James condemns illegal construction on beaches

POSTED: 06/24/11 12:50 PM

St. Maarten – United Peoples (UP) party Member of Parliament (MP) Jules James has condemned business owners for taking the liberty of constructing structures without having the necessary permits in place, and also not having the necessary due diligence carried out to make sure that what is being constructed does not impair the laws of the land.

The Ministry of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure (VROMI)’s Inspection Department has issued a building stop with respect to illegal structures at Tango Beach Bar on Simpson Bay Beach. In another case, illegal structures also on Simpson Bay Beach at Karakter Beach Bar, were constructed without the necessary permits being in place prior to construction.  An immediate demolition order was issued and Karakter Beach Bar has appealed this decision.

Prior to the appeal process, Karakter Beach Bar had requested a building permit, but it had not been issued.  Ministry VROMI had advised to deny the request for a building permit because the construction would be in violation of applicable policies and regulations.  It was then advised to issue an order for removal of the construction.  Based on the advice, the Minister of VROMI denied the request for a building permit and issued an order for the removal of the construction.

“I would like to commend the environmental groups and residents for their quick response in alerting the relevant authorities about the illegal construction activities on the public beaches of our country.  St. Maarten will no longer tolerate the disregard for our laws.  We cannot go into another man’s country and construct a fence without having first and foremost the necessary permits in hand.  You would be heavily fined for infringing upon the country’s laws. The same goes for St. Maarten.  We are a country, have respect for our laws.  Follow the legal procedures to obtain your permits and once you have those in hand, you are able to construct whatever is in your permit and conforms to the laws of the land,” James said on Wednesday.

James added that the current situation that proprietors face when they pursue construction activities without the necessary permits in hand is an embarrassing one.

“I do hope others out there are paying attention and take heed, and have learnt a lesson.  Get the necessary permits before you start any type or form of construction.  Respect our laws,” the MP concluded.

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