Rutte: Priority must to be given to dump

ST. JOHN’S ESTATE –The smouldering dump and its choking smoke did not escape the attention of Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte when he visited the country on Monday.

  Responding to the fervent cries of residents, Rutte told The Daily Herald a permanent solution to the constantly on-fire dump must be a priority for the local government, headed by St. Maarten Prime Minister Leona Romeo-Marlin.

  “One of the things that could have been done in the past five months is to stop the burning of the dump. It is a very practical thing … why would a tourist come here if they start in this horrible smell,” Rutte said in a brief press moment after visiting senior citizens in St. Martin’s Home. The home is, at times, affected by the smoke its smell coming from the dump.

  Tackling the landfill is necessary to safeguard the health of residents and to the rebooting of the Hurricane Irma-damaged tourism-driven economy. 

  “We think that priority has to be given to this dump – the big one and the baby dump … The big dump is a big risk in terms of the economy. Why would tourists come here and be confronted by a smell like you are in a burning house,” queried Rutte. 

  He also expressed concerns for residents: “It’s also about the wellbeing of the people here who have to live in that awful smell and we don’t know what kind of stuff is in there.”  

Source: The Daily Herald