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Prime Minister updates Parliament and public

Actions taken to ensure the future and proper functioning of N.V. GEBE

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten – With the on-going challenges of N.V. GEBE, and after the general shareholders meeting held on Friday August 19, Prime Minister and Minister of General Affairs Silveria Jacobs has maintained direct communication with the Supervisory Board of Directors of the utilities company. The aim has been ensuring communication of the shareholders’ wishes as expressed during said General Shareholders Meeting. During this week there was an increased need to ensure the company properly addresses the public’s concern regarding the billing challenges as well as steps being taken to secure the financial stability of N.V. GEBE.

“These matters are very serious and the Council of Ministers, as representative of the Shareholder, does not take this situation lightly, as this affects the people of Sint Maarten on multiple levels.” said Prime Minister Jacobs. The Council of Ministers shares in the concern of the public and the Parliament and has continued to reiterate the need for the Supervisory Board of Directors to ensure the proper communication to the public, which, since the company’s latest announcement, has only escalated the impending dread within the community. The Prime Minister continued, “I am willing to return to return to Parliament with answers in a week, but I must make statements today as our citizens should not have to wait any longer for their fears to be eased.”

The Council is working to handle this situation within the proper scope of the laws and governance codes of Sint Maarten. The Supervisory Board previously assigned an acting temporary manager, Ms. Daniel. However, Mr. Temmer’s appointment by resolution was pending his A-level screening, for which a declaration of no objection was issued by the Prime Minister on Monday, August 22. This legally confirms his appointment as Statutory Director of N.V. GEBE and ends Ms. Daniel’s tenure as acting Temporary Manager. Unfortunately, Mr. Temmer is unable to fulfil his tasks and duties at present due to illness. This enables the Supervisory Board to assign a temporary manager to ensure the continuity of N.V. GEBE.

The Council of Ministers, in its capacity as representative of the shareholder, has via letter, formally and informally, requested the Supervisory Board to assign a crisis management team as soon as possible. Part of the tasks of the crisis management team is primarily to provide stability within the organization and to guarantee the proper functioning of the utility company as provider of water and electricity in Sint Maarten. Additionally, there has been a request for an investigation into the events of the past months.

“The Council of Ministers has insisted that payment opportunities for the public should have been made available to the public since March, along with clearer communication to the public regarding these matters. While this has not taken place, it is imperative that this is remedied as soon as possible. The Board is urged to provide confirmation on the way forward and ensure proper communication to the public by August 29. I join N.V. GEBE as they continue to emphasize the need for the public to start paying their bills and/or clarifying any issues. I urge the people to visit the offices of customer service before September 1 to make the necessary arrangements.” said Prime Minister Jacobs.
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