Minister Lake meets with Gebe shareholders – Assures Gebe jobs are secured

POSTED: 07/8/13 12:28 PM
Minister lake meets with GEBE shareholder reps
Minister Maurice Lake (2nd from left) meeting with Gebe Shareholder Foundation representatives.  Also in the photo are members of the minister’s cabinet. Photo DCOMM

St. Maarten – The Minister of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure (Ministry Vromi), Maurice Lake, met with representatives of the Gebe Shareholders Foundation on Wednesday to get an update on the current status of share transfers to the three islands of Saba, St. Eustatius, and St. Maarten.

“My main concern was job security for the employees of Gebe St. Maarten.  I have been assured that there wouldn’t be any consequences for the Gebe workers as a result of this share transfer.  I also discussed personnel issues as well during our deliberations, and all benefits and rights accumulated over the years remain as they are,” the minister said. “I would call on Gebe management to give a presentation to their employees to bring them up to speed on current developments.  Communication is essential in such a process in order to ensure that everybody has the right information, the factual information rather than hearing things through the grapevine which then creates unnecessary stress for the employees. I will be following this process very closely to make sure things go smoothly and I am confident that this process can be done within the shortest period possible and in a professional manner to the benefit of all parties,” Lake said.

St. Maarten initiated the process to separate Gebe into three companies back in 2011 under former Minister of Vromi, Theo Heyliger. The representative of the government of St. Eustatius has already received instructions to execute the share transfer, while Saba still has to give instructions up to last Wednesday when the minister was appraised about the current state of affairs.

Saba, though, has already ratified the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the transfer while St. Maarten is picking back up the process by sending the request to transfer shares through the proper channels.

“After the United People’s party led government left office in May 2012, the process on the end of the St. Maarten government seemingly but unfortunate came to a standstill, and I am happy now that we can see this process through where St. Maarten becomes the 100 percent owner of its public utility company,” the minister added.

Parliament still has to be informed about the transfer of shares.

“Bringing relief is still on the agenda and I will take up the ball on this effort and look into lowering electricity tariffs for the people and business community of St. Maarten.  Bringing relief is one of the major priorities of this government,” Lake concluded.


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