PHILIPSBURG – At the Council of Ministers weekly press briefing on January 18, Minister of VROMI Christophe Emmanuel updated on several issues that has his Ministry’s attention.
First, he expressed condolences on behalf of the ministry of VROMI and the government to Department Head Infrastructure Management Claudius Buncamper on the passing of his mother.
Then he updated on the continued closure of St. Peters Road. According to the Minister, “It’s being worked on…I had a discussion with Kurt Ruan and also contractor Mr. Ricky VanPutten, and although they wanted to do it in phases, my feeling was do it one time, get it done and get it done completely.”
“So instead of instead of blocking the road for two, three days, and then opening the road, and blocking it off at night again for another day, I said no, take the whole week,” He explained. He asked that, “The people of St. Peters bear with us.”
“They’re working diligently around the clock. The material reach, the pipes reach and they are putting it in right now. It was a difficult job for them to do because they had to do some rerouting, and everything is up to par,” he continued.
On the issue of GEBE, Minister Emmanuel mentioned that he received a number of calls during Monday’s blackout. “I understand the concerns of St. Maarten…I’m waiting on an update from GEBE concerning in the outage, because yes, they did promise when the new engine go online we wouldn’t have the constant outage is again,” he stated.
He wanted to calm residents’ fears of this being a daily occurrence like in October and November 2016, when outages happened on an almost daily basis. “As soon as I get it, I will let everyone know, whether it’s in the newspaper, or probably next week in another press briefing. But as it is right now, I’m not up to date with what is happening at GEBE concerning the outages with electricity,” Emmanuel said.
He expressed being pleased with garbage collection in certain districts. However, he was, “Hoping that Middle Region would speed up, and come up to par a little bit more with their collection. I will have a discussion with the hauler, asking about the concerns about it.” He said.
Finally, he mentioned the Ministry of VROMI’s visit last Friday, January 13, to the dump to take “a real good look at the situation at hand. It’s a serious situation that needs to be tackled, and I believe that the government is committed in dealing with this issue which is our landfill. We need to reach to a stage where the way we dispose of our garbage cannot continue that way anymore. It simply cannot. The simple manner of throwing a plastic, throwing paper, refuse in the same bin is not going to work anymore we had a long discussion with,” he stressed.
He said there’s “a local businessman who is ready, willing, and up and who can go in a couple of months, in terms of having garbage to his facility, hiring individuals to separate garbage, but again I’m asking every household to do their part.”
He said this local businessman has a “facility where we can start in a couple of months to start separating garbage, and that’s one of the avenues we are really looking into and we’re going to move forward with that.”