SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Member of Parliament Egbert Jurendy Doran requested a tour of the hurricane shelters on Sint Maarten during the Central Committee meeting on August 3, 2018.
The Prime Minister stated then that she had no reservations therewith, and on Friday, October 12th, Members of Parliament (MPs) had the opportunity to visit three of the 13 listed establishments that were reportedly adjusted and prepared by Government in such a way that they should be able to function as shelters in the event of a catastrophe. The MPs that took part in the tour were E. Doran, S. Jacobs, A. Irion, C. Emmanuel, S. Wescot Williams, S. Bijlani, and T. Leonard.
In a previous press release dated 4 June 2018, MP Doran expressed his concerns and stated the following pertaining to the state of affairs of the people, in this quoted statement; “It is extremely heartbreaking to see the situation that our people still find themselves in, no less than nine months after the hurricanes of September 2017.”
MP Doran requested a tour of the hurricane shelters, in order to be assured that all was being done for the people of Sint Maarten in the case of a natural disaster. This is of utmost importance particularly, after Dutch State Secretary R. Knops stated to the press in The Netherlands some months ago, that there were enough shelters (hiding places) for the people of Sint Maarten in the event of another storm.
The Member of Parliament was very concerned about this statement at the time, especially seeing that this information was given to the press in The Netherlands and distributed among the population there, while the local population on Sint Maarten had not heard a word from their own Government concerning the shelters up to that time. This is something that MP Doran says is very confusing for the vulnerable people that went through and still are going through so much already. This request for the Tour was later echoed by MP Christophe Emmanuel.
MP Doran stated that he applauds Government for its attempt to secure the wellbeing of the people of this country and for trying its apparent best to ensure that the country is better prepared for any future storms.
He however stated that while something was done, it is a far cry from what Government promised the people. No timeline could be given as far as it pertains to the completion of the planned underground water tanks, showers, generators and diesel tanks that were illustrated in the manifesto that the MP’S received by Government during the tour.
MP Doran said that while he understands that since the devastation of the hurricane things aren’t progressing the way it normally would, he expects the Council of Ministers to do no less than making sure that particular issues receive priority when listing what comes first or last as far as it concerns the monies from the World Bank.
According to the Member of Parliament, issues such as roof / house repairs and shelter reinforcements should have been handled with the highest form of priority at the beginning of the year.
“As it stands, that is not the case up until this moment and it is a real pity, because our people are suffering, due to the fact that much to their disappointment, the Government fell short on its promise to take care of them” the young MP said.
The Members of Parliament were not accompanied by any Minister, but by representatives and civil servants of the Ministry of VROMI and VSA and representatives of the Sint Maarten Development Fund (SMDF) and the Red Cross.
MP Doran wishes to thank the facilitators of the tour for dedicating their time and energy to making the tour a very informative one.