Published On: Mon, Dec 4th, 2017

St. Maarten politician calls for building site safety inspections

St. Maarten_rebuildingPHILIPSBURG - The country is on a slow road to recovery, but Government must give attention to safety and security, especially along roadways frequently used by large numbers of residents and visitors, to ensure these are as free as possible from hazardous situations, said Member of Parliament Theo Heyliger on Sunday.

Heyliger pointed to what he called the dangerous scaffolding setup along Front Street. “Scaffolding is a danger. No net or no plywood on the bottom to protect pedestrians. All of these are very visible things the building inspection department should be out in full force checking. It should be safety first.”

Contractors should know the drill and businesses should insist on safety and security measures to protect all, he added. The missing link that allows the danger hotspots now found in so many areas around the country is “Strong reinforcement and inspection by Government.”

“Today’s return of a cruise ship should not be seen as a test run. It is the first impression of St. Maarten of the cruise world’s clients. Their review of us will have a major impact, be it via their word-of-mouth or social media,” Heyliger said.

“As we continue on the road to recovery we need to take into account the dangers around us. All of us want tourists back, but have we taken the time and looked around us and seen the dangers? Imagine a hammer falling from two stories and hitting someone. Or nails or drills injuring an innocent bystander.”

The state of Philipsburg today, Monday, the day the first cruise ship to come into port post-Hurricane Irma, is “a shame. Town was left last to clean and this why we are in this predicament,” Heyliger said.

The Government, in particular the Minister of Infrastructure, should have instructed inspectors and maintenance crews to walk in the main areas of the country, with town as a high priority.

“There are downed poles down and signs. Trees cut with the stumps exposed. All of these are dangerous obstacles and should have been addressed before cruise passengers were welcomed back. The impression these first cruise passengers have of our home will be one that will set the pace for our full recovery,” he said.

Dead trees need to be replaced as soon as possible to boost vibrancy instead of the ad hoc replacement of undamaged streetlights in town with bright ones specifically designed for main roads, Heyliger said.

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