PHILIPSBURG–Minister of Tourism and Economic Affairs Mellissa Arrindell-Doncher says there were always intentions to do something about a marketplace that has clearly run its course in terms of aesthetics, space usage and wear and tear. She said on Friday that Hurricane Irma only compounded and expedited the issue by further damaging structures that have not been maintained over the years.
Doncher’s predecessors did outline plans to relocate the marketplace, but these never materialised. She said in a press release that the only irresponsible action pertaining to the kiosks at the Philipsburg Marketplace is to sit by and do nothing about a long-talked-about situation that was made worse by the passing of Hurricane Irma. “The only irresponsible action is inaction,” she said.
The Minister said the structures are old and unsafe for passers-by and the users, and the spaces have developed into eyesores right in the heart of Philipsburg. The Ministry of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure VROMI will remove them and assess if any can be salvaged to be used again when the final plan is agreed on.
“There comes a point when we simply have to stop talking about solutions and genuinely work towards them. St. Maarten will go through a general rebuilding and recovery, and so too will the marketplace in Philipsburg,” she said.
As for the vendors, she explained that Government is responsible for designating a proper location. The current location and kiosks needed addressing and so an alternate is being considered, taking multiple factors into account.
“Information regarding this will be made available soon,” she stated on Friday.