Lambriex announces reconstruction of marketplace, vendor frustrations remain

Lambriex announces reconstruction of  marketplace, vendor frustrations remain

An architectural rendering of the new Philipsburg Market Place.


PHILIPSBURG--After a series of setbacks in 2023, including false starts and delays, outgoing Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication (TEATT) Arthur Lambriex has again announced the long-awaited approval of the reconstruction of the Philipsburg marketplace.

On Thursday, following “a decisive meeting of the Council of Ministers,” Lambriex declared, “The time has come for the transformation of Philipsburg marketplace to begin officially.”

The announcement of approval comes four months after 66 market vendors filed a complaint with the Ombudsman, underscoring the urgency and importance of the reconstruction project. In a press release issued on Thursday, Lambriex emphasised the government’s commitment to addressing the needs of the vendors and the community at large.

He said he envisions the new marketplace as a cornerstone of Philipsburg’s revitalisation efforts, contributing to the area’s aesthetic appeal and attracting increased foot traffic. With these words, he echoed sentiments reminiscent of announcements made in 2023, when promises of groundbreaking for the reconstruction were initially slated for June 2023, then rescheduled to August 2023, and finally to December 2023.

“The Daily Herald” learned from the market vendors on Thursday that Lambriex had not engaged with them in any capacity since Parliament Committee for Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication convened with representatives of the market vendors on November 7, 2023. It was during this crucial parliamentary session that the latest groundbreaking for the new marketplace was announced, set for December 5, 2023.

On Thursday, a spokesperson for the market vendors conveyed to “The Daily Herald” their profound frustration, saying they are “exasperated by the continual deception.” The vendors expressed a complete loss of faith in Lambriex, emphasising their disillusionment with the lack of communication from his office. “We haven't received any updates from the Minister, and frankly, we no longer wish to entertain his visits to the marketplace,” the spokesperson asserted. Moreover, the vendors underscored their anticipation of a new government.

The saga began with high hopes pinned on former TEATT Minister Roger Lawrence’s announcement of funding from cruise line Royal Caribbean Group in 2022. However, subsequent postponements and false starts have left vendors disillusioned and vulnerable. With livelihoods on the line, vendors took their grievances to Parliament in November 2023, issuing an ultimatum for answers within two weeks. However, their demands for clarity and action have gone unanswered, exacerbating their plight.

Frustration reached a tipping point when vendors, mainly comprising single women and elderly individuals, resorted to filing a complaint with the Ombudsman on November 23. Their plea for accountability extends to TEATT Minister Lambriex, VROMI Minister Egbert Doran, and Finance Minister Ardwell Irion. As taxpayers and contributors to TEATT, the vendors demand fulfilment of promises made and swift action to rectify the situation.

Compounding their woes is the disturbing trend of theft plaguing the marketplace. Under the cover of darkness, sections of their makeshift booths vanish, leaving vendors vulnerable and disheartened. Reports of suspicious activity, including sightings of a white pickup truck loading vendors’ property, have only heightened concerns about security and the integrity of the marketplace.

In Thursday’s press release from the TEATT Ministry, it was asserted that preparations for the groundbreaking ceremony are now underway, marking a significant step forward in the project’s progress. Lambriex emphasised “the meticulous planning and collaboration with fellow Ministers” to secure the necessary approvals. “We are committed to executing this project efficiently,” he affirmed.

With an anticipated completion timeline of three months after commencement, the new Philipsburg marketplace promises to be a source of pride for the community, he said.

Although Lambriex has not communicated with the market vendors in the past four months, he announced that the forthcoming relocation of vendors to a temporary site near the old Government Administration Building has been outlined, ensuring continuity of business during the reconstruction phase. He assured vendors of support throughout the transition period.

Acknowledging the challenges encountered during the project's development, Lambriex thanked all involved parties, including fellow ministers, cabinet staff and financing partners. He also thanked the vendors for their patience and resilience.

The Daily Herald

Copyright © 2020 All copyrights on articles and/or content of The Caribbean Herald N.V. dba The Daily Herald are reserved.

Without permission of The Daily Herald no copyrighted content may be used by anyone.

Comodo SSL

Hosted by

© 2024 The Daily Herald. All Rights Reserved.