Lake on Gebe outages: “We can’t continue to live in the dark ages”

POSTED: 10/17/14 4:32 PM

St. Maarten – “We can’t continue to live in the dark ages,” Vromi Minister Maurice Lake noted as he cited the current location of NV Gebe’s water transformer house in Cay Bay as a reason for the lengthy utility outage in the wake of hurricane Gonzalo.

While Lake commended the staff of Gebe, emergency personnel, contractors and others who have been working to restore the island back to pre-Gonzalo glory, for their dedication and resilience, the minister noted that he will be seeking a meeting with NV Gebe board and management to address certain issues.

First on Lakes list of issues that needs to be addressed is the Gebe Cay Bay water transformer house which he believes needs to be relocated and upgraded to meet the needs of the people.  “We can’t continue to live in the dark ages of having a transformer house right next to the sea when a hurricane or storm hits everything goes dark….transformer houses should be more protected around the country.

“We can’t have the community and businesses go two days without water due to oversights that could have been prevented.  I also would like for Gebe to improve and restructure their organizational chart structure of who is responsible for which department in-case of emergencies in order to better serve the community,” Minister Lake said.

Minister Lake apologized to consumers with respect to the loss of essential services such as electricity and water based on the passing of the category one hurricane. On Tuesday Lake met with staff from Ministry Vromi and NV Gebe for an overview and action plan of the clean-up and the restoring of electricity and water.

“This has been a learning experience, and we need to improve on the areas where much more can be done.  I strongly believe in pre-planning prevents poor performance. Personally, I think things could have been done differently because we have too much experience from the past like hurricane Luis and ones after to know how to function, and we need to evaluate how we performed in order to learn from this experience.

“As Minister, I have a responsibility to the people to address and improve the issues to better serve the community. I will be calling another meeting with NV Gebe board and management to restructure and change the plan and the way we handle preparations for storms/hurricanes. We need to put a better structure in place to better serve the community. The dissemination of information to the general public should be more immediate and accurate and this challenge needs to be evaluated,” Lake said.

He explained that he has learnt a lot within Ministry Vromi during the past 16-months as minister responsible for the ministry adding that he would also like to see some restructuring in Ministry of Vromi.  “As St. Maarteners we like to undermine each other a lot and work against each other’s plans, but we need to raise the bar and take this country to another level.  We can only move this country forward as a collective body and I am ready to serve my people with a vision for the future that will benefit all the people.”

The Vromi minister thanked the general public for their patience and community efforts in getting the island back on track.


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