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|SXC-project doesn’t cost Curaçao anything|
|Tuesday, 5 February 2013 09:04|
WILLEMSTAD — “Of course, it is good that parliamentarians want to know more about the progresses of the Space Expedition Curaçao (SXC) project and to chart possible financial implications for Curaçao. There are no implications”, said Maurice Adriaens, director of government company Curaçao Airport Holding (CAH).According to the CAH-director, following the advice from its taskforce late 2011 the government decided not to invest government funds in the project. He emphasized that the SXC-initiative is a private initiative and not connected with the government of Curaçao at all. With this Adriaens responded to an ‘informal meeting of the SXC-initiators Ben Droste and Harry van Hulten last week Monday with three parliamentarians in the Parliament’. As party leader of Pais, Alex Rosaria, stated yesterday SXC was to give the Standing Parliamentary Committee a presentation on the project. However, this meeting could not go through because there was no quorum. Considering the SXC-members had flown over from the Netherlands to give this presentation, an informal meeting was held.
Repayment 350,000 dollars
Adriaens explained some people are not yet fully informed on the project. “At the very beginning of the project, SXC needed a starting capital to make a down payment for the construction of the spacecraft and to have a report drawn up by consultancy bureau KPMG. As the government at the time realized the potential value of such project for the island, CAH invested – with approval – 350,000 dollars with the option for so-called ‘A-shares’ (these shares are only reserved for the initiators). This investment was also made to make sure the space project would actually materialize on Curaçao. It was also agreed at the time that Curaçao’s name would be put on the spacecraft and mentioned in the initiative to promote Curaçao”, said the CAH-director. A further investment was considered up to maximum 4 million (in the spaceflights, in the facilities of the spaceport or in the space entertainment center). “At the time the taskforce decided the investment would be limited to the 350,000 dollars and that this amount be considered as a loan”, said the CAH-director.
Droste also mentioned this last week in an interview with the Amigoe. “Considering it regards a private initiative and the government of Curaçao has decided not to invest government funds in the project, we will repay the loan. SXC can meet this commitment considering the business developments, which includes the ticket sales”, said Droste.
SXC-project is a private initiative
The CAH-director explained negotiations on the form of repayment are in progress. “After the government’s decision late 2011 the former minister of Economic Development, Abdul Nasser El Hakim (MFK), had engaged in the negotiations to stipulate the debt in a new agreement. The option to involve the Curaçao Tourist Board (CTB) was discussed as regards promotion possibilities, and the possibility to raffle off tickets among the tourists of the island – at the value of the outstanding amount – with the aim to attract more tourists to Curaçao. The negotiations with SXC on these possibilities are still in progress and we hope to reach a new agreement in June”, said Adriaens. He stated there is already a question of a ‘return of investment’. “This investment is already remunerative considering the media attention it generated for Curaçao through the years, in connection with this project”, said Adriaens.
CTB considers CAH-proposal
The possibility of exhibiting the model of the Lynx-spacecraft (the SXC-model realized in actual size) permanently on Curaçao, namely in Punda, thus creating a positive effect on cruise passengers visiting the island. Raffling off tickets for the commercial spaceflights is also considered a possibility. CTB-director Ghatim Kabbara confirmed the existence of this CAH-proposal. “We are currently evaluating its promotion value for the island. As this was not included in the budget for 2013 we must take a close look if the investments involved with this proposal are remunerative for the CTB before making any commitments.”