EXCLUSIVE: NV GEBE Goes Further in the Dark – Part 1 | RALPH CANTAVE

** Exclusively on SXM Talks, articles by Ralph Cantave **
PHILIPSBURG – A hostile and festering work environment presently persists at NV GEBE due to political meddling, power plays and a lack of accountability at the company. The decision to allow the IT department to remain unaudited for years and implement the IT policies of the previous management board, left the company vulnerable to the Black byte ransomware that compromised all of the company’s data and operations. This decision has impacted the company for over two months and heightened frustration in the community due to incorrect bills being sent to clients and receipts of paid bills not being provided. The audit of the IT department was approved in NV GEBE’s audit plan four years in a row: 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020, yet nothing came of it. 
The internal auditor, Sharine Daniel, who is the government appointed CEO and is currently undergoing screening, is presently at the helm of the company as Acting-Temporary Manager. Daniel is replacing Merrill ‘Jimmy’ Temmer who is the appointed COO but is currently on sick leave. Daniel’s acting position contradicts good corporate practices, however, the supervisory board, chaired by Anastacio Baker, approved the decision along with several questionable acts. However, the corporate governance infractions are in part overlooked due to an agreement between Daniel, Temmer and the Minister of VROMI, Egbert Doran, to transfer 20 acres of GEBE’s land which is expected to be used for a housing project due to the implosion of Vineyard Heights land giveaway.
In 2008 NV GEBE purchased 20 acres of land in Hope Estate to build a facility for its warehouses, garage, and distribution services such as the cable yard, water quality control and parking for company vehicles. The land purchase was instrumental for the strategic plan created by the late director William Brooks to ensure the company remains progressive. But following Brooks’ stepping down, the company entered a state of instability due to  multiple shakeups in management. Nevertheless, in 2018 NV GEBE was informed that their garage located on Soualiga Road (“the dump”) had to relocate due to the Trust Fund-led project administered by the National Recovery and Program Bureau. Former Temporary Manager Mauricio Dembrook started the process of relocating as a cost cutting measure but employees were told to stop all work related to the property because “government has plans for it.”
 However, due to the pressure to relocate, NV GEBE had no choice but to commence setting up their facility in Hope Estate despite the Domain Affairs department at VROMI receiving a directive to look for land for the company. Thus far the Minister has been unsuccessful in finding a suitable area of government land to conduct a land swap with the company. Presently NV GEBE’s garage is in a dilapidated facility where workers are exposed daily to the toxicity of the dump. Sources stated that the finance manager expressed frustration with the stalled move of GEBE assets to Hope Estate due to the exorbitant rent the company pays. NV GEBE pays annual rental of over $500,000, yet the expansion of a facility on rented land was considered before making a move to the company’s property in Hope Estate.
Another Family Affair
From the inception of the current supervisory board, the decision to put in place a board of political and personal associates was evident  in the recommendation of the Minister’s cousin as a board member. While the appointment did not continue after coming to light in the media, sources have confirmed that another familial contact, the mother of his last child, received a contract at NV GEBE for her temp agency and executive service enterprise. This is a move that repeals the decision of the former management board which ceased the contracting of temp agency’s because of the high cost for such services. The agreement for the contract was also handled by Clifford Sasso, the Human Resource Manager at the company and the godfather of the Minister’s children. This news caused a stir because an employee, a single mother of two, is being suspended for suspicion of leaking documents. These documents have reportedly been handled by several persons, including Sasso. Many are left wondering if the employee will be fired and then replaced by the temp agency. This highlights an alarming pattern by the current Minister of VROMI considering the questionable distribution of land in Vineyard Heights which was condemned in court and the granting of land to a sibling and another familial contact during the onset of his tenure. 
It is yet to be determined whether the supervisory board and the Council of Ministers is aware of this or have agreed to the decisions which is weakening the morale at the company. It is unclear whether the Integrity Chamber, the Corporate Governance Council and General Audit Chamber will also audit and review the damage to the governance and financial structure of N.V. GEBE. 
Part two will detail Temmer’s approval to contract his and Daniel’s personal lawyer at the company,  the lack of accountability for the hack and other poor standards of management at NV GEBE.

By Ralph Cantave