The Saba Electric Company
The Saba Electric Company was started by Mrs. Othello Maude Edwards-Linzey and her nephew Elmer Linzey. It was later purchased by the G.E.B.E. around 1962.
I take full responsibility for making it possible that the assets of the G.E.B.E. were transferred to the three Dutch Windward Islands in December 2005. At the time it was agreed between the three Commissioners of the islands Roy Marlin (St. Maarten), Roy Hooker (St. Eustatius) and Will Johnson (Saba) to split up the company after a series of investments would be made on the islands. The three Commissioner were mandated by their respective governments to do this.
For many years the people of St. Maarten were led to believe that they were subsidizing Saba and St. Eustatius. Although the G.E.B.E. was ONE company three different bookkeeping’s were kept so to continue letting the St. Maarten people believe that Saba and Statia were losing money at their expense. It was a fictitious bookkeeping and charges were made to the bookkeeping of Saba and St. Eustatius (like Management fees etc.) so as to reflect that loss.
We all know the politics of St. Maarten. Especially Commissioner Theo Heyliger wanted the company broken up. The news will play it out as a victory for him and the people of St. Maarten.
Saba now will enter a phase towards more independence in an important area. Solid people will be on the Supervisory Board of Directors who can withstand any kind of integrity test. Three people are more than enough for such a small company. The survival of the company is first and foremost. I see on Facebook that there are efforts to misinform people on Saba and I have stated before I will not sit back and allow that to happen.
There was no other choice for Saba other than privatization. The late Elmer Linzey and I discussed that very often. Do not let ANYONE try to demean this great achievement for Saba. Since that agreement was reached at my house in 2005, the WIPM government continued negotiating with the two other islands. In the end Saba got investments, like a new building, underground cabling and many other things. I salute my son Chris Johnson backed up by the rest of the WIPM government who has brought these negotiations to a successful ending. Also bringing back the Saba Electric Company was in keeping with my idea of Saba fulfilling a more independent role.
We should not always put everything in a negative light. NO ONE from St. Maarten after this week can throw in our face that they are subsidizing anything or anybody on Saba. To the contrary every dollar coming into Saba at least fifty cents goes into the economy of St. Maarten and it is about time that someone on St. Maarten thank Saba for that.
My congratulations to the people of Saba on this achievement. There is no turning back. Just as people tried to confuse you with the referendum, the same is happening with the G.E.B.E. It was known for years after the referendum on St. Maarten that the Netherlands Antilles could not be maintained. And so I campaigned for the option to go under Holland at the time. I myself am not happy with everything Dutch, but you tell me what other option do we have? Prime Minister Rutte recently stated that independence is one telephone call away. I myself would like that. However I am a realist and know that a referendum would not bring a vote for independence even though I would try to convince as many people as I can and I will vote for independence when a referendum comes around.
With the G.E.B.E. for years already it has been known that the company would be split up. I take full responsibility for defending Saba’s rights in the company, both as Commissioner and also as a Member of Parliament and later on as a Board Member of the company.In 2010 when I was reelected to parliament the Curacao politicians wanted to back away from the agreement to transfer the assets of the company to the Windward Islands. They claimed that the transfer deed by the Notary had only taken place by Notary Alexander in January 2006. However I was able in the coalition to put up a heavy defense that all the agreements were for the company to be transferred to the islands in December 2005. If 2006 had prevailed then Curacao would have ended up owning 73% of the company based on the division of assets. Fidel Castro said “You have to write your own history”. In other words do not let others write history for you.
My congratulations to the Saba People. Free at Last. Free at Last. Thank God we are free at last, from people accusing us that we are sponging on them and that they are paying our electrical bills.
We too will be watching the operations of the company more carefully so that no misuse is made of anyone’s position in the company and that every effort is made to reduce costs of operating the company so that costs can be reduced to consumers. But it is not our intention to fool people that suddenly they will be getting free electricity. My whole political career has been one of telling people to assume responsibility for their own affairs and also by proving that in my own private dealings.
Just remind yourselves that “Yes We Can”, if we want to. Build up yourselves and do not let people set a negative agenda for you. Long Live the SABA ELECTRIC COMPANY, and I am sure that Brother Elmer Linzey is smiling as I write this.