EXCLUSIVE- Letter to Council of Ministers Pokes Holes in Daniel’s Application | RALPH CANTAVE

** Exclusively on SXM Talks, articles by Ralph Cantave **


In newly surfaced documents, the Council of Ministers was sent a letter on October 15, 2021 regarding the employment disputes of N.V. GEBE and the head of the internal audit department, Sharine Daniel. In a letter by former temporary manager, Mauricio Dembrook, he noted several points to the Prime Minister, Silveria Jacobs, on Daniel’s dismissal regarding “false and misleading information during the job application process”. The letter included letters, minutes, emails and other verification of statements. Daniel became an employee of GEBE under the leadership of Romelio Maduro, whose contract ended in controversy due to allegations of misuse of funds and other financial irregularities. Details of an audit N.V. GEBE conducted on Daniel can be read here: https://www.facebook.com/ProfessorRalphCantave/posts/1665281853666729 

Content of the letter

The 5 page letter (which can be viewed below) outlines that within 2 months of Daniel’s employment at N.V. GEBE the former Management Board in 2013 agreed to pay $65,000 USD for her doctorate at Walden University. When the former CEO, Kenrick Chittick inquired about it in an email on June 4, 2020, Daniel responded that her new labor contract was signed with no pre-conditions for her study and she was not obliged to discuss it further. It added that Chittick could discuss it further with her legal representative HBN Law, charged at N.V. GEBE’s expense. 

On July 23, 2020 Daniel emailed the Managing and Supervisory Board stating, “I conferred my doctoral degree in business administration specializing in accounting on July 22, 2020.” In that email she added that her degree was validated by the education department. However, on June 3, 2021 the education department told GEBE that “the Division of Examinations is not aware of the above-mentioned degree. A request to evaluate said degree has also never been received.” Walden University also informed N.V. GEBE almost a year later according to the letter, that they “are awaiting certain documentation needed from Sharine Daniel in order to review her records for conferral.” 

The letter also pointed out that Daniel lied on her job application. On Daniel’s former LinkedIn account, it stated that she worked at Bank of America as a Sales Service Specialist. However, her resume states that she worked as a Senior Bank Auditor. Similarly, in Daniel’s reference letter from Charles Dixon (Vice President of Bank of America at the time) in 2012 he stated Daniel was an auditor. N.V. GEBE decided to make use of a law firm to verify her employment history through Equifax, which confirmed that Daniel was employed as a Sales Service Specialist. According to Dembrook’s letter, after being informed about the Equifax report on September 1, 2021, Dixon changed his statement and confirmed she was a Sales Service Specialist and “she also functioned as my Senior Auditor (Operations Risk Management) with my permission pending her official candidacy for the function.” Equifax also confirmed that Daniel was not an auditor at KPMG but worked as an intern. Her recommendation letter from KPMG dated August 30, 2012 also had no letter head from the company. 

Daniel also falsely stated that she was an internal audit professional at Grant Thornton in Virginia and that she still worked there when she applied to N.V. GEBE in 2012. In a letter provided to N.V. GEBE on September 14, 2021 it stated that she had an entry level job as an Associate I. Daniel also left Grant Thornton 5 months before she applied for her job at N.V. GEBE. The reference letter provided from Angelica Espiritu from Grant Thornton also had no letterhead and no company email. A Yahoo email address was used instead- contrary to industry standards. In an email to N.V. GEBE on September 17, 2021, a representative from Grant Thornton stated they have no record of Angelica Espiritu having worked at the company.

Summary of the case

The employment disputes began when Dembrook sought to verify the diplomas of Daniel. Daniel claimed that Maduro verified her records and she provided the COM with his statements on September 7, 2021. However, Dembrook noted in his letter that in the minutes of a N.V. GEBE Supervisory Board meeting on September 4, 2014, “Maduro said that he assumed that all was checked because he was told by HR the diplomas were checked.” The extensive back and forth led to Daniel and N.V. GEBE heading to court. The two parties also went to court upon an injunction filed to prevent Daniel from becoming Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

In the 20-page verdict the Court of First Instance rendered on November 3, the court ruled in favor of Daniel in relation to her immediate dismissal which took place while she was on sick leave and demands for her to verify her diplomas in a short time span. The court added [translated from Dutch], “It is important that the Court of First Instance does not deal with the question of whether the employee is suitable as a CEO. This is reserved for the Supervisory Board, which will again consult with the shareholder; the country of Sint Maarten … The Court finds it significant that the employer then only ends up with the issue of diplomas as an urgent reason and not with the employee’s many years of functioning in her position of Head Internal Audit Department”. The court also pointed out the toxic environment of the company and ruled based on the merits of a labor dispute. The verdict can be read here

Government’s Response

During the Council of Minister’s Press briefing on Wednesday, December 8, the Prime Minister was asked her thoughts on the appointment of Daniel considering her controversy. Jacobs responded and stated, “I don’t believe we need to go into personal opinions on any function. The supervisory board is the one that will have to monitor if and when that appointment is finalized.” She added that “the court has deemed the case, that she won the case. As Government of St. Maarten we respect the court’s decision. The board can hold off based on whatever their suspicions were but I believe those suspicions have been laid to rest. So the current Supervisory Board is following up on the decision.”

The longstanding controversy of Daniel and N.V. GEBE can be read here as well: https://www.facebook.com/ProfessorRalphCantave/posts/1665279003667014

The verdict also noted Daniel received six official warnings from her employer between 2014 and 2019. On October 9, 2021 in his answers to Parliament Minister of VROMI, Egbert Doran, stated an external company is being sought to assess the quality of the audits done within the company. In 2015, three out of eleven audits were received; In 2016, three out of seven; 2017, one out of seven; 2018 one out of six; 2019 two out of seven and in 2020 one out of six.

As the employment of Daniel as CEO is pending her contract being finalized, many of the questions raised by Dembrook’s letter remain unaddressed. The question stands, how will the Council of Ministers address the content of his letter and what implications are there for her employment.

– By Ralph Cantave


Documents referenced in above article:

Letter to COM – page 1

Letter to COM – page 2

Letter to COM – page 3

Letter to COM – page 4

Letter to COM – page 5

Verdict of the Court of First Instance


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