By: Roland S Tuitt, MBA, CPA
The main question the reporter should be asking is why did government have to pay a 3rd party such a large amount.
The third party took government to court because they cooperated with government to write off an investment of over US$ 2.3 million of a different system and returning valuable bandwidth to country St. Maarten. The regulator would be able to use that for mobile applications which can generate millions instead of the thousands being collected. In return the government had to pay for a new system as it did in the past when moving radio stations out of their frequencies to use for mobile operators
Furthermore, the court of St. Maarten ruled on various occasions that government and the third party should sit down and try to negotiate an agreement . Which is what another minister and myself did. Furthermore, every case the client took to court the government lost.
The client was asking for over 1.5 million dollars. Another issue was also that the regulator did not assign the frequencies to the third party. We negotiated that the client would return some of the bandwidth and get damages of $1,000,000 including government getting the use of the third party’s platform to air a TV channel for DECOM thereby saving government millions by not having to set up their own TV channels.
In government every contract a minister signs he can be held responsible for it. However, there are some built in controls that can mitigate the publishing of the names of signatories. Before a large agreement can be signed and paid the governor has to give his approval and the council of ministers also have to approve it.
The letter that was signed is a synopsis of the agreement reached between government and the third party which was requested by the lawyer to make a proposal for the Council of Ministers to approve.
The government must stop playing politics when it can cost the tax payers money. If a third party requests licenses government should have their departments issue them on a timely basis. Because the cost of politrickery is high.
Before a negotiated agreement can be signed and paid the governor and council of ministers have to approve it.
Government should stop wasting the people’s money by going to court for cases they know they will lose. That only benefits the lawyers who collect fees.
Government should work in the interest of the taxpayers and abstain from actions that will cost the population millions.
The news on St. Maarten should report facts and not always try to downgrade someone. Especially after my team negotiated a contract that saved government thousands of dollars and got products in return that can generate a revenue stream of millions for government in the future.