Postal Services St. Maarten allowed New Post Netherlands Antilles to take assetsPOSTED: 01/5/12 12:39 PM
“Everything was taken out with our consent”
St. Maarten – Chairman of the Board of Postal Services St. Maarten Hubert Pantophlet has announced that New Post Netherlands Antilles was allowed to take all the vehicles and some of the computers from the post office in Philipsburg as part of an asset claim by the latter company. The move marks the end of a three month transition period that ended on December 31, 2011.
“It was understood that thing we don’t want will be removed. Everything was taken out with our consent. We weren’t all that happy about it but by next week we should be able to buy our own vehicles and equipment using a loan from the Central Bank of Curacao and St. Maarten,” Pantophlet said.
The loan he speaks of was negotiated between December 19 and December 22 at the central bank’s headquarters in Curacao. Those discussions also included a refining of Postal Services St. Maarten’s business plan. The delegation went to the meeting with a plan that showed six years of debt, but assistance from the bank’s staffers have shifted the plan so the post office will be in the red for one year and then break even for the five years after that.
Pantophlet also explained that the board could not agree to accept a bill of 350, 000 guilders for the assets held by New Post Netherlands Antilles because it would result on them collecting a pittance when the final liquidation is done. They’ve advised the prime minister that the Government of St. Maarten should quickly come to a value of its 25 percent share in New Post Netherlands Antilles, sell that and then use the money as an investment in Postal Services St. Maarten.
In order to ensure service continues the board wants to rent eight cars that postal workers will use to deliver mail. The post office typically operates with a fleet of 15 vehicles and the shortfall could mean that staffers will have to deliver mail on Saturdays. The board is still assessing options on this particular point, so no firm announcement was made.
Pantophlet is inspired, in this difficult time, by the fact that the “camaraderie remains strong among the staff.” He’s also promised that as things move forward the board will ensure that employees are involved in the post office’s buildup.
“It’s new for us and we have to develop this especially since we were not given fair access to certain information. We’re building up gradually and we have to generate new business. I believe the staff should have input because they’ve also been coming with ideas and I see how they are investing themselves in trying to make this work and to get new business,” Pantophlet said.
The discussion on assets comes at a time where the board has also suspended the Managing Director of Postal Services St. Maarten Denicio Richardson. Pantophlet did not want to say much on the matter because of Richardson’s decision to retain an attorney but he did indicate that the board was displeased that Richardson had not even completed the recruitment of other necessary top managers even though the board attempted to “meet him halfway and made suggestions.”
Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams, who is shareholder representative for Postal Services St. Maarten and for New Post Netherlands Antilles, is aware of the suspension and she is allowing the matter “to take its course.”
In terms of the relationship between Postal Services St. Maarten and New Post Netherlands Antilles the prime minister expects that the financial relationship between the two companies will be terminated this month. New Post Netherlands Antilles has been subsidizing revenue shortfalls at the post office for the past three months – October, November and December – and Postal Services St. Maarten now has six months to pay back the money.
“We are still of the opinion that, as per the agreement, PSS should take the complete management of the postal services as per January 1, 2012. I am not aware, even if there were such, of any discussions about extension. What I do know is that during this month for sure that you have the finalization of the financial relationship for the period of time that NPNA was basically in charge of PSS activities and that was basically for the period of October through the 31st of December, 2011,” Wescot-Williams said.
The prime minister also expressed confidence that despite the renewed turmoil around the postal service that the board will ensure that service will continue. She also confirmed that she has had informal discussions with several members of parliament on top of the formal discussion in parliament on Postal Services St. Maarten.
The prime minister’s confidence in Postal Services St. Maarten is bolstered by the fact that the company is pursuing other means, beyond postal services, to generate revenue. These activities are based on the recently finalized business plan which has exact information on the cost and revenue associated with the postal service, but the prime minister was not ready to be specific.
“In terms of giving some more concrete examples of some of the ventures I would really want to leave this until the board is ready to make those types of announcements and possible agreements. So rather than throwing out little things from the plan, I think, I would suggest to PSS that when they believe the time is right, and right for such, to share these plans because I think there are some interesting prospects,” Wescot-Williams said.