Enviro groups are still waiting for donation from eco-shopping bag sales

POSTED: 08/21/11 2:30 PM

St. Maarten – Valentine’s seemed to have come early in 2009 for local environmental organizations. On Friday February 13, Le Grand Marché and Prime Distributors presented their eco-friendly shopping bags. The companies said that they had produces ten thousand bags, that the first batch would be given away for free to valued cardholders and that afterwards they would be for sale for a modest charge of just two dollars.
Of those two dollars, one dollar would be donated to four environmental organizations: the Pride Foundation, the Nature Foundation, the Heritage Foundation, and the Emilio Wilson History and Cultural Park Foundation.
At the launch of the eco-friendly shopping bags, representatives of these organizations – Jadira Veen, André Patrick, Rueben Thompson and Giselle Dirckx-Williams posed for a picture with Prime Sales and marketing manager Irini Vallianatos and Grand Marché manager Prakash Sujanani.
Le Grand Marché in Simpson Bay sported at least until mid-May of this year a poster near the check-out that read, “Keep St. Maarten green. Start with pour reusable bag. Proceeds will be donated to our island environmental foundations.”
But today, around thirty months after the companies launched their eco-friendly shopping bag, the environmental foundations have not received a penny from the initiative.
This newspaper approached Prime Distributors in a low key fashion with an email on May 17, a friendly reminder of this worthy initiative that had but one glitch: the environmental organizations never received a dime. Managing director Danny Ramchandani immediately sent a message to Anil Sabnani. Le Grand Marché’s managing director. The message was simple: “When we introduced the eco bags we promised to donate half the earnings of the sale of the bags to an environmental organization. Please advise me of that amount so we can make the presentation.”
That sounded good and showed a willingness to stay with the commitment the companies made in 2009. But after that email, no action has been taken and the environmental organizations are still waiting for their money.

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