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Friday, August 24, 2018

Citizens take Government to Court regarding the dump

By Camiel Koster , filed under: Civil

Citizens take Government to Court regarding the dump

On August 24, 2018, Mrs B. Cannegieter, Mr C. Koster and the law firm BZSE Attorneys at Law/Tax Lawyers filed a petition for an injunction against Country Sint Maarten and the operator of the dump. The plaintiffs request the Court to order Government and the dump operator to ensure that the dump will no longer spread smoke, gasses and stench within three months after the Court’s ruling. They also request the Court to order Government to have an official institute, like the ‘Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu’, to conduct measurements to establish how toxic the fumes are.

The plaintiffs base their claim on the protections they can infer from the provisions that deal with “neighborhood laws” as anchored in the Civil Code. Furthermore, they argue that Government and the dump operator can be held liable based on “tort”, or “unlawful act”. Article 5:37 Civil Code stipulates in summary that the owner of a parcel of land may not cause hindrance in a tortious manner to the owners of other parcels of lands, such as, but not limited to noise, smoke, gasses, stench, tremors. It is a fact that the dump does spread stench, smoke and gasses continuously. Since the winds on Sint Maarten are mostly from an easterly direction, the plaintiffs who work and live west of the dump suffer on a weekly and sometimes daily, depending on the winds.

It is not known yet when the case will be heard by the Court. Presumably sometime in September.