MARIGOT–The Collectivité of St. Martin and Veolia signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) Tuesday, to terminate the current water and waste water services contracts. The company has long signalled its intention to pull out of the French Antilles.
The Territorial Council approved the MOU concerning the concession contracts for the water production service and the delegation of public drinking water and sanitation services on the territory of St. Martin.
The agreement provides for early and amicable termination between, on the one hand, the Collectivité et L’Établissement des Eaux et de l’Assainissement de Saint-Martin (EEASM) and, on the other hand, Société Générale des Eaux Guadeloupe and Union Caraïbe de Dessalement d’Eau de Mer (UCDEM) both Veolia subsidiaries.
From November 30, 2018, Société Générale des Eaux Guadeloupe (GDEG) and the Union Caraïbe de Dessalement d’Eau de Mer (UCDEM) will no longer be responsible for the production and distribution of drinking water and sanitation in St. Martin.
According to the Collectivité, negotiation of this protocol was marked by a spirit of constructive dialogue made possible by years of collaboration and eased by the hardships experienced following Hurricane Irma.
“In this regard, the Collectivité would like to pay tribute to the resources implemented by the Générale des Eaux Guadeloupe (GDEG) and the Union Caraïbe de Dessalement d’Eau de Mer (UCDEM) to restore the service after the serious damage caused by the hurricane,” the release stated.
“This agreement aims to prepare the future in the particular context of reconstruction. Specifically, it gives the Collectivité the possibility of choosing a single operator for water production, distribution and sanitation, guaranteeing efficiency and control of the service as a whole.
“From an economic point of view, it allows the Collectivité to face the future calmly in the sense that this exit agreement does not deteriorate the financial situation of the Collectivité and EEASM. Finally, this agreement guarantees that all local employees will be transferred to the future operator chosen following a competitive bidding procedure.”
Gibbs confirmed the objective is to have one company to produce and distribute potable water and to manage drainage.
President of EEASM Dominique Riboud praised the negotiations taken in the interests of both parties “with the sole objective to lower the price of water for consumers in St. Martin.”