Environmental Profile of Sint Maarten

Included in the environmental profiles Helena Imminga-Berends and Jose de Bettancourt prepared for the European Commission concerning all 25 Overseas Countries and Territories linked to EU countries, this page gives special attention to Sint Maarten, an independent country in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The 25  environmental reports can be downloaded here and also the one on Sint Maarten .

It is important to know that Sint Maarten chose to become an independent country (in the Kingdom of the Netherlands). Therefore, and not part of the Dutch Antilles any more after 10-10-10,  the island does not receive cooperation funds from the Netherlands. It does however receive funds from Brussels as it is an OCT (Overseas Countries and Territories) linked to the European Union. See details of the European funds given to Sint Maarten.

ANP foto

In the aftermath of huricane Irma that devastated the island in September 2017, the Dutch Govenment donated 550 million euros for reconstruction but asked for a number of (financial and administrative) conditions to be fulfilled. The World Bank was asked to be  directly involved and one year after Irma a National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP) has finally been approved by the Sint Maarten’s parliament. It is estimated that 1 billion euros will be needed.

Because of the ‘conditions’ asked by the Dutch government, the prime minister of Sint Maarten (William Marlin) resigned. It must be said that already in 2013 serious concern was voiced in the Netherlands (by the Parliament and by the Dutch ministerPlasterk for Internal affairs and Kingdom Relations) that the 2013 budget was showing a deficit which is not allowed in the October 10, 2010 Agreements. There were also concerns about the integrity of many politicians. Leona Marlin-Romeo is now the Prime minister.

Not only for the living conditions of the population, but also for economic recovery, reconstruction is of enormous importance. The economy of the island is highly dependent on (mass and cruiseships) tourism. There is a lot to be done! Even before the hurricane, the waste dump in the middle of the island (near the beaches) has been the object of many studies and plans with no result. An independent power producer (IPP) wanted to build a 9.32 MW waste-to-energy power plant to be in operation in the beginning of 2016. The only power producer and distributor (GEBE) on the island is government owned and does not seem interested.

Foto Guus Dubbelman

Three main challenges were identified in our 2015 study:

Challenge 1 – Climate change and natural disasters – Severe

Challenge 2 – Loss of natural habitats and biodiversity – Severe

Challenge 3 – Energy dependence – Severe

For the suggested policies and actions for dealing with these issues, see our report, page 15.

The Minister of Environment (VROMI- Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure) Miklos Giterson may soon leave his post as due to an accident provoked under the influence of alcohol on September 7,  2018. The previous environmental minister, Christophe Emmanuel issued land rights to a friend and the consequences planning is under investigation.

 

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