Minister Lake meets with SHTA

Discusses Many Issues from Zoning, Infrastructure, Energy Policy, and Building Permits


On Monday Minister of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure (Ministry VROMI) Hon. Maurice Lake met with board members from the St. Maarten Hospitality & Trade Association (SHTA) regarding a variety of issues. 

Minister Hon. Maurice Lake said on Monday that he was very pleased with the discussions that took place with the SHTA and is ready and willing to work with them as they presented several good initiative ideas.

The SHTA was briefed about the minister’s plans for the Market in the Park whereby a location has been designated for the SHTA. Government is providing the land and the SHTA would be responsible for constructing the building in conformity with certain esthetic standards.

The SHTA was very interested in the plan and will now convene a meeting with members to discuss the feasibility of constructing an SHTA office building.

The other points that the SHTA brought forward was the lack of sidewalks in Simpson Bay which makes it unsafe for pedestrians walking in this busy area home to many restaurants and eateries.

Bidding procedures were also discussed and the SHTA proposed to have the procedures adjusted to make it more accessible to all contractors including small and new companies which would also allow them to participate.

SHTA would like to see the Ministry of VROMI publish which building permits have been issued; and the issue of the length of time it takes to get a building permit.

The SHTA also suggested that a policy be put into place that all building permit holders are required to put up a sign on their property once they are building. According to the business representative association, this would make it easier for Building Inspectors to locate the property and for the neighbors to see if the building is being constructed legally.

The aforementioned currently takes place on the North side of the island. Minister Lake liked the idea and has instructed his staff to look into the matter.

The SHTA is very interested in the zoning and development plans for the country especially those related to the environment. The SHTA members informed the minister that they do not support the further destruction of the country’s natural resources such as the filling of the lagoon or remaining ponds. The SHTA would also like to see more green spaces designated as play areas for children.

The SHTA would also like to see the Government develop an energy policy and for GEBE to move forward with the production of energy using green energy sources. They would also like to see incentives for people who invest in green energy.

Other issues related to GEBE were about knowing who is the persons managing the company; what is GEBE’s strategic plan; and improvements in customer service.

PHOTO CUTLINE: Minister Hon. Maurice Lake (2nd from right) meeting with SHTA board members. Also in the photo are members of the Minister’s Cabinet.