Former Minister Connor criticizes reversal Kim Sha development

POSTED: 03/13/16 7:31 PM

St. Maarten News – “I would like to make public, that when I got involved in the discussions about finding a suitable location on Dutch St Maarten for a Water Treatment Facility, the country was already facing the end of an extended period and deadline placed by the EU Funding agency. I was informed that St Maarten had requested and received an extension and that extension was nearing its end,” former Vromi-Minister Claret Connor said in a press statement.

“In July of last year I was requested to sit in on a meeting with then Prime Minister and Minister of Vromi Marcel Gumbs and various department heads of Vromi and its Acting Secretary-General to discuss the possibility of acquiring land to make this fading opportunity for a multi-million dollar facility a reality for the island and its people. We all agreed on a possible way forward and presented that to the representative of Princess Port de Plaisance Mr. Hakan, who also took part in the discussions.”

Connor says parties negotiated an extra 1,000 square meters of land in Cole Bay to develop a community center for the people of Cole Bay. “As the representative and not the ultimate decision maker of the Princess Group, Mr. Hakan promised that he would get back to government on its requests and offers. A few weeks later the principals of Port de Plaisance responded favorably to governments request and the process to finalize the agreement continued under my leadership as Minister of Vromi.”

Before leaving office I set in motion the processes to finalize this agreement, Connor noted “As soon as the NA-led government took office they immediately began the process of reversing this and other decisions such as the agreements made with APS to develop homes for the civil service, the plans for Port de Plaisance to develop its Kim Sha property where they had agreed to construct public parking; this was a prerequisite of government. All of these efforts were made to have direct positive impact and effects on the economy and for people of St Maarten.”

“Now I read in the local media that Prime Minister William Marlin has decided to construct and island in the lagoon to build water treatment facility on,” Connor stated. “Here the island will have to invest millions unnecessarily, not mentioning yet another delay in the EU-funded project in addition to further destruction of the eco system of the lagoon. For these haphazard not well planned out reasons the international community doesn’t take us seriously as a country.”

For those who have been critical of the decision to grant Princess Port de Plaisance the property on Kim-Sha beach, they must be informed that the company already owns property on Kim-Sha since the late 1980’s, Connor said. “They have been requesting government for years for additional property to aid with the ingress and egress of their planned resort development. What they have also agreed to as a condition is that public parking would be part of the development. This would then allow for the public to have security surveillance public parking in this heavily commercial area as any parking facility in that area would require.”

Connor says that it is “shameful and embarrassing” when for personal and political reasons government would ignore positive developments “for shortsighted and ignorant ambitions.”

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