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Published On: Mon, Dec 7th, 2020

Mingo says letter is “a corporate matter”

~ Holding wants to fire Airport-CEO Brian Mingo ~

PHILIPSBUG – In a letter dated December 3, the Princess Juliana International Airport Holding has asked the airport’s CEO Brian Mingo to resign per January 4, 2021. The letter was delivered by hand and via email. Remarkably, the next day the complete letter was already in the public domain.

Mr. Mingo described the matter in a brief statement to stmaartennews.com as “a corporate matter” and that using the public media is not the way to go: “Letters such as these should be handled in meetings and behind closed doors. It was very uncommon for this to be released.”

Mr. Mingo declined therefore to comment on the matter at hand, though he did state that he will “fix our airport the right way.”

The letter asking Mingo to resign is signed by the holding’s managing director Dexter Doncher, chairman of the supervisory board of directors A.G. Daniel and the board’s Secretary R.D. Hodge.

The holding “strongly suggests” that Mingo resign by the end of the day the letter was written (December 4) per January 4, 2021. “Failure to comply with this request will ultimately lead us taking the necessary legal measures to terminate the relationship,” the letter states.

Download the complete letter here>>>

As for the reasons Mingo has to go, the holding lists five reproaches: 1. Lack of real progress of airport terminal reconstruction; 2. Your vision for PJIA not aligned with vision of shareholder and government; 3. Non-cohesive relationship with fellow managing board-members; 4. Strained relationship with employees resulting in the employees’ issuance of a letter of non-confidence in you; and 5. Your latest presentation to the shareholder and COM (Council of Ministers) on November 12, 2020, outlining the increase in reconstruction budget costs from $107 to $119 million allegedly due to indexation rates and additional project costs that will continue to be an issue seeing the delay in the reconstruction.

That’s not the end of it; the holding also reproaches Mingo for “a lack of interest in pursuing the necessary steps in realizing the much-needed US pre-clearance for the airport.” That the fuel farm has not been relocated yet, that the new fuel farm has not been built and that construction of the Fixed Base Operations building (“for which a contract has already been signed”) has not begun is also Mingo’s fault according to the holding.

Especially the reproach about US pre-clearance is odd. In September 2019, former Minister of Finance Perry Geerlings said during a Council of Ministers press briefing that, while US pre-clearance remains a priority “it has its place in the development of the airport.”

According to Geerlings, the facility requires an investment of between $55 and $80 million; the annual operating costs will be between $8 and $10 million, while the facility would at best result in an increase of 100,000 passengers flying through St. Maarten to the United States.

Furthermore, pre-clearance requires steps that are beyond Mingo’s control. Geerlings pointed out that the government has to finalize a bilateral agreement with the United States and that tax exemptions have to be put in place for the more than 80 Americans that will be employed at the pre-clearance facility.

Why Mingo Must Go?

In the photo above, you see Brian Mingo in better days when he flew to Washington for the signing of the World Bank and EIB loan agreements with the airport. What has changed since then?

Related article: Government signs long-overdue funding agreements for airport reconstruction

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