August 10, 2012 8:12 AM
PHILIPSBURG--"Robbie's Lottery has been operating for more than two decades with a valid business and licence on St. Maarten. It is completely up to date with payment of all indebted fees, charges and premiums for organising its number lottery games Smart Play and St. Maarten Daily," stated attorney at law Jairo Bloem.
Bloem responded on behalf of Robbie's Lottery following media reports that the Court of First Instance had ordered the Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication on June 25 to take a decision on a request filed by Ramesis Jamaloodin with the former Executive Council in June 2010 to "act against" Smart Play NV.
Jamaloodin is the half-brother of Robbie's Lottery owner Robbie dos Santos. Jamaloodin apparently believes that Smart Play and its operator Robbie's Lottery do not have a licence to operate number games in St. Maarten.
Because government had failed to respond to his request, Jamaloodin had launched a so-called administrative law procedure LAR at the Court of First Instance on February 2011.
Judge René van Veen ruled on June 25 that the Minister is to decide on Jamaloodin's request within 10 weeks. In case of non-compliance a penalty of NAf. 200 per day with a maximum of NAf. 50,000 will be imposed. Country St. Maarten was also ordered to pay NAf. 700 to Jamaloodin in compensation for legal fees incurred. This court decision cannot be appealed and is therefore irrevocable.
"Robbie's Lottery was not a party in the procedure in which the Court stated that government has to take a decision on the request of a third party, to in essence stop the operation of Robbie's Lottery," Bloem said.
"This is, however, a somewhat standard decision rendered by the Court in administrative cases, wherein a complaint is lodged against government for allegedly failing to take a decision. There is, in other words, nothing sensational going on," he stressed.
"The Court absolutely did not give any consideration as to what decision government must or must not take pertaining to the business of Robbie's Lottery," the attorney underlined. "It simply instructed government to take a decision."
Bloem pointed out that Robbie's Lottery employs 67 people and retains the services of almost 170 independent service providers, the so-called street sellers.
"The scope of its business activities is clearly covered by its business and lottery licences, and insofar as one or another requires more clarification, this would be a simple administrative matter," he concluded.
(The Daily Herald)
Jairo Bloem is an attorney at law and owner of Bloem & Associates on Sint Maarten.