With the completion of its management team GEBE appears to have completed its transition to more tranquil waters. That is certainly no luxury after the past few years had been characterised by internal strife and upheaval as well as disturbed relations between Management, Supervisory Board and Shareholder Representative.

What also seems to have become a thing of the past slowly but surely are the kind of frequent power outages and subsequent load-shedding that plagued the Dutch side near the end of 2016. A newly-purchased engine coming on line mid-December just in time for the high season no doubt played a role, but the relative calm at the utilities provider probably contributed too.

The Government-owned company was able to pay its owner monies due for water rights and intends to continue infrastructural investments, among other ways by installing so-called smart metres. There are also advanced plans to place solar panels over the parking lots on the Pondfill, but bureaucracy is said to be holding the project back.

The latter is regrettable, because switching to more alternative energy is the sensible thing to do and has become increasingly urgent, from both an environmental and a cost-effectiveness point of view. After all, while petroleum prices are currently still reasonably low, they probably will keep going up as a result of recent agreements reached by the oil-producing counties within OPEC.

In addition, total reliance on fossil fuels makes the country vulnerable in case of shipping problems, as already seen not that long ago when “St. Maarten ran out of gas” as people joked. Especially an island in the hurricane belt greatly depends on essential goods reaching its shores.

Also the waste-to-energy plant envisioned for the garbage dump should have the full attention of GEBE as intended recipient of the electricity to be produced. Its involvement in such a venture is obviously critical.

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