HARBOUR VIEW- The article released on Sunday, October 17, 2021 by St. Maarten News entitled “SER policy-brief about dump: Turn Pond Island into residential area” was not issued by the Social Economic Council (SER) and does not express the viewpoints of the institution.
The title of the article “SER policy-brief about dump” is misleading as the SER has not issued advice on the topic mentioned within the article. The SER distances itself from the article published by St. Maarten News. The article discusses the document entitled “Relocating “The Dump” Inhabitants: Resettlement or Displacement? Policy Brief”, which was submitted as a part of Ms. Chantelle Jessurun’s master’s thesis, as stated on page 06 of the document. The policy brief was written as a part of a master thesis. Views and recommendations are based on the researcher’s own interpretations and do not reflect the opinion of the SER. Ms. Jessurun was an intern with the SER at the beginning of 2021, during which she was able to use the resources and support of the SER in order to complete the research for her master’s thesis. The conclusions and recommendations laid forth by Ms. Jessurun in “Relocating “The Dump” Inhabitants” are the results of her own independent research process.
The Board of the SER was not yet installed during her research process and did not participate in the shaping of her research. As an institution, the SER is always willing to help young St. Maarteners in their academic endeavors by providing them a platform through which they can gain access to and learn from. Regarding the advice of the SER given in relation to the landfill, the SER publicly released its unsolicited advice “Better Waste Management for St. Maarten” in March 2017. The advice discussed the social, economic, and environmental challenges of the Pond Island landfill due to the frequent fires. The relocation of individuals residing in the vicinity of the dump is a discussion which arose post-Irma in relation to the National Recovery Plan Bureau’s Emergency Debris Management Project.
The Board of the SER has currently not been requested to issue advice to the Government of St. Maarten regarding this topic. At a time when there seems to be more information (and more disinformation) than ever, independent and honest reporting remains a vital pillar of our society. The SER’s advice “Better Waste Management for St. Maarten” is published in English and is available to the public on the website of the SER (www.ser.sx)