Emmanuel requests urgent meeting to address PJIA

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PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — Independent MP Christophe Emmanuel has requested an urgent public meeting of Parliament to discuss the ongoing re-construction of the Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA). His request calls for the presence of the Prime Minister and the Minister of TEATT and is expected to get support from opposition members of Parliament.

Emmanuel had already been very critical of management of PJIA and what he called “lack of transparency and shady dealings” surrounding the reconstruction of PJIA. His criticism has recently turned into a full-throated call for an investigation at PJIA after it was announced that the airport project will be delayed once again after main contractor Ballast Nedam and Management of PJIA said “unexpected” issues had arose.

These issues surrounded the repainting of metal beams with fire retardant paint which, Emmanuel pointed out, was known since 2017 based on an engineering report that PJIA itself commissioned. The MP said he is not buying any of it and the government must provide answers.

“Enough is enough, we are the laughing stock of the region. People are lining up outside the terminal, looking like they are entering some kind of bunker. This is the first impression we are portraying to the world simply because we have management of an airport and a main contractor who continue to bleed the country of funds, accomplishing nothing,” Emmanuel said.

“This delay pushes the completion of the project to 2024 and this is barring any further setbacks. We are in a hurricane belt. The work should have been completed so PJIA is prepared for the eventual next big storm. Five years have gone by and thank God we have been spared. Now the country has to wait until 2024 and pray that we continued to be spared. This lame excuse of “unexpected” issues is pure nonsense,” the MP said.