PHILIPSBURG–Prime Minister Leona Romeo-Marlin has disclosed the exact conditions tied to the grant from the Trust Fund for the rebuilding of Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA) by the Dutch government and the European Investment Bank (EIB) financing proposal to the tune of US $100 million.
The Prime Minister said on Wednesday during the Council of Ministers press briefing that one of the requirements in moving forward was that a corporate governance review or assessment would be done and the findings would be implemented.
This review or assessment has been completed and, with the approval of all stakeholders, the summary of the agreements made during a meeting between representatives of the Government of St. Maarten and representatives of the Government of the Netherlands in New York City on March 27 can be released.
The agreements are: An interim chief financial officer (CFO) will be appointed by PJIA for a period of two years through the Royal Schiphol Group. Simultaneously, PJIA will start searching for and hire a permanent CFO in accordance with the established procedures under the articles of incorporation of its holding company Princess Juliana International Airport Holding (PJIAH) and PJIA and in accordance with the reviewed profile evaluation.
The selected candidate for the permanent CFO position will serve as a local counterpart to the interim CFO and will take over his/her responsibilities after two years. The appointment of the interim CFO will have to take place in accordance with the articles of incorporation of PJIAH and PJIA, and the person will have to be screened.
“Legal counsel to the airport and legal counsel to the Government will advise on the most expedient way to appoint the interim CFO in accordance with the articles of incorporation. The remuneration of the interim CFO will be in accordance with the regular salary norms of the airport and the cost of remuneration will have to be paid by the airport.
“Before April 24, the candidate for interim CFO should be in the screening process. The security screening of all members of the supervisory and management boards of PJIAH and PJIA should start [shortly – Ed.] and will be done by the Secret Service of St. Maarten VDSM. Before April 24, PJIA and PJIA will formally request the Minister of General Affairs to initiate a screening process by VDSM.
“Based on this formal request, the Minister of General Affairs will request VDSM to initiate the screening process. Legal counsel to the airport and legal counsel to the government will advise on the approval of screening by individual board members and the steps that need to be taken in case an individual board does not pass the screening,” stated the prime minister on Wednesday.
The Council of Ministers will appoint a task force and adopt a high-level implementation plan on the corporate governance assessment conducted by the World Bank before April 24. The terms of reference for the task force and the high-level implementation plan are being prepared by the National Recovery Programme Bureau (NRPB) and will be shared simultaneously with the Council of Ministers and the Netherlands for feedback, prior to the approval of the Council of Ministers.
The task force will also be instructed to review the expenditures and remuneration of PJIAH. The NRPB will propose that the task force be financed by the Trust Fund, possibly through Emergency Recovery Project I. The Netherlands notes that it does not have a position on the preferred legal structure of the airport; this is up to the Government of St. Maarten, according to the prime minister.
“The terms of reference for members of the supervisory and management boards of PJIAH and PJIA should be reviewed and upgraded to international standards by the Royal Schiphol Group and/or the World Bank and/or an external recruitment agency. The airport will submit the existing terms of reference to the NRPB and the NRPB will request that Schiphol review and upgrade the terms of reference before April 24.
“The Netherlands will provide a candidate for a new member to the supervisory board of PJIAH. This candidate will require the approval of the Council of Ministers, and has to be screened and appointed in accordance with the applicable rules and procedures. Remuneration will be the same as for other members of the supervisory board. The Netherlands will inform the candidate of this standard remuneration.
“If PJIAH’s remuneration constitutes an issue for the candidate, the Netherlands can discuss additional measures with the candidate. Before April 24, the appointment process will have to be initiated,” concluded the prime minister.