As we face the renewed annual threat of a hurricane, we are unprepared. A devastating storm could leave us once again without electrical power for months on end.
We are burdened by decision making on a cost-effective basis at the wrong organizational level. The aftermath of the major storms costs the territorial treasury hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenue — vastly more than the cost of putting all electrical lines underground.
The Water and Power Authority, on the other hand, does not lose revenue to the extent that justifies the expenditure for securing all lines underground.
Only the governor sitting with a full cabinet is at the high point where WAPA; the Port Authority; the Finance, Health and Police Departments; and The West Indian Co. can come together and make a cost-effective analysis.
We have seen Sint Maarten operational three days after the worst of hurricanes. By taking everything into account, underground power lines are cost effective. We need a cost-effective impact anaysis based on total cost to our territorial economy, and not a single department, juggling an already-inadequate budget, being forced to take up the full burden of what is at once its domain and yet so much more than its domain.
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