MP Wescot queries the status of the  Philipsburg Market Place, not convinced this can still be completed before the season.

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PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — MP  Wescot in her statement explained that  NAF. 60 million guilders have been approved as loans for the budgeted capital projects in 2023 and finds it remarkable that the CFT  recently admonished the Finance Ministry to make haste with the projected capital loans and projects.

 “While the amended  budget 2023 is nowhere yet in sight, let alone the 2024 budget, the CBCS has published the loan offer and the minister of finance has announced most of the projected capital projects, which according to the 2023 budget notes should be  ready to go”, stated MP Wescot.

Singling out 2 projects as an example, the MP stated that we would’ve expected that projects such as the Dutch Quarter improvements and the Philipsburg Market would have been eagerly announced by name and date.

“In the capital budget 2023, an amount of NAf. 676.800 is mentioned for a Vendor’s Village. I hope this is the reconstruction of the market place. What is a concern nevertheless is the timing. We are in November and the high season is around the corner. The  government in 2022, via an amendment by coalition MPs removed the capital budget for the Philipsburg market place, because as it was said then, the project would be done in collaboration with the harbor, suggesting that the finances for this project would come from the harbor.”

Recalling statements at the beginning of this year, MP Wescot stated that   successive ministers of TEATT in press reports alluded to the agreement with the Royal Caribbean Group (RCG) to construct the Philipsburg Market Place.

“Minister Lambriex, upon taking office made this project a priority and referred to discussions with RCG regarding the market place in Philipsburg, a proposed water park and boutique hotel.”

MP Wescot: “It is heartbreaking to see the vendors, when weather threatens, scuffling to secure their ware and the questions on the minds on the vendors whose livelihoods depend on the market place is where the budget to construct the market place will come from. When  will construction start? If construction is to start soon, how will they survive the high season?”

I sincerely hope that some temporary solution , such as a big tent or coverage will be considered, because it is highly unlikely that the new market place can be constructed, equipped and put into use before the start of the high season. I also hope that no stopgap solutions are employed to hide the delay of this project, MP Wescot concluded.