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Minister Ottley: MOU and water contract signed to assist French Saint Martin with water shortage issues.

ottleymussington05122023PHILIPSBURG:---  A historic collaboration was formalized today with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Government of St. Maarten and the Collectivité de Saint-Martin. Minister Omar Ottley representing the Council of Ministers and President Louis Mussington, representing the respective entities, sealed the agreement at the Government building.

The participants, recognizing the critical need for equitable and resilient solutions in providing community drinking water on Saint Martin, have affirmed their commitment to collaborate on a groundbreaking project. The primary objectives include addressing challenges faced by technical and mechanical issues affecting water production and distribution by SAUR.

"When I heard about the water capacity challenges faced by our brothers and sisters on the northern side of the island, I felt it was prudent that we find a way to assist, as we are to be viewed as one island with one body and two heartbeats. I am grateful to Mr. Sanchez for agreeing to continue this long-awaited project, and to President Mussington for seeing it through and making it a reality." Said Ottely.

The collaboration will be spearheaded by N.V. G.E.B.E. and ETABLISSEMENT DES EAUX ET DE L'ASSAINISSEMENT DE SAINT-MARTIN (EEASM). GEBE, an electrical and water distribution corporation, will leverage its expertise to provide safe drinking water to the French side of the island, while EEASM, the designated representative of the Collectivité, will oversee water and sanitation services.

In a joint effort, the participants aim to support capacity building, sustainability, and project implementation to improve the distribution of community drinking water, addressing challenges posed by technical and mechanical issues affecting SAUR's operations.

Weather-related stresses, including the impact of Hurricanes Irma and María in 2017, have underscored the vulnerabilities of existing systems. The participants acknowledge these challenges and commit to working together to provide safe drinking water to community residents, ensuring compliance with health regulations.

The Government of St. Maarten, dedicated to fulfilling Sustainable Development Goals, aims to ensure its population's access to a safe water supply and basic sanitation. This commitment aligns with the broader goals of improving overall health, and socioeconomic development, and enhancing the quality of life for its residents.

As part of their collaborative efforts, the participants will address weather-related challenges by continuing infrastructure repairs and improvements to enhance sustainability and resilience. This MoU marks a significant milestone in fostering a resilient and reliable water supply for the communities of Saint-Martin.

Although the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and contract were signed today, the implementation process is expected to take place by February 2024. This timeframe allows both parties to have ample time to make the necessary operational preparations. The extra preparation period ensures that all logistical aspects, such as resource allocation, infrastructure development, and capacity building, can be effectively arranged. By allowing sufficient time for these preparations, it increases the likelihood of a successful and smooth transition when the project begins in February 2024.

 

 

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