OPEN LETTER from Jairo Bloem

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Attorney Jairo Bloem (Photo credit smn-news.com)

 

On June 12th, 2021, a letter of the ex-chairman of the Supervisory Board of NV GEBE, Mr. Bienvenido Richardson, became the subject of an online media article. That letter circulated before in the social media.

On July 1st, 2021, I was released by NV GEBE of my confidentiality obligations. This, in order to be able to defend myself.

After careful consideration and basically only because the deliberate misrepresentations, carefully crafted narratives with the clear intention to mislead and deflect from the real issues at hand, continued after June 12th, 2021, with little to no regard for the damage to our office, I have decided to not only respond publicly on some matters, but to also put this entire matter (meaning all relevant documents) in the hands of the Public Prosecutors Office. This will be done on July 2nd, 2021.

As a law office, we serve the best interest of our clients. In the case of NV GEBE, its interests and specifically the one of its Supervisory Board. Not the interest of individual members of the organs of NV GEBE or of specific employees, even the ones with high functions within NV GEBE.

We advise based on the law, case law and doctrine and our interpretation thereof, applied to the relevant and established facts. I do not pretend to be always correct but do put in best efforts and always went the extra mile in the best interest of my client.

Our services were retained at the beginning of 2019 by Mr. Bienvenido Richardson, on behalf of the Supervisory Board, ergo NV GEBE. I later understood that this was apparently as per the specific recommendation of Ms. Sharine Daniel (Head of the Internal Audit Department of NV GEBE).

We were given numerous assignments by Mr. Bienvenido Richardson (read: the Supervisory Board of NV GEBE). Mostly, to address issues with the back then Management Board.
Our legal opinions, memoranda, advises were very much welcomed and appreciated. This can be evidenced from the internal correspondence and more than 176 pages of WhatsApp messages with mainly Mr. Bienvenido Richardson.

Especially, when our feedback and position papers regarded matters that were briefly put judicially incorrectly/inappropriately handled by the back then Management Board (e.g.: incorrect jubilee compensation payments, denying the Head of the Internal Audit Department of the provision of information, selecting and subjecting only a few clauses of the draft CLA to the approval of the Supervisory Board, not keeping the Supervisory Board abreast of the progress of negotiations of the CLA). Also, in various other matters in which the Supervisory Board had to take a decision (bond loan financing, meetings with the Shareholder etc. ).

It is Mr. Bienvenido Richardson who started the practice of inviting me to be present in Supervisory Board Meetings to advise on various matters, freely.
Our invoices were promptly approved by Mr. Bienvenido Richardson, according to the secretariat of the Supervisory Board, often within the hour.
The records show our office on several occasions denying assignments and telling Mr. Bienvenido Richardson that certain specific matters would be best handled by the company lawyer or simply without lawyers.

What changed?
When:

  • Mr. Andrew Zagers, who for years functioned as the Temporary Manager of NV GEBE, representing same in absence of members of the Management Board, suddenly resigned a couple of weeks before the expiry of the tenure of the back then members of the Management Board and after the selection by the Shareholder of the prospective new members of the Management Board became known;
  • A selected candidate by the Shareholder for Management Function within NV GEBE accepted one morning to be the Temporary Manager, only to state later on the same day that he could not take on the job, because he didn’t think that by himself, he would be able to temporarily manage NV GEBE;
  • the Head of the Internal Audit Department, Ms. Sharine Daniel, who was not primarily selected by the Shareholder as a prospective candidate on the Management Board of NV GEBE, immediately seriously started lobbying members of the Supervisory Board for the Function of the Temporary Manager,
  • The Supervisory Board received notifications from Mr. Bienvenido Richardson that Ms. Sharine Daniel had to be appointed as the Temporary Manager as per – a representative – of the Shareholder,

our office in keeping with our obligations towards our client, advised the Supervisory Board firstly to seek other alternatives and to only consider Ms. Daniel as a last resort. The reasons therefor were various.

In my advisory role to the Supervisory Board, I proposed the names of other suitable candidates, where under an ex-chairman of the Supervisory Board with great experience and an excellent track record. Same person, namely Mr. Rene Richardson, was later, when the Supervisory Board asked for potential candidates to man a task force to make a strategic business plan for Nv GEBE, if the Shareholder would have approved thereof, put forward as a potential candidate by me. I stand by those solicited recommendations in the best interest of NV GEBE.

In view of amongst others:

  • barely any feedback or report of Ms. S. Daniel during the first 6 weeks of her tenure as Temporary Manager;
  • her refusal to comply with contractual obligations towards NV GEBE;
  • the fact that the Supervisory Board had established that she misrepresented important facts on numerous occasions;
  • her refusal to, despite commitments to the Supervisory Board and this NV GEBE, not – timely – share the financial information of NV GEBE with SMCU, so that later to consider same in its claim and strive for better working conditions for its members;
  • the precarious position that this placed NV GEBE with the union SMCU;
  • the decision of Ms. Daniel to one day suddenly file a criminal complaint against a member of the Board of Director of the union, only to withdraw same the next day;
  • the manner in which the reinstatement if two ex-members of the Management Board of NV GBE with return back guarantees were handled;
  • to sudden directives by the Shareholder when it came to personal contractual matters of Ms. Sharine Daniel that were already regulated by NV GEBE;
  • using funds of NV GEBE to pay of a stated blackmailer,

I advised the Supervisory Board, when asked, to take specific measures to realize accountability and overall solutions.

Suddenly, my invoicing, advice to the Supervisory Board of NV GEBE became a subject of – public – dispute, with carefully crafted narratives that regard my integrity.

The record shows that when our office, on request of the Supervisory Board and its individual members, started advising about the illegal and irregular behavior of Ms. Sharine Daniel and thereinafter also Mr. Bienvenido Richardson, we didn’t only have to suffer constant misrepresentations, false allegations, twisting of facts and pretending ignorance, but also media publications of deliberate fabrications. Basically, same as everyone else who stood in the way of what can only be qualified as a structured efforts for years to get certain people appointed to the Management Board of NV GEBE;

Fact of the matter is and remains:

(i) that the Supervisory Board mentioned at least 5 to 6 incidents whereby confidential information was leaked, basically directly after Mr. Bienvenido Richardson participated in meetings, and that such is not the case when he is not in attendance;

(ii) deliberate accounts of the previous Management Board, with evidentiary data, namely a sealed document that was only in the hands of Mr. Bienvenido Richardson, that found its way basically within 30 minutes to SXM News;

(iii) letters of Mr. Bienvenido Richardson, violating the confidentiality and collegiality of majority positions that can only be represented of the Supervisory Board, to third parties (the Prime Ministers of Sint Maarten is a third party);

  • constant letters of Mr. Bienvenido Richardson in various other Supervisory Board Matters, in which he expresses his sole position again to a third party. Very recently even a letter to the Temporary Manager and accusations against all Supervisory Board members, even the secretariat;
  • despite elaborate explanation by basically all other board members to Mr. Bienvenido Richardson that he is, for example on the subject of a strategic task force, completely distorting and misrepresenting the facts, Mr. Bienvenido Richardson is oblivious to minutes of meetings, recordings of meetings and as such the facts. Instead, he prefers to stay in his alternative reality, spewing and repeating his fabrications and the conclusions that he attaches thereto;
  • there has not been any other supervisory board member since our office started rendering services to the Supervisory Board, who has flip-flopped on essential positions, certainly during relatively short timespans, as that Mr. Bienvenido Richardson
  • it only Mr. Bienvenido Richardson who has repeatedly unduly pressured the members of the Supervisory Board to revert on decisions, stating that otherwise the Shareholder would send the members of the Supervisory Board home;
  • it is Mr. Bienvenido Richardson who has informed the members of the Supervisory Board that the Shareholder Representative wants Mr. Temmer and Ms. Sharine Daniel appointed as the Temporary Manager;
  • it is Mr. Bienvenido Richardson who refuses to sign the Rules and Regulations for the Supervisory Board containing specific provisions about leaking.

Making me part of the story (narrative) is a way to deflect from what for all intent and purposes appears to be consorted efforts, at whatever cost, to realize certain appointments within NV GEBE. This despite extensive, detailed and substantiated reporting of both the Temporary Manager and the Supervisory Board of NV GEBE about irregularities, specifically when it comes to the recruitment.

What is going on now with NV GEBE calls back to memory what happened recently at the airport.

Also considering the fact that I cannot keep up with the fabrications and distortions, this entire matter is best handled to providing the Public Prosecutors Office with all evidentiary data.