PHILIPSBURG:— The ST. MAARTEN MARINE TRADES ASSOCIATION (SMMTA) filed an official complaint with the Ombudsman regarding the proposed transfer of Simpson Bay and the Simpson Bay Lagoon to the Port Group of Companies (Port) by the Ministry of TEATT. Minister Arrindell has 30 days from August 25, 2016, when the first press release by the SMMTA was issued, to respond to the SMMTA’s letter which was officially booked in at the Government Administration Building on September 5, 2016. If the Ministry of TEATT does not respond to the SMMTA’s letter by September 24, 2016, the Ombudsman will consider investigating the matter at hand.
The SMMTA previously voiced their concerns about transferring any additional concession rights to the Port in a presentation to the Council of Ministers (COM) on February 4, 2016 and then again in official letters to the COM on February 12, 2016 and on March 3, 2016.
The SMMTA is calling on Minister Arrindell to postpone the transfer of any additional concessions, including the concession for Simpson Bay and the Simpson Bay Lagoon, to the Port until the SMMTA, other relevant stakeholders, the public in general and land owners in the greater Simpson Bay area in particular have a chance to fully understand why this transfer is being contemplated in the first place, why it needs to be transferred to the Port and why thus far the transfer is being processed in utter secrecy behind closed doors.
The SMMTA reiterates that the proposed transfer of Simpson Bay and the Simpson Bay Lagoon is a far reaching decision that will affect many people, residences, businesses and basically the entire economy of St. Maarten. The Council of Ministers and Parliament must publicly and thoroughly assess the benefits and risks of such a move.
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