United Congress, trans-border projects still on track, says Gibbs

MARIGOT–President Daniel Gibbs confirmed Monday afternoon following a tour of the Lagoon with Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte that cooperation projects such as the United Congress for a more solid and workable cooperation between the two sides of the island and the reactivated cross border projects are both on the table and moving forward.

The cross-border projects; Belle Plaine flood risk protection, sewage treatment plant in Cole Bay, and cleaning of the Simpson Bay Lagoon, were previously shelved during the William Marlin administration leading to fears the funding would be lost, however, that is no longer the case.

“We are having another meeting next week to discuss the finances and operational aspects and those discussions will be finalized in a few days,” he said. “We are still working on the same three projects and are engaged in very cordial and constructive talks with the local Dutch-side government. As far as the United Congress is concerned the respective services are working on a precise legislative document to outline the roles.”

Gibbs confirmed that the cleaning aspects of the Lagoon in the cross-border project would include removing boat wrecks. He added the tour of the Lagoon gave the Prime Minister an overview of the situation on both sides of the Lagoon. Two boats were used, one for the Dutch media and the other for Rutte and his delegation that included State Secretary for Internal Affairs and Relations Raymond Knops.

Answering questions from the French media at a brief press briefing at Fort Louis Marina Yacht Club, Prime Minister Rutte said he was “impressed by the level of focus and commitment from the French-side government and equally by the Dutch-side local government” in the reconstruction efforts on the island.

Asked if any resolution was in sight over the Oyster Pond border issue, Rutte deferred that question to Prime Minister Romeo-Marlin, who replied: “Not yet, but we are in negotiations with the French side.”

President Gibbs was joined by Prime Minister Leona Romeo-Marlin, Minister of Finance Mike Ferrier, Députée of St. Martin and St. Barths Claire Javois, Senator Guillaume Arnell, and Préfète Déléguée Anne Laubies.

Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/76575-united-congress-trans-border-projects-still-on-track-says-gibbs