St. Maarten Civil servants move to new building on July 1POSTED: 04/8/16 3:40 PM
St. Maarten News – The signing of the necessary documents to initiate the start of the completion of the new Government Building situated on Pond Island is certainly a step in the right direction and according to Minister of Finance Richard Gibson Sr, such a move will save the Government 300,000 guilders per month.
The signing of the agreement between the contractors, Windward Electric Company, Windward Roads, Lievense CSO and the SZV was a big moment in the history of St Maarten; it was the first time that all the ministers in the government converged in the still to be completed facility.
The Interim Director of SZV, Glen Carty was the first to address the gathering. “I hope that I will be here, hopefully still as Interim Director for the opening of this beautiful building behind us. At least for me to see it completed during my term. For SZV, we are also very proud for this historic moment, but more because with this beautiful building, we have been able settle with the government of St Maarten which also brings us to in good standing with our account,” Carty said.
Carty described the move as a beautiful investment for SZV and its registered customers because they are taking the money and investing it into a building where they would be able to get a nice return of six percent net on the investment they are putting into the project.
Carty took the opportunity to thank the government and singled out Minister of Finance Richard Gibson Sr. who did what was necessary to ensure the negotiations came through along with Minister Emil Lee and his SZV team that has been working hard behind the scene.
Minister Gibson made the most valid point of the day when he described the venture about to be under taken by the SZV, the contractors and the government of St Maarten as the removal of the Gordian knot.
“A Gordian knot is something that is almost impossible to untangle, but it has been untangled. I know that citizens have passed this building, admired it’s grandeur, it’s artichecture and realized that millions have been spent to have it erected.
Then they would scratch their heads and say how come it’s not being used. Well it was not being used because it was tied up in a Gordian knot. That knot has finally been loosened with some creative approaches and that has made the director at SZV happy with the investment they have made and the return on the investment they are receiving,” Gibson said.
He went to point out that the entire Council of Ministers and his ministry are extremely happy with the removal of the knot which according to projection will add 300,000 guilders in savings on a monthly basis.
“We have a lot of Gordian knots and it will take time to unravel them, but we will do so step by step. If we remain focused, determined and committed and if we get the corporation that is needed, all the knots will be resolved.”
Minister Gibson went on to thank the people that made the removal of the knot possible and that included Glen Carty, the Director at APS Franklyn Richards and his colleagues within the Council of Ministers. In closing, Minister Gibson said that he has the faith and the confidence that in time, all Gordian knots will be unraveled.
Minister of Health, Social Development and Labor, Emile Lee said that he was extremely proud to be a part of the team to untie the knot. “This is a building that I have seen erected and stand empty and unused for many years.”
Minister Lee lauded the efforts by Minister Gibson, Prime Minister William Marlin and Glen Carty for putting a deal together and noted that they all put their reputations at stake while agreeing to undertake a huge risk.
He described the agreement as a team effort and noted that it’s important to remember that it was an effort that came across party lines. “My role now is to ensure that SZV manages it’s investments well and make sure that it’s transparent. The building team has been put in place already and we have been reviewing old contracts and we are making an effort to restore guarantees. What we are seeing here is a culmination of those efforts,” Minister Lee said.
Prime Minister William Marlin put things into the right perspective in his first sentence when he said ‘it’s like moving from owning and then renting.’ “The building is owned by government and the prime minister in charge of facility management was in charge of the building. However because of the arrangement we made to solve the existing problem the government was unable to complete the building to have it ready and occupied. The government will soon be occupying the building and the new landlord will be the SZV, the owners of the building.”
The negotiating skills of the Minister of Finance Richardson Gibson Sr came in for high praises by the prime minister. He also thanked all those have played an important role in getting the situation resolved including the Council of Ministers and members of parliament who have voted for the approval of the budget.
Prime Minister Marlin said that the government plans to address many things and hinted that Front and Back Street are high on the priority list to be upgraded. The Prime Minister also offered his apology for not inviting APS to the signing ceremony and noted that it was an oversight on their part. In closing Prime Minister Marlin said that he will be leading by example and be the first to move his office furniture into the building on July 1.