Complaints about sea wall at Standard Trust property

POSTED: 02/25/13 12:12 PM

St. Maarten – A property owner in Guana Bay is currently preparing to erect a wall in a spot that violates the country’s beach policy. Complaints to the inspection department at the Vromi-Ministry did not solve the situation, because inspectors found that the construction will be built on the owner’s property.

The owner of the beach villa is the Standard Trust Company; its directors are Allard Stamm and Corinne de Tullio-Stamm. The company was dragged into the Marcel Loor trial when investigators found that Loor used Standard Trust to transfer money into an offshore account. The directors were sentenced in November of last year on appeal for failing to report Loor’s transfers to the Financial Intelligence Unit MOT to a conditional fine of 10,000 guilders. The company and its directors were acquitted of money laundering, but the Central Bank revoked its license to operate as a trust company.

Inspectors from Vromi who were called to the scene in Guana Bay earlier this month noted that contractors were in the process of “excavating trenches to build a reinforced concrete fence wall and a tunnel to guide rain water to the ocean.”

The inspectors established that Standard Trust is building the tunnel within the boundaries of their property. If it were only for the tunnel, it would not be that much of an issue, but apart from that preparations have been made to erect a wall at the property’s perimeter that borders on the Guana Bay Beach.

The Beach Policy of 1995 regulates what may happen on “the strip of sand with a width of at most 50 meters, of which the surface consists of natural sea sand situated along the sea.”In places where there is no sand, the policy affects the strip of land with a width of 25 meters from the high water line.

Within these perimeters “no construction works or activities that occupy the space on the beach in a way that restricts normal use of the beach for others will occur on the beach.”

Today visited Guana beach yesterday and established that the wall Standard Trust is about to erect, will stand 25 steps from the high water line. While this is not an exact measure, it is clear that the wall would be built well within the margin of 50 meters from the high water line.

There is of course a catch, and also some space for argument: to what extent will this wall “restrict normal use of the beach for others?”

At the same time, the government was quite clear in its beach policy in 1995. In the future, the island government will not permit construction works or activities on the beach unless justified by special circumstances. These special circumstances must be in the general interest of the island.”

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