Gibbs clarifies current issues after spreading of ‘inaccurate information’ | THE DAILY HERALD

MARIGOT–President Daniel Gibbs met with French-side media over the weekend seeking to bring clarity to certain topics in the news and to state his position as President over what he said was “conveying of inaccurate information.”

The first topic was the accounting chamber report from Chambre Territorial des Comptes (CTC) on the functioning of the Collectivité in the period 2007-2016.

“Concerning the CTC report, even though this report concerns years prior to my mandate, I and my team have noted its recommendations and I have decided to follow certain CTC recommendations,” he stated. “The work has begun and we are working hard on it, because it is about saving for the future, about getting the Collectivité back on its feet once and for all, in the difficult context that we have assumed.

“Putting the Collectivité back on track is also a commitment enshrined in the protocol signed with the State last November 2017. We have to present a savings plan on how the Collectivité will operate before the end of October as part of this protocol. As you can see, the two aspects are linked and we are more than ever at work to meet these requirements.
“Sometimes the measures will be unpopular, but they are necessary and I am prepared to sacrifice my mandate to improve the functioning of our institution and at the same time its image. This mandate will focus primarily on the structural rehabilitation of the Collectivité, reconstruction and revitalisation of the territory. We are therefore focusing on the essential, on our fellow citizens’ primary expectations.”

Baie Rouge Beach
On the fallout from the Baie Rouge eviction affair, he stated: “The general issue of private beaches is legal and must be addressed at the source. There are two ways of doing this. I have chosen to deal with the issue in depth, because we are agreed that beaches of this territory must be accessible to all.

“On the problem of the Lowlands in particular, I met both parties. Each was able to explain to me his point of view and his difficulties. I am listening, but everyone knows that the Collectivité cannot intervene in a court decision. As far as access to the beach is concerned, we made sure with the Préfète that the parking lot was reopened. That is done and everyone can enjoy the beach.

“As for beach management in general, I am working with Préfète Sylvie Feucher to find sustainable solutions and I can tell you solutions exist to ensure that all beaches – public or private – are promoted and accessible to the public. At the same time, I am also committed to ensuring that public order and current regulations in force are respected on our beaches. I am speaking in terms of occupation of the public domain.

“As President, I want to send a message: this is not a time for division, but for unity. My role as president is to maintain calm and social peace. Believe me, St. Martin doesn’t need division. And I condemn any political manoeuvring that exacerbates tensions unnecessarily and obscures the real debate. Let us ask the real questions, what is best for St. Martin?
“We are rebuilding our territory, we know that a new society will emerge from reconstruction. What is at stake today? The answer is to give St. Martin all the tools possible so that its tourism can shine, because we must never forget tourism is our first economic resource.”

“A reorganisation is coming,” Gibbs declared. “We are indeed considering a new distribution of the elected members of the board because the stakes are no longer the same as when we arrived in April 2017. The annual budget of the CTOS [Caisse Territorial des Oeuvres Scolaires – Ed.] is 12 million euros, financed up to 9.5 million euros by the Collectivité, which is excessively heavy.

“The extracurricular activities cost more than two million euros per year. You can see how expensive it is. It is impossible today to recruit employees because it does not have the financial capacity to do so.

“Solutions for a more efficient use of CTOS are under study. For example, a savings plan for a drastic reduction in expenditure, including a freeze on recruitment, and privatisation. This is what we have been advocating since our arrival.
“Privatisation is an option that could be considered. On this point, nothing can be done without the discussion and support of employees and trade unions. I am a man of dialogue and I call for this dialogue, which has begun well, to be able to continue and to be concluded quickly.

“On the controversy I hear about the recruitment of a Chargée de Mission for Human Resources, again, this is a misunderstanding. At the time of the call for applications for the recruitment of the new Human Resources Director (HRD) launched by the Collectivité in April 2017 to replace the retiring Vernon Roper, we had received the application of a person having real experience in human resources (more than 10 years of experience).

“We finally chose a Saint-Martiner for this position, thanks to the internal promotion. But we have also decided to validate the application of this person from Guadeloupe so that she can ensure precise human resource missions (monitoring of recruitment, evaluation, ratings, career monitoring, drafting of administrative acts, operation of staff representative bodies and especially the follow-up of the various memoranda of understanding in progress).

“She was scheduled to take up her duties in the Collectivité in September 2017, but [Hurricane – Ed.] Irma delayed the process. She finally started her mission in August 2018. So that there is no misunderstanding, I would point out that this person’s husband is employed at the SDIS in St. Martin for a fixed period and that he also has a fixed-term contract. So, there are no trips planned in Guadeloupe as I have heard, nor is there any willingness on the part of the Collectivité to recruit this person on permanent contract.
“The CTC report called for strengthening of human resources service not only in the Collectivité but also in satellite organisations. This is precisely the reason why we have chosen to pool our resources and add to the tasks of this new recruit to monitor recruitment within the CTOS.

“The objective today is to favour re-deployment of staff rather than new recruitment, for obvious financial reasons, all the more so as local authority staff must be redeployed because they do not have a post since Irma (Médiathèque – Ecole Nina Duverly – Ecole Emile Larmonie). This work will be done in consultation with the interested parties and the union delegates.

“I would like to make a final clarification concerning the publication of the post of HRD of CTOS, published on August 18, 2017, at the same time as that of the post of CTOS Director, which was due to open on October 1, 2017.

“On that date, the CTOS had filled the post of CTOS Director with Kenroy Bryan, still in place today and who gives us complete satisfaction, but it had decided not to fill the post of the HRD for financial reasons. The application filed for the position of HRD by Ms. Paines was received after the publication deadline. However, I understand the cry from the heart of this young woman’s parents, but it would be contradictory to decide to freeze recruitment and, at the same time, to recruit a manager from the CTOS budget when the organisation cannot afford it. That is why this position was never filled.”

Source: The Daily Herald