PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — In recent weeks there has been much publicity on social media, and throughout the communities regarding the deplorable road conditions on the island. After careful review of the Budget 2022, I observed that reservations were not made, thus not budgeted for repairs/resurfacing of existing hard surfaced roads on the island and several other major existing problems.
Due to my concerns thereof, I have voiced my concern to the Minister of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure, the Honorable Egbert J. Doran, for clarification on the following matters:
The ongoing Front Street repairs work started late last year and cost were incurred. My concern is whether the repair costs were budgeted for that year 2021 or will these go in 2022 budget and what the plans are for the leftover used pavers/bricks that are still in good condition.
The Sidewalk Hard Resurfacing Project (public roads) was also mentioned as to whether or not, other areas of interest were earmarked for upgrades.
Road repairs that are urgently required especially along our main public roads and intersections, such as Welfare Road, Union Road, Link 1, Dutch Quarter, Airport Road and Maho (along Driftwood Bar), Divi Little Bay Road etc. are of major concern. I fully support the belief that road repairs/resurfacing must be included and that certain funds requested, such as those allotted for the ‘Ring Road’ should be redirected for such repair works, with emphasis, prior to any commencement of work/repairs to be done, that the root cause of continuous damage will be conducted, as the same repairs seem to be required in most cases every few months. As an elected representative and the voice of the people of St Maarten I must voice this concern as Safety and well being of all our people must always be first and foremost. Potholes take a serious toll on suspension, oil pans, and tires of vehicles as well for our 2 wheeled motorists becomes a very dangerous situation and obstacle coarse.
There is also a serious drainage problem and flooding in certain areas after heavy rainfalls. Due to this problem the drainage project in Sucker Garden was brought about to ease the flow of water into the Rolandus Kanaal. Other areas and Beacon Hill with a much more developed surrounding, also suffers the same faith, without having easy access to direct the stagnant flow of water into a Kanaal, drainage system or Pond. In this regard I have asked the minister for more information on the project(s) in the areas of concern for flooding.
Other concerns put forward are the repair and replacement of guard rails where cost vs longevity and durability were weighed in. The same applied for the Street Light Placement, which I consider a great initiative of the minister, as this is much needed. I however have gone a bit further, with much attention for Solar Street Lighting, as it is effective cost cutting measure and has already been initiated and succesful in many areas on the Northern half of the island.
The minister’s attention was also asked for the Market Place located behind the courthouse and future plans, the clean-up and removal of dead foliage/trees along public roads, Round-a bouts, Front-and Back Street, and the repair of the round-a-bout in Cole Bayall all dating back to hurricane Irma in 2017, that have all gradually become an eye soar.
As a last note, we have in recent days/weeks seen through social media, celebrities that have visited our beautiful island and stopped at some of our popular land marks such as the “Harold Jack Lookout.” I believe, that the endeavors of the previous minister of VROMI, Mr. C. Emmanuel, should be realized and continued and emphasis placed on beautification and accessibility to the area of the flag, by placing proper steps, and an access ramp for the disabled as well. It is my hope that both ministries (TEATT/VROMI), will find ways to have a few beautiful cultural looking vendor stalls placed on location (by government) for which simple services such as souvenirs, drinks, snacks, commodities can be provided for any visitors to the area. The vendors should also be culturally dressed on a daily basis.