Published On: Tue, May 11th, 2021

Déjà vu

Dear Editor,

I can remember back in the 90s and early 2000s, with the first large renovation project of the Port at Point Blanche, the Conditions for the financing by the Royal Bank of Trinidad and Tobago (RBTT), was that Financial and Economic Expert, Mr. Rommel Charles of Trinidad, would be temporary appointed as Managing Director of the Port during the Financing and Reconstruction, until a period in which the Government of Sint Maarten would appoint its own Managing Director back then in the person of Sint Maarten’s own very qualified Mr. Mark Mingo, under the then DP Government with the blessings of Theo Heyliger.

And remember that the other condition back then was that the Netherlands would have owned a Minority Stake in the Sint Maarten-owned Government Company of the Port of Sint Maarten.

With the satisfactory transition of all of this Development process, came the Famous Buy Back, and Sint Maarten was able to buy back all Shares at the Port, with Sint Maarten becoming once more the Sole Share Holder, along with the Trinidadian Temporary appointed Managing Director of the Port, being replaced by a Sint Maarten-born Managing Director.

There were no hiccups nor complications because it was well structured on paper, and for that reason, there was no fear by the Sint Maarten People or Government that there would have been a Permanent Foreign Managing Director, nor the Dutch permanently staying on as a Shareholder of a Government-owned Company owned by the People of Sint Maarten.

It went perfectly well without any created fears of permanent take over.

The facts of what is being structured have all to do with what is documented, agreed upon, and signed off.

For me, I see this all as a Déjà Vu, unless there are other third parties’ interests in getting involved at the Princess Juliana International Airport.

Because even when we had the Juliana Airport Saga back in the days with the Italians wanting to build the Airport, the corruption disaster happened where we saw prominent Sint Maarten politicians and leaders go to prison.

A Dutch Managing Director was temporarily placed at PJIA. But the story did not end there. Again we eventually saw one of our own brightest and best became the eventual MD of the PJIA.

The stories always end well in our favor, as long as they are negotiated well, and put on paper well, in our People’s favor.

I always say this.

“It is not about what we keep saying, it is all about what we continue to document, put on paper, agree upon, approve, and then together sign off on in the best interest for the People of Sint Maarten.”

Achken Roberto Richardson