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PRIDE Foundation wants Dutch Intervention to combat dump fire.

On behalf of Sint Maarten Pride Foundation, I recently delivered a letter to his Excellency, Governour Holiday. In that letter Sint Maarten Pride requested the intervention of the governor in the situation with the dump. Pride also asked His Royal Majesty, King Willem-Alexander to intervene and the letter was also sent to the Dutch representative on the island.

Sint Maarten Pride has no faith in our local government to find solutions and so called upon the Governour and the Kingdom to intervene. This situation has gone beyond local politics.

This letter was publicized in the newspapers as well as on several social media sites. The response from the public, residents and tourists alike, has been overwhelmingly positive. It is clear from those responses that not only PRIDE , but the community at large, has lost faith in our government officials to solve this problem.

As I write this Letter to the Editor, I can see the fires still burning. Kudos to our brave fire personnel who have been fighting this day and night.
The truth is, however, that they are woefully under equipped to handle landfill fires of this magnitude.

In fact, this dump has taken over our lives and is completely unmanageable. I personally, along with many others, including PRIDE, have been warning about this for years and years and years. And nothing, nothing, has been done.
There is a discussion about this being arson. This is an old story and, in my opinion, is used as an excuse by government to deflect blame from themselves. The statements government needs to be making are statements about solutions not about causes. The fires can start for many reasons. People need to educate themselves on outdated land filling methods, which is what we have. If a landfill is not properly maintained, these fires are what occur. Google it!
I believe at this point we need outside intervention and professional advice. As a major public health concern this issue isn’t going anywhere until a modern day solid waste solution is finalized. All intertested parties need to come together to make this happen. Stop the bickering between yourselves and the politics, and join together to get something done.
Our people are being poisoned by this monstrosity and yet our politicians and government officials sit and have already started the blame game. There is plenty of blame to go around, and I blame every party and every elected official that has ever sat in government and done nothing about this dump. It has never been a priority for any of them, and we the people of St Maarten are paying the price.

How sad is it that the Nature Foundation is the one handing out masks? That the Nature Foundation needed extra donations to buy more masks? Kudos to them, but why isn’t our government handing out masks? Why does it take a NGO to shoulder that responsibility?

It is time for the people of St Maarten, and tourists too, to stand up and say we are not taking this anymore. Please write letters to Governor Holiday and letters to King Willem-Alexander (through the Dutch Representative Office of Chris Johnson). Demand an immediate solution!

Regards
Barbara Cannegieter
Sugar Hill Drive #16
Cul de Sac


Open Letter to Governor Holiday.

His Excellency Eugene Holiday
Governor of Sint Maarten
Falcon Drive 3
Harbour View
Philipsburg, Sint Maarten

Mr. Chris Johnson
Office of the Dutch Representative in Philipsburg, Sint Maarten

Your Excellency,
The Sint Maarten Pride Foundation, a community environmental nonprofit foundation, has been noting frequent violent landfill fires that have been flaring up before and after hurricane Irma. Even more worrisome is the violent flare-up of the second Irma dump on February 4th.
Our Group has noted that our local government has made no headway with a project of a modern waste to energy plant, or a plan of shipping waste off island.
Our concern is that it is well known that the landfill has reached its expiration date several years ago and instead of our government placing this issue as a high priority of finding a long-term solution, government instead created a second landfill dumping area.
This situation is exasperated by the mass waste of post-hurricane Irma where not only regular household waste is discarded but also combustible containers and materials that should not be dumped on landfills due to their fire flammable dangers.
Your Excellency, our group is appealing to you as we have lost faith and trust in our local government in ensuring that our citizen's health is secured. In fact, we are worried that our children and adults are exposed to this environmental hazard and the toxins every single day. The landfill is constantly smoking and too often flares up as raging out of control fires.
Not only are our firemen exposed trying to battle the constant fires but our residents far and wide are exposed to the foul burning odors.
We are hereby requesting you to place pressure on our local government to expediently find a long-term solution to this hazard affecting the people’s health.
Our people should not be expected to walk with face masks and close their windows and doors as a daily exercise. These procedures, in fact, do not even properly protect anyone from the toxic fumes.
With this letter we are also appealing to the King of the Netherlands, His Majesty King Willem-Alexander, to intervene on behalf of us the people in his Kingdom, as it appears finding a solution to the landfill is outside the scope of the local authorities.
With no headway being made by the local politicians and governing bodies, and the instability of our local governments not being able to govern properly due to government falling almost every 12 months, we are left no choice but to appeal to his Majesty, King Willem-Alexander, to intervene.
No longer should our people wait and hear political rhetoric while our people are dying of cancers and respiratory diseases.
People in the Dutch kingdom are guaranteed clean air in the constitution and so should it be for those living on Sint Maarten.
As a community environmental group our focus is not only the environmental hazard but the wellbeing, health and hygiene of our residents and visitors.
Our livelihood of tourism is at stake but more importantly our health and future livability as a people.
We trust you will take our appeal on the landfill issue and the raging fires seriously. Our group would like to see a final modern waste solution found immediately. One that we can be proud of, one where our quality of life and our future in health can be guaranteed.

Sincerely,

Barbara Cannegieter
Secretary of Sint Maarten Pride Foundation

Jadira Veen
President of Sint Maarten Pride Foundation

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https://www.facebook.com/sintmaartenpride/

Phone: 1 721 542 2645
Cell: 1 721 581 5774

St. Maarten Pride Foundation's letter to Governor Eugene Holiday concerning landfill fires.

His Excellency Eugene Holiday
Governor of Sint Maarten
Falcon Drive 3
Harbour View
Philipsburg, Sint Maarten

Mr. Chris Johnson
Office of the Dutch Representative in Philipsburg, Sint Maarten

Your Excellency,
The Sint Maarten Pride Foundation, a community environmental nonprofit foundation, has been noting frequent violent landfill fires that have been flaring up before and after hurricane Irma. Even more worrisome is the violent flare-up of the second Irma dump on February 4th.
Our Group has noted that our local government has made no headway with a project of a modern waste to energy plant, or a plan of shipping waste off island.
Our concern is that it is well known that the landfill has reached its expiration date several years ago and instead of our government placing this issue as a high priority of finding a long-term solution, government instead created a second landfill dumping area.
This situation is exasperated by the mass waste of post-hurricane Irma where not only regular household waste is discarded but also combustible containers and materials that should not be dumped on landfills due to their fire flammable dangers.
Your excellency, our group is appealing to you as we have lost faith and trust in our local government in ensuring that our citizen's health is secured. In fact we are worried that our children and adults are exposed to this environmental hazard and the toxins every single day. The landfill is constantly smoking and too often flares up as raging out of control fires.
Not only are our firemen exposed trying to battle the constant fires but our residents far and wide are exposed to the foul burning odors.
We are hereby requesting you to place pressure on our local government to expediently find a long-term solution to this hazard affecting the people’s health.
Our people should not be expected to walk with face masks and close their windows and doors as a daily exercise. These procedures in fact do not even properly protect anyone from the toxic fumes.
With this letter we are also appealing to the King of the Netherlands, His Majesty King Willem-Alexander, to intervene on behalf of us the people in his Kingdom, as it appears finding a solution to the landfill is outside the scope of the local authorities.
With no headway being made by the local politicians and governing bodies, and the instability of our local governments not being able to govern properly due to government falling almost every 12 months, we are left no choice but to appeal to his Majesty, King Willem-Alexander, to intervene.
No longer should our people wait and hear political rhetoric while our people are dying of cancers and respiratory diseases.
People in the Dutch kingdom are guaranteed clean air in the constitution and so should it be for those living on Sint Maarten.
As a community environmental group our focus is not only the environmental hazard but the wellbeing, health and hygiene of our residents and visitors.
Our livelihood of tourism is at stake but more importantly our health and future livability as a people.
We trust you will take our appeal on the landfill issue and the raging fires seriously. Our group would like to see a final modern waste solution found immediately. One that we can be proud of, one where our quality of life and our future in health can be guaranteed.

Sincerely,

Barbara Cannegieter
Secretary of Sint Maarten Pride Foundation

Jadira Veen
President of Sint Maarten Pride Foundation

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