The mayor of Saint-Joseph takes legal action for “better distribution” of water in Martinique

The mayor of Saint-Joseph takes legal action for “better distribution” of water in Martinique
The mayor of Saint-Joseph takes legal action for “better distribution” of water in Martinique

The mayor of Saint-Joseph does not want to wait for the establishment of the single water authority so that his citizens can benefit directly from the production of the catchment of the Blanche River located in his commune in Saint-Joseph. He files a complaint on this subject, but also to recover sums that he considers unduly received by the operator in charge of production.

By prefectural decree, the Rivière Blanche drinking water production plant is currently operated by Espace Sud, via SME (Société Martiniquaise des Eaux). The latter resells the drinking water produced from the Saint-Joseph catchment to Cacem.

For Mayor Yan Monplaisir, this situation is an aberration, because, according to him, it deprives his citizens of water “cheap”.

To justify his next legal action, Yan Monplaisir relies on a judgment of the Bordeaux Court of Appeal of June 6, 2023, which “directs the prefect of Martinique to re-examine the requests of the municipalities of Saint-Joseph and Lamentin concerning the distribution of the drinking water production works of the Directoire and Rivière-Blanche between them and the CACEM, within three months from the notification of this judgment.”

By a sleight of hand, the prefect issued another decree to maintain the operation of the factory until 2027, the date on which the SME contract ends.

Yan Monplaisir is considering legal action, although the details have not yet been finalized.

For this approach, the mayor of Saint-Joseph chose as lawyer Maître Joseph Breham who works in particular with Jean-Luc Touly, president of the Association for the global water contract France and member of Anticor (an association of struggle against corruption).

A former employee of the Compagnie Générale des Eaux (CGE), Touly denounced in 2019 the high cost of water in Martinique and on several occasions filed complaints against the Société Martiniquaise des Eaux (SME) for embezzlement of public funds. He is surprised today at the position of the prefect in relation to the judgment rendered by the Bordeaux Court of Appeal.

The prefect of Martinique must apply the court’s decision….I also don’t sense any desire from Cacem politicians for things to change.

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Yan Monplaisir expressed to his colleagues at Cacem his wish to recover the Rivière Blanche factory

©Alain PETIT

In this affair, Yan Monplaisir is the only one to come forward, acting as mayor of Saint-Joseph and not as a member of Cacem. Among the four Cacem towns, Fort-de-France, Schoelcher, Le Lamentin and Saint-Joseph, which are affected by the water towers, only Saint-Joseph, under the leadership of Yan Monplaisir, is considering legal action for enforce the judgment of the Bordeaux Court of Appeal.

He is also seeking to recover part of the assets of the ex-SCISM, the former union responsible for water management, particularly in Saint-Joseph. According to him, these assets, worth 15 million, must partly return to the inhabitants of Saint-Joseph.

I want to know where did these 15 million collected by the SME which took over the management of the former SCISM go?

Yan Monplaisir’s lawyer provided a period of 15 days, starting April 25, to file a complaint based on the elements provided by the mayor of Saint-Joseph.

In the meantime, could other Cacem mayors join the initiative of the mayor of Saint-Joseph?

These mayors have already expressed their desire to recover the water production plants located on their territory in order to no longer suffer from water towers, especially since the resource is present in their region.

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