~Information can be shared in closed-door meetings to avoid liabilities.~
PHILIPSBURG:--- Minister of TEATT Roger Lawrence told the parliament of St. Maarten that he does not have a special mandate when it comes to the government-owned company Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIAE). The Minister said that the shareholder decided that he would be attending parliament to respond to questions posed by parliament and to also handle the dismissal of the Chief Operations Officer Michel Hyman, while he would keep the shareholder updated. Minister Lawrence also informed parliament that he is the point of contact on behalf of the Shareholder representatives.
Lawrence said the two members of the holding board were appointed on July 7th, 2021, as the chair and vice chair while James Faso was appointed in November 2019. The TEATT Minister said his predecessor was also not mandated to handle the affairs of the shareholder.
He informed the parliament of St. Maarten that he is willing to share further information on the dismissal of the Chief Operations Officer in a closed-door meeting to avoid any form of liabilities since there are possible court cases looming as the attorneys for the dismissed COO informed PJIAE by letter that they are not in agreement with the dismissal.
It is noted that Michel Hyman was appointed on August 1st, 2019, and his contract will come to an end in July 2022.
The Minister said that four persons applied for the position of managing director, the appointed managing director applied for the position in October 2021, while he was appointed in March 2002. He said the top candidate indicated by letter that he withdrew his candidacy for his position however that candidate did not provide reasons for the withdrawal. The Minister said that Keith Franca was the second candidate that was proposed and also confirmed that the shareholder also approved the appointment since Franca is of age. He said Franca was appointed for a period of one year and his successor will take office 6 months later.
The Minister also confirmed that on March 15th at least one of the holding board members did not attend the meeting because she was off-island.
In breaking down the timeline of the entire process chairlady of parliament Grisha Heyliger Marten said that it appeared as though the COO was in a glass house screaming and no one listened. She asked why PJIAE rushed the dismissal since they have not dismissed him based on the case that is under investigation. Heyliger Marten said that based on what is provided to parliament she is of the opinion that parliamentary inquiry would be needed based on the dossier that was submitted to the parliament of St. Maarten by the now-dismissed COO Michel Hyman.
Heyliger-Marten made clear that if concrete information on the dismissal is not provided she will be discussing the matter with all faction leaders in parliament to begin an inquiry.
MP Sarah Wescot Williams further questioned the process and what exact power does the Minister of TEATT has since the Prime Minister recused herself from matters of PJIAE. The UD MP asked about the forensic audit and what was accomplished.