Published On: Fri, Dec 2nd, 2016


The situation at the Cadastre is screaming for a solution, as is the one at TelEm that has been rudderless without a CEO for more than seven years now.

Both the company and the land registry office are important to the island. Apparently there is a lack of willpower or decision making acumen that brings these situations to a complete standstill. Any private sector company would have gone belly up a long time ago under such aggravating circumstances.

At the Cadastre, we remember the solo action of Member of Parliament Christophe Emmanuel to have someone appointed to the director’s post that does not have the formal qualifications for the job. An understandable display of sympathy for the local guy (or girl in this case), but a disaster for the operations of an agency as sensitive as the Cadastre.

While everybody knows this, nobody is doing anything. Okay, that’s not entirely true. The newly installed board members are in the process of putting an interim director in place but this process seems to be taking way longer than necessary. Is there then, maybe (we’re guessing here) again some political undue pressure behind the scenes that prevents this process from moving forward? Is it maybe the intention to parachute the (almost ex) Vromi-Minister Angel Meyers into this position? Who knows?

At TelEm frustrations are running deep, because the current management team, in spite of its best efforts, has no decision making power when it comes to the functioning of one of their fellow-directors. The Chief Financial Officer has no authority over the Chief Commercial Officer or the Chief Technical Officer – and vice versa. In other words, whatever these people do, there is no one on board to keep ‘em on the straight and narrow.

We’re not saying that the current directors are doing anything wrong, but the St. Maarten Communications Union SMCU is. Right or wrong? We have no idea, but the grumbling seems to intensify and that is never good for any organization.

It’s like keeping kids in line during a sport contest: when there are clear rules that are consistently followed by the referee, no one has reason to complain. But when the ref favors one kid over the other with unfair decisions all hell breaks loose. So when consistency goes out the door you can wait for dissent and dissatisfaction to rear their ugly and counterproductive heads.

All this because the top dog – interim director Pieter Drenth – left the company at the end of September 2009 (with the message that he could run the company actually with less than one hundred employees) but he was never replaced.

All this makes clear that there is a good reason why governments are not in the private sector. They would not survive a year in an environment where decisions have to be taken on the double and where failure to do so results in brutal consequences. In the public sector, the tax payer sighs once more and pays his dues.