MARIGOT–Tenants of social housing complexes on the French side have expressed their concern about the safety and security of their buildings now that a new hurricane season is only three months away. They say there is little sign of rebuilding.
The collective wrote a letter outlining their concerns to President of the Republic Emmanuel Macron, Senator of St. Martin Guillaume Arnell, Députée of St. Martin and St. Barths Claire Javois, and President of the Collectivité of St. Martin Daniel Gibbs.
“We are the collective of tenants of the social housing units of the three main landlords in St. Martin—SEMSAMAR, SIG and SIKOA. We represent 15 per cent of the St. Martin population living in social housing, i.e. about 6,000 people. It’s already been six months since our lives were turned into horror and fear by the hurricanes.
“Temporary security measures have been installed on our roofs, windows and doors. They are insufficient and are not intended to last. Tarpaulins deteriorate in the sun and start to fray and tear in the wind. Threatening weather forecasts keep reminding us of the worst. We are 3 months away from the official launch of the next hurricane season. When will we be safe in our homes?
“We have heard speeches that we wanted to believe. We were promised that everything would be rebuilt better. However, we were also informed that not all the funding is there, and we will have to adapt the work to the finances.
“People’s safety cannot continue to be pitted against finances. The toll paid on the lives of some has already been heavy enough. The strength of Hurricane Irma was certainly unprecedented, but now we are all aware of the need to prepare for more devastating events than Irma. We would therefore like to draw your attention to the situation we are in and the uncertainty that we are in when it comes to rebuilding our homes.
“We appeal to you to intervene with the landlords and giving them formal notice to rebuild our houses, not in the same way, but reinforced as promised. President Macron, you made return to normal life one of your priorities on your visit to St. Martin. But our normality will never be the same every time there is wind and rain.
“We are pinning our hopes for action on the Inter-Ministerial meeting of March 12, 2018, at which decisions for our future will be made. We do not ask for assistance, on the contrary, we request your intervention with social donors so that we can resume the normal course of our lives.”