SMMTA concerned government is transfering Simpson Bay to harbour group

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten – The St. Maarten Marine Trades Association (SMMTA) has learned from several sources that the Harbor Group of Companies, now called Port St. Maarten Group of Companies (PORT), is working with members of Government, specifically some of those in the Ministry of TEATT, to transfer all of the waters of Simpson Bay and the Simpson Bay Lagoon directly to the Harbour. 

The transfer will be done by way of a Concession Agreement similar to the PORT’s existing concession in Great Bay. 

The SMMTA has over the years repeatedly voiced its opposition to the SLAC N.V., a daughter company of the PORT, getting such a concession as it would mean that the Port through SLAC would at the same time directly compete with the industry as well as regulate it. The proposed Concession Agreement directly with the PORT makes the conflict of interest situation even worse. 

Besides the obvious question of WHY such a transfer is being worked on, the bigger question to the SMMTA is WHY NOW?  This close to the September 26th Parliamentary Elections is certainly questionable. 

When issues are raised by Members of Parliament or the private sector about questionable activities at the Port or other Government Owned Companies, the executive team and supervisory boards protect themselves behind a wall of lawyers and non-disclosure agreements rather than operate in even a semi-transparent manner. 

The SMMTA is once again publicly sounding the alarm about the increasingly methodical stranglehold the Port is putting on the economy of our country as well as questioning why our Government continues to allow it.

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