PHILIPSBURG:—- Minister of VSA Emil Lee confirmed on Wednesday that several hotels on St. Maarten were tested positive for legionella which can happen based on various causes. Lee made the announcement after SMN News published an article about a number of hotels that tested positive for Legionella and E-coli which was confirmed by the Inspectorate of Health.
The Minister said that the hotels that were tested positive do have a program to follow to ensure that containment and contamination are contained and prevented. The Minister said that the Inspectorate and the hotels are working very well together to ensure that the laws are adhered to and that public safety is protected.
Minister Lee said that at no time there was any public health risk on St. Maarten otherwise the Inspectorate would have informed the public whenever there is a public health risk.
He said based on the results that are fairly widespread which is not contained to a particular location on the island, sparked some of the hotels to begin testing the water that they were receiving and found some inconsistencies which triggered a discussion with the Inspectorate and they initiated a quick snapshot of the water that is being distributed around the island. He said at some point of concerns, thus they are in dialogue with GEBE and they will initiate a dialogue with the water producer Seven Seas.
Minister Lee said that after the snapshot tests they found that some parameters within the law were not being adhered to. He further stated that one of the points of concern is the level of PH in the water that is being distributed. The Minister said that the PH in the water is way too high thus it defeats the purpose of the chlorine that is placed in the water. He said the law clearly stipulates the level of PH allowed to be in drinking water which consumes more chlorine.
Asked by SMN News who is responsible for the high level of PH in the water if it is GEBE the distribution company or Seven Seas the water Production Company? Minister said it is somewhat premature to discuss this because Seven Seas have a contract with government and he is still trying to understand the guidelines set in the contract. He made clear that he still do not know who is responsible for the high PH and he also does not know if the law stipulates the level of PH that is allowed to be in drinking water.
Asked about the committee he said that is working with CPS to contain the bacteria if the chairman is working with one of the hotels that were tested positive for Legionella. Minister Lee said he would not confirm the information but the chairman of that committee is only responsible for calling meetings. It should be noted that the chairman of the committee works for Princess Heights Hotel. The Minister went on to say that if anyone else on the committee is ready to take on the chairmanship of the committee he believes that that person will be more than willing to give up that position.
SZV, APS, and Bankers to invest in New General Hospital
SMN News also understands that the Minister is busy negotiating the financing of the New General Hospital with SZV and APS. Asked if the two entities are the ones that are going to finance the New General Hospital. Minister Lee said that the two entities meaning SZV and APS are two major players in the discussion while some bankers are also involved. He said it is his hope that the those involved in the discussions will be the ones to finance the project.
SMN News further learned that the finance committee of SZV already indicated that they will give a negative advice to the Supervisory Board regarding the financing of the New General Hospital especially since they have not yet received any of the funds they invested in the Government Building.
Source: St. Martin News Network
No Public Health Risk even though several hotels tested positive for Legionella and E-coli — Minister Lee.