St. Maarten Pride presses for action on environmental issues

POSTED: 07/19/11 11:38 AM

“St. Maarten’s parliamentarians have no credibility when it comes to addressing environmental issues”

St. Maarten – Vice President of the St. Maarten Pride Foundation Rueben Thompson has called United People’s (UP) Party MP Jules James trip to a recent meeting of the Parlatino’s Permanent Committee on Environment and Tourism Affairs “nothing more than leisurely excursions made at the taxpayers’ expense.” The statement is part of the environmental organization’s response to statement James issued on Sunday in which he calls for a summit on the environment and announces he’ll be tabling a motion to have a discussion about environment at the Kingdom level after the parliamentary recess.

“While it has almost been a full year since St. Maarten obtained country status, our parliamentarians have yet to meet with St. Maarten’s environmental organizations and have not yet submitted any motions or draft laws in favor of environmental or natural heritage protection. The foundation wonders how anyone could claim to credibly represent St. Maarten at a conference or meeting regarding the environment without first informing themselves of what the issues are by consulting with the island’s environmental experts,” Thompson stated in a press release.

While the foundation believes that attention should be given to climate change and the melting of glaciers they’ve stressed the need to think globally while acting locally.

“It seems that the loss of glaciers in Latin America concerns the parliamentarian and rightfully so. But perhaps it would better serve St. Maarten’s interests if the good parliamentarian would focus on the loss of ponds on St. Maarten and make every effort to protect the five (out of the once 19) we have left. St. Maarten’s parliamentarians can actively contribute to curbing the onslaught and effects of climate change by thinking globally and acting locally; through protecting St. Maarten’s Ponds, Hills, Beaches, Coral Reefs, Flora and Fauna and by taking much needed action to resolve solid waste and sewage management issues,” Thompson stated.

“St. Maarten Pride Foundation encourages parliament to meet with local stakeholders but is not impressed by James’ recent spate of lip service. Much has been said by St. Maarten’s politicians regarding the need to protect the environment over the years but very little has been done. Parliament needs to take decisive action; to submit and pass motions ensuring the drafting, implementation and enforcement of environmental legislation, to establish protected areas and include natural, heritage education in the school curriculum,” the St. Maarten Pride Foundation Vice President added.

The foundation stands ready to meet with parliament to discuss the environmental challenges the island faces. An invitation has already been extended by President of Parliament Gracita Arrindell and the discussion is part of a broad schedule that Arrindell has drafted.

“Until such a meeting has taken place St. Maarten’s parliamentarians have no credibility when it comes to addressing environmental issues and their trips to Parlatino meetings on the environment are nothing more than leisurely excursions made at the Taxpayers’ expense,” Thompson concluded.


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