PM Sint Maarten orders investigation into leak of information

PHILIPSBURG--Prime Minister Leona Romeo-Marlin has filed a complaint with the National Detectives (“Landsrecherche”) in an attempt to get a grip on her porous administration. The cabinet has been the target of numerous document and information leaks over the past year.
 
The worst yet and the one that pushed the prime minister to seek an investigation occurred last week and relates to Princess Juliana International Airport.
 
The prime minister has filed the complaint with Landsrecherche with the approval of the Council of Ministers.
 
“This type of behaviour is unethical, criminal and can cause irreparable damage to the rehabilitation of the main terminal at Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA) and the overall economy of our country,” the prime minister said in a press statement issued Sunday evening. This type of behaviour “will not be tolerated by the government. … All corners will be turned to ensure that the perpetrator is revealed and prosecuted.”
 
A delegation of government and airport representatives met last week with holders of the airport’s fixed-rate senior secured notes. The purpose of the meeting was to reinstate the much-needed level of confidence and trust with all bondholders, according to the prime minister. The other purpose of the meeting was to discuss the plan for financing the full reconstruction of the airport with the support of the World Bank, the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Dutch government.
 
The Council of Ministers unanimously agreed earlier this year to approve the proposal for financial assistance to the airport by the World Bank and EIB. Under this proposal, US $50 million will be provided as a grant from the World Bank-managed Trust Fund to government to be loaned to the airport under favourable conditions.
 
An additional US $50 million will be become available via a loan from EIB through government. The prime minister presented this proposal, including its terms, to Parliament on January 21 and again on February 22.
 
Shortly after, the prime minister pointed out that government had negotiated a bridge loan of US $15 million with the Dutch government to ensure that the airport continued to meet its operational expenses, including the employees’ salaries.
 
The Council of Ministers reiterated in the April 4 meeting that this proposal remains the only viable plan to finance the airport’s reconstruction. Both the airport’s holding company PJIAH and operating company PJIAE have also formally endorsed this proposal. All stakeholders are fully committed to ensure the airport’s full reconstruction with the assistance of the World Bank, EIB and Dutch government, said the prime minister.
 
The Council of Ministers has emphasised the importance of full confidentiality in the discussions with the representatives of the airport’s bondholders, she added.
 
“In order to agree on a common and mutually-acceptable approach to finance the full reconstruction of the airport, this confidentiality should be respected at all times. Too much hindrance and obstruction over the past year have caused the airport and our economy to suffer and to lose precious time. In addition, negotiations for the financing of the airport continues amongst stakeholders,” the prime minister said.
 
The Daily Herald

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