Chin Cactus Road residents implore Minister Lake to fix road

POSTED: 10/31/14 11:04 AM

St. Maarten – In a petition signed by some 20 plus persons, residents of Chin Cactus Road in the Sucker Garden area voiced their discontent with the dilapidated condition of the road, which has been in a state of disrepair for some years now, imploring Minister of Vromi Maurice Lake and Department Head of Infrastructure Management Claudius Buncamper to fulfill their promise and pave the road. In 2008, Buncamper visited the site, noting the urgency of paving the road. Following his visit, the repairing of the road was scheduled to begin in March 2008.

In 2009, residents were promised that inner roads would be paved following the paving of the main roads in the area; however, that promise, to this day, remains unfulfilled. “The main roads were paved 5 years ago, and we are still waiting. Many other roads have been paved since,” wrote residents in the petition. Minister Lake and Buncamper have been informed several times over the years about the road’s condition.

In 2012, Minister Lake and Buncamper visited the site again, and on June 12, the residents of Chin Cactus road received a letter with the subject “Request for road repair” from Department Head Buncamper, confirming that the road would be paved in 2013. This letter was written in response to the complaint filed by residents to the ombudsman on June 8, 2011. Cc’d in letter was Bureau Ombudsman Louis Brown. In said letter, Buncamper wrote, “It’s unfortunate that I didn’t react earlier regarding the state of affairs of the plan to repair the road and also put drainage in place.”

Buncamper went on to write in the letter that “the intention is to finalize all the design plans around the month of October and keep a public tender to carry out the complete road and drainage works. The works will be carried out based on the present budget situation no earlier than 2013.” The residents of Chin Cactus road sent letters of complaint to then Commissioner Theo Heyliger in 2008 and 2009; however, “the Department of Infrastructure Management wasn’t privy to those letters when they were received by the government,” wrote Buncamper.

During a public meeting, which was held in Suckergarden in August of this year in connection with the Parliamentary Elections, Minister Lake announced that the paving of Chin Cactus Road would begin the very next day, as stated in the petition; however, to date, nothing has been done. The sand, which was put on the road during the campaign as a temporary covering, has since been washed away by Hurricane Gonzalo, leaving behind large holes and protruding rocks. About half of the sand was washed away prior to Gonzalo. These holes and rocks are causing damage to the vehicles of the people living along the road. “The road in front of our homes has deteriorated to the extent that we cannot drive on it. Due to the deplorable condition of the road, we are constantly incurring flat tires and other costs to repair our vehicles.”

In the petition, residents urged Minister Lake to address this issue, as it needs immediate attention. They ended the petition, reminding Minister Lake and Buncamper of their earlier promises, writing, “A promise made is a promise kept.”

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