PHILIPSBURG – At Wednesday’s, February 8, Council of Ministers Press Briefing, Minister of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure Christophe Emmanuel first thanked the Police Department for taking the initiative “to haul in the contractors that supply cement,” for constantly depositing cement when trucks are going up hill, “with no sort of concern to the residents. It is just left there on the side.”
He admonished the contractors to “clean it up because what you do is put other pedestrians, other drivers in danger, and also you damage a vehicle, so I guess I’m saying congratulations to the Police Department for taking that initiative by calling in the contractors to deal with that situation and see to it that it doesn’t happen again.”
He went on to talk about collaboration within the different ministries. “At the end we come to one common goal, and understanding that we need to fix and deal with issues that’s affecting St. Maarten.”
In addition, he mentioned motorists’ use of the newly paved roads. “I’m saying to all the individuals out there that use our public roads, because it is not an easy task for government to take the initiative to resurface roads, to paint roads, and then they’re taken for granted, and if you look out there now you’ll see that the guy is out there and they’re doing a marvelous job,” he stated.
“You know as much as government has a responsibility, you also have a responsibility. I would be coming to you and asking for a donation because I need to fix these problems. And there are problems in your neighborhood. You are using the roads, you are living in those areas. The water is running by your homes,” the Minister continued.
“… It’s time for you to contribute also to this society, so I’m reaching out to you as a Minister and say lend us a hand, help us, do what you can,” he stated.
Minister Emmanuel also talked about tackling the issue of running sewage. “…If we don’t tackle it and nip it in the bud right now it’s not going to get solved. People feel that it’s okay to simply just run a sewage in the road. Where does it end up? The ponds… and eventually into the beaches. You will carry your children, your family, is there to swim. It’s unacceptable and we are going to take a serious look at this problem,” Minister Emmanuel said.
The Minister also mentioned tackling the issue of the Cul-de-Sac and South Reward areas that have morning rush hour due to schools in the area; and persons whose vehicles have expired number plates and are up on blocks. He warned, “We’ll remove them. We are coming to remove them at your expense. Remove them or we will remove them at your expense. Because stop thinking about yourself, and start thinking about the community that you’re in. These sort of things simply can’t be the way they are anymore.”
He asked for the community’s patience while all these works are taking place. He mentioned again the bumps at Coralita Road, and said the, “Police Department regulates those sort of things, and if that’s the way they say the bumps should be, then that’s the way it should be.”
“There are certain things that are needed that we are working on. We all probably wouldn’t like it…but we are taking strides, and we are moving forward and these things will come. It’s just a matter of time. Our debt is being cleared up, and when this is done the budget will be open and we’ll be able to do more work, but work is going on and things are happening, so bear with us.”
Minister Emmanuel updated on St. Peters Road, saying that the sidewalks were being worked on. However, he chided companies “such as UTS, such as TelEm, such as GEBE. When you get a waiver to take up the sidewalks, please repair it back properly. The sidewalk is done properly, the bricks are done properly, you dug it up, removed the sand, you take two-three weeks to make the repairs, and when the repairs are done it’s not done properly.”
“Changes are coming in that aspect also, and those things happen because you get it for free, and when you start to pay for it, then you’re going to understand,” he concluded.