PM: No truth to talk about pending lay-off at GEBE | THE DAILY HERALD

POND ISLAND–There is absolutely no truth to claims of a World Bank recommendation for the lay-off of some 70 employees from electricity and water company GEBE, Prime Minister Leona Romeo-Marlin said on Wednesday morning.

Romeo-Marlin was asked in the Council of Ministers Press Briefing if government had received any recommendation or advice from the World Bank to cut staff within the government apparatus or at government-owned companies and entities. Her response was: “I can firmly state that we have the report of the World Bank and there is nothing related to lay-offs.”
The World Bank report was shared by the prime minister with the Council of Ministers. She plans to share same with Members of Parliament (MPs) “so that when they are giving information they are giving accurate information to the general public.”
Her reference to MPs giving information related to comments from United St. Maarten Party MPs Frans Richardson and Rolando Brison about lay-offs in a Parliament sitting on August 31. The MPs wanted to know if it was true that the prime minister had signed an agreement with the World Bank for a US $55 million grant for GEBE that would result in the lay-off of 70 employees.
Reacting to the MPs’ statement, the prime minister said: “That statement that was made is absolutely not true.”
Hours after the prime minister’s statement about the lay-off, Richardson issued a press statement calling on government and GEBE “to clarify persistent reports” about pending lay-offs.
Richardson said, “Even if the issue is not specifically stated in the grant document, the language used and messages that were verbalised has raised concerns … I would like to know if the World Bank has raised the issue at any point in time and how such an issue was handled.”
The MP also wants to know about a “reported” NAf. 10 million the World Bank says GEBE owes to Airfin Holding for water usage. He also queried if GEBE has signed off on all requirements laid out to the company by the World Bank and if not, why not.
The World Bank is administering the St. Maarten recovery trust fund financed by the Dutch Government.

Source: The Daily Herald