Opinion: Historic heritage motions

POSTED: 08/20/14 6:28 PM

Dear Editor,

In February of 2013 Member of Parliament Frans Richardson called to assure me that he believes in and fully supports the efforts of Sint Maarten Pride Foundation, Epic and the Emilio Wilson Estate Foundation to safeguard and properly manage Sint Maarten’s natural and cultural heritage. After a productive discussion, the Member of Parliament and I agreed to pool resources on the compilation of several parliamentary motions aimed at the protection of Sint Maarten’s natural and cultural heritage. These motions were finalized in March 2013 and MP Richardson subsequently tabled them in Parliament on April 17 and 18, 2013 during the budget debates of that year.

The motions, which were titled “Beach Access”, “National Heritage”, “Fort Amsterdam Sint Maarten” and “Mullet Pond”, listed time frames for the Council of Ministers regarding the taking of suitable measures towards meeting the objectives of the resolutions as stipulated in the different motions.

Allow me to provide a number of examples in order to remind your readership of the content and purpose of the motions. In the motion titled “Beach Access”, which as the title suggests was aimed at ensuring unobstructed beach access, parliament resolved: “To charge the Council of Ministers with the task of drafting and implementing a Beach Protection Ordinance, within one hundred and twenty days of the passing of this motion. This Beach Protection Ordinance should include … … … regulations aimed at protecting the recreational, ecological and natural values of Sint Maarten’s beaches and securing unrestricted and unobstructed public access and ample parking spaces”;

The motion on Mullet Pond charged the Council of Ministers, specifically the Minister of VROMI, with the task of taking the necessary measures towards establishing the entire Mullet Pond as a Nature Park and required the zoning of the Mullet Pond for conservation purposes.

 

In the motion titled National Heritage Parliament specifically charged the Minister of Culture and Education with; “Including National Heritage Education in the mandatory school curricula”. This motion furthermore charged the “Council Of Ministers with Strengthening Monument protection and national heritage conservation legislation”.

A year and four months have come and gone since the passing or approval of these “Natural and Cultural heritage motions” and not one Minister has reported back to parliament or to the general public regarding progress made in carrying-out the resolutions as specified in the motions. A few months ago I submitted a letter to the President of Parliament requesting details on Government’s execution of the resolutions of the motions. I was informed that my letter was forwarded to the Council of Ministers for further handling. I am still awaiting a detailed response but I am confident that none of parliament’s resolutions were actually carried out.

In my modest opinion this unwillingness to take much needed measures to protect our heritage is a prime example of the fact that the term sustainable development, although often used by our decision makers is nothing but a catchphrase to them.

Bearing in mind that the durability of our tourism based economy is largely reliant on the proper management of our Natural and Cultural resources and that proper management of resources is a core component of sustainable development it is beyond my understanding why Government does not take the matter more seriously.

As an environmentalist and advocate for the sound management of natural and cultural heritage, the abovementioned motions are amongst the causes I will continue to champion when elected to Parliament.

Please consider visiting and liking my page at www.facebook.com/thompsonsxm where I will be regularly posting my thoughts on where St. Maarten should be headed.

Rueben J. Thompson

Environmentalist

Candidate number four (4)

United Sint Maarten Party

 

 

 

 

 

 

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