PHILIPSBURG – Minister of Public Housing, Environment, Spatial Planning and Infrastructure (Ministry VROMI) Hon. Maurice Lake says he has taken note of the recent story by former Minister of VROMI William Marlin regarding how he should be held liable for ‘wrongdoing’ in the Vorst land deal.
“The people of the country can see what is going on with William Marlin and the Prime Minister constantly hammering on this issue of the Vorst property that will benefit the people of this country by creating jobs and housing for our young professionals.
“If it is not coming from them, then it’s nothing good for the country, basically that is what William and the Prime Minister are saying in between the lines. The Government’s own legal department, being part of the Prime Minister’s portfolio, stated that I did nothing wrong and I followed the proper procedures.
“The monies to pay part of the sale for the property were already approved by parliament in the 2014 budget. The Prime Minister and William Marlin are singing the same tune so you have to wonder if they both have come together to cook up this whole saga regarding this piece of property.
“It is actually even more amazing, if one sees how much the Prime Minister has to say about the purchase of the Vorst property, but she has nothing, not even a little to say about the then Minister of VROMI, William Marlin, ‘purchasing’ the Emilio Wilson Estate in conflict with a decision taken by the Council of Minister’s.
“I have nothing to hide. I have worked in the interests of the people and in the interests of the country. It is rather unfortunate that this matter has to be carried on week in and week out like if there aren’t other pressing matters that the people of this country would like to hear about.
“The people want to know how you are going to create jobs and build housing for those that needs public housing. I have presented my vision for the Vorst property in Cay Hill, but William Marlin and the Prime Minister do not want to see jobs and housing for the people of this country. I wonder why? It doesn’t make any sense, why shouldn’t our people move forward and upward?
“I don’t need to tow the white line or pull the red thread. The people are the ones that count for me. It seems that they are desperate and want to create confusion. You have folks in both of those camps who like to cook up how to get rid of Maurice Lake, but I put my confidence in the people who I have been working for during the past 12-months,” Minister Hon. Maurice Lake pointed out.
The court ruled in its proceedings on August 21 that the agreement that exist to purchase the Vorst property in Cay Hill remains in place and government has to pay the sales price.
“As said from the start, I have been negotiating with the Vorst family from/on the basis of the (binding) Letter of Intent signed by the previous Minister of Justice, which would have cost the government considerably more money (almost US$9 million) for which we would have ‘only’ received a right of long lease.
I have always considered the outright purchase of the property for less money (US$5.5 million) the best way to go, and that is why I came to this purchase agreement with the Vorst family. It saves the tax payer money, US$3.5 million. Why pay more when you don’t own the property when you can pay less and own the property.
“My vision is to build homes for our (returning) young professionals and a commercial center to create jobs for our people such as a call center, a metal signage shop and a sewing center.
“I would also like to reiterate, that before I entered into the payment schedule of the purchase price, I discussed this payment schedule with the Minister of Finance regarding the budget, and was advised by the Secretary General of Finance how to reflect the payments in the advice that was put before the Council of Ministers.
“This entire affair is a result of politics being played. When are these elder politicians who talk about experience going to mature and handle the people’s business in the correct manner? You are not being good examples to the youth when you are bashing your own. My vision of job creation and building homes will benefit the people,” Minister Hon. Maurice Lake concluded.