Published On: Fri, Aug 17th, 2012

Billion dollar lawsuit against the refinery

ORANJESTAD — A group of concerned citizens want to press charges again the refinery in San Nicolas because of pollution and damaging consequences to health. Lawyer John Zara, who says the group hired him, speaks of the ‘billion dollar lawsuit against the refinery’.

However, who’s behind this Zara refused to say this morning after he made an appeal in the media earlier, announcing the lawsuit and inciting citizens to report and take part. Nobody had reported this morning, he said. Nevertheless, he certainly expects this to happen and when asked if the lawsuit will actually take place, he said “Without doubt.” As yet, the lawyer doesn’t wish to disclose anything about the group that had approached him. While offering no clarity on the exact size of this group, he said there were certainly more than ten citizens. “It’s actually already a large group.”

In his appeal in the media, he also criticizes the government, stating the latter invested substantially in the half of the island because of ‘valuable tourism’, while the other half of Aruba is polluted in an ‘unthinkable and inhuman way’. Especially children from this side of Aruba are victim and the number of cases of cancer has increased ‘drastically’, according to the accusers. Also other sicknesses are ‘directly the result of serious air pollution’ as those living in Pos Chiquito, Savaneta and San Nicolas experience continuously.

On being asked, Zara replied that the group will certainly prove these allegations. “There is also much jurisprudence of similar cases internationally.” Is the claim of 1 billion dollars realistic? “You can always ask; the question of course is ‘will you get it’, said the lawyer. The class action lawsuit’ can be handled here, according to the legal system. The case will be tried here, said the lawyer. Zara couldn’t say when he would submit his case to court.

At this moment, the refinery is still in the hands of the American company Valero. Spokesperson Bill Day stated this morning he wasn’t informed of the plans for the lawsuit.

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