Minister Lake wants improved standard operating procedures after torrential rain event over the weekend

Minister of Public Housing, Environment, Spatial Planning and Infrastructure (Ministry VROMI) Hon. Maurice Lake would like to commend the emergency services (Fire, Police), public works and other government agencies (Department of Communication, Meteorological Service) and semi government agencies (Airport, Harbour, NV GEBE), and Minister Hon. Ted Richardson for their role in the post flood experienced over the weekend.

“Once again the country experienced a natural disaster within a short space of time.  I was out assessing the situation after the intense flooding that was experienced throughout the country.

“I do believe there is room for improvement, because we have had experience in the past and with two natural disasters within four weeks, there are certain lessons that should have been learnt,” Minister Hon. Maurice Lake said on Sunday.

Minister Lake added that he will be working along with colleague ministers to improve “Standard Operating Procedures” based on different natural disaster scenarios.

“I have a very good working relationship with the Chief of the Fire Department/Disaster Coordinator Clive Richardson and the Minister of Justice Hon. Dennis Richardson who is over the Police Force of Sint Maarten.

“The various stakeholders need to come together to see where standard operating procedures can be improved, because on Saturday there were challenges on the roads, and we need to look at the bottlenecks, and have a plan of action to deal with them rather than going over and over the same thing every time.

“I can understand the frustrations of some members in the community. One of the observations that I have made is we need to have a better traffic circulation plan in place.  Every ministry including my own should know what to do under a flood scenario and don’t wait for the last minute to act.

“There is a need to restructure certain things within my own Ministry VROMI especially how to deal with these types of events.  I know there is always room for improvement.

“This is a back to basics approach, and we need to be better prepared for these types of weather events.  Of course we have no control over Mother Nature, but we can implement certain measures sooner to avoid traffic congestion on the roadways which then allows for a quicker clean-up, but at the same time and first and foremost, we have to make sure persons are not placing their lives in danger, public safety,” Minister Hon. Maurice Lake concluded.