Only 5 per cent UTS shares to St. Maarten

PHILIPSBURG–St. Maarten has no part in United Telecommunications Services (UTS) and will only be entitled to a small percentage of the shares of the telecommunications company because of the dismantling of the Netherlands Antilles. Because of the division of assets and liabilities, St. Maarten will have a claim on approximately five per cent of the total shares, Telecommunications Minister Maurice Adriaens told The Daily Herald.

Home Affairs Minister Roland Duncan recently reacted to statements Adriaens had made that St. Maarten does not have a claim on shares of UTS stating that this is not true. Thirty per cent of the UTS shares must be divided between the islands when the Netherlands Antilles is dismantled, he added.

Adriaens re-iterated his statement made earlier that St. Maarten did not participate in the establishment of UTS and had preferred its own international telephone company Smitcoms. Actually what St. Maarten demanded accelerated the process of liberalisation of the telecommunications market, Adriaens said.

UTS was the result of the integration of Antelecom and Curacao’s local phone company Setel, which was a lot bigger than Antelecom. In theory, a 50-50 share of the shares between Curacao and the Central Government was applied, but recent investigations by independent accountant bureaus showed that a 70-30 allocation was just.

According to Duncan, St. Maarten still has to get 20 per cent of the shares to be divided between the islands. This means the island will have to be paid dividends as shareholder as well.

Adriaens, however, said that preliminary calculations showed that St. Maarten, because of the dismantling of the Netherlands Antilles, would be entitled to approximately 16 per cent of the shares the Central Government holds, which comes down to St. Maarten having right to more or less five per cent of the total shares of UTS.

Source: The Daily Herald St. Maarten

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