Published On: Wed, Jun 3rd, 2020

Union wants forensic audit at TelEm reinstated

PHILIPSBURG – TelEm’s top managers paid themselves hefty bonuses in December of last year, union-leader Ludson Evers confirmed to StMaartenNews.com. While there was an agreement about a bonus of 50 percent of their salaries, the managers took 100 percent. The supervisory board forced them to pay back the difference.

Evers said he believes that director Dupersoy earns more or less the amount of 27,000 guilders ($15,084) per month, financial director Helma Etnel 25,000 ($13,966) and technical director Eldert Luisa between 22 and 23,000 (around $12,570).

“Etnel and Louisa paid back the difference immediately but Dupersoy claimed he had financial problems,” Evers said. “His wife is unemployed and the family is in financial difficulties. So he made an arrangement to pay back the difference in installments.”

Evers’ organization – the St. Maarten Communication Union (SMCU) wants to see a letter from Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs that contains details about the instruction to TelEm for the pay cuts. The union also wants to have the forensic audit by the government accountant bureau Soab reinstated.

“SMCU wants to know when and where things went wrong financially within TelEm,” Evers said. “The cost-cutting measures TelEm wants to implement now have nothing to do with the COVID-19 crisis, but everything with the company’s financial mismanagement since 2015. TelEm received million in loans and up to this day we cannot see where that money went.”

Evers believes that the Jacobs-government has put the forensic audit on hold at the request of director Dupersoy.

Evers said that the court ruled in March in favor of revoking the license for Cable TV – a loss-making company TelEm reportedly in 2016 bought for its underground network. In February 2019, Prime Minister Leona Romeo-Marlin said in a Central Committee meeting that TelEm paid 4.5 million for Cable TV, without indicating whether this is a guilder or a dollar amount.

The SMCU wants to find out through a forensic audit how much TelEm really paid and how much it cost the company to set up its IPTV-system.

Because the Cable TV license has been revoked, IPTV currently operates without a license, Evers pointed out.

Evers said that his union has met with utilities company GEBE and that this company has already agreed not to cut the salaries of its employees by 12.5 percent. “GEBE has found and will implement other cost-cutting measures without touching the salaries,” Evers said.


Watch the interview with SMCU union leader>>>

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