WILLEMSTAD–Former Curaçao Prime Minister Gerrit Schotte, on Wednesday, started serving his three-year prison sentence for accepting a bribe, forgery and money laundering.
Accompanied by his life partner Cicely van der Dijs, his father Hendrik, friends, party members and supporters, the MFK-leader reported to “Sentro di Detenshon i Korekshon Kòrsou” (SDKK), walking from the nearby parking lot of the Koraal Specht Church up the hill to the penitentiary.
Several persons in the crowd chanted slogans “Leave Holland for the Dutch and Curaçao for us.” As they approached inmates started “free him” and “liberty” from both the men’s and women’s sections within the correctional facility.
Schotte’s lawyer Marije Vaders said her client will be out in 18 months. In addition to the normal early release after serving two-thirds of the sentence he will be allowed six months under electronic surveillance with an ankle bracelet.
However, he needs to pay the NAf. 1.8 million claim awarded to the Prosecutor’s Office in related dispossession case, unless his appeal against that ruling is successful.
Schotte, who also lost his Parliament seat when the sentence recently became irrevocable, was convicted for accepting two cheques of US $140,000 and $73,422 (via Van der Dijs) from Italian St. Maarten casino boss Francesco Corallo, knowing something in return including political influence would be required. In an email conversation the latter also told the politician that a certain “P” was not a good candidate-minister and also said “we have a new party.”
As prime minister, Schotte also sought clearance from an Italian minister on Corallo’s status in Italy regarding “an important function.” The Dutch ambassador in Rome was told of possible organised crime-link objections in private by a high-ranking government official, but got into trouble when this came out and Italian authorities were forced to deny any charges against Corallo.
The latter’s right-hand man Rudolf Baetsen was then to become joint chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Central Bank of Curaçao and St. Maarten (CBCS), but this led to much criticism and lacked enough political backing within the then MFK/PS/MAN coalition. Baetsen later withdrew his candidacy.
However, according to MFK-parliamentarian Charles Cooper all this proves nothing. “It’s only corruption if something is given in return and that was not the case here. He got that money for his party from a friend and all political leaders have received similar contributions in the past. He did not steal from the people. There were no rules for campaign financing either until after 10-10-10.”
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/83340-schotte-behind-bars-18-months