Published On: Sat, Jul 4th, 2020

TelEm-director sends confusing proposal to Prime Minister Jacobs

Telem Main Office building - Pond Island

PHILIPSBURG – In a rather confusing letter to Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs, TelEm director Kendall Dupersoy seemingly proposes a 30 percent increase of the maximum income for managers of all government-owned companies. The kingdom’s condition for receiving further liquidity support is a lowering of these salaries by 12.5 percent.

Dupersoy refers in his letter to a ministerial decree issued by Curacao’s Minister of Finance Kenneth Gijbertha on May 20. This decree sets the maximum annual income at government-owned entities at 290,000 guilders (roughly $162,000 – or $13,500 per month). This income includes vacation allowances, Christmas and performance bonuses, other allowances, and any other form of remuneration in money or in kind.

Government-owned companies that are not subsidized or financed for more than 50 percent by the government with a turnover below 100 million guilders are under this decree entitled to an additional 10 percent – putting the maximum for their managers at 39,000 guilders (roughly $178,000 or $14,850 per month).

“If the Curacao ministerial decree was acceptable in relation to Curacao’s government owned companies, it should be acceptable for those in St. Maarten,” Dupersoy wrote in his letter to Jacobs.

It remains unclear whether the TelEm-director implies here that the maximum remuneration for managers of government-owned companies in St. Maarten should also be set at 290,000 guilders.

Union-leader Ludson Evers recently stated in an interview with StMaartenNews.com that Dupersoy’s monthly salary is 27,000 guilders ($15,084) and applying the Curacao-standard would represent a 10.5 percent decrease.

The adjusted maximum monthly salary for Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs (after the 25 percent cut demanded by the kingdom) would be 15,971 guilders or $8,922. Top officials at government-owned companies are allowed a maximum of 130 percent of this amount: 20,762 guilders or $11,599.

In that scenario, Dupersoy would have to give up 23.1 percent of his salary (assuming that Evers’ statement about his current salary is correct).

Looking at all these numbers it remains a mystery how Dupersoy arrives at a 30 percent increase of the maximum income for managers at government-owned companies.

In his letter, Dupersoy says that TelEm’s balance sheet totals 160 million guilders ($89.3 million), that gross annual revenue is 67 million ($37.4 million) and that the company employs 135 people.

The director sets his company apart from other government-owned entities: “TelEm Group operates without exclusivity in the highly competitive telecommunications market. The holding is the only government-owned company with an independent supervisory board.”

These circumstances underscore the need for TelEm “to attract qualified and experienced persons as part of its management team.” That is still understandable, but then the letter continues with this statement: “The civil and corporate risks and liabilities of such management, including the risks and costs of being subjected to civil inquiries and court cases, are higher compared to management of other government-owned companies.”

Dupersoy suggests the development of a guidance document that applies to all government-owned companies and that regulates how salaries at these entities will be capped. After mentioning the 30 percent increase of maximum income, Dupersoy states that this would “result in an upper ceiling for the management of the TelEm Group of 1.3 x 1.3 x the standard for the Prime Minister.

Kendall Dupersoy - CantoBut wait: 1.3 times 1.3 is 1.69 and the prime minister’s decreased salary will be $8,922. Multiplied by 1.69 this would return a maximum salary of $15,078 – ta da! Just six bucks beneath the salary Dupersoy currently gets according to union leader Ludson Evers.

No wonder Dupersoy states in his letter: “TelEm Group would gladly assist government with the drafting of such a guidance document.”

The letter furthermore notes that directors who do not agree with “voluntary adaptations” to their salaries will have to go through the appropriate termination process. “This could entail financial consequences for the TelEm Group. For now, the CEO is confident that if the maximization is implemented and formalized appropriately, such situations can be avoided, in the best interest of the TelEm Group and the community it serves.”

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Related links:
TelEm CEO Kendall Dupersoy letter to PM Silveria Jacobs
Union wants forensic audit at TelEm reinstated