Grisha tells President of Parliament not to risk country’s lifeline

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~Stop tip-toeing around airport saga~

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — Independent MP Grisha Heyliger-Marten on Tuesday advised Chairman of Parliament Sidharth Bijlani to “stop stalling, protecting and tip-toeing” and immediately convene the requested urgent meeting on the Princess Juliana International Airport before the country loses its most strategic asset due to weak and subpar management. “We expect to have that meeting convened in the week of December 12 upon our return from the Netherlands,” MP Heyliger Marten stressed.

Heyliger-Marten co-signed a letter on November 14, 2022 from Independent MP Christophe
Emmanuel requesting an urgent meeting on the ongoing reconstruction of PJIA and related
matters. MP Raeyhon Peterson also co-signed the letter. The rules of order of Parliament state that an urgent meeting has to be called four days after it was requested. To date, the MPs have not received anything in writing about the status of the aforementioned meeting.
In the meantime, MP Heyliger-Marten explained, things seems to be getting worse at PJIA with various things happening while the people and the Parliament remains completely in the dark.

Furthermore, the MP said she has been made aware of a rumor that the World Bank has put the airport under what is known as “extreme supervision”.

This is a measure that is enacted when the World Bank is not satisfied with reporting on a
particular project financed by the World Bank. “The Chairman of Parliament apparently does not comprehend or perhaps does not appear to care about the detrimental and devastating spillover effects that the airport will have on this nation and to its citizens if it fails.”

“From the re-financing of PJIA, to delays regarding painting, to unhappy employees, moving people in and out of tents, poor passenger experiences and on and on, every day it is something negative with PJIA and every day we are kept further from the truth. The Chairman of Parliament has to fulfill his duty and obligation to Parliament and to the people and call the meeting so the truth can come out and stop protecting Ministers from facing Parliament,” Heyliger-Marten said.

“PJIA is our most powerful engine of economic growth. With recovery underway, it behooves us to position the airport where it can be competitive in the region and continue to be that economic generator for our country.

It equates to jobs and income, it facilitates tourism, trade, connectivity, improves living
standards, in other words it is our lifeline. It is a shame that the Chairman of Parliament is
putting all of this at risk to protect a few. We expect to have that meeting confirmed upon our return,” Heyliger-Marten concluded.”