PHLIPSBURG – Member of Parliament (MP) Frans Richardson on Wednesday, November 30, said it is sad and unfortunate to see the media, local and foreign, still attempting to connect him to companies and affairs he has nothing to do with.
The MP was referring to reports in Dutch and local media, who in his opinion, are trying to connect him with Checkmate Security Services, and the challenges facing management of the company. “Management, who the media wants me to go out and vilify before someone has their say under the law,” the MP said.
He said it is not the first time the media has tried to make this “imaginary connection” and he doesn’t expect it will be the last. However, just like before, he stressed that he is in no way, shape or form connected or part of any management team and shareholder of said company. He said the company is doing business on St. Maarten and like any other business has legal means at its disposal with which to contest accusations should they arise.
Addressing Dutch media criticism that he didn’t “criticize” Checkmate’s contract when it was brought to the floor of Parliament, Richardson said: “If as an MP, I feel like highlighting the fact that a company will be paying its employees better wages in a time when cost of living on St. Maarten is sky high, does this mean I’m a shareholder of the company? The media is trying to paint a picture that if the popular rumor points towards some kind of wrong doing, one should automatically become executioner.”
“There were no wrong doings placed in front of me, only facts about wages people will be earning. It was good for our people and that’s what I highlighted. But obviously if you don’t criticize the way the media wants you to, then you must be somehow negatively involved,” Richardson continued.
“As someone elected by the people I will look positively on things that make a positive difference in their lives. But for some media people, most who have never lived a day on St. Maarten or not brought up here, when a politician praises something, it must mean there is something in it for him. Or when a politician is seen talking to someone, it must mean something is up. It is sad and unfortunate that this is the type of ‘journalism’ our people are subjected to,” Richardson said.
Regarding assertions by Dutch media that he and owner the owner of Checkmate O’Neal Arrindell are “childhood friends,” Richardson stated, “this is not logical since I am 15 years older. But I’ve known him since he was a child and, as is common on St. Maarten, we live like family and I consider him a friend.”
“I am saddened to be reading about his current situation. I know he is a hard worker and I know he will be able to defend himself against whatever charges come his way. I also have faith that the justice system will be diligent and fair,” Richardson concluded.
It is sad to see MP Frans Richardson group all media houses together in this press statement. I think it is more responsible for him to clearly call the local and international media houses’ names and don’t put 721news in this drama, because we never published anything connecting MP Richardson with the Emerald case.
So please next time, be specific about these media houses and call them by their names!