MP Maurice Lake: vital role for Gebe in renewable energyPOSTED: 12/16/15 5:31 PM
St. Maarten – Independent Member of Parliament Maurice Lake says he foresees GEBE playing a vital role in renewable energy in St. Maarten. “Based on the coalition of eight’s governing program, we will continue where the steering committee within government left off with the waste-to-energy plant discussions and review the latest draft agreement,” he said in a press statement.
Government is continuous and the previous Government should never have attempted changing plans that were in the best interest of the people, Lake noted. “Based on the shareholder’s meeting that took place yesterday, Gebe Management and supervisory board will inform the Council of Ministers about its current state of affairs. The Minister of Vromi, who is shareholder representative of GEBE, needs to put as an agenda point the historical and current status of renewable energy. We need to work towards the future by starting investments into renewable energy and alternative sources of energy through LPG/ LNG, also by promoting solar energy to the community in addition to having the necessary policies in place.”
Those who have invested in solar energy production in our community should be commended for taking the initiative on their own, Lake added. “All stakeholders, Gebe and government, need to put in place what is necessary for local solar energy producers to receive back what they contribute on a daily basis based on their solar energy investment and contribution to the electricity grid. Gebe needs to adjust its meters to accommodate solar energy to residential homes. We need to promote more private public partnerships in our community related to small and large scale solar energy productions.”
Lake also wants better incentives, a recycling awareness campaign and make the old Gebe generator at the Cape Bay power plant more environmentally friendly to limit its impact on the Cape Bay community.
“The time for planning during the past 11-months is over from since I was the former Minister. It is high time for the Gebe board and management and the investment committee to start executing their investment plan by reducing the cost of living for the people of St. Maarten. St. Maarten should be the front runner ahead of Aruba and Curacao when it comes to renewable energy, and now St. Maarten must pick up the pace related to small and large scale solar energy policies,” Lake stated.
The MP also pushed for finalizing the water tanks projects, especially in Weymouth Hill, Guava berry Hill in the St. Peters/Marigot hill area and Cole Bay.
“Purchasing of transformer house land to build more transformer houses in strategic areas, and a branch office in the St. Johns area for the residents of the Cul de Sac basin, should be high priority and quick wins,” Lake stated. “We need to continue to provide and upgrade services for the seniors by changing their lights to LED. This needs to be turned into a pilot project for senior citizens. Gebe needs to inform government about how many registered senior citizens we have on the island and update their addresses to make this pilot project a success.”
Lake wants to see SZV assist the senior citizens with supplement vitamins and executing their preventative maintenance plan to start educating the public about starting a personal retirement plan.
“Upgrading of street lights in the districts will make the community much safer. That is a necessity, especially in the Fort Willem area. We need branch offices to better serve the residents in strategic locations in the Cul de Sac basin in St. Johns and Belvedere.”
Gebe also has to start providing fiber optic cables to residential homes, Lake stated. “This will provide work for small contractors and a technological advancement for Gebe. It is also important to trim the branches from Gebe lines as a safety measure particularly during the hurricane season. These and other required work will create much needed employment for the people.
“Gebe needs to restructure the company to take St. Maarten into the next century. The planned waste-to-energy facility is recognized as being urgent leading to the effective need of tackling the island’s growing garbage problem.
“I had achieved the 100% buy back of Gebe shares, signed the street light management agreement to fix street lights, energy policy, and the seniors relief program. I find it a good idea of Prime Minister William Marlin to make it permanent for the seniors but it is high time we pragmatically improve on all in order to better serve the community,” Lake concluded.