The apparent suggestion by Prime Minister William Marlin that the Chamber of Commerce was issued a piece of land in long lease by its Executive Director Claret Conner during his last days as caretaker minister for one guilder per year against procedures sparked a strong reaction in today’s paper. The parcel near the ring road had in fact been granted by then-VROMI Minister Maurice Lake on September 18, 2014, which was well before the former Marcel Gumbs Cabinet of which Conner was part even took office.
Lake was still with the United People’s (UP) party at the time, but later as parliamentarian declared himself independent to back the current “Coalition of Eight” and send the UP-led government home. He has since joined the United St. Maarten Party (US Party) for the September 26 election.
The Prime Minister and National Alliance (NA) leader might have done well to check with his governing partner before making the contested statement, also regarding the price. The Chamber says it was one guilder per year only until January 2016, to become four guilders per square metre afterward, for a total of NAf. 40,000 annually.
While the latter may sound a bit odd, the reason given was that the Chamber had to develop an economic service centre on the property at its own expense, including parking and other facilities demanded by Government. This transition period of more than 25 months was supposedly intended so both parties could prepare for meeting the requirements in the agreement.
The Chamber also refuted that the plot in question includes the site where Air Lekkerbek has been located for 20 years. It is believed that area will be incorporated into a new roundabout.
However, the six-month period to execute the deed of transfer ran out due to various misunderstandings and the notary needed a new decision. The lease had been “re-issued” on October 26 and this is what the Prime Minister and NA leader probably was referring to.
Now that the matter has been cleared up, what people really want to know is when the envisioned development will actually start. After all, that was the entire basis for the deal in the first place.
Source: Daily Herald
In the first place