PHILIPSBURG:— People of St. Maarten, as you all know, Hurricane Maria is heading in our direction. It has developed into a major Category 4 hurricane.
St. Maarten has been under Tropical Storm warning since 11:00 am. Maria is expected to pass close to us on Tuesday. We should start experiencing the effects from around 12 noon.
We can expect up to 6 inches of rainfall and tropical storm force winds.
I can understand you saying: Oh, no, not again! Indeed, we seem to be under siege by these monster storms. We have survived Hurricane Irma, and I am sure we will survive Maria as well.
My biggest concern is that you stay safe. Whatever preparations you have to do should have been completed by now.
If you do not have a roof over your head, or if your house has been severely damaged by Irma, please find a family or friend to stay with to weather this approaching storm.
Your life and well-being are all that matter most. I urge everyone, every neighbor, who can offer some kind of shelter to please open up their doors and hearts to ensure that nobody is exposed to any more danger.
All the seven hurricane shelters remain open, should you need to go to one. They are:
- St. Maarten Academy School Gym (St. Peters)
- Dutch Quarter Community Center (Dutch Quarter)
- Belvedere Primary School (Belvedere)
- National Institute for Professional Advancement (NIPA, Cay Hill)
- Leonard Connor School (Cay Bay)
- MAC School (St. John’s Estate)
- Little League Ball Park (Pond Island, Philipsburg)
Fellow St. Maarteners, I know without doubt how nerve-wrecking all of this experience is. But we’ve gone through the most powerful hurricane ever to hit the Caribbean and by God’s grace, we will also go through this one.
Each storm represents a fresh and new danger to our very existence as a people. Our resilience is being tested to its limit.
But we must not be afraid of tomorrow. Each test strengthens our character; each challenge renews our faith in God and in our unity as a people.
For Hurricane Maria, the curfew goes into effect at 7:00 tonight until further notice. This has been synchronized with authorities on the French half of the island.
When the conditions permit, you will be informed about any changes to the curfew.
Please stay safe.
God bless you and your family. God bless our beloved St. Maarten.
Prime Minister of St. Maarten William Marlin