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Parliament railroaded with answers provided by NV GEBE.

~ Minister they are setting you up. MP Emmanuel~

PHILIPSBURG:--- Members of Parliament expressed concerns over the answers to the questions they posed regarding NV GEBE's financial status.
Minister of VROMI Egbert Jurendy Doran returned to Parliament on Monday to provide the answers to the questions that were posed. The answers that were read out by the Minister were the ones provided by the Temporary Manager of NV GEBE, Mauricio Dembrook.

The Temporary Manager did not show up to Parliament as he reported sick on Monday morning.
Members of Parliament were furious with the answers provided by the Minister to the Parliament of St. Maarten. Member of Parliament Claudius Buncamper pointed out several areas where the answers were not clear or the questions he posed were not answered.
Buncamper said he asked about water that is sold to the French side of the island and GEBE in their response said they only sold water to Anse Marcel. He called on the Minister to review the answer to that question.

Further Buncamper highlighted the response to the questions regarding the Chief Internal Auditor. A breakdown based on the answers, it states that there is a yearly internal audit plan that is presented to the Supervisory Board. In 2015 GEBE said 3 of the 11 audits were received, in 2016, 3 of the 7 audits were received, 2017, one of 7 was received, in 2018 one of 6 was received, 2019, 2 of 7 received, while in 2020 1 of 6 was received.

Buncamper said he wants to know if he as a Member of Parliament what exactly NV GEBE is telling him, are they trying to say the Chief Internal Auditor is not functioning? He asked if it’s the same person NV GEBE and the Shareholder wants to appoint as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO)?
The USP Faction leader said he did not ask for those answers, but he gets the impression that the answers provided were to set up the CEO candidate and that is not his intention. Buncamper said he just wanted to know if the Chief Internal Auditor was doing her job but he is of the opinion that the answers provided are to set up the candidate, therefore he asked for clarity.

As for Seven Seas Buncamper asked how much does the company pays per KWH on electricity? He said he wants to know who is paying the rest of what is not being paid by Seven Seas. The MP said he wants to know who is covering the loss, he asked if it’s the shareholder or the residents of St. Maarten.
He asked about the water management agreement, he wants to know if the contract is valid. Buncamper cautioned the Minister by saying that his intention is not to shoot down anything but warned that prevention is better than cure.

Member of Parliament Sarah Wescot Williams also shared the same sentiments about the answers that were provided. Wescot Williams pointed out that the Minister received the answers from NV GEBE on Saturday, October 2nd, 2021 while the Members of Parliament received it at 10:01 am on Monday. She asked the Minister where are the attachments were referred. She said it would have been better if the was postponed so that the Minister could get the time he needed to review the answers. Wescot Williams said the Parliament of St. Maarten is taken for granted.

Sharing the same sentiments was Member of Parliament Christopher Emmanuel said that the Dutch Government already took possession of the Princess Juliana International Airport. He said very soon the Dutch will take possession of NV GEBE because of the ‘firestorm” within the company.
He warned the Minister that he is being set up by the management of NV GEBE. Emmanuel said that the answers provided are incorrect. He said he asked about the repairs of the main building, and he is told that the repairs were scheduled in the loan agreement of 2019 and now it’s taken up in the draft strategic plan 2021-2026.

The Independent Member of Parliament made clear that the Minister got the answers to parliaments’ questions from NV GEBE. He said that it was impossible for NV to provide such answers to parliament. Emmanuel advised the Minister to go to NV GEBE and demand the answers to their questions while asking for documents to back up the answers he is provided with, he said only then the Minister would realize that he is being played as a fool.

He asked the Minister why he did not terminate the two Supervisory Board members? Emmanuel said he know for a fact that the parliament of St. Maarten was misled by the incorrect answers provided.
He asked if anyone reached out to the internal audit department for the answers and asked about the results of the 2019 audit done by Ernest and Young. Emmanuel also asked about the recent court injunction and the verdict rendered on Friday last week. He asked the Minister to provide parliament with his opinion on the various court proceedings initiated against the government of St. Maarten by NV GEBE.

Emmanuel asked how much reliance was placed on the Internal Auditor by the SBOD because of their lack of knowledge of financials. Emmanuel referred to the letter sent to the Council of Ministers by the chairman of SBOD Bienvenido Richardson.
Emmanuel further asked why was the internal audit department shut down in 2019 by the former management board for executing the 2018 audits. Emmanuel made clear shutting down the internal audit department was a serious violation.
The Independent MP asked why he did not dismiss the two remaining SBOD. He asked the Minister to come clean, Emmanuel said whoever prepared the answers for the Minister should be fired immediately because they lied to the Minister, the Parliament of St. Maarten, and the people as a whole.

 

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