St. Maarten prosecutors investigate law violations at dump
PHILIPSBURG – Prosecutors have been investigating the situation at the dump since April, the Prosecutor’s Office said Wednesday in response to statements made in social media concerning the latest fire at the sanitary landfill on Pond Island, which broke out Tuesday.
The Prosecutor’s Office said it had received several complaints over the past year regarding illegal practices taking place at the dump. Earlier this year, Prosecutors gathered a “broad range” of evidence to corroborate these complaints.
Government was informed in April that the Prosecutor’s Office had started an investigation into the situation at the dump.
“We view the current situation at the dump as a crime, where as a result the health of residents in the community and our environment is being affected. This is unacceptable. Therefore, we will be analysing waste streams, we will be conducting measurements, we will assess legal roles and responsibilities, and we will enforce criminal law by prosecuting relevant parties,” it was stated.
The Prosecutor’s Office is combining its efforts with the Police Force of St. Maarten, the Fire Department, the Inspectorates of the Ministries of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure VROMI and Public Health, Social Development and Labour VSA, and various stakeholders in society.
“This approach maximises the influence for change. By doing this we hope to contribute to a sustainable future for the dump so that human rights are respected,” the Prosecutor’s Office said.
“For more than 30 years the dump issue has been neglected and it will not be an easy task finding a solution. Therefore, the investigation being conducted will take time. The fire that is affecting our country today (Wednesday) will be added to our investigation. In that respect, we have observed that basic security measures to control access to the dump, or a basic fire-suppression system to prevent fires from occurring have still not been enforced.”