Published On: Sat, Jun 29th, 2024

Parliament hesitant about approving Ennia-solution

PHILIPSBURG — It is not at all certain that the parliament will approve the proposal to save Ennia from bankruptcy and thus protecting the interest of its policy holders. Finance Minister Marinka Gumbs presented a detailed overview of the proposal (see related story) but she said at the same time that what is now on the table is not the best solution for St. Maarten.

“If you say that this is not the best solution, then take your time and present a better one,” MP and former Minister of Finance Ardwell Irion said. He noted that Gumbs had sought advice from (also former) Minister of Finance Richard Gibson Sr. and quoted Gibson saying in a radio interview that policy holders had never been at risk. Irion and other MPs like Cloyd Marlin wanted to know in which capacity Gibson had advised the minister. Was it as a former minister, as a former board member of Ennia or as the personal advisor of Hushang Ansari?

MP Fernando Lacroes expressed his doubts: “I start to believe that nobody wants this to happen.” he said.  Lacroes asked why the proposal requires the approval of St. Maarten and whether it is possible to migrate Ennia policy holders to the local general pension fund APS. The MP was clearly not happy with the idea that the government has to pay for the solution: “Ansari is responsible and he needs to pay. Why do we not seek the funds from him?”

MP Christophe Emmanuel flat-out opposed the proposed solution. “It is a bad agreement and it is not good for St. Maarten.”

Emmanuel said that another solution needs to be found, wondering why the government does not go after Ansari.

Several MPs asked questions about the projected 180 million guilders ($100,558,659) sales value of Mullet Bay. “Where does that come from?”

MP and President of Parliament Sarah Wescot-Williams pointed out that the court will appoint an appraiser in September because Ennia and Ansari were unable to agree on a suitable candidate. The court in Curacao will appoint Greg Becker of the Canadian real estate management company Colliers as appraiser. He will have to determine the fair value of Mullet Bay.

Wescot-Williams also asked whether the beach is included in the intended sale of Mullet Bay.

Several MPs had trouble with the fact that the solution for Ennia is linked to the interest percentage St. Maarten will have to pay for its 316 million guilders ($176,536,313) Covid-loans. “The international community says that countries should not push additional loans on small developing countries,” MP and former Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs said.


Related article:
Parliament meeting on approval outline agreement Ennia
Finance Minister Gumbs criticizes Ennia-solution
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