PHILIPSBURG–As a follow-up to a unanimous decision of the newly installed Council of Ministers (COM), a delegation consisting of Minister of Finance Michael Ferrier, Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labour Emil Lee, Minister of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure Miklos Giterson and Deputy Minister Plenipotentiary Hasani Ellis was given a tour of the Princess Juliana International Airport SXM terminal building (ATB) on Monday afternoon.
Prior to his departure to Curaçao for his first “Justitieel Overleg JVO,” Minister of Justice Cornelius de Weever also visited the ATB. Airport management and board were present and conducted both tours.
It was pointed out to the Airport representatives that the public’s perception of the building is that 4½ after Hurricane Irma, the main portal of St. Maarten’s economy is still in shambles and that seemingly very little has been done to repair the destruction.
While improvements are being made, according to airport officials present, amongst them having a baggage handling system that is now about 80 per cent functional, the conditions of the ATB appear to have been allowed to deteriorate daily, according to the visiting Ministers.
“Practically the entire roof continues to leak unabated even today, resulting in mould throughout the entire facility. The queries and concerns expressed during the tour were responded to, but to a large extent, the responses spawned new questions,” according to a press release from the Council of Ministers on Tuesday.
Additional information will be provided during a special Council of Ministers meeting with the Airport board and management scheduled for Friday, January 19.
The main agenda topics will be an update on the planned repairs of the ATB, the status of the insurance claim and the short- and long-term plans for a bigger and better Airport.