Minister Lake requests

Thorough overview of decisions taken and an assessment of actions undertaken by former Minister of VROMI

The Minister of Public Housing, Environment, Spatial Development and Infrastructure (Ministry of VROMI) Hon. Maurice Lake says based on an initial assessment during his first week on the job at the Ministry of VROMI, he has requested a thorough overview of decisions taken within the Ministry over a period of three to six months (January to June 2013) as well as an assessment of actions, in order for him to have an idea of the current state of affairs within Ministry.

Minister Lake added that the assessment he has called for does not delay in anyway his action plan that he has implemented since being sworn in to deal with the pertinent infrastructural issues, and moving forward for the mid to long-term improvement in the quality of life of the people of Sint Maarten.

"Certain things have transpired which are very questionable and I need to have an assessment of what instructions were given, by whom, when and why. These instructions should have a legal basis, an advice for example, so when questions pop up they can be measured under the rules of good governance.

"As Minister, I don’t want to be caught up into any discrepancy’s or illegal acts that have transpired. I have to ensure that the principles of the public good have been adhered too.

"For example, on the day the new council of Ministers was sworn in, in the night of Friday, June 14, it is alleged that 37 truckloads of milled asphalt was transported from property near the airport to locations unknown to the Ministry of VROMI.

"Who gave the instruction within Ministry VROMI to truck the asphalt to places unknown? According to an agreement with the Airport PJIAE, the Ministry of VROMI in collaboration with the Contractor would handle the transportation. The contractor after a preliminary investigation says he wasn’t aware that the aforementioned – trucking – took place.

"If the milled asphalt was intended for government use, why was it not trucked to the public works yard? The community is well aware of the scandal involving the trucking of sand from the harbour which was then dumped illegally into the Salt Pond.

"I want transparency with respect to the decision-making process in decisions that were taken during the past three to six months in order to ensure that they can stand up to the principles of good governance should an audit be carried out by one of the Councils of High State," Minister Hon. Maurice Lake said on Sunday.

Minister Lake has also asked for an overview of decisions taken regarding government land (location; date of request; date issued; name of recipient of government land; copy of decision signed by former Minister of VROMI allocating the land).

A compilation of all contracts approved by the former Minister of VROMI from January 2013 to June 2013; a list of all persons hired within the Ministry from April 2013 to June 2013 along with positions, salaries and duration of employment; and a list of all appointed board members to public entities.

"I am here for approximately a year and a couple of months. I need transparency on what has been done in order to be able to answer if questioned by a High Council of State or Parliament with respect to what transpired at the Ministry of VROMI.

"The appointment of board members has to go through corporate governance procedures. This is also an area of possible discrepancies. These types of actions damages the integrity of the country and sends a bad message to our young people," Minister of VROMI Hon. Maurice Lake concluded.