Minister Shigemoto says Petite Committee of Experts Proposed to deal with GEBE, Winair

The establishment of a Petite Committee of Experts from the Netherlands and Sint Maarten, has been proposed to deal with open issues such as but not limited to the power utility company GEBE and Windward Islands Airways (WINAIR) where the Dutch public entities of Saba and St. Eustatius have shares.


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Minister of Finance Hon. Hiro Shigemoto who met with Dutch State Secretary of Finance Hon. Frans Weekers on Wednesday, says this is one of the positive outcomes so far of his working visit to the Netherlands this week.

The Sint Maarten Minister explained Weekers that the open issues with Saba and St. Eustatius must be looked at from a broader perspective.

"We have a number of issues dealing with our sister islands that includes taxes, GEBE and WINAIR to name a few. Sint Maarten consumers have been subsidizing the electricity supply for years. The two air routes to Saba and St. Eustatius also deliver losses. We understand that an air-link between the islands is part and parcel of the socio-economic development of the islands and therefore, the proposed establishment of this petite committee is a very positive and significant development is resolving these issues after the dissolution of the former Netherlands Antilles.

"The people of Sint Maarten are demanding relief and we are working diligently to bring this relief by resolving issues left undone," Minister of Finance Hon. Hiro Shigemoto said on Thursday.

Once the Petite Committee of Experts present their findings on how to solve the aforementioned and other issues, the Governments of Holland and Sint Maarten will meet to take the political decisions.

Regarding the matter of the Turn over Tax (ToT) and the islands of Saba and St. Eustatius, Minister Shigemoto explained to Secretary of State Weekers that Sint Maarten at the moment is in the process of developing a new tax system by 2013 which also includes revamping and redesigning of the ToT.

"For Sint Maarten to be able to offer any relief before that time would be extremely difficult as we have to contend with the rules and regulations of the Committee of Financial Supervision CFT as well as the presentation of lean balanced national budgets for 2011 and 2012 which covers the operational expenses of Government.

"The Government of Sint Maarten cannot afford to miss any income that would result in a deficit which goes against the financial supervision rules and regulations," Finance Minister Shigemoto pointed out to Weekers.

The finalization of the buying out of BES Islands shares of nine per cent in the Central Bank of Curacao and Sint Maarten (CBCS) was another area that was discussed between the Minister and Secretary of State.

This process is currently with Supervisory board of CBCS.