Prime Minister to sack Winair Board, change management structure

POSTED: 01/20/11 12:18 PM

St. Maarten – Prime Minister and Shareholder Representative for Windward Islands Airways International (WINAIR) Sarah Wescot-Williams has decided to proceed with changing the company’s board and implementing a new management structure.
“This is extremely necessary given the different reports that have been made regarding Winair. Some crucial and critical decisions need to be made with regards to Winair and so the course I have started will be pursued,” the prime minister said.
Wescot-Williams said the committee informed that consensus had been reached on the board tendering their resignations but she’s ready to use the other avenues available to her to replace the board if that is not the case. In their statement on Tuesday the Board said there was a willingness to resign but they wanted to meet the shareholder first to plead their case and provide input on the proposed changes.
The prime minister also said no cash injections will be made until the situation is clarified and the new management is in place.
“We’re not making cash injections until the matter of Winair is clear and we’re moving forward. The government of St. Maarten, cannot at this time make a cash injection without putting certain issues in place at Winair,” Wescot-Williams said.
The announcements, made at Wednesday’s Council of Ministers press briefing, follows a release by the supervisory board questioning why they should resign and why they have not have been afforded a chance to meet with the shareholder to plead their case.
The prime minister has pledged to share relevant information from the reports that she’s received on the airline once she had time to study them. This will done with due consideration for the airline and its staff.
The primary focus at the moment is getting the new board and management in place. This is based on a decision by the shareholder. Once that process is completed parties will assess what other recommendations for viability and scale down of flight operations. The ad hoc committee the prime minister installed reportedly told the board they believe the airline should scale back to flying to Saba, St. Eustatius and St. Barths.
Wescot-Williams also said a representative of the Dutch government, which holds 7.95 percent of the shares has been informed of the present course and has been involved in the talks on the future. She also could not get into the specifics of scaling back on routes, but holds to a general principle that any route that is maintained should be sustainable in terms of cost.
“We would love of course to provide service for all of the islands around here but is it feasible for Winair as an airline. Clearly in going forward Winair has to drop some of its routes if it is to survive,” Wescot-Williams said.

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