SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – Last Tuesday Member of Parliament (MP) of the United St. Maarten Party (USP) faction Claudius Buncamper sent a letter to the minister of VROMI (Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure) the honorable Egbert Doran, in which the MP expressed his concerns with the current situation with the land at Emilio Wilson Estate which is currently being exploited by Rain Forest Adventures.
One of the MP’s main concern is the fact that the general pension funds of St. Maarten (APS) has invested a substantial amount of money in the project, which is now experiencing the negative economic effects of COVID 19.
MP Buncamper noted that he strongly believes that much of the land that was acquired by the company is not being utilized to its fullest potential while the country is in need of land that can be used for agriculture. It is with that in mind that the MP urged the Minister to establish if the company is paying its fair share for the use of domain land and suggested that the fees currently being paid by Rain Forest Adventures be adjusted to compare to those paid by other businesses operating in the area.
The MP also enquired about the agreements made between Rain Forest Adventures and various organizations, such as The Emilio Wilson Foundation and the Nature Foundation, that were due to receive subsidies/donations from them, and asked if any such payments have been made.
MP Buncamper also asked about the illustrious plans for agriculture and reforestation of the area, and proposed that at least two thirds of the property acquired by Rain Forest Adventures for agricultural purposes and among other things, a natural park, be retaken for the use of agriculture.
MP Buncamper stated in his letter to the minister that during the recently held IPKO meetings reference was made to “funds and expertise being available to assist in making the necessary plans for funding in the agricultural field” and suggested that a cooperative (Co-Op) be established to properly guide and oversee the agricultural development of the country.