SDM shares views on Ennia saga and Political Silence.

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PHILIPSBURG:— Over the past years, there have been widely publicized media reports about issues surrounding insurance company Ennia and the companies directly affiliated with it. All mentioned companies are part of the business conglomerate of the well-known billionaire Hushang Ansary.

The “Ennia saga” seems to have started back in 2010. Since then, at least six employees of Ennia expressed their concerns about “risky” intercompany transactions between Ennia Caribe Investments (ECI) and Ennia. In that same year, the Central Bank of Aruba instructed Ennia to take risk-mitigating measures.

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Reportedly, the Dutch Central Bank (DNB) was warned about the situation at Ennia by different players in the financial markets as early as 2011. Despite these warnings, it took until 2015 for DNB to investigate the matter. In the resulting confidential report published in June of that same year, Ennia was qualified as “failed” from a financial and organizational perspective, based on the risks of “…significant and non-transparent mutual financial positions within the group…”.

Since the publication of the DNB report, in which Mr. Ansary was accused of financially “draining” Ennis’s pension funds, a number of subsequent events took place. Some examples are:

• Raids on Ennia offices in Curacao by the Public Prosecutor in relation with the Emsley Tromp investigation;
• Instructions issued by the CBCS to Ennia to take the Mullet Bay property off its books;
• Ennia transferring USD. 100 mln. outside of the company without the approval of the CBCS;
• Mr. Ansary announcing new appointments and a reshuffling of the Board and Management;
• The Supervisory Board and management of Ennia, including Mr. Ansary, being subsequently relieved of their duties;
• The CBCS filing (and winning) court injunctions against Ennia.

Most recently, the developments surrounding Ennia took a worrisome turn for the worse, when reports regarding liens on Mullet Bay (valued at USD. 460 mln.) and nine other properties owned by Ennia-related Sun Resorts were published. Unfortunately, these latest reports should come as no surprise, based on all the events which took place during the past few years.

Since 10-10-10, all political parties and successive Governments have made statements and promises about Mullet Bay and its importance to the economic development of Sint Maarten. What is very surprising to the St. Maarten Development Movement though, as well as a reason for grave concern, is that despite the widely publicized problems at Ennia, neither the Government of Sint Maarten, nor any of the political parties represented in Parliament have issued a formal response to any of the developments regarding the “Ennia saga” as yet. Why the deafening silence from the political establishment on Sint Maarten on a matter of this importance? This unexpected silence is surprising to the St. Maarten Development Movement for two reasons.

First of all, Ennia is the largest insurance company in the Dutch Caribbean, serving clients and/or having investments on all six islands including Sint Maarten. This means that the people of Sint Maarten will be directly or indirectly affected by the consequences of financial problems at Ennia and its related companies. Insurance premiums, pension premiums, and pension payments to Ennia policy holders could be in serious jeopardy. This would be an additional blow to all segments of the population, in addition to the material and financial losses caused by hurricane Irma. Particularly those who are largely dependent on pension benefits to sustain themselves would see their livelihood drop dramatically.

Secondly, Mullet Bay was once the proud and prosperous flag ship of the hotel industry, and the main economic pillar of the economy of Sint Maarten. Yet despite all the political rhetoric from parties represented in Parliament since 10-10-10 that the re-opening of Mullet Bay is crucial for the sustainable development of Sint Maarten as a country, no information on the recently reported liens placed on the property has been forthcoming to the general public from the Government or opposition parties.
The CBCS, in its capacity as regulator is charged with safeguarding the interest of the general public and those entitled to insurance and pension benefits from Ennia. As such, the CBCS has enacted emergency regulations.

However, it would behoove both the Government, who appoints the Supervisory Board of the CBCS, and the opposition parties to inform the general public what their position is on the developments surrounding Ennia and Mullet Bay, and how they intend to protect the interest of the people of Sint Maarten in the short-, medium-, and long term. Even the Dutch Parliament questioned former Minister Dijsselbloem on this matter back in June of 2016.
On behalf of the people of Sint Maarten, the St. Maarten Development Movement
is therefore urging the political parties represented in Parliament, and the Government in particular, to address the general public of Sint Maarten on the Ennia/Mullet Bay issue and provide much needed information.

Hard questions need to be asked and answered by the Government. How will the livelihoods of the pensioners, their families, and other vulnerable segments of society be protected and guaranteed now and, in the future, and by whom? What will the effects be if those who are entitled to benefits from Ennia are forced to switch to another company? How will the Government prevent situations like the “Ennia saga” from happening in the future? How will Mullet Bay and other valuable assets belonging to the people of Sint Maarten be protected as part of the country’s national patrimony.

The people have the right to know, and the St. Maarten Development Movement looks forward to a swift response from the Government to these and other questions.

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Source: St. Martin News Network http://www.smn-news.com/st-maarten-st-martin-news/29663-sdm-shares-views-on-ennia-saga-and-political-silence.html

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