SHTA commends Meyers and Heyliger for movement at GebePOSTED: 04/16/12 1:19 PM
GREAT BAY – The St. Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association (SHTA) commends Minister of Energy Affairs Theo Heyliger and Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transportation and Telecommunications Franklin Meyers for their efforts and success with Gebe and changes to the tariff structure. The praise follows Wednesday’s announcement that government has instructed Gebe to reduce its electricity rates by four cents across the board as of May 1. The instruction was delivered during a meeting last Tuesday.
“Most businesses and residents have identified high energy costs as one of the most common obstacles in our developing economy. The announcement that a new tariff structure, reflecting a 4 cent (13.8%) reduction in utility rates, would be put in place by May 1 is great news for the community. Recent surveys indicate that high energy costs have contributed heavily to inflation in St. Maarten. The SHTA believes that this reduction will make a valuable contribution to helping to bring down the cost of doing business and cost of living,” a release states.
The association believes the share transfer agreement Heyliger signed with Commissioner Koos Sneek of St. Eustatius and Christopher Johnson of Saba “is a tremendous advantage for country St. Maarten.” By the end of an eighteen month transition the government will hold 100 percent of the shares of the utility and Heyliger has already announced an expanded mandate for the company.
“The fact that this gives St. Maarten the possibility to delve into alternate energy, sewage and garbage initiatives has the potential to give St. Maarten a competitive advantage. The SHTA believes that the creation of policies which encourage the sustainable development of alternate energy are critical to the St. Maarten’s ability to maintain a vibrant and competitive economy. Hopefully these policies would include making investments into alternate energy tax deductible, and allowing for excess energy to be fed back into the Gebe grid,” the release states.