MP Buncamper questions the operations of SOG

Members of Parliament of the United St. Maarten Party (USP) Claudius “Toontje” Buncamper


PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — During Friday’s meeting regarding the management of government owned buildings under the management of SOG (Stichting Overheids Gebouwen) independent Member of Parliament MP Claudius “Toontje” Buncamper posed several questions to the minister of general affairs, Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs, regarding the conditions and lack of repairs of several government owned building.

MP Buncamper’s first focus was on the festival village, where between 8 to 12 booths that were damaged by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017 are still not repaired. The MP questioned the loss in revenue due to these unusable booths.

MNP Buncamper also queried the outstanding amount of over 2 million US Dollars owed to a local security company for services rendered. The MP wanted to know how long these amounts have been outstanding and when the security company started rendering security services at the festival village.

The MP said that we can not blame the lack of payment on the pandemic. MP Buncamper questioned who signed the contract with the security company on behalf of SOG, the financial limit to which the board members may commit the SOG to and to whom the SOG board is accountable. The accountants report was also questioned, seeing the critical financial position of the SOG.

MP Buncamper asked how much funds were collected from the insurance, and by whom, after Hurricane Irma damaged the center in 2017 and how the funds were spent. If no insurance funds were collected, the MP questioned, why not?

MP Buncamper then turned his focus to the Fire and Ambulance department building, where the current damages that date back to 2017 affect the inside doors, leakages, the fencing, the air conditioning units, the garage doors, the generator switch, the sinking
driveways that can damage the fire trucks. The MP questioned why no repairs to these damages have been done and the costs to carry out these repairs. The MP enquired if the funds were to do the repairs were available.

MP Buncamper inquired if the building was insured and if APS has applied late payment penalties for non-payment of the loan. Have the loans from APS and OPNA for the construction of the Fire and Ambulance department building been repaid, or is there still an outstanding amount. The MP noted that if the loan was a 15 years loan, it should be repaid in full by 2022, and queried if this is correct. The MP also queried if the loan that was taken in 2007 for school repairs has been repaid.

In regards to the Simpson Bay fish market, MP Buncamper asked if any repairs to the building were needed and if all the spaces in the market were operational.
MP Buncamper noted that the St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) submitted a proposal to take over the management and operations of the Festival Village and questioned why is government not giving a listening ear to the SCDF.

The MP questioned if any of the SOG board members have the knowledge to exploit and operate the Festival Village. MP Buncamper went on to question who the SOG board members are, how long have they been on the board and which of them are supervisory
board members and which are the executive members?

In regards to the outstanding rent from tenants, the MP enquired how many tenants have outstanding rent and how much the outstandings amount to. The MP also enquired as to how much outstanding rent had to written off. The MP wanted to know how much rent is due to be collected monthly, broken down per building.