Published On: Wed, Feb 6th, 2019

MP Richardson suggests new company for renewable energy

Parliament meeting on GEBE with MP Frans Richardson - 5 Feb 2019

PHILIPSBURG – United St. Maarten party MP Frans Richardson suggested that during a central committee meeting on Tuesday that GEBE establish a new company for the production of renewable energy and give the people of St. Maarten the opportunity to participate in it. “People would love to get a return on investment in their own country,” the MP said.

Richardson also asked what the possibilities are for local banks to finance Gebe’s needs. He furthermore addressed the issue of renewable energy. “How far is Gebe with its plan for that 4 Megawatt solar park? It is time for Gebe to look at alternative energy. Currently it is a free for a all to put up solar panels because there is no regulation.”

Richardson used the opportunity to criticize the World Bank. “We have to save ourselves from the World Bank,” he said. “Their intention is to bring us to our knees and to turn us into beggars.”

National Alliance MP William Marlin suggested that Gebe look at the installation of solar panels submerged in the Great Salt Pond. “The technology is there,” he said. (Studies about submerged photovoltaic cells date back to 2009 – ed.).

Marlin asked whether it is correct that Gebe hired a former minister and/or member of parliament as a consultant for around $13,000 a month. “Is this true? And was it necessary? What was he hired for that they cannot do themselves?”

Several MPs asked about the “alarming financials” at Gebe and wondered how long the company will remain viable and able to pay its staff without external financial assistance.

Parliament meeting on GEBE with MP Luc Mercelina - 5 Feb 2019National Alliance faction leader Silveria Jacobs asked whether Gebe is possibly overstaffed and Luc Mercelina (United Democrats) asked whether Gebe is already looking at the conditions the World Bank will require in case assistance comes from the trust fund. “Or are you already exploring alternatives in the international financial markets?”

“I am concerned that Gebe will be unable to sustain the payment of its personnel and its creditors,” Claude Peterson (Christian Party) said. “How many more months can Gebe hold out are the discussions with the World Bank?” Peterson also asked whether there are plans to increase tariffs. MP Sarah Wescot-Williams later posed the same question. She also asked about possible measures that will affect Gebe’s personnel and about the financial projections for 2019.

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