Published On: Wed, Apr 3rd, 2019

Meeting with airport bondholders goes well; Labega not welcomed

Minister of Finance Perry Geerlings - Mar 2019

PHILIPSBURG — The delegation headed by Finance Minister Perry Geerlings to a meeting with the bondholders and the Princess Juliana International Airport in the United States is said to have went well. The meeting was to persuade the bondholders who had apparently loaned some $125 million in 2012 to the airport to hand over the funds that they received from the insurance company to help in the reconstruction of the airport which was severely damaged by the storms of 2017.

Minister of Finance when questioned about the results of the meeting said that the delegation had an opportunity to meet with the bondholders which they had been looking forward to for several months. The meeting included the delegation from St. Maarten, representatives from the Dutch Government, representatives from the World Bank and the European Investment Bank.

DUTCH DELEGATION THREATENED TO WALK OUT IF REGINA LABEGA ATTENDED MEETING WITH BONDHOLDERS

The former Managing Director of the Princess Juliana International Regina Labega who had negotiated the loan for the airport in 2012 was apparently denied being on the delegation by the Prime Minister Leona Romeo Marlin even though Labega is said to be an asset for further negotiations with the bondholders. According to reports, the Dutch delegation who attended the meeting threatened to walk out of the meeting with the bondholders if Labega was part of the delegation and attended the meeting.

Geerlings said that the meeting was to “establish trust” between the bondholders and the airport and also to have them issue another loan of another $100 million for the airport. He further stated that the issue surrounding the insurance monies was also discussed and they came to a mutual understanding to continue the talks.

DUTCH CONDITION: NO OTHER LOANS FROM OTHER SOURCES

However, according to sources one of the conditions for the $100 million loan from the Netherlands and the European Investment Bank is restricts the government from seeking any other loan from any other source to finance the airport reconstruction.