Philipsburg:--- The leader of the National Alliance, William Marlin, and the three Independent Members of Parliament Patrick Illidge, Frans Richardson, and Romaine La Ville denounced the week long rumor which states that the Government of St. Maarten will fall because constant discussions have been taking place with the Leader of the United Peoples Party.
Marlin who was the main guest on the "Lloyd Richardson Show" assured the people of St. Maarten and especially the IND Members with whom he signed a working agreement in May 2012 that his party has not been involved in any type of political discussion. Marlin said he was called by a particular reporter who first reported the possible fall government and he told that reporter that his party (National Alliance) was not involved in any type of political discussions.
Independent Member of Parliament Patrick Illidge in his statements said that when the NA, DP, and IND took over the government some six months ago they found a complete mess. Illidge said while the former government was engaged in building a bridge to nowhere he personally went to Curacao on his own expense to secure sewing program for young women who did not complete school on St. Maarten. Illidge further explained that while they are in government they are confronted by people everyday who are in need of jobs and he is working feverishly to create more employment for locals and to keep the people's monies at home. Illidge said when the rumor started most of them were off island working in the interest of St. Maarten. "We are not interested in creating more instability for the community of St. Maarten."
Independent Member of Parliament Frans Richardson showed up on the early morning show to assure the leader of the National Alliance that the three Members of Parliament are not engaged in any type of political talks. Richardson said those that started their "Makaveli Show" will be dealt with. Richardson said the current government is working very hard to create stability on St. Maarten.
Romaine La Ville who is also an Independent Member of Parliament sounded the same sentiments. La Ville said while his name is called most of the time in the rumors or scandals he also wanted to assure the people of St. Maarten that they are not engaged in any type of political discussions.
Leader of the National Alliance and Deputy Prime Minister William Marlin said he had no intention of reacting to the rumors but a calypsonian and friend convinced him that he needed to put the matter to rest. Marlin said if he or any of those in government were interested in rumors they could go out there and start a rumor by stating that Members of Parliament representing the United Peoples Party were going to join the current coalition. Marlin further stated that his government including all the other Ministers of his cabinet are working hard for the people of St. Maarten. Marlin also agreed that there are certain discussions that take place within the present coalition because the pressure is on everyone.
While the leader of the National Alliance and the three Independents have put the rumor to rest the community of St. Maarten is yet to hear from the Leader of the Democratic Party Faction in Parliament and the Leader of the United Peoples Party.
Marlin working on Street lights and Tunnels to Alleviate Traffic --- Says Tolling Stations will be in place for tunnel users.
Deputy Prime Minister William Marlin who is also Minister of VROMI said the causeway which he once described as the "bridge to nowhere" will have to two tunnels which would help alleviate traffic on St. Maarten. Marlin said that his Ministry has been working very hard on the road network plan which was established through the former island council. This road network plan includes the link 1, phase 1 and 2 which was conducted but that comprehensive plan had phase three which has link 9 (the causeway which is now under construction) and link 3 which was the ring road. He said the sand was dumped around in the salt pond since the year 2009 and there was no further activity since then. Marlin said his government sought financing to expedite several road links which will not take place at the same time but within a short time span. Marlin said if phase three is not done then there will be a bottle neck within the road network. Marlin explained that link 9 is the causeway (the bridge to nowhere) and if it is not upgraded then the project when completed will take the traffic from Simpson Bay and drop it off in Cole Bay which would create a bigger bottle neck. Marlin said his government has a projection to build two tunnels. The first one he said will take drivers from Cole Bay (end of the causeway) to St. Peters and the other one will take drivers to the end of link 2 (in front of Cake House on L.B. Scot Road). The Minister of VROMI said that his Ministry is also busy with link 6 which is part of the east to west connection. He said traffic leaving the French Quarter and Dutch Quarter area will go through the Bethlehem (Francis family) which will take them to the other side of Weymouth Hill. He said the intention is to upgrade the Weymouth Road which will take drivers to the St. Dominic School in St. Peters. Marlin said when these tunnels and other links are completed drivers will reach their destination in no time. Drivers will have to pay a small toll fee which can be done via the easy pass or some other technological way to eliminate a back up at the toll stations.
Marlin also announced that he is has been working feverishly to repair the street lights around the island. Marlin said when he took office he met a "stalemate" between GEBE and Government. He said in the new concession government gave GEBE they indicated that GEBE will be responsible for the maintenance of the street lights. This he said sparked an endless discussion between GEBE and the maintenance department of Public Works. Marlin said GEBE asked questions regarding who would be responsible for posts and other materials that are damaged due to accidents. Marlin said this discussion escalated because GEBE wanted more information regarding the maintenance of the street lights and their concern was who is going to purchase the materials for the maintenance. Marlin said he submitted a proposal to Maduro from GEBE and they accepted it but they did not carry out the project. Marlin said only two weeks ago he along with a team from VROMI and his cabinet adviser met the management of GEBE where they agreed to find a solution that will be beneficial to all. The Minister of VROMI said when GEBE was given the maintenance responsibility they did not have the data on where and how many street lights there were on the island, neither did they know where some of the switches were for these lights. Marlin further explained that an inventory was conducted and government and GEBE now have a database and map with all the streetlights in each area. Marlin said the assessment and data collection was done by Public Works. Marlin said currently the department is conducting further assessment on the streetlights because some of them are on 24/7 and they would have to be replaced or upgraded with an electric censor. GEBE he said already calculated a unit price for the repairs. The work will be offered to several contractors via a bidding and those persons will execute the work of repairing the streetlights on St. Maarten. Marlin said there are hundreds of streetlights that are not functioning on St. Maarten, this he said is very unsafe for traffic and for the people of St. Maarten especially women who can be mugged or raped. Marlin further explained that the idea is to replace the lights with LED lights which would eliminate the large consumption of heavy fuel which destroys the environment and is also very costly for GEBE. Marlin said his government also signed off on the solar panel project. Right now solar panels will be placed on the roof of the Sundial School. Marlin said GEBE is also part of this project because they too know that the same way electricity could generate hot water, sunlight could do the same thing. He said right now the department is working on finalizing the terms of reference so that the project can be placed on bidding.
Marlin said his Ministry is also working on a waste energy plant for St. Maarten. He said that project is not far away from getting off the ground and one of the objectives is to clean up the "dump" which now stands at 24 meters high and is an environmental eyesore. Marlin said the bidding for this project will soon take place and when the waste management plant is built the garbage situation will become something of the past and through the burning of the garbage electricity will be generated. Marlin said an agreement is also already in place for the purchase of that electricity which GEBE is obliged to purchase from the plant and this will compensate for the investment in the waste management plant.