MARIGOT–Introduction of new key management appointments and possible creation of a separate SEMSAMAR in Guadeloupe continue to fuel speculation on the evolvement of the mixed-capital company since the radical shake-up of its management structure in December and dismissal of Director General Marie-Paule Bélénus Romana, replaced now by CEO Yawo Nyuiadzi.
Quoting information provided by a well-placed source in Guadeloupe, President of opposition party Movement for Justice and Prosperity (MJP) Louis Mussington said he was concerned St. Martin will be losing full control of SEMSAMAR to the alleged manoeuvring by the French State, describing the developments as a form of “dismantling.”
“When the question was posed to both President Gibbs and Yawo Nyuiadzi on whether the Director General would be removed, they both confirmed that it was not on the agenda, but a month or so later she was removed in a very disrespectful way,” said Mussington who still believes a deal was made between Gibbs and President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron. “That was a lie to the people.
“She was officially dismissed on December 18 and two days after that there was a meeting in Guadeloupe between the CEO of CDC Habitat (13-per-cent shareholder and main financier of SEMSAMAR projects) Nyuiadzi and Préfet Philippe Gustin. From that I can confirm a meeting will be held in St. Martin on January 24 or 25 with CEO of CDC Habitat Nyuiadzi and Gibbs to discuss a plan of action to implement.
“What I know is that they are going to change from having one Director General in charge of everything in St. Martin, Guadeloupe, Martinique, French Guiana (i.e. Bélénus Romana) to having three General Managers, one for St. Martin, one for Guadeloupe, and one for French Guiana.
“But on the latter, that’s not certain for French Guiana because it was promised to them that they would become a shareholder, but they have not seen any move towards that. French Guiana is a major player for SEMSAMAR, contributing 30 per cent of the company’s annual turnover in projects.”
Mussington stated the Region of Guadeloupe, a 14-per-cent shareholder, was not happy with the decisions made about SEMSAMAR and is considering creating a new SEMSAMAR structure for Guadeloupe and Martinique.
“If that happens, it will seriously weaken SEMSAMAR’s position in St. Martin. We’ll have to wait and see. I also know that Yawo will have a Deputy Director and a Special Adviser, a former Sous-Préfet from Guadeloupe, to work closely with him.
“The harmony or coherence of the operations as they were before will be lost. Based on the performance and profits of the company, dividends were always distributed to the Collectivité as the majority shareholder. But CDC Habitat is only interested in developing housing programmes and not interested in distributing dividends, Mussington claimed.
“So, we are going to lose big time. CDC wants to take over the whole operation of the company. As the primary financial institution and money lender, it wants everything under one umbrella. And the three new General Managers, most likely on high salaries, will be coming from CDC.”
CDC Habitat, a real estate subsidiary of Caisse des Dépôts, is France’s leading landlord, managing 495,000 housing units, the majority of which are social housing units. It is a major player in housing policy in France with nearly one million people housed.
Mussington added that because President Macron insisted on modifications to SEMSAMAR, Gibbs rushed into it, claiming he wanted the Collectivité to have full control of the company.
“But he (Gibbs) already had that. We still have seven of the 13 seats. But he didn’t put his foot down on laying out a road map of priorities with Bélénus Romana for St. Martin. So, I can’t look forward to strong economic development for this country when our leader’s hands are tied to submit to the will of the French Government.”
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/84454-managerial-appointments-at-semsamar-imminent