Published On: Thu, Jan 6th, 2022

PFP demands explanations about “political games” with GEBE

PHILIPSBURG — Party for Progress Members of Parliament Melissa Gumbs and Raeyhon Peterson have expressed their concerns about developments at utilities company GEBE in a series of questions to prime Minister Silveria Jacobs and VROMI-Minister Egbert Doran. The questions revolve around the dismissal of interim director Mauricio Dembrook and the appointment of Sharine Daniel as his successor.

“Sint Maarten has been plagued by a culture where CEOs of crucial government-owned companies are being used as tools for personal and political gain. When trying to appoint a person to lead our only utility company – the company responsible for the basic necessities of every household – you would hope that politics would not play a part in it, but in Sint Maarten it’s the opposite,” the parliamentarians state in a press release.

The PFP refers in its release to several media reports that contain information about Dembrook’s dismissal and about the court case against Daniel.  Further down, it notes that “some media outlets” have become part of “the obvious games” with biased ‘news’ articles. This is a reference to Bibi Shaw’s blog smnnews.com.

The MPs want to know why Dembrook was fired after he expressed his concerns about the potential appointment of Daniel. “Has the supervisory board investigated these concerns, or simply dismissed them and got rid of Mr. Dembrook as retribution for speaking out?”

Gumbs and Peterson hope that the supervisory board has not been acting “out of political favoritism and vengeance.” They point out that corporate governance means investigating the kind of serious claims made in Dembrook’s letter. They note that the government “does not seem to care about” the need for having legal and financial minds on the supervisory board, “given the competencies of recent appointees.” The parliamentarians concede that these people are professionals in their own field, “but they are not legal and financial experts.”

Another issue is the reported reason for Dembrook’s dismissal: his decision to appeal the court ruling against Daniel. “It is unclear why the supervisory board would not want to appeal the verdict, especially considering that whether to appeal a court case involving GEBE is the prerogative of the CEO, interim or not.”

MP Peterson furthermore refers to the ruling where the court states that the working environment at GEBE is toxic. “If the content of Mr. Dembrook’s letter to the supervisory board is true, then the appointment of the new CEO is not in GEBE’s best interest, as in would only perpetuate the toxicity.”

The press release speaks of “political games” and the MPs wonder “if we are ever going to take the positions of board members and CEOs seriously, especially those whose appointment is (partially) decided at the discretion of our Council of Ministers.”


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