MP Meyers and MP Marlin engaged in verbal war during live meeting of Parliament
PHILIPSBURG:--- Several Members of Parliament expressed outrage on Friday morning in Parliament while posing several questions regarding the dumpsite in the middle of Philipsburg. Recently Member of Parliament Christopher Emmanuel posted a video on Facebook on the current situation at the Landfill. Emmanuel an asthmatic patient got extremely passionate when he expressed his feelings while posing several questions regarding the state of affairs at the dump. Emmanuel wants to know if government knows the effects of the toxic material that are emanating from the dump and how many persons living in close proximity of the dump that are suffering. Emmanuel said that he believes that there is a disaster waiting to happen on St. Maarten because what he has seen tells him that soon St. Maarten could find itself with a cholera outbreak.
Emmanuel said based on what he knows there is a solution for the dump but one of the 15 Members of Parliament is against that plan and for him there is no democracy in parliament and or government instead there is dictatorship taking place, while a number of residents of St. Maarten are suffering because of the dumpsite.
MP Sarah Wescot Williams also expressed outrage, she read out some of the dangers residents of St. Maarten are facing when it comes to deadly diseases that derives from lead and other toxic materials. MP Wescot Williams also read out the statements made by the former acting Minister of VROMI and Prime Minister of St. Maarten Marcel Gumbs regarding the Waste to Management plant. Wescot Williams also posed several questions to the current Minister Claret Connor based on the statements made by the Prime Minister. She asked how much longer do the people of St. Maarten have to wait before government find a solution to the growing problem on the dumpsite, she further asked how did GEBE got involved in waste to management plant, she even read out statements made by officials of GEBE. Those statements led MP Wescot Williams to ask if GEBE was strong armed into getting involved in the landfill affair. MP Wescot Williams also questioned the contracts for garbage collection.
MP Leona Marlin Romeo also expressed her concerns since she lives in Sucker Garden and have been feeling the effects of the landfill which is constantly on fire. Marlin Romeo said that while she is part of a coalition she is able to ask questions on issues that affect the people. She said she has to constantly give answers to her neighbors and other residents in her area and the sad thing is she does not have answers.
MP Johan Janchi Leonard also expressed his concerns because he also lives on the Pondfill and have been experiencing the effects of the dump and as well as the Great Salt Pond that is now dry. Leonard said he wants to know if government knows the types of gases and other toxic materials that are seeping into the pond. He asked if the dump is closed off and if garbage that is dumped there goes through a sorting process.
Leonard said his daughter, and grandson are suffering from asthma because of the toxic fumes they inhale. Another Member of Parliament that shared her own personal health issues in Parliament on Friday and how much she is affected due to the dump was Member of Parliament Silveria Jacobs. MP Jacobs said while she has certain illness her son has the same problem and on several occasions she has to pick up her child at school when he suffers from his asthma attacks. MP Jacobs asked if there ordinances or policies in place to manage the dump.
MP William Marlin said the Landfill was put in place in the late 1990’s after the passing of hurricane Luis and the intention was to have the dump at the current location for a period of ten years. Marlin said that the time span has almost doubled yet there seems to be no solution in place. He asked about the garbage collection contracts. While MP Marlin was speaking a verbal war broke out in Parliament when he said that the rules are being changed far too often. Marlin said that at point they are told that those who request the meeting are the ones that get to speak first but at least two members of Parliaments spoke on the issue while they did not call for the meeting. That statement angered Member of Parliament Franklin Meyers who wanted to make a point of order while Marlin had the floor. Marlin told MP Meyers that he had the floor and he could not make a point of order while he Marlin was speaking. The chairman of Parliament could not even get his word in as MP Meyers began shouting on the floor of Parliament, while the verbal war was taking place between Marlin and Meyers the live meeting of Parliament went offline. The Chairman of Parliament obviously got nervous and adjourned the meeting without saying what time it will resume.
When the meeting resumed at 3pm MP Franklin Meyers said based on the rules of order he was in his right to interrupt MP William Marlin. MP Meyers said that while he could boast about being part of the Democratic Party for years and all the development the island has seen while they were in government for a number of years. Meyers said likewise he is man enough to accept responsibility and say that they the landfill is a problem and has to be dealt with. He said that his government stands ready to work collectively with the opposition on the proposals and solutions in order to clean up the mess at the landfill. MP Meyers said that as a government they should not wait for anyone to give them credit or validate them for the things they have done for the country instead they should be able to validate themselves for their achievement. MP Meyers further asked the Minister of VROMI to take stock of all the persons living on Pond Island and if there are methane gas around Pond Island especially where the Government Building is located because if there are such gases there then he would also want to know what health effects that would have on the civil servants that have to work in that building when it is completed.