The dilapidated state of both the water and the sewage systems of our territory is a real problem that has for years weigh significantly on the budgets of both the households and the local government.
Indeed, with the numerous breakages and leaks on the drinking water supply network (that have a very high price tag for us all) and the regular overflow from the sewage system in and around Marigot, causing nauseating smells almost at every street corner, the backflow of rainwater and spills of sewage in the rainwater evacuation system, it is clear that there is real risks in terms of public health but also for the stability of the business sector in Marigot. Cognizant of these realities it becomes obvious then, that the construction work conducted for many weeks in the heart of Marigot to resolve these issues is not a luxury.
That been asserted, however, in view of the foreseeable impact of such construction work on:
- the everyday life of the population (local residents, tourists, businesses, administrations, etc.),
- on traffic, traffic jams and difficulties to find parking
- public health issues (impossibility to collect garbage and other waste)
- on the level of economic activity (lack of clients, residents and tourists.) and thus loss of sales, unavoidable and incompressible fixed expenses for businesses, etc.
One would think that those who govern us in the Collectivité (to govern is to anticipate) would have been thoughtful in order to anticipate the negative, penalizing and crippling consequences, of such construction work; and or that they would at least have been sensitive
to the foreseeable difficulties created for residents and especially the businesses and other professionals situated in the heart of Marigot.
Unfortunately, the facts prove that they have no understanding of the serious economic challenges, or knowledge of the business world. Worse even they demonstrate a casual attitude in the face of the many recurring challenges, fragility and vulnerability of the businesses of our territory (particularly those in the heart of Marigot). It is clear that there is a “civil servant or administrative attitude" weighing and rampant in the decision-making process at the head of our Collectivité and its satellite agencies.
Why were no plans made to have the work been carried out in such a manner that could alleviate at least part of the inconveniences (ie: having the essential part of the work been done late afternoon, evening, night, and weekends and even on holidays in order to cause the less possible inconvenience for the citizens, professionals and the business sector?
Yes there is an extra-cost when work is done accordingly. But did anyone in government thought a second of the loss of business (sales, revenues, ect..), the salary and social costs for maintaining the jobs even when there is no one in the stores and shops for weeks, the other incompressible expenses (rent, utility, etc.) that the businesses in Marigot are facing during all this period?
Did anyone in government thought for a while that in the absence or the loss of activity during this period of time for the businesses of Marigot, the result will be a loss of revenues for the Collectivité (no or less collection of TGCA tax, loss of profit and income tax revenues, greater difficulties to collect the License and Patent contributions (DLCP), ect..)? (Not to mention the increasing difficulties that this situation has created for businesses and professionals to repay their loans and other debts, to pay their social security contributions, etc..)
Beyond these facts, what is incomprehensible and regrettable is that no efforts are made to try to complete the work and reopen the roads in the areas where work started months ago.
Why, would new streets be closed for work when many others for weeks are abandoned yet unfinished, as if the objective is to bring the whole of Marigot to a stall?
Our territory cannot afford to and should not lose business; our economic fabric must and should not be weakened by poorly thought-out planning and reflection on the behalf of incompetent government officials. I am therefore calling on the Collectivité to urgently:
- implement an emergency plan for businesses affected by this situation in order to avoid any further weakening of their financial structure. Among the possible measures is the waving of the November portion of the License and Patent
contributions (DLCP) ; granting of extra time to pay Tax debts; abandonment of part of the TGCA);
- give instructions for leniency to tax services as well as to the Treasury of St Martin.
- solicit the State representative (the Préfète), the state tax services and social agencies in order to inform them of the challenges facing businesses in Marigot because of the work in process.
I am convinced that this is the least that can be expected in light of the sad situation. But it is also what it takes to reassure the economic world and businesses who for so many years are hoping to see better days ahead.
Alain RICHARDSON. Ancien Président.
For the Love of St-Martin.