CAY HILL, Sint Maarten - The Prime Minister of St. Maarten the Honorable Sarah Wescot-Williams over the weekend stated that there has been no clarification regarding the plans or the financing for the proposed ‘new medical center’.
The Prime Minister stated that, although there is no disagreement that upgrades should be done to the existing St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) but that transparency and integrity should be at the forefront of the discussions regarding healthcare on St. Maarten.
“Clearly there is no disagreement that the SMMC needs upgrading and needs to be expanded so that we can provide better medical care to our people and even offer this improved care to our neighboring islands, especially Saba and Statia.
“The Government and the SMMC have a very unique relationship; the SMMC is a Foundation that was formerly subsidized by the Government. However the Board of the SMMC has no clearly established accountability to Government. In the first budget of 2014 thirty five million guilders were mentioned as the capital expense for the medical center.
“However, the CFT made it clear that the Government is unable to get a loan and give it to the Medical Center under favorable conditions. Subsequently the SMMC has had plans for the expansion of the building on the table for some time now and there have been discussions taking place on how to realize this expansion.
“In launching the idea for a new SMMC as provided by the UP Party there has been no clarification on many questions that we have as Government on how, when and where this new building would look like. In addition to that, if the Government can come to an agreement with the SZV and the APS for the financing of the Medical Center it has an impact on the financial constructions that exist within Government.
“I have had meetings with the Management Board of the SMMC and I am not sure if they appreciate that they must work with Government to get the SMMC up to speed to benefit the people. Especially when you have a political party that has an idea that it did not discuss with all of the stakeholders on how such a new SMMC would look like.
“The thirty five million guilders is not there anymore in the budget, but what is there is the five million guilders which is very necessary for the needed repairs with discussions being held between the SZV and Government to make those repairs in the short term.
“While this issue is being politicized with much talk going on in the community there are too many agendas being placed with regards to the SMMC. If we focus too much on politics with an institution as important as the St. Maarten Medical Center this will hold us back instead of move the institution forward,” commented Prime Minister Wescot-Williams. (From the Cabinet of the Prime Minister)