Delays in gov’t building completion

Prime Minister (PM) William Marlin

SINT MAARTEN — Though the new government administration building can be occupied at this time, it is not completely ready, disclosed Prime Minister William Marlin at Wednesday’s Council of Ministers press briefing.

“There have been lots of challenges with the completion. Technically, we can move in and operate now…there is running water, there is electricity, the sewage is connected…but there is very little sense to move into the building when the entire parking in front of the building, the entire appearance of the building is not yet completed,” Marlin said.

Just last month, Prime Minister Marlin took the media on a tour of the building to show them the progress being made ahead of the promise to start occupying the building by the first week of September. Media representatives were able to have a first-hand view of the new grounds including the first and fourth floor of which the general service staff and Council of Ministers will be occupying. However, the prime minister noted there have been some challenges with the completion. “There is a delay in the delivery of the material (to complete the building),” he disclosed.

The government of St. Maarten negotiated an agreement with its creditors SZV and APS to settle outstanding debt, which involves selling the new government building to SZV. The Council Of Ministers reached an agreement that the new Government building will be sold to SZV for 45 Million guilders in order to reduce the debt of Government and part to reduce the claims owed to APS. The Government will rent the building from SZV at a 6% value rate of the building and the investment needed to complete the building and furnish it.

“The 6% we will be paying in rent is a substantial reduction in the money we are currently paying to rent government space all over Philipsburg. We will be saving close to 300 or 400 Thousand Guilders when this deal is done” Minister Gibson explained. The option remains to purchase the building back from SZV, after the Government obtains a better financial position.