MARIGOT—Examining the reconstruction of the French side of the island compared to the Dutch Side it will seem that hurricanes of 2017 apparently happened on the French side, said Senator Guillaume Arnell. In making the comparison between the two countries he used as an example the Simpson Bay and Philipsburg areas where extensive work was done to revamp the economy while it seems as though the French side is a on a go-slow.
He explained that it seems as though on the Dutch side of the island that they give their priority to the economy while on the French side the priority is on the schools and public housing and the sport infrastructure without the emphasis on the economy.
“Nevertheless, The European and the French Republic have injected huge sums of monies to assist in the recovery process,” said Arnell. He believes looking in hindsight that other choices could have been made and noted that some Euros15 million was given by the Central Government which was used to have the schools prepared.
“We knew that the Euros15 million was not enough but it was kept to build a new secondary school in French Cul-de-sac since the previous one was severely damaged in the storms of 2017, “ he said. He noted that the funds are still there to build that high school and feels that these funds could have been used in other recovery projects.
With regards to the energy company EDF he commended them for the job that they had done to secure lighting in the residences but stated that the street lightening is still in a precarious condition. “Sometimes on some days there may be street lights in Marigot and other areas. In other times one wonders when they will have lights.
He pointed out that in some districts they seem to be neglected or left out for a long time and would like to see more done for the people since they are still contributing to the economy. He is aware that the recovery process would have been tedious and difficult because of the destruction the country experienced with the passage of the hurricanes and they would have needed a substantive amount of funds to deal with the recovery.
His criticism about the recovery of St. Martin is not towards to the President of the Collectivité Daniel Gibbs or his team, however he feels that the Collectivité is lacking a sense of priority since there is no direction of what should be done first. Arnell feels that there is no planning with regard to the reconstruction of the island.
It is his hope that President Gibbs will sense the need and the urgency of the people to have this recovery done.
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