PHILIPSBURG:---- United People’s (UP) Party Member of Parliament (MP) Maurice Lake sent a letter to the Prime Minister Marcel Gumbs, and also publicly made a statement on July 13th, 2015 requesting an update on the Solid Waste Ordinance and the progress of the long awaited Waste to Energy Plant to address the ‘growing garbage mountain.’
“As the former Minister of VROMI, my ministry and the Steering Committee was very much involved with the final stage the bidding process which was won by a company to build the plant. Government, Legal Affairs and GEBE was busy looking at the legal aspect of the draft concession agreement and other documents still to be signed by Government and the Company that won the bid.
“Legal Affairs was also looking at the draft Solid Waste Ordinance which is still on the desk today at Legal Affairs, which thereafter still needs to go through the process of being sent to Parliament.
“GEBE at the time of my tenure as Minister was looking on how to become involved in the project by turning garbage into energy, but then my term was up as Minister of VROMI. The biggest accomplishments during my tenure was the National Energy Policy and the completion of the process of making NV GEBE 100 percent wholly owned by country Sint Maarten.
“We had Parliamentary Elections which the waste to energy plant was a hot topic, and since then there were changing of "players" at the company that won the bid, and then GEBE was looking at the idea and then not much has been heard until lately July 13th when I as a Member of Parliament, wrote to the Prime Minister about the topic, and wrote an article about the status of the Solid Waste Ordinance and plant.
"It’s very frustrating to see every day the landfill getting bigger and bigger without any results. The focus is too much on bringing tranquillity back in the Government owned companies than working on the bigger projects that are affecting our Country. We just had this dump fire again during the passing of Tropical Storm Erika, and the dump became a hot topic again in Government and the community.
“I can tell you one thing, if I had more time as Minister of VROMI, we would have a win win solution already for the dump and the building of the plant, because I would have made it a high priority on my list as Minister. This would be part of GEBEs investment plan for the Country. We need to start investing into our overall investment plan for our Country where it concerns energy, garbage and sewage.
“It's high time all political parties put aside politics and set our Countries priorities in order so we can move this Country and our people forward. We are always reactive instead of pro-active to the situations that are affecting our people.
“As the former Minister of VROMI, I would say the only way Government can move this discussion forward again is to sit down with the Steering Committee, GEBE, then with the company that won the bid to get the project moving again. We just need to review, finalize and execute the waste to energy plant and start the public awareness program to gradually introduce recycling in the homes and businesses, which the French side is already doing. This would also be in time for the garbage bag law which MP Frans Richardson and MP Johan Leonard are in the final phase to complete the law to promote a safer and healthier community.
“I foresee GEBE playing an instrumental role and taking the lead in the overall infrastructure of garbage, energy and sewage on the island. This should be part of GEBEs investment plan and budget for the coming years.
“During Parliament discussions with the French side, I also would like to see the French/Dutch side finalize within these coming months the much talked about joint sewage plant project in the Cole Bay area. It's high time to see some action with less talk with these much needed projects which will be an asset to the Country once they are completed and operational,” UP MP Maurice Lake pointed out.