Minister Lake says Millinium Pro’s Construction instructed to close hazardous trench by Sunday 6pm

Minister of Public Housing, Environment, Spatial Planning and Infrastructure (Ministry of VROMI) Hon. Maurice Lake met with Millinium Pro’s Construction. In the meeting included ICE, Ministry VROMI and representatives from the Minister’s Cabinet.


The company has been instructed to close the trench in the vicinity of the Flanders’s residence in Suckergarden. Minister Lake added that we are in the hurricane season and with respect to dengue fever, open trenches of this nature cannot be allowed where water can gather. The contractor did not have proper approvals such as a waiver nor did they have permission to excavate a trench, Minister Lake point out.

Ministry VROMI states that the site needs to be returned to its original state in order to avoid any possible claims. Failure to comply with this instruction will lead to Government carrying out said works at the expense of the company. Ministry VROMI in a letter to the contractor has given the former to Sunday, August 25 by 6.00pm to close the trench.

In order for things to move forward, the Minister wanted to address a couple of things and to have these cleared up. "I made it clear in the meeting that mistakes were made by all parties involved, from the contractor, the former Minister of VROMI William Marlin, and Ministry VROMI on the instruction letter written by the former Minister to New Projects instead of following the right procedures within government.

"Everything was rush rush on the last days of the outgoing National Alliance-led government, and also based on verbal agreements without any paper trail. So you have situations of who say and who not say which in my book is a bunch of hearsay. This cannot hold up in a court of law.

"I was amazed by this type of sloppy work by the previous Minister who praises that Government is a continuity of work. No one at the Department of Information Registration, Ministry of General Affairs could locate the original advice. The approved draft advice had the condition that reads as follows, ‘the works will only be granted upon the approval of the loan to Country Sint Maarten for the covering of infrastructural projects.’

"This was a decision point of the approved advice by Ministers Marlin and Tuitt within the last days in office with the objective of rushing this draft advice through which nobody knows where the original advice is in the system. I would suggest to Marlin and Tuitt to check their boxes of paperwork that they took out to see if it’s not stuck somewhere in there," Minister Hon. Maurice Lake summed up the matter on Sunday.

Minister Lake further adds: "The letter to grant the works was worded in such a manner that the Department Head of New Projects could give a start date without informing the Secretary General of his Ministry and Minister who is ultimately responsible.

"This is irresponsible governing at its core! Imagine we have no loan approval for the project, but the former Minister of VROMI granted a letter for a Naf.6 million job at the expense of the people. I have no beef with local contractors, but this matter is about how procedures were not followed.

"Then the past Minister goes on radio and lying to the people knowing that a kick off meeting was held on June 12th under the auspices of the former minister, and he comes now to state how it only happened on June 27th under my watch. Millinium Pro’s Construction also didn’t have a waiver permit which was at the police for advice when they were stopped by the Ministry of VROMI.

"I have never seen anything like this in government where a minister would grant work to a contractor knowing there is no money to pay the contractor. Accountability is needed here as irresponsible decisions should not go un-countered. I also discussed this issue in the Council of Ministers meeting and asked for assistance to locate the original advice which disappeared without a trace.

"I have never seen or witness a Government that just governs by hearsay or verbal agreements, and don’t like to put anything in writing. A clear example is the Asphalt from the airport. This is the track and course the country was heading down and this goes against all the principles of good governance. Everything I do is in writing.

"We need to go back to basics. This irresponsible governance from the National Alliance would have placed the country in a dire state. As minister, I have decided to pay Millinium Pro’s Construction for the work they have done so far and put the project on hold upon the approval of the loan.

"Millinium Pro’s Construction was working but wasn’t following the right procedure of the following minister. The company has agreed in the meeting with my proposal and they have decided not to pursue any legal action. As minister, I am not into the petty politics involving lying, but the main focus is working in the interests of the people. What you see is what you get.

"I have a job to do and I will do it to the best of my ability and be fair and open to the local people of Sint Maarten. Whatever is happening at the Raoul Illidge Sports Complex and the Little League Stadium should be investigated but that’s within the rights of the Ministry," Minister Hon. Maurice Lake concluded on Sunday.