EXCLUSIVE: Minister Lee committed country to $200K to Sunwing Airline while attending CHA meeting in the Bahamas.

PHILIPSBURG:— The Minister of VSA Emil Lee who represented St. Maarten in the Bahamas committed the country to giving Sunwing Airlines $200k in order for them to continue their marketing programme and also flying to St. Maarten without consulting with the Ministry of TEATT or Council of Ministers.
An email dispatched by Susan Oland, Director of Programme Development Sunwing, stated in an email that at no time they were told they would not get the monies and that they were asked to block certain media which they did since January and now they are left without the promised $200k
Oland further stated that the Minister told them at the CHA meeting that certain media were not to be part of the plan and they made the changes and blocked those media, now they are left without the financial support the Minister promised them. Oland indicated in her email that they already dropped 5 flights to 4 and she cannot go back to their executives and tell them that the airline will not be getting what was promised to them at the CHA meeting by St. Maarten’s Minister Emil Lee. The email directed to Marla Chemont, Oland even asked Chemont to contact them to work the matter.
While Minister Lee and the interim Minister of TEATT Rafael Boasman had said that Minister Lee went to the Bahamas to represent St. Maarten, SMN News learned that Minister Lee was seeking vacation days to go to the CHA marketplace to represent his own business while being a Minister, since he had bought tickets since 2016 to attend the event. A well-placed source said that when Minister Lee approached the Council of Ministers for vacation days to attend the event as he wanted to keep abreast with all tourism activities he was asked to represent the country since there was no Minister of TEATT in office and the Acting Minister of TEATT Minister Boasman had a lot to deal with at the time.
Asked by SMN News about that commitment that was made to Sunwing by Minister Lee, Minister Mellissa Arrindell Donker said she was not aware of the commitment but knows that the St. Maarten Tourism Authority (STA) is busy negotiating with Sunwing. SMN News informed the Minister that the email was sent to SMN News and that the Minister did commit the country to the tune of $200K Minister Arrindell Donker stressed that she was not aware of that transaction.

Source: St. Martin News Network
EXCLUSIVE: Minister Lee committed country to $200K to Sunwing Airline while attending CHA meeting in the Bahamas.


  1. Interesting. I atteneded ChTa and saw the minister attending many meetings on behalf of st. Maarten always together with policy advisor Mr. J. Lake and StB M. Chermont and do not recall anybody saying that firm commitments were made since Min. Lee knew he did not have that authority.

    In regards to meetings regarding Princess Heights, Obbr both was next to them and it was manned by 2 marketing representatives, i did not see Mr. Lee not even once holding meetings related to Princess Heights.

    In regards to his request for the trip on his personal time, the article fails to mention that Min. Lee was the former president of CHTA and they are always invited to participate on this major event.

    I attended 2 meetins with Min. Lee, J. Lake and M. Chermont with Expedia and TripAdvisor and the minister clearly told both companies that he was not in position of making any commitments. He even turned to Mr. Lake and Mrs. Chermont and ask them what funds were available from the budget since he was not familiar with the finances of the tourism budget.

    So it is very strange that someone is claiming that he committed 200k without the proper approval.