GREAT BAY—Minister of VROMI Christopher Emmanuel has stressed that government is seriously looking at its options for a permanent solution to the runway fencing issue in the Maho Beach/Beacon Hill road are to prevent people from dangerously surfing jet blasts from the Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA).
The minister’s comments come in wake of recent revelations of a man in the sea at Maho Beach throwing a ball at an Amerijet plane landing at the airport. This incident comes just mere days after a New Zealand tourist was killed after being flung onto a concrete road divider on the neighboring Beacon Hill road after losing her grip from the airport runaway fence that thrill seekers hang on to when surfing jet blasts of departing planes.
Minister Emmanuel essentially declared that it is the government’s responsibility to protect people against themselves in this instance, as despite multiple warnings people are still engaging in the risky practice. “Government has a responsibility for safety…at some point in time you have to save people from themselves,” the minister said.
Meanwhile Minister Emmanuel explained that the reason he suggested the extension of the runway fence onto Beacon Hill Road and removing the concrete road divider, is to protect thrill seekers who still want to engage in the practice. Instead of being blown on the road, thrill seekers would not be blown on the sand of Maho Beach. He added that the boulders on the shore along the beach, were placed there by government years ago to prepare for a possible extension of the runway fence to solve the same problem it is looking to address now.
Meanwhile, the minister addressed public criticisms of his suggestion to re-route the road because it would take away from the thrill seeking attraction at the PJIA. “You hear people mention that hundreds of thousands of tourists come and it’s just one death. Well, it’s one death too much,” the minister said.