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MINISTER DORAN DEVELOPING RAOUL ILLIDGE SPORTS COMPLEX AREA WILL BENEFIT COMMUNITY AT LARGE

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten

Minister of VROMI Mr. Egbert Doran is advocating for the further development of the Raoul Illidge Sports Complex area, with emphasis on prioritizing the upgrade of sports and wellness facilities for the community. In 2020, the Government of Sint Maarten and Social & Health Insurances (SZV) established a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the development of government lease land in Cay Hill that was aligned with the Government's focus to strengthen the sporting capacity of our country, improve the overall health care costs, and contribute to better management of public funds. An important part of the MOU is improving the existing sports facilities. The first phase of the area's development is scheduled to commence in 2023 with the construction of the SZV office building and the Community Wellness Unit.

In 2022, Government and SZV signed an MOU for transferring 6400 M2 of lease land in Cay Hill for the first development phase. The SZV office and Community Wellness Unit are part of the development of the area, which also includes the improvement of the tennis court, a full-size multi-purpose field for basketball, netball, volleyball, football, and hockey, and the integration and upgrade of the existing playground. The architectural drawings also include the possibility of further expanding the existing pool facility. Government is spearheading this development, and together with SZV, it is the goal to improve the management and accessibility of the area.

According to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of VROMI Egbert Doran, "Four years ago, the Government and Community Stakeholders identified the importance of not only repairing our sports facilities but upgrading and maintaining them. We signed the first MOU in 2020 and the multi-purpose sports court at the John Cooper Jose Lake Sr. Ball Park was upgraded in 2021 as part of that MOU.”

In light of recent public discussions on the matter, Minister Doran further explained, “Developing the Raoul Illidge Sports Complex area is in progress and is set to benefit the community, not take away from the community. I understand that the process of change can seem uncertain, but we are working for the people’s best interest.  As a Government, we see this as a great opportunity to invest in our people holistically, for current and future generations, and to do so in a financially sound manner. The funds generated from the 60-year lease of land to SZV will aid in reducing Government's debt to SZV. Simultaneously, SZV will invest in more prevention programs and construct its Community Wellness Unit, which will be accessible to everyone, ultimately lowering long-term healthcare expenses. These are Government collaborations and actions for our people's wellbeing that I advocate and will continue to support."

The Director of SZV, Glen A. Carty said, “I want to thank the Government for its cooperation leading up to this total Masterplan that will promote physical activity in the interest of a healthy St. Maarten. Around our building, exercise material will be installed and accessible to the public 24/7.” 
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