He’s back: Bloyden chairs supervisory board of Gebe

POSTED: 01/7/14 2:14 AM

St. Maarten – In August 2012, Romeo Pantophlet, then the Minister of Tourism and Economic Affairs, set a series of events in motion that led to the dismissal of most members of the supervisory board of the Harbor Group of Companies. Among the victims were Mike Alexander and Kelvin Bloyden. The two resisted their dismissal, saying at the time that Pantophlet’s initiative was “not in the best interest of the Harbor Group of companies.” But in the end, both Bloyden and Alexander stepped down. Now Bloyden is back as the designated successor of Julius Lambert as the chairman of the supervisory board at utilities company Gebe.

Veronica Jansen-Webster and attorney Zylena Bary were appointed as board members during a shareholders meeting last Friday. The appointments become effective on Wednesday.

The Council of Ministers approved the candidates in a meeting on December 17. According to a press statement from Vromi-Minister Maurice Lake, the Corporate Governance Council also gave the appointments the nod of approval.

The Gebe-board accepted the resignation of Chairman Julius Lambert and those of James Hassell, the representative for Saba, and Ivan Berkel, the representative for Statia. Hassell and Berkel departed because the islands now have their own utilities companies.

Minister Lake called the shareholders meeting a historical moment in the company’s history, the first one “where St. Maarten is one hundred percent in charge of Gebe. The company belongs solely to this country,” Lake said in a statement. “We have gone back to basics to create a brighter future for St. Maarten and we have achieved this within a short period of time. The previous National Alliance government left Gebe up in the air where absolutely nothing was done over a 12-month period. Nothing was achieved for the people during that period of time.”

Lake said he had made it his priority “to have a plan of action made to bring Gebe home to the people of this country. This was achieved early December, a mere five months after I became a minister.”

The minister announced the intention to reduce the fuel clause and to invest in renewable energy sources, in waste-to-energy, switching from heavy fuel to liquefied natural gas (lng) and liquefied petroleum gas (lpg), and investments in water and sewage infrastructure. “I would like to see Gebe starting to invest in our sewage system and infrastructure for the entire Dutch side of the island,” Lake stated.

The appointment of Veronica Jansen-Webster to the board has raised some eyebrows, given her position within Minister Lake’s cabinet. However, Lake presented a solution for this: “To avoid any semblance of conflict of interest, the task carried out within the cabinet by Veronica Jansen-Webster as these pertain to NV Gebe has been shifted to senior policy advisor Joseph Richardson.”



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