PHILIPSBURG:--- The Minister of VSA Emil Lee on Wednesday lashed out at the media, specifically SMN News for publishing an article whereby he promises Sunwing Airlines $200K while in the Bahamas attending the CHA marketplace.
Minister Lee campaigned on good governance, openness, and transparency which he said other politicians lacked, yet the Minister is upset that the email that was sent out by Sunwing got in the hands of the media and suddenly he is concerned about internal documents being leaked to the media, while the Minister has his own cabinet staff leaking internal documents to those that he thinks will benefit him.
In the long statement addressing how he feels the media should operate the Minister calls on media houses to have guidelines, he said the media in the Netherlands have guidelines, while failing to mention that the media in the Netherlands are being financed by the State, while the government of St. Maarten does not support media houses and on many occasions refused to divulge truthful information. The Minister went on about his concern on how internal documents gets out while failing to mention that his own cabinet leaks documents, while they are busy micro-managing the various departments while not knowing the laws on health care and labor.
The Minister in his statement said persons should be given the opportunity to respond, exactly what he did two weeks ago in a press release where he stated that no gag- order was issued to the Inspectorate, a release SMN News published even though it was loaded with false information. The Minister went on to say that the information on Sunwing was false yet he did not contact SMN News to give the correct information but instead called a civil servant to express his anger about the email he said was leaked.
While the Minister vented his anger and frustration on the empty promise he made to Sunwing Airlines, he later read from an old email and not the email SMN News managed to obtain from hoteliers on St. Maarten that are quite upset with the Minister for several reasons, one being the NHI that all stakeholders on St. Maarten dumped aside by giving negative advice on the NHI for St. Maarten.
Besides the Sunwing empty promise the Minister did not mention anything about his planned trip to the Bahamas where he had bought a ticket to attend the event on behalf of his business while being a Minister. Minister Lee also did not touch on the vacation days he was requesting to go the Bahamas and when he was asked to represent St. Maarten.
The article SMN News published while the Minister was abroad touched on several aspects and while the Minister claims that he is upset about the leaked email he did not touch on the other parts because he knows that SMN News reporter confronted him on this matter before and he admitted to having bought a ticket when he thought he was not going to a Minister since the NA and UPP had an agreement. He also admitted he did not cancel the ticket even after becoming a Minister but said he wanted to stay up to date with the tourism industry.
Since Minister Lee chose to use the wrong email to lecture the media and to continue fooling the people of St. Maarten SMN News chose to make the content of the email available for its readers. SMN News did not confront or insult the Minister when he lied to the people of St. Maarten on Wednesday but chose to make the contents of the email public for its readers.Minister Lee thinks that the people of St. Maarten do not know how Sunwing Airline operates. It should be noted that Sunwing Airlines does not only sell airline tickets but they also sell hotel accommodation packages and while his attendance at the CHA marketplace while being a Minister was to solely promote his hotel and making promises to Sunwing was his way of getting Sunwing to sell his hotel more than the others.