Minister Emmanuel on SMHDF and GEBE

MP Christophe Emmanuel


PHILIPSBURG – In Wednesday’s, March 8, Council of Minister’s Press Briefing, VROMI Minister Christophe Emmanuel provided some clarity on the issues with the St. Maarten Housing Development Foundation (SMHDF) and GEBE’s request of government for a transfer of land.

In the matter of the SMHDF, a letter from Minister Emmanuel was dispatched to the Housing Development Foundation stating that members of the government-appointed board had to resign. Minister Emmanuel did not receive a response from the SMHDF on his request.

“In my opinion I think there’s something fundamentally wrong with the way the St. Maarten Housing Development Foundation is being managed. In the short time that I have taken office, we have already collected some 150 complaints that have been directed to the St. Maarten Housing Development Foundation,” Minister Emmanuel said.

“I have spoken to the Chairman of the Board on how we can look at these complaints. We had a discussion, and are continuing our discussion, but as it is right now, every day it’s three to five individuals, and I think the last one that was the straw that broke the camel’s back,” was an 86-year-old who has been complaining for the past two years. The house that she bought “she basically cannot live in, and she has used up all her life savings.”

Concerning the GEBE solar energy park, where GEBE requested some land, Minister Emmanuel stated, “that was also a topic of discussion among us as the Council of Ministers, and why should government transfer the land? If they’re requesting to put down a solar park, it’s just a matter of GEBE and government coming to some kind of agreement, and allowing them to use.”

“I don’t think government will be transferring the land to GEBE to put any solar power park,” he concluded.