Sea, sun and sand

Dear Editor,
St. Maarten has been known for decades for its “sea, sun and sand”, all of which attracted the very first tourists and continues to attract tourists to our beautiful Island. Tourism is our only source of income.
Let us make no mistake that our sandy beaches and our beautiful crystal, clear waters are the primary reasons why most people come to St. Maarten. If we continue to dredge Great Bay Harbor, putting that precious sand into the Pondfill, the lagoon and landfill, we are destroying our most precious resource, our beaches which God gave us at no cost.
The cruise ship business is important to our economy. Without our beautiful beaches and crystal clear waters, the cruise ship business, indifferent to their investments, would be more likely to move to another island that has maintained their beautiful beaches and crystal clear waters.
The only other reason the cruise ships might briefly stop here would be to dump their garbage, thus continuing to increase the size of “Mt. Garbage” at the Pond, which I am sure will not replace our beaches as a tourist attraction.
They may also stop to dump their other wastes in the precious sea that surrounds us, thereby continuing to pollute and further endanger our crystal clear, beautiful blue waters. This is the very same water along with our beaches that attracts the cruise ship business and most of the tourists to our Friendly Island.
Considering the above, it is advantageous and necessary to return any sand dredged to the perimeter of the Island, thereby ensuring the future of our beaches, the future of our people for now and for generations to come.
It takes millions of years to create sand and that sand travels around the island. The conclusion being: if you take sand from one place, whether dredged or shoveled onto the back of a pickup, you take it from all the beaches. I have lived here 49years and seen our big beautiful powder-white beaches turn to a coarser beige sand or a grey sludge.
During the days of Claude Wathey, it was illegal to take any sand from our beaches. We bought the sand we needed for construction or any other purpose from Barbuda.
Every ounce of sand dredged and not returned to the outskirts of our island is an act of pure destruction of our beaches and of our economy.
It is an act of treason to St. Maarten, its people and its future.

Cheri Batson

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