Minister of Public Housing, Environment, Spatial Planning and Infrastructure (Ministry VROMI) Hon. Maurice Lake in the wake of the recent torrential rainfall event last weekend and Hurricane Gonzalo mid-October, will meet with representatives from various ministries and other government agencies related to disaster preparedness on Monday morning about disaster management planning and response.
Minister Lake has visited affected areas such as Arch Road and Foga, and has also spoken with many residents with respect to the most recent weather event.
“We need to re-evaluate exactly how things went and how better we can enhance our response, but also being pro-active. As Minister, the responsibility lies with me, and now we need to find solutions to the challenges that we were confronted with, and it goes across the board.
“Sint Maarten has lived through many storms, hurricanes and flood events, and therefore, we should be professionals based on all the experience we have gained. We need to be on the ball,” Minister Hon. Maurice Lake said on Thursday.
Minister Lake added that there is a budget to restructure the flood gates and that the project is tentatively set to start end of November. A quotation has also been requested with respect to the Arch Road trench.
Lake also disclosed that dredging parts of the Fresh Water and Salt Pond may be necessary due to top soil and rocks being washed into both water basins.
“I am very disturbed with the situation regarding the storm water pumps. Only one out of the three pumps was working at the time, and the working one also had some issues. This cannot be allowed to happen again. These pumps need to be in tip top shape where it concerns regular maintenance/servicing and frequent testing. A new plan needs to be drafted up on how things should go and perhaps placed under the Secretary General of Ministry VROMI.
“I would like to thank Member of Parliament Hon. Leona Marlin-Romeo for her suggestions and input with respect to the Arch Road area. Other flood areas also have my attention, such as the Cul de Sac Basin, Beacon Hill, Belair, Airport area (in front of the warehouse building) and Mullet Bay.
“We have to move forward to address these issues in a constructive manner and I will be seeking the input by all agencies and ministries concerned. Our people are looking forward to action and better planning. We should be leading in disaster preparedness due to all the experience we have, and we need to be prepared at all times,” Minister Hon. Maurice Lake concluded.