Saturday, January 23, 2021

January 13, 2021   Philipsburg, St. Maarten –  Member of Parliament Sarah A. Wescot-Williams (UD) has made numerous inquiries into what she deems an “unfortunate situation that  played out during the latter part of 2020 between the airport holding board and the Managing Director of the Princess Juliana International Airport, Mr. Brian Mingo.”

A letter from the airport holding board that supposedly was also copied to the Parliament of Sint Maarten, the MP stated in a recent statement,  has prompted her to ask questions to the Shareholder, in this case, Prime Minister Jacobs and  Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication (TEATT), de Weever about the allegations in the letter.  

Wescot-Williams said that the matter is unfortunate and it is lamentable that a corporate matter such as this has played out in the public domain. “The entire matter is all the more regrettable knowing that the airport is St. Maarten’s primary gateway and up to not too long ago has been the proverbial political ping pong until it was finally able to secure the funding for the reconstruction”. 

It’s only in the past few months, that the airport could have started with the reconstruction. Then, this letter from the airport’s holding board accusing the Managing Director of mismanagement and in which the board also cites the shareholder, in other words, the Government of St. Maarten. In the letter from the holding board, several serious allegations are being made and supposedly also on behalf of the shareholder.

The MP continued, “Since all of this has come out in public and reference is made in the letter to the service agreement between the airport operating board and Mr. Mingo, the question is - to who is Mr. Mingo accountable?

The letter also refers to a big vision of the Government for the airport and I would like to know what is this Government’s vision for the airport that according to Government and holding board, the Managing Director is not executing?  Is Mingo even aware of said vision?”

The holding board in its letter accuses the Managing Director of not timely executing what he should be doing as far as the reconstruction of the airport is concerned. I would like to be provided with a timeline of the airport’s reconstruction funding, the different players in the process, the process and activities undertaken and by whom, including  activities undertaken or not by the Managing Director. I want this timeline going back to when the whole reconstruction funding was an issue and when this Government finally accepted that it had no other alternative than the  Dutch Government and the EIB financing.

A reference is also made to key stakeholders, both local and International,  being disappointed in the functioning of Mr. Mingo. I’ve requested the correspondence from these stakeholders with respect to Mr. Mingo’s functioning.  In order for that type of report to be made by the holding board, the question would be who has assessed Mr. Mingo’s functioning and on the basis of what?   

Therefore, I’ve also requested to see the evaluation.

Then there is this issue of whether Mingo was offered a payout. I want to know if that is so. If so,  how much was offered to Mr. Mingo,  or was it that  Mingo was asked to make an offer? 

I want the Government to provide Parliament with all information that would support these claims. I hope their response is not that they need information from the airport as the conclusions arrived at by the holding board in their letter to Mingo are purportedly supported by the Government.

In conclusion, the MP emphasized again that it is unfortunate and the last thing that our airport needs at this time is this kind of a public display of disagreement between the partners of the airport, namely  the Government of St. Maarten, the supervisory boards and the management. 

January 16, 2021   LOS ANGELES (AP) — True to form, Betty White has something impish to say about her birthday Sunday. “Since I am turning 99, I can stay up as late as I want without asking permission!” she told The Associated Press in an email. White’s low-key plans include feeding a pair of ducks that regularly visit her Los Angeles-area home. Her birthday meal will be a hot dog and French fries brought in — along with a bouquet of roses — by her longtime friend and agent, Jeff Witjas. The actor’s TV credits stretch from 1949’s “Hollywood on Television” to a 2019 voice role in “Forky Asks a Question,” with “The Golden Girls” and “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” among the enduring highlights.

January 15, 2021   NEW YORK (AP) — Philip J. Smith, who rose from box office treasurer at the Imperial Theatre on Broadway to chairman and co-CEO of the theatrical giant Shubert Organization, has died from complications from COVID-19, according to his daughters. He was 89. In a career that spanned 63 years, Smith worked in every department of the Shubert Organization and was named general manager of all Shubert Theatres in 1964. The Shubert Organization owns and operates 17 Broadway theatres and six off-Broadway venues. Smith “influenced every aspect of the professional theater and earned the respect and admiration of everyone from the stage doormen to the greatest performers and creative talents of our time,” Robert E. Wankel, chairman and CEO of The Shubert Organization, said in a statement.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Peter Mark Richman, a character actor who appeared in hundreds of television episodes and had recurring roles on “Three’s Company” and “Beverly Hills 90210,” has died. He was 93. Richman died Thursday at his home in the Woodland Hills area of Los Angeles of natural causes, publicist Harlan Boll announced. Born in Philadelphia, Richman was a pharmacist but turned to acting. He joined the Actors Studio and in 1953 he starred on stage in the play “End as a Man.” He appeared on Broadway in “A Hatful of Rain” and “Masquerade.” He also portrayed Jerry in more than 400 New York performances of Edward Albee’s “The Zoo Story,” Boll said.

January 14, 2021  -Joanne Rogers, an accomplished concert pianist who celebrated and protected the legacy of her husband, the beloved children’s TV host Mister Rogers, has died in Pittsburgh. She was 92. Rogers died Thursday, according to the Fred Rogers Center. No cause of death was given. The center called her “a joyful and tender-hearted spirit, whose heart and wisdom have guided our work in service of Fred’s enduring legacy.” Joanne and Fred Rogers were married for more than 50 years, spanning the launch and end of the low-key, low-tech “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” which presented Fred Rogers as one adult in a busy world who always had time to listen to children. His pull as America’s favorite neighbor never seemed to wane before his death in 2003.