On Tuesday February 28, the Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor (VSA), Omar Ottley met with the President of Water Sanitation and Youth Mr. Raphael Sanchez, Special Representative of GEBE Troy Washington and Senior advisor to the President of the Collectivite Alex Richards to discuss the possibility of Dutch Sint Maarten supplying water to its French counterparts due to a water shortage. The French side is seeking a connection between Marigot and Philipsburg for water supply.
The purpose of the meeting was to revive the possibility of the Dutch side of the island being able to supply the French side with water in efforts to eliminate their water shortage issue. In 2013 interconnection discussions began and pipes were laid; however nothing was finalized.
In efforts to move forward, French St Martin has agreed to provide Minister Ottley and GEBE with their standards, requirements and water quantity. After receipt, the Minister and GEBE will provide feedback. If all required standards and regulations can be met and pricing is agreed upon, the next step will be to involve the department of foreign affairs to create an memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the two countries.
Minister Ottley would like to thank Mr. Raphael Sanchez for contacting him to further intervene in this long awaited process. This collaboration can be a benefit to both sides of the island. The relationship with the new sitting officials on the Northern side has strengthened of the pass year and is definitely illustrating one island one destiny.