Press Release from Councilman Petrus L De Weever in response to the GEBE situation


Heyliger/NA/Laviest Coalition Must Come Clean

The Heyliger/NA/Laveist coalition is again showing its total disregard for commitments made and the functioning of government owned companies.

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The report in the Daily Herald of April 21, 2010 regarding the imposition of financial penalties on GEBE does not come as any surprise to me. During the recent presentation of GEBE in the Central Committee I specifically asked:" What penalties will be imposed on GEBE by Pacific Life when concessions are not in place?" The response at that time was " no penalties would be imposed."

The extension of the concession for GEBE should have been in place since January 1, 2010. The Commissioner of Energy Affairs and members of the Supervisory Board of GEBE assured Pacific Life that the concession extension would be in place before March 31, 2010. This deadline was not met due to the irresponsible behavior of the Heyliger/NA/Laveist coalition. The members of government who should have ensured that this concession extension was in place, would not have acted in this manner if the company was owned by them and the penalty had to be paid from their pockets. Unfortunately because it is the people’s money they have no regard for ensuring, that these penalties not be imposed on the company. Penalties of approximately US $ 100.000, — per month is a significant. These funds could have been donated by GEBE and used towards assisting some of the needs of this community, such as the Mental Health Foundation, the St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation, or the Safe Haven Foundation just to name a few.

This is the 3rd government owned company that is experiencing major issues since the Heyliger/NA/ Laveist coalition took office on June 8, 2009. PJIAE is functioning without a supervisory board of directors since January 1, 2010, the St. Maarten Group of Telecommunications Companies (Telem, Telcell, Telnet & Smitcoms) do not have a complete board of Supervisory Directors in place and no managing director to take the company to the next level. Now we have GEBE. Government granted GEBE a letter of comfort to satisfy the financers before obtaining financing by Pacific Life. An institution such as Pacific Life is governed by strict international financial regulations and must at all time secure its investment towards its shareholders.

Government’s letter of comfort assured the financers that the concession would be extended for a period beyond the maturity date of the loans. GEBE’s financial commitments towards Pacific Life could very well be jeopardized. We are nearing the end of April and the penalty fees will continue to rack up, for every month that the concession is not in place.

I expect that the longer this situation continues Pacific Life will continue to exert pressure on GEBE to live up to its commitment. At which point a loan call option may be implemented. The blame game will then start between GEBE and Government. This situation cannot go on much longer and I urge the Governor in his capacity as Chairman of the Executive Council to act, in order to avoid actions being taken which could jeopardize Government and totally disrupt the financial stability of GEBE.

Island Councilman Petrus L. de Weever.