SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The Public Prosecutor’s Office (OM) has taken note of concerns on social media platforms concerning the recent dump fire of Wednesday, August 8, 2018, the OM said on Wednesday in a statement.
“In response to whether or not the Public Prosecutor’s Office will prosecute the Government of Sint Maarten, the Public Prosecutor’s Office would like to inform the community of Sint Maarten that over the past year it has received several complaints of illegal practices taking place at the dump.
“The Public Prosecutor’s Office earlier this year gathered a broad range of evidence to corroborate these complaints.
“The Government of Sint Maarten was informed in April 2018, by the Public Prosecutor’s Office, that it has started an investigation into the situation at the dump.
“We view the current situation at the dump as 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 analyzing waste streams, we will be conducting measurements, we will assess legal roles and responsibilities and we will enforce criminal law by prosecuting relevant parties.
“The Public Prosecutor’s Office is combining its efforts with the Police Force of Sint Maarten, Fire Department, Inspection VROMI, Inspection VSA and various stakeholders in society. This approach maximizes the influence for change.
“By doing this we hope to contribute to a sustainable future for the dump so that human rights are respected.
“For over 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’s 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 has still not been enforced.”