Published On: Tue, Nov 1st, 2016

Tantalizing story

There is a tantalizing story developing around the appointment – or not – of Rolando Brison as the director of the St. Maarten Tourist Authority. We always wish everybody the very best but in Brison’s case, the deck seemed stacked against him and his buddy MP Silvio Matser won’t be able to move him into this coveted position.

Mike Granger, a former journalist who now runs a public relations company that for instance produced the controversial ‘interview’ with Maria Buncamper-Molanus that appeared on the front page and on two more full pages in that other newspaper on June 3 in a failed attempt to repair her reputation, took a stand for Brison in a remarkable letter to the editor that also appeared in that other paper. We would have published it too, but we didn’t get it. Granger and Brison know each other from the St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation SCDF.

Granger, once close with the United People’s party but since the departure of Buncamper-Molanus to Frans Richardson’s party not that close anymore, started a class warfare on behalf of his buddy Brison in that letter.

The letter speaks of public defaming, persecution and – I’m not kidding you – “people who placed themselves in a social class who believe it is their god given right to control and dictate policy for the hospitality sector.” For good measure, Granger adds the term “exclusive boys and girls club” to describe the perceived enemies of Rolando Brison.

People whose TV broke down this weekend and those who had no internet, had plenty to amuse themselves with.

Granger painstakingly handles all the hoops Brison had to jump through before he got the green light for his appointment from Minister Ingrid Arrindell and her puppet master Silvio Matser. What Granger does not say is that Arrindell later claimed that Brison had not been appointed – yet. That is the job for the STA’s supervisory board. That board does not want Brison, so there is an obvious problem.

We’re pleased to learn from Granger’s letter that Brison passed the drug and alcohol tests, that he is physically in good health and that he has a clean police record. The prosecutor’s office, Granger writes, made it clear that there are no pending investigations against Brison. In other words – the man is clean as a whistle. But is he, really?

“So much for allegations of theft, huh?” Granger writes.

Does the name Winair ring a bell? Ah, Granger mentions it, very clever almost as an aside, saying that allegations of the misappropriation of funds came “out of a dark and devious corner.”

Without mentioning Mike Ferrier’s name, Granger describes the messenger of this bad news as “an avenging champion riding a holier-than-thou high horse basically calling Mr. Brison a thief.”

That’s really funny because, based on the information we have, Brison actually admitted to Winair that he stole money. A bit more than $41,000 if we remember correctly. And what do you call someone who takes something that does not belong to him? Exactly.

Now we come to the clean police record. How is that possible? This is because Winair agreed with Brison not to file a complaint for embezzlement if: a. he took a hike and b. he paid back the money.

Brison took a hike but as far as we know – and we’ll stand immediately corrected if someone proves us wrong – he never paid back a penny. Having your friends write whining letters to the editor won’t eradicate that history.

And this is the best candidate we have for leading the St. Maarten Tourist Authority?

Come on people. We seriously wish Brison all the best, but preferably in a function where he does not get to handle a lot of money.

Unless, yes unless Brison shows he is a man and makes amends, How? By voluntarily offering a part of his salary to his former employer until the company is satisfied with the reimbursement.