Garbage bins were not provided by government, contractors bought garbage trucks from the French side. --- Leroy Lapaix.
PHILIPSBURG:--- In an interview with the contractors that were awarded the bids to collect garbage starting April 1st 2016, Leroy Lapaix told SMN News that the company Robelto and Sons N.V won the bids for the Cay Hill and St. Peters area, Lapaix confirmed to SMN News that they only got the letter from government confirming they won the bids a few days before April 1st 2016. He said had government informed them earlier they would have been able to secure loans from the banks to purchase their garbage trucks. Lapaix said when they were notified they began contacting the contractors that has garbage trucks on the Dutch side namely Clean St. Maarten and Meadowlands N.V to see if they were willing to sell their trucks. Lapaix said that Clean St. Maarten were very clear when he approached them because they told him they were not selling their trucks, but Meadowlands N.V he said promised to sell their trucks to them but one week before their contracts ended the owner of Meadowland’s N. V stopped answering his phone. Lapaix said he immediately got suspicious and realized that the businessman was trying to stall them so he went to the French side of the island and managed to purchase two used garbage trucks with his own monies, then he went to Guadeloupe and bought another two trucks in order to have sufficient trucks to do the work they were contracted to do. Lapaix said based on the contracts they have with government, Robelto and Sons B.V only have to provide their trucks and labor while government has to provide the bins but so far there is no bins from government. Lapaix said even though they were notified late, he managed to get the two trucks he purchased in Guadeloupe on the morning of April 1st 2016.
Lapaix further explained that when he purchased his trucks he received ten bins which is what he used in some areas. He said since government do not have the bins yet in place and he had to find a solution. His solutionwas to cut at least ten 20-feet containers and made garbage bins with cover and doors. Lapaix said those bins are secured and safe besides that it holds more garbage than the regular garbage bins.
Lapaix said as for the pile up of garbage in Cay Hill and St. Peters area the former contractor Meadowlands N. V did not pick up garbage on March 30th, meaning two days before the end of the contract the contractor stopped working. He said on March 31st Meadowlands N.V started early in the morning to remove all their garbage bins in the St. Peters area and the people in those areas decided to dump their garbage on the roadside. “The pile up garbage people saw in St. Peters and Cay Hill was because the owner of Meadowlands did not complete his job in order for them (Robelto and Sons B.V) to look bad. Lapaix said as of Sunday afternoon he and his crew consisting of all the local youths that were sitting on the blocks started the clean-up process. “I want to make clear that the employees of Robelto and Sons are all locals and they went into action from 5pm Sunday afternoon up to 5am Monday morning trying to clean-up the mess left behind by Meadowlands. I know there is a lot of posts on Facebook where people are bashing the locals who for the first time got a job but I will assure the people of St. Maarten that these very local youths will get the situation under total control before the end of the week. I am businessman that has ideas and I don’t wait on people to find solutions for me. We did not get the letter on time from government and we did not get the bins either yet we are able to clean up and to bring the situation under control.”
In an invited comment Minister of VROMI Angel Meyers confirmed that it is government that has to provide the garbage bins, but he said the previous contractors whose contract recently expired opted to purchase their own bins and used it. He said those bins were removed by the contractors at the end of their contracts which ended on March 31st and government is now in the process of placing some bins they have in storage at the locations that does not have garbage bins. Asked if government will deduct monies for the days the contractors did not pick up garbage prior to and on March 31st, the Minister said that an investigation is currently underway to verify if the contractors did not live up to their contracts and if its proven that they did not monies will be deducted for the days they did not work.
Landfill lifespan and possible overflow.
Lapaix said that Robelto and sons B.V also got the contract to manage the landfill he said ever since they won that bid they managed to get the constant fires under control by constantly push the garbage and have been covering it filth. He said based on his experience he thinks they have about two or three months more before the garbage on the Landfill starts to rise again but in order to combat that he said he started negotiations with several persons that will be sorting the garbage for recycling purposes. Lapaix said in the very near future the smaller trucks will not be able to go up to the landfill to dump their garbage but instead would have to go to another area where the garbage will be sorted out and the recycling materials will be shipped off island. This he said will of course generate revenues and most importantly reduce at least 40% of the garbage that is dumped on the landfill. Lapaix also made clear that their company is also responsible for the security of the Landfill and again he took all the local boys off the blocks and employed them as security guards. He said anyone could approach those youngsters that were not given an opportunity to work and they will explain how good they feel to be able to work and have an honest income.