OPEN LETTER TO THE PRIME MINISTER SILVERIA JACOBS AND THE COM (NA/UPP) ON DISCONNECTION NOTICE FROM GEBE

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Honorable Prime Minister and COM (NA/UPP),

On Friday, July 3rd, 2023 our electricity and water distribution company GEBE NV issued a public notice to the general public to inform the population of Cole Bay and Simpson Bay of its intention to disconnect electricity and water supply to those customers that are in arrears in payment to GEBE NV.

Prime Minister and COM (NA/UPP), you all are aware of the incident that took place in March 2022 when the IT-system at GEBE NV was hacked and most or all of the database at GEBE NV was affected. Since then and up to today’s date there is work being carried out to the IT-system and the database is still in state of recovery. At no point and time did the management of GEBE NV or your person as the one ultimately responsible for the well-being of our country, explained to the people of Sint Maarten that the problem at GEBE NV has been repaired fully and that its operation is back to normalcy. The people of this country was told by you Prime Minister that payments to GEBE NV is left to one’s own prerogatives. The consumers and customers of GEBE NV was divided in several groups for billing: a group that receives accurate bills, a group which bills are not accurate, a group that should pay whatever they can afford, and a group that should await a response from GEBE NV. 

Prime Minister, really? Where in the world have you ever heard of such a thing?

Needless to state that GEBE NV is a government-owned company and falls under our National Security scrutiny. That is only to outline the importance of the product it produces to our society. Water should NEVER be denied to anyone. I want to remind you that there are laws in place for the protection of even our pets (animals).

Prime Minister, at no point and time did your person do the necessary to gather official information from within the society as to inform yourself of the status of their consumers since the database was hacked. Why not keep town hall meetings and get to hear the disparity in the bills that are received for water and electricity usage by consumers? Every time you touched the topic, was to say to the consumers to make sure to go pay. Shame of you, Prime Minister.

By means of this media, I urge you Madame Prime Minister and COM (NA/UPP), to instruct GEBE NV to cease and desist of any disconnection of water and electricity supply to the community at large for as long as the IT-system is not repaired and functioning properly and that all consumers are billed equally and accurately according to their usage. At this moment that is not the case and you and COM (NA/UPP) are fully aware of that. There should not be any inequality, favoritism and or nepotism on this level within any society.

Furthermore, I want to remind you and the COM (NA/UPP) that the consequences of the mass disconnection by GEBE NV this Monday, July 10th, 2023 will cause disruption and sufferings at all levels within the society (from babies to the elders). You and COM (NA/UPP) don’t need to take my word for it, but you will have to live with that on your conscience.

A concerned citizen.