PHILIPSBURG--St. Maarten Consumers Coalition says the August 23 signing of the Letter of Intent between Finance Minister Perry Geerlings and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Social and Health Insurances SZV Glen Carty regarding the repayment of a government debt owed to SZV is a “publicity stunt” on the part of the minister.  

  The Letter of Intent is for government’s debt of approximately NAf. 93 million to SZV. The Ministry of Finance and SZV along with Governments Accountants Bureau SOAB are said to be busy reviewing the figures to have a complete picture of the debt with SZV.   

  Representative of St. Maarten Consumers Coalition Raymond Jessurun said last week that although Consumers Coalition applauds the signing of the Letter of Intent, it considers this a “publicity stunt” by Geerlings. “Since 2015 there is a Kingdom Council of Ministers instruction for government to make arrangements about the arrears with SZV. A letter of intent is not what we need four years after the Kingdom Council of Ministers Instruction. What we need is a settlement agreement.”

  He said Consumers Coalition is concerned about the figures that SZV has been presenting. Figures that SZV presented in its annual accounts since 2010 until today have not yet received the approval from SOAB. “In other words, how do you want the government to settle debts if SZV’s financial accounts could not be approved because administration was incomplete and financial transactions of SZV were even unlawful,” Jessurun noted.

  “We also doubt the figures presented by former Minister of VSA (Health, Labour and Social Affairs) Emile Lee and the Director of SZV in Parliament about the deficits in the health care funds managed by SZV. We have requested publicly for an operational and financial audit of SZV. Since the UD/SMCP (United Democrats/St. Maarten Christian Party) coalition until today, did not instruct such an audit, we hope that the new NA/US Party/Mercelina/Brownbill Coalition in Parliament will prioritize such audits in the USZV organization and administration.”

  Jessurun said also that “there are some publications circulating of things happening in SZV with our pension premiums and with our health care premiums, where the organized workers do not have a say. This is in violation of the International Labour Organization requirements every national social security organization has to comply with. We therefore support the demand from Windward Islands Chamber of Labour Unions to nominate representatives of the workers unions in the Supervisory board of the SZV.”