Published On: Tue, Oct 3rd, 2017

SCDF: Housing people in the Festival Village is a health disaster waiting to happen

POND ISLAND — The St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) has warned that housing people in the Festival Village is a humanitarian and health disaster waiting to happen. The board of the foundation issued its warning following comments made by at least two Ministers (Marlin and Lee) that the village was being considered for housing.

The board of the foundation stressed that its concern has nothing to do with Carnival itself, but what it knows to be the realities of the Festival Village. The facility, the board said, is especially hazardous for children and their susceptibility to catch insect bound diseases. The board said it truly sympathizes with persons who have lost homes, including some of its own members, but it cannot imagine people living in the Village for any length of time.

“The venue is now located not far from two landfills, mice and mosquitos will be a serious problem, other insects such as centipedes as well, there are no showers, the bathrooms are unreliable, it floods with pond water at any prolonged periods of rain and water enters the booths easily through its lone window, on very hot days its sweltering, and so on,” the foundation said.

“During the period of Carnival, keeping the village bug free, sanitized and fumigated and managing flood-proned areas in the facility is the second costliest budget item for the SCDF. We prepare that Village for three weeks of sanitary usage. Putting people in there, children in particular, is asking for a humanitarian and health problem to the highest degree. It is not a responsible location to put people who might have lost so much already,” the board.

The foundation hopes that the Council of Minister re-thinks this option for emergency housing.

Bird's eye view of Festival Village

Photo caption: Bird’s eye view of the Festival Village, the proposed location for an emergency village.