Minister of Public Housing, Environment, Spacial Development and Infrastructure (VROMI) Christopher Wever on Friday assured sub-contractors of the ongoing Dutch Quarter sewage project that the project itself as well as their concerns about various issues has his fullest attention and is looking forward to the project being completed by its stipulated date.
Minister Wever held two meetings on Friday at the project site, the first with main contractor Van Boekel, Contract Supervisor IIACO and representatives of government. The second meeting was with concerned citizens of Dutch Quarter who spoke on behalf of several sub-contractors and workers.
The Minister wanted to get first-hand information about the project, its delays and bottlenecks and to ensure that the project is still on schedule be to be completed in June 2020. Main contractor Van Boekel explained that despite underestimating the project at the start, work has been progressing. The main contractor also detailed issues with burglaries at the work site but this is being looked into by the police department.
The sub-contractors had the opportunity to brief the Minister about funds they are owed by contractor Van Boekel and how this on more than once occasion disrupted their lives. Minister Wever and government representatives present stressed and clarified that any backlog of payments does not rest with government, rather with Van Boekel, which the representative of Van Boekel who was present confirmed was due to a lengthy process.
Van Boekel's Chief Financial Officer (CFO) will be on St. Maarten soon and will be asked to explain this to the sub-contractors to avoid any additional delays with payments and unwelcomed situations which only serve to delay the ongoing work.
Minister Wever said he also wanted to stress to the contractor, sub-contractors and VROMI department to maintain on open line of communication so that all parties are on the same page.
"Bottom line is this project is important for Dutch Quarter and the people of Dutch Quarter. Some issues have been addressed and solutions found. Now we all have to make sure the project is completed by the stipulated time so that the residents of Dutch Quarter can go back to a normal daily commute with improved facilities. My cabinet and I are also open to all parties involved in the project," the Minister said.
The Dutch Quarter sewage project comprises the expansion of the sewer network including home connections and connection to the main sewer line, upgrading of the side roads and improvement of the overall drainage system in Dutch Quarter, improvement of public street lighting and related works for the entire district and the construction of pedestrian sidewalks.