Monday, May 20th

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Editorial - Nonetheless

Recently appointed Public Health Minister Rafael Boasman is to get an update on the restructuring of Social and Health Insurances SZV (see related story). That is obviously welcome, but also might give him the opportunity to seek clarity on some notable reports concerning the agency of late.

One of them is that SZV apparently has provided Port St. Maarten with a short-term loan of US $10 million to help settle the Zebec damage claim. According to management, it was purely a business deal based on sufficient collateral and the monthly payments with interest are already being made.

Additionally, it was announced in Wednesday’s paper that SZV together with the general pension fund APS had offered to cover the cost of expanding and completing the still-empty and not-so-new-anymore Administration Building. This too was called a simple investment, to be repaid from what is now spent on renting office space for the civil service.

While it was long known that talks had taken place with these two parties about the future of the unoccupied complex on Pond Island, the talks also involved Government’s huge debts to both. In the end those negotiations didn’t prosper, so it is unclear to what extent that aspect is part of the proposal mentioned.

Many people reacted with surprise when learning that others are seemingly able to borrow money from SZV. Perhaps they did not realise that – just like APS – it regards a financial institution that is quite independent as well.

Still, there are no – at least not widely-known – examples of similar actions by Antillean predecessor Social Insurance Bank SVB except when it involves medical facilities. That may have to do with a better liquidity position of SZV and the various funds it manages, but nonetheless raises questions that beg for answers.