SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – Independent Member of Parliament (MP) Christophe Emmanuel on Friday said that Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs illegally suspended Director of the Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIAH) holding board Dexter Doncher and in the process violated the same corporate governance rules that she used to suspend him.
The MP explained that the Prime Minister sent Doncher a letter notifying him of his suspension at 10:00pm on Wednesday, May 12. The letter was signed by the Prime Minister and outlined corporate governance infractions allegedly committed by Doncher.
However the articles of the holding company indicate that Doncher’s suspension should have been discussed and if there were legal grounds, ultimately taken place in a General Shareholder’s meeting. Such a meeting was not and has yet to be convened. In fact, from the issuance of convocation for such a meeting until the meeting is held, five days is prescribed by the articles of incorporation of the holding.
Additionally, the Prime Minister called Doncher (via phone) before sending him the letter and told him that he will be suspended because she cannot let one man stand in the way of the country, without saying how exactly Doncher was standing in the way of the country. She then sent him a vague letter outlining other reasons.
To add insult to injury, Emmanuel said, the Prime Minister called for a hearing with Doncher on Friday, May 14, after she had already suspended him. “Why? To what end? The only reason you would want a hearing after the fact is to cover yourself. The only reason you illegally suspended him is to show Knops that you are obedient. There is no reason to hear him after the fact. Will you change the decision? No. Because you have already publicized it and taken actions based on the suspension,” Emmanuel said, adding that he understands that a meeting was held on Friday but such a meeting cannot be considered a hearing.
Emmanuel said the facts are clear; the Prime Minister of St. Maarten was reprimanded by her superior in the person of Raymond Knops and she wanted to make a symbolic offering of Dexter Doncher. He said the public should not overlook the fact that the PM assured Knops on many occasions that she would ensure that all rules of proper corporate governance would be followed and she did not.
“She cannot lay this on Dexter Doncher alone, the leadership and oversight is her responsibility. Even Knops recognized this when he told her that trust and confidence in her and her government is damaged, while clearly calling the PM a liar by not keeping promises and describing her government as indecisive. This is a damning condemnation and echoes how I have been describing this government for months now. They never accept responsibility, they always have an excuse or a scapegoat,” he said.
The MP said It is unknown if the Prime Minister will eventually get the hearing she requested or if Doncher’s legal team will simply inform her that his suspension is null and void due to her illegal actions.