The Court of First Instance, sitting in Curacao, has ordered the lifting on the lien placed on the Sint Maarten Telephone Company N.V. and subsidiary company, TelCell N.V. by rival company Scarlet AACR Ny.
Judge J.R. Veerman, in ordering the lien to be lifted immediately, held that Scarlet’s grounds for claiming NAF 1.6 Million from TelEm and TelCell as a court imposed fine for not making proper interconnect arrangements with the Curacao-based company could not be upheld.
The judge instead upheld TelEm and TelCell’s contention that the companies had taken necessary steps to connect Scarlet with the companies networks, albeit with the provison that formal agreement for interconnect can be concluded.
TelEm and TelCell’s legal counsel Mr. E.R de Vries argued that it has been the actions of Scarlet itself that has caused delay in signing of the interconnect arrangements therefore the companies should not have to pay the amount requested by Scarlet.
Scarlet claimed that it had already been granted redress during a court hearing of April 3rd this year when the judge ordered that TelEm and TelCell should connect the company to its infrastructure within a stipulated time or risk a fine of NAF 20,000 per day to a limit of NAF 6. Million.
The judge has ordered Scarlet to pay court costs shared equally for TelEm and TelCell with a further NAF 1,500 as the cost of the agent in the case.
Scarlet has recourse to appeal the judge’s decision and to reattach a lien on TelEm and TelCell’s accounts if facts and circumstances so justify.
TelEm says in a statement following the delivery of the verdict Friday that the companies feel totally justified by the judge’s ruling.
"TelEm Group has been discussing in good faith with Scarlet to come to some final closure on the interconnect concerns that presently exist and with which Scarlet is totally familiar."We were very surprised that only a few hours after a very fruitful discussion with the CEO of Scarlet Curacao, that this lien was placed on us in such a hostile manner," and without prior notification.."TelEm Group has contended all along that it will comply with the judge’s earlier ruling to make all interconnect arrangements with Scarlet.
"We informed Scarlet that until we conclude other court cases in protest of the preferential and unfair rates they are being awarded by the Minister we have to make provisions in the formal agreement and so that we can claim back what is owed to us if we are successful in the other court cases," Concludes a comment by management following the judge’s verdict.