SXM TALKS 2018 “Person” of the Year: Citizens that took Government to Court over Dump


PHILIPSBURG – Our 2018 “Person(s)” of the Year: The Citizens that took Government to Court over the Dump.

On August 24th, 2018, “St. Maarten residents Barbara Cannegieter and Camiel Koster and law firm Bergman Zwanikken Snow Essed (BZSE) filed a petition for an injunction against Country St. Maarten, the Ministry of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure VROMI and current management company of the landfill Robelto and Son B.V. in Sucker Garden”.

“Plaintiffs request that the Court order government and the dump operator to take effective measures to prevent the emission of smoke, gases and stench at the landfill within three months following a Court ruling”.


“They also request that the Court order government to have an official institution such as the Netherlands Institute for Public Health and the Environment RIVM in Bilthoven, the Netherlands, conduct measurements of the toxic fumes”, according to this article.

The plaintiffs were later joined by the Prosecutor’s Office, in an unprecedented move, who already launched a criminal investigation surrounding all “Dump Affairs” in April of 2018.

Since launching the court case, Government had to report to the judge on a structural basis on what it was doing to come to a permanent solution for the Dump, in terms of waste management / processing in general but also how to stop the toxic fires on the short term.

Small wins, although not as fast as plaintiffs would have wanted it, have been recorded and it seems that with the help of the World Bank Trust Fund, an action plan will be financed and implemented to mitigate fires and to make a decision what the best long term solution is with regards to waste management / processing for SXM.

We at SXM Talks have been advocating for a permanent solution to the Dump for a long time and as such salute these brave residents for taking this courageous step in the benefit for SXM, making it a better place to live for all in the end.

We thank you and wish you much strength in seeing this court case through until structural solutions are indeed implemented!