PHILIPSBURG–The next steps to sign the financial agreements for the reconstruction of Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA) will be decided once the new interim government has examined all documentation, said Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs at the Council of Ministers press briefing on Wednesday.
The new interim government had a meeting with PJIA’s management on Tuesday afternoon. Jacobs said the Council of Ministers had another meeting with the airport on Wednesday, to be followed by a meeting with the airport’s technical team on Friday.
The members of the interim government are to receive the documents pertaining to the reconstruction financing by Friday, said Jacobs. Once they have looked through them, the interim government will be “better able to determine the next steps,” she said.
Jacobs said the bondholders will release “a much needed” US $5 million to the airport when the agreements are signed.
In her remarks, Jacobs criticised the bondholders and the previous government for PJIA’s current situation. Regarding the bondholders, Jacobs said they are holding the airport “hostage” because “they do not understand our laws.” She said the agreements could have been signed in the beginning of October when the 2019 budget went into effect.
“The motion of [no confidence on – Ed.] September 25 came after the decisions had been made. Also, in the complete budget discussion it had been made clear that financing for the airport was a priority and it was agreed upon at that time [and] it continued to be agreed upon,” she said.
Jacobs also criticised the previous government for not being transparent about the financing agreements. “As opposition members [of Parliament] you questioned whether it was the best option for the airport or not. … If government had been forthcoming in giving the answers in a timely fashion, they [then-government] could have gone through and done what they had to do,” she said.
She alluded to there not having been enough meetings called on the airport’s reconstruction financing by the previous government’s Parliamentary majority.
“So, to point the fingers back and forth and say this new coalition, because of its motion of no confidence against the previous government, is responsible for the lack of progress at the airport is very erroneous,” Jacobs concluded.