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Request to Prosecutor Kamps: ‘Do not hold Judith on trumped up charges’

Dear Editor,

Please allow me some space in your newspaper to address Prosecutor Tineke Kamps.

Prosecutor Kamps: via the local media this Thursday morning, July 2, 2015, we have learned that the rumours pertaining to the arrest of Ms. Judith Roumou are indeed factual. Before this, our main source of information about this case was Facebook.

It became very clear to us from reading the many comments on this platform that there are many conflicting positions taken, which only clouded what really the reason was for the arrest of Judith Roumou.

Our movement has been put under tremendous pressure by persons representing different and very opposing parties to make a statement either in favour of Judith Roumou or against her. Because, we are not clear on what the facts are and did not want to make matters only even more complicated, we decided to let the process play itself out, for the time being, until an official statement came from the relevant authorities.

For assuming this very cautious position, many have taken serious and very unfair issue with us, which we think is unfortunate. However, we will never surrender our right to be very careful not to jump on any band wagon with our eyes closed – that will not happen.

Now that the Prosecutor has come out via the local media, we know at least that Judith Roumou indeed is in custody. However, for us the charges are not clear as they are formulated, which makes it difficult for us to make an informed decision. Still, we will give the Justice System the opportunity to make its case – if it can – and to let justice prevail.

Meanwhile, for the record let the following be known that our movement has always expressed the need for the role of bloggers to expose corruption and other wrongdoings in government and in our society in general. As such, we have never made it a secret that we recognize the potential of Judith Roumou to contribute towards transparency and accountability in government.

As far as we can judge, there is none on the island and beyond that are as skilled as Judith is in this field. Therefore, for the work she has been doing we nominated her our Person of the Year 2014, something we are extremely proud of. However, we too recognize the importance of "checks and balances" in every democracy – even for bloggers.

In other words, we too recognize and will also subscribe to the notion that all stakeholders and participants in any democracy should also not cross certain lines of moral and acceptable behaviour.

As president of the St. Martin Grassroots People Movement, while I appreciate the support of my members – I will never want them to put their heads on the block for me.

Meaning – should I ever commit a crime of any sort condoning such in my books will not be considered loving me or even helping me, quite to the contrary. Sometimes the best love is tough love.

In ending, until proven wrong or guilty of any crime we hereby publicly express our support for the work of Judith Roumou and urgently advise your office to thread with extreme care on the matter. Holding this young lady based on other than legally justified grounds could have serious consequences for all involved.

Leopold James

President of the St. Martin Grassroots People Movement – without apologies.

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