Published On: Tue, May 12th, 2020

Local business operator Juliana Airport Handlers JAH refutes allegations of blogsite

Juliana Airport Handlers JAH logoPHILIPSBURG — Locally-owned and operated passenger handling company, Juliana Airport Handlers (JAH), refutes allegations published by online blogsite, SMN-News.com. In what is considered a malicious and reckless article, JAH has retained legal representation to take measures to ensure that the blogsite is held to legal and professional standards.

In a press statement, the company’s managing director, Dylcia Lake wrote: “Juliana Airport Handlers (JAH) has taken note of an article written by SMN NEWS, wherein a picture is presented to the public that employees at JAH were abandoned and not paid their salaries for the month of March and April 2020. The management of JAH considers this article extremely malicious and reckless.”

Given that such publications, if not reacted to, allows a wrong picture to exist within the community, JAH reacted to the publication in order to set the record straight. According to the press statement, SMN News commonly uses words to make the story salacious for consumption, definitely since there are no legal actions against these online publications.

JAH employees were abandoned, according to SMN News. The definition of abandonment reads: to leave completely and finally; forsake utterly; desert: to abandon one’s farm; to abandon a child; to abandon a sinking ship.

Contrary to the claims of SMN News, JAH has an employee chat group through which employees are kept abreast of all status updates pertaining to JAH. This chat was established on March 23 after border closures took effect on March 21, and has been used ever since to converse with and provide updates to staff.

Based on the communications and the responses to inquiries on the needs of the staff of JAH, it is easy to distill that no abandonment of staff ever occurred. The only conclusion is that SMN News used this word is to add “juice” to its story.

All JAH employees received their full pay for the month of March 2020, as the airport closed on March 21.

JAH revenues are derived from handling flights. With the lockdown of St. Maarten because of COVID-19, a pandemic that caused airlines to stop flying, JAH also have felt the brunt of the decrease in the airlift.
JAH is a small handling company with the least amount of airlines at the airport and has to wait on payments from these airlines. JAH has therefore been forced to apply for the payroll support stimulus to guarantee jobs and salary payments to JAH employees.

JAH employees are updated on the progress made and hopefully will soon reap the result. In any event, JAH has opted not to seek dismissal permissions but together with its staff opted to suffer through this pandemic. At no time has any employee of JAH expressed dissatisfaction with the process, reason why the suggestion that the article results from a disgruntled employee is questionable.

JAH has not sent home not one employee on contract nor even asked any of them to take their vacation or leave. Management is quoted as saying: “Same as after hurricane Irma where we all sucked salt together and none was sent home, so now too contrary to other companies, that have sent workers home or requested them to take up their vacation days, JAH has not”

JAH is furthermore of the opinion that SMN News, in customary fashion, misrepresents information to start a storyline, which will hopefully take flight. So is qualified the suggestion that an MP would have pleaded the case of JAH with the airport CEO, to pay the payroll of JAH as the company is in financial problems or that “reserves” are swindled by such companies who are supposedly well paid by the airlines.

Given that parliamentary sessions are public, it is quite clear that the representation of such a session by SMN News here is absolutely incorrect and intentionally taken out of context to support this storyline. JAH has verified this suggestion which is proven to be incorrect.

The fact that SMN News claims to have attempted to reach one of the managers of JAH for a response, but failed in those attempts is reason to conclude:

1] that SMN News publishes stories no based on facts or documentation
2] that SMN News publishes storied without verification
3] that SMN News does not attempt to contact anyone for verification, but just uses this line to validate the intent to publish without verification anyway.

Mention of company performance and supposed swindled reserves or the well-executed payment by airlines should not be part of any publication without the writer having due insight and supporting documentation to this effect, definitely since none of the above was verified in any form with JAH.

Credible news must be supported by verification, which often is not the case with SMN News, which entity gets away its publications without any legal repercussion, this contrary to news reporting anywhere else in the world.

JAH will continue to communicate with and work for its employees to ensure that as a unit all weather this pandemic. Publications by SMN News are unfortunately not intended to publish verified facts, but to hurt entities and individuals through slander, defamation, and public humiliation.

Even though SMN News is in the spectrum and its principal is neither connected to Dutch Sint Maarten or French Saint Martin, measures will be undertaken to ensure that online media just as newspaper publishers are held to legal and professional standards.

A law firm has been retained to handle the representation of JAH in this case, the press release concluded.