Work on new government administration building about to restart – Some perspective for the white elephant

POSTED: 09/6/12 11:34 AM

St. Maarten – Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams declined to give an approximate date for when the first civil servants will be behind their desks in the new government administration building on Pond Island. “I would be tempted to give such an approximate date for other projects, but not for the new government administration building,” the PM said at yesterday’s press briefing. “There are too many setbacks.”
Nevertheless, there seems to be some sort of progress looming on the horizon for what vice prime minister used to call the white elephant with the green hat when he was the leader of the opposition. “I would have loved to be able to say that the contractor has started with the completion works,” Wescot-Williams said, “but this has not begun yet. But I expect that this work will begin within the next week or two.”
The main bottlenecks for the doomed project are financing and the litigation with Trinidad-based developer RGM. “We needed to find the financing to be able to pay the contractor to finish the work,” Wescot-Williams said. “Now we hope that while this work is taking place some final decisions will be taken.”
One of those decisions, the PM said, is whether to continue with RGM or not. “If that is the case then the next question is what to do with the court case that is ongoing.”
The government and RGM are entangled in litigation over the buildings insurance and maintenance and about a long lease on other land that the developer claims it was promised.
After the interior works (separation walls and IT-infrastructure) are finished, the next step is furnishing. “Where will we get the financing for that?” the PM said.
Then there is the matter of Block D, a building the government also wants to finish, and the construction of the parking lot. “There again the question is financing and whether we will be able to get a complete package for all projects. Maybe we should do this in phases. I hope these decisions can be taken while the work at the building is being completed.”

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