “I left Domain Affairs on October 11, 2019, so I do not understand how my role of being instrumental came about,” Peterson said, adding that a week later, on February 28, there was suddenly a positive advice.

“Minister Doran is creating a smokescreen by suggesting to the people of St. Maarten that I was an active participant in this and that I somehow made a deal with Alegria. But I never receive any money from that company.”

When the PFP-faction discovered the existence of the positive advice, they posed questions about it to minister Doran. This resulted in a meeting on July 15, 2020.  “As a faction, we were a little hesitant when we decided to accept that meeting,” Peterson said. He admitted that he had recorded the meeting without the minister’s knowledge but explained that this is not required. Participants in a meeting are free to make recordings.

In this meeting, Doran referred to the Alegria-minutes, saying that he could use the document to discredit Peterson for one hundred percent.

Peterson wonders why the minister brought up these minutes last week. “He told me this two years ago but bringing them up now is pure deflection. If I did something wrong he should have gone to the prosecutor’s office two years ago.”

Minister Doran has claimed that the motion of no confidence the PFP-faction wants to table has nothing to do with the highly critical report from the Ombudsman about the tender for solid waste collection. Instead, the minister said, it has to do with the de situation with Alegria.”

Peterson: “We want to hold the minister accountable for his actions, but what he is doing now to me is personal.”

The MP has asked the minister for a public apology for lying about him. So far, that has not happened.

So what is next? “I could take him to court for defamation, but I think that is what he wants. He wants to twist this and make it look like I made it personal. I am not going to give him that satisfaction. I will leave it up to the people to decide what his fate should be. He is lying, but that is not something new. That is the dirty game of politics in St. Maarten.”
Peterson said he is of the opinion that the minister ought to resign. “That is the least he can do. But it is not up to me. We have a 15-seat parliament and if eight members say that he should stay, then he stays. That is the way it is. We have a democracy.”

Peterson emphasized that the motion is not about the person of the minister, but about his function. “I also want to make clear that, if our motion passes and the minister has to go, the PFP does not want to have anything to do with picking a new minister.”


Related links:
Minister Doran demands clarification, MP Peterson threatens with lawsuit