BUNCAMPERS TAKE ON GEBE

In a recent podcast, a Sint Maarten commentator addressed the island’s ongoing GEBE crisis, upcoming elections, and various political issues. The speaker, known for his direct and often critical approach, provided an in-depth analysis of the current situation, challenging government decisions and offering alternative perspectives on potential solutions.

The commentator began by focusing on the GEBE crisis, highlighting the frequent power outages plaguing the island, particularly in Colebay. He criticized the government’s approach to solving the crisis, arguing that their rejection of a power barge solution was based on flawed financial reasoning. The speaker provided a detailed cost comparison between the power barge, containerized power, and GEBE’s current operations, suggesting that the power barge could be a more economical solution when considering the broader economic impact of the outages.

He then addressed the lack of progress in implementing alternative energy solutions, despite this being part of GEBE’s mandate since 2014. The commentator speculated that fear of job losses might be influencing decision-making, hindering long-term solutions.

The discussion then shifted to the upcoming elections, with the speaker raising concerns about the eligibility of two new political parties to participate due to registration timing issues. He called for clarity from the main voting bureau on this matter.

The podcast also touched on other political issues, including proposed changes to taxation on tips and pensions, and the debate surrounding cannabis legalization. The commentator expressed frustration with politicians suddenly championing these causes after years of inaction while in power.

Throughout the podcast, the speaker emphasized the need for transparency, long-term thinking, and comprehensive solutions to address Sint Maarten’s challenges. He urged listeners to remain critical and engaged, especially in light of the upcoming elections and the promises being made by various political entities.

The podcast provided a comprehensive and critical analysis of Sint Maarten’s current energy crisis, political landscape, and the need for sustainable, long-term solutions. The commentator’s passionate plea for transparency, accountability, and forward-thinking resonated throughout the discussion, highlighting the complex challenges facing the island nation.


Should Sint Maarten choose to buy or rent a solution for our current GEBE crisis?

Full transscript

Good morning, good morning, St. Martin. My apologies for the late start, but yeah, you know, sometimes things just happen the way they happen. Now, like I said, I want to address the GEBE proposals that are on the table.

Those that the government have looked at, I want to believe they did that in collaboration with NVGEBE, and I’m sure with other stakeholders. And I want to address a few other matters, especially a question I got from a listener that I believe needs clarification, which I might not be able to give, but hopefully those listening and those that know better might be able to explain what it means. But let’s start off with the most eye-catching news.

This election, we will have two new parties. So I believe it is the SAM and the OMC have registered and they are now going to prepare to postulate their candidates on July 2nd. And naturally, while already the rhetoric has started about different people and this and that, I think it will only get worse this election as we go along.

I think the arena is going to get very saturated with satire and talking about people and their families instead of talking about the issues. A lot of promises going to be made, a lot of empty promises are going to be made because the factual situation on this island is far from rosy and it didn’t become so in the last 40 days. The sitting government said the country was bankrupt.

The former minister of finance said that’s a lie and he left a lot of money in the kitty cat and he came with a proposal that I will bring up just now in the GEBE segment about making capital expense, CAPEX or capital funds available to loan GEBE money to buy engines to solve the problem within six weeks. Clearly, some of them don’t know what they’re talking about. But this is the season to highlight stupidity and I’m planning to.

The media houses are gonna have a great day, a great six weeks leading up to elections because they are going to ask for a lot of money to get on their shows. Those that have money will most probably be on their shows. Those that don’t have money will use free social media and get their message across.

I think social media is the way to go, but there are still some people that don’t have social media. So if you want to grab those, sometimes the media is the way to go. Like I said, a lot of promises.

Everybody is now in St. Martin an expert on GEBE. Just like when we had COVID, we suddenly had miraculously doctors that knew everything. Everybody was putting on a white coat and coming to doc.

Now everybody’s putting some grease on their fingers and their face and they became an engineer, an expert to explain GEBE to the public of St. Martin. The bottom line is simple. There is no quick fix.

You’re not going to get three new generators in six weeks. A new generator takes about two years to be commissioned and put online. Let me just start with that.

The badge was an option. They said it’s too expensive. We’re going to discuss that expense.

And they said container power will be here hopefully within three months. And we will then be out of darkness and back into light. But is this all true? That is the question that needs to be answered.

Is it all true? I have serious reservations on these things. But I think that besides GEBE, which is like pie in the sky for everybody right now, because everybody believes that they have the solution and they could do this and they can do that. We also have other things.

A lot of people are forgetting the damage to the economy, the damage to the social behavior of people because of the stress they are under living in darkness too many hours a day. I saw a chart just now before I came on that shows that Colebay has had 167 outages already or about 29 to 30% of the time. They are out of current.

How in God’s name can GEBE expect these businesses to survive and these people to remain normal? When you see other places have 3% or 2% or 5%, then the question is simple. Why Colebay so much? Why Dawn Beach so much? I picked on Colebay because they’re the biggest but also they’re full of businesses. Dawn Beach is less, is more residential, but it’s still human beings that are living there.

And the stress that these people have to go through every single day, losing electricity four or five times a day is crazy. It is outright crazy. Now these are the things that no one is talking about.

No one is looking at because we can put ads to go and buy generators, buy ACE or whatever. People don’t have the money to buy generators. And if they can buy the generator, they might not have money to pay for fuel because that’s another added value that comes along in these things.

So while there’s a lot of finger pointing has started already about who messed up GEBE, who didn’t mess up GEBE, who is only 31 years old and GEBE’s problem is 40th, that’s all nonsense. Yes, GEBE has been a ticking time bomb for many years. We all know what happened the last four years.

That is still fresh in everybody’s mind. How managing directors, the managing board was sent home, five were placed, board members were swapping every week. This one don’t trust that one, this one cuts that one off, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

But most important was the loan. The loan that was not taken, the loan that could have most probably have bought an engine and we might have had a different story today. Yes, we would have still been low sharing because 15 megawatt is not the size of the engines.

The engine is about nine, 10 megawatts. So we would have still been low sharing. You can go back and say, but if in 2017, had they only finalized in 2018 when the government came in the ways to energy, we would have had 15, 20 megawatts today, costing half of what we’re paying today on electricity.

But you know what? Hindsight is 20, 20, those are station passes. We gonna have to start that again. But that’s what it was.

That’s what it is. So yes, we can start from back down in 2017, but what hurt me was that the group that was there in 2017 sat from 2020 to 2024 and didn’t do a damn thing about it. Just to spite the fellow that left them.

That is what I had an issue with. That I know they were not competent. Yes, we all know that.

But they had an NRPB. They had all the capacity. So they could have done something if they wanted, but they didn’t do that.

Now, last week, I spoke about GEBE a little bit and I realized as we were going along that GEBE’s problem was going to be a little more elaborate than just saying we can bring a badge or we can bring some containerized power. And again, I’m not going to say that what’s happening now should not happen. I just think we are not putting out all the facts.

I think we are missing some critical facts in the GEBE discussion. I understood and I read the statement in the newspaper, power badge too expensive, no longer being considered. And I asked myself, how did we reach to that point? Now, what I’m going to say next comes from the Daily Herald of Monday, Tuesday, June 17th, 18 and is based on the discussion of the prime minister, the minister of VSS slash Romi and the minister of TIAT in parliament.

There was a GEBE meeting and a lot was divulged. So let’s run a simple calculation. I’m not even going to get in to a overhead discussion, but a simple conversation.

We are talking about a badge of 20 megawatts and that would cost us 3.9 million per month, including fuel. 20 kilowatts, 20 megawatt is 20,000 kilowatts. If you run that 24 hours, that badge is supplying you for 24 hours, 30 days.

That’s approximately 14,400,000 kilowatt hours. That costs us $33.9 million. Now let’s go and do GEBE’s calculation for that same amount.

GEBE costs us 0.3611, so 36.11 US cents per kilowatt hour. The 25 cents Dutch base rate and the 40 cents fuel cost because remember the other one includes fuel. When you run that conversation, you will realize that that cost is about $5.2 million per month.

I have a problem trying to bring the two together. 3.9 million on the badge, 5.2 million by GEBE. I know they’re mitigating factors like employees.

I understand that. But let us not start to make statements that are not correct or let me place it in a different light are not complying with all information because it is unfair to state that the badge should not come because I hear them talk about a badge for six weeks and then we go over the containerized power because the badge is 3.9 million and the containerized power is $300,000 rental a month. But you need to buy the fuel, sir.

And the fuel is a different story because the fuel is still 40 cents a kilowatt hour. And if you take 20 megawatt for a month, you will realize that you’re paying a lot of money. And I run that calculation too, down the road.

But if we would just simply do this, you will realize that the badge is feasible because there are a few things, Honorable Prime Minister, you are forgetting. As long as this country is load-shedded and in darkness, they lose money every single day. Then you take that into consideration.

How much money the businesses are losing? How much money the government is losing in taxes? Then you take that into consideration. And the answer is no, you did not. Because if you did that, you would have not made such a unfounded statement that the badge is too expensive because it is not.

You have to put it in the right light. If you are telling me that saving about $24 million a year using badge power over GEBE power is a bad thing, then I think we got a problem understanding the right thing. Because this is the problem.

3.9 million, 5.2 million. That’s a difference of about 1.3 million. You multiply that by the number of people and by two years, you will realize that you’re about, not 24, but about 18, 19 million dollars.

That’s an engine. That’s one engine. Paid for.

You don’t need a loan for that. Paid for. Now, it goes for me different.

I need the Prime Minister to answer the public a few questions. What is the actual loss of income in this economy everyone? What is it? Because you seem not to know that, so you’re only running numbers on GEBE. But GEBE is not the country.

The economy of this country is taking a beating. We are being sold in Canada right now by the travel agents as the country of blackouts. Do you know what that is going to mean for the high season, sir? No, you don’t.

Because you have not even looked there. And this is my problem. We cannot just ramp and rave and say the badge is too expensive.

What is the loss of income to the government on taxes due to the serious interruptions of GEBE? GEBE has been out in the Colebay area, that’s Colebay, Welfare, Kingshore, and all them, for 167 times already. What going on? These are numbers that are there now. And nobody is questioning this.

Nobody is saying, what is the loss of income for these companies that don’t have a generator? The small businesses that will not be able to make payroll end of this month, nor pay premiums as it be in all of them because they just simply don’t have the income. Who’s going to fund that? Who’s going to be responsible for that? Because it is easy to say A, if you’re not looking at B, C, and D, and say you have the solution. Because that’s not the solution.

That’s a partial solution. I don’t know if we understand the stress many people are under right now because of this issue with light, not having light. And very often when electricity goes and certain areas in Samantha don’t have electricity, that means the water pumps aren’t working either.

And if the water pumps aren’t working, they can’t pump water up the hill in the tanks to throw it back down through gravity. So it can have a serious effect on people, on their living, their frustrations, their stress. They take that out on their kids, or their wife, or their friends, because they are frustrated.

They have no hope. And I don’t want to preach false hope, but I do want to tell you the sun will come out tomorrow again. And eventually we will find ourselves.

But I need to understand the government’s position. Now I understand the decision, I understand it, but it’s the wrong decision. It’s the wrong decision.

Is it, Mr. Prime Minister, that there’s a fear that if we use auxiliary power from the badge for two years, that GEBE’s overhead will need to be shrunk? And that might mean job loss, which is no politician’s desire? I am asking the question because we need to be transparent. Some of us even brag to be committed to transparency, but we are not. We are not.

We are not telling the whole story. And I like how we just run the scenario that it is GEBE and the supervisory board who have the ultimate word because of arm’s length and good corporate governance, please, please. You just said we’re in a crisis.

A crisis calls for different measures and the government can take the lead and give the instructions. And if they don’t want to follow the instructions, then you find people that will follow proper instructions. This thing about, oh, it’s arm’s length, unconvenience, it’s arm’s length.

We are trying to pull a shaggy. It wasn’t me, but it is us. It’s all of us, including me.

It’s all of us because all of us are staying quiet and not saying anything because we don’t want to rock the boat. We don’t want to lose a vote. You’re a hypocrite.

You’re an accessory to the fact of what’s happening in GEBE. We gotta be careful, people. At this point in time, with the present fuel clause, because that’s how you run the calculations.

And then you look at the World Bank and you get a projection for the next two years on what oil will do. And as long as the Ukraine war is ongoing, and if we don’t watch out for the Middle East problem, oil is only going to get more expensive, not cheaper. We gotta get off of that nonsense and look at reality.

And what does that mean for countries and mountains? What does that mean for the fuel we need to run this? Because at the end of the day, the badge is handling its own fuel. They have a direct link with Sol. They’re going to get fuel directly from Sol.

Or they will have a badge factor beside them fueling them all the time. But their price includes fuel, people. It does.

It does. Nobody is saying anything other than that. So the question is, if there is something wrong with that price, because the containerized calculations will cost at least 3.7 to 4 million a month.

Let me break it down for you, so we all understand it. Rental cost monthly is 200,000. Fuel costs 14 million 400,000 times 23 cents, which is approximately 40 cents Dutch that we pay right now, would be about 3.3 million dollars.

Plus the 200,000, that’s about 3.6 million dollars. Now, mind you, in the contract of the containers, they were also going to supply trainings and all those type of things. And there’s an unknown cost there per month for GEBE with that auxiliary personnel.

So at this point in time, we have 3.6 plus. The badge was 3.9, all inclusive. Don’t look back at nothing.

Plug in and take a current. They handle everything themselves. This is what it is.

Now, if you want to get into a technical discussion with me about if the badge fail, you lose all 20, and the containers are all one megawatts. If you lose one, you lose much. Let’s have that discussion.

Because the badge has a certain reliability. It has worked all over the place. Why would it not work in Samantha? In the calculations, I took a 95% reliability factor, which would just now change over the numbers.

But if you look at the numbers I’ve given you thus far, containerized power between 3.6 and 4 million, the badge 3.9 million, GEBE 5.2 million if they do it themselves, how in God’s name can you tell me the badge is exorbitantly expensive? You pay 3 million down payment for it to come. That down payment is a payment upfront that you are going to get back. You, Mr. Prime Minister, said the GEBE is liquid cash well.

You said that. So 3 million should not be an issue. It should not be an issue.

But again, transparency, people, is a very serious something, especially in a crisis. This is not a CLA negotiation. This is not a negotiation for fuel with salt.

This is a crisis for this country whose economy is on the brink of collapse. That’s where we are. And we are doing as if that’s not the case.

Now, let me give you a simple reason for two years. GEBE’s power plant is in a deplorable state according to the reports. A lot of Indians have lived their lifespan.

They have to be decommissioned, they have to be moved out and new ones have to be placed. And we cannot do anything with alternative or green energy or renewable energy until we get all the engines back in place, the three new engines, so that we can then start doing that. I disagree with that position totally.

That is utter nonsense. That is nonsense. I am so happy that the TNO report came out because it basically showed Samantha into a damn thing.

Since 2014, we have an energy policy where GEBE in its concession is obligated to do alternative energy. Not a peep from nobody about that, including this government right now, including this government. Let me give you prices per kilowatt hour so you understand where I’m going.

There are three badges possible, a 20 megawatt, a 32 megawatt, and a 50, which will be for the whole plant. If you take the 20 megawatt, you will pay delivered to GEBE 27 cents per kilowatt hour. Right now, GEBE produces at 36 cents per kilowatt.

The difference of about nine cents, a savings of about $1.3 million a month. Then you go to a 32 megawatt. The delivered price per kilowatt hour is 23 cents, 23 and a half US cents.

And your savings, again, GEBE is 36 cents of 2.92 million per month. Then you go over to a 50 megawatt badge and the kilowatt price delivered is 22.7 US cents per kilowatt versus the same 36.11 cents with a savings of $4.8 million a month. When you see these figures, you know what goes through your mind, but bring the 50 kilowatt, 50 megawatt badge and let it run the island through the system while we repair GEBE for the next two years.

Mind you, your savings is $4.8 million a month because they are producing electricity at 22.7 cents and GEBE is at 36.1 cents. That is more than half the price. There’s a savings of 14 cents on the GEBE present price.

That is nearly 50% savings. Let’s say 40. Do you know what that means? 40% savings on your present GEBE bill.

That’s what the numbers show, Mr. Prime Minister. So you gotta wheel and come again about it’s exorbitant and it’s too expensive because when you buy the badge power or the containerized power, are you going to pass on the savings to the people? Or is GEBE going to keep them? It’s a simple question that requires a yes or no. And don’t come make it unnecessarily complicated to pull wool over people’s eyes.

I can’t support you. Unfortunately, I can’t. I know a little bit about mechanical engineering as an engineer.

I know how it works with cost analysis and cost allocations. So I don’t understand where we are. We need a complete overhaul of the power plant.

And maybe this is the time to do so. Maybe this is the time to make that transition with a badge that we can work on GEBE, create alternative energy, green energy, solar panels and all those things, wind turbines if need be. We have then time to do that.

So that when we turn back over GEBE into operations, we might be 30% cheaper. Right now, we are the third most expensive plant in the Caribbean for electricity. So how are we going to do this? These are the things that we need to understand.

The fuel cost is a problem. So you have to get away from that. Instead of trying to find a solution for that, you have already committed the country to fuel costs for the next 10 years.

Telling me you’re going to start two years from now with green energy and renewable energy, because you want to put on 27 megawatt of engine power or 30 megawatt of engine power. Again, that is 60% of the plant, of our capacity. Then I know those engines need what, 15, 20 years to repair themselves, we will be born in fuel.

That’s what it means. Please, don’t try to give explanations that you don’t understand. Because you don’t have a clue what you’re talking about.

You’re reading off of a sheet of paper. And unfortunately, Mr. Prime Minister, you’re making a mockery of this situation, this crisis. You are making a mockery of it.

I am saying that directly on air. You don’t need to appreciate it. You don’t need to like it, but you know it’s the truth.

That you know. But it doesn’t finish, you know, because I need to understand a few more things. And the Prime Minister says they’re evaluating if they’re going to pay the $2.9 million or $2.7 million to fix the crankshaft of engine 19.

Sir, engine 19 is still considered a relatively new engine. Their lifespans are 25 to 30 years. That engine doesn’t even have a decent 10 years yet.

So yes, it’s a no-brainer. Change the crankshaft for 2.7 million and put back on nine 10 megawatts on nine. Put it back on.

But you won’t get it now. It takes about six months to get that engine commissioned again. So explain to people the discussion.

It’s not the $2.7 million. It’s the six months that it’s going to be out. That’s the discussion.

So there’s no availability power. Because the three engines that you all want to look for by financiers and find money, they ain’t coming for now. A new engine takes about two years to be commissioned and put in service.

That’s what it takes. This is not something you go down by ace and buy. No country has engines lying down unless they are maybe by a factory being refurbished.

And if that’s what we gonna buy, then say so. Then say so. But the prices you’re courting are not refurbished engines, but are new engines.

So I don’t understand it, but again, like I said, the Dutch envelope is now down to 150 million euros. The one that the Dutch government had made available, the one that the former Prime Minister Silveira boasted when she signed with Ropietten, yet nothing, absolutely nothing has been done regarding that. And then it happens.

The former Minister of Finance puts up an article and says, we have to amend budget 2024 and allocate capital expense monies to GEBE. You say, oh boy, here we go then. Why do I say that? Because the minister, the former minister, damn well know that the capex of 2024, there is no loan free.

There was a loan for 90 million, I believe it was, that was granted for 2023, came in the last quarter. That money has been shifted to 2024 for usage. The capital expenses, and I want to pull it up because I want to read it as it is written in the budgetary explanatory notes that are available at parliament.

And it says this, let me find it here fast for you. Budget 2024, page 129, explanatory notes, and it’s on parliament’s website. So please feel free to go and check it.

For capital goods, a total amount of 230 million has been included in the budget. 90 million pertains to the capital goods budgeted for 2023 that has been passed over. The loan was received in the last quarter of 2023, meaning that the execution will take place in 2024.

140 million is the amount reserved for new capital goods for the year 2024. So I want to believe the minister is referring to that money because the money for 2023, you can’t just reassign that to anybody or anything unless the lenders agree with it. And who says the lenders agrees with it? So you can amend anything you want in your budget.

But if the lender says, no, I gave that money to go and fix NIA. I gave that money to fix the John Lamine Center to make sure we have a decent dance school or so. I fixed, I gave that money to do roads, sewage plant, et cetera, et cetera.

You can’t come and change it now because GEBE has a crisis. A crisis that you stopped brewing for four years, which you allowed to happen. You all allowed it.

Now you come and say, let’s do this. But the 140 million that was put for 2024, 18 million was allocated to the expansion of the sewage network. This was to be financed by NRPB.

So they needed a loan of 122 million. Furthermore, under the repayments and the loans, a total amount of 23.6 million has been included of which 18.3 million is earmarked for repayments and 5.3 million for granted student loans. They were taking a loan for that too in the 140 million or the 122 million.

Apparently half of the repayments for 9.4 million are related to tranches already received as liquidity support from the Netherlands. On October 10th, 2023, a new refinancing agreement was signed with the Netherlands regarding the COVID loans, which at the time represented an amount of 316.4 million. This new refinancing agreement is a short-term agreement for the duration of one year.

So in October of this year, that will mature. The agreement includes a fixed interest rate of 3.4 and a one-time repayment of 9.4 million on October 9th, 2024, which represents half of the payments due in 2024. It is expected that from 2025 onwards, there will be no annual repayments on the COVID loans.

Now, this is written. You know what’s not written? That that loan for 122 million or 140 million, there is no money. There is no loan.

So what the hell you’re talking about, go and adjust the budget and take the money and put it with GEBE? That’s hogwash. You know that there is no money. Or are you saying, take the 90 million that was approved by the financiers on the ABCD and to hell with all that, because we screwed up as a former government, let’s give GEBE that money now and to hell with the rest of the place.

If that’s what you’re saying, say that. Come out and say that. But don’t talk stupidity about go and adjust the budget 2024 capex.

There is no loan. There is no money. That’s pie in the sky, my brother.

But then again, that’s why your motives are parameters. So please, let us not do this. This tomfoolery needs to stop.

It honestly needs to stop. So go and make your new talk out and say, are you wrong? Just take the page out of the parliament, explanatory notes, page 129, add it to your story. Add it to your story and show the loan documents that the 140 million was received.

And then we can continue to talk. Because other than that, it’s a waste of time. Honestly, a waste of time.

Now, there are a few more things that I want to touch before I leave you all today. And one of them is a new passage, a new little corner. It’s called a question from a listener.

And remember, I started off the discussion with we have new political parties, et cetera. And I got a call because I get, sometimes I get questions. I answer those directly if I know them.

But if I don’t know them, I try to get information. And then I got this one here and the fellow said, can you do it for me on air? Because I would love to see the comments on Facebook. And I said, fair enough.

And it is a statement and a question. Monks, good afternoon. Looking forward to your program tomorrow.

Can you share an opinion on the law governing the main voting bureau that says political parties need to be registered six weeks before postulation day. And how that will affect the new parties that is being retroactively registered as of May 31st, 2024. If that truly is the case, then the main voting bureau should sound the alarm now and not let people get their hopes up unless they plan to make a provision for them to run, which then can be considered circumventing of the law.

I called a few people that are known with the law and I tried to talk to them and have an open and frank discussion on how this works. And indeed, you have two different entities. You have the electoral council, whose primary task is to ensure the registration of political parties and to ensure that they comply with the financial regulations as set forth in the law for political parties and their candidates.

The electoral council has registered both new parties, the SAM and the OMC. And I think everybody saw the pictures on Facebook and in the media that they were registered. But the question that was asked is a little deeper.

It says, okay, they are registered, but the voting law says you gotta be registered six weeks prior to postulation if you want to partake in the election. I think that’s article 16, it’s a hard, it’s a clause, it’s a law. And I don’t know how that’ll work.

The final, how would I say, the final approval of who runs and who doesn’t run lies with the main voting bureau. If the main voting bureau says, listen, we are going to make an exception and they can run because May 31st to July 2nd is not six weeks. That’s the problem.

There are no 42 days in between there, that’s six weeks. So I think there are 33 days, let me see. Yeah, well, 33 days, which might be 32 days, which might make it a problem.

Now, because of the snap elections, because of the position of the governor with the three months as stipulated in the constitution, because of the six weeks stipulated by the voting bureau for postulation, the question that is asked is, are they allowed to run? The electoral council has registered them. They have done their job. They have nothing to do with if they can run or not.

The question is, what is the position of the main voting bureau? Now, remember the main voting bureau agreed with the prime minister and the governor on the national decree that was signed. I personally believe that they will create an exemption and they will allow them to run. That doesn’t take away that somebody can object to that and say, but that’s against the law and the law doesn’t have a provision to allow an exception.

What happens then? That is the question that really needs to be answered. And while I know it will flare up a nice discussion, I think it’s only fair, as the gentleman asked, not to create false hope. So that people are registered by the electoral council doesn’t mean to say that they are eligible to participate in this election.

The main voting bureau has to make a statement on that. I only believe that to be fair. While they all agreed on a national decree that was proposed by the prime minister, the law requires six weeks and that is the discussion.

Is that criteria met? According to the listener, according to the days I gave you, no, it’s not. And the question is, will there be an exception and I think it is wise that this piece be clearly stated by the main voting bureau who has the ultimate say on who participates and who doesn’t participate and why. And if we know from now that six weeks is not achievable, then let’s tell everybody, hey, you’re in or you’re out.

Tell it to them. And if they’re in, I’m okay with it. If they’re out, it’s unfortunate because then we should have made the dates plausible for them to participate.

And I know there was a big fight between the governor, the prime minister and the main voting bureau about the three months and the constitution and all kinds of things. And they brought in Professor Van Rijn to give an opinion on what is legal and the governor’s position was very simple. Back in 2015, you wrote in your book, in your journals, a position.

This position that you are giving now seems to be different. What changed? Because the laws didn’t change. And I liked when the governor took that position because my position was also, when did the law change with the unwritten norms? Because that’s not allowed.

So you see, what’s good for the goose is gonna be good for the gander eventually. But right now, I think it merits an answer. I think the party leaders of SAM and OMC should have something in their hand in writing that they can participate in the upcoming elections.

I want to wish both of them all the best at the polls. I’m sure we will meet each other in discussions and on the campaign trail, but let them know where they stand. That was the question and that’s the question I put to those responsible.

Now, you know, election is always a time of give and take and promises, whoo. I listened to a few candidates and I, you know, little children, you know, when you tell them something, they roll the eye at you because they are saying, hey, look how crazy this is. So it was a sense of pride that I listened to a former MP, former leader of the party.

When I read the article that he’s now campaigning on not taxing the tips and pensions. I spoke of this in 2020. This was my campaign strategy.

Don’t tax the pension. Stop taxing the tips because you’re putting the businesses in trouble because SZV sees tips as income and thus premiums should be paid on it. That’s how far I went with it.

Do not see tips as income. He’s talking about don’t tax the tips. But if you don’t tax the tips, it means you’re still seeing it as income.

And that means SZV has a right to demand premiums. This was my campaign strategy back in 2020 when we had a whole buccaneers issue with SZV and court cases. So it sounds nice, but remember for four years, this good MP supported the former government.

He was the leader of a coalition party. And not one day did they stand up in parliament and said, let us stop taxing the seniors. Let us stop taxing people on their sole income of pension, which very often is small already.

And the livable wage was 3,551 guilders per month. They knew that, but they never did it. Today, they’re trying to sell this.

As if this is a new idea they came with. Go back and listen to my tapes of 2020. You all sat there for four years and you never touched it.

Never. Then you hear them now talking also about how they gonna do the weed, the cannabis. Remember, I came out harsh against the request for proposal.

That was made by the former minister of VSA. I don’t even know if the minister of justice was involved, because she was more getting rid of people to make sure that her little queen show could continue. But the request for proposal was so stringent that no local company could participate.

And basically, a Canadian group was going to do everything. Gone to the school children. It was a family affair.

I don’t know that yet. So I’m gonna put my hand in the fire for that one year. But I will dig until I find.

And find I will. But it is hurtful that for four years you sit, or three years, let me not say four because he was a year in parliament. For three years, you sat as the minister of VSA.

You didn’t pass the tolerance for cannabis. You didn’t pass the tolerance policy so that we would not be locking up people for having five grams or less marijuana on them or five plants in their yard. The governor of Massachusetts just pardoned 175,000 people that had police records or incarcerated for small infractions regarding cannabis.

And everybody goes, oh, no, no, they’re promoting drugs and the country in crisis. Marijuana is not a drug. Marijuana is a herb.

The effects of hallucination have not been proven with the usage of marijuana. Schizophrenia is not because you’re using marijuana. You know what gives you those type of big stress? Alcohol kills more people.

And right now, Samanthin, gun violence is killing more people than smoking weed. And we always throw it off and say, yeah, let me explain something. A child under 18 should not be smoking weed for my part, up to 21 years because their brain is still developing.

But if a boy is good enough at 18 to send him to war and allow him to drink and allow him to drive, what’s the issue with smoking weed? Look, I’m not talking about laced and all that nonsense. I’m talking about the herb. Other countries in the Caribbean have seen the light, have seen the economic spinoff.

And people say, oh, it’s all about money. Yes, it is. Because if you don’t have money, you don’t have a good healthcare system.

You don’t have education. You don’t have safety in your country because it don’t come for free. It costs money.

And as long as we can’t find a second pillar beside tourism, we gonna have a problem. We gonna have a problem in this country. And we don’t want to see this.

We don’t want to accept this. I am, listen, I don’t smoke weed. I used to do it.

I used to do drugs. I ain’t lying about that. I am an open book when it comes to this nonsense.

But I’m not gonna be a hypocrite to others either. At least 30% of this country uses cannabis. At least.

The young people, a lot of them do that. It’s the wealthier people that use the powder and those type of things. But that’s more expensive.

But I am not promoting that. I am promoting the legalization of cannabis and their rules and regulations, what can and what cannot happen. You can smoke it in certain places.

You can use it in certain places, coffee shops, whatever you want to, how you want to do it. It can be regulated. It’s still in Holland for 50 years.

America’s now doing it. The Caribbean is doing it. What is our problem? Mexico has done it.

And you know why Mexico did it? For the tourism industry. Because you know how many tourists get off the boat here and the first thing they’re doing on the boardwalk is looking for a bag of weed? And we’re pretending that it ain’t so? I mean, please, man. But I like how the politicians now jump up and now that’s their campaign thing.

As long as it’s legalized. And the people of Samanthan, not the imported ones, the people of Samanthan, especially those that are in the business now, gets the first crack at it so that they can run the coffee shops, they can run the growing, the grow houses, and they can run the distribution networks, I don’t mind. Promote it all you want.

But if it ain’t gonna be so, that a company, a LTD or offshore come in here to do it. Crap, I’m gonna smoke a pipe then. Tell them away from now.

But like I said, let me say this straightforward. The up party is big business. And big business doesn’t know small people.

So when you hear them promoting these things, they’re promoting it as big business. Let me go direct with that one there. Because that’s what it is.

That’s what it is. And I hope it doesn’t go that way. Like I said with GEBE, a lot of suggestions now, a lot of rolling out, take budget, take this, take this.

But in reality, but in reality, you’ve been doing nothing for four years, and now suddenly, you’re hearing them talking about this. I even hear MP putting the newspaper with, cancel the recess, we have crisis on the hand. Where were you for the GEBE meeting? You single-handedly nearly damaged, killed GEBE.

But you are not here. School children tell me you’re in Holland again. Who are you throwing under the bus this time? You see people, there are a lot of issues that need to be dealt with.

Slowly but surely, I’m going to deal with them. I don’t call it what I need to call it. And who get upset, they go get upset.

I don’t really care. The last time you all crucified me with a lie. Oh, don’t vote, freedom is a wasted vote, and you can’t take a seat.

Let me tell you all this. I can take my seat. The law says so.

I can take my seat. And with your vote, I will take my seat, come August 19th. And all the jokes we had about it, and all the lies, and all the articles, I will publish.

What I receive, clearing me. Constitutionally. Constitutionally.

So all those pretenders that believe they know the law, will do your research again. And when you get the answer, which I will publish in the newspaper, I’ve taken a full page ad in the Herald, so that they can realize that the nonsense they wrote two days before elections in January. January 8th, to be very specific, up front page.

Voting Bureau says, one camper can’t take his seat, which was a complete lie. And journalists knew what she did, and why she did it. But that’s for the campaign trail.

Because that ain’t going away. Because when journalists start to write stories that are far from the truth, because I have the statement from the chairlady of the Maine Voting Bureau, that she never, ever stated what was written. Because it’s not her competency.

I hope when they come by the Herald, to have it printed, they don’t charge me, but just print that. And I will pay for my ad. So remember people, with your support, I will get elected.

And I can and will take my seat in parliament. Don’t let nobody fool you all this time around. Share my podcast.

And also like and subscribe to my YouTube page. For today, Monks is out. Enjoy your Thursday and the upcoming weekend.