DP: Prioritize the urgent electricity supply to the nation but do not loose sight of the other matters surrounding GEBE | SOUALIGA NEWSDAY

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) - “If you listen to some opposition members, you would think the council of ministers is out of place by supplying its coalition partners with information regarding the very urgent situation of electricity supply in the country”, Democratic Party (DP) Leader Sarah Wescot-Williams stated in a press release on Sunday.

“The difference being that we (DP) support this government, and thus are also responsible for the decisions taken by the government, especially for the critical and urgent matters we are currently facing with our electricity company. If we are called to support or defend any action of government, we must have all information and be able to express our party’s views.”

The Member of Parliament (MP) emphasized, “A stable energy supply is priority number one for the Democratic Party for reasons explained before. However, we are and will remain critically observant of the decisions taken, and we are entitled to question the information provided to the ministers by the company. I can only hope additional answers will be forthcoming on Tuesday during the continuation of the parliamentary meeting on GEBE.”

In this light, the ongoing negotiations are closely monitored and as a coalition partner with a signed coalition agreement, we are entitled to propose solutions and even give our input. However, we need to always observe the roles and responsibilities within a company’ structure and hold the respective players accountable for their role, the DP leader made very clear.

“The Prime Minister has outlined the phases which GEBE and the government are engaged in. As the Democratic Party, we are monitoring these actions closely, solely to ensure that urgency is applied, but also due diligence,” the DP leader added.

We are also actively monitoring and pushing a green energy agenda, even in these crisis times. As I stated before, “we cannot cut loose the alternative energy pathways and that was my reason for requesting an urgent meeting to discuss the TNO report on energy transition in St. Maarten.

The DP leader expressed her concerns with reports that the previous government’s agreement with Gridmarket limits the chances to get the best options for green energy and to allow this government to do so without constraints of the previous government’s MOU with Gridmarket. “I will continue to demand from government insight into this agreement.”

With respect to the Supervisory Board of GEBE and the management, government needs to demand that all players are held accountable for their roles and responsibilities. “We cannot continue to point fingers only. And while government has to tread cautiously as the shareholder of GEBE and not sit on the chair of the supervisory board, and especially not on management’s chair, the government is responsible for the wellbeing of the country and taking adequate action as such is larger than the shareholder’s role in any government company The government just need to be clear when and how they keep these roles separated.

Some persons in the community are calling for heads to roll. The DEMOCRATIC PARTY advises the government to tread cautiously under the circumstances. “Local, regional and international stakeholders are keenly watching. A review of the actions or lack thereof by the company must surely be done, but again cautiously, not to jeopardize any negotiations that will put us at the mercy of any other party. I am very, very concerned about this country’s image in the outside world.”

Rapid decisions regarding the Supervisory board and or management without a plan how to proceed would put us back and that we cannot afford, DP leader MP Wescot added.

On the matter of the longer-term financing needs of GEBE, MP Wescot stated that while these needs are substantial, preparations have to start now.

“We don’t have to touch the approved 2023 CAPEX BUDGET projects. In as far as these projects are ready to be rolled out, they should be. The execution of most of these projects are already lagging behind and the capital budget 2023 needed to be rolled over to 2024.”

“What in my opinion is more doable and sellable, if that turns out to be necessary, is a reservation in the CAPEX Budget 2024. It is necessary that the budget 2024 be substantially amended, thanks to the stubbornness of the former government. The CAPEX 2024 was way too ambitious. Since we lack execution capacity, would not the Public Private Partnership. concept be an ideal alternative, the DP leader questioned rhetorically.

Not because the borrowing room was there, should every thinkable project have been included in the capital budget 2024, MP Wescot concluded.

Source: https://www.soualiganewsday.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=56265:dp-prioritize-the-urgent-electricity-supply-to-the-nation-but-do-not-loose-sight-of-the-other-matters-surrounding-gebe&Itemid=450