The Daily Herald sets record straight after Jacob’s accusation of fake news | THE DAILY HERALD

The VDSM letter regarding the screening of candidate-minister Raeyhon Peterson includes the signature of VDSM head Leijgrave on page two.

PHILIPSBURG–Former Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs, now an opposition Member of Parliament for the National Alliance party, has accused “The Daily Herald” of publishing “an unsigned letter” from the National Security Services VDSM regarding the screening of candidate minister Raeyhon Peterson on May 4, 2024. In an interview with Lady Grace on Friday, Jacobs claimed the report published by the newspaper was “incomplete.”


Solicitor-General Giuliano Schoop signed and sent a letter about Peterson's conviction with judicial pardon to formatuer Luc Mercelina.

To refute MP Jacobs’ fake news accusation, “The Daily Herald” is publishing the full letter from the VDSM as received by the candidate minister, along with the letter from the Solicitor-General regarding Peterson. These documents are part of a comprehensive file regarding Peterson’s nomination to which “The Daily Herald” has been granted access.

While the VDSM concluded that the screening of Peterson, the candidate Minister of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment, and Infrastructure VROMI, yielded nothing suspicious, Jacobs responded to Grace Blijden’s question about whether the media had received incorrect information: “I haven’t seen the reports fully, but from what I have been told by persons who have seen what has been put out publicly, I believe that the reports that were published were not complete.”

Jacobs emphasised the importance of transparency with the public, saying, “You can’t put out the first two pages of the report and not the rest.” She interrupted Blijden’s request for clarification, saying, “One more thing: there is a report that we get as formateur from the VDSM, from the Prosecutor-General, so a VGB doesn’t count.” Jacobs mistakenly referred to the Certificate of Good Conduct VOG issued by the Ministry of Justice for Peterson as a VGB.

Governor of St. Maarten Ajamu Baly received nine National Decrees on Friday, May 3, 2024, one for each candidate minister to be sworn in as members of the Mercelina Cabinet. Baly refused to sign the National Decrees for Peterson and Christophe Emmanuel, the candidate Minister of Education, Culture, Youth, and Sport (ECYS), without giving the candidates an explanation.

The following day, Saturday, May 4, at 12:30pm, Governor Baly received a letter from Peterson asking for clarification on why he refused to sign the National Decree for Peterson’s appointment as VROMI Minister in the Mercelina-led cabinet.

Peterson possesses a positive screening advice, as per the VDSM report issued on April 15, 2024, and a VOG from Minister of Justice Anna Richardson, dated February 7, 2024, confirming no record of activities that could be held against him. The VOG was specifically requested as part of the screening process, with the review conducted under the auspices of the Solicitor-General.

However, according to Jacobs, this VOG “does not count.” She told Lady Grace, “You need the report of the Prosecutor-General,” concluding that this report, along with the entire VDSM report, was not published. “To me, this is concerning, because then you are putting out skewed information and people will make assumptions based on the information they have.”

Blijden asked Jacobs, “So the press is putting out fake news then?” Jacobs replied, “The only persons that would have the VDSM report are the formateur and the candidate.” When Blijden

reiterated, “So they [the newspaper – Ed.] are fabricating stories?” Jacobs responded that she was relying on what she heard, but revealed that she had seen the information posted by former MP Peterson himself but “did not go into it.”

Jacobs then clarified that the newspaper was not wrong, but “the information provided to the newspaper is wrong.” She questioned, “Is there a signature at the end of the report?” When Blijden replied that she did not see a signature, Jacobs, seeing her allegations confirmed, said, “Okay.”

Meanwhile, Peterson’s letter to the Governor was forwarded by the secretariat of the Governor’s Office to Prime Minister Luc Mercelina on the instruction of Governor Baly. The Governor also sent the two unsigned National Decrees back to Mercelina instead of forwarding them to the Kingdom Council of Ministers, “the King”, in The Hague, as required by Article 21 of the Regulations of the Governor of St. Maarten.

Reportedly, PM Mercelina, in turn, re-sent the two National Decrees to Governor Baly more than a week ago, requesting that the Governor either sign the decrees or send them for annulment to the King.

Despite the Council of Ministers’ announcement of “collaboration with the media,” PM Mercelina has not responded to any calls and requests for information on this topic.

Source: The Daily Herald