James criticizes Pantophlet’s national airline initiative

POSTED: 01/22/13 12:45 PM

St. Maarten – United People’s party MP Jules James criticized plans to establish a national airline in a press statement issued yesterday. Last week, Economic Affairs and Tourism Minister Romeo Pantophlet announced that he intends to set up such a company. The plan already drew criticism from Michael Ferrier, a former member of the ad-hoc committee for Winair.

“Having an ambitious agenda is one thing, but taken all consequences into consideration must remain of paramount concern, when it comes to spending our tax payer’s money with the Minister of Tourism and Economic Affairs proposal put forward. It would be amiss of me not to point out that I believe the Minister with his announced proposal to establish a St. Maarten Airline Company may be considered yet again, as the “Minister running a fowl” with his quest to put the cart before the horse,” James stated.

The MP is currently off-island, but he has followed the presentation of the governing program from abroad. “One has to wonder whether the Minister is living on St. Maarten or somewhere else. Winair, one can consider is close to a national airline at this point in time since we own 92 per cent while the remainder is held by the Netherlands on behalf of St. Eustatius and Saba. The Minister should first look at ways to acquire 100% ownership Winair and then expand the operations. In this way we could better manage our growth,” James observed.

Is this really the government for the people?” the UP-MP wonders. “Are the Minister and the government not thinking about the existing employees of Winair? Wouldn’t a second airline cut into the market share of Winair thereby resulting in a loose-loose scenario for both airlines?”

James stated that the Minister owes it to the people to explain how he plans to maintain and sustain such a project. “Has a feasibility study been carried out for (another) national airline? Was this matter discussed in detail with the DP and the Independent Members as coalition partners? Who are the actors behind this initiative? The Minister has thrown into the air another wild idea without any substance behind it. We have too many unanswered questions.”

James wonders whether there forces at work who would like to see Winair fail and go belly up to make way for the envisioned national airline that Minister Pantophlet and the NA-led Government. “What will happen to the 70+ (Winair) employees and their families? Who will this initiative benefit at the expense of the country and the workers of Winair?”

The UP was part of the government with former coalition partner DP, who saw Winair make a turn-around, James pointed out. “The airline and its hardworking employees continue to work diligently to make things work, and they are on the right track. Tax payer’s money should not be used as the Minister’s personal “piggy bank” to start a national airline. This will further increase the debt of the country and burden tax payer’s. “

James stated that Minister Pantophlet needs to come up with a feasibility study showing that his initiative will work, “that is does not harm Winair and that taxpayers won’t be the ones to foot the bill.”

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Comments (1)


  1. Elvis says:

    D66 with Pechtold the Great Democratic Hero. The man who will prevent frtuue wars in Europe. The man who will protect the nation for retirement of the greatest human project ever; the EUSSR. The Golden Ear. The Bright Sun. The Moral Conscience of the Nation. The honest, reliable man against corruption. Who has criticized Pechtold is by definition a fascist. So it is.Ok, its Sunday 9.15 and since I don’t have a subsidized job, and therefore not a fan of D66; back to work.