PHLIPSBURG:--- “I would like to make public, that when I got involved in the discussions about finding a suitable location on Dutch St Maarten for a Water Treatment Facility, the country was already facing the end of an extended period and deadline placed by the EU Funding agency. I was informed that St Maarten had requested and received an extension and that extension was nearing its end.”
In July Of last year I was requested to sit in on a meeting with then Prime Minister and Minister of VROMI a.t. Marcel Gumbs along various department heads of VROMI and its Acting SG to discuss the possibility of acquiring land to make this fading opportunity for a multi million dollar facility a reality for the island and its people.
At that meeting we all agreed on a possible way forward and presented that to the representative of Princes Port de Plaisance Mr. Hakan, who also took part in the discussions.
What was also negotiated was an extra 1000 square meters of land in Cole Bay to develop a community center for the people of Cole Bay. As the representative and not the ultimate decision maker of the Princes Group, Mr Hakan promised that he would get back to Government on its requests and offers. A few weeks later the principles of PDP responded favorably to Governments request and the process finalize the agreement continued under my leadership as Minister of VROMI.
Before leaving office I set in motion the processes to finalize this agreement and as soon as the NA led government took office they immediately began the process of reversing this and other decisions such as the agreements made with APS to develop homes for the civil Service, the plans for PDP to develop its Kim-Sha property where they had agreed to construct public parking in Kim-Sha which was a prerequisite of government, all of these efforts were made to have direct positive impact and effects on the economy and for people of St Maarten.
Now I read in the local media that Prime Minister William Marlin has decided to construct and island in the lagoon to build water treatment facility on. Here the island will have to invest millions unnecessarily, not mentioning yet another delay in the EU funded project in addition to further destruction of the ego system of the lagoon. For these haphazard not well planned out reasons the international community doesn't take us seriously as a country.
For those who have been critical of the decision to grant Princess Port de Plaisance the property on Kim-Sha beach must be informed that the company already own property on Kim-Sha since the late 1980's and have been requesting Government for years for additional property to aid with the ingress and egress of their planned resort development. What they have also agreed to as a condition is that public parking would be part of the development on Kim-Sha. This would then allow for the public to have security surveillance public parking in this heavily commercial area as any parking facility in that area would require.
It is shameful and embarrassing when for personal and political reasons government would ignore positive developments for shortsighted and ignorant ambitions.
Claret M M Connor (Cell 559-1964)