PHILIPSBURG–A group of Chinese investors have indicated their willingness to completely cover the cost to construct a tunnel in St. Maarten, which would help to alleviate traffic, as part of China’s “Belt and Road” initiative.
Prime Minister William Marlin said on Wednesday that following one of his presentations at the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, a group of investors were in St. Maarten to have follow-up discussion on the needs of the Government of St. Maarten as it relates to infrastructure. Marlin said the investors requested the country’s infrastructural plans, which have been shared with them and they are busy looking at it. “They are willing, through assistance and finance of the “Belt and Road” [initiative] to fund the tunnel for 100 per cent,” Marlin told reporters at the Council of Ministers press briefing on Wednesday. “Government would have to put up no guarantee. Government won’t have to sign a guarantee, but it will be built under the basis of a Build Own Operate through a concession. They would build it using their technology, fund it and would recover their investment over a period of years through the concession that they will be given.”
Marlin said rather than focusing only on the tunnel and putting a toll in place, authorities are looking also at establishing a road fund, where the VROMI minister would be able to carry out all the road links (Links 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6) in a maximum of about three years. Link 7 is no longer existent because the Rainforest project cuts off the opportunity for that link. “All the other links, we would be able to carry out in a maximum of three years and the road fund would be able to (cover – Ed.) these through fees and taxes.”
Marlin said there had been several visits of Chinese investors stemming from China’s Belt and Road Forum held by China’s President, which he attended. The initiative is to inject hundreds of billions of dollars worldwide to open up business, and to bring the different societies and countries together to develop humanity. Marlin said as a small community investments are needed in our infrastructure.
He said government has a greater vision for development of housing and a road network plan. “We have a good team carrying out the Governing Programme, and we have commitment from partners to continue moving forward.”
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/67268-chinese-investors-willing-to-completely-fund-tunnel