Businessman Li F.’s vehicle with the damage from the rock that he said had been thrown at him, which hit his vehicle after the accident.
PHILIPSBURG–The businessman who was involved in the March 29 vehicular accident in which a scuffle ensued, broke his silence about the matter on Tuesday in an effort to give some insight into what had sparked his reaction.
The businessman Li F., who asked that his full name not be used, said while he cannot go into details of the incident on advice of his attorney and because the matter is under mediation, the fracas was initiated by Maurice Connor, whom he did not refer to by name, when he threw a bowling-ball-sized rock at him, which hit his vehicle while his seven-month-old infant and his spouse were in it. The rock damaged above the rear tire of his vehicle and the businessman wondered what would have occurred had the rock impacted his vehicle a few inches higher, shattering the glass or entering his vehicle near where his infant was.
Li F. was accused of using the “N” word during the incident, which has been described as racist. He was accused of using the “N” word during the incident, which has been described as racist. The businessman acknowledged that “there were words spoken in anger” during the incident and said, “Though not right and not the way I feel about any person or persons in St. Maarten, I’m simply human and being put in a situation.”
He decided to break his silence due to what he referred to as the continual misleading information circulating about the matter. “I would like to share a bit of information on the incident of March 29. I cannot go into details due to the fact the case is still ongoing,” Li F. said in a statement sent to The Daily Herald after this newspaper approached him to give his side of the story. “I asked the community not to jump to the conclusion until all the fact[-finding – Ed.] and legal process is over. The reason I was not being vocal was because my attorney advised me not to say anything. This is due to the fact [that] the prosecutor is mediating this case, which was requested by the other party.”
He continued: “Lately, there has been a lot of misleading information circulating in the community, but I just want to let the community know [that] this guy [Connor] has nothing to do with the accident and threw a rock the size of a bowling ball at me first. My seven-month-old baby and my wife were in the vehicle. When someone puts my baby and my wife in harm’s way, it is my job to neutralise the threat.
“I would like to ask the community this question: Last year when someone threw a rock at someone’s vehicle window, what happened to that baby? Yes, there were words spoken in anger. Though not right and not the way I feel about any person or persons in St. Maarten. I’m simply human and being put in a situation. One’s reaction is not always as it should be, however, the threats that my family and I have endured through the last weeks – I simply ask for the judicial system to work and do its due process.”
A new cross-border movement of residents from both sides of the island named “We the People” has since started a petition calling for the investigation and prosecution of the businessman, the revoking, termination or cancellation of his residence permit and that with immediate effect his business licence for all business ventures he owns or is in association with, be cancelled, revoked or terminated. The group also wants the businessman to be expelled from St. Maarten/St. Martin within 48 hours of receiving the petition.
The “We the People” group was founded by Alberto Bute and Shujah Reiph and has as members Connor, Carina Baly and Chantal Wilson. Wilson was the party involved in the accident with the businessman, while Connor intervened and was attacked. The movement was officially launched at the Waterfront in Marigot last Saturday.
According to the petition, on Tuesday, March 29, the businessman hit Wilson’s vehicle from the side. When Wilson approached the businessman about what he intended to do to remedy the damage caused by the collision, the businessman responded by allegedly “shouting the racist ‘N’ word and making obscene gestures” at Wilson.
The petition further stated that Connor and Baly, who were stuck in the backed-up traffic, came to Wilson’s rescue as the latter “felt threatened by the racist cursing and aggressive behaviour” of the businessman. When Connor “told him to stop using racial slurs,” the businessman “grabbed a hammer from his car, attacked and struck” Connor, the petition stated.