Ottley sends letter to CoM demanding transparency on GEBE Power Outages. | SMN NEWS

PHILIPSBURG:— The Honourable Omar E.C. Ottley, Leader of the United People's Party (UPP) and Member of Parliament, is calling for urgent transparency and information from the Council of Ministers and Prime Minister Dr Luc Mercelina regarding the increased power outages at NV GEBE.
Since February 2024, operational difficulties have escalated, leading to severe load shedding. Areas such as Dutch Quarter, Middle Region, Sucker Garden, Guana Bay, Dawn Beach, St. Peters, and Philipsburg are experiencing power outages up to three times daily, sometimes lasting up to three hours. These outages disrupt residents' daily lives, hinder economic activities, and erode trust in public institutions. "While some would want to blame the employees of NV GEBE for the present situation, we have to be better at speaking to the people who do the actual work daily. Ask them their opinion on what the best possible action should be. Some employees have been there since before 2005 when Wartsila commissioned the 1a 16 MW power plant extension to increase power supply to St. Maarten, costing over US$15 million. Ignoring them and their wealth of knowledge in a dictatorlike fashion is not the way to solve the problem for everyone. Let us not forget these GEBE employees and their families are being affected, so they too want a solution and need answers from the Prime Minister," said MP Ottley.
On March 7, 2024, MP Ottley and fellow UPP Parliamentarians Akeem E. Arrindell and Francisco A. Lacroes formally requested an urgent parliamentary meeting to address these escalating outages. To date, Chairlady of Parliament Sarah Wescott-Williams has not convened this critical meeting, which raises the question of whether she is protecting the two-by-four Government of which her Democratic Party is a part and the current Prime Minister, Dr Luc Mercelina, from scrutiny.
MP Ottley sent another letter raising concerns about the situation at NV GEBE on May 30, this time addressed to the Council of Ministers. The Honourable MP Ottley urges immediate transparency and communication regarding the ongoing power crisis. He said, "As the shareholder representatives of NV GEBE, the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers hold ultimate responsibility for resolving this crisis, and it has been five months, yet no clear plan as to how they will address the situation. "The blame game will not put lights on and keep electricity flowing in the people's houses. The Government must be open and honest with the people of St. Maarten about the situation," said MP Ottley. The letter outlined specific questions that need urgent answers. Amongst the questions posed to the CoM are concerns about whether they have identified the specific issues causing the increased power outage. MP Ottley asked, "What immediate measures are being implemented to mitigate these outages? Which plants are being overhauled or repaired? Does NV GEBE have the new engine(s) that have yet to be installed, and why?"
MP Ottley said he is also curious to learn whether the CoM has held an emergency Shareholders Meeting to find a short-term solution for the constant power outages and if they have even considered long-term solutions to "ensure a stable and reliable power supply for the island. He said an important concern is also the need for more communication. In his letter dated May 30, MP Ottley asked "What steps are being taken to improve communication with the public regarding power outages and the measures being taken to address them?"
He said, "The silence from the Council of Ministers and Prime Minister Dr Luc Mercelina over the past five months is unacceptable." While Dr. Mercelina is busy with photo ops of himself removing barricades at the Government Administration Building, he should be the pressing issue regarding NV GEBE's power outages. As Prime Minister, he is responsible for providing clear and actionable information to the public regarding the state of NV GEBE.
The people of St. Maarten deserve transparent and accountable leaders. The two by 4 Coalition Governments, led by Dr Mercelina, must step up and deliver real solutions to this crisis. The current situation is not just an inconvenience; it is a critical issue that impacts every aspect of life on our island.
MP Ottley has also reiterated the urgent need for Chairlady Sarah Wescott-Williams to convene the requested parliamentary meeting to address these concerns and bring much-needed answers to the people of St. Maarten. "The citizens need to know whether their Government can handle this situation and deliver results," said MP Ottley.
He stated that The United People's Party remains steadfast in its commitment to the well-being of all St. Maarteners. We call on the Council of Ministers to act swiftly and transparently, ensuring that the hardships faced by our citizens are alleviated and that a clear path to resolution is communicated.

To read more: