Island Council Holds First Meeting For 2014
The Bottom/SABA-The Island Council of Saba unanimously approved the dividend policy for electricity provider Saba Electric Company N.V. on Wednesday April 30. Present at the meeting which began at 9:00am was Island Council Members Rolando Wilson, Carl Buncamper, Eviton Heyliger and Ishmael Levenstone. The Dividend Policy regulates how the annual profit sharing will take place for companies, of which the Public Entity owns 100 per cent of its shares. The policy states that the company will not have to pay any dividends for a three year period beginning January 1, 2014. This is due to uncertainty regarding the new company during this period. Island Council Member Carl Buncamper proposed that after three years the financial situation be reviewed to determine if dividends can be paid going forward and also retroactively. This was included in the amendment.
The next motion on the agenda was to waive the 2013 dividend payment for the local telecommunications provider Satel. According to the current dividend policy for the company, which was adopted in 2012 the Public Entity Saba has a right to a dividend of at least the fixed compensation of 8% of the deposited share capital. The decision to withhold the dividend payment is based on the damage to the infrastructure of the company that was sustained during a storm on December 23, 2013. The total cost of these damages was estimated at $200,000 which resulted in a loss for the company. This motion was also passed unanimously.
Increasing the buffer capital from $435,000 to $2,000,000 was the next proposal on the agenda. The buffer capital indicates to what extent the Public Entity of Saba can absorb the adverse consequences of uncovered risks. Commissioner of Finance, Bruce Zagers explained that the reason for the increase is not because the island has a 2 million dollar surplus but because it is was agreed upon with the auditors that this should be a goal for the future. The Commissioner explained that to build the reserve would take time and the reserve could be built from budgetary surpluses or if there is any flexibility in the budget, to increase it incrementally. This motion was passed by the Council 4-0.
The final proposal was the approval of the Selection Committee to approve Saba’s member and alternate member to the Joint Audit Chamber of Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba. The Selection Committee will consist of the Island Council Members Ishmael Leventstone, Carl Buncamper and Eviton Heyliger. The Joint Audit Chamber has the aim of contributing to the improvement of public administration on the islands. Each island must appoint a member and an alternate to the three member audit Chamber. These appointments are for six years. This proposal was passed by the Council and the meeting was adjourned.