On Wednesday, October 5th, the acting Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transportation & Telecommunication (TEATT) Omar Ottley presented architectural renderings for the Phillipsburg Market Place. The Market Place has been an ongoing issue since the passing of hurricanes Irma and Maria. The Minister stated that he is elated to be a part of the solution.
Ottley received the final architectural renderings on Wednesday morning which includes enhanced structures with removable components to prepare for a possible hurricane and on-site storage for the vendors. Minister Ottley immediately met with the stakeholders on Wednesday for their approval. The stakeholders of the Market Place were very impressed with the architectural renderings and gave the Minister their approval. The Market vendors told the Minister that they hope this time, these renderings can come to fruition because it was promised to them many years ago.
The Minister explained that while there were architectural renderings submitted in 2019, the Ministry of Vromi deemed the plan "not feasible" and "not in line" with the regulations. Members of the Parliament of Sint Maarten made the necessary budget amendments to reserve funds in the 2022 budget for this specific project. Ottley said that before requesting the architectural renderings, a full overview was given by the department of Vromi, to expedite the process and ensure approval. Once the approval is granted, the intention is to obtain a bill of quantity for the Market Place project. The Royal Caribbean Group (RCG) has also pledged their commitment to assisting the government of Sint Maarten with the said project.
“This is an opportunity we cannot afford to pass us by, the cruise line has shown extreme interest in the project. There is a workgroup between RCG, VROMI and TEATT, not only for this project but for other projects in the pipeline and onwards. The workgroup meets on a bi-monthly basis for updates and to ensure progress is being made on the various projects that will enhance our country and the tourist industry,” Said Ottley.
Minister Ottley would like to thank Royal Caribbean Group for their commitment to the enhancement of the marketplace and the Minister and Ministry of Vromi for their assistance.
The Minister concluded that even though he is scheduled to be replaced by the incoming Minister of TEATT, he hopes that this project would be taken up as priority and he will ensure that it is done within the next year.