PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — Independent Member of Parliament Christophe Emmanuel on Monday said that it has been brought to his attention that something is amiss with the ongoing construction/expansion of the St. Maarten General Hospital (SMGH) and has called on Minister of Health Omar Ottley to investigate the matter and inform Parliament and the public accordingly.
Emmanuel said for the past few weeks little to no work has been executed at the project site, with key players in the project reportedly unhappy with the fact that they have not been paid. Reliable sources informed the MP that progress has been slow after a year since it commenced due to various changes with the company and the company not living up to its obligations.
One such obligation is the payment to the main contractor that reportedly hasn’t been paid for a time. The same goes for the local companies providing concrete and executing steel works and tiling. Allegedly, the company entrusted with the execution of the project FINSO (formerly INSO) has had internal issues maintaining finance personnel as well as challenges with banking on St. Maarten.
“There are too many grumblings that are starting to get louder and the progress after a full year seems stagnant,” MP Emmanuel said. “We can barely see any work ongoing at the site, even before the holidays. Minister Ottley should look into the matter and determine if there is any truth to these reports. Virtual tours and the like are all fine and well, but this is the second major project that the trust fund committee likes to boast about. And just like the first (PJIA), here too we see little happening,” the MP said.
The MP would like to know if the project is delayed, when will it be completed and, if true, why are key players not paid on time? “After a full year, I believe it is time that a truthful update on this project be presented, and hopefully more truthful than what we have been getting about the airport,” Emmanuel concluded.