St. Maarten Government pumps more money into “White Elephant”POSTED: 03/25/13 12:49 PM
St. Maarten – Last week the government approved more than 1 million guilders in payments that needed to be made as a follow up to the completion of works for the new government administration building.
“Another amount of over 1 million dollars that needed to be aid to contractors and others involved for changes that needed to take place, outstanding payments, invoices etc. That’s another step that has been finalized and now we are looking at the further completion of the building,” Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams who also holds responsibility for the Ministry of General Affairs stated.
The prime minister indicated that she had requested that a time line be drafted for a schedule of activities for the building’s completion.
“Now that payment which was approved is behind us, a time line will help us to clear indication as to when it can be finalized and start the matter of occupying the building.”
One of the things that resulted in a delay was that they needed to do a review of the needs of various ministries with regard to occupation of the building, she added.
“The blueprint that was selected because of among other things, furniture, you can imagine with the passage of years that has changed. The firm that did it in the past was on St. Maarten during January to do a reassessment of the needs of the ministries with respect to the occupation of the building. That report should be part of the overall schedule of activities that I expect to receive within a week or so.”
The first developer for the government administration building, RGM, took the government to court in an effort to force it to finish the building and to finally occupy it. While there is still a lot to be done to finish the inside of the building – not to mention finding financing for it – the project seems to be on the move now.
Architectural and engineering consultant firm IND has been given the approval to begin the revision and design layout of the new government administration building. IND won the tender in 2008 for the project. It has since been meeting with the Ministry of VROMI and other officials for the completion of what is often referred to as “the most expensive chicken coop.”