Minister Lake meets with Priest about Foga houses

POSTED: 10/4/13 1:49 PM

St. Maarten – Vromi Minister Maurice Lake met last week with the board of the One St. Maarten People’s Party (OSPP) led by President Lenny Priest regarding a number of issues of mutual concern.

“The meeting was cordial, and the issues that we spoke about are the same ones that I have already been addressing and in some cases trying to address as it pertains to other entities which are not under my direct control,” the minister said. “I am here to meet with all groups and entities as it pertains to the national development of our country. I firmly believe that every individual or group, political or non-political should have a say. We live in a democracy and everybody has a right and therefore I extended an invitation to the OSPP for a meeting which they accepted,” he added.

Some of the matters that we discussed related to the St. Maarten Housing Development Foundation. The Foga houses in Sucker Garden were discussed at length. Minister Lake has been dealing with the matter since he first visited the homes and met with residents several weeks ago.

One matter related to the Foga homes is that there is only one exit and that is a hazard in case of fire; sewage water in the area; alleged and unsubstantiated comments made about ministerial pressure being applied; and the status of the supervisory board.

“As minister I have my responsibilities. I informed the board of the OSPP that my ministry is working on the pending matters that are within our scope of responsibility. At the same time, the supervisory board is not complete, and I am busy with this aspect where I have already had discussions with the Corporate Governance Council to get this aspect completed where the management of the housing foundation has a full board that can give direction and carry out its authority of supervising the foundation etc. with respect to its core responsibilities of providing affordable quality public housing for the people of this country,” Lake said.

“An operational audit of the housing foundation will provide an overview of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of the people’s foundation. The analysis will guide management and the supervisory board with respect to the way forward. You need to analysis your situation first before you can move forward in an efficient manner. You have to take everything into consideration and make wise decisions and choices on behalf of the people of this country, and that is exactly what I am doing. I am doing my job,” the minister concluded.

The minister added that he would like to thank the OSPP for their time in accepting his invitation and wishes them much success in their future endeavors.

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