Relocating "The Dump" Inhabitants: Resettlement or Displacement?
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Following the Emergency Debris Management Project (EDMP) and the new waste management development plans for Sint Maarten, an estimated 200 informal settlers are required to be resettled elsewhere. These inhabitants reside near the landfill, better known as “The Dump”. The landfill exposes toxic fumes and poses health hazards to the inhabitants residing there. The size of the landfill is also no longer manageable calling for urgent development of the landfill. Following the development-induced-relocations, this research looks at possible impoverishment risks that these inhabitants may face due to the resettlement. The aim is to formulate a feasible Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) that does not neglect the ones affected by the resettlement and that can assure full restoration and/or enhancement of their livelihoods once they have been relocated. Over the course of five months, ethnographic research was conducted on the dump in Sint Maarten in partnership with the Social Economic Council of Sint Maarten (SER). The findings show several impoverishment risks, especially for the long-term consequences if inhabitants are to be relocated. Legal ambiguity and the absence of housing standards are of great concern to this process. The findings also point to unrest and mistrust amongst the inhabitants regarding the role of the government throughout the resettlement process. On this basis, recommendations were formulated to change the development project design rather than opt for resettlement. The recommendations also involved the formulation of an official housing standard for the island of Sint Maarten as well as full transparency throughout the development and resettlement process.