The Honorable Minister Egbert Doran recently attended the High-Level Forums for Caribbean Ministers Responsible for Water and Waste in the Bahamas hosted by the Caribbean Water and Wastewater Association (CCWA) under the theme, “From Global Resolution to Regional Solutions: “Let’s End Plastic Pollution!”
“I was honored to take part in the High-Level Forums where we shared regional water and waste strategies and received insight into new technologies and innovation. Being able to participate in these discussions opens the doors for effective collaboration within the Caribbean to solve our common challenges, “ said Doran.
Over the conference, a constant phrase used was “purpose-driven”, which the minister stated that it adds to his belief that “now is the time for all of us to put our words into action.” Sint Maarten has been making great progress as an island with thewater infrastructure and water supply. The average Non-Revenue Water is about 45% throughout the Caribbean and Sint Maarten has reduced her water loss from 39% to approximately 22 % over the last several years. The island enjoys a 24-7 water supply that is of good and potable quality.
According to Doran, the forum highlighted that there is a great interest by financiers to aid many of the islands in our region in addressing the non-Revenue water loss. Addressing the Non-Revenue Water loss directly correlates with the carbon footprint as fossil fuels are used to produce water. “We will continue to strive as we build on this progress to make a better future for our children and the next generation,” the minister stated.
One of the main challenges that Sint Maarten faces as an island, which is shared with several other Caribbean nations, is proper waste disposal. Doran said, “As we transition into an Integrated Solid Waste management system on Sint Maarten, it was a great experience to learn from our other islands within the region on their best practices and pitfalls. As the Government, we do not need to reinvent the wheel. While there are things that have been allowed to fester for too long, we can be purpose-driven and make a difference now.”
As part of the regional cooperation, eighteen representatives from across the region signed a statement of acknowledgment to further strengthen the regional collaboration and approach in addressing their shared challenges. “It is always an honour to represent our island of Sint Maarten and this conference was no exception. I was able to forge relationships with several ministers within our region, namely my colleague ministers from St. Kitts, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos, Commissioner of St. Eustatius, and the host, Minister Sears from the Bahamas,” stated Doran.
Doran declared, “As the Government, and the Minister that is vested with the portfolio of VROMI, I am deeply committed to seeing our beautiful Sint Maarten being a clean island. This can only be achieved if we are all determined to make the changes needed to improve our environment.” He further encouraged the community, saying, “We do not have to wait on the regulations to force us to do what is best for ourselves, for our children and for our environment. Let us reduce, re-use, recycle, stop littering, and properly dispose of our waste. Teach our children to do the same. The change begins with me, it begins with you. The change we need begins with us.”
The Ministry of VROMI is working on plans for the Integrated Solid Waste Management on Sint Maarten project. This is part of the programme to improve the country’s environmental profile in the near future.