Reader’s Letter: A housewife’s views on GEBE

POSTED: 08/18/11 3:13 PM

Dear Editor,

To those who know me as a housewife and stay-at-home mom it will come somewhat as a surprise to see me respond to recent articles that have been printed in the dailies. Besides being a wife, Mom, and avid reader of the dailies, I am also a law-abiding Dutch citizen, a born St. Maartener, a tax-payer, and in this particular instance a GEBE customer.
I have decided to step out of my comfort zone and throw myself into the fray. It is rather amazing to see how all the stakeholders have rolled over and are playing dead. In trying to analyze the situation I delved further into certain matters, reread articles concerning GEBE and unearthed some unexpected things that brought me to the following conclusions:
Stakeholder 1: GEBE Customer; As a GEBE customer who religiously pays her bills I expect to have a reliable supply of electricity and water. I never overly concerned myself with the manner in which this was to be achieved by the utility company as long as I had my supply of electricity and water.
Stakeholder 2: Management & employees; Managements have come and gone. In some instances this took place with much hullabaloo. The employees were not always happy because at times it seemed that politics was heavily involved with the decisions that were made. But this did not bother me as long as I had my supply of electricity and water. Lately I have had to rethink this. “Outages” usually seem to go hand-in-hand with the discontent of the employees. Are there no female managers in GEBE who can take over the reins? Perhaps she can eliminate the outages.
Stakeholder 3; The Supervisory Board; It seemed that this group always consisted of mostly elderly men who were supposed to keep a “watchful eye” on management. At times I was only curious about the fact that the majority of Supervisory Boards was made up of men. Are there really no local female professionals available to fulfill that role? Again, this did not bother me that much, as long as I had my supply of electricity and water. This way of thinking has changed.
From what I have gathered from the newspaper articles it looks like the Supervisory Board has ousted the Managing Director after a somewhat lengthy battle, and it now appears that the chairman who was the previous Managing Director wants to sit in both chairs. So this means that a young professional St. Maartener is thrown out to bring back a “has-been”? Is this all part of a bigger “scheme”? Was the Managing Director standing in the way of someone’s plans for the company? Why did we have outages yesterday and today? Are the employees discontented with these latest developments?
Stakeholder 4; The Shareholder; There seems to be a deafening silence where it concerns the Shareholder. How did we get to this stage? Why has the Shareholder been so silent on this front? I did not worry too much about this as long as I had my supply of electricity and water. I didn’t even know who this body was comprised of. But lately, after reading all these articles and doing my research, I am concerned whether I will continue to have my supply of electricity and water. After some “investigative work” I found out that this board is again made up of only men. Again the majority are elderly! Nothing against the elderly, but why do they keep recycling the same group of people? Why not bring in some new “young” blood (women) with modern ideas?
Stakeholder 5; Aha, and then we have Government! The Minister in charge of Energy and Water bluntly and boldly states in his press briefing that he is considering to pull back the concession that was granted to GEBE. Am I the only one to see the irony in this entire matter? Isn’t GEBE Government owned? Is he cutting off his nose to spite his face? Didn’t he say that he wanted funds from the Harbor, PJIA and GEBE to invest in the country? Is he throwing a tantrum because he is not getting what he wants? What about the loan from the financiers that he mentions? Will that not be jeopardized with such a move? Or is that the intention? Force a bankruptcy which will then result in a take-over by private investor(s)? Who will be the beneficiaries of such a dastardly deed? Your guess is as good as mine!
Where is that long awaited fuel clause relief or even taking away the fuel clause totally, that he promised me? Was that only to fool us?
Yes, I the house-wife, stay-at-home mom, law-abiding Dutch citizen, tax payer and GEBE customer I am concerned about my electricity and water supply.

Mrs. J. Gumbs-Nahar

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