Reader’s Letter: Sarah Wescot-Williams; The lady doth protest too much, methinks

POSTED: 03/13/11 8:55 PM

Dear Editor,

I’m not in the habit of quoting William Shakespeare, but after listening to the Prime Minister’s reaction on the radio, to the CFT’s request for the financial statements of Government owned companies, I believe it’s appropriate.
Bottom line, the CFT has a job to do and in order to do that job accurately; they require certain documentation…..So give it to them! They are not there by choice; it’s your Government’s inability to balance the budget that requires their presence.
While GEBE, the Harbour Group of Companies, Princess Juliana International Airport and Winair are commonly referred to as “Government owned” companies, they are really owned by the people of St.Maarten. You might remember them; they are who gave you your job, as well as pay your generous salary and benefits.

Being a part of Government does not mean you personally own these companies, so you need to stop acting as if you do. The CFT isn’t asking to see your personal financial statement. Why all the indignation? Where is the transparency in Government everyone who ran for office loved to talk about during elections?
You ask the CFT to consider the reserves of these companies as a part of the balanced budget you must submit but you are unwilling to provide any proof of such. What are they supposed to do, take your word for it?
Could it be, that the figures submitted in the budget, do not reflect the recent ruling by the Court of First Instance ordering GEBE to pay back over one million dollars to the Westin Hotel? One must also keep in mind this is only one customer. If a legal precedent is set by this case and GEBE has to pay back all customers who have fallen victim to this billing screw-up, the end result could be that Government’s cash cow would be milked dry. Definitely a game changer when it comes to your Finance Minister’s budget assumptions.

Not only should the CFT be privy to the financial statements of all these companies, the people of St.Maarten who own them, are entitled to know where every Guilder is being spent.
The Prime Minister can snort, blow, suck her teeth, act indignant, or continue to bore everyone to death with her long-winded meaningless speeches, it doesn’t matter. At the end of the day, while Country St.Maarten might be your sandbox, in becoming a Country within the Kingdom you’ve agreed to play by the Kingdom’s rules. It’s time you start doing so.

Andy Croxall

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