Minister of Public Housing, Environment, Spatial Planning and Infrastructure (Ministry VROMI) Hon. Maurice Lake on Wednesday commended the staff of NV GEBE for their dedication and resilience in working around the clock to restore electricity and water to consumers.
The Minister would also like to commend Ministry VROMI management and staff, contractors, and haulers who have been working to clean up the country and make necessary repairs to critical infrastructure in order to ensure that the country is on track within the shortest period of time.
At the same time the Minister Lake would like to apologize to consumers with respect to the loss of essential services such as electricity and water based on the passing of a category 1 hurricane.
On Tuesday Minister Lake met with staff from Ministry VROMI and NV GEBE to get an overview and action plan of the clean-up and the restoring of electricity and water.
“This has been a learning experience, and we need to improve on the areas where much more can be done. I strongly believe in pre-planning prevents poor performance. Personally, I think things could have been done differently because we have too much experience from the past like hurricane Luis and ones after to know how to function, and we need to evaluate how we performed in order to learn from this experience.
“As Minister, I have a responsibility to the people to address and improve the issues to better serve the community. I will be calling another meeting with NV GEBE Board and Management to restructure and change the plan and the way we handle preparations for storms/hurricanes. We need to put a better structure in place to better serve the community. The dissemination of information to the general public should be more immediate and accurate and this challenge needs to be evaluated.
“The first thing, I would like to address is the GEBE Cay Bay water transformer house which needs to be relocated and upgraded to meet the needs of the people. We can’t continue to live in the dark ages of having a transformer house right next to the sea when a hurricane or storm hits everything goes dark or out water. Transformer houses should be more protected around the country.
“We can’t have the community and businesses go two days without water due to oversights that could have been prevented. I also would like for GEBE to improve and restructure their organizational chart structure of who is responsible for which departments in-case of emergencies in order to better serve the community.
“I have also learnt a lot within Ministry VROMI during past 16-months as minister responsible for the ministry I also would like to see some restructuring in Ministry of VROMI. As Sint Maarteners we like to undermine each other a lot and work against each other’s plans, but we need to raise the bar and take this country to another level. We can only move this country forward as a collective body and I am ready to serve my people with a vision for the future that will benefit all the people.
“In closing, I would like to thank the general public for their patience and community effort of getting the island back on track,” Minister Hon. Maurice Lake concluded.