AIRPORT, St. Maarten – PJIAE CEO, Mr. Brian Mingo, says Monday’s signing in Washington, DC, USA, between the St. Maarten Government and World Bank for the “Package 2 – Reconstruction of the Terminal Building” project is a major step to bringing back the glory days of one of St. Maarten’s foremost economic pillars.
Speaking immediately after the signing ceremony which was witnessed by a delegation of government ministers and officials and led by key signatory, Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs, Mr. Mingo said the US$ 72 Million grant agreement could not have come at a better time before Christmas.
“It means we will be able to enjoy the festive season in the knowledge that come the New Year we will be hitting the ground running with all hands to the pump. It now means the rebuilding of the Airport’s terminal can finally start in 2020. It was a long and very demanding road but we got it across the finish line with the help of the many specialists and agencies,” said the delighted airport chief, while also thanking the previous and present government and the quick response of the Honorable Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs and Minister of Finance, Irion Ardwell, both of whom he said, “stepped up the pace to get things done.”
Mr. Mingo said before Monday’s signing, the Airport had been in dire need a financial package to keep the facility in operation since the devastating damage of Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria in 2017.
He thanked the Dutch Government, the World Bank (WB) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) for all coming through with their promise to provide the reconstruction funding at favorable terms. Also, the bondholders and the Government of St. Maarten, who also played very important roles in creating an environment of confidence to the lenders so that the reconstruction works can proceed as planned.
Mr. Mingo said others also played their part, including RSG (Schiphol), NRPB St. Maarten, and particularly the staff of PJIA who, “hung in there against immeasurable odds to keep the business alive so that the project or reconstruction can be where it is today.”
to contend with an existing debt service from a previous loan of 2012 ($142M),
a damaged terminal building, a collapsed business model due to the Hurricane
Irma aftermath, critical issues with space and insurance challenges – for sure
the airport’s health was serious and close to fatal,” said Mr. Mingo.
He said the rescue came from the Netherlands after the Airport’s first meeting with the Steering Committee with former Prime Minister, Marcel Gumbs and Frans Weekers, both playing a very important role, together with, Ms. Tahseen Sayed of the World Bank.
“We honestly explained our situation and together with the government of St. Maarten, the Netherlands the financial advisors of the World Bank and others, we designed a recovery budget, which became a tailor-made financial package for our liquidity and capital needs,” continued the Airport Chief.
In thanking everyone for taking the extra effort to show support to the Airport by their presence in Washington DC, including the PJIAE Board Chairman, Mr. Michel Hodge, Mr. Mingo said the support made him very proud and now ever more determined to ensure the Terminal Reconstruction is an unqualified success.
“It has been a great accomplishment and a great effort and a great moment for us to finally conclude this funding package, now let’s get to work,” said Mr. Mingo.