Minister Lake has Ring Road Sand Removal Investigated

Minister of Public Housing, Environment, Spatial Planning and Infrastructure (Ministry of VROMI) Hon. Maurice Lake says an investigation has revealed that so far indications are that sand was removed illegally from a stockpile behind the Zoo at the Ring Road without any written authorization.


An investigation carried out by Ministry of VROMI in connection with sand that previously was dredged by the St. Maarten Harbour Group of Companies and placed at the location behind the Zoo, reveals that several trucks have been illegally removing the sand to a location in Suckergarden.

Three truck owners have been identified. Two of them have responded to the Ministry of VROMI’s inquiry while the third driver has not. The inquiry from the Ministry requested the drivers to provide the basis for their activities being conducted which took place in and around mid-July.

The Department of Infrastructure Management during the investigation was informed that more information could be given by the St. Maarten Harbour Group of Companies. After the Ministry sought clarification from the harbor, the Ministry was informed in writing by the Harbour Group of Companies the following, ‘Management hereby desires to make it clear that without any written consent from Government as Shareholder Representative and/or the undersigned, any removal of sand will be considered as theft of property.’

"I have met a series of wrong doings when I started to look into matters to see where we are at in order to move the country forward on what needs to be done. The people have a right to know, and in line with good governance and transparency in government, if public property is removed without the written consent of Government, we call that theft.

"Based on 20-years of work experience in Government, I have never heard anything about verbal agreements and hearsay in running a Government. This is how part of the Government operated for up to a year. Therefore, we need to go back to basics where everything is in writing and lives up to the letter of the rule of law which is the basis of Country Sint Maarten," Minister Maurice Lake pointed out on Sunday.

"The former Minister of VROMI William Marlin has been throwing up smoke screens to blind the people and hide the truth from them. He hasn’t followed procedures. It took him 40 days to comment on the trucking of asphalt from the airport, and back in the latter part of 2012, it took him three months to comment on the trucking of sand and dumping of it illegally in a protected area of the Salt Pond. If milled asphalt is really meant to repair secondary roads on the Dutch side, what part of the French side does Country Sint Maarten own where milled asphalt ended up to pave a road?

"Again, verbal agreements regarding the FOGA project, a project for a sum of Naf.6 million of tax payers’ money, Ministry of VROMI advises the former Minister William Marlin in an advice that work cannot be carried out without an approved budget, instead former Minister Marlin gives a verbal agreement to the contractor who won the bid to go ahead. This goes against all principles of good governance.

"Back in April the FOGA Homeowners wrote then Minister William Marlin that they protest the trenching activities so close to their homes and where they plant fruit trees. Marlin neglected to bring this forward to the people during his radio interview.

"I am not against any contractor getting a job, but it must be done according to the laws of this land. If you don’t follow the law then we become a wild-wild west and that is not going to happen under my watch. You cannot run a country under verbal agreements," Minister Maurice Lake said on Sunday.