Remarks by the honorable Governor of St. Maarten at the Blessing ceremony of GEBE’s Generators

Managing Director, Ir. William Brooks, management and staff of GEBE N.V., honorable representatives of government; distinguished invitees; ladies and gentlemen:

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Allow me to begin my remarks by saying how delighted I am to join you, at this time for the celebration of our local utilities company, GEBE, commissioning two new 11.3 Megawatt generators and the power plant expansion.

This is a welcome development in the history of GEBE, considering the many concerns voiced regarding GEBE’s ability to provide electricity, for commercial and residential use – over the past months.

It is expected that the acquisition of these new generators will contribute to the enhancement of several areas to the benefit of our community, like for instance;

1. These units will Ensure significant production of electricity — as together these units can generate close to, if not over 40% of the electricity needed;

2. These units will hopefully, or shall I say definitely, stop the frequent power outages of the past year that the people of Sint Maarten and especially the consumers in residential areas have had to endure.

3. These units Will generate electricity at the lowest cost possible, considering that these units operate on heavy fuel oil and are the most effective ones, with state of the art control and protection;

I have also been informed that these units will not be tripped, or forced out of operation, by any rats in the power plant or even cats, like the one at Maho; as you know, these were said to be the cause of short circuits and consequently the cause of power outages.

Encouraging to hear is that these units will Increase reliability of supply leading to less economic losses all over Sint Maarten.

These units additionally increase the Sales of GEBE – which should mean continuity in improved power supply for the island.

Ladies and Gentlemen, today we have reason to celebrate as, GEBE family, is paying special attention to its responsibilities and has taken the necessary decisions and actions aimed at ensuring electricity supply for the long term. This is vital for our community.

It is vital to our community because good service and reliable power supply contribute to a productive St. Maarten and therefore to the economic development of St. Maarten and also to a good night rest not having to worry about power supply failure.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Board of Directors, Managing Director, management, Shareholder’s Foundation, I would be amiss, if I were not to mention, at this time, that GEBE is a Government-owned Company, which directly services the entire community. GEBE is functioning at Arms Length of the Government. However, it is Governments responsibility to create the necessary conditions for a prosperous development of the people of St. Maarten.

Complimentary to the strides now being made by GEBE, I would like to leave you with the following ideas as some food for thought:

1. GEBE and Government (EXCO and IC) should introduce a communication structure/body that will facilitate interchange of information and mutual understanding of challenges each entity are facing, in particular with respect to a consumer favorable tariff structure, information to the public in general and to established business or community platforms.

2. The constitutional developments require the Island Territory of Sint Maarten, the Netherlands and the Shareholder of GEBE to address the division of shares of GEBE in view of the upcoming changes.

3. The structural and historic support of Sint Maarten electricity consumers to consumers on Saba and St. Eustatius in the constellation of Netherlands Antilles needs to be redefined in view of the introduction of the BES status.

Having been given the opportunity to share my remarks with you, on this festive occasion, I extend:

My sincere congratulations to Sint Maarten, to GEBE, to the entire personnel, to the Management team led by the Managing Director Ir. William Brooks, to the Board of Supervisory Directors, to the Shareholders Foundation, to the previous and present Commissioners of Energy, Councilman Roy Marlin and Commissioner Theo Heyliger.

Ladies and gentlemen, with this new state of the art Power Plant we can look forward to thousands of production hours and safe and reliable operations.

And yes….I will conclude by stating: no more rats or cats interfering in power supply!

I thank you