“The people have had enough”: Priest demands a firm discount on utility bills

POSTED: 12/17/14 3:18 PM

St. Maarten – According to media reports, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has announced that oil prices have fallen to an all-time low of $58 a barrel. Governments and energy companies all over the world have passed on this savings to their consumers,” Lenny Priest, leader of the extra-parliamentary political party OSPP writes in a press release. “What will it take for our government and Gebe to provide relief to the people in the form of a 40 to 50 percent reduction in the fuel clause on our electricity bills? After all, our monthly electricity bill consists of energy consumption and the fuel clause. The fuel clause in most cases makes up approximately 60 percent of the bill.”

“The people of St. Maarten have been screaming for years for some sort of relief in the cost of living and in particular as it pertain to energy. After St. Maarten acquired 100 percent of the shares of Gebe the people were very hopeful only to be let down time after time,” Priest writes. “It is nice to read that Gebe will give the government five million guilders for the 2014 budget. But when will Gebe give the people of this country a relief? Many pundits used the argument that our energy prices are among the lowest in the region but they don’t mention that cost of living in some of those other countries as it pertains to food prices and rent are much lower than St. Maarten.”

Gebe is 100 percent owned by the government and by extension by the people of St. Maarten. “Which self-respecting government continues to bleed its own people to brag about millions of dollars profit stashed away in some banks?”

Since mid-June the price per barrel of crude oil has dropped from $107.00 to approximately $58.00 and it is still falling, Priest notes. “Isn’t Gebe benefiting from these price reductions or is the company maintaining to buy oil at the extremely high prices? And if so, isn’t it time for us to take a good look at the supervisory board of Gebe and the management? There is absolutely no excuse for your next Gebe bill not to be reduced by 40 to 50 percent. If this is not the case then the supervisory board and the management team should pack up their bundle and clear out. The people have had enough, they can’t take it anymore, and they need that reduction on their next energy bill. Or must we as a people come together and demonstrate to voice our frustration about these astronomical high bills that are killing our own people softly?”

Priest wonders how much more people have to take while those that were elected on August 29, 2014 promised relief during the campaign. “Now that they are in Parliament they forget about the same people that put them there. All those members in Parliament are aware of the ever-decreasing prices of crude oil but are not willing to lift a finger to help the people.”

The OSPP forwarded a letter on Friday to the chairman of the supervisory board and the management team of Gebe demanding this price reduction. “We are also calling on all the first time Members of Parliament to make sure that this happens without further delay,” Priest states.

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