Dutch State Secretary of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Raymond Knops in answers to the Permanent Committee for Kingdom Relations of the Second Chamber of Parliament in The Hague (see related story) again made it clear: Immigration status plays no role in efforts to relocate persons living too close to the dump on Pond Island.
Several elected representatives of St. Maarten have also asked about this on various occasions. Knops explained that a requirement for projects executed with means from the Trust Fund sponsored by the Netherlands and administered by the World Bank is that these may not have any negative impact on people or the environment.
In this case implementing a sustainable solution for the sanitary landfill under guidance of the National Recovery Program Bureau (NRPB) is a huge priority. However, it creates a risk for inhabitants nearby who consequently need to move elsewhere.
In that sense, whether they live there lawfully, are undocumented and/or have building permits for their homes becomes irrelevant. They will be forced to leave because of work taking place to improve local waste management, obviously an urgent matter in the general interest.
Of course, related questions remain, such as whether the papers of foreigners lacking legal residency among this group should now be regulated, especially if gainfully employed. Not everyone might agree, but that is probably the most practical approach, rather than allowing them to continue existing “under the radar.”