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MP’s posed several questions about INSO and tariff increase.

~Sarah played on emotions when it comes to New General Hospital Project.~

PHILIPSBURG:--- Members of Parliament quizzed Minister of VSA Emil Lee on Monday afternoon on the New General Hospital that is to be constructed by now-bankrupt Italian Construction Company INSO.
Member of Parliament Jurendy Doran asked the Minister to provide clarity on several statements he made in several news articles. These statements Doran said was made between December 2018 to present. MP Doran wants the Minister to tell parliament exactly why he went to Italy and he should also explain parliament why he is so deeply involved in the New General Hospital project. Doran said the Minister’s involvement creates a conflict of interest and one has to wonder the Inspectorate of Health would conduct their jobs if the Minister is so deeply involved.
Apart from the Minister’s involvement in every level, Doran wants the Minister to give parliament a full rundown on the exact cost to construct the New General Hospital.
MP Ardwell told the Minister he was transparency and truth when it comes to the NGH project he said that most hospitals that were built supersede its initial costs.
He asked the Minister about the increase in tariffs and wants to know if the Minister could not find a structural way to increase the tariffs.
Ardwell wants to know the exact position of the lenders regarding INSO. He asked for more information on the lenders and how would the New General Hospital be financed; what role would NIB bank play are they going to be the facilitator for the lenders? How was NIB selected was there a bidding process for the facilitator? And how will they be compensated?
Will SZV pre-finance the New General Hospital, what is the maximum amount can SZV invest on pre-financing.
MP Christopher Emmanuel asked the Minister for information on the structure of St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC), especially regarding the management board. Is there a Chief Financial Officer at SMMC? If there is Emmanuel wants to know the origin of those persons. The Member of Parliament wants to know what is the real construction cost of the New General Hospital? Also, what is the miscellaneous cost in the event of overruns. How many beds are there at SMMC and how many beds will there be in the New General Hospital Emmanuel gave example as to what is currently taking place in Curacao with the construction of their hospital.
He asked how many government-owned companies and or subsidiaries participated in the financing of the hospital. How much would APS be investing? How much money the pension funds in Curacao be investing and how will St. Maarten (SMMC) repay these lenders.
Emmanuel said he wants to see facts such as budget and plans, he questions the role of Condotte, Italy’s 3rd largest construction company, however, they lost the railroad project in Norway. Will this company have a guarantee for projects being done outside of Italy.
Minister said in his presentation that INSO is looking for a buyer and if that is the case then why are they looking for a buyer? Emmanuel asked. Emmanuel made clear that INSO cannot survive on their own and certainly they cannot enjoy the 190M lone to them by the European Union. Wants to know how long the Minister know INSO facing financial problems and why he did not make his findings public.
MP Rolando Brison asked for more information on the tariff increase, why was the increase not spread over a few years instead of the drastic increase. Asked if everyone within the business community decides to follow the Minister by increasing the cost of their services to meet their cost. Brison questioned the double standard with the World Bank was so quick to help SMMC with $25M. Has the World Bank being apprised of the current situation with Condotte/ INSO and what feedback did the World Bank give, the MP asked. He said it's time to eliminate the tunnel vision that the Minister is portraying. What are the other companies that participated in the bidding process and what were there level compared to INSO. Has anyone reached out to VAMED recently or did they reach out to government or SZV since the INSO financial situation arises Brison asked? He said VAMED was paid $1M Euros to settle their court case, has the Minister consider bringing back VAMED to the table and renegotiate with them. How long does the Minister intend to wait at the mercy of the Italian Government?
He further asked if SMMC has been audited for financials and is there an appraisal report. Can Parliament be provided with financial statements including profit and loss?
MP Luc Mercelina said the Minister is working on the hospital project based on a business plan which he said is to accommodate the construction of the hospital. He said constructing a hospital should be based on the level of care that could be provided to the community. Mercelina also expressed concerns about the tariff increase which he said was done on a business perspective but asked the Minister about the premiums that have to be increased to sustain the National General Insurance. He asked the Minister to explain parliament how he will tackle the increase in premiums.
Mercelina also lamented on the type of contract INSO would be getting, he said INSO cannot meet its obligation to construct the NGH and wants to know what assurance can the Minister give parliament on the maintenance contract. “Can you tell Parliament that INSO will be around in the next 10- 15 years to comply with maintenance. Asked for the detailed settlement on INSO, how much has been invested thus far in preparation of the New General Hospital. Who has been shouldering the cost thus far?
The Chairlady of Parliament Sarah Wescot Williams certainly saw that Members of Parliament were not at all convinced with the way the Minister is handling the project thus she threw a curve ball by asking the Minister to provide the answers to the questions quickly and most of all the Minister must place focus on the quality of care currently being provided at SMMC and the working conditions the staff of SMMC has to endure to provide healthcare services.

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