SINT MAARTEN (MULLET BAY) – Minister of Public Housing, Environment, Spatial Development and Infrastructure (VROMI), the Honorable Christopher Wever says, “there is no time to joke about the environment especially considering the monstrous storms the region has seen in recent years.”
Wever visited the Mullet Bay Beach on Wednesday afternoon following complaints levied on Social Media regarding the mounting garbage on the island’s most famous beach. Despite it being low season over 300 people are believed to visit the Mullet Bay Beach daily many of them tourists. But the garbage situation has caused vendors to take to social media to voice their concern and Wever quickly responded.
“I wanted to see firsthand what is taking place where garbage disposal on our busiest beach is concerned,” he told vendors. He said, “This is our largest beach and the visitors who come here expect to see clear, clean water and beautiful sand. Every beach is important. And, if we have to take it one beach at a time, we will do our part to make sure St. Maarten’s beaches are clean for residents and visitors alike.”
According to the vendors for Daleo’s Snack, and SXM Crazy Beach Chairs, “the Government normally does an excellent job cleaning the side road but since the first week in August this has not been done.”
“When they cleaned, they even cleaned around the airport down to Mullet Bay, and they raked the garbage up from the beach at least three times per week. Now we have to do it ourselves, and it is quite a lot of garbage that is left behind.”
The vendors were happy to see the minister’s swift response to their online post. They told him that the challenge for them is running their operation and cleaning the beach at the same time daily. “Whenever there are holiday weekends or even on Sundays when beaches are crowded, those visiting the beach tend not to take their garbage with them.
So, we come in early before seven to clean the beaches because we do not want the guests to come and see it like that,” the vendors explained. Wever walked with the vendors and inspected the beaches witnessing several large piles of garbage, which were left behind by persons who visited the beach
Wever ensured the vendors that he would have the beach cleaned and also pointed out that there aren’t enough garbage bins on the beaches, which is something his Ministry will address.
Additionally, he would sit with Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport & Telecommunication, (TEATT), Stuart Johnson, to discuss ways in which the two ministries can work together to clean up the beaches and put proper signage to guide visitors on garbage disposal.
The Ministry of VROMI is presently finalizing agreements and will soon resume the neighborhood cleaning. Wever said this is one of the few beaches that still have greenery and care must be taken in ensuring it is preserved.