PHILIPSBURG:--- Member of Parliament and Leader of the United People's Party (UP), Rolando Brison, delivered a compelling address in Parliament today, shedding light on the pressing concerns surrounding the operations of GEBE, the utility company. Brison's presentation focused on financial transparency and accountability, rectifying billing inaccuracies, and ensuring employees receive their well-deserved Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA).
Brison's address highlighted the alarming absence of recent financial information from GEBE, with the last available financial statements dating back to 2019. In response to this critical issue, Brison called for enhanced transparency and requested immediate clarification on the company's financial status. This step is crucial to guarantee GEBE's ability to fulfill its obligations to the community.
Brison proposed two innovative solutions to address the second concern of the challenges customers are experiencing with inaccurate billing. The first solution involves transitioning to a historical-based assessment for billing. Under this proposal, GEBE would calculate bills based on customers last confirmed accurate bills, particularly those from 2021. These bills would be adjusted downward to account for fluctuations in fuel prices and mitigate any inconveniences customers face. In this context, Brison emphasized the significance of considering the needs of GEBE's employees in any improvement plans for the company.
To facilitate the adjustment in billing and justify the additional cost that may be incurred by granting the COLA to employees, Brison recommended deferring a portion of GEBE's concession from 2024 to 2025, 2026, and 2027. This financial support would cover the reduced costs in bills and help alleviate the financial burden on the community. It would also be directed towards funding the much-needed Cost of Living Adjustment for GEBE employees, ensuring they receive fair remuneration for their dedication and hard work.
In his address, Brison stated, "The fact is, the consumer in St. Maarten has taken a hit, GEBE has taken a hit, and it only makes sense that, to some extent, even if just temporarily, the Government will also receive a reduced financial contribution from GEBE, but only if it is passed on to the consumer and the employees."
Brison's presentation to Parliament underscores his and the United People's Party's unwavering commitment to addressing the community's urgent issues and working towards sustainable solutions for the betterment of St. Maarten. He eagerly anticipates the return of the Prime Minister and the GEBE team with responses to these proposals, aiming to find solutions that benefit all parties affected by the unfortunate situation GEBE has faced due to cyber-attacks.