Heyliger won’t put MPS and staff at risk

POSTED: 07/22/11 12:30 PM

St. Maarten – Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Housing, Physical Planning, Environment and Infrastructure (Vromi) Theodore Heyliger says he will not put the lives of the Members of Parliament, their staff and visitors at risk by signing off on a building permit before the plans are submitted and fire safety issues are addressed. Heyliger made the statement at Wednesday’s Council of Ministers press briefing.

“I’m not going to sign off a permit that does not meet the approval of the fire department because I’m not going to stand responsible for the lives of our highest body – 15 Members of Parliament – and all of the support staff that’s in there,” Heyliger said.

Heyliger says ministry staffers have spoken with the President of Parliament, the Secretary General and the building’s owner and requested the plans for the building. Construction on the building started prior to October 10, 2010 after the Island Council approved the lease contract, but the request for the building permit had not been signed and filed. The lack of a request and subsequently a permit means that the building owner cannot apply to utility company GEBE for an increase in the wattage it supplies to the building.

The Fire Department has also toured the building and reported that parts of the building do not meet the Fire Code issued by the Department and they have issued a “partial negative advice.”

“It is not that things are being intentionally held up. If it was never requested I could not intentionally hold it up. There are certain challenges and once those challenges have been met in terms of the necessary plans being made up, because there were no plans for the interior of the building, the application process goes through and the fire department puts its stamp on it then they permit can be signed off,” Heyliger said.

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