Heerenveen/Insel Air loses case against Ramiz/DAE

WILLEMSTAD — During the legal proceedings instituted by Nelson Ramiz/DAE against Insel Air-director Eduard Heerenveen and his airline company, Heerenveen had not been able to base any of the challenged remarks toward DAE and Ramiz on established facts.

Therefore, these remarks were wrongfully made against DAE and Ramiz. This does not alter the situation because those remarks were made in the context of a competition battle in which some room for social decency was acceptable. Also in that context there are limits and Heerenveen overstepped those limits.

This was Judge Van Schendel’s ruling in aforementioned summary proceedings this morning. The judge pronounced judgment after Ramiz’ lawyers indicated they weren’t interested in Ramiz and Heerenveen settling the dispute over a cup of coffee, as suggested by the judge. According to the magistrate, what he typifies as ‘wrongful action’ by Heerenveen as director and figure-head of Insel Air cannot be viewed separately in society from Insel Air’s actions. It would have been a different case if Insel Air had distanced themselves from Heerenveen’s remarks. “However, that had not happened”, said the judge.

Judge Van Schendel elaborated on the remarks made by Heerenveen – point by point – in the Bo Tra’i Merdia program on TeleCuraçao. In the interview, Heerenveen declared among other things that DAE is an ‘illegal’ company that is kept operational in an improper way with government support. He also stated that Ramiz was guilty of the bankruptcy of the Venezuelan airline company Aeropostal, that numerous parties on Curaçao – including former employees from Aeropostal – are duped due to Aeropostal’s downfall and Ramiz’ actions and that several former Aeropostal-employees had not been paid for six months.

According to the judge, the remark on ‘the improper existence’ of DAE cannot bear the test of criticism. It regards the accusation that the government had unlawfully granted DAE a flying permit. The ruling of the administrative judge determined that the permit in question was granted in conformity with the regulations and lawfully to DAE. By using the permit DAE had not done anything unbecoming. It was therefore incorrect of Heerenveen to accuse DAE of illegal practices, said Judge Van Schendel.

During summary proceedings, Heerenveen had also not been able to prove that Aeropostal is bankrupt and furthermore that incompetent management of Ramiz as director of Aeropostal had resulted in Aeropostal not paying many debts. The single circumstance that Ramiz had not succeeded in making Aeropostal a paying concern, doesn’t mean that this is his fault so the remarks made by Heerenveen are uncalled for, said the judge. It was therefore incorrect of Heerenveen to speak disparagingly about Ramiz and depict him as ‘non valeur’ on account of his work for Aeropostal.

However, the judge did not take up the rectification text as desired by DAE and Ramiz. According to the judge, it is beyond him as judge to determine which intention Heerenveen had had when he made the challenged remarks. Also with a view to prevent further escalation between parties, the judge included in his verdict the text - in moderate terms – to be published by Heerenveen and Insel Air. The judge also found it sufficient that the text for rectification be published in one of the much read Papiamentu newspapers. The judge saw no reason to make the announcement in Dutch newspapers because the challenged interview had been in Papiamentu.

Moreover, other newspapers will undoubtedly publish the rectification, said the judge. Heerenveen and Insel Air are to rectify under penalty of 5000 guilders per day with a maximum of 50,000 guilders. As the party found to be at fault, Insel Air and Heerenveen are to pay the legal costs.

22 February 2012

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