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CC | Crisis at Aqualectra: Commissioners resign due to mismanagement

HomeLandenCuraçaoCC | Crisis at Aqualectra: Commissioners resign due to mismanagement

WILLEMSTAD – Aqualectra, the utility company of Curaçao, is facing a severe crisis. Three out of the four commissioners have resigned as of January 1, 2024.

They claim to be confronted with ‘enormous challenges’ and a lack of support from the shareholder: the Council of Ministers with MFK and PNP ministers. The commissioners place the blame on former CEO Darick Jonis, accusing him of ‘deliberately withholding information’ and ‘engaging in deceptive actions.’

The commissioners, including experts Karel van Haren (commercial), Austin Martina (water), and Patrick Aberson (financial), state that their work has recently become ‘painfully clear’ impossible. According to them, the general shareholders’ meeting failed to address an ‘unhealthy situation’ within the company.

The situation escalated when, despite evidence of mismanagement, Jonis continued to receive support from the shareholders’ meeting. “The abundance of evidence and advice from the Board of Commissioners to intervene has never led to a substantive response,” says one of the commissioners. They criticize the shareholders for not intervening despite multiple blackouts and an alleged multimillion-dollar claim against Aqualectra.

The company faces significant challenges, including ensuring electricity supply and modernizing the network. An investment budget of 750 million guilders is required for this. “To address these challenges, it is essential that all parties within the organization collaborate,” state the commissioners.

Lame and acting in bad faith

Minister of Economic Development Ruisandro Cijntje describes the commissioners’ action as an act of cowardice and bad faith.

According to Cijntje, the commissioners had the responsibility to be accountable for the events during their tenure, especially given the seriousness of the accusations against Jonis. “If criminal acts have taken place, they must sit down and explain, because that’s what they are appointed for,” said Cijntje in an interview.

Cijntje also criticizes the way the commissioners suspended Jonis without giving him the opportunity to defend himself. Since Jonis’ departure, Aqualectra has been led by Chief Financial Officer Neysa Isenia. The minister wonders how one can still have confidence in a group of people who ‘just get up and leave the ship.’

To address the crisis, the minister will appoint two new commissioners to replace the departed members.

Bron: Curacao Chronicle

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