In a regional digital conference organized by the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) this Thursday pertaining to the regional challenge of Sargassum seaweed, St. Maarten’s efforts were highlighted by means of a best practice panel. The country received regional acclaim for its multi-partner Beach cleaner project spearheaded by the St. Maarten Hospitality & Trade Association (SHTA).

SHTA’s secretary and Beach cleaner Foundation President Ricardo Perez was invited to be part of a multi-island panel discussing solutions to the seasonal influx of Sargassum seaweed. This natural phenomenon is not just a challenge for the beach tourism dependent regional economy, but also to its biodiversity. In addition, the Foundation coordinates educational sessions from time to time with the equipment operators and others providing information about turtle nesting protection and awareness.

The Beach Cleaning Foundation’s President Mr. Perez gave a presentation conferring how St. Maarten has been combating the Sargassum issue since the beach cleaner’s arrival in 2021.

In the wake of hurricane Irma (2017), SHTA commenced a fundraising campaign to acquire a beach cleaning machine. In conjunction with the St. Maarten Nature Foundation, procedures were developed to make sure the truck would safeguard St. Maarten nature to the best of its ability. 

Donations of ANWB the Netherlands, Rotary Club of St. Maarten, Rotary Mid Isle, St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, Port St. Maarten and owners of Oyster Bay Beach Resort and Coral Club made it possible to achieve the milestone of securing the machine. For this special cause, producer Kässbohrer Geländefahrzeug AG (Germany) generously supported the acquisition as well.

Several of the aforementioned partners founded a not-for-profit Beach cleaner Foundation making the Cherrington 5500 beach cleaning machine available for island wide use. For this cause, Windward Roads continues to offer transport and personnel for any entity desiring the Beach Cleaner for a full day of operations at cost price. 

For more information about the beach-cleaner please contact SHTA at +1 (721) 542-0108.