Published On: Thu, Jan 18th, 2018

Investigation into decisions caretaker government

Emil Lee 20171126 - HHPHILPSBURG – During the next couple of days the interim government led by Prime Minister Leona Marlin-Romeo will discuss recent decisions taken by the caretaker government. “There are some decisions I am not comfortable with,” Minister Emil Lee said about this initiative at the Council of Ministers press briefing on Wednesday. “We should examine them and see if they are in the interest of St. Maarten. Outgoing governments have a tendency to grant favors to their supporters. That has to stop.”

Minister Lee described the Council of Ministers as “a tense environment” ever since the parliament had sent the previous government home with a motion of no confidence. “It was difficult for me personally as the lone minister the Council of Ministers expected to return in the new government. It was uncomfortable.”

Minister Lee asked citizens for some patience. “The workload of all ministries has dramatically increased after Hurricane Irma,” he said. “But everybody’s resources have been reduced. My ministry struggles for instance with the lack of vehicles. It is a constant battle to get the resources you need. We are stressed to the limit.”

Minister Lee said that there are indications the hospital-project will get support from the Netherlands. As announced earlier, the design of the new hospital requires an overhaul to make the building resistant to heavier hurricanes. It will be a concrete structure.

“Initially we asked the Netherlands for soft loans to fund the project,” Minister Lee said. “Now we are asking for a grant to update the structure.”

Redesigning the hospital will cost an additional $25 million.

Minister Lee has also spoken with potential financial backers in Curacao and said on Wednesday that he expects to make an announcement about the funding shortly.