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Oct 20th
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  • Clotride HANSON de RODRIGUEZ.

     

    Psalms 121;I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord which made heaven and earth.

    We regret to announce the sudden death of

    Clotride HANSON de RODRIGUEZ
    Born: July 12th, 1964
    Died September 19th, 2010

    She was the daughter of the late Alberic Narcisse HANSON of Colombier
    She leaves to mourn:
    Husband:                            Daniel RODRIGUEZ
    Children:                             Daneris RODRIGUEZ
                                               Darineris RODRIGUEZ & family in Sto Domingo
                                               Damirkis RODRIGUEZ
    Grand-children:                   Jader & Dariel RODRIGUEZ in Sto Domingo
    Mother:                               Francisca De La ROSA HANSON
    Father in law:                     Bernal INIRIO in Sto Domingo
    Son in law:                          Hansel  Jaer JIMENEZ in Sto Domingo

    Sisters:                                 Angelita HANSON de CARABALLO & family
                                                    Maritza De La ROSA & family in Sto Domingo
                                                    Carmen POLANCO & family in Sto Domingo

     

    Brothers:                             José HANSON  BKA (Alberto or belto ) & family
                                                    David HANSON & family
                                                    Victor HANSON & family
                                                    Josué HANSON & family
                                                    Daniel HANSON & family
                                                    Ezequiel HANSON & family
                                                    Ramon POLANCO & family in Sto Domingo
    Brother in law:                  Carlos CARABALLO
                                                    Joselito, Alejandro, Anjito, Bitico RODRIGUEZ in Sto. Domingo

    Sisters in law:                     Maria, Ysela, Luisa, Milagros RODRIGUEZ in Sto. Domingo

    Aunts:                                   Raymonda De la ROSA in Sto. Domingo

    Uncles:                                                Francisco De La ROSA in Sto. Domingo
                                                    Pedro De La ROSA in Sto.Domingo

    Aunts in Law:                     Adrienne HANSON

    Nieces & nephews: Hector, Junior, Alexander, Iselo, Mabel, Angel, Albert, Danny, Gregory, Nilky             Ezequiel, Emmanuel, Alexis, Margarita, Angelita, Jeffrey, Marta  and many more too             numerous to mention.

    Cousins: Viviane Gombs, Florentin Kingsale, Stanley, Francky, Sylvain, Hubert, Eugene & Claire HANSON, Janine Charbonnier, Yvette Miller, Liliane MAXWELL  and Many more too numerous to mention.

    Also leaves to mourn:  The Pastors & members of Iglesia de Jesu-Cristo “Ecos de Salvacion” in Rambaud  & Iglesia Fuente Inagotable in Sto. Domingo
    Many friends in St Martin & Sto.  Domingo too numerous to mention.

    She was related to:      Hanson, De La Rosa, Rodriguez, Wilson, Polanco, January, Richardson, Gibbs, Carty, Vlaun, Ellis, Brooks, Philips, Van-Heyningen, Gombs, Chance, Cocks, Miller, Gumbs, Charbonnier, Maxwell, Vanterpool, Arsten, Bell, Caraballo, Kingsale,   And many more too numerous to mention.

    Funeral arrangements for the late Clotride HANSON de RODRIGUEZ will be announced in a subsequent announcement.

    The Management and staff of Emerald Funeral Home would like to extend our deepest sympathy to the bereaved families.

    May Her Soul Rest in Peace

     

     
  • Marthe Augustine Hunt.

     

    Psalm 23:1 The Lord is my Shepherd I shall not want

    Marthe Augustine Hunt
    Sunrise: August 27, 1915 ~ Sunset: September 14, 2010

    She leaves to mourn:

    Son: Dr. Emile Antoine Hunt
    Daughter in law: Ramona Mercedes Martinez Hunt
    Grandsons: Jeffery, Michael & Rafael Hunt  
    Granddaughters: Nicole Hunt Jackson & Karen Hunter
    Daughters in law: Kim Klyn & Darnee Hunt
    Ex daughter in law: Hanna james
    Great grandchildren: Antonio, Angelique, Sidney, Joshua & Matthew Hunt, Brianna  Walton & Michael Hunt Jr ., Tajan, Nia & Yana Jackson.
    Brother: Isidore Hodge
    Sisters: Pirette Hamel, Marcelle Hodge & Angel  White.
    Many Nieces & Nephews too numerous to mention
    Special cousins & caretaker: Gracita Thomas & fam.
    Special cousins:  Natalie Richardson & fam., Nancy Bryan & fam., Sandra Panka, Micheal Hunt & fam., Bernice Thomas, Mireille Bryan,Pastor Desmond & Allen James.
    Caretaker: Sonia Brown & Ruby Harriot
    Many other relatives & friends too numerous to mention
    She was related to the: Hodge, Duzang, Hunt, Rogers, Brian, Lake, Thomas, Lawrence, Gumbs, Richardson, White, Jackson, Hunter & Flynn families
    The funeral service will held on Friday, September 24th, 2010 at the Seventh Day Adventist Church in French Cul de Sac. Viewing will be from 1:00pm to 2:00pm. Service will commence at 2:00pm. Interment will follow at the French Cul de Sac cemetery.

    The Management and staff of Emerald Funeral Home would like to extend our deepest sympathy to the bereaved families.

    May Her Soul Rest in Peace

     

     
  • Joseph Dieusimene.

     

    L’ Eterne lest ma lumiere et mon saluts: De qui aurais- je crainte? L’ Eternel est le soutien de ma viede qui aurais- je peur? – Psaumes 27v1 

    Joseph Dieusimene
    Nee le 06 Janvier 1952

    Decedee le 06 Septembre 2010
    A Saint- Martin, France

    HUSBAND / SON CONJOINT:  SATURNE LENER

    HER CILDREN / SES ENFANTS:

    · JOSEHP NADEGE

    · JOSEPH  MARIE  EP. MAUVAIS

    · JOSEHP NADIA

    · JOSEPH SEBASTIEN

    · SATURNE ROSE-MARTHE EP. ANTOINE

    · SATURNE JOCELYN

     HER SISTERS / SES SŒURS:

    · JOSEPH JONA EP. HERCULE

    · JOSEPH MARIE MARTHE

     HER GRAN CILDREN / SES PETITS ENFANTS:

    · JOSEPH NATHANIEL

    · JOSEPH LOUISA

    · MAUVAIS DAREN’S

    · MAUVAIS DAMIEN

    · ANTOINE TATIANA

    · ANTOINE THAILER

    HER NIECES & NEPHEW / SES NEVEUX & NIECES

    · HERCULE MYRTHA

    · CASTEL ELMITHA

    · HERCULE BETSY

    · HERCULE  MACKENZIE

    · JOSEPH  BETCHINA

     

     ISAAC THERESE ( COUSINE)

    MICHEL MILLET ( FILS ADOPTIF)

     FRIENDS/ AMIS: TROP NOMBREUX POUR CITER

    Le service funerarire :

    A L’EGLISE  CHRETIENNE DE LA NOUVELLE JERUSALEM  D’AGREMENT

    · DATE: 14 SEPTEMBRE 2010
    · EXPOSITION  DU CORP:  2: 00  à 3 : 00 PM
    · DEBUT DE SERVICE :  3 : 00 PM
    · INCINERATION:  CIMETIERE DE MARIGOT

    The Management and staff of Emerald Funeral Home would like to extend our deepest sympathy to the bereaved families.

    May Her Soul Rest in Peace

     

     

     
  • Gerline Maingrette-Blaise.

     

    “Remember now thy creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days
    Come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shall say, I have no pleasure In them;” - Ecc. 12:1

    Gerline Maingrette-Blaise

    Born: June 5th, 1993
          Died: August 19th, 2010

     

    Mother: Maingrette Claudette B.K.A.  Joline (Haiti)
    Step Mother: Julina Louis B.K.A.  T.C. (Saint Martin)
    Father: Jean-Robert Blaise (Saint Martin)
     
    Sister: Berline Blaise (Saint Martin)
    Brother: Roberson Maingrette-Blaise (Haiti)
                  Kevin Almé (Haiti)

    God-Mother: Mène (Miami)
    God-Father: Lauror Nickodème (Saint Martin)

    Aunts: Mme Gerald, Alvie, Longin Anette, Gasnère Phébé, Mélicia Esperance
                Phébé Losta (Haiti)
                Phébé Tinette (Haiti)
                Longin Odette & family
                Longin Anne-Marie

    Uncles: Phébé Cenet,
                  Phébé Jouanet (Haiti)
                  Phébé Senet (Haiti)
                  Phébé Kenol (Paris)
                  Phébé Jouakim (Paris)
                  Phébé Jean-Baptiste (USA)
                  Others to numerous to mention

    Cousins: Jean-François Jocelyne, Jean-François Jeffry, Jean-François Marie-Josette, Phébé        
                  Germina, Phébé Jean-Luc, Blaise Gilot, Irra Talita, Irra Martine, Irra Marc-Daniel,
                  Irra Beatrice, Irra Valérie, Irra Antoine, Irra Jonathan, Noel Martha, Noel Cyril,                                  Phébé Rodrigue, Phébé Garry, Phébé Phito & Family (Saint Martin), Phébé Jean Tony (USA),
                  Phébé Gracien (USA), Phébé Wilfrid & Family (Saint Martin),Phébé Vicker & Family (Saint Martin), Phébé Fritzner (Saint Martin), Phébé Mariane (Saint Martin), Phébé Cidrique (Saint Martin)
                  Phébé Aboudou (Saint Martin), Phébé Cenor (Haiti), Phébé Manes St Maarten) and many others too numerous to mention.

    Best Friends: Renilia Rollan, Marie Lauren, Carty Chantal, Wiline Sanon, Wakendell, Pierre Hol, Xavier…

    She was a student of the Lycee Professionnel de Saint Martin.

    Close Friends and neighbours: Anna Aka crip gyal, Paul Aka Sean Paul, Beatrice Aka Bébé, Dafné, Joana, Jimmy, Marie-France, Stacy & Kids, Roxane & kids, Jocelyne, Lisa, Leon & Sylvianne, Josette Aka voisine

     

    The funeral service for the late Gerline Maingrette-Blaise will be held on Friday 3rd, September, 2010 at the Eglise Nazereen, rue de Coralita in French Quarter. Viewing will be from 2:00pm to 3:00pm. Service will commence at 3:00pm with interment at the St.Georges Cemetery in French Quarter.

    The Management and staff of Emerald Funeral Home would like to extend our deepest sympathy to the bereaved families.

    May Her Soul Rest in Peace

     

     
  • Susannah Elizabeth Delaney-Ryan better known as Liz/Sis.

     

    Psalm 91:1 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

    It is with profound sadness we announce the home going of

    Susannah Elizabeth Delaney-Ryan better known as Liz/Sis

    Sunrise Jan 10th 1951 – Sunset Aug 27th 2010

    Left to mourn:

    Husband:  Charles O. Delaney 

    Father:      Peter R.Skerritt in England

    Children:  Sherolin C.Boirard-Delaney

                     Shaunetta C. Delaney

                     Shameda K. Delaney

                     Sheldon C. Delaney

    Grand Children:  Ryne T. Boirard

                                Rhianna S. Boirard

                                Rasheema S. Boirard

                                Rayeesha S. Boirard

                                Ershaunio A. Delaney

                                Malia S. P. Delaney

    Sister:                  Marion Skerritt *New York

    Brothers:             Alfred Skerritt *Montserrat  

                                William Skerritt * Montserrat

    Mother in law:    Yvonne G. Iles

    Father in law:      Samuel A. Hodge

    Son in law:          Ralph T. Boirard  

    Sisters in law:     Barbara Charville, Sophia, Ghyslaine, Elderine Iles and Moyenva Bromet

    Bother in law:     Edouard Arrindell (Eddie) *Virginia

    Aunts:                 Frances Ryan *Montserrat

                                Mary Polly Ryan * England

                                Lydia Ryan *Montserrat

    Nieces and Nephews, Cousins, God children and close friends too numerous to mention here and abroad.

    Bishop: Michael & Annette Greenaway and members of the Victory Temple Church of God of Prophecy                        

    Bishop:  Melroy Meade & Family and members of The Church of God of Prophecy in Montserrat
    She was related to Delaney, Ryan, Skerritt, Boirard, Fenton, Hixon, Harney, Fagan, Allen, Silcott, Williams, David, Iles, Bromet, Artsen, Arrindell, Cassell, Kirnon, Charville, Charlmers, Barnwell, Sorton, Hodge, Godet, Rey, Harrigan & Smith families

    The funeral service for the late Susannah Elizabeth Delaney-Ryan better known as Liz/Sis will be held on Tuesday September 7th, 2010 at the Victory Temple Church of God of Prophecy in Ebenezer viewing will be from 1:30 pm – 3:00pm service commence at 3:00pm with interment at the Cul-de-Sac Cemetery    

     The Family kindly Requests no visitors after the service.

     The Management and staff of Emerald Funeral Home would like to extend our deepest sympathy to the bereaved families.

    May Her Soul Rest in Peace

     
  • Dasent Emmanuel Pemberton b.k.a “Ira” or “Brown”.

     

    God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble.

    It is with deep sadness we announce the sudden passing of  our beloved son, father, grandfather, brother and friend

     Dasent Emmanuel Pemberton b.k.a “Ira” or “Brown”

    Sunrise: 29 Nov 1942 ~ Sunset: 25 Aug 2010

    Left to mourn are his father Mr. Renold Pemberton in Nevis
    His eight children:
    Michele Pemberton-Williams (Miami)
    Dasent Browne Jr. (Germany)
    Deserie Pemberton (Nevis)
    Tracy Pemberton (St. Maarten)
    Cordelia (Glency)Pemberton (Nevis)
    Marguerite (Lisa) Pemberton - Isaac (St. Kitts)
    Deora Pemberton (Nevis)
    Natassicia Pemberton (Miami)

    Sons in law: Christopher Williams (Miami) & Keeden Isaac in St. Kitts
    Daughter in law: Lera Browne (Germany)

    Grandchildren: Carrim Browne, Tiffani Browne, Adiah Budgeon, Dasente Browne,
    Patrice Nisbett, Keeondre Isaac, Camille Williams, Christopher Williams Jr

    His brothers:
    Christian Pemberton (U.S.A.)
    Don Pemberton (Nevis)
    Pastor Eversley Pemberton (Nevis)
    Glenn Pemberton (Nevis)
    Godfrey Browne (Nevis)
    James Pemberton (Nevis)
    Paul Pemberton (U.S.A.)
    Melville Pemberton (Nevis)

    Sisters:
    Deloris Browne (Holland)
    Esther Pemberton (U.S.A.)

    Favorite Brother: Don Pemberton in Nevis
    Favorite nephew: Everson Powell in SXM
    17 nephews and 11 nieces in SXM, Nevis, Holland, and the U.S.A.

    13 sisters in law including Mrs. Vera Illidge, Beverly Milliard & Yvonne Pemberton in SXM
    4 brothers in law in Nevis and Sxm 

    Close friends: Ronald and Joyce Carty

    Friends: Wanda, Nicole, Sinclaire, Nevile bka Top Secret, and many more too numerous to mention not forgetting the staff at the Airport Cargo Building and all of his loyal customers.

    Mr. Dasent Emanuel Pemberton bka Ira, Browne, was related to the Pemberton, Browne, Williams, Isaac,
    Powell, Nisbett, Budgeon, Milliard, and IIlidge families.

     
    A Memorial Service will be held at the Emerald funeral home Chapel in Cay Hill on Thursday 02 August 2010. The body can be viewed from 9:00am to 10:00am. Service will commence at 10:00am.
     The body will be transported to Nevis for burial on Friday, September 3rd, 2010.  

    The family will like to thank everyone for their support in this difficult time
    of their mourning.

     The Management and staff of Emerald Funeral Home would like to extend our deepest sympathy to the bereaved families.

    May His Soul Rest in Peace

     

     

     
  • Felicienne Hughes – Pieternella, affectionately known as “Rosey”.

     

    Revelation 21:4  And GOD shall wipe away all the tears from their eyes and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain, for the former things are passed away.

    It is with profound sadness that we announce the home going of Felicienne Hughes – Pieternella, affectionately known as “Rosey”
    Sunrise: 9th June 1953 ~ Sunset: 6th September 2010
    Left to mourn:
    Husband:  Hector T. Pieternella

    Children:  Antonia “Chema” Magloire (USA), Shawn Lokey, Kemani Austrie, Sharena Andrew

    Step Children:  Ravie Pieternella & Family (Holland), Weiner Pieternella & Family (Holland)

    Grandchildren:  Jazmine Magloire (USA), Kemiara Austrie, Jakira Austrie, Khayr Austrie

    Brother: Gaymond Hughes (USA)

    Sisters:                 Evangeline Hughes (Guadeloupe), Demeter V. Hughes

    Daughters in law: Tamika Lake Lokey, Janet Austrie, Sabrina Vrutaal

    Brothers in law:                Junior Pieternella (Curacao), Edsel Pieternella & Family (Holland)

    Sisters in law      Gladys Klienmoedig & Family (Curacao), Elista Camille & Family (Curacao)

    Close Niece        Laura Bryan & Family

    Close Cousin      Brenda Hughes & Family (Anguilla)

    Many Nieces, Nephews, and cousins too numerous to mention

    God Son               Avery Brooks

    Close Friends     Aurora Berkel, Noon Holaman, Kerell Maynard, Nadia Gumbs, Carmen Gumbs & Nadira Mohadeo
    Care takers         Vera & Bernadine

    The Staff at Ballerina Jewellers
                                   
                                    Dialysis nurses and patients of the St. Maarten Medical Center

    She was related to Hughes, Collidor, John, Romere, Pieternella, Austrie, Lokey, Andrew, Lake, Gumbs, Hodge & Connor families

    The funeral service for the late Felicienne Hughes-Pieternella affectionally known as Rosey will be held on Monday September 13th, 2010 at the New Testament Baptist Church in Philipsburg.  Viewing will be from 2:00pm – 3:00pm. The Service commences at 3:00pm with internment at the Cul-De-Sac Cemetery.

    There will be a Wake held at her home on Sunday September 12th, 2010 from 7:00pm – 11:00pm.

    The family kindly requests no visitors after the funeral

    The Management and staff of Emerald Funeral Home would like to extend our deepest sympathy to the bereaved families.

    May Her Soul Rest in Peace

     

     

     
  • OPEN APPEAL TO ALL POLITICAL LEADERS OF THE ISLAND --- 'Come together to formulate St. Maarten/St. Martin's agenda and prevent external intervention'.

    Now that the Island-council elections of Friday, September 17, 2010 elections are over, it has also become extremely evident that there is a great uneasiness-, and barely controlled anxiety among the population of the island.
    That our grassroots St. Martin movement is not the only one which very concerned about the future of St. Maarten-, and by extension of St. Martin as well-, is evidenced by 'others' expressing similar views.
    Mr. Jeffrey RICHARDSON leader of the CPA-, for instance expressed this in an interview with Lloyd RICHARDSON, on Wednesday, September 22, 2010.
    Unfortunately-, and as usual St. Maarten's 'most popular' talk-show host-, lacks either the intellectual ability to really understand the the depth of the appeal Jeffrey was making to all the leaders of the country-, or most probably-, he lacks the willingness to depart from his deliberately-, simplistic tactic to 'dilute'- and 'erode' messages he does not like.
    Whatever the case may be-, it will be up to the management of radio-stations to decide whether or not-, they are going to demand a higher quality- and standard from their hosts in order to contribute to educating the citizens on island in understanding- and dealing with the most serious of issues in its recent history.
    Fortunately-, there are others who have expressed concern and need for a 'concerted' effort in order to move this island forward.
    (See attachments of Kingdom Intervention by the Daily Herald, Julian ROLLOCKS, DP Secretary general and Duncan VAN HEYNINGEN)
    We too, agree that while the election is over, the real challenges have just begun....
    In our opinion-, there is only one logical premise to start dealing with these challenges-, and to avert the reality of external intervention.
    It is based on understanding the real significance of most fundamental reality- and specificity of this island.
    ; 'St. Martin- One island- One People- One Destiny.
    In other words, regardless of 'frontiers'-, and of one 'side' being 'Dutch'- and the other being 'French'- , its native people share one- and the same past-, presence- and future-, and that whatever effects one 'side' of the island-, will also effect the other 'side'.
    And while we agree with the slogan that we need 'all hands on deck', we better do such in a structured manner.
    Looking at both 'sides' of the island-, there are no other citizens or nationals-, that bind-, connect-, and unite the island's past, presence and future like its native-, indigenous St. Martin people.
    These people are linked by blood-, shared property-, norms- and values and are ancestrally rooted in the history-, and in the emancipatory development of this country like no others.
    Consequently-, even far more than the colonial authorities-, they have been the 'most constant human factor' to date on the island.
    This is not said to divide the residents as some always try to make belief.
    Rather-, it is intended to point out to St. Martiners, that they have a more special role- and responsibility than any other citizens to take the initiative to appeal to all political leaders to urgently come together in an emergency session of sorts, because the country is at a very dangerous cross-roads that will affect all on 'both sides' of the island and its people, who have nowhere else to go.
    As the grassroots representative of all St. Martiners on the island as well as abroad-, we therefore hereby make ourselves available along with others-, recommend all the political leaders to set a date- and venue for such a meeting.
    As far as we are concerned the main objective should be very clear.
    It will be to formulate the 'St. Maarten/ St. Martin- agenda', which will be a preparatory phase towards the ultimate unification of the island, into one sovereign entity.
    This is the only logical status for the island that will comply with us being bound by one common destiny as one People.
    Since time is of the essence-, we look forward for this contact to be made before November 11, 2010 'St. Maarten/St. Martin-Day'
    Should you politicians fail to take your responsibility to the next level, do not be surprised to see others willing to intervene and taking us seriously into consideration as the people's stakeholder.
    The choice is yours.
    Until 11-11-2010 that is.

    drs. Leopold JAMES
    President grassroots St.Martin nation building- and unification movement.
    And yes, that one...
    Proud-, native indigenous St. Martiners, no apologies to make there.

    --

  • A Coalition Agreement for Country Sint Maarten.

    The historic September 17 elections for Country Sint Maarten have come and gone. The political reality today is that the nation will have its first coalition government or partnership government to lead Country Sint Maarten during the first four-year governing term. The National Alliance (NA) obtained seven seats, the newcomer United Peoples (UP) party obtained six seats and the Democratic Party (DP) two seats for a total of 15 seats.

    The process to form a coalition government has already begun. The coalition agreement that will result out of these discussions will contain the ideas and vision of both partners with respect to the first four-year governing period and will be a historic document in Sint Maarten politics, as the first Country Sint Maarten coalition agreement.

    Although there are differences between the three parties that have been elected to the Island Council/Parliament of Country Sint Maarten, there is also common ground.

    The negotiation process to reach an agreement must be based on the realities of the election result. No party should make unrealistic demands, because the election figures speak for themselves. The basis of any negotiation to form a new government should be on the national interests of the people and putting together the best governing program with visions of a Sint Maarten better in every way.

    Two political parties working together do not necessarily mean that the visions of the parties will be compromised by working together. They are strengthened and enhanced to the benefit of the nation.

    A combination of parties' best ideas, attitudes and vision can produce a governing programme that is more forward looking and comprehensive than the individual party manifestos/programs. The combination of ideas will help to create a much stronger Sint Maarten society to the benefit of the entire nation.

    Both parties have set out on a journey with some policies in common and a shared desire to work together in the national interests. This should lead to a governing programme based on a progressive coalition that is inspired by creating a stronger cohesive Sint Maarten society.

    Roddy Heyliger

  • What’s at stake? Most Important Election in the History of Voting.

    On the eve of this historical moment in our constitutional and political development as a nation, over 19,000 voters will have an opportunity to go to the polls to vote for 15-Island Council members who will serve as our nation's first members of parliament in Country Sint Maarten.

    A lot is at stake. The two to 3000 voters, who do not exercise their right to vote, should do so in this election. This is a historic election and your support is needed now more than ever. We are looking up at a more prosperous future for our island nation. Parties vying for the voter's support once they receive that support must act in the interests of a better future for all.

    Policies, programs and projects must not lead to bigger problems in the longer term, as that would be a betrayal of the prospects and prosperity of future generations.

    The additional responsibilities that our island nation will have on October 10, 2010, are an opportunity for us to move forward and up. We will have all the responsibilities to act on behalf of the nation and deal with the issues that directly impact our people's daily lives. The Government elected will be able to bring about change like no other Government has done in the past.

    With the new responsibilities as country, there are also obligations and the right of the people to hold directly responsible those elected to Parliament for any failures that take place during the first four-year governing term of Country Sint Maarten.

    Governing our island nation post October 10, means committing us to continuing to build-up a modern Sint Maarten equipped to face the challenges of the 21st century. Every nation faces complications, but during times of distress, only then comes to life the creativity of a nation to work hand-in-hand with stakeholders to take decisive action. Government will need to act early and ahead of the curve – anticipating events, rather than simply reacting to them.

    The first four-year term will be about building up a stronger, fairer and more secure nation to see the country up through challenges and helping working families, pensioners, the unemployed and the youth with the pressures they face. Country Sint Maarten calls for a new way of thinking, a new approach, thinking outside the box in order to deal with the challenges being confronted by the common man on a daily basis.

    Country Sint Maarten has to prepare for the challenges of the future. Various nations around the world face long-term challenges which include climate change, the ageing of the population, and long-term food and water supply. There are many issues that require the attention of legislators and it's up to parliamentarians to be ready to take on these issues.

    On Friday, September 17 is D-Day, decision day. Let us as a nation go to the polls in a quiet and peaceful manner as has traditionally been he case and vote confidently for the party of your choice.

    Roddy Heyliger

  • CPA ENDORSES VOTING- AND OTHER RIGHTS FOR ALL ST .MARTINERS HOLDING SXM-CULTURAL ID-CARD.

    Fellow St. Martiner of every single race-, creed-, age-, gender- and nationality living on St. Maarten/Saint Martin or anywhere on earth.

    Greetings of hope to you,

    After having heard your cries of been denied and rejected for your ancestral-identity and rights, finally starting Monday, October 11, 2010, the much anticipated cultural St. Martin ID-card will be ready for being issued to applicants.
    It has been a long time in the making-, and comes at a time, when its need is becoming extremely evident to most of you.
    Example of that need-, is the great initiative taken on FACE-BOOK, by a young St. Martiner living in Belgium, drs. Mark WILLIAMS, to have all native indigenous St. Martiners living abroad-, being afforded the right to participate in elections held on the island.
    This concept of the cultural St. Martin ID-card was taken to the next level when on Friday, July 23, 2010, the first symbolic cultural St. Martin ID-card was presented to Mr. Gregory ARRINDELL, host of 'It is about time' and Roving Ambassador of CACCI, operating out of New York.
    The next recipient of our symbolic cultural St. Martin ID-card-, was the newly appointed Assistant US-Attorney, Mr. Martin BELL, whose father Mr.Chester BELL, is a 'son of the soil' and member of a very respected-, traditional St. Martin family with many lawyers-, and medical doctors in their midst.
    The issuing of these symbolic ID-cards, had been long in the planning by the only grass roots St. Martin nation building movement headed by drs. Leopold JAMES.
    It was yet another planned phase in the previously ongoing debate- and process of identifying the St. Martiner.
    After for decades-, having encouraged public debate and Government's interest in this issue, the movement decided that the time had come to put a end to the debate in order to move on to the next level.
    Unfortunately-, the Island-Government of St. Maarten led by Commissioner William MARLIN, missed a wonderful opportunity to give real-, and meaningful content to the process of constitutional development-, as well as formulating the island's first constitution. The entire St. Maarten Island-council failed miserably by in fact denying the existence of the very people (St.Martiners) after whom the so-called new country is now called.
    Clearly-, this is a blunder of historical proportions-, and a total betrayal of all dead- living and yet unborn St. Martiners
    Nevertheless- we praise the Lord, for a recent initiative which has been started in Belgium, using FACE-BOOK by a young, professional St. Martiner, drs.Mark WILLIAMS.
    This global initiative has-, in fact emphasized even more the need for an ID-card for St. Martiners in order to be able to identify our follow St. Martiners, wherever they reside in theworld.
    Also, the enormous interest as reported by CACCI's Roving Ambassador Mr. Gregory ARRINDELL for this ID-card, among St. Martiners in New York-, and around the world, will soon be honored.
    For the record.
    This particular cultural St. Martin ID-card is not a legal document-, and therefore does not infringe on the rights as derived from holders of the Dutch- or French or any other nationality.
    It is a document to allow for people 'rooted' in the Traditional Period(1848-1963) on the island, to be able to demonstrate their cultural-ancestral St. Martin identity- and heritage.
    Consequently-, and finally these people will have a proof to identify themselves as St. Martiners-.
    In addition-, they will be able to build strong mutual ties with each other based on their common ancestral heritage-, and ancestral links to the island.
    We also foresee an tremendous trend among St. Martin young people in particular to trace their roots- by means of genealogical research-, as well as even more work for St. Martiners like Mathias VOGES, Wilhelm PATRICK, Camille BALY, Daniella JEFFREY and others.
    In other words-, we anticipate an enormous revival of our native St. Martin heritage- and with that for our ancestral civic human rights and rights as native people and host-population.
    The term St. Martiner is not about St. Martin/St. Maarten being some-one's place of birth, but about the card-holders having ancestral ties to the island from the Landmark Tear 1963 or before.
    Our nation building organization will also present certain persons, who are not ancestrally linked to the island, with special 'honorary' ID-cards with the same rights- and privileges as native St. Martiners.
    There are many persons-, who have made a significant contribution towards the development of the people of this island- and who will be granted the respect of been honored with a cultural St. Martin ID-card..
    Many hail from the Far-east-, Europe, the US- and especially from our own Caribbean region.
    One of the great assets of this ID-card is that there are thousands- upon thousands of persons all around the world, with ancestral links to this island.
    It therefore needs no further emphasizing-, that having such a 'network'- /data-base consisting of St. Martiners-, will serve as a very powerful- and extremely effective means to promote the common interests of these St. Martiners and to negotiate whatever benefits.
    In that context-, the initiative taken by drs. Mark WILLIAMS to use the internet to promote the rights for indigenous St. Martiners living outside of the island,(in the diaspora) to vote in certain elections.
    Making the identification of these persons now possible, will allow for the very first time in our history, St. Martiners living ANYWHERE in the world, to participate in- and to influence developments taking place in their ancestral home-land St. Maarten/St. Martin.
    Consequently- and effectively an end would be in the make, of certain expats taking advantage of St.Martiners being a minority in their own land.
    In addition-, such a powerful 'native-indigenous St.Martin constituency' will change the island's politics fundamentally, because politicians will now have to seriously consider us.
    Having been part of the process-, before he entered into politics can contribute significantly to Mr. Jeffrey RICHARDSON, leader of the CPA to give real content to his party's main objective-, and vying for strong support from the St. Martin voters in the Friday, September 17

    election.
    The party's platform is focused on 'Preserving- and strengthening the traditional St. Martin way of life-, its people-, in the spirit of the Concordia Treaty'
    This will allow to develop a most powerful foundation for harmonious integration-, and inclusion of others with added value.
    The office will start taking applications for the ID- starting on Sunday '10-10-10'.(between 10 a.m. and 12.00 p.m.)
    Applicants are advised to take along copies of relevant documents, such as birth-certificates to the office located at the Windsor-lane # 3, Cole-Bay, tel 54 43512.
    Once approved-, applicants will be directed to the company which will take the ID-pictures and make the ID-card, which will have a code.
    Negotiations are presently taking place with various entities, in order to determine the benefits for the ID-card holders.
    Applicants living abroad can contact us via info@stmartinnation.org for more information.
    Mr. Jeffrey RICHARDSON of the CPA has committed himself once elected, to sit with all stakeholders work towards a joint private-public partnership, in order to promote this project.
    The reason for this joint venture between the CPA and the grassroots St. Martin nation building movement is clear.
    Both subscribe the the same philosophy in terms of developing the island.
    It is to preserve- and strengthen the identity and the traditional way of life of the native St. Martiner in the spirit of the Treaty of Concordia in order to form a strong foundation for inclusion of others in the process of St. Martin nation building- and unification.
    It should not go unnoticed-, that with the exception of the CPA, ALL the other parties-, insulted and betrayed the St. Martin people, by refusing to recognize them in the constitution for 'country' St. Maarten.
    Therefore-, left up to the leaders- and candidates of the DP, NA and UP parties, St. Mrtiners do not exist-, let alone that those with roots to the island-, who think that the exist and who happen to live on the French-side and/or elsewhere-, would never be afforded that sacred right.
    At the same time these politicians bend backwards to reward non added-value, illegal immigrants with the most powerful rights, such as the right to vote and be voted for.
    Persons, not of St. Martin heritage, but whose love for the island and its people can be demonstrated-, are emphatically invited to apply for an 'honorary' cultural St. Martin ID-card as well, because we embrace them as integral part of the St. Martin nation.

    Copies to
    CARICOM
    CACCI
    UN

    For more information;
    drs. Leopold JAMES, 54 43512/ 5204325
    Jeffrey RICHARDSON, 5221574 / 5860043

  • UP paid for Today's poll.

    Dear editor,

    You are kindly requested to publish this letter for me.

    This is to inform the people of St. Maarten that the poll published in the Today newspaper of Friday, September 2010 is a fraudulent one.
    It was paid for by Theo Heyliger, backed by Richards Gibson, Ansari and other corporate sponsors.
    From very reliable inside sources, I have learned that it has been completely manipulated and prepared in such a manner that mainly UP supporters were in on it.
    I have this information from very good sources within the today company and from certain UP members who were part of this scheme.
    It is done mainly in order to discourage people from voting for Jeffrey Richardson's CPA party which has been receiving growing support among St. Martin voters and others as well.
    That is the reason, that Hilbert only focused all his negative progaganda against the brand new CPA, which is the smallest party, with no money, but with a very appealing message to people.
    He did this instead of going after the two very large parties, the NA and the DP.
    This alone, raises a red flag in terms of the anti CPA conspiracy executed by Hilbert Haar of the Today newspaper which is own and complete controlled by Richard Gibson.
    In fact, this means that the big foreign business are not afraid of the DP and the NA, because they in fact are just like the UP and are not there to empower and protect the native St. Martin people.
    This role has been championed by the CPA and many St. Martiners find it a very appealing message.
    The Today newspaper also has been getting the feedback that even DP, NA and UP candidates are very sympathetic to the message of the CPA and are telling many of their supporters, to also cast votes for the CPA.
    The so called poll by the Today lacks so much credibility that even Greg Richardson the # 3 of the UP this afternoon confessed to Wendell Moore, that he himself does not attach too much attention to it.
    Mr. Haar in his hatred for Leopold James, who he blames as being the brain behind CPA, as if that is any concern to people, might have gone too far this time, when he mentioned that indigenous St. Martiners themselves do not care about being marginalized.
    This is the biggest insult to any St. Martiner, on either the DP, Na or CPA party and can well backfire into the CPA getting even more sympathy-votes to send a message to all those who have no regards for native St. Martin people.
    Our source also tells us that if the DP had paid more than the UP for setting up this deception, the outcome of the Today newspaper would have been quite different.
    looking forward to this letter being published in order to bring balance in this matter.

    Albert Martin

  • Dutch MP Out of Order--- Should Apologize.

    Dutch Member of Parliament (MP) from the Labour Party PvdA Jeroen Recourt, is questioning the integrity of members of the Main Voting Bureau who are also supported by members of the various polling stations, based on media reports of alleged irregularities.

    The voting process on the island is carried out in the most transparent manner and upholds the highest standards found in any Western world political process. I can't recall when the integrity of the Main Voting Bureau has ever been brought into question and if so, that an investigation was carried out to bring to light any past irregularities.

    Voters have the highest respect for the members of the Main Voting Bureau and the way they carry out their tasks and responsibilities.

    The voting process on the island is regulated by law. The procedures are clearly defined and the members some of them who have been involved in the process for years are well aware of proper governance where voting is concerned.

    It is a slap in the face for MP Jeroen Recourt to question the integrity of our voting officials and questioning whether the elections on the island were properly executed.

    Recourt has proposed placing the island's Electoral Council under higher supervision.

    His baseless rant is from newspaper clippings in Dutch media that are anti-Sint Maarten.

    Recourt owes the Sint Maarten Main Voting Bureau and polling station representatives an apology.

    Roddy Heyliger

  • Trends in our St. Maarten's election-campaigns.--- The good-, the bad-, the ugly- and ways to fix the system.

    The 'good' is actually 'excellent'.
    Like in few-, or in any places in the world, elections on the 'Friendly-island', are a wonderful- display or respect-, fun-, friendship-, overcoming even very deeply held political differences-,fought out in fierce debates- and in other ways.
    Traditionally, our election-days have become a time to come out-, make use of one's democratic right- and to enjoy a real social event.
    As St. Martin people- and politicians alike-, elections are something most definitely for us all to feel proud about and to preserve.
    The 'bad' is multifaceted and has many faces.
    The buying of votes for instance-, is undisputed- and is a 'curse' on any real democracy.
    This practice is very devious-, and anti-democratic, since it prevents political parties from being able to be objectively judged on real issues- / ideologies.
    As such campaign reform must address this practice.
    With a very few exceptions here as well, access to radio-and t.v.-programs during campaign is mostly based on the party having lots of monies- in order tp pay to get its message across.
    While having full understanding for the owners of the stations- and the various talk show hosts to capitalize on that demand, fact is that, they too contribute towards a great disservice to the people.
    Reason being that they themselves-, for the sake of money, make themselves 'prostitutes' and willing accomplice in denying the public getting information from all political parties.
    In our opinion, there must be a balance found for them to make (lots of )money, and at the same time to have certain 'time-slots' available as a community-service to allow the public to listen to the message of all registered political parties.
    When a public takes vital information on insufficient information,such can have devastating social consequences !
    Therefore this 'bad' should be addressed in reforming how we conduct campaigns on the island.
    Another 'bad face' of the campaign method on the island-, has a very, very dangerous potential.
    It is the result of a practice started- and kind of 'copyrighted' by the DP-party over the course of many decades.
    Placing naturalized candidates on the lists in the hope to attract votes from that particular group-, or 'constituency'
    For years it worked well-, in the sense that the main 'benefactor' was the DP-political party.
    However, the NA which has long suffered by being labeled an 'anti-foreigner' party by the DP, has not only caught on-, but has taken it to the 'next level'.
    With the number of expats-, and naturalized citizens on the island expanding-, they are now realizing that they can in fact hold all the political parties 'hostage' to their (national-) wishes.
    This practice-,is now clearly back-firing on all parties-, because it is making many of their own St. Martin members- and supporters very, very uneasy to say the least.
    Clearest example is the label of 'Judas' pinned on William MARLIN.
    While many people might not like this label-, it can not be denied that it represents a very strong anger and potentially explosive sentiment among a growing number of St. Martiners, that better be recognized- and addressed.
    Practically all politicians-, in private conversations admit that this situation- of 'foreign intervention' has become a very serious threat to the people of this island, including the politicians themselves, because naturalized citizens have been allowed the possibility to totally take over politics on the island.
    And with that 'political take-over' comes the total control of government and of everything on the island.
    This to us is the most ugly- and most dangerous aspects of our political campaign.
    It is time therefore that we realize that we are at a very crucial cross roads in this aspect as well.
    Our strong recommendation would be for all political leaders of both sides the island to recognize the above-mentioned issues-, take on their responsibilities-, rise to the occasion and come together to chart a new way forward.
    A new 'Unified St.Martin Order' aimed at restoring- and respecting the St. Martiners as 'key-constituents' and placing them at the 'core' of our very existence and development as St. Martiners- and as a country.
    In ending, we think it needless to emphasize that our grassroots St. Martin nation building- and unification movement will once more make itself available- for this coming together of our political leaders and/or lead the way if necessary.

    drs.Leopold JAMES
    President St. Martin grass roots nation building movement
    And proud-, native indigenous St. Martiner.

  • Ring-road will not alleviate traffic St. Maarten Pride Foundation responds to UP Party’s Ring-road statements.

    Dear Editor,

    Please allow us, the Board of the St. Maarten Pride Foundation, some space in your well respected publication to respond to the United People's Party's (UP) recent press statement on the Ring-road project.

    In its press statement the UP board mentions that the Ring-road project was outlined in the Development perspective St. Maarten Philipsburg Greater Great Bay Area or as it is commonly referred to the Almere Plan.

    St. Maarten Pride Foundation would like to point out the following; The Development perspective or Almere Plan was compiled some 7 to 8 years ago and much has changed on St. Maarten in general and in and around the Great Salt Pond in particular, over these past years. Successive Governments, of which Mr. Heyliger of the UP was a member, have for instance allowed a great deal of filling-in of the Great Salt pond, contrary to recommendations in the development perspective, making the drawings and proposed location of the Ring-road in the document unrealistic and thereby undermining the intended purpose of the project. The Ring-road project as it is now being carried out therefore greatly differs from the suggestions made in the Almere Plan.

    The UP board's article goes on to state that "...the plan... was developed through analysis and sessions with stakeholders, including environmental organizations". This paragraph seems to insinuate that St. Maarten Pride Foundation somehow approved of, or recommended the construction of the ring road during the information session held by TKA and the Almere group in 2003, this insinuation is entirely misleading and inaccurate at best. The development perspective itself contradicts the UP Party's implication; The following stakeholders have been consulted about the development vision described in this report ... ... ... ... . Their wishes have been noted by TKA, and as far as possible taken into account during the formulation of this Development Vision. Development perspective St. Maarten Philipsburg Greater Great Bay Area" (TKA, Architecture & Urban Design, 2003)

    In additional attempts to justify the ring road project UP's board cites that the governing program of 2007-2011 states that "Government will pursue the expansion of the road network by removing various traffic bottlenecks at the intersections as well as the expansion of the road network with new links". ".......major road connectors that will be pursued are the causeway across the Simpson Bay Lagoon and the projected ring-road around the Great Salt Pond". A goal Commissioner Heyliger no doubt ensured on including in this program. Various government policy plans, government commissioned reports and independent studies have however, identified the alarming number of vehicles on St. Maarten as the primary cause of traffic congestion, a fact which the UP board skillfully chose to omit from their press statement.

    The Tourism Master Plan of 2005, for instance, provides recommendations and specific proposals aimed at alleviating traffic congestion in the long-term including proposals on:
    • Raising road or registration tax with excessively large cars more highly taxed,
    • Introducing a regulated public transportation system with proper bus stops and related amenities,
    • Regulating the car rental sector to limit the number of rental vehicles and the issuing of new car rental licenses.

    With the number of vehicles on the island increasing by a significant percentage each year, as is presently the case, the planned road network expansions including the Ring-road will cease to meet traffic capacity needs in less than 5 years unless government takes measures to curb the increase of vehicles on the island and improve public transportation.

    In addition to the aforementioned, research and experience in many countries shows that increased road capacity is very quickly filled with what researchers have dubbed "induced vehicle traffic"; people tend to abandon public transportation and carpools when additional road space is made available, through new road construction or linkages, thereby resulting in more cars on the road and subsequently more traffic congestion.

    Building new roads without taking additional measures to curb the increase of vehicles on the island is therefore merely a very temporary measure and consequently an ineffective and unsustainable strategy for resolving the island's traffic congestion challenges.

    No comprehensive traffic or road network study for St. Maarten has been carried out within the last fifteen to twenty years despite the tremendous growth the island has faced during this period. Government of which Mr. Heyliger has been an active member, for some eleven years by his own account, has not taken any measures regarding the comparatively more cost- effective proposals aimed at alleviating traffic congestion in the long-term, including proposals listed in the Multi Annual Policy Plan, The Tourism Master Plan and the Carrying Capacity Study, even though these recommendations or studies may very well dispel or nullify Mr. Heyliger's and Government's perceived need for the Ring Road project.

    Mr. Heyliger was in office when the aforementioned comparatively more cost- effective proposals aimed at alleviating traffic congestion in the long-term were presented, the Foundation can therefore only wonder as to why Mr. Heyliger did not pursue these measures.

    Questions such as how projects such as the Ring-road and the Bridge across the Lagoon will be funded are conveniently left unanswered. The Foundation reminds the UP Board and Mr. Heyliger that real leadership involves taking often politically unpopular but much needed decisions, to in this case perhaps introduce one of the aforementioned measures to alleviate traffic.

    St. Maarten Pride Foundation deems it unfortunate that Mr. Heyliger and evidently the board of his new Party as well, prefer to propose and carry-out cosmetic solutions to St. Maarten's (traffic congestion) challenges through extravagant projects which do very little to actually resolve the issues at hand.

    The UP's statement continues with rhetoric about what it deems to call "progress", "that progress comes at an Environmental cost" even going as far as to state that "without progress always, like it says in our coat of arms, St. Maarten is nowhere".

    These UP statements about progress indicate that the Party's board members do not understand the dynamics of the topic, as "economic development and progress" on St. Maarten or anywhere else for that matter will not remain viable in the long run if the environment is not sufficiently protected.

    The Party's baseless accusation that St. Maarten Pride Foundation is selective in the projects it chooses to criticize and find fault with is a blatant and obvious attempt to marginalize St. Maarten Pride Foundation and its concerns.

    St. Maarten Pride Foundation and its partner Foundations have been advocating environmental protection, working to create environmental awareness and providing environmental education for over ten years now and will continue to do so in the years to come.

    St. Maarten Pride Foundation

  • OPEN LETTER TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE ISLAND TERRITORY OF SAINT-MARTIN.

    HONOURABLE PRESIDENT,

    This letter serves to announce that I am resigning from the Presidency of the Commission in charge of youth affairs, culture, and sport. I am sure that this will not come as a surprise to you, seeing that, from December 2008, on several occasions, I have drawn your attention to the fact that I grew more and more uncomfortable with the little consideration you had for the Commission and its role, the little regard you have for democracy and the manner in which decisions were taken. In fact, the Commission is not to you what it should have been, a place where thoughts and ideas are being formulated and fashioned and actions to be taken are being determined especially with regards to the youth.

    I am an elected official, member of the Island Territory Council, like you.

    I'd like to remind you that we have been elected by the people to serve the people and not to use the people to our advantage and satisfy our personal ambitions. Your actions are leading our young community to a downfall and one would have to be blind not to see it and that's in every field.

    Allow me to remind you of some cases.

    What have we done in favour of the youth? We have talked and talked some more, but you have never considered it worthwhile to consult with the youth in the districts like I had recommended that it should have been done.

    You even refuse to admit that the youth is left up to themselves, and so they are blamed for all the wrongs that are occurring in the community.

    In the RSMA (Adapted military service) file, I proposed a joint action with the CLSPD, prevention group against delinquency. What have you done since? Nothing at all ! This means to me that you don't believe in seconds chances for the young people who are in difficulty that live here, where ever they came from. Do you know, Mr President, that this kind of approach has been proven to be successful in different countries and even in some metropolitan towns.

    When I requested help to reward the young people involved in sports, your answer was also negative... and your excuse was that there's no money. Yet for other things, like different contracts, money is always there. What about the contracts given to a private business to take care of the sport infrastructures? Up to today our Commission has never seen any « cahier des charges», we don't have a clue on what is really going on.

    After two years of work with the DDJSS about inclusion, through sports, of so many young people, it seems that we have worked for peanuts. What about the 20% fund promised by the Collectivity? What has become of the documents necessary for the homologation? Did we work for nothing?

    The results are here: from 2007 till today, the funds allowed to youth programs have gone down from 1,2 million Euros to 350.000. Is this is YOUR politic for thousands of youngsters? It's a shame!

    In other fields, Mr President, I also have questions.
    Whereas our Commission, in agreement with the concerned departments, had decided not to grant a new authorization for a private individual to occupy the public domain in the area of Grand-Case, you, in your own right decided to over rule our collective decision. The request that we had previously turned down, you approved and had us look like a bunch of fools. And then, you have the nerve to send the requests emanating from locals, which you clearly discriminated against.

    In the matter regarding public water and the board in which I sit, a recent audit shows that the price of the water in Saint-Martin is 2.6 times more expensive than in Guadeloupe or than on Dutch St. Maarten. Our people are held hostage by these prices, so when are you going to confront this situation?
    You are mute on this important matter in which lots of money is being wasted and lost and the same goes for many other matters. But to whose benefit?
    Definitely not in benefit of the people of Saint-Martin that you say you love so much!!

    In the bid regarding the airport of Grand-Case, as a member of the board, I deeply regret that we are not, in fact, part of the decisions. Even if you have the power to act, don't you think it would be wiser to let the Island Council give his opinion on such important matters which will engage us for years?

    We are elected officials, we have commissions that cannot give us information to make a right decision for our population. The majority group meetings never prepare the Territorial Council as it ought to be, so I will no longer attend these majority meetings.

    As an elected person I don't even have the agenda of the Executive Council, so I don't even know when it concerns the Commission that I preside! And like most of my colleagues we learn things from third parties or by the media.

    I have been elected by the people of Saint-Martin to work on their behalf and not on our personnel agendas. There is not a day that passes without having many of them express themselves about how they feel and about the functioning of our Collectivity. And your way of being president of the Collectivity is more than I can continue to bear and be silent about because it is, in no wise, respectful to the initial commitment of our programme announced during the election campaign.

    It is to them that I owe my trust and respect.
    It's on the basis of that engagement that I remain Island Counsellor to serve my fellow compatriots and them alone.

    Jean David Richardson
    Territorial Counsellor

  • Congratulations to Country St. Maarten and her people.

    Congratulations to our elected Members of Parliament and our Governor and Deputy Governor. Congratulation to our future Ministers

    I've been reading a lot of comments online about the elections and the feelings of those who post
    comments.
    Many have not yet realized the importance of the elections and many don't seem to know the
    changes that have come about.
    Many are still talking about who will be in power and who will not be in power.
    This last part is the sad part.

    WE, the PEOPLE are the ones with the POWER and WE must NEVER relinquish that POWER.
    WE voted for 15 Parliamentarians to represent US. It is the hope that all 15 will do so, whether
    from the opposition benches or not. When WE believe that WE are not represented properly, WE must tell them. They will make mistakes, because they are human and we could forgive them.
    There are many ways that WE can bring them all in line. The question is, will WE be ready and willing to do so, when the time comes. Will WE continue to see things through the eyes of politicians or will WE tell the politicians what WE see.The Parliamentarians are there to work for our Country, for US.

    Quite some years ago, I made a suggestion and only when one party got 'shafted' did it see the
    need for such a change. http://www.simadom.com/crowpoems/19970811.htm
    A few years later, I suggested another improvement to the system and I repeat that suggestion,
    because I believe that change is necessary. http://www.simadom.com/crowpoems/basicidea.htm
    We are heading to Country status and we should not be represented by someone 'brought along' by others.

    Let those who get the most votes overall be the elected ones.
    This gives a small party like the CPA a chance to get a seat in the future and gives a voice to those
    who share its views.

    I believe this can lead to building a stronger Country St. Maarten in the future.
    Blessings to all.

    Clifton R. Wilson
    Committed to Country St. Maarten

  • Hurray.........Friday will be '10-10-10-10'.

    Friday, September 1, 2010 will go down as '10-10-10-10''
    The newest ten-, indicates that we will then be 10 days away from '10-10-10' (October 10, 2010).
    While magical date of '10-10-10' was projected to mean entering some 'Walhalla- status' of sorts-, or some 'Brave New World' according to St. Martin's 'award-winning' and popular talk show-host-, for other people-, it is becoming more like a very scary 'dooms-day'-scenario.
    Just days after the 'green-machine' of 'T.O'. has taken control of the 'new' DP-UP coalition (= the 'United DP'-party), finding suitable candidates for the various ministerial positions seem less simple that formulating the DP-UP coalition accord !
    It appears that running a Government-, which is closely monitored by 'Ulanda', is quite different from running a political campaign and/or ruling over a 'plantocracy' of subservient-, 'plantation dwellers'.
    Meanwhile the 'Constitutional clock' is ticking non-stop.
    On Friday, October 1, 2010, the clock will read '10-10-10-10' and then there will be no more Netherlands-Antilles (RIP).
    While that was the explicit desire-, and intent of many politicians-, they still have to figure out quite a number of challenges facing the people of 'Country' St. Maarten come '10-10-10'.
    Like what you wonder ?
    Well-, what about the travel procedures between the islands, which up till such time were part of one- and the same country, the Netherlands-Antilles ?
    What about having an emergency needing specialized medical care in Curacao ?
    What also about having properly screened,- and put in place of the new Commissioners-, who will become Ministers come '10-10-10-' and have to run the island under very-, very difficult circumstances ?
    Meanwhile-, according to the 'school-children', the NA seems to be suffering from serious 'internal hemorrhage', with various members 'jumping ship' and 'King' William-I's 'scepter' being 'under siege'.
    Again-, all of this and more with just 10 days to go............
    While-, against that backdrop of total confusion and 'unreadiness'-, the Dutch Government knows exactly what deal they have got on a 'silver-platter' with the BES-islands.
    They have already in place an ID-card, which will be used to screen exactly who is welcome on their BES-islands and who not.
    Consequently-, we should not become victims of any 'optional delusion', thinking that because we can see Statia -, and Saba from Jack's place, that we can simply take a trip there.
    Forget that quick, quick.....
    That WAS the case in the past.(pre-'10-10-10')
    Come '10-10-10' those islands will simply represent the highest parts of the Netherlands-, which itself lies on the European continent.
    Nostalgia already setting in ?
    Wipe your tears, because the clock has now begun to 'tick' .
    Friday it will tell us how late it is; '10-10-10-10'.......
    And oh yes,
    Who was the one again, boasting- and claiming 'victory' for having brought home the 'beef' ?.....
    William-, or Sarah-, or the drs.-, or Duncan ?
    Who ?
    Fair is fair.
    Those responsible for 'delivering us the goods', certainly deserve 'due recognition' !

    Drs. Leopold JAMES
    President SNBF/ Association L' Esprit de Concordia

  • 10/10/10 Safe and Secure Mission Accomplished--- William.

    williammarlin24122009The Hague:--- The St. Maarten delegation headed by leader of government and commissioner of constitutional affairs William Marlin has lots to rejoice over now that they have crossed the final hurdle on Thursday in the Netherlands during the Round Table Conference(RTC) meeting. Moments after the meeting was concluded Marlin said Thursday, September 9th, 2010 marks a historic day in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. But in particular for the people of St. Maarten, as it was concluded and agreed upon at the Round Table Conference, that St. Maarten and Curacao would become countries. For St. Maarten this process started some 10 years and almost three months ago, when the majority of our people voted in the historic referendum to leave the Netherlands Antilles.
    During Thursday's ceremonies, Marlin said he asked the meeting to observe a moment of silence in memory of the Late Councilman Vance James Jr. who "did not make it to the promised land". Vance was one of the three leaders who rallied the people of St. Maarten during the June 23rd 2000 referendum to "step out" of the Netherlands Antilles and become country.

    "Against all odds, we have made it to the finals and passed the test. The immediate reaction 10 years ago, by the Dutch Government and Members of the 2nd Chamber, was that St. Maarten could not become country. But we didn't give up, we never lost faith." Marlin said.
    "I have always said that the constitutional future of St. Maarten is bigger than any one politician or political party. And for that reason I have always remained loyal to Team St. Maarten and believed that one day, St. Maarten would become country." Marlin continued.

    "Today marks the end of this process to become country and on 10-10-10, one month from today it will be a New Beginning! a new beginning for the people of St. Maarten, We have a new country to build, together." The island's leader said.

    Congratulations are in place for all the persons who have given so much of their time, expertise and energy to help Team St. Maarten accomplish this goal on behalf of the people. All the Ministers, State Secretaries, Advisors, Staff of the Secretariat, members of the different Kingdom work groups and all members of the Island Council, past and present, particularly those members of the present Island Council, who have supported the process over the past weeks, to enable us to adopt the Constitution of St. Maarten unanimously and to sign off on all the organic laws, Meetings were held on the day of the passing of the hurricane, on Saturdays and on certain days until late in the morning, even until 3:15 a.m.

    During the Round Table Conference, copies of the English version of the Constitution of St. Maarten, bound in leather, were presented to all delegation leaders, members of the different Kingdom workgroups and to Robert Vennix who helped in making the final adaptations to the constitution, making it the most modernized and progressive constitution in the Kingdom.

    A copy was also presented o former Commissioner of Constitutional Affairs, Mrs. Sarah Wescot-Williams, to Mrs. Mavis Brooks Salmon, Deputy Minister Plenipotentiary of the Netherlands Antilles, who has been appointed the first Vice Chairperson of the Council of Advice for Country St. Maarten and the first Governor for Country St. Maarten, Mr. Eugene Holiday.

    Eugene Holiday, Dennis Richardson, Richard Gibson and Joane Dovale Meit deserve special recognition for the exemplary work given to Team St. Maarten.
    For now, let us all join in the celebrations as we prepare for 10-10-10, the day St. Maarten will become country.

    Tomorrow, God's willing, after our return from the Netherlands I will address the people of St. Maarten live via radio and TV at 5:00 p.m.

  • Man Shot Dead --- Body found at Grand Marche Round About.

    Philipsburg:--- Police are busy investigating the killing of a man whose body was found on the road in the vicinity of Le Grand Marche. It is believed that the man was shot to death.
    On the scene on Wednesday night around 10:45pm was police spokesman Ricardo Henson. Henson confirmed that police discovered the body of dead man on the road. The police spokesman said he was unable to confirm who the victim was and who exactly is responsible for the killing. More information on this murder investigation will be given in a subsequent article.
  • PELICAN RESORT GM SPEAKS OUT ON LATEST CRISIS FACING PELICAN RESORT CLUB.

    julesjames22092010SINT MAARTEN:--- Pelican Resort Club, no stranger to adversity, is facing another crisis and its general manager is speaking out for the first time. Since its rebirth in 1996, after the original developer sent the resort into bankruptcy, 12,000 Pelican timeshare owners, employees, Board Members and Royal Resorts Management have persevered for progress. The Pelican Resort is once again facing hard times, but this time from a very unexpected source.
    After 12 years of harmony and progress, the Home Owners Association (HOA) Board of Pelican Resort Club initiated unusual strategies including a battle with their long-time ally, Royal Resorts Management. The Board has embarked on an unprovoked defamation campaign, based mostly on untruths and manipulated facts aimed at harming Royal Resorts Management's reputation among timeshare owners.
    It has also made a number of financial decisions that are putting the entire property at risk, including defaulting on loan payments that could result in the foreclosure of Pelican Resort Club. This would not only have a negative impact on Royal Resorts, it would devastate the club's timeshare owners who have so much invested.
    The Pelican Resort Club is one of several Royal Resorts Management properties in the Dutch Antilles including Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten. Pelican Resort's General Manager, Mr. Jules James– a native St. Maartener, President of the St. Maarten Timeshare Association, and more than 20-year veteran of the hospitality industry – has expressed concern for the future of the property.
    "I don't know what the HOA Board is hoping to accomplish by their actions," said James. "The Board's decisions have caused us to reduce the workweek to four days for all employees and discontinue all improvement projects for the property. These decisions have negatively impacted timeshare owner satisfaction, damaged employee morale and our relationship with the labor union, and made it very difficult for us to continue rentals and sales," he noted.
    James continued: "I accepted the offer to lead Pelican Resort Club based on the quality and integrity of Royal Resorts and Richard Sutton. As part of my recruiting process I was required to go to Cancun, Mexico to learn about the company and meet the team members. They intentionally had me stay in the oldest Royal Resort property so I could see what a 31-year-old resort should look like and how it should operate. By the second day of the visit I knew this was a company I wanted to be a part of. Every owner and guest was happy, the service excellent, the staff members terrific, and everything looking new."
    Pelican's HOA Board changes every year through an election by the timeshare owners. The current Board has sought increased control over the day-to-day operations and to place responsibility for all their challenges on Royal Resorts Management and its Directors.
    "I have worked for several resort management companies and I have never seen a company so committed to the timeshare owners and resort staff as Royal Resorts Management," states James, adding:
    "When oil prices spiked unexpectedly in 2008 and we needed cash, Royal Resorts voluntarily deferred six months of fees without interest to protect the resort and the payroll. After the recent earthquake in Haiti, Royal Resorts Management provided US$30,000 to our Haitian workers with families in need. Recently the uninsured mother of an employee needed an air ambulance from St. Kitts to San Juan and Royal Resorts Management paid for it. Whenever the Pelican Resort or its employee's needs something I know Richard Sutton (Royal Resorts, Founder and Chairman) and Richard Corso (Royal Resorts Caribbean, CEO) will be there to help. I am very proud to be a part of the Royal team."
    Pelican Resort relies heavily on its management company. Royal Resorts Management provides all of the operating and sales systems including: accounting, front desk, human resources, training and development, IT, engineering and e-commerce.
    "Pelican does not have the resources to stand on its own," James said. "An owner, who is now an HOA Board Member advised me that my job was safe even if they get rid of Royal. While I appreciate his vote of confidence, I don't think he understands how this Board's actions are placing the entire resort in jeopardy. I quickly realized they do not understand what Royal does to keep Pelican Resort running.
    "The Pelican must have the support of a qualified management company. We rely on Royal for the most fundamental systems including all of our reservation, front desk, and POS systems, most of our rental business, and even credit card processing. I really thought we had solved this problem with the Board when their Antillean attorney recently opened a Board Meeting emphasizing the trust and confidence the Board felt as a direct result of the remarks of the Forensic Auditors. These auditors, according to the Board's own attorney, had removed doubt and reinstated the Board's confidence in Royal Resorts.
    "Pelican Resort has been operated as an open book since 1997 – and the auditors reported as much to the Board," noted James.
    Royal Resorts Management provides Pelican Resort corporate resources and support that would not otherwise be available to a single-location resort. Department experts from Finance, IT, Engineering, Maintenance and Housekeeping work side by side with Pelican staff to provide continuous training and development.
    "After I was hired, I was sent for a full month of comprehensive training that Royal has developed over 30 years. I was amazed by what I learned and the possibilities that were inspired," said James. "Many of our local St. Maarten staff have been to Cancun for similar intensive training and more are scheduled every year."
    Pelican Resort has been steadily progressing in quality and financial strength since the 1996 bankruptcy and the timeshare owners' 1997 hiring of Royal Resorts Management. Twelve positive years together led to not so lucky number thirteen. "We entered 2010 in great shape," continued James, adding:
    "Renovations of the 30-year-old villas were underway and receiving rave reviews. Our debt load was decreasing and all of our loans were current. Owner satisfaction and employee morale were great. Even our sales and rental business was steadily growing. Our timeshare owners enjoy one of the lowest Maintenance Fees in Simpson Bay and we are still being asked to cut payroll expenses and resort maintenance.
    "The long-time local staff hopes the Board will soon recognize the impact of their actions and the critical contributions of Royal Resorts Management," he added.
    With 35 years of resort management experience, primarily in Cancun and Riviera Maya, Royal Resorts Caribbean operates three properties in the Caribbean with more than 350 employees. The company manages more than 40,000 timeshare intervals for nearly 20,000 families and provides a variety of services for resorts including full operations management, vacation ownership sales and vacation rentals.
    Aside from Pelican Resort Club and its newest property in St. Maarten, the Pelican Marina Residences, Royal Resorts Caribbean manages Costa Linda Beach Resort in Aruba and the Royal Sea Aquarium Resort in Curaçao, which is located on a private island right next to the world-famous Curaçao Aquarium.
    The company is also in negotiations with a number of additional resorts facing operational challenges due to a range of factors including the economic downturn.
    The Royal Resorts Group was founded in 1974 in Cancun, Mexico. Now with over 60,000 members, Royal Resorts has been listed among the top-rated resort companies in the world since 1975. The resorts have received the coveted Five Star Rating from Interval International every year since 1983 when that rating was first established. Since 2008, they have also been classified as Premier Resorts in the Interval International Resort Recognition Program, the highest distinction awarded to resorts that offer an outstanding vacation experience.
  • CPS reports cumulative 96 confirmed dengue fever Cases; Residents advised to take the necessary measures to prevent mosquito breeding.

    GREAT BAY:--- With the increase of rain showers on the island, the Collective Preventive Services (CPS) reported that from January 2010 to September 24, 2010, it was recorded 96 confirmed cumulative dengue fever cases.
    Of 349 persons who have been tested. Two of those cases were diagnosed by the French labs on the North side of the island.
    During the same time-frame, January to September 2010, 15 persons were admitted to the Sint Maarten Medical Center of which 13 were confirmed dengue fever cases and two were negative.
    PS is appealing to the general public to be vigilant in taking the necessary steps to prevent mosquito breeding in order to avoid mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue fever from developing further and getting out of control.
    Measures that residents must take to prevent mosquito breeding are:
    Debris, old tires and stagnant water in yards has the potential of becoming breeding sites for mosquitoes and should be removed.
    Residents are therefore strongly advised to take action making sure to keep their yards free of stagnant water; clean out their roof spouts; and disposing responsibly old tires, empty drums, buckets, jars, birdbaths, boats, plant containers, paint cans and other items that can collect water around your home and businesses.
    In the case of where containers are used for storing water, residents should keep these covered. Inlets and outlets of cisterns must be covered with a mosquito net or cloth to prevent mosquitos from breeding in the water. Persons should also ensure that their windows and doors are properly screened and wear protective clothing.
    Contractors on job sites are advised to empty buckets and cover water storage drums and have the site cleaned up at the end of the work day of anything that can hold water even plastic bags.
    Mosquito fogging is not effective during periods of rainfall as it doesn't allow the chemical to remain long enough to be effective. Frequent fogging can cause mosquitoes to build up a resistance to the used chemical to control the mosquito population.
  • Men’s Night of Praise Concert.

    Philipsburg:--- The Philipsburg Methodist Church proudly presents their annual concert entitled, "Men's Night of Praise Concert" which is fundraising event organized by two classes of the church in aid of church missions.

    This special concert will feature a talented male line up of artists from the church such as Chester York, Jeffrey Richardson, Isidore York, The James Brothers, Don Froston, The Men's Fellowship Group, Raymond Benjamin, Leroy Van Stralen, Dion Gumbs, Marvin Dollison, Celestial Voices, Willy Thomas, MNOP Band and Reverend E. Lloyd Brisset singing songs of worship along with some surprise artists.

    This concert take place this coming Saturday, October 2th at 7:30pm at the Philipsburg Methodist Chapel. Tickets are only $10 and can be bought from any member of the organizing committee and at the door.

  • NO School Until Thursday—Decision to be Taken on Wednesday --Teachers requested to report to schools on Wednesday.

    Philipsburg:--- Students attending primary and secondary schools on the Dutch side of the island has at least one more day at home since the EOC is yet to take a final decision as to when school would reopen. Acting Lt. Governor and Chairman of the EOC Reynold Groeneveldt said one of the main reasons a final decision was not taken on Tuesday was because the island is under storm watch as tropical storm Fiona approaches the island. St. Maarten and the neighboring islands just experienced the passing of hurricane Earl on Monday morning. While the damages were not catastrophic the cleanup crew including police had quite some work to do in preparation for the category 2 hurricane when it passed. Groeneveldt said school might reopen on Thursday but that decision will be taken in their next meeting on Wednesday. He made clear that so far St. Maarten is under storm watch and there is no curfew in place. Residents are asked to exercise caution during the passing of the storm.
    However, an assessment was carried out on Tuesday with respect to the situation at schools on the island.

    Teachers are hereby requested to report to their respective schools on Wednesday morning in order to prepare their classrooms.
    Schools are to reopen on Thursday, September 2nd.

  • Baby Clinic Services Discontinued at White & Yellow Cross.

    Philipsburg:--- The White & Yellow Cross Baby Clinic as of September 1 is under the direct guidance of Youth Health Care within the Collective Preventive Services. The Baby Clinic services have been discontinued at the White & Yellow Cross Building at St. John's Ranch as of September 1 and for the time being will continue to be offered in Madame Estate, Amsterdam Shopping Center #26 on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and in Cole Bay at the Charles Leopold Bell School on Tuesday and Thursday. To confirm your appointment please call 543-0295 on Monday, Wednesday and Friday or 554-6079 on Tuesday and Thursday or the Youth Health Care at 542-2078 or 542-3003, 542-3553.
  • BREAKING NEWS --- Frans Requests Ballots be Recounted.

    Philipsburg:--- Island council member Frans Richardson has submitted a request to the main voting bureau to recount all the ballots that were cast on Friday at all the voting districts. Richardson motivated this request based on the amount of invalid votes. The public meeting was adjourned pending the arrival of the ballots.
    SMN News will bring you more on this story later today.
  • Main Voting Bureau meets on validity of political lists.

    GREAT BAY:--- The Main Voting Bureau will be meeting on Wednesday, September 1 to discuss the validity of the lists of candidates.
    The meeting is open to the public. It will be held at the Dr. A.C. Wathey Legislative Hall at the Government Administration Building 11.00am.
  • Nature Foundation Report Post-Hurricane Assessment: September 2nd 2010 EARL/ FIONA.

    This report outlines the activities of the Nature Foundation post hurricane Earl and tropical storm Fiona.
    On Tuesday August 31st the Nature Foundation Chief Marine Park Ranger was contacted by the Air Traffic Control Tower of the Princess Juliana International Airport concerning a possible oil spill in the Simpson Bay area. The report was radioed in to the tower by a pilot of a landing aircraft. An on-water survey was subsequently carried out by the Nature Foundation and no oil was found in the water, although significant debris and runoff was detected. Surveys concluded that the pilot possibly mistook runoff and dislodged particles as a result of the passing of hurricane Earl as an oil slick. Follow up surveys were conducted on Wednesday September 1st and Thursday September 2nd with no oil being present in the area.
    On Thursday September 2nd Nature Foundation staff carried out a survey of the mooring installations of the Marine Park. All moorings were found to be intact with the exception of the newly placed Isabella Reef (N 18̊̊ 01.119' W 063̊ 07. 039', working depth 93 ft). Some minor maintenance of dive moorings was conducted by Nature Foundation staff.
    Nature Foundation Staff carried out an in water survey of Great Bay Beach and the Capt. Hodge Pier as per the request of the St. Maarten Harbour Master. Some debris was found and cleared by Nature Foundation divers and a report was sent to the St. Maarten Harbour Master.
    Once visibility clears the St. Maarten Nature Foundation will assess the damage caused to the island's offshore coral reef ecosystems due to the passing of hurricane Earl. Surveys will be conducted and subsequent cleanup efforts will be initiated on offshore reefs once deemed necessary. Surveys are scheduled to commence on Monday, September 6th 2010. Coral Reefs act as a buffer, protecting coastal areas from severe flooding caused by storm surge.
  • JCI NOM President Dave Martinus Visited for Installation/ Award ceremony.

    The Junior Chamber International St. Maarten had their official visit of NOM President Mr. Dave Martinus, of the JCI Dutch Caribbean, from Aruba. During his visit, Mr. Dave Martinus attended the installation ceremony of 5 new members (Chantal Daniel-Lake; Roxana Williams; Samantha Hassell; Alice Peterson; and Georgino Barnes) to the organization. It was also an honour for him, along with JCI local President Ms. Corinne Isaac to award JCI Senatorship to four local members (Jerome Chittick, Maria Henry, Cordella Joseph-Brooks and Sandra Hazel).
    Mr. Martinus will also met with local JCI Board members

    We are a membership-based nonprofit organization of 200,000 young people ages 18 to 40 in 5,000 communities and more than 100 countries around the world. Each JCI Member shares the belief that in order to create lasting positive change, we must improve ourselves and the world around us.
    We seek targeted solutions to the unique problems in our communities to build a better world, creating global impact.

  • Chippie sponsors prizes for International Coastal Clean-up.

    Philipsburg:--- The annual International Coastal Cleanup is set to kick off this Saturday, September 25th at the Mullet Bay Beach from 7am-10am.
    St Maarten PRIDE foundation invites everyone to this annual event that is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year around the world. Yearly many volunteers take part, which also includes students who receive community service hours for their participation in the 4 hour cleanup event.
    Each year hundreds of volunteers come out to take part in this beach clean-up and we are hoping for an even better response this year' says UTS Marketing and Communication Officer, Ivy Lambert. 'We try to assist the Pride foundation in their efforts as much as we can. We donated funds earlier this year but we can collaborate in different ways as well. This time we took a different approach. Our beaches are our islands' gems and we need to do all we can to keep them beautiful. UTS is trying to do its part to encourage people to get involved as well. The amount of trash collected will be weighed and recorded, so we wanted to reward the person(s) whom collect the most trash on Saturday with a free Chippie phone.'
    The International Coastal Cleanup is the largest volunteer one day event worldwide, with over half a million volunteers in over 100 countries taking part last year.
    The International Coastal Cleanup is not only about cleaning up our marine trash and keeping the oceans clean, volunteers must record every piece of trash on a special data card, this detailed information is sent on a later date to the Ocean Conservancy to be compiled in a worldwide report. Upon arrival in the morning, volunteers sign in at the beach and to collect a ICC data card which will be given out along with the cleanup tools.
  • Message by Director of Tourist Office on World Tourism Day.

    All over the world, biological diversity, or biodiversity is under serious threat. According to some recent studies on a global scale 13.6% of bird life, 22% of mammals, 31% of amphibians, and 27% of reefs are threatened or in danger of extinction. This is as a result of the impact of several areas of human activity, including tourism, on the ecosystems found in forests, wetlands, savannah, jungles, coral reefs, mountains, seas and polar zones among others. The World Tourism Organization's "Vision 2020" estimates that this year alone, international travel will reach the 1.006 billion mark and will jump to 1.561 billion by 2020 at an annual growth rate of 4.1%. These figures show a strong growth of the tourism sector that has a significant effect on the conservation and sustainability of biodiversity, and the resulting danger of this translating into serious environmental challenges – particularly as it concerns the inordinate use of limited resources like land and potable water. Add to these, the huge pollution and waste which activities in this sector generate, exceeding the quantities that a particular area might be able to withstand, and the relationship between tourism and biodiversity could be seen as antagonistic.
    The picture becomes even gloomier if we consider that tourists are more and more attracted to destinations where Nature and the environment have remained relatively untouched. Although this attraction could be fatal, tourism and biodiversity are not foes unto death. To the contrary, for tourism to continue to grow in a sustainable manner, it has to assume its responsibility in defending, preserving and ensuring a critical balance with our biodiversity. Let me put it bluntly: tourism needs biodiversity; but biodiversity does not necessarily need tourism. However, the more we respect and take care of Nature, the more we would be able to enjoy its beauty and guarantee our survival as a species.
    The United Nations General Assembly declared 2010 as the "International Year for Biological Diversity". The theme of this year's World Tourism Day is in recognition of this proclamation that arose from the deep concern for "the social, economic, environmental and cultural implications of the loss of biodiversity, including negative impacts on the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, and stressing the necessity to adopt concrete measures in order to reverse it."
    The Secretary-General of the UNWTO, Mr. Taleb Rifai, in his World Tourism Day address, noted that "Recognizing the value of Earth's natural capital to its long-term sustainability, the tourism industry is called upon to protect and sustainably manage biodiversity. A healthy tourism industry depends on a healthy resource base, and sustainable growth in tourism means increased funds for conservation."
    He further added: "Safeguarding biodiversity is an urgent challenge that concerns us all – the international community, governments, companies and travelers – but it is not too late to act."
    Action, indeed, speaks louder than words, and it is in this respect that the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau has been partnering with environmental protection groups such as the Nature Foundation, and EPIC to disseminate information and educate particularly our youth about the importance of biodiversity to tourism and the delicate balance which should be struck between both. It is also in this vein that I would like to acknowledge the efforts of Pride Foundation which has organized the International Coastal Clean-up campaign scheduled to commence at Mullet Bay on Saturday, September 25th, with more clean-ups planned for the rest of the month and the first two weeks of October. May I seize this opportunity to urge everyone to find time to participate in these clean-ups as a demonstration of their awareness of the need to care for our environment.
    However, I would like to stress that private sector initiative alone is not enough; government must enact legislation to protect and strengthen biodiversity, maximizing the benefits and minimizing as much as possible the environmental costs of tourism. Of course, this calls for planning, education and financial support for NGOs dedicated to the noble cause of conservation.
    Those businesses operating in the tourism sector also have a responsibility to ensure that our biodiversity is not compromised as a result of their operations. It is morally, ethically and it should be legally wrong for businesses to set up shop with utter disregard for the impact their operations would have on our biodiversity. Such impact studies should be mandatory before they can be issued operating licenses.
    Also, tourists need to be educated in ways of achieving sustainable tourism and about the real benefits that can be derived from the conservation of our biodiversity. Respect for the nature and culture of the host destination should be paramount for a rewarding tourism experience.
    The paradox that tourism offers by, on the one hand growing rapidly due to the attraction of natural and cultural sites, while on the other hand, posing a dangerous and even deadly threat to the same attractions, can be resolved through the concerted effort of all stakeholders.
    We need to urgently find ways to strike a balance between tourism and biodiversity in such a manner that economic development and the protection of the environment would no longer be viewed as mutually exclusive, incompatible and in opposition to each other, but as two sides of the same coin. Happy World Tourism Day, St. Maarten!

    The New Structure in Country St. Maarten
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  • NCIS Provides Crime Scene Investigative Training for Law Enforcement Officials.

    Two Naval Criminal Investigative Service Agents (NCIS) from Mayport, FL provided training to approximately 40 officers from the Curacao and Aruba Police Corps (KPC and KPA), upon invitation of the U.S. Consulate General Curacao, last week. The agents are representatives of the NCIS Major Case Response Team (MCRT). The course was classroom oriented, but also involved practical exercises to employ the skills learned. The officers developed an understanding of both the role and value of evidence; learned to identify potential evidence and basic evidence collection techniques; learned basic crime scene and evidence documentation techniques; and developed an appreciation for crime scene preservation and contamination issues.
    NCIS together with KPC and KPA leadership are looking into future evolutions of the same training in order to get more officers exposed to the basic Crime Scene Investigative (CSI) techniques.
    The training was very well received and an excellent opportunity to strengthen the strong relationship between the NCIS and law enforcement authorities on the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba.
  • CPA Won Court Injunction--- Leo Richardson will be Added as Candidate to the CPA List.

    votingbureau01092010Philipsburg:--- The leader of the Concordia Political Alliance Jeffry Richardson has a lot to rejoice over after he won yet another battle in the Court of First Instance on Wednesday. Jeffry Richardson founder and leader of the Concordia Political Alliance (CPA) took the head of the voting bureau to court to have Fritz Leo Richardson added as the number two candidate on the CPA list and to also give Richardson a Dutch national who was born on Aruba the rights to vote and contest the September 17th election.
    Judge Van Veen ruled that the CPA must be given the necessary time to fill in all the necessary forms to add Richardson as the number 2 candidate on the CPA and submit it by Friday this week. In an invited comment Jeffry Richardson leader of the CPA said the civil registry has to give him all the necessary forms to fill in and if that is done he will finalize the new list for the CPA with the second candidate added and submit as ordered by the judge.
    Pleading for the CPA was Attorney at law Zylena Bary who asked the court to allow her client Fritz Leo Richardson to vote as well as to become a candidate in the CPA list to contest the September 17 election. Bary pointed out to the judge that her client registered at the civil registry on July 16th while the voting registry closed on August 6th, she said the acting head of the civil registry mislead the leader of the CPA when she told him not to add three of his candidates to the list because according to her they were not registered, one of which was Fritz Leo Richardson. Bary said if the chairman of the main voting bureau has no problem allowing Fritz Leo Richardson the rights to vote then he should also be able to allow the CPA to add him as a candidate on their slate.
    Representing the island government was the chairman of the main voting bureau Reynold Groeneveldt who told the judge that according to the law Richardson was supposed to register at the civil registry five days after he arrived on St. Maarten and that Richardson has been living on the island since 2008. Groeneveldt also asked the judge to declare the case of Richardson null and void since the injunction was filed against the chairman of the main voting bureau and not the island government. The acting Lt. Governor and chairman of the main voting bureau said that the problem Richardson is faced with was not caused by a mistake made by the acting head of the census office. Groeneveldt also told the court that the leader of the CPA Jeffry Richardson should have added Fritz Leo Richardson to his list even though he was told verbally that the candidate was not registered at the civil registry. Even though the lists from the various political parties were submitted on August 18th the validation of those lists only took place on September 1 2010.
    Groeneveldt told members of the media that all four list have been validated and that they would all be contesting the September 17 elections. Groeneveldt said when the committee of the main voting bureau met last week they noticed that there were some minor mistakes with some of the candidates. He said the parties with the mistakes on their list were notified and the necessary corrections were made.
  • Police Continues with Major Controls.

    arrested05092010Philipsburg:--- The major joint control between the French Gendarmes and the Dutch Police assisted by the VKS, Marechausse, Fire Department, Custom Department, Health Department and Coast Guard which was planned and being executed prior to the passing of Hurricane Earl is continuing.

    checkincar05092010Due to hurricane Earl the controls were temporarily put on hold. Now that the situation on the island has normalized the controls are back in full swing. On Saturday evening September 4th commencing at 10.00 p.m. a general joint control between the French Gendarmes and Dutch police was held at the four major border crossing points namely in Low lands, Union road/Bell View, Belvedere-French Quarter and Oyster Pond-Coralita.

    controls05092010During these controls several cars were stopped and checked to make sure they were in proper working order and had all necessary documents. The cars and occupants were searched for weapons and drugs. Drivers and passengers were also controlled in regard to their status on the island. Many cars towed and fines were given. Persons not staying legally on the island were taken to the police station and held for immigration purposes. The controls lasted until the early Sunday morning hours. A summary of all actions taken by the police during this control will be given at a later date.

  • Minister of Traffic, Telecommunication & Post - Patrick Illidge starts Clean Up Project in Dutch Quarter.

    dqprojectboard07092010Dutch Quarter:--- On Monday 6th of September Minister Patrick Illidge made good on his promise to clean up the Natural Spring on the main road in Dutch Quarter. After hearing the complaints of residents in the area that included incidents of persons slipping and falling, the Minister of Traffic, and Telecommunication and Post took the initiative to get the area cleaned and upgraded. The project will be executed by Windward Roads NV and will consist of the construction of a safety wall, proper drainage and road repair in the surrounding area. Additionally some of the young men of the area will be employed for the duration of the project.

    dqresidents07092010Persons and entities contributing to the project include Committee to elect Patrick Illidge, International Liquor & Tobacco Trading, Postpaar Bank NA & Dr. Glen Bryson of the Dutch Quarter Medical Clinic.

  • Personnel Affairs Busy with Placements—Salary Scales increase approved.

    Philipsburg:--- Commissioner of Personnel Affairs Xavier Blackman told reporters on Thursday that the department of personnel affairs is busy placing people in the new organization of country St. Maarten. Blackman said the current procedures can be considered as delicate since they are not only dealing with numbers but they are dealing with people with different jobs and situations. Blackman said with the approval of the social charter they have gotten clearance to begin the placement process.
    As for the new salary scales the commissioner said the salary scales of 2011 was approved by the executive council and it will go into effect as of as 2011. The commissioner said a number of corrections were made since they inserted the cost of living adjustments since this was not done in the past years. The new system will be brought up to date with the approval of the salary scales. Blackman said the re-numeration policy that was introduced in 2008 the salary scales were indexed to January 1 2010.
    The commissioner said an agreement was made with the trade unions to pay out the salary increase for the period of 2006 -2007 to the general salary indexation which was supposed to take effect on January 1 2010. Persons who were employed between 2006 -2007 and is no longer working for government might be entitled to a payment of involving the increase which will be done in the form of a lump sum payment. Blackman said there are number of ways they are using to deal with the backlog. The island government is also planning to hold some ceremonies to recognize the persons who would not continue to work with government come 10/10/10/. The first ceremony is scheduled to take place this Saturday.
  • Canteen Workers Begin Go Slow—UCTG/UTG Unions Support Actions--- Meeting with Mills on Wednesday.

    canteenworkers14092010Marigot:--- Workers from the Caisse Territorial des Cuvres Scolaires (Cuisine Centrale) began a go slow action on Tuesday morning along with representatives of their unions.. The workers as well as three members including the secretary general of UTG and UGTG Saint Hillaire Mave were among the workers who stood alongside the Rue de Spring awaiting a response from the CTOS members of the school canteen and the Collectivity of Saint Martin.
    workers14092010Mave told SMN News that it has been months now the unions have been requesting documents from the CTOS and the Collectivity of St. Martin to evaluate their member's salaries and benefits but those documents are not forthcoming. "We have asked for the documents since the Month of May and to date we cannot get them. We also notified the President of the CTOS Karine Mills that we would have been coming today to get the documents but when she saw the go slow action she took off and left." Mave said the President of the Collectivity received them on Tuesday to inform them that he will meet with them from October 4th to 8th to begin their side of the negotiations.
    ctso14092010SMN News learnt that the union did not give the CTOS and the COM the usual 'preavis' to begin industrial action and thus the students who are dependent on school lunches would suffer. However, Mave said the letter they sent to the CTOS telling them that they were coming for the relevant documents is the preavis.
    While on the location the assistant to the CTOS president Karine Mills and another administrative worker approached the union with a letter and an envelope containing some documents. Mave said the letter basically asked the workers to return to work pending the negotiations with the CTOS, and the unions on Wednesday morning at the Evelina Halley School in Marigot. He said the workers did not go back to work on Tuesday but they would be meeting with the CTOS members on Wednesday.
    unionreps14092010Workers on the scene said the elected officials of the COM has used their power to regulate their friends and families who are working for the Collectivity salaries so that these persons can receive proper benefits when they go on pension.
    "We are working now and we can hardly pay our bills, workers here have a salary to depend on now and they still cannot make it at the end of the month, but the real squeeze they would feel it when they go on pension said another worker. Those in power are robbing the workers while enriching themselves and we are not going to allow this to happen anymore" another worker said.
    ctos214092010canteen14092010
  • Election Day on St. Maarten--- Results will be uploaded throughout the night on Election Watch Night.

    Philipsburg:--- The voting population on St. Maarten would be heading to the various polling stations throughout the Dutch side to cast their votes in favor of the party and or candidate they deem fit to manage the affairs of St. Maarten when the island takes up its new status on October 10.

    Contesting Friday's election are the National Alliance headed by the leader of government William Marlin, the United People's Party headed by island council man Theodore Heyliger, Democratic Party headed by island council lady Sarah Wescott Williams and the Concordia Political Alliance headed by Charles Jeffry Richardson.
    The following are the various polling stations which will open at 8am and closes at 7pm.

    1. John Larmonie Center
    2. Sundial School
    2A. House of Detention
    3. Sint Maarten Senior Citizen Recreational Ctr.
    4. Sister Marie Laurence School
    5. Dutch Quarter Community Center
    6. Milton Peters College
    7. Rupert L. Maynard Center
    8. St. Maarten Academy
    9. Celebration Palace
    10. Raoul Illidge Sports complex
    11. Charles Leopold Bell School
    12. Leonard Connor School
    13. Simpson Bay Community Center
    14. Belvedere Community Center
    15. Melford Hazel Sports 7 Recreational Center
    16. Methodist Agogic Center
    16A. Sint Maarten Home

    SMN News will bring you updates throughout the day on Friday, Election Day. Photographs of the voters and candidates will be posted during the day while we will do our utmost best to bring you the results as they come in during election watch night. Keep logging on to SMN News on this election-day for updates and results as it becomes available to us.

    Election Address – Country St. Maarten--Acting Governor Reynold Groeneveldt, Chairman of the Main Voting Bureau

    My fellow St. Maarteners,

    On Friday, September 17, 2010; the elections for a 15-member Island Council which will later become the first Parliament of Country St. Maarten, will take place. Polling stations will be open from 8 o'clock in the morning until 7 o'clock in the evening.
    The Executive Council has designated 16 polling stations, at which voters may cast their ballots.
    It is important that persons exercise their democratic rights to cast their vote on Friday, September 17.
    Allow me; to use this occasion, to call on all eligible voters to come out on Friday upcoming and cast their vote, together we determine the future course of St. Maarten, at this most important time in our history. You will be electing the first Parliament for Country St. Maarten. This is a historical moment and everyone eligible to vote should be part of this very important process.
    In accordance with article 40 of the Voters Regulation (Publication Sheet 1979, No. 2, as amended), every employer is obliged to provide his or her employee, who is eligible to vote on Friday, September 17, 2010, at least four (4) consecutive hours off from work, between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m., in order for that employee to cast his or her vote.

    This obligation does not apply if the employee has four (4) consecutive hours off from work, within the hours in which he or she can cast his or her vote.

    In some districts the number of voters has been reduced. I therefore urge all persons eligible to vote in the upcoming elections, to carefully look at their voting cards, before election day, and to acquaint themselves with the polling station in their respective district, at which they will be expected to cast their votes as in some cases this may have changed.

    Be absolutely sure where you have to go and vote, especially if you are new to the area, if you have never voted at that specific polling station before or if you are a first time voter.

    Voters should be in the possession of a valid ID card, a valid passport or a valid driver's license, and their voting card when going to the polls. At each polling station there is a President of the voting bureau who is in charge of the polling station. Voters must at all times follow the instructions of the President of the polling station. On entering the polling station the voter must identify him or herself by means of a valid identification document. A voting ballot will then be issued to the individual. The voter must then proceed to cast their vote behind the curtain and finally place the fold ballot into the silver bin in the center of the polling station before exiting the room.

    All voters must strictly confirm the articles of law pertaining to the elections. Article 134 of the penal code of the Netherlands Antilles states: "he who intentionally impersonates another person, and participates in a legally prescribed election, is punished with a prison term of a maximum of one (1) year". The general public is also requested to take note of article 131 of aforementioned penal code, which states:

    'He who, during a legally prescribed election, obstructs a person from casting his vote, freely and unhindered, is punished with a prison term of a maximum of one (1) year".

    Although no order to prohibit the sale of alcoholic beverages was issued. I am requesting the general public and businesses respect these regulations and prevent the excess sale of alcoholic beverages, prior to, during and just after the elections.

    Government cannot legislate or do not intend to obstruct any one from consuming alcoholic beverages; but limiting the use of alcohol contributes in safeguarding the safety of our community and creating an environment, wherein all eligible voters may, in a quiet orderly and sober manner, cast their vote, after a solemn period of reflection and meditation.

    As is also usually, the case, some party supporters would be in a more jubilant mood, on election night, once election results are in favor of their respective party. Again we urge all persons to conduct themselves in an orderly fashion and at all times respect and adhere to the instruction of the Police and other law enforcement officials.

    So, in the interest of maintaining law and order and safeguarding security for the general public, it is also deemed prudent not to provide opportunities for the sale of alcoholic beverage, during this time as well.

    The taking of photographs with (camera phones, video cameras) inside of polling stations is not allowed especially at the time the voter enters the polling station. Cellular phones must be turned off prior to entering the polling stations and must remain turned off during the period of time while the voter is in the polling station.

    Concerning election night itself: I, as chairman of the Main Voting Bureau, will be releasing the results of votes cast at the polling stations, as soon as these are received and the numbers are tallied. The customary way of doing so is with the assistance of the G.I.S. during live simultaneous broadcast via St. Maarten Cable TV special events channel 20 and local radio stations. As usual the Election Watch program will also be present too provide the viewers and listeners with background information, analysis and commentary on the results of the elections.

    In closing I urge all voters to make use of their democratic right and to participate in these very important elections to elect and Island Council of 15 members which will become the First Parliament of Country St. Maarten. I wish all parties participating in this election all the best and I expect that we will have a safe and orderly election as is the customary here on our beautiful Island St. Maarten.

  • Discussions to form Coalition Government Ongoing ---Politicians tightlipped ---PM seat used a bargaining power.

    Philipsburg:--- With Friday's last island council election over and no outright winner. Politicians from the three major parties that contested the elections are now busy talking behind closed doors to form a coalition.
    SMN News learnt that the leader of the United People's Party Theo Heyliger has met with the leader of the Democratic Party Sarah Wescott Williams to discuss the two coming together. However, the politicians who are working behind the scenes have so far remained tightlipped. Reliable sources say that most of the DP party membership wants the DP and UP to work together but there are a few of the members and candidates who do not want to work with the UP simply because the UP leader and elected members lacks knowledge of the constitutional process.

    Sources close to the party said the DP leader is looking to become the first PM for the St. Maarten. While there a rumors speculating the two parties have reached a deal SMN News learnt that even though the red and green parties have engaged in talks there is no signed document to say a coalition has been formed.
    SMN News also learnt that talks between the National Alliance and the Democratic Party have also taken place. One source said that the NA and UP have shown willingness to work with the DP but there is no solid offers made to the DP leader by either of the two party leaders.
    On Sunday afternoon the leader of the National Alliance and his candidates met at the parliament building on Back Street where they discussed the outcome of the election as well as how the party intends to proceed.
    Efforts made to reach the leaders of the three political parties proved futile up to press time. The politicians who were elected on Friday has until October 5th to form their government since it is on that date the new island council members would have to be sworn in.

  • DP Leader and UP Leader Signed Agreement to Work Together.

    sarahtheo19092010Philipsburg:--- The leader of the Democratic Party Sarah Wescott Williams and leader of the United People's Party Theodore Heyliger has signed a declaration of intent to work in the best interest of St. Maarten. According to the president of the Democratic Party Michael Ferrier the agreement was signed at 8:04pm at Shore Pointe Cupe Coy.
    A press release from Ferrier states that "We the undersigned, Theodore E. Heyliger of the United People's Party and Sarah A. Wescot-Williams, leader of the Democratic Party have agreed in principle to form the first government of Country St. Maarten.
    Parties declare that they will do all in their power to bring about a stable and effective government in the best interest of Country St. Maarten and its people.
    Agreed on this 19th day of September 2010."
    The declaration was signed by T. E. Heyliger, S. A Williams and witnesses were Franklin A. Meyers and Michael J. Ferrier. Both witnesses are the presidents of the two parties.
  • Premier Awards Program for the Caribbean.

    Antigua:--- The Caribbean Business Awards is a bbusiness recognition awards program based in the Caribbean for the Caribbean focused on emphasizing the often overlooked business acumen of the region in the global market place. Supported by the Caribbean Association of Industry and Commerce (CAIC), eentry is open to all businesses; it celebrates excellence, achievement and innovation in the Caribbean business world.

    Founders Derrick & Janice Sutherland said: "With the current economic climate, businesses and individuals alike have to find ways to differentiate themselves and expand their reach into as many markets as possible maximizing all opportunities. The Caribbean Business Awards is the ideal vehicle to demonstrate that they are not just the best locally but Caribbean wide"

    Now open for entries, the Caribbean Business Awards is set to become the premier recognition program for the Caribbean business community and generate public acknowledgment of the achievements and positive contributions of organisations and business people throughout the Caribbean Diaspora.

    The awards will highlight innovation and excellence within the business community, providing benchmarks for organisations and individuals seeking to excel in the way they do business.

    The benefits of the awards are numerous;

    • Provides insight into best practice initiatives within the Caribbean region.
    • Allows organisations to demonstrate their progress within their chosen field.
    • Highlights an organisations' excellence not just within their home country thereby promoting the organisation and increasing business, but also within the wider Caribbean community and globally.

    Culminating in a Gala Awards banquet, activities will be supported by an extensive promotional campaign aimed at all major business sectors in the Caribbean. Award categories will cover a range of business activities covering Management, Sales, Marketing, Customer Service and Technology and are open to individuals and businesses alike.

    Carol Ayoung – CEO of the Caribbean Association of Industry and Commerce: "The Caribbean's importance to the international economy is often unappreciated, despite continued growth even in tough times. Our region suffers when we fail to recognize that every business and individual efforts contributes to a greater whole. Utilizing the CBA's we hope to change the perception that the Caribbean is just a great place for tourism, we're also a great place to do business"

    More information about the program and how to participate can be found at www.caribbeanbusinessawards.com.

  • BTA Process Stalled --- Over 1000 permits to be signed by Governor---Hasselhoef.

    hasselhoef22092010Philipsburg:--- The projector coordinator of the Brooks Tower Accord extension process Tiara Hasselhoef in an interview with SMN News said that at least 82% of the persons who received a BTA permit the first time registered for the extension.
    Hasselhoef said so far 3,549 persons out of the 4,300 already registered while registration is ongoing and will last until September 30th at the Salvation Army building. However, the BTA team is waiting on the Lt. Governor to sign over 1000 of the permits before they can be distributed. Hasselhoef said they have sent over 1000 of these permits for signature but she does not have any idea as to why they were not signed and if the elections had anything to do with the delay. Already some 671 of the BTA extension permits were given out and arrangements are now being made by the Minister of Justice and the government of country St. Maarten to see how country St. Maarten would continue the process.
    Hasselhoef said while the signatures they are awaiting is delaying the entire process they also did not get any permit from those persons who were to register via sole proprietorship. The project director said just about 100 people applied for sole proprietorship and she also has no knowledge as to why economic affairs did not proceed with the process. Hasselhoef said they started late with the sole proprietorship process and when the applicants saw the delay they got people or employers to sign for them. She said the economic affairs falls under local government and even if they know what causes the delay they are not allowed to speak about it.
    Asked if the change of government will affect the BTA process, Hasselhoef said the Minister did not make a policy or agreement with political parties instead her agreement is with St. Maarten and the federal government. She said the BTA process has to go on for a period of time based on the agreement and those persons who received the first permit has until November 2 to file for their extension. She said while the island government can change the arrangement with economic affairs and the departments locally they would have to respect the agreement reached between the federal government and St. Maarten.
  • Deadline for GED exam registration announced.

    PHILIPSBURG – The University of St. Martin's (USM) General Education Development (GED) Tutorial Program exams will be held during the week of October 25, 2010. The deadline to register for this exam is Monday, September 27, 2010 at USM. All re-testers are urged to bring their previous results when registering.
    The exams consist of a battery of tests in five subjects namely English Reading, English Writing, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies. Students need to pass exams in all five subjects to qualify for the GED Diploma. The GED Tutorials for the Fall semester at USM have started. Registration for GED Tutorials for January 2011 is on-going. Persons interested in more information about registering for the exams or tutorials can contact Patricia Arrindell at 542-5171 ext. 1002 or visit the GED Tutorial Program's office at USM. USM is the only recognized GED testing center on St. Maarten.
  • Farewell Reception held for Governor General.

    franklynandfritz24092010Maho:--- Several dignitaries and other invited guests gathered at the Maho Sonesta Pavilion on Thursday night to bid farewell to the Governor General of the Netherlands Antilles Fritz Goedgedrag. Among the invited guests were former Lt. Governors of St. Maarten Franklyn Richards, Ralph Richardson, Matias Voges, and the host acting Lt. Governor Reynold Groeneveldt.

    Incoming Governor Eugene Holiday and his wife was also part of the gathering.
    In his farewell speech Governor Goedgedrag told the gathering that ten years after the people voted for separate status the moment has arrived largely because of St. Maarten's persistence to reopen the constitutional discussion. St. Maarten he said has proven to be the driving force for change, and while the process took a long time, the people of the island will soon be rewarded.
    Goedgedrag said over his eight years in office he has always done his best to discharge his duties to the people of St. Maarten even though his work and efforts might not be visible to the people because Governor's work behind the scenes.

    speech24092010The governor said once the Netherlands Antilles is dismantled, the boundaries between the different parts of the Kingdom in the Caribbean will be more numerous and complex. He said the there will be new borders between Aruba, Curacao, St. Maarten and the Netherlands. He said the State will be responsible for Saba, Statia and Bonaire while the European Union will eventually run between the islands.

    Goedgedrag said his hope is that these borders will not form barriers for the people of these islands which will prevent them from seeing each other. He said if that were to happen then it would be a step backward for the citizens of the Kingdom and as human beings.
    The outgoing governor said he also hoped after the constitutional reform the island would continue to deal openly with each other and to further aim for better cooperation between the countries and to offer better hospitality to each other.

    Goedgedrag said he also hopes that this constitutional reform will draw the different countries closer since they all share a common destiny.
    govenors24092010He warned that while St. Maarten has received the status they so badly wanted then they must know that the work here has just begun. He said the time now is to use the constitutional process the island has just won to promote prosperity for the island's inhabitants. He also advised the leaders to put the autonomy in the service of the people since no one can live in a constitutional structure and neither can anyone eat it. He said politicians have the complex task to form the new constitutional arrangement that would better suit St. Maarten and the people's interests.

  • Motion of No Confidence Hanging Over President Gumbs Head--- Territorial Council Meetings Postponed.

    Marigot:--- Based on a flyer that was distributed throughout Marigot that stated a motion of confidence will be presented against the President of the Collectivity Frans Gumbs at the next territorial council meeting.
    The flyer contains names of several elected officials that are part of the majority that is expected to vote in favor of the motion if and when it is presented. Names such as Daniel Gibbs, Louis Jeffry, Jean David Richardson, Marthe Ogoundele Tessi and Annette Philips are on the flyer which said there are other elected members of the council who would be supporting the motion.
    SMN News learnt that the brain child of the motion is first vice president Daniel Gibbs who is at odds with the president and senator Louis Constant Fleming. Already all three parties have spoken openly about their indifferences especially surrounding Semsamar.
    Just recently Gibbs presented a motion to have the senator removed as president Semsamar which was accepted by the board members of Semsamar. SMN News learnt that senator Louis Constant Fleming has filed an injunction against the motion that was presented and accepted by the board members of Semsamar. That court case will be heard on October 13 in the courts of Basse Terre. According to well placed sources the "procuration" (proxy) that was used as a vote was from someone who already resigned from the municipal council in Guadeloupe thus eliminating that person's right to vote.
    It is further understood that President Gumbs is aware of Gibbs plans and has thus postponed two scheduled council meetings. A council meeting it is understood was scheduled to be held on September 23 and it was postponed to the end of this month. SMN News learnt that Gumbs indicated to the council members that there is nothing for them to discuss at a council meeting except the issues surrounding the TGCA taxes.
    Efforts made to contact the persons whose names appeared on the flyer proved futile up to press time.
  • ROYAL RESORTS STAFF PITCH IN TO CLEAN UP ST. MAARTEN’S PELICAN RESORT CLUB AFTER HURRICANE EARL; NO MAJOR DAMAGE SUSTAINED.

    pelicanbeach31082010ST. MAARTEN--- Pelican Resort Club and Pelican Marina Residences in St. Maarten say goodbye to Hurricane Earl with relatively minor damages mostly contained to the resorts' extensive gardens and shrubbery. On Sunday, Aug. 29 and Monday, Aug. 30, 2010 Hurricane Earl – the first major hurricane of 2010 to impact the Caribbean – passed 25 miles Northeast of St. Maarten as a Category 2 storm.
    Royal Resorts Caribbean CEO Richard Corso remained on-site throughout the entire storm. He credits the hard work and preparedness of Pelican Resort's staff for protecting the resort and owners' interests ensuring the safety and comfort of guests.
    Despite high winds and heavy rain, Pelican Resort's staff attended to the needs of its nearly 500 on-property owners and guests. Led by General Manager Jules James, the staff worked around the clock to ensure safety, and also coordinated the in-house food and beverage teams to make certain everyone was comfortable and fed. Although Mr. James is new to the company by Royal Resort's standards (less than three years), the native St. Maartener is the President of the St. Maarten Timeshare Association and is a tremendous addition to Royal Resorts Management team.
    Damage from the storm was primarily contained to the resorts' extensive garden area. The rains and flooding brought employee transportation to a halt, but by 6 a.m. workers arrived at the resort on foot and began the task of cleaning the grounds and readying the pools and beach for anxious sun worshippers who had been stuck indoors for the previous 36 hours. By 6:30 a.m. this morning, Royal Resorts Sales Director Jozef O'Niel was driving around the island picking up workers in need of transportation.
    "I am very proud of the staff," said Richard Corso, CEO of Royal Resorts Caribbean, who stayed on-property throughout the storm to assist with the implementation of safety measures.
    "There is a lot of preparation for a potential storm in the Caribbean. We have been working almost non-stop for the last two-and-a-half days and everyone continues to perform with a great attitude and the highest concern for owners and guests," he added.
    Hurricanes are nothing new for Corso and Royal Resorts staff members. Royal has been operating resorts in the Caribbean since 1977.
    pelicanhotel31082010"It kind of brings back memories of Hurricane Wilma in 2005. I look around and see everyone pitching in," said Corso. "Our Financial Controller (Ricardo Iman from Merida, Mexico) is sweeping up leaves and debris, and our Sales Managers (Lance Vaugh and Ric Corsello from Cancun) are cleaning and hauling away trash. Accounting and sales teams work right along side the operational staff to take care of the guests," he added. "It is the Royal way."
    The infrastructure of Pelican continues to improve. During the storm the resorts maintained continuous power and AC through its generators. The TV signals and guest wireless services were virtually uninterrupted.
    As of Tuesday afternoon (Aug. 31, 2010), the pools are open and all services have returned to normal. Sun bathers have tucked their toes back in the sand, but high tides have resort management suggesting guests stay out of the ocean until tomorrow. Concierges have already invited all the guests to tonight's Rum Party at 5:30 p.m. to bid farewell to Earl.
  • Island Council Member Roy Marlin Hospitalized.

    roymarlin17052009Cay Hill:--- Island Council member Roy Marlin was rushed to the St. Maarten Medical Center on Tuesday suffering from chest congestions and high blood pressure. SMN News learnt that the island councilman was admitted to the medical institution for treatment.
    In an invited comment President of the Democratic Party Michael Ferrier confirmed that the councilman took ill on Tuesday complaining of chest pains and that his blood pressure was high.
  • Prosecutors Office Sends Letter to Attorney General on Develing Accident Case.

    Philipsburg:--- The Prosecutor's office has sent a letter informing the Attorney General Dick Piar in Curacao of the findings involving prosecutor Jan Bart Develing and the traffic accident he was involved in on Saturday afternoon. Prosecutor Develing was arrested and spent almost six hours in custody shortly after the accident.
    The letter was sent on Wednesday. Press Prosecutor Rienk Mud told SMN News that his office is still awaiting the police report from the police department regarding the accident which took place in the Middle Region. Mud said the only the reason the letter sent on Wednesday was because of the curfew on Monday and Tuesday due to the passing of hurricane Earl and tropical storm Fiona. Mud explained that the prosecutor's office also did not have electricity due to the hurricane and as such they were not able to communicate this information before. Mud said the Attorney General will take a decision on the course of action against his colleague Develing based on the letter that was sent to him.
    Mud also explained that the attorney general has to be careful when taking decisions to sanction a federal officer of the law. Mud said no one can be suspended when there are no serious crimes committed and even though Develing is a public prosecutor he also deserves a fair trial.
    The press prosecutor said his colleague Jan Bart Develing admitted to being involved in the traffic accident and he also gave his office the reason he drove away from the scene of the accident. According to Develing he was not sure if he was the main contributor to the accident or if it was someone who wanted to rob him. Mud said his colleague also said he took a split second decision to drive away from the scene simply because he was fearful and his intention was to call police the moment he got home which is not far away from the scene of the accident.
    Mud further explained that based on article 9 of the traffic ordinance of the Netherlands Antilles gives a person 24 hours after an accident to report it to the police. However, Develing was stopped moments after he left the scene and was arrested by police. Mud also explained that Jan Bart Develing was not the traffic prosecutor some two years now and that he admitted to them and the police that he drank three beers prior to the accident and that was the reason police smelled alcohol on him at the time. He said the police conducted the sobriety test at the police station and they found that Mr. Develing was fit to drive. Mud also explained that the Dutch justice system does not have any other means to text drivers who are suspected of being under the influence of alcohol.
    Apart from the letter that was sent to the attorney general by the prosecutor's office the police department has to continue their investigation into the accident. Mud said when the report is submitted to them they would have other colleagues outside of St. Maarten study the report and then they would decide if Prosecutor Develing will face prosecution for the offence he committed on Saturday. Mud said one of the reasons they have chosen to allow outside experts to study that report is to make sure Develing is treated fairly while justice is served.
    Asked if the prosecutor's office was trying to cover up the case or if there is any type of class justice given to Prosecutor Develing, Mud responded by saying absolutely not and to avoid such accusations they have decided to send the letter to the attorney general so that he can decide on a course of action while they will also take other measures based on the police report.
  • VKS and Police Recognized for Working under Extreme Circumstances.

    governors05092010Philipsburg:--- The Management Team of the KPSSS invited its members and members of the VKS to a social gathering at the Philipsburg police station.
    This gathering was organized to express gratitude to the officers for the great job they have been doing under the challenging circumstances. Both Acting Lt. Governors Mrs. Rachnilda Lynch-Arduin and Mr. Reynold Groeneveldt were also present during this event and expressed words of gratitude and encouragement to the officers.
    The Chief of Police Commissioner Peter De Witte was not present because he is off island on official business. He was represented by the Acting Chief of Police Commissioner Carl John. The officers were treated to snacks and drinks after a small speech by Commissioner Carl John and both Lt. Governors.
  • Minister of Traffic, Telecommunication & Post - Patrick Illidge donates FLS 1000.00 each to DQ Community Council Center and I Can Foundation.

    illidgeican07092010Dutch Quarter:--- On Monday 6th of September The DQ Community Council Center and the I Can Foundation received Fls. 1000.00 each from Minister Patrick Illidge towards purchasing of food items and educational material for the benefit of the youth who attend and reside at the two institutions in the Dutch Quarter District.
  • President of Youth Council Resigns---See Letters Page.

    jeandavidrichardson08092010Marigot:--- Territorial Councillor Jean David Richardson has sent a letter to the President of the Collectivity which was also sent to the media informing that he has resigned from the Commission of Youth, Culture and Sports Affairs. Richardson said that he is sure that the President of the COM will not be surprised by his letter since he already drew his attention to the uncomfortable situation since the President has shown little consideration for the commission and its role. Richardson also accused President Frantz Gumbs of not having any regard for democracy based on the manner in which he took decisions. He also reminded the president that he is an elected official and a member of the territorial council.
    Richardson said in his letter "I'd like to remind you that we have been elected by the people to serve the people and not to use the people to our advantage and satisfy our personal ambitions. Your actions are leading our young community to a downfall and one would have to be blind not to see it and that's in every field."

    The territorial councillor reminded President Gumbs regarding the failures of the elected officials.

    "What have we done in favour of the youth? We have talked and talked some more, but you have never considered it worthwhile to consult with the youth in the districts like I had recommended that it should have been done.

    You even refuse to admit that the youth is left up to themselves, and so they are blamed for all the wrongs that are occurring in the community.

    In the RSMA (Adapted military service) file, I proposed a joint action with the CLSPD, prevention group against delinquency. What have you done since? Nothing at all ! This means to me that you don't believe in seconds chances for the young people who are in difficulty that live here, where ever they came from."

    Richardson complained about the lack of finances to sustain the youth programs he suggested but the President he said has always said there was no money, yet there is money to finance other activities or to give contracts to private entities.
    Richardson accused President Gumbs of overturning an agreement made by the commission regarding domain land.

    "Whereas our Commission, in agreement with the concerned departments, had decided not to grant a new authorization for a private individual to occupy the public domain in the area of Grand-Case, you, in your own right decided to over rule our collective decision. The request that we had previously turned down, you approved and had us look like a bunch of fools. And then, you have the nerve to send the requests emanating from locals, which you clearly discriminated against."

    "In the matter regarding public water and the board in which I sit, a recent audit shows that the price of the water in Saint-Martin is 2.6 times more expensive than in Guadeloupe or than on Dutch St. Maarten. Our people are held hostage by these prices, so when are you going to confront this situation?
    You are mute on this important matter in which lots of money is being wasted and lost and the same goes for many other matters. But to whose benefit?
    Definitely not in benefit of the people of Saint-Martin that you say you love so much!! "

    The letter continues to attack issues regardin the Grand Case Airport
    "In the bid regarding the airport of Grand-Case, as a member of the board, I deeply regret that we are not, in fact, part of the decisions. Even if you have the power to act, don't you think it would be wiser to let the Island Council give his opinion on such important matters which will engage us for years?"

    We are elected officials, we have commissions that cannot give us information to make a right decision for our population. The majority group meetings never prepare the Territorial Council as it ought to be, so I will no longer attend these majority meetings.

    As an elected person I don't even have the agenda of the Executive Council, so I don't even know when it concerns the Commission that I preside! And like most of my colleagues we learn things from third parties or by the media.

    I have been elected by the people of Saint-Martin to work on their behalf and not on our personnel agendas. There is not a day that passes without having many of them express themselves about how they feel and about the functioning of our Collectivity. And your way of being president of the Collectivity is more than I can continue to bear and be silent about because it is, in no wise, respectful to the initial commitment of our programme announced during the election campaign."

  • Second Chamber Clears the Way for Country Status.

    The Hague/Philipsburg:---The vote by the chamber of the second chamber that allows St. Maarten and Curacao to move forward with its country status as scheduled for October 10 is another boost for the island during the RTC meetings which is scheduled for Thursday September 9th in the Hague. Representing St. Maarten is its leader William Marlin and the team of experts and advisors along with former commissioner of constitutional affairs Sarah Wescot Williams.
    The motion presented by the PVV to stop the process was voted down with the PVV and Sp voting in favor.
    The Kingdom Law on the Movement of persons, considered to be the most important of the four motions which was submitted by the VVDE was carried with 73 votes in favor with 63 against. The members of Parliament was asked to vote individually with a simple "yes or no answer" The motion on the debt reorganization was also rejected with only the PVV voted in favor of its motion.

    Leader of the Democratic Party and former commissioner of Constitutional Affairs Sarah Wescott Williams who joined the delegation on Tuesday said that the final hurdle has been cleared for St. Maarten's coveted country status after 10 years, two months and 17 days of work. Wescott Williams said after much sacrifices, trials, and disappointments the time now is to make a success of new country which is in the hands of the people of St. Maarten.

    The former commissioner of constitutional affairs said the people of St. Maarten deserves to be congratulated for the decision they took in 2000 and congratulated for their steadfastness and endurance during the past 10 years and finally for their confidence in their leaders to see the process through. Wescott Williams said the work for St. Maarten has only now begun and that the people have the chance to mold and shape the nation into what they want it to be. She also acknowledged that building St. Maarten would take time but the people will see the fruits of their labour.

  • Vandalism on Political Bill Boards Begin.

    billboard09092010St. Peters:--- One week away from the September 17 elections persons from within the community of St. Maarten has begun vandalizing bill boards belonging to political parties. SMN News camera lens captured photos of a huge billboard belonging to the leader of the National Alliance William Marlin that was destroyed the same evening it was put up next to the St. Peters gas station. Marlin is currently in the Netherlands finalizing the discussions with the Kingdom partners for St. Maarten to achieve its country status.
  • One Year Old Drowned in Jacuzzi.

    Philipsburg:--- Police are currently investigating the drowning death of a one year old baby boy who died around midday on Thursday in the family's Jacuzzi in Beacon Hill.
    According to information reaching SMN News the toddler mother left him alone for few minutes and he somehow got out if the house and crawled in the Jacuzzi. The child was found by his mother shortly after. The hysterical mother drove the child to the hospital where he was pronounced dead. The child's grandfather Mr. Harry Bosch confirmed the tragic death of his grandchild. Police could not be reached up to press time for comment on the incident.
  • Office of Disaster Management Urges Public Vigilance of Approaching Major Hurricane Igor.

    GREAT BAY:--- The Office of Disaster Management is urging the public to closely monitor the progress of major Hurricane Igor which is approaching the North Eastern Caribbean islands as of Sunday.

    Igor is expected to make a turn to the Northwest on Tuesday. The powerful hurricane on Sunday had wind speeds of 140 miles per hour with high gusts.

    The Office of Disaster Management will continue to monitor the progress of this powerful hurricane very closely until it safely passes the island at a comfortable distance.

  • Former Senator endorses Johnson --- Young professional should be supported.

    Philipsburg:--- "I would like to officially endorse the youngest candidate in the early Island Council elections for St. Maarten, Stuart Johnson. He is an outstanding educator and professional. The former Senator and Member of Parliament for the Island Territory of Saba Mr. Ray Hassell has publicly endorsed Johnson who is running on the slate of the Democratic Party of St. Maarten. Johnson is running as the seventh candidate, with the other twenty-two candidates under the leadership of Mrs. Sarah Wescot-Williams. "Stuart has the drive, the determination, and the decisiveness to represent the people of St. Maarten by helping to lead them into the new Country status and beyond," remarked Hassell. "I have been able to follow Mr. Johnson throughout his educational journey especially since, he has never forgot to give back to the communities of St. Maarten and Saba by volunteering."Hassell also served as the Vice President of the Parliament of the Netherlands Antilles and served for twelve years as a member of parliament. He was a strong coalition partner, who was dependable, trustworthy, and loyal, and had the respect of all members of parliament. "Surely, I would be there every step of the way for advice and guidance in the campaign trail for Mr. Johnson, as we need young professionals to be in Government. Once elected by the support and confidence of the voters, I will be available to guide him on related matters and to continue fostering a closer relationship with the Island territory of Saba and Country St. Maarten," said Hassell. He went on to say, "Johnson has strong Saban family roots, and has always been able to come back to his second home." Now surely isn't the time for us to divide but we must unite by showing confidence in the ability of our young professionals. The Netherlands Antilles as a Country will be dissolved, but our cultural and family ties on all of the respective islands will never be broken. "I am urging the people of St. Maarten, and those residents able to vote from Saba, to support Johnson's candidacy. He has always been committed to working in the best interest of everyone and he would be able to do so even more in Government," concluded Hassell.
  • Johnson’s campaign platform based on “Commitment to St. Maarten”--- Teachers didn’t receive salary scale increase.

    stuartjohnson14092010Philipsburg:--- "As we approach the final days in this short campaign, for first parliament of Country St. Maarten it is imperative we embrace commitment, experience and professionalism," remarked Stuart Johnson candidate number seven on the Democratic Party of St. Maarten. Johnson's platform launched weeks ago focuses on his commitments in Education, Crime, Culture, Youth, Sports and the Environment. "If all this has been done out of Government, imagine what we can do, together in Government as a united people," remarked Johnson.
    Johnson also has launched his redesigned web-site which focuses on the issues and solutions affecting soon to be Country St. Maarten. For further information you may visit his facebook page as well as the campaign web-site which www.wevotingjohnson .com.
    As an educator committed to the issue of education, I cannot imagine, why an issue such as the salary scale increase has gone unnoticed by this Government. "I find it a pity after years of hard work and dedication by all teachers, this Government has failed to deliver on the commitment of providing what is rightfully due to teachers this year again," Johnson said. "Are we going to keep waiting for a New beginning, which will never begin?"
    Johnson is an educator himself working in the public school system, and called on the Windward Islands Teachers Union to "do the right thing," as the legal entity representing teachers. Questioning the silence of the matter Johnson said, "No stone will be left unturned, as what is due to teachers should be given to them and promptly too." Johnson said in closing, "We've got a Country to build, and a people to protect" as we head into our new Country status this should be the motto.
  • Agreement Signed for the Expansion and Maintenance of Genevieve de Weever School.

    deweerschool15092010Hope Estate:--- The agreement to expand and maintain the Genevieve De Weever Primary School was finally signed on Wednesday by Leader of Government and commissioner of education William Marlin and the contractor from FM Contracting that will begin the construction work and maintenance that will cost the island government and USONA a total of 3,157,232.12 Antillean guilders . The project which is expected to last about one year is to build five much needed class rooms said the commissioner of education. Marlin said the maintenance for the school falls under division A and will cost Naf. 1,592,903.88 while division B which is to improve and construct the second floor will cost Naf 229,613.04. Marlin said the total cost of the project will cost Naf. 3,157,232.12.
    Principal of the school Mrs. A. Doncker Rogers said the expansion and upgrading of the Genevieve De Weever School has taken 15 years before the project could be realized. She said she was involved in lengthy discussions to have the project realized. Doncker-Rogers said the importance of education is something they could not put aside and when one wants to educate a child they can do so under a tree and achieve the same results. However because of the hurricanes and other natural disasters it is necessary for educators to have secure building which is conducive to learning. She said because of their determination to educate they held on to the wooden building and containers that are being used as makeshift classrooms.
    discussions15092010Doncker said when the construction begins the students attending the school as well as the teachers will face some inconveniences. The intention is to move at least four of the classrooms to the University of St. Maarten while the construction takes place. The school principal said she has a resilient staff will cooperate to make the inconveniences as pleasant as possible for the staff, students and parents as they are sure the end results would be in the interest of everyone.
    Head of New Projects Kurt Ruan also said they have been working on this project for years but somehow it took years before it could have been realized. Ruan said on several occasions when he would see Doncker on the road he could not provide answers as to when the project would have been finalized.
    williamstudents15092010Commissioner of Education William Marlin said some 15 years ago government bought the property in Hope Estate to construct a few buildings for social projects, including the Genevieve De Weever School, another sets of classrooms for early stimulation students and the senior citizens home. Marlin said when he entered government in 1994 was to make sure schools and other facilities are built the same way investors are leasing and purchasing land for privatized businesses. He said back then one of the excuses that were used was that government did not have land space to construct schools. Marlin said 15 years ago just two days prior to election then a few persons gathered to conduct the ground breaking ceremony to construct the current building that housed the school. He said it is like a leap of faith that now again two days before this election they gathered to sign off on the agreement to expand and maintain the school. Marlin said unfortunately when he left government in 1999 the plans that were in place to continue the expansion was either aborted or shelved.
  • 22 Fire Fighters Undergo Training and Upgrade of Skills.

    firetraining16092010GREAT BAY:--- Twenty-two fire fighters this week will conclude their two-week training exercise in emergency techniques, according to Section Head Prevention, Preparation, and Education & Training of the Fire Department ing. Silvanico Pauletta.

    At the end of the course, the participants will receive a diploma "Manschappen A- Hulpverlening," which is recognized within the Kingdom of the Netherlands and is part of the standardized rescue techniques testing within the Kingdom.

    The exam is according to the curriculum of the Dutch Fire Department Exams Board (NBBe).

    On September 6 personnel of the Fire Department started a two-week training course related to emergency rescue. The course allowed the personnel to be tested with respect to their existing skills and how they handle their personal safety.

    Within the two-week period, the fire personnel have covered exercises in motor vehicle accidents (stabilizing of the incident); rescuing persons from buildings with structural damage caused by an earthquake or persons trapped under a tree and teamwork.

    fireclass16092010The personnel have been taught how to use their skills and equipment during natural disasters and weather related-emergencies.

    Sessions have also been held between the different operational leaders of the emergency services in order to better coordinate the emergency response during an incident.

    This upgrade comes at an opportune time at the height of the hurricane season where fire fighters need to be prepared to deal with any eventuality.

    A theoretical and practical exam is part of the course. The course is part of the training cycle 2010, which has been organized by the Fire Department and its counter-part, twinning partner, the Fire Department from the Dutch Municipality of Dordrecht.

  • Election Watch --- Early Election for Country St. Maarten September 17 2010.

    governorvotes17092010Philipsburg:--- Voters on St. Maarten seemed determined to have their voices heard on Friday as they braved the scattered showers and cloudy skies and made it to the various polling stations to cast their votes.
    Cheer leaders from the National Alliance dominated most of the polling stations shouting "white is right, we are the best so forget the rest." While cheerleaders of the United People's Party were shouting back saying that this is the time to go UP.The Democratic Party supporters looked dissappointed, some of them hardly looking at the voters in the face as the approached the polling stations.

    Several candidates from the various parties gathered at the Milton Peters College as they wooed voters to support them and their party, among the first set of voters to cast their votes at the MPC was the number three candidate on the National Alliance slate George Pantophlet with wife and son, Rhoda Arrindell from the UP slate with her husband and mother. Christopher Emanuel and Jean Boasman were also at the MPC. Lourdes Lake from the Democratic Party slate seemed to have replaced her party leader Sarah Wescott Williams who normally camps out at the Milton Peters College.
    marlinfamily17092010Just before 11am leader of the National Alliance William Marlin made it to the polling station flanked by his wife and two daughters. Several of the cheerleaders who were standing outside waving the National Alliance flag then escorted the Marlin family inside MPC where he casted his vote.
    Marlin told reporters shortly after that Friday's election is a historical one and while he is confident that the people will vote for his party he is not going to predict the outcome of the elections. Marlin said the voters have seen his dedication and they saw all what he has done for St. Maarten since entering government just over a year ago. Marlin said had it not been for his determination to secure the date for country status then there would not have been any elections. He urged voters to make use of their democratic rights and head to the polling stations if they have not done so as yet.

    sarahvote17092010At the St. Maarten Academy the number 8 candidate from the UP slate Richard Panneflek and Brenda Wathey stood there with their group encouraging voters to vote for the UP. While former acting Lt. Governor Millicent De Weever was there dressed in her red shirt supporting her brother Petrus Leroy De Weever.
    rhoda17092010At the Lionel Conner School Acting Lt. Governor Reynold Groenevelt casted his vote just before 11 am when he was doing his regular rounds inspecting the booths. In front of the school gate was the number two candidate from the UP slate Gracita Arrindell with a small group of cheerleaders. At that polling station the National Alliance cheerleaders also dominated the actions there even though the candidates were not there to push them along. Large poster of Jean Boasman from the National Alliance slate was seen at the entrance of the Lionel Conner School followed by a huge poster of his party leader William Marlin.

    Later in the afternoon at the Belvedere community center there was an array of colors. Three of the four leading parties had a fair amount of people encouraging voters to support them. Richelda Emanuel a candidate from the Democratic Party slate and a supporter of the National Alliance told SMN  News that there were strong supporters of the United People's Party paying voters if they would produce a photograph to show they voted for the UP leader. " I am here looking at the ATM and how its working said" the National Alliance supporter. Emanuel who was standing just about 18 inches away from the UP supporter said she witnessed when the youngsters in the area produced their photos taken with a cellular phone and was paid.

    Normally voters was supposed to leave their cellular phones and cameras outside of the voting booth since the chairman of the main voting bureau said no one is supposed to enter with a camera of cellular phone. However, those at Belvedere said the president of that polling station said they were not allowed to take away or search anyone to see if they were following the rules laid down by the main voting bureau.

    Scenes on Election Day--- Scattered Showers and Cloudy Skies is not Hampering Voters Turn Out.
    bvderenatent17092010governors17092010mhdpsupporters17092010mhupsupporters17092010mpcnasupporters17092010mpcvoters17092010naupsupporters17092010roymarlin17092010terrypeterson17092010uptent17092010gracitagovernor17092010johnhenson17092010lake17092010bellschool17092010fleming17092010dpsupporters17092010william17092010williamna17092010koto17092010marlinwalking17092010nasupporters17092010panneflek17092010pantophlet17092010sxmacademy17092010updp17092010upna17092010

  • Engine Trouble and Seaweed May Lead to Load Shedding.

    CAY BAY:--- With the passing of Hurricane Igor, the rough seas have caused the GEBE power plant to reduce the output of the sea water cooled engines as the cooling units are becoming clogged with seaweed and sand. Unfortunately a mechanical problem developed on engine #18, one of the radiator-cooled engines this morning. The power plant technicians are currently opening up the engine to determine the extent of the problem as well as the duration of the necessary repairs.
    The power plant may need to resort to load shedding if the repairs cannot be completed by Monday morning at 9:00 a.m. when the demand begins to rise with the opening of the many businesses, schools, and other organizations. Updates will be posted as the situation develops and more information is available. GEBE is urging residents and businesses to prepare for possible load shedding by protecting sensitive electronic equipment to prevent any damage, check surge protectors and back up power units as needed. And when in doubt, plug it out.
    Here are some tips to prepare for an electricity outage:
    • Unplug any sensitive electronics to avoid damage.
    • Turn off all lights and electrical equipment. Leave on only one light or radio to alert you when the power has been restored.
    • Try to minimize the time your fridge and freezer are open to keep the cool air in.
    • Gather any flashlights and check spare batteries.
    • Be careful if you decide to use candles. Do not leave them unattended.
    • Prepare by equipping your house with automatic power failure safety lighting so that it does not go dark when the power goes out. That gives you time to locate your flashlights and other items.
  • STB involves youth, elders in World Tourism Day celebrations.

    Great Bay:--- The young and the elderly are the two focal groups the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau is targeting for involvement in the various activities it has lined up for the celebration of this year's World Tourism Day, which falls annually on September 27.
    The activities kick off on Wednesday, September 22, 2010 with award-winning environmentalist Rueben Thompson of the EPIC Foundation giving a tour and a presentation to the students and teachers of Sr. Borgia School.
    In an attempt to get "locals to experience St. Maarten" as Mr. Gus Priest head of Product Development at the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau put it, several groups will participate in the 12-meter race, which is popular among tourists and also visit the seaside Nature Park in Cay Bay for an exciting horseback riding tour.
    An island tour will also be organized for senior citizens on September 24th which will include a complementary lunch.
    The theme of this year's World Tourism Day is "Tourism and Biodiversity".
    "That is why we focused on the youth and the elderly," said Priest. "The youth will inherit the land, and the elderly still have a lot of wisdom to impart regarding our island's bio-diversity."
    Priest disclosed that other activities planned include a Radio Quiz with "attractive prizes" that will be aired on September 27th on PJD-2 Radio Laser 101, PJD2, and Pearl FM. On that same day, Tanny & the Boys will be providing entertainment to welcome all visitors arriving at the Princess Juliana International Airport, who will also get a taste of the island's famed brew, Guavaberry.
    The curtain will be drawn on this year's World Tourism Day with a gala dinner at which the recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Awards will be announced. The dinner will be held at the Westin Resort.
    "This is always the highlight of our celebrations of World Tourism Day," noted Director of Tourism, Regina LaBega. "This year's award as usual is being kept under wraps so that it will come as a complete surprise to the recipient."
  • Main Voting Bureau Decided to Stop Ballots Recount--- Frans and Louie Not Happy---- Groeneveldt says no wrong doing committed.

    frans22092010Philipsburg:--- The main voting bureau has decided to stop the recounting of the ballots that was casted on Friday September 17th saying that the recount will not make any significant difference to the outcome of the election.
    The decision to halt the recount was taken on Tuesday night after the members of the main voting bureau made their concerns known. Ever since Monday when Frans Richardson made the request the members of the main voting bureau were overheard grumbling saying the request to recount all the ballots was unnecessary and a waste of tax payers monies.
    On Tuesday Richardson was asked to waive his decision by the main voting bureau who said they can check the ballots of the districts that raises concern but Richardson said he wanted a total recount and that his request was not based on him losing or gaining votes. He said already the recounted has shown that there were lots of mistakes and that people who were not elected could have gotten into office. Richardson said a number of people have been complaining and when asked if a recount was ever done he was told that the main voting bureau has never taken on such an exercise. Richardson said this is outrageous and if St. Maarten wants to do things right they would have to start now and not continue with their old ways of doing business. Furthermore, the law gives citizens the right to request a recount and also gives the main voting bureau the right to over-rule the request of the citizen.
    "When the ballots were being recounted we saw a number of inconsistencies and mistakes that were made, ballots that were counted as invalid were in fact valid votes at the different polling stations. In one district seven votes were given to the wrong candidate while in another district there was one case 30 votes were given to the wrong candidate. Also in the Cole Bay area a number of votes belonging to the National Alliance were not even counted." Richardson said that the decision taken by the main voting bureau is rather unfortunate because there was about five or six more districts that had to be recounted and it is his belief that the recount would not be in favor of those conducting the recount. He said this is the first time in history a recount was requested based on the law.
    Also expressing displeasure at the decision taken by the main voting bureau Louie Laveist, Laveist said that stopping the total recount is a violation of the democratic rights of the voters who participated in the election.
    The island council man said a recount was requested and in his opinion that is what should have been given to the people of St. Maarten. He said the main voting bureau should not be the ones to decide whether or not they would continue with the recount. Laveist said he was informed that because of the recount a candidate that participated in the election now has an opportunity of becoming a parliamentarian and for him that makes a huge difference for that person.
    In an invited comment the chairman of the main voting bureau Reynold Groenevedt said that the recount was not stopped. He said those districts where a total recount was not done the blank and invalid votes were checked. Groeneveldt said the law states that while a citizen and voter can ask for the recount the main voting bureau can decide whether or not to grant the request.
    mainvtinbureau22092010Furthermore, the chairman explained that the case of Jesus Richardson and Octavio was identified since Friday evening based on the process verbal and that is not something that was identified through the recount. Groeneveldt said while Richardson said his reason to ask for the recount was based on the amount of invalid votes two other candidates Silveria Jacobs and Leona Marlin indicated to the main voting bureau that there might have been problems at the Belvedere Community Center, Charles Leopold Bell School and the Melford Hazel Community Center and the members of the main voting bureau counted the ballots from those districts ballot by ballot.
    Groeneveldt said he also intends to send an advice to the main voting bureau for future elections because they need to train and regulate the system better so that it can function better. Groeneveldt said it is his opinion that those people who began working from 6am and sat in those polling stations all day until 7pm when the polling stations closed should not be the ones counting the ballots. The main voting bureau needed to have fresh people who are not tired from a long day of work."It is unfair to those people who worked all day to count the ballots they are tired and obviously rushed the matter to get out of the polling stations."
    The chairman said those persons who are not happy with the decision taken can take their concerns before the judge for further satisfaction.
    Furthermore the ballot by ballot count is stalling the process the chairman said. He said letters have to be sent out to those persons who were elected so that they can get their credentials together so it can be validated before they are sworn in on October 5th.
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  • Head of Census Office Clears the Air on Passport Issue---Nationality Procedures Simplified in Country St. Maarten.

    leonamarlin24092010Philipsburg:--- The head of the census office on St. Maarten Leona Marlin is furious at the statements made against the census office as it relates to the issuance and controls over passports on the island. Marlin who has been at the helm of the department since 2005 said ever since she took office there has been no incidence of fraud at her department and she wants to know based on what the Dutch has made their analysis of the department.

    Marlin said ever since she took over the helm of the department they have been following all of the guidelines and rules laid down by Holland. She said in addition to that all of the audit reports have been positive. "The census office gets audited twice a year and all of our reports are positive since 2005. Marlin said passports always falls under the Lt. Governor and since there would be no more Lt. Governor the task will fall under the Governor's cabinet."

    Marlin said the article which was published in one of the daily newspapers said the governor will be responsible until the office is professionalized. "She asked what do they mean by professionalized. When these people want to talk then they need to define what they are talking about." Marlin said Holland has always been talking about the census office database.

    Marlin further explained that the database of the census office is not quite up to par but St. Maarten island government has been investing monies to regulate the problems. She said even though the passport belongs to the State they are not offering St. Maarten any financial assistance with the upgrading and or assistance to regulate the database. "The problem with the database began since 1997 when they did the transfer, back then not all the information in our system was transferred to the new system and up until now Holland has not returned to conduct an analysis of the system neither did they conduct any upgrades." She said whatever was done since 1997 was done at the expense of the island government. "There have been no attempts by those that own the Dutch passport to rectify any of the problems the census office is facing. While we don't have the expertise to correct these problems ourselves we have hired people to assist in correcting the problems. A specialist was brought in from Bonaire while another person was also brought in from the Netherlands to check the system."

    Marlin said the BES islands have received all the assistance from the Dutch Government to optimize their database in accordance to what Holland wants. The department head said the Dutch wants to send people here to work for a specific period of time but these people are not interested in providing the necessary training to the employees of the census office who have been working hard to prevent fraud and all other types of irregularities.

    Marlin said based on the information she gathered in their last meeting was that St. Maarten and Curacao would not be getting the assistance the BES islands are getting to clean up their database. Marlin said she is of the opinion that if Holland wants all the civil registries in the Antilles to be up to par then they would provide the same services and equipments to St. Maarten for that to take place.
    The department head said two civil servants from the census office will be leaving to Holland next week for additional training on how to clean up databases.

  • Police Zero Tolerance and Immigration Begin Controls.

    Philipsburg:--- The police zero tolerance and immigration officers assisted by VKS conducted a raid on Thursday morning at an address in Well Road. Police Spokesman Ricardo Henson said the raid was conducted after police received information that narcotics and possible fire arms were hidden there. Taking part in the operation was the chief public prosecutor Hans Mos and acting judge Mr. Luijks. Henson said the raid did not yield any positive results. However, one person was arrested at the scene for residing on the island illegally.

    The controls continued later down in the evening in the areas of Cape Bay and Philipsburg. During these controls 7 persons from Jamaican, 3 from Guyana, 1 from the Dominican Republic and 1 from St Lucia were brought in because of their illegal status on the island.

    In other news the police patrols have been directed on at least on two occasions to the St Peters/ South Reward area to intervene fights in which students were involved. During these fights no-one was injured, however, the students were all brought to the police station and severely reprimanded concerning their behavior. The police department has decided to again start focusing on students in the school areas.

  • UP/DP sends Letter to Chairman of Executive Council ---Does not want Executive Council to Take Long Term Decisions during Transition Period.

    Philipsburg:--- The leaders of the United Peoples Party Theodore Heyliger and the Democratic Party Sarah Wescot Williams who formed the coalition government last week has sent a letter to the chairman of the executive and island council Reynold Groeneveldt informing him that he should ensure that the sitting executive council does not take long term decisions that would affect country St. Maarten's budget. The two leaders said the current executive council will be in office until October 5th and they should not take decisions such as entering into long term contracts for garbage collection, the issuance of licenses in the public transportation sector, entering into financial agreements that may have a long term effect on the budget of country St. Maarten. The appointments of new personnel in key functions, entering into long term rental contracts, awarding of construction contracts for infrastructural projects and other such matters.
    The letter further states that they are expecting that the acting Lt. Governor in his capacity as Chairman of the Executive Council will guard against any of these matters taking place.

    The coalition partners said they expect cooperation for the sake of good governance and the incoming government being able to adequately commence its governing term without being confronted with decisions taken which may affect the ability to properly govern.

  • No One in Custody for Julot’s Murder--- Two persons were detained but released--- Mud.

    Philipsburg:--- "No one is currently in custody for the murder of Clemencia Julot" says public prosecutor Rienk Mud. Mud said the TGO team detained two persons last week, a male and female and they have been released since police do not have enough evidence to keep the suspects in custody much longer.
    Mud said the police are working diligently and endless hours to solve the Julot case but they need more help from the community if we are to solve the brutal murder of 21 year old Clemencia Julot.
    The public prosecutor also explained that since they are exhausting so much and manpower on this particular murder investigation, the investigations of other murder cases have slowed down. Mud said they have not neglected any of the murder investigations currently being investigated but much focus is placed on solving the Julot murder investigation. "This young girl who was in the bloom of her life was brutally murdered and we are doing all we can as law enforcement to bring those responsible for her death to justice" Mud said.
  • Police Internal Affairs Investigating Cops who Sold their Votes--- De Witte.

    peterdewitte14072010Philipsburg:--- Four police officers are now the subject of an investigation that is being conducted by the police internal affairs to determine if the officers sold their votes. SMN News learnt that at least four police officers received monies from the United Peoples Party in exchange for their votes. SMN News learnt that two officers, a VKS and a civil servant working at the police station went to the UP head office in Pointe Blanche to control a crowd that was misbehaving. The source said when the officers reached the scene they were invited inside the office and monies were offered to them. SMN News further learnt that later that day someone working at the UP office called the officers informing them that their monies were ready to be picked up. "At that point the two police officers identified as C.L.R.C and A.M. sent the VKS R.J Sr. to pick up their monies. The person at the UP office gave R.J four envelopes containing $300 for each of the officers, but R.J got greedy and he opened the envelope supposedly belonging to the civil servant identified as G.W and distributed it among the two officers and himself." SMN News learnt that when G.W did not get her share of monies she contacted the UP office and she was informed that her envelope was also picked up. SMN News learnt that at that point G.W freaked out and began using obscene language saying she needed her share of money to pay her rent. The source said at that point the watch comander intervened and brought the matter to the attention of the acting chief of police.
    Sources close to the investigation say that if internal affairs is able to prove that the officers sold their votes then they will be suspended or fired depending on what comes out of the investigation.
    Chief Commissioner of Police Peter De Witte confirmed that while he was off island the acting chief of police Carl John initiated the investigation based on constant rumors. De Witte said the investigation currently taking place is more like a fact finding investigation. "We need to know if they were given monies and for what" De Witte said.
    Earlier SMN News released an article which stated that officers of the law were part of the crowd of people that was seen at the UP head office in Pointe Blanche seeking monetary and electronic gifts in exchange for their votes. SMN News learnt that some officers requested flat screen televisions while others asked for laptops and blackberries.
  • Organic Laws Might be Passed by Majority says Sarah.

    Philipsburg:--- It now appears certain that matters to be regulated by ordinance (law), because they are classified as "organic law" will be passed by a majority in the island council of St. Martin, mostly without any debate or deliberation.
    Surely there are several such ordinances that the DP feels without too much ado can be passed by the island council because of a number of reasons:
    1. The time constraint due to the Round Table Conference on September 9th 2010
    2. The possibility to amend these ordinances in the near future
    3. The similarity if not outright duplication of existing regulations
    However, there are matters that no amount of time pressure should relegate to "routine" matters.
    In other words, it cannot be expected that the faction of the Democratic Party, as eager as we are to cooperate with reaching the finish line of 10-10-10, will rubberstamp matters such as the joint Central Bank and joint currency with Curacao.
    The urgency that the government of St. Martin attempts to convey, in our opinion is nothing more than a smoke screen to cover up other actions by government that continue unabated.
    Government ignores the concerns regarding the state of the Great Salt Pond and the failed Ring Road and sand fiasco.
    Government ignores the garbage collection and the awarding of the garbage contract(s), most probably until after election to award the contract as a political trade-off.
    Government perpetuates the public transportation mismanagement.
    Who is governing by the way?
    What does Heyliger say to these matters? He aptly maneuvers under the radar, promises another new dawn after barely a year of a NA/Heyliger government, and puts the blame for the ills of government at the foot of his coalition partner, the National Alliance.
    To secure the coveted 10-10-10, the government of St. Martin accepts verbal abuse from some politicians on Curacao; accepts supervision by the placing of a CFT official on St. Martin and accepts Dutch assistance to clean up the tax office and bring in the "millions on the road".
  • Breaker Box at Administration Building Caught Fire.

    breakerbox01092010Philipsburg:--- A host of firemen and fire trucks responded to the government administration building on Wednesday morning when one of the breaker boxes that is located outside of the building caught fire.
    Spokesman for the fire department told SMN News who was on the spot that they basically had to secure the area and the building until GEBE was able to send someone to fix the problems with the breaker box. The fire department spokesman said that the main cause of the fire is that water got to the box either during the passing of hurricane Earl or from the rain from tropical storm Fiona.
  • Information on ESTA for US Travelers.

    Philipsburg:--- In order to travel to the US, it is mandatory to get an ESTA before departure for those travelers who hold an US Visa Waiver in their passport.
    ESTA is an Electronic System for Travel Authorization that all passport holders from Visa Waiver Program countries must complete prior to boarding a carrier to travel by air or sea to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program.
    This travel authorization has been mandatory since Jan. 12, 2009.
    From September 8th the US will charge $14 per ESTA to be paid online by credit card. The ESTA doesn't require travel plans to register and is valid for 2 years or until your passport expires.
    InselAir advises everybody with a passport capable of having a US Visa Waiver to fill in the ESTA form online before September 8th to avoid the new charge of $14.
    The website for registration is https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/.
    Passengers that require an ESTA and have not completed the process or have not been approved may be denied boarding to the United States without a valid US visa.
    The ESTA requirement applies to all Dutch nationals, including residents of Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao and St. Martin. Passengers with passports that require a US visa, or otherwise have a US visa, are exempt from the ESTA requirement, as are US passport holders.
    Please visit www.state.gov for more information on entry and visa requirements for the United States. For more information: US Customs and Borders Protection website www.cbp.gov or visit www.fly-inselair.com.
  • Pride Foundation responds to statements about the Ring-road made during Saturday’s debate.

    Philipsburg:--- During the political debate held on Saturday September 4th, a candidate of a particular party (at that time one of the members of the audience) posed a question on the necessity of the much discussed ring-road project to his running-mate who was functioning as one of the evening's debaters/ panelists.

    In a somewhat confusing response, which ended with a claim that the establishment of a waste treatment facility would increase the size and water-carrying capacity of the pond, the panelist questioned chose to defend the Ring-Road project by mentioning that an Environmental Impact Assessment was carried out. Nothing was said about the Cultural and Natural value of the Pond.

    St. Maarten Pride Foundation would like to point out the following; The drafting of an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) study does not in any way validate or insure the necessity and environmental sustainability of, in this case, the ring road project. This particular EIA is furthermore rather questionable as Government appointed Lievense Consulting Engineers to carry-out the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the Ring road. Lievense is however involved in many of Government's infrastructural projects and was actually involved in compiling the plans for the ring road itself.

    The Foundation reviewed the abovementioned EIA and is of the opinion that the research and analysis conducted for the document is of poor quality, incomplete at best and does not meet commonly used Dutch or international standards/ formats for Environmental Impact Assessments. This EIA was drafted after the relevant Commissioner and Engineers completed plans to construct the Ring- road project resulting in a report which does little more than attempt to rationalize the Ring- Road project and reads as if it is intended to pacify environmentalists.

    St. Maarten Pride therefore questions the objectivity of this Environmental Impact Assessment and has repeatedly insisted on the production of a new EIA to be carried out by qualified and entirely independent consultants.

    The brief exchange about the ring-road project during Saturday's debate which was obviously staged/ scripted, considering that the candidate questioned opted to read her response from paper, was in St. Maarten Pride Foundation's opinion a poor attempt at justifying the controversial Ring-road project by misinforming the public. The spectacle was a far cry from the leadership, change and progress St. Maarten's politicians have repeatedly promised the public, and leaves the Foundation to wonder whether candidates are allowed to form their own opinions or are just meant to fill their party's lists and ascribe to the scripts, wishes and opinions of their party's leadership.

  • CPS advises community in Post Hurricane Earl to be proactive and take measures to prevent mosquito breeding.

    GREAT BAY:--- With frequent rain showers from time to time, the Collective Preventive Services (CPS) is advising, residents to be proactive and take preventative measures against mosquito breeding in order to avoid mosquito-borne diseases developing such as dengue fever.

    Contractors on job sites are advised to empty buckets and cover water storage drums and have the site cleaned up at the end of the work day of anything that can hold water even plastic bags.

    Measures that residents must take to prevent mosquito breeding are:

    Debris, old tires and stagnant water in yards are the source or can become a breeding ground for mosquitoes bringing about an increased risk of mosquito-borne diseases.

    Residents are therefore strongly advised to take action making sure that there is no stagnant water in their yards and roof spouts; and disposing responsibly old tires, empty drums, buckets, jars, birdbaths, boats, plant containers, paint cans and other items that can collect water around their homes and businesses.

    In the case of where containers are used for storing water, residents should keep these covered. Inlets and outlets of cisterns must be covered with a mosquito net or cloth to prevent mosquitos from breeding in the water.

    Persons or businesses making use of the landfill in Philipsburg for the dumping of barrels, buckets or anything that can hold water should cut holes into the items to avoid the accumulation of water.

    Mosquito fogging can't take place due to the intermittent rain showers.

  • Baby Clinic services integrated.

    babyclinic07092010GREAT BAY:--- The Island Government has taken a decision to integrate the Baby Clinic services provided by the White & Yellow Cross Foundation (WYCF) as of September 1, 2010 under the management of Department of Public Health, Social Development & Labour (VSA)-Collective Preventive Services (CPS), namely Youth Health Care.

    The WYCF has been providing quality baby clinic services for over 41-years.

    Parents of new born babies don't have to worry about any changes to the services being rendered. The same nurses who have been involved over the years will continue to administer the medical care services to babies and toddlers.

    However this service will no longer be available at St. John's Ranch.

    Services were first rendered back on March 19, 1969 when the first Baby Clinic was opened in the Back Street Clinic. A room was made available with a refrigerator for vaccines, and a desk. On the first day only a few mothers came but after a few weeks, the Clinic was so busy that a second afternoon had to be added.

    Until 2001, the nurses worked in the District Nursing as well as in the Baby Clinics, but the latter were becoming so busy that two nurses were permanently allocated to the Baby Clinics and they started all day services instead of only in the mornings or afternoons.

    In 2007, then Sector Health Care Affairs and the WYCF embarked on a joined mission to improve the quality of the Baby Clinic services on the South side of the island.

    The Island Government financially subsidized the foundation to execute the services on their behalf.

    Protocols were developed and implemented to standardize the care that each baby and toddler was to receive. The WYCF employed its first full-time Baby Clinic Physician in August of 2009 and this completed the first two-years of intense reorganization.

    The Department of Public Health, Social Development & Labour informed and discussed with WYCF of its plans to integrate the Baby Clinic Services on the South side of the island within their department. The WYCF assisted in making the transfer a reality.

    The WYCF is proud to have served the babies, toddlers, parents and guardians of Sint Maarten for over 41 years and looks forward to see a continued positive development of this very important care product.

    The Collective Preventive Services would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank WYCF for their dedication during the past 41 years in providing baby wellness services to the Sint Maarten community.

    The Madame Estate Clinic is open on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday as of 8.00am and is closed for lunch from 12.30pm to 1.30pm.

    The Cole Bay Clinic is open on Tuesdays from 8.00am and is closed during the lunch hour.

    As of September 21, children born in the years 2006, 2007 and 2008, are requested to call Youth Health Care for an appointment at 542-3003, 542-2078, or 542-3553 from 2.00pm to 4.00pm.

  • Prosecutor General Sends Develing on Leave Pending Accident Investigation.

    Philipsburg:--- The Prosecutor General Dick Piar has ordered Public Prosecutor Jan Bart Develing to go on leave pending the outcome of the hit and run accident he had two weeks ago in Middle Region. Develing was also accused of driving under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident and he was officially arrested and remained in police custody for about six hours.

    Press Prosecutor Rienk Mud confirmed that Develing was sent on leave as of Monday this week, Mud said Develing was not suspended but was sent on leave as police prepares their report.

    On Wednesday September 1, Chief Prosecutor Hans Mos sent a letter to the attorney general informing him of the incident Develing had with the police and the ongoing accident investigation.

    In an earlier interview with SMN News Mud said that his office is still awaiting the police report from the police department regarding the accident which took place in the Middle Region.

    The press prosecutor said his colleague Jan Bart Develing admitted to being involved in the traffic accident and he also gave his office the reason he drove away from the scene of the accident. Mud also admitted to his colleagues in the prosecutor's office and police that he had been drinking beers shortly before the accident but somehow he passed the sobriety test given to drivers suspected of being under the influence of alcohol.

    According to Develing he was not sure if he was the main contributor to the accident or if it was someone who wanted to rob him. Mud said his colleague also said he took a split second decision to drive away from the scene simply because he was fearful and his intention was to call police the moment he got home which is not far away from the scene of the accident.

    Mud further explained that based on article 9 of the traffic ordinance of the Netherlands Antilles gives a person 24 hours after an accident to report it to the police. However, Develing was stopped moments after he left the scene and was arrested by police. Mud also explained that Jan Bart Develing was not the traffic prosecutor at the time of the accident.

    Apart from the letter that was sent to the attorney general by the prosecutor's office the police department has to continue their investigation into the accident. Mud said when the report is submitted to them they would have other colleagues outside of St. Maarten study the report and then they would decide if Prosecutor Develing will face prosecution for the offense.

  • Leader of Government William Marlin to Address Nation about Trip to Holland.

    GREAT BAY:--- Leader of Government Commissioner William Marlin will be addressing the nation via radio and television on Friday, September 10 at 5.00pm from the Dr. A. C. Wathey Legislative Hall.

    The simulcast broadcast will be carried by local radio stations and can be seen on Sint Maarten Cable TV Channel 20.

    Commissioner of Constitutional Affairs William Marlin will address the final discussions that took place this week in The Hague making it official that Sint Maarten becomes a country on October 10, 2010.

  • The Official English Translation of the Constitution of St. Maarten.

    CONSTITUTION
    OF
    COUNTRY
    SINT MAARTEN

    Chapter 1 Territory and entity
    1. Territory and entity
    Chapter 2 Fundamental rights
    § 1. Freedoms
    2. Right to life
    3. Prohibition of torture
    4. Prohibition of slavery and forced labour
    5. Respect for private life
    6. Inviolability of the person
    7. Right to a home
    8. Confidentiality of post and telephone
    9. Freedom of religion and personal convictions
    10. Freedom of expression of opinions
    11. Freedom of education
    12. Freedom of association
    13. Freedom of meeting and demonstration
    14. Freedom of movement
    15. Protection of property
    § 2. Equality
    16. Equal treatment
    17. Equal eligibility for public service
    § 3. Solidarity
    18. Protection of children and the elderly
    19. Certainty of existence
    20. Promotion of employment
    21. Promotion of public health
    22. Protection of the environment and animal welfare
    § 4. Citizenship
    23. The right to vote
    24. The right to petition
    25. Expulsion of aliens
    § 5. Administration of justice
    26. Fair procedure
    27. Right to freedom and safety
    28. Nulla poena
    29. Legal aid

    30. Appropriate treatment of detainees
    § 6. Limitations of fundamental rights
    31. Limitations of fundamental rights
    Chapter 3 The government and the Minister Plenipotentiary
    § 1. The government
    32. Form of government
    33. Appointment and dismissal of ministers
    34. Requirements for appointment
    35. Incompatibility of ministers
    36. Suspension and dismissal of ministers
    37. Blood relationships
    38. Establishment of ministries
    39. Council of Ministers
    40. Signature of national ordinances etc.
    41. Oath or affirmation by ministers
    42. Remuneration and pensions
    § 2. The Minister Plenipotentiary
    43. Incompatibilities and the Minister Plenipotentiary
    Chapter 4 The Parliament
    § 1. Establishment and composition
    44. Representation of the people
    45. Composition of the Parliament
    46. Duration of sessions of the Parliament
    47. Election of members of the Parliament
    48. Exclusion from the right to vote
    49. Requirements for membership of the Parliament
    50. Suspension and dismissal of members of the Parliament
    51. Incompatibilities of members of the Parliament
    52. Blood relationships
    53. Voting abstentions by members of the Parliament
    54. Investigation of credentials
    55. Elections
    56. Oath or affirmation by members of the Parliament
    57. President, Deputy President, Clerk
    58. Remuneration and pensions for members of the Parliament
    59. Dissolution of the Parliament
    § 2. Procedure
    60. Meetings of the Parliament
    61. Quorum

    62. Right to ask questions
    63. Provision of information by ministers to the Parliament
    64. Right of investigation
    65. Immunity of members of the Parliament
    66. Rules of order
    67. Advocacy of the interests of Sint Maarten
    68. Investigation of petitions
    Chapter 5 Council of Advice, General Audit Chamber, Ombudsman and standing
    advisory committees
    § 1. Council of Advice
    69. Hearings of the Council of Advice
    70. Composition of the Council of Advice and incompatibilities
    71. Establishment and powers of the Council of Advice
    72. Oath or affirmation by members of the Council of Advice
    73. Rules of order
    § 2. General Audit Chamber
    74. General Audit Chamber
    75. Composition of the General Audit Chamber
    76. Establishment and powers of the General Audit Chamber
    77. Oath or affirmation by members of the General Audit Chamber
    § 3. Ombudsman
    78. Ombudsman
    § 4. Other provisions
    79. Other standing advisory and support committees
    80. Publication of opinions
    Chapter 6 Legislation and government
    § 1. General provisions on statutory regulations
    81. Statutory regulations
    § 2. National ordinances, unified national ordinances, national decrees
    incorporating general measures and ministerial regulations
    82. Adoption of national ordinances
    83. Ratification of draft national ordinances
    84. Submission of draft national ordinances by the government
    85. Right of initiative
    86. Right of amendment
    87. Withdrawal of draft national ordinances
    88. Procedures
    89. Effective date of national ordinances
    90. Unified national ordinances

    91. Adoption of national decrees incorporating general measures
    § 3. Consultative referendum
    92. Consultative referendum
    93. Topics of referendum
    94. Topics excluded from referendum
    95. Consequences of a referendum
    96. Regulation by national ordinance
    § 4. Other provisions
    97. Establishment of public bodies
    98. Independent administrative bodies
    99. Adoption of taxes and charges
    100. Budget
    101. Safeguarding the integrity of government and financial management
    102. Monetary loans
    103. Central bank
    104. Codification of civil and criminal law
    105. Codification of general administrative law orders
    106. Legal position of government civil servants
    107. Openness of government
    108. Public utility enterprises
    109. Management of domanial territory
    110. Duty of service
    112. Extraordinary duty of service
    112. Enforcement of external and internal security
    Chapter 7 Administration of justice, public prosecution service, and police
    § 1. Judiciary
    113. Establishment and independence
    114. The judiciary
    115. Duties
    116. Appointment and dismissal
    117. Openness of sessions
    118. Clemency
    119. Legislative tests
    § 2. Public Prosecution Service
    120. Establishment
    121. Office of the Procurator General and public prosecutor at first instance
    122. Duties
    123. Prosecution of ministers and members of the Parliament
    § 3. Police
    124. Establishment
    125. Duties

    126. Use of force


    Chapter 8 Constitutional Court
    127. Duties of the Court
    128. Establishment and composition
    Chapter 9 Concluding provisions
    129. Amendment of the Constitution
    130. Citation title
    Additional articles
    I. Transitional provisions for current regulations
    II. Transitional provisions for draft regulations
    III. Transfer of the representation of the people
    IV. Transfer of draft national ordinances
    V. First appointment of members of the Constitutional Court
    VI. Introduction of the new Penal Code

    CONSTITUTION OF THE COUNTRY OF SINT MAARTEONSTITUTION OF THE COUNTRY OF SINT MAARTEN

    PREAMBLE

    WE, THE PEOPLE OF SINT MAARTEN

    CONFIRMING that we recognise the guiding principles of Almighty God as the core of our values;

    INSPIRED by the exercise of our universal right to self-determination as manifested in the referendum dated 23 June 2000, when we freely opted for the status of Country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands;

    BEING DETERMINED to work with each other, with our partners in the Kingdom of the Netherlands, with our neighbours in French Saint Martin and with all peoples of the world on the basis of freedom, equality, peaceful coexistence, and international solidarity;

    DECLARE that we are a people that believes in the principle of democracy, the rule of law, the principle of separation of powers, the dignity and value of the individual, and the entitlement of all individuals to the fundamental rights and freedoms;

    BEING DETERMINED to care for the perpetual maintenance of nature and the environment;

    DECLARE that we wish to create a constitutional order based on an open and approachable government;

    AND THEREFORE, in order to record these objectives and convictions, the following provisions shall enjoy the force of law as the Constitution of Sint Maarten.

    CHAPTER 1

    TERRITORY AND ENTITY

    Article 1

    1.The territory of Sint Maarten comprises that part of the island of Sint Maarten which is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, with the marine areas pertaining thereto.
    2.The official languages are Dutch and English.
    3.The flag, the coat of arms, and the national anthem of Sint Maarten shall be established by national ordinance.


    CHAPTER 2
    FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS
    § 1. Freedoms
    Article 2
    1. Every person has a right to life. This right is protected by national ordinance. No one shall be deprived of life arbitrarily.
    2. A sentence of death may not be imposed.
    Article 3
    No one may be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or humiliating treatment or punishment.
    Article 4
    1. No one may be held in slavery or servitude.
    2. No one may undertake hard labour or forced labour, otherwise than in the form of community service.
    3. Trafficking of people is prohibited.
    Article 5
    1. Everyone shall have the right to respect for his personal privacy, subject to such restrictions as may be imposed under or by virtue of national ordinances.
    2. Rules shall be imposed under or by virtue of national ordinances to protect personal privacy in connection with the recording and dissemination of personal information. Such information must be processed fairly, for specified purposes and with the permission of the person to whom it relates, or else on some other justified basis provided for by
    national ordinance.
    3. Rules shall be imposed under or by virtue of national ordinances in connection with claims by individuals for disclosure of the information recorded in relation to them and the use made thereof, as well as for the correction of such information.
    Article 6
    Everyone shall have the right to inviolability of his person, subject to such restrictions as may be imposed under or by virtue of national ordinances.
    Article 7
    1. Entry into a home without the permission of the occupant shall only be authorised in such cases as are specified by national ordinance and by those designated for that purpose by national ordinance.
    2. Prior identification and notice of the purpose of entry is required in order to enter a home in terms of paragraph 1, subject to the exceptions prescribed by national ordinance.
    3. A written report of the entry shall be issued to the occupant within 48 hours after the entry. If the entry was effected in the interests of national security or criminal proceedings, the issue of the report may be deferred in terms of rules to be set out by national ordinance. A report need not be issued in cases, specified in terms of national ordinance, if the interests of national security would never be served by issuing the report.

    Article 8
    1. The confidentiality of correspondence shall not be violated except in the cases specified under national ordinance, by or with the authority of the courts.
    2. The confidentiality of the telephone shall not be violated except in the cases specified under national ordinance, by or with the authority of those appointed by national ordinance for that purpose.
    Article 9
    1. Everyone is entitled to profess freely his religion or belief, either individually or in community with others, subject to his responsibility under national ordinance.
    2. Restrictions may be imposed by national ordinance on the exercise of this right outside of buildings and enclosed spaces in order to protect health, in the interests of traffic and to combat or prevent disorder.
    Article 10
    1. Everyone shall have the right to publish thoughts or opinions or provide information via the printed press, without prior permission, subject to their responsibility in terms of national ordinance.
    2. National ordinances may render radio and television broadcast subject to licences in the interest of responsible use of the air waves and in the interest of multiform broadcasting.
    There shall be no prior supervision of the content of a radio or television broadcast.
    3. No one requires prior permission, in relation to content, for the publication of thoughts or opinions or for the provision of information by means other than those specified in the preceding paragraphs, subject to their responsibility in terms of national ordinance. Regulations under or by virtue of national ordinance may be imposed in relation to the holding of performances accessible to persons younger than sixteen years of age, in order to protect good morals.
    4. The preceding paragraphs do not apply to commercial advertising.
    5. No one requires prior permission to collect and receive information, subject to his responsibility in terms of national ordinance. National ordinance may restrict the right to collect information.
    Article 11
    1. The provision of education is free, subject to the supervision of the government in terms of national ordinance. Rules may be imposed under or by virtue of national ordinance to protect health and, in relation to types of education to be designated by national ordinance, in relation to the competence and moral integrity of those providing the education.
    2. Every child is entitled to obtain a general and formative primary education.
    3. Public education shall be regulated with due respect for everyone's religion or belief. National ordinance shall ensure that adequate opportunities are provided for receiving public primary education and that sufficient facilities for the other types of public education are provided for by national ordinance.
    4. Insofar as these comply with conditions imposed under or by virtue of national ordinance, special primary education and other types of special education designated by national ordinance shall be funded from public resources in accordance with the same standards as the corresponding public education.
    5. The conditions mentioned in the preceding paragraph respect the freedom of direction, including in particular the selection of teaching resources and the appointment of those providing the education. They shall be regulated, subject to observance of the freedom of direction, in such a way as to safeguard the reliable quality of both the special education and the public education.

    Article 12
    The right of association is recognised. This right may be restricted under national ordinance in the interest of public order.
    Article 13
    1. The right to assemble and demonstrate is acknowledged, subject to everyone's responsibility in terms of national ordinance.
    2. This right may be restricted by national ordinance in order to protect health, in the interest of traffic and to combat or prevent disorder.
    Article 14
    1. Everyone lawfully in Sint Maarten is entitled to move freely there, to reside there and to choose his residence, subject to such restrictions as may be imposed under or by virtue of national ordinance.
    2. Everyone is entitled to leave the country, except in such circumstances as are determined under national ordinance.
    Article 15
    1. Everyone is entitled to undisturbed enjoyment of his property, subject to such restrictions as may be imposed under or by virtue of national ordinance in the public interest.
    2. No one may have his property expropriated unless and until it has been confirmed under national ordinance that the expropriation serves the public interest, and in exchange for previously enjoyed or previously assured compensation, all this being in terms of conditions to be imposed under or by virtue of national ordinance.
    3. The requirement imposed in the preceding paragraph, for prior confirmation under national ordinance that the expropriation is required in the public interest, shall not arise if the expropriation is required immediately in emergency circumstances, nor shall the compensation be required to be enjoyed or assured in advance.
    4. In circumstances determined under national ordinance, there shall be a right to compensation or a contribution for the loss if the competent authority, in the public interest, nullifies ownership or renders it unusable or imposes restrictions on the exercise of the rights of ownership.
    § 2. Equality
    Article 16
    Everyone in Sint Maarten shall be treated equally in equivalent circumstances. Discrimination on grounds of religion, belief, political persuasion, race, colour of skin, sex, language, national or social origins, membership of a national minority, wealth, birth or and any other ground whatsoever is prohibited.
    Article 17
    All Dutch nationals may be appointed to public service on an equal footing.
    § 3. Solidarity
    Article 18
    1. It shall be the constant concern of the government to focus on the protection of children and young people and to promote their right to education, welfare, cultural development, and leisure activities.

    2. It shall be the constant concern of the government to focus on the protection of older people and people whose capacities are limited, and to promote their health and welfare.
    Article 19
    1. The security of the population's continuing existence and the distribution of welfare shall be the constant concern of the government.
    2. Rules shall be imposed under or by virtue of national ordinance regarding claims for social security.
    3. Dutch nationals residing in Sint Maarten who are unable to provide for their own subsistence are entitled to government aid on such conditions and restrictions as may be imposed under national ordinance.
    Article 20
    1. The provision of adequate employment shall be a matter of constant concern for the government.
    2. Rules shall be imposed under or by virtue of national ordinance relating to the legal position of employees and their protection as such, as well as relating to employee organisations.
    3. The right of every Dutch national to a free choice of employment is recognised, subject to restrictions imposed under or by virtue of national ordinance.
    Article 21
    1. The government shall take steps to promote public health.
    2. The provision of adequate residential accommodation shall be a matter of constant concern for the government.
    3. The government shall set out conditions for social and cultural development and recreational activities, as well as for the preservation of the cultural heritage.
    Article 22
    It shall be the constant concern of the government to keep the country habitable and to protect and improve the natural environment and the welfare of animals.
    § 4. Citizenship
    Article 23
    Every Dutch national residing in Sint Maarten has an equal right to elect the members of the general representative bodies and to be elected as a member of such bodies, subject to such exceptions as may be imposed under national ordinance.
    Article 24
    1. Everyone is entitled to submit written petitions to the competent authorities.
    2. Persons who are unable to write may submit petitions with the assistance of others who are declared under national ordinance to be authorised to provide such assistance.
    3. The competent authorities are obliged to respond to petitions within such time limits as may be set under national ordinance. Petitions to the Parliament shall be answered by the Parliament within such time limit as may be imposed in terms of the Parliament's rules of order.
    Article 25
    The admission and extradition of aliens shall be regulated under or by virtue of national ordinance.


    § 5. Administration of justice
    Article 26
    Everyone shall be entitled to a fair and public disposal of his case in establishing his civil rights and obligations and during prosecutions for criminal offences, within a reasonable time limit and by an independent and impartial judicial body. The public nature of the disposal may be restricted under national ordinance.
    Article 27
    1. Every person has a right to personal freedom. No one may be deprived of his liberty except in terms of statutory regulations as defined in Articles 81.f and 81.g, in cases of:
    a. lawful detention following conviction by a competent court;
    b. lawful arrest or detention as a result of refusal to observe an order issued by a court in accordance with a statutory provision, or an order to ensure compliance with an explicit obligation prescribed by statutory regulations;
    c. lawful arrest or detention in order to be brought before the competent judicial body if there are reasonable grounds for suspicion that he has committed a criminal offence or if it is reasonably necessary to prevent him from committing a criminal offence or from absconding after having committed a criminal offence;
    d. lawful detention of a minor, with the intention of intervening in his upbringing or in the event of his lawful detention in order to bring him before a competent authority;
    e. lawful custody of persons, who have been deprived of their liberty by law, who might spread an infectious disease, of the mentally incapacitated, and of those addicted to alcohol or drugs;
    f. lawful detention of persons in order to prevent them from entering the country illegally or extending their residence illegally;
    g. lawful arrest or detention of persons if deportation or extradition proceedings are pending against them.
    2. Any person who is arrested or detained in accordance with the provisions of paragraph
    1.c of this article must be brought before a court immediately and is entitled to be judged within a reasonable period or be liberated pending completion of the procedure.
    3. Any person who is deprived of his liberty is entitled:
    a. to apply for a decision from the court so that the latter should decide within a brief period on the lawfulness of the deprivation of his liberty and order his liberation if the deprivation of liberty was unlawful;
    b. to be informed immediately, in a language he understands, of the nature and reasons for the deprivation of his liberty, of his right to refrain from answering questions and of his entitlement to be assisted by a lawyer.
    4. Any person who has been the victim of deprivation of liberty contrary to the provisions in this article is entitled to compensation.
    5. Any person who has been deprived of his liberty may have the exercise of his fundamental rights restricted in so far as exercising those rights is incompatible with the deprivation of liberty.
    Article 28
    1. No offence shall be punishable unless it was an offence under criminal legislation at the time of its commission.
    2. Any person prosecuted for a criminal offence is innocent until his guilt is proven in accordance with national ordinance.
    3. No one may be prosecuted or punished a second time for a criminal offence for which he has already received an irrevocable verdict from the courts.
    4. Any person prosecuted for a criminal offence has the following specific rights:

    a. to be informed immediately, in detail and in a language he understands, of the nature and reasons for the charges brought against him, of his right to refrain from answering questions and of his entitlement to be assisted by a lawyer;
    b. to be assisted, free of charge, by an interpreter if he does not understand or does not speak the language used at the court hearing;
    c. to have adequate time and facilities to prepare his defence;
    d. to conduct his own defence;
    e. to interview prosecution witnesses or arrange for this to be done and to arrange for the citation and interview of defence witnesses on the same conditions as apply to prosecution witnesses.
    Article 29
    1. Any person may arrange representation for himself at law or on administrative appeal.
    2. Rules shall be promulgated under national ordinance regarding the provision of legal aid to those of reduced means.
    Article 30
    1 All persons who are deprived of their liberty shall be treated humanely and with respect for the dignity inherent to human beings.
    2. Suspects shall be held separately from convicted individuals, unless in exceptional circumstances, and are entitled to claim distinctive treatment in accordance with their status as unconvicted individuals.
    3. Suspected youths shall be held separately from adults and brought before the courts as rapidly as possible.
    4. The prison system shall provide for treatment of inmates focusing primarily on reeducation and rehabilitation. Imprisoned youths shall be held separately from adults and shall be treated in accordance with their age and legal status.
    § 6. Limitations of fundamental rights
    Article 31
    1. Any restriction of the fundamental rights as specified in Articles 5.1, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.1,
    10.2, 10.3, 10.5, 12, 13, 14, 15.1, 20.3, 23, and 26 shall be necessary and proportional and described as specifically as possible.
    2. The Parliament may not approve a draft of a national ordinance containing restrictions of fundamental rights as specified in paragraph 1 of this article, and may not decide upon a reading of such a draft, otherwise than by an absolute majority of the votes of the sitting members.
    CHAPTER 3
    THE GOVERNMENT AND THE MINISTER PLENIPOTENTIARY
    § 1. The government
    Article 32
    1. The government is formed by the King and the ministers.
    2. The King is represented by the Governor.

    3. The ministers are answerable to the Parliament.
    Article 33
    1. The Prime Minister and other ministers shall be appointed and dismissed by national ordinance.
    2. If a minister no longer enjoys the confidence of the Parliament, he shall surrender his office.
    3. More detailed rules concerning paragraph 2 of this article may be imposed under national ordinance.
    4. The Parliament may not approve such a draft national ordinance and may not decide upon a reading of such a draft except with the approval of two thirds of the votes of the sitting members.
    Article 34
    1. Dutch nationality is a prerequisite of eligibility for appointment as a minister, and candidates may not be excluded from the right to vote.
    2. A minister cannot at the same time be:
    a. Governor;
    b. Deputy Governor;
    c. a member of Parliament;
    d. a member of the Council of Advice;
    e. a member of the General Audit Chamber;
    f. Ombudsman;
    g. Minister Plenipotentiary;
    h. a civil servant in active service;
    i. a member of the judiciary;
    j. Procurator General or Advocate General at the Common Court of Justice of Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten and Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, and Saba.
    3. Provisions may be imposed under national ordinance in relation to other public
    appointments, specifying that they may not be exercised at the same time as the office of minister. The Parliament may not approve such a draft national ordinance and may not decide upon a reading of such a draft except with the approval of two thirds of the votes of the sitting members.
    4. Notwithstanding the provisions in paragraph 2.c, a minister who has been elected as a member of the Parliament may combine the office of minister and membership of the Parliament for a maximum of three months after his admission as a member.
    5. For the purposes of this article, those employed by the government in terms of an employment contract under civil law are equivalent to "civil servants" as specified in paragraph 2.h.
    Article 35
    1. The ministers shall refrain from debating and voting on issues or appointments, including suspensions and dismissals, that personally affect them, their spouses, and their relations by blood or marriage up to and including the second degree, or in which they are involved as proxies.
    2. The ministers may not fulfil any position if it is associated with any remuneration or benefit charged to the national budget.
    3. The ministers may not, either directly or indirectly, possess holdings in or be a director or supervisory director of any enterprise established or operating in Sint Maarten. Holding shares in a public limited company is not regarded as possessing a holding in an enterprise unless the party concerned holds 25% of the shares in conjunction with his
    relations by blood or marriage up to and including the second degree.

    4. The ministers may not participate in any concession in the Country either directly or indirectly.
    Article 36
    1. A minister who has been sentenced in terms of an irrevocable judicial verdict to:
    a. a term of imprisonment of not less than one year for the commission of an offence for which a national ordinance specifies that the court may also withdraw the right to vote as an ancillary punishment;
    b. a term of imprisonment for the commission of an offence as described in Articles 183, 184, 372(2), 372(5), 373, 374(2), 374(3), 374(4), 375 to 379 inclusive, or 381 to 393 inclusive of the Penal Code; or
    c. a term of imprisonment for the commission of an offence in connection with Article 46 of the Penal Code, shall be dismissed by operation of law from the office of minister and may not be reappointed as a minister or be re-elected for the duration of the session of the Parliament.
    2. A minister is suspended by operation of law:
    a. if he is held in pre-trial detention in connection with an offence as described in paragraphs 1.a, 1.b or 1.c of this article;
    b. if he has been sentenced by judicial verdict to a term of imprisonment for the commission of an offence as specified in paragraphs 1.a, 1.b or 1.c of this article.
    3. A minister who has been relieved of his position in accordance with paragraph 1 of this article shall be replaced. A minister who has been suspended in terms of paragraph 2 of this article shall have his place taken by a deputy. The minister shall continue to receive his remuneration during the suspension. Those persons taking the place of suspended
    ministers or replacing discharged ministers shall resign from office at the same time as the other ministers.
    Article 37
    Ministers may not be related by blood in a degree closer than the second degree. Spouses may not be ministers at the same time.
    Article 38
    Ministries shall be established by national ordinance. They shall be headed by a minister.
    Article 39
    1. The ministers jointly form the Council of Ministers.
    2. The Council of Ministers consists of seven ministers unless a different number is specified under a national ordinance.
    3. The Prime Minister chairs the Council of Ministers.
    4. The Council of Ministers shall debate and determine general government policy in order to promote the cohesion of that policy.
    5. If the Governor attends a meeting of the Council of Ministers, he shall do so in an advisory capacity.
    6. Rules of order shall be established in terms of a national decree. The rules of order shall be published by being placed in the Official Publication.
    Article 40
    1. National ordinances and national decrees shall be signed by the Governor and by one or more ministers.
    2. The national decree in terms of which the departing Prime Minister is dismissed and his successor is appointed shall be countersigned by the successor as Prime Minister. The national decrees in terms of which other ministers are appointed or dismissed shall be countersigned by the Prime Minister.

    Article 41
    The ministers shall make the following oath (declaration and promise) to the Governor before accepting their appointments:
    "I swear (declare) that I have neither given nor promised anything, nor shall I give or promise anything, howsoever described and under any pretext, to anyone whomsoever, either directly or indirectly, in connection with securing my appointment as minister.
    I swear (promise) that I shall not accept any promise or gift, from anyone at all, either directly or indirectly, in order to do or refrain from doing anything in the course of this appointment.
    I swear (promise) allegiance to the King and the Constitution of the Kingdom, that I shall always help to uphold the Constitution of Sint Maarten and that I shall champion the interests of Sint Maarten to the best of my ability.
    So help me Almighty God
    (And I hereby make this declaration and promise)!"
    Article 42
    The remuneration, pension and other relevant provisions for the ministers shall be regulated by national ordinance.
    § 2. The Minister Plenipotentiary
    Article 43
    1. Dutch nationality is a prerequisite of eligibility for appointment as the Minister
    Plenipotentiary, and candidates may not be excluded from the right to vote.
    2. The Minister Plenipotentiary may not at the same time be:
    a. Governor;
    b. Deputy Governor;
    c. a member of Parliament;
    d. a member of the Council of Advice;
    e. a member of the General Audit Chamber;
    f. Ombudsman;
    g. a minister;
    h. a member of the judiciary;
    i. Procurator General or Advocate General at the Common Court of Justice of Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten and Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba.
    3. Provisions may be imposed under national ordinance in relation to other public appointments, specifying that they may not be exercised at the same time as the office of Minister Plenipotentiary. The Parliament may not approve such a draft national ordinance and may not decide upon a reading of such a draft except with the approval of two thirds of the votes of the sitting members.
    4. Notwithstanding the provisions in paragraph 1.c, a Minister Plenipotentiary who has been elected as a member of the Parliament may combine the office of Minister Plenipotentiary and membership of the Parliament for a maximum of three months after his admission as a member.
    5. The foregoing paragraphs also apply to any deputy for the Minister Plenipotentiary.
    6. If present in Sint Maarten, the Minister Plenipotentiary shall be afforded the opportunity to attend debates of the Council of Ministers in relation to topics that fall within his purview. He shall then have an advisory function.
    7. Articles 36, 37, 41 and 42 apply, mutatis mutandis, to the Minister Plenipotentiary.

    CHAPTER 4
    THE PARLIAMENT
    § 1. Composition
    Article 44
    The Parliament represents the entire population of Sint Maarten.
    Article 45
    1. The Parliament shall consist of 15 members if the population of Sint Maarten amounts to 60,000 or fewer, 17 members if the population is between 60,000 and a maximum of 70,000, 19 members if the population is between 70,000 and a maximum of 80,000, and 21 members if the population exceeds 80,000.
    2. Any increase or reduction in the number of members of the Parliament arising from changes in the number of residents in the country shall only take effect at the next periodical election of the Parliament.
    Article 46
    1. The duration of the session of the Parliament is four years.
    2. The session year commences on the second Tuesday of September, or on such earlier date as may be specified by national ordinance, with an explanation by or on behalf of the Governor of the policy to be pursued by the government at a meeting of the Parliament convened for that purpose.
    3. The President shall open and close the session year of the Parliament. The ordinary session year commences on the second Tuesday of September.
    4. An explanation of the policy to be pursued by the government shall be provided by or on behalf of the Governor at the opening of the ordinary session year of the Parliament.
    Article 47
    1. The members of the Parliament shall be elected on the basis of proportional representation, within the limits to be specified by means of national ordinance.
    2. The election shall be free and held by secret ballot.
    Article 48
    1. The members of the Parliament shall be elected directly by the inhabitants of Sint Maarten who are Dutch nationals and who have attained the age of 18 years.
    2. Without prejudice to the provisions in Articles 36.1 and 50.1, those who have been sentenced by an irrevocable judicial verdict to a period of imprisonment of at least one year for the commission of one of the offences designated in terms of national ordinance shall be disqualified from voting.
    Article 49
    1. To be eligible for membership of the Parliament, a person must be a resident of Sint Maarten and a Dutch national, must have attained the age of 18 years and must not have been disqualified from voting.
    2. A member of the Parliament is entitled to resign at any time by means of written notification addressed to the President of the Parliament.
    3. Membership of the Parliament shall lapse as a result of uninterrupted residence outside the country for a period exceeding eight months.

    Article 50
    1. A member of the Parliament who has been sentenced in terms of an irrevocable judicial verdict to:
    a. a term of imprisonment of not less than one year for the commission of an offence for which a national ordinance specifies that the court may also withdraw the right to vote as an ancillary punishment;
    b. a term of imprisonment for the commission of an offence as described in Articles 183, 184, 372(2), 372(5), 373, 374(2), 374(3), 374(4), 375 to 379 inclusive, or 381 to 393 inclusive of the Penal Code; or
    c. a term of imprisonment for the commission of an offence in connection with Article 46 of the Penal Code, shall lose membership of the Parliament by operation of law and may not be re-elected or reappointed as a minister for the duration of the session of the Parliament.
    2. A member of the Parliament shall be suspended by operation of law:
    a. if he is in pre-trial detention in connection with an offence as described in paragraphs 1.a, 1.b or 1.c of this article;
    b. if he has been sentenced by judicial verdict to a term of imprisonment for the commission of an offence as specified in paragraphs 1.a, 1.b or 1.c of this article.
    3. Those persons who have lost their membership of the Parliament as specified in paragraph 1 of this article shall be replaced. A member of the Parliament who has been suspended in terms of paragraph 2 of this article shall have his place taken by a deputy.The member of the Parliament shall continue to receive remuneration during his suspension. Those deputising for or replacing a suspended member of the Parliament shall resign from office at the same time as the other members of the Parliament.
    Article 51
    1. The members of the Parliament cannot at the same time be:
    a. Governor;
    b. Deputy Governor;
    c. a member of the Council of Advice;
    d. a member of the General Audit Chamber;
    e. Ombudsman;
    f. a minister;
    g. Minister Plenipotentiary;
    h. a civil servant in active service;
    i. a member of the judiciary;
    j. Procurator General or Advocate General at the Common Court of Justice of Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten and Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, and Saba.
    2. Provisions may be imposed under national ordinance in relation to other public appointments, specifying that they may not be exercised at the same time as being a member of the Parliament.
    3. The Parliament may not approve such a draft national ordinance and may not decide upon a reading of such a draft except with the approval of two thirds of the votes of the sitting members.
    Article 52
    1. Members of the Parliament may not be related by blood in a degree closer than the second degree. Spouses may not be members of the Parliament at the same time.
    2. If persons who are covered by the provisions specified in paragraph 1 of this article are elected at the same time, only the one obtaining the largest number of votes shall be admitted, and if the number of votes is the same, the oldest of the persons shall be admitted. If the ages are also the same in the last-mentioned case, the issue shall be decided by lot.

    3. A person who, following his election, finds himself in the situation described in the second sentence of paragraph 1 of this article may not be obliged to resign before the expiry of his period of appointment.
    Article 53
    1. The members of the Parliament shall abstain from voting on issues or appointments, including suspensions and dismissals, that personally affect them, their spouses, and their relations by blood or marriage up to and including the second degree, or in which they are involved as proxies.
    2. Paragraph 1 of this article does not apply to decisions on the admission of members elected after the periodical demission from office.
    3. The members of the Parliament may not:
    a. work as a lawyer or counsel in legal actions in which the Country is involved;
    b. cast a vote within the Parliament on the adoption or approval of the accounts and reports of a body of which they are board members;
    c. accept a contract for work for the Country, nor stand as surety for such work or participate therein either directly or indirectly;
    d. participate directly or indirectly in a private lease of property or rights belonging to the Country.
    4. If deemed appropriate in the interests of the Country, the Parliament may grant a waiver of the prohibitions specified in paragraph 3 of this article in specific cases.
    Article 54
    The Parliament shall investigate the credentials of newly appointed members and determine any disputes arising from the credentials or from the elections themselves, subject to rules to be specified in terms of national ordinance.
    Article 55
    1. More detailed rules shall be specified under national ordinance in relation to the right to vote and the elections.
    2. Rules shall be specified under national ordinance to promote a balanced and responsible election process.
    Article 56
    The members of the Parliament shall make the following oath (declaration and promise) to the Governor before accepting their appointments:
    "I swear (declare) that I have neither given nor promised anything, nor shall I give or promise anything, howsoever described and under any pretext, to anyone whomsoever, either directly or indirectly, in connection with my election as a member of the Parliament.
    I swear (promise) that I shall not accept any promise or gift, from anyone at all, either directly or indirectly, in order to do or refrain from doing anything in the course of this appointment.
    I swear (promise) allegiance to the King and the Constitution of the Kingdom, that I shall always help to uphold the Constitution of Sint Maarten and that I shall champion the interests of Sint Maarten to the best of my ability.
    So help me Almighty God
    (And I hereby make this declaration and promise)!"
    Article 57
    1. The Parliament shall elect a President and a Deputy President from its own numbers.

    2. Until such an appointment has been made, the President or Deputy President from the previous period shall act as President if he remains a member of the new Parliament or, in the absence of such an individual, the oldest member in terms of age of the new Parliament among those members who have sat for the longest period. If there is no such person, the oldest member in terms of age shall act as President.
    3. The Parliament shall appoint, suspend, and dismiss its Clerk. The Clerk may not also be a member of the Parliament.
    4. The establishment and organisation of the office of Clerk to the Parliament shall be determined under national ordinance. The Clerk's civil servants may not also be members of the Parliament.
    5. The position and remuneration of the Clerk shall be determined by national ordinance, as shall his entitlement to leave and holiday pay, retainer, and pension.
    6. National ordinance shall determine the appointment, suspension, and dismissal, as well as the legal position, of the other civil servants within the Clerk's office.
    Article 58
    The remuneration, pension, and other relevant provisions for the members of the Parliament shall be regulated by national ordinance. The Parliament may only approve a draft national ordinance on this matter by a majority of at least two thirds of the sitting members.
    Article 59
    1. The Parliament may be dissolved by national ordinance.
    2. A resolution for dissolution shall also include an order for new elections for the dissolved Parliament and for the re-convention of the newly elected Parliament within three months.
    3. The dissolution shall take effect on the day on which the newly elected Parliament convenes.
    § 2. Procedure
    Article 60
    1. The Parliament shall meet in public.
    2. Meetings shall be held in camera if the President considers it necessary or if this is demanded by four members. The meeting is entitled to resolve, by two thirds of the votes cast, that it shall deliberate and make decisions in camera.
    Article 61
    1. The Parliament may only deliberate and make decisions if more than half of the number of sitting members are present at the meeting.
    2. Decisions are taken by an absolute majority of the votes cast, unless otherwise specified in the Parliament's standing orders.
    3. The members shall not be bound by a mandate or instructions when casting their votes.
    4. Voting on issues shall be verbal and by roll call if requested by one member.
    Article 62
    Every member of the Parliament is entitled to ask questions of the ministers. The ministers shall respond to these questions within a reasonable period, insofar as answering the questions cannot be regarded as being contrary to the interests of the Country or of the
    Kingdom.

    Article 63
    1. The ministers are entitled to attend the meetings and take part in deliberations.
    2. They may be invited by the Parliament to attend meetings in order to provide the requisite explanations, provided that this cannot be regarded as contrary to the interests of the Country or of the Kingdom.
    3. They may arrange to be represented at the meetings by individuals they appoint for that purpose.
    Article 64
    The Parliament has the right of inquiry, to be regulated by national ordinance.
    Article 65
    The members of the Parliament, the ministers, and other individuals partaking in the deliberations may not be prosecuted or otherwise held liable in law for anything they say during the meetings of the Parliament of its committees, or for anything they submit to them in writing.
    Article 66
    The Parliament shall adopt rules of order for its meetings. These shall be published in the method prescribed for the national ordinances.
    Article 67
    The Parliament is authorised to champion the interests of Sint Maarten with the government of the Kingdom and with the States General of the Netherlands.
    Article 68
    The Parliament shall investigate any petitions submitted to it.
    CHAPTER 5
    COUNCIL OF ADVICE, GENERAL AUDIT CHAMBER, OMBUDSMAN, AND STANDING ADVISORY COMMITTEES
    § 1. Council of Advice
    Article 69
    1. There shall be a Council of Advice, hereinafter referred to as the Council.
    2. The government shall hear the Council on:
    a. all the subject matter of national ordinances and national decrees, including administrative orders;
    b. proposals for approval, as defined in Article 24.2 of the Charter for the Kingdom of the Netherlands, of treaties affecting Sint Maarten;
    c. proposals for Kingdom laws laws and drafts of Kingdom administrative orders.
    3. The Parliament shall hear the Council on draft national ordinances brought before the
    Parliament by one or more members.
    4. The Council is authorised to provide advice to the government if the Council considers this necessary.
    5. The Council shall be heard in such cases as are prescribed by national ordinance, in all extraordinary cases of a serious nature and in all other cases where the government considers this necessary.

    Article 70
    1. The Council shall consist of five members including a vice-president. A maximum of five extraordinary members may be appointed.
    2. The Governor may act as president of the Council as often as he considers this necessary. He shall have an advisory function.
    3. The vice-president, the remaining members and extraordinary members shall be appointed by national decree for a period of seven years. They shall immediately be eligible for reappointment.
    4. They may be suspended or dismissed in circumstances defined by national ordinance. The legal position of the members and extraordinary members of the Council shall also be regulated under or by virtue of national ordinance.
    5. A member or extraordinary member of the Council may not at the same time be:
    a. a member of the Parliament;
    b. a member of the General Audit Chamber;
    c. Ombudsman;
    d. a minister:
    e. Minister Plenipotentiary;
    f. a civil servant in active service;
    g. a member of the judiciary;
    h. Procurator General or Advocate General at the Common Court of Justice of Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten and Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, and Saba.
    6. For the purposes of this article, those employed by the national administration in terms of an employment contract under civil law are regarded as "civil servants", as specified in paragraph 5.f of this article.
    7. Provisions may be imposed under national ordinance in relation to other public appointments, specifying that they may not be exercised at the same time as being a member of the Council.
    8. The Parliament may not approve such a draft national ordinance and may not decide upon a reading of such a draft except with the approval of two thirds of the votes of the sitting members.
    Article 71
    1. The establishment and powers of the Council of Advice shall be regulated by national ordinance.
    2. Duties other than those mentioned in this Chapter may also be assigned to the Council of Advice in terms of national ordinance.
    Article 72
    The members or extraordinary members of the Council of Advice shall make the following oath (declaration and promise) to the Governor before accepting their appointments:
    "I swear (declare) that I shall not accept any promise or gift, from anyone at all, either directly or indirectly, in order to do or refrain from doing anything in the course of this appointment.
    I swear (promise) allegiance to the King and the Constitution of the Kingdom, that I shall always help to uphold the Constitution of Sint Maarten and that I shall champion the interests of Sint Maarten to the best of my ability.
    So help me Almighty God
    (And I hereby make this declaration and promise)!"
    Article 73
    The Council of Advice shall adopt rules of order, which shall be published in the Official Publication.

    § 2. General Audit Chamber
    Article 74
    1. There shall be a General Audit Chamber.
    2. The General Audit Chamber is charged with investigating the effectiveness and lawfulness of the Country's income and expenditure.
    Article 75
    1. The General Audit Chamber shall consist of three members including the president.
    2. The president and the other members shall be appointed by national decree for a period of seven years from a short list of at least two individuals, prepared by the Parliament. The short list may only be adopted by at least two thirds of the votes of the sitting members. They shall immediately be eligible for reappointment.
    3. They shall be dismissed either at their own request or when they attain such age as may be determined by national ordinance.
    4. They may be suspended or dismissed by the Common Court of Justice of Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten and Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, and Saba, in circumstances specified by national ordinance.
    5. National ordinance shall also regulate the legal position of the members of the General Audit Chamber.
    6. The provisions in paragraphs 5, 6, 7, and 8 of Article 70 shall also apply, mutatis mutandis, to the members of the General Audit Chamber.
    Article 76
    1. The establishment and powers of the General Audit Chamber shall be regulated by national ordinance.
    2. Duties other than those specified in Article 74 may also be assigned to the General Audit Chamber in terms of national ordinance.
    Article 77
    The members of the General Audit Chamber shall make the following oath (declaration and promise) to the Governor before accepting their appointments:
    "I swear (declare) that I shall not accept any promise or gift, from anyone at all, either directly or indirectly, in order to do or refrain from doing anything in the course of this appointment.
    I swear (promise) allegiance to the King and the Constitution of the Kingdom, that I shall always help to uphold the Constitution of Sint Maarten and that I shall champion the interests of Sint Maarten to the best of my ability.
    So help me Almighty God
    (And I hereby make this declaration and promise)!"
    § 3. Ombudsman
    Article 78
    1. There shall be an Ombudsman.
    2. The Ombudsman shall undertake investigations, if requested to do so or on his own initiative, into the conduct of administrative bodies of the Country and of other administrative bodies designated by national ordinance.
    3. The Ombudsman shall be appointed by the Parliament for a period of seven years and shall be eligible for reappointment on one occasion. He shall resign either at his own request or when he attains such age as may be determined by national ordinance.

    4. He may be suspended or dismissed by the Parliament in circumstances specified by national ordinance. His legal position shall be otherwise regulated by national ordinance.
    5. The powers and procedure of the Ombudsman shall be regulated by national ordinance.
    6. Other duties may also be assigned to the Ombudsman in terms of national ordinance.
    § 4. Other provisions
    Article 79
    1. Other standing advisory committees for matters of legislation and administration shall be established by national ordinance.
    2. The establishment, composition, and powers of these committees shall be regulated by national ordinance.
    3. Other duties may also be assigned to these committees in terms of national ordinance.
    Article 80
    1. The opinions of the committees specified in this Chapter shall be published in the manner specified by national ordinance.
    2. Opinions issued in relation to draft national ordinances submitted by the government shall be transmitted to the Parliament, subject to such exceptions as may be specified in national ordinance.
    CHAPTER 6
    LEGISLATION AND GOVERNMENT
    § 1. General provisions on statutory regulations
    Article 81
    The valid statutory regulations in Sint Maarten are:
    a. the Charter for the Kingdom of the Netherlands;
    b. agreements with other powers and with international law organisations insofar as they have been ratified for Sint Maarten;
    c. Kingdom laws and Kingdom administrative orders that are binding in terms of the Charter for Sint Maarten;
    d. this Constitution;
    e. mutual regulations as specified in Article 38.1 of the Charter in so far as they have been given statutory authority by a competent body of Sint Maarten;
    f. mutual regulations as specified in Article 38.2 of the Charter;
    g. national ordinances, including the unified national ordinances;
    h. national decrees incorporating administrative orders;
    i. ministerial regulations;
    j. ordinances by public bodies as defined in Article 97.2 and independent administrative
    bodies as defined in Article 98.2.

    § 2. National ordinances, unified national ordinances, national decrees incorporating general measures and ministerial regulations
    Article 82
    National ordinances shall be adopted by the government and by the Parliament jointly.
    Article 83
    Draft national ordinances shall be ratified by the government after approval by the Parliament. In this way, they acquire the force of national ordinances.
    Article 84
    1. The government shall submit drafts of national ordinances to the Parliament for approval.
    2. Before making such a submission, the government shall offer a draft of a national ordinance to the Council of Advice.
    Article 85
    1. The Parliament is entitled to submit draft national ordinances to the government for ratification.
    2. Draft national ordinances to be proposed by the Parliament for ratification shall be brought before the Parliament by one or more members.
    3. The Parliament shall offer a draft of a national ordinance to the Council of Advice before proceeding to consider it.
    Article 86
    1. A draft national ordinance submitted by the government and not yet approved by the Parliament may be amended by the Parliament on the proposal of one or more members, or by the government.
    2. Until the Parliament has decided to propose a draft national ordinance for ratification, it may be amended by the Parliament on the proposal of one or more members, or by the member or members who brought the draft before the Parliament.
    Article 87
    1. A draft national ordinance that has been submitted by the government but not yet approved by the Parliament may be withdrawn by the government.
    2. Until the Parliament decides to propose ratification of a draft national ordinance, it may be withdrawn by the member or members who brought the draft before the Parliament.
    Article 88
    1. The government and the Parliament shall notify each other of their decisions on any draft national ordinance. The Parliament shall notify the government of their decision to submit a draft national ordinance to a referendum as specified in Article 92.
    2. The submission and withdrawal of draft national ordinances by the government shall be effected through the offices of the Governor.
    Article 89
    The publication and commencement date of national ordinances shall be regulated by national ordinance. They shall not take effect until they have been published.

    Article 90
    1. For mutual regulations with one or more countries within the Kingdom, the procedure for the creation of uniform national ordinances may be applied, in which case the provisions in this section may be departed from.
    2. Any such mutual regulation shall not come into effect until it has been approved under national ordinance.
    Article 91
    1. The government is entitled to adopt national decrees incorporating general measures.
    2. These shall only include conditions enforceable by penalties if this is set forth in a national ordinance. The penalties to be imposed shall be specified by national ordinance.
    3. The government shall submit the draft of a national decree incorporating general measures to the Council of Advice before it is ratified.
    4. Article 89 shall apply, mutatis mutandis, to national decrees incorporating general measures.
    5. A national ordinance or national decree incorporating general measures may grant a minister the power to adopt ministerial regulations. Article 89 and paragraph 2 of this article shall apply, mutatis mutandis, to ministerial regulations.
    § 3. Consultative referendum
    Article 92
    The Parliament may take the initiative to proceed with a consultative referendum.
    Article 93
    1. A referendum may relate to a draft national ordinance approved by the Parliament or proposed to them for ratification, or to a topic of major social interest in relation to which the government or the Parliament has taken a decision, and which is not excluded from a referendum under Article 94.
    2. A draft national ordinance approved by the Parliament or proposed by it for ratification, which is then made the topic of a referendum, may not yet be ratified.
    Article 94
    1. The following may not under any circumstances be the topic of a referendum:
    a. proposals for Kingdom legislation;
    b. draft national ordinances in relation to the budget;
    c. draft national ordinances that partly relate to the implementation of treaties or decisions by international law organisations;
    d. draft national ordinances in relation to taxation;
    e. draft uniform national ordinances.
    2. Other topics may be excluded from a referendum in terms of national ordinance.
    Article 95
    1. The consequences of a referendum shall always be determined by national ordinance.
    2. The national ordinance specified in paragraph 1 of this article may determine that, if the majority has voted against the draft national ordinance and that majority comprises a proportion to be determined by national ordinance of those who were entitled to participate in the referendum, the draft national ordinance shall lapse by operation of law.

    Article 96
    Everything else concerning the referendum shall be regulated under or by virtue of national ordinance.
    § 4. Other provisions
    Article 97
    1. Public bodies designed to champion specific interests may be established and abolished in terms of national ordinance.
    2. The national ordinance shall regulate the duties and establishment of such public bodies, the composition and powers of their management boards, and also whether or not their meetings shall be held in public. Powers to produce regulations may be granted to their management boards under national ordinance.
    3. Supervision over these management boards shall be regulated under national ordinance. Decisions by these management boards may only be quashed if they are in conflict with the law or the general public interest.
    Article 98
    1. Independent administrative bodies may be established and abolished under national ordinance.
    2. The national ordinance shall regulate the establishment, composition, duties, and powers of independent administrative bodies and also whether or not their meetings are held in public. Powers to produce regulations may be granted to the independent administrative bodies under national ordinance. Regulations made by an independent administrative
    body shall be published by being placed in the Official Publication, with a note of the date of issue.
    3. Supervision over independent administrative bodies shall be regulated under national ordinance.
    4. Annulment by the government or the withholding of approval by the body designated for that purpose by national ordinance may only occur in the event of a conflict with the law.
    5. A decision for an annulment or withholding of approval shall be furnished with reasons and shall specify the consequences thereof. The Council of Advice shall be heard in relation to any decision for annulment.
    Article 99
    1. Taxes shall be levied by virtue of national ordinance.
    2. The Parliament may not approve such a draft national ordinance and may not decide upon a reading of such a draft except with the approval of an absolute majority of the votes of the sitting members.
    3. Government levies shall be regulated in terms of national ordinance.
    Article 100
    1. The budget of the Country's income and expenditure shall be adopted under national ordinance.
    2. The annual budget and the long-term budget shall be balanced. The provisions in the first sentence may be departed from if this is necessary in connection with the restoration of the damage caused by extraordinary events, including natural disaster, in accordance with rules issued under or by virtue of Kingdom law or national ordinance.
    3. The government shall submit the budget to the Parliament in one or more drafts not later than on 1 September.

    4. Reports on the Country's income and expenditure shall be submitted to the Parliament in accordance with the national ordinance. The accounts as investigated by the General Audit Chamber shall be submitted to the Parliament each year.
    5. Rules in relation to the management of the Country's finances shall be specified by national ordinance.
    Article 101
    1. Rules shall be imposed under national ordinance in order to assure the legality and integrity of the management and administrative actions, as well as the soundness of financial management.
    2. Reports and accounts shall be submitted each year.
    Article 102
    1. Monetary loans taken in the name of or given by the Country shall only be entered into or guaranteed by virtue of a national ordinance.
    2. The interest charges associated with the monetary loans entered into or guaranteed may not exceed a percentage fixed by national ordinance of the average income in the collective sector during the three years preceding the budget year.
    3. More detailed rules shall be promulgated in terms of national ordinance concerning the entry into, guarantee or provision of a monetary loan.
    Article 103
    1. There shall be a central bank. The central bank shall supervise the monetary system. Other duties may be assigned to the central bank in terms of national ordinance.
    2. The monetary system shall be regulated under or by virtue of national ordinance.
    Article 104
    The civil law and the criminal law shall be regulated in general codes, subject to the power to regulate specific topics in separate national ordinances.
    Article 105
    General administrative rules shall be adopted by means of national ordinance.
    Article 106
    The legal position of government civil servants shall be regulated under national ordinance. The national ordinance shall also set out rules on their protection during employment and on employee associations.
    Article 107
    The government shall observe openness in implementing its duties insofar as this is not regarded as being in conflict with the interests of the Country or the Kingdom, or with other interests that justify refraining from openness. More detailed rules in this regard shall be promulgated by means of national ordinance.
    Article 108
    National ordinance may impose rules to be followed for national decrees to grant licences for mining companies, public utility companies, telecommunications and for the construction of works for such enterprises.
    Article 109
    The management of domanial territory and other domanial rights shall be regulated under national ordinance.

    Article 110
    1. Persons resident in Sint Maarten may only be obliged to undertake military service or civilian reserve service by means of national ordinance.
    2. Those undertaking civilian reserve service and serving with the army may not be sent elsewhere without their permission unless in terms of national ordinance.
    Article 111
    In the event of extraordinary circumstances, a national decree may determine that civilian reservists residing in Sint Maarten may be obliged or called upon to undertake active service. A draft national ordinance shall then immediately be submitted to the Parliament in order to determine, insofar as necessary, how long civilian reservists must remain in active service.
    Article 112
    1. A national ordinance shall specify the circumstances in which a state of emergency, to be designated as such in terms of a national ordinance, can be announced by national decree, with a view to enforcing external and internal security and public order; it shall also regulate the consequences.
    2. In such circumstances, the following provisions may be departed from: Article 2.1 in the event of death as a result of lawful acts of war; Article 7.1 as regards the requirement for a special written authorisation from the courts; Articles 7.2, 8, 9 insofar as this relates to exercising the right described in that article outside buildings and enclosed spaces, 10, 12, 13, 14.1 and 15.1.
    3. Immediately following the announcement of a state of emergency and thereafter for as long as this has not been cancelled in terms of a national decree, the Parliament shall determine how long the state of emergency shall continue whenever they regard this as necessary.
    CHAPTER 7
    ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE, PUBLIC PROSECUTION SERVICE, AND POLICE
    § 1. Judiciary
    Article 113
    1. Rules may be imposed in relation to the organisation of the judiciary in terms of common regulations with one or more countries in the Kingdom. A common regulation as defined in the preceding sentence shall be adopted by Kingdom law as defined in Article 38.2 of the Charter for the Kingdom. The government shall observe the provisions of the Constitution when making such regulations.
    2. No intervention in legal actions is permitted.
    Article 114
    1. The courts forming part of the judiciary are:
    a. the Court at First Instance;
    b. the Common Court of Justice of Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten and Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, and Saba.
    2. The jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of the Netherlands in relation to legal cases in Sint Maarten shall be regulated by Kingdom law.

    Article 115
    1. The responsibilities of the judiciary are:
    a. the adjudication of disputes on civil matters;
    b. the trial of criminal offences.
    2. The responsibilities of the judiciary also include the adjudication of disputes on administrative law matters, unless the adjudication thereof has been assigned in terms of national ordinance to special legal bodies, whose membership may include one or more members of the Court of Justice.
    3. The remaining aspects of the establishment, composition and powers of the judiciary shall be determined by national ordinance, unless these aspects have already been provided for in a common regulation as defined in Article 113.1.
    Article 116
    1. The members and deputy members of the judiciary charged with the adjudication of cases shall be appointed for life in terms of a Royal Decree.
    2. The members and deputy members of the judiciary charged with the adjudication of cases shall be dismissed by a Royal Decree at their own request and on attainment of such age as may be specified in a national ordinance, unless these aspects have already been provided for in a common regulation as defined in Article 113.1.
    3. In the circumstances specified under national ordinance, they may be suspended or dismissed by a court forming part of the judiciary, designated for that purpose by national ordinance, unless this matter has already been provided for in a common regulation as defined in Article 113.1.
    4. Their legal position shall be regulated under national ordinance, unless this matter has already been provided for in a common regulation as defined in Article 113.1.
    Article 117
    1. Except in such cases as are specified under national ordinance, sessions of the court shall be heard in public, on pain of nullity. Verdicts shall contain the reasons on which they are based. Verdicts shall be pronounced in open court.
    2. The investigation of the case at the hearing may be held entirely or partially in camera if there are weighty reasons for doing so. The reasons shall be reported in the official record of the hearing.
    Article 118
    Clemency shall be granted under a national ordinance after an opinion has been obtained from the judge who issued the verdict, subject to such conditions as may be imposed under or by virtue of national ordinance.
    Article 119
    1. The judge has authority to assess the compatibility of any effective statutory regulations as defined in Article 81.g (except for uniform national ordinances), 81.h, 81.i, and 81.j with the Constitution. The judge may refrain from testing the statutory regulation as defined in the preceding sentence against the Constitution if there is no sufficient interest
    for doing so, or if the contents of the provision in the Constitution do not lend themselves to being tested. Nor may a judge test the process of enactment of effective statutory regulations, as defined in the first sentence of this paragraph, against the Constitution.
    2. The judge is entitled to declare that an effective statutory regulation, as defined in the first sentence of paragraph 1 of this article, is fully or partially inapplicable. In so doing, the judge may specify that the consequences of the statutory provision that has been declared fully or partially inapplicable shall remain in effect, fully or partially.

    § 2. Public Prosecution Service
    Article 120
    1. There shall be a public prosecution service.
    2. The public prosecution service consists of:
    a. the office of the Procurator General;
    b. the prosecution at first instance.
    3. The head of the public prosecution service is the Procurator General.
    4. Rules may be imposed in relation to the organisation of the public prosecution service in terms of common regulations with one or more countries in the Kingdom. A common regulation as defined in the preceding sentence shall be adopted by Kingdom law as defined in Article 38.2 of the Charter for the Kingdom. The government shall observe the
    provisions of the Constitution when making such regulations.
    Article 121
    1. The Procurator General is in charge of the office of the Procurator General.
    2. A principal public prosecutor shall be in charge of the prosecution service at the Court of First Instance, and shall be appointed as the head of the prosecution service at first instance. The principal public prosecutors shall be subordinate to the Procurator General in office.
    Article 122
    1. The public prosecution service is charged with the criminal enforcement of the legal system and other duties assigned to it in terms of national ordinance.
    2. In particular, the public prosecution service is charged with:
    a. the enforcement of statutory regulations;
    b. the investigation and prosecution of criminal offences;
    c. arranging for the execution of verdicts and decisions in criminal cases;
    d. supervising compliance with judicial decisions in disciplinary cases.
    3. The duties and powers of the public prosecution service shall be exercised by the members of the public prosecution service in the manner specified under national ordinance.
    4. The remaining aspects of establishment, composition, and powers of the public prosecution service shall be determined by national ordinance, unless these aspects have already been provided for in a common regulation as defined in Article 120.4.
    Article 123
    1. The Procurator General, or such other member of the public prosecution service as he may appoint, shall prosecute a minister or a member of the Parliament for the commission of any offence, having received an order to do so from the Common Court of Justice of Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten and Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, and Saba in response to a petition by the Procurator General.
    2. The procedure shall be regulated under national ordinance. The Parliament may not approve such a draft national ordinance and may not decide upon a reading of such a draft except with the approval of two thirds of the votes of the sitting members.
    § 3. Police
    Article 124
    1. There shall be a police force.

    2. Rules may be imposed in relation to the organisation of the police force in terms of common regulations with one or more countries in the Kingdom. A common regulation as defined in the preceding sentence shall be adopted by Kingdom law as defined in Article
    38.2 of the Charter for the Kingdom. The government shall observe the provisions of the Constitution when making such regulations.
    Article 125
    1. The duty of the police force, in subordination to the competent authorities and in accordance with the applicable rules of law, is to arrange for the actual enforcement of the legal system and the provision of assistance to those who require it.
    2. The remaining aspects of the establishment, composition and powers of the police force shall be determined by national ordinance, unless these aspects have already been provided for in a common regulation as defined in Article 124.2.
    Article 126
    A police officer is authorised, in the lawful performance of his duties, to use force against persons and property if the purpose intended to be accomplished by this is justified, bearing in mind the risks associated with the use of violence, and if that purpose cannot be achieved in any other way. Any use of force shall be preceded by a warning, insofar as possible. More detailed rules concerning the use of force may be imposed under or by virtue of national ordinance, unless these aspects have already been provided for in a common regulation as defined in Article 124.2.
    CHAPTER 8
    Constitutional Court
    Article 127
    1. There shall be a Constitutional Court.
    2. The duty of the Court is to assess the compatibility of any applicable statutory regulations as defined in Article 81.g (except for uniform national ordinances) 81.h, 81.i, and 81.j, which have been ratified but have not yet come into effect, with the Constitution. No assessment shall be made if the provision in the Constitution does not lend itself to such assessment.
    3. A case may only be raised before the Court by means of a written petition by the Ombudsman pleading incompatibility with the Constitution, submitted within six weeks after ratification of the statutory regulation specified in paragraph 2 of this article, unless the circumstances are urgent. If the circumstances are urgent, a petition by the Ombudsman shall be inadmissible. More detailed rules concerning urgent circumstances shall be promulgated under or by virtue of national ordinance. The Parliament may not approve such a draft national ordinance and may not decide upon a reading of such a
    draft except with the approval of two thirds of the votes of the sitting members.
    4. A statutory regulation as defined in paragraph 2 of this article shall not come into effect until six weeks have passed since its ratification, unless there are urgent circumstances as defined in paragraph 3. If the Ombudsman raises an action within this period, the effective date shall be suspended until two weeks after the Court has issued its decision.
    5. If the Court finds that a statutory regulation as defined in paragraph 2 of this article is incompatible with the Constitution, the Court may quash the statutory regulation in question. The statutory regulation shall not then come into effect.
    6. Other duties may also be assigned to the Court in terms of national ordinance.

    Article 128
    1. The Constitutional Court consists of three members, including a president and a vicepresident, and three substitute members.
    2. The members and substitute members of the Court shall be appointed for a period of 10 years under national decree. They shall be eligible for reappointment on one occasion only. One member and one substitute member shall be appointed on the proposal of the Council of State of the Kingdom and from its numbers. One member and one substitute
    member shall be appointed on the proposal of the Common Court of Justice of Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten and Bonaire, Sint Eustasius, and Saba, and from its numbers. One member and one substitute member shall be appointed following consultation with the Constitutional Court.
    3. The requirements for appointment of members and substitute members shall be established under or by virtue of national ordinance. The Parliament may not approve such a draft national ordinance and may not decide upon a reading of such a draft except with the approval of two thirds of the votes of the sitting members.
    4. The proposals mentioned in paragraph 2 of this article shall contain the names of two individuals if possible.
    5. The president and vice-president of the Constitutional Court shall be appointed in terms of a national decree from members of the Court, on a proposal by the Constitutional Court.
    6. Suspension or dismissal as a member of the Council of State of the Kingdom or as a member of the Common Court of Justice of Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten and Bonaire, Sint Eustasius, and Saba shall result, by operation of law, in suspension or dismissal as a member or substitute member of the Constitutional Court.
    7. The members and substitute members of the Constitutional Court shall be dismissed in terms of a national decree, either at their own request or having attained such age as may be specified by national ordinance. They may be suspended or dismissed by the Common Court of Justice of Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten and Bonaire, Sint Eustatius,
    and Saba, meeting in chambers, in circumstances specified by national ordinance, in response to a petition by the Procurator General. The Parliament may not approve a draft national ordinance as specified in the first and second sentences of this paragraph and may not decide upon a reading of such a draft except with the approval of two thirds
    of the votes of the sitting members.
    8. The remaining aspects of the composition, establishment, working procedures, and the issue of decisions of the Constitutional Court, as well as the legal position of the members and substitute members and the Clerk of the Court shall be specified under national ordinance. The Parliament may not approve such a draft national ordinance and may not decide upon a reading of such a draft except with the approval of two thirds of the votes of the sitting members.
    CHAPTER 9
    CONCLUDING PROVISIONS
    Article 129
    1. Amendments to the provisions of this Constitution may be introduced by national ordinance. Every draft national ordinance for amendment of the Constitution shall explicitly state the nature of the amendment in question.
    2. The Parliament may only approve a draft national ordinance on such a matter by a majority of at least two thirds of the sitting members.

    3. A national ordinance amending this Constitution in relation to:
    a. the articles relating to the fundamental rights;
    b. the provisions relating to the powers of the Governor;
    c. the articles relating to the powers of the Parliament; and
    d. the articles relating to the judiciary, shall be submitted to the government of the Kingdom. They shall not come into effect until the government of the Kingdom has declared its approval thereof.
    4. A draft national ordinance relating to the provisions specified in paragraph 3 of this article shall not be tendered to the Parliament nor proposed by the Parliament for ratification until the views of the government of the Kingdom have been obtained.
    Article 130
    This national ordinance shall be referred to as the Constitution.
    Article 131
    This national ordinance comes into operation with effect from the date on which Articles I and II of the Kingdom law for amendment of the Charter in connection with the abolition of the Netherlands Antilles come into effect.
    ADDITIONAL ARTICLES
    Article I
    1. The national ordinances, national decrees incorporating general measures and other decisions of a legislative nature of the Netherlands Antilles, together with Island Ordinances and Island Decisions incorporating general measures of the Island Territory of Sint Maarten, applicable at the time when this Constitution comes into effect, shall remain in force until they are amended or withdrawn pursuant to the provisions of the Constitution.
    2. Measures shall be adopted by means of national ordinance relating to the further application, as regulations of Sint Maarten, of the regulations specified in paragraph 1 of this article, as well as the maintenance of public administration bodies in Sint Maarten that are in existence at that time.
    Article II
    The national ordinances, which shall be elevated to national ordinances of Sint Maarten under the Kingdom law for amendment of the Charter in connection with the abolition of the Netherlands Antilles, shall come into effect on the date on which Articles I and II of the Kingdom law for amendment of the Charter in connection with the abolition of the
    Netherlands Antilles come into effect. They shall be included in the Official Publication as quickly as possible, and if possible in the sequence followed by this Constitution.
    Article III
    1. The sitting members of the Island Council on the date when this Constitution comes into effect shall have the capacity of members of the Parliament with effect from that date.
    2. If the Parliament consists of 11 members on the date when this Constitution comes into effect, then the Parliament shall be dissolved in accordance with Article 59.2 and elections shall be called. The dissolution shall take effect on the day on which the newly elected Parliament convenes.
    3. In the period between the date when this Constitution comes into effect and the swearing in of the Parliament consisting of 15 members, no draft national ordinances as defined in Article 31.1 or Article 129 shall be approved or proposed for ratification.

    Article IV
    1. On a proposal by the government, the Parliament may deliberate upon a draft national ordinance that had been raised by the government of the Netherlands Antilles with the Parliament of the Netherlands Antilles before this Constitution came into effect. They shall take up the deliberation of the draft in question from the point the draft had reached at the relevant time.
    2. The Parliament may decide to deliberate upon a draft national ordinance that had been raised by a member of the Parliament of the Netherlands Antilles with the Parliament of the Netherlands Antilles before this Constitution came into effect. They shall take up the deliberation of the draft in question from the point the draft had reached at the relevant
    time.
    3. This article shall lapse one year after this Constitution comes into effect.
    Article V
    1. The first appointment of members and substitute members of the Constitutional Court, as defined in Article 128, shall be made by the Island Council on the proposal of the Executive Council for the Island Territory of Sint Maarten.
    2. The first appointment of the Clerk to the Constitutional Court, as defined in Article 15 of the draft national ordinance for the Constitutional Court, shall be made by the Executive Council for the Island Territory of Sint Maarten.
    Article VI
    The government shall be authorised to adjust the numbering of the references to the Penal Code in Articles 36.1 and 50.1 in connection with the draft national ordinance to adopt a new Penal Code, pending before the Parliament of the Netherlands Antilles. The text shall be submitted in advance to the Parliament.
    Thurso, 20 August 2010:
    This is the Constitution of the Country of Sint Maarten, consisting of this and the thirty-four (34) preceding pages, referred to in my Affidavit of today's date.
    Bruce Louden Clark Gordon, Translator .....................................................................
    Ewan John Thoms, Notary Public .................................................................................


  • Radio Journalist and Talk-Show Host Released on Conditional Dismissal—Given Community Service. (UPDATED)

    andrewdick09092010Philipsburg:--- Radio journalist and talk-show host Andrew Dick who was arrested on Thursday suspected of embezzlement has been released on conditional dismissal on Friday confirmed press prosecutor Rienk Mud.
    SMN News learnt that the well known talk show host and radio journalist stole a blank cheque from his place of employment (PJD2) and had it cashed it to the tune of $4,200. Mud said Dick has to repay the owner of PJD2 Donald Hughes by December 10, 2010 as well as he must complete eighty hours (80) of community service before the said date. The press prosecutor said should Dick fail to comply with the terms of his release then he will be re-arrested and prosecuted.
    SMN News learnt that the cheque was stolen sometime in March this year and that Hughes only discovered that a cheque was stolen after the cheque was cashed. The source said when Hughes saw the cheque he realized that no one from his company ever wrote a cheque to that amount, neither could he recognize the name of the person that cashed the cheque. SMN News learnt that Hughes went as far as calling the person's whose name has been given as "Raymond" to enquire who he was but was met with fierce hostility and it was then Hughes decided to have the police investigate the circumstances regarding his cheque and stolen monies.
    SMN News further learnt that police arrested the person who cashed the cheque and found out that Andrew Dick met the man in one of the banks and asked him to cash the cheque which he did. The person it is understood is from the French side of the island, police did not press charges against the man.
    SMN News learnt that Donald Hughes did not press charges against Dick but requested that he be repaid.
    After Dick was arrested on Thursday another person told this media house that Dick asked them for a blank cheque some months ago as he was organizing a show and needed a blank cheque to provide to someone as guarantee. The person said Dick promised to return his blank cheque after two days but to date he is not able to recover the cheque.
  • St. Maarten Pride opposes filling-in of Great Salt Pond for Drag-strip and Cricket Stadium.

    Philipsburg:--- St. Maarten Pride Foundation has paid close attention to Commissioner Frans Richardson's recent announcements of plans for a Drag racing strip and a Cricket Stadium, plans which require the filling-in of the Great Salt Pond to accommodate the facilities. The Foundation strongly advises against and objects to these and any future plans which involve the further destruction of the Great Salt Pond and St. Maarten's other remaining wetlands.

    Filling-in the Great Salt Pond for these facilities will lead to an additional reduction of the pond's already limited water retention capacity and will have drastic consequences for the surrounding areas in times of rain and during Hurricanes as excess run-off water will cause flooding of the already overburdened districts adjacent to the pond.
    In the days since the Commissioner's announcement many residents of the Over the pond, A. Th. Illidge Road, Madame Estate and Sucker Garden neighbourhoods have contacted St. Maarten Pride Foundation to express concerns about increased noise pollution in their district should the proposed plans be executed.
    The Commissioner's plans, particularly those for the Cricket Stadium will also destroy a large portion of the same area of the Great Salt Pond that Government only recently identified and designated as a monument (BC# 1172-08). In establishing the Great Salt Pans area of the Great Salt Pond as a monument the Executive Council of the Island Territory of St. Maarten acknowledged the cultural/historical significance of the area and committed to protecting it.
    BirdLife International (de Vogelbescherming) recently recognized the Great Salt Pond as one of the Caribbean's "Important Bird Areas (IBA)". IBAs are places of the highest global priority for bird and biodiversity conservation.

  • Political Leaders Engage in More Bickering than Issues During Final Debate.

    politicalleaders12092010Philipsburg:--- Creating 300 jobs, beginning the construction work on a bridge across the Simpson Bay Lagoon and constructing more social homes within his first 100 days in office were some of the promises the leader of the United Peoples Party Theo Heyliger gave the people of St. Maarten during the last of four political debates organised by Arts Video Studio on Sunday evening. Heyliger also criticised the political parties for attacking his party rather than focusing on the issues facing St. Maarten.
    The UP leader was accused of treating the harbour as his own company and the funds derived from that particular government owned company as his "little Piggy Bank". Leader of the National Alliance charged that Heyliger did not show up for work in months and that he basically abandoned government to campaign for Friday's election. Marlin reminded the people that Heyliger is their coalition partner and while the commissioner resigned from the executive council he did not quit the coalition. Heyliger tried to throw the blame on the leader of the National Alliance saying they were supposed to appoint a new commissioner but Marlin quickly reminded Heyliger that if anyone was to appoint a commissioner to fill his seat it was Heyliger himself who had to do so since the agreement they signed on June 6th still stands. Both the leader of the National Alliance and the Democratic Party pointed out that Heyliger did not show any interest in the current constitutional process because he was not interested in separate status. It was pointed out that Heyliger never attended any of the meetings that relates to the constitutional change which is to take effect on October 10 yet he wants to be elected to manage the new status. A question from the audience also pointed out that Heyliger did not even show up to celebrate 10.10.10 on Friday yet he wants to be the one to manage country.

    The leader of the National Alliance William Marlin promised to eliminate school fees from government subsidized schools and giving school boards more subsidies, the removal of the wage taxes, enhance education , tackling crime through education and continuing the constitutional process as St. Maarten becomes country on October 10th , having a National Insurance plan in place by January and increasing the old age pension by 50% is the plans of the National Alliance Government.
    Leader of the Democratic Party strived on her party's more experienced and is capable of making a governing program to build the new country. Wescott Williams said eliminating school fees, removing wage tax, building a bridge or the ring road is simply any politician's dream because there is no money and the budget is not even balanced. While the leader of the Concordia Political Alliance Charles Jeffry Richardson spent most of the evening attacking the leader of the National Alliance and the United People's Party. In his closing arguments he said that the CPA will make sure St. Maarteners are first in their country if they are given the chance to be in government. Jeffry wants government to reverse the compulsory education since that cannot be used regulate the immigration problems. Jeffry argued that there is no need to install a committee to define who is a St. Maartener, instead he has the definition. Jeffry said government needs to make sure the Indians and other businesses on St. Maarten hire more locals to work if they are alleviate the crime situation. Heyliger said he is going to hire the local youths to do the construction of the bridge and social homes. Marlin immediately rebutted by saying that the youths were not given opportunity neither training and he wants to know from where these youths would get the required skills to construct bridges or homes.
    The leader of the Democratic Party stressed about the things that government did not do during the past 15 months. Wescott Williams on a number of occasions said the National Alliance and Heyliger government are executing the programs of the Democratic Party.
    crowd12092010Instead of debating the issues facing St. Maarten and discussing their party's manifesto the political leaders spent most of their time attacking and criticising each other. The leader of the United People's Party was attacked because he jumped from the Democratic Party to the National Alliance whom he later abandoned, while the leader of the National Alliance pointed out that the three other panellist are basically from the same house. Marlin said each of the three DP candidates changed colours to suit their own needs. Marlin pointed out that he did not allow Heyliger to get away with his own ways while conducting government business, he reminded the audience of how he dealt with the Olzina issue when Heyliger presented a motion that was not discussed or agreed upon in the executive council. Marlin said the Olzina issue was wrong and he put down his foot and dealt with the issue at hand. The leader of the Democratic Party said she was not aware of many things that Heyliger was doing when he was part of the Democratic Party. Most of the debate was spent on rebuttals as each political leader wanted to get in the last word in order to set the record straight.

  • Civil Servants Took Oath--- Urged to do their best as they join the Team for St. Maarten.

    civilservants14092010Philipsburg:--- A number of civil servants who recently joined the civil core took the oath of office on Tuesday in the presence of Acting Lt. Governor Reynold Groeneveldt and commissioner of personnel affairs Xavier Blackman. Governor Groeneveldt congratulated the workers for their choice to join the government service and to work in the best interest of St. Maarten who would be taking on its new status on October 10th. While commissioner Blackman said this has been the largest group of people to join the civil service since he took office over a year ago. Blackman also urged the workers to do their best as St. Maarten takes on its new challenge. Among those who took the oath on Tuesday was well known photo journalist Gromyko Wilson who is now working as a taxi dispatcher and controller.
    wilsonoath14092010
  • Gracita Condemns Vote Buying Says Integrity Law will Apply for Future Elections.

    intemar15092010Pointe Blanche:--- The number two candidate on the United People's Party Slate Gracita Arrindell said she still stands behind her belief that voters should not sell their votes and that politicians should not engage in vote buying. Over the years Arrindell spoke openly about how certain politicians especially about her now party leader has engaged in buying of votes to win elections. Asked about that on Wednesday Arrindell said she still stands behind her statements she made in the past, however, when asked what she has to say now about the long lines of people that are seen at the UP head office in Pointe Blanche, Arrindell said she was told that the persons who are in the lines are there to sign the membership forms. Arrindell also confirmed that people has approached her asking for things but she did not say if she has complied with the request of the voters to supply material things they asked for in exchange for their votes.
    One source said Arrindell has given out cheques to people who said they needed monies to buy spectacles and other medical supplies. The number two candidate on the UP slate and former island council lady said very soon the law on integrity that restricts vote buying will be implemented and this is a law she fully supports.
    SMN News was called on several occasions including Tuesday night to witness the amount of people that are standing outside the UP leader's campaign office in Pointe Blanche. One source close to the party said that people have been asking the UP leader Theo Heyliger for all sorts of things. "Some of the people even police officers are asking for flat screen television while some want a blackberry phone or laptop, freezers, stoves and fridges are on the request sheets that were filed in by these potential voters. Besides that there are people who asked for school fees while others wanted money or food hampers. A man brought 180 voting cards and he was offered $200 the source said. "Those at the head office would have these people fill out a form and they would take copies of their identification cards to verify if those persons requesting money or material things are eligible to vote. Then they would tell the people they are going call them back" the source continued.
    This is ridiculous said one UP supporter saying that the voters on St. Maarten have no pride and dignity and that they would even sell their votes for material things not taking into consideration the implications this would have on how their country will be governed.
    Another UP supporter who asked to remain anonymous said that St. Maarteners have become beggars in their own country. He said the late Dr. Claude Wathey is the one who trained the people to beg when its election time and that is one of the legacy his grandson is continuing. "Imagine we were able to get rid of that to a large extent when the late Dr. Wathey left politics but the minute his grandson formed his own party he brought back the same tactics."
    It is alleged that while the potential voters are filling in their request forms in Pointe Blanche at the UP head office, the actual distribution of items are done on the Board Walk where the UP launched its party some weeks ago.
    SMN News contacted the UP leader Theo Heyliger for a comment on the lines of people at his headquarters and he said SMN News should take a photo of the people who are standing at the Government Administration Building to get things too. Later he said his official statement is that "I am meeting with people and that is what the headquarters is about. The National Alliance meets with people at the government building, I meet with people all over including our headquarters." Despite saying he is meeting with people Heyliger did not deny if people are asking him for monies or things in exchange for their votes.
    Another UP supporter said that is something that has to change because they are not supporting the lawlessness that is currently taking place on St. Maarten when it comes to selling and buying of votes.
    A candidate on the UP slate said the UP leader did not even give them monies to campaign and they are told when someone ask them for anything they should take the people to the UP headquarters who would deal with the people from there.
    Also at the government administration building a number of people are there trying to meet with the commissioners to see what they could get for their votes. Many of the people this reporter spoke to said they need a place to live or a secure job from government.
  • Contract to Build SBO to be Awarded Next Week --- Marlin sets Record Straight on Belvedere School.

    Philipsburg:--- The executive council will be taking a decision next week on which contractor will be awarded the contract to build the 16 classroom SBO school in Cay Hill confirmed commissioner of education William Marlin on Wednesday. Marlin said the bidding has already taken place for that school and very soon construction will begin.
    Marlin said another thing St. Maarten is looking at is partnering with the Dutch Government with regards to Saba and Statia. He said the school board that will be over the SBO schools would have to work closely with the Dutch government so that students from those two islands can attend school on St. Maarten. Marlin said instead of those students going to Bonaire, Curacao or Holland the students from the two neighboring island can attend the SBO School on St. Maarten when it is completed. Marlin said he already discussed these possibilities with officials from the two islands and the Dutch State Secretary even though no formal discussion and exchange of documents has not taken place.
    The commissioner also refuted the comments and statements that are being made by one of the political parties and their candidates who are creating fear in the residents of Belvedere by telling them that no school will be built in the area.
    Marlin said he wants the general public but particularly those living in Belvedere to know that a school consisting of eight classrooms will be built in the area. The commissioner said right now they are finalizing the project and very shortly a public bid will be held and soon after the construction of the school will begin. Marlin said one of the advantages of having a school in Belvedere is that students will no longer have to go to Philipsburg or St. Peters to attend school but a school will be within walking distance from their homes. Marlin said the education infrastructure is improving not only at the existing schools but government is busy with the construction of new schools.
    The education commissioner said funding has been made available for the upgrading of the teachers as there is ongoing training and retraining of teachers taking place. Marlin said that the island government also intends to invest heavily in a quality teacher's education program in the future. He said right now the teacher's salaries are not as attractive when compared to those that have a bachelor's in business or IT. He said years ago teachers belonged to the better paying jobs but today they are the worst off. He said right now government has to take this in consideration if they are to attract the best and brightness to attract people in the education field.
  • Chairman of Main Voting Bureau Inspects Polling Stations--- No Cellular Phones and Cameras will be Allowed in Booths.

    pollingstation16092010Philipsburg:--- Acting Lt. Governor and chairman of the main voting bureau Reynold Groneveldt along with members from the main voting bureau drove around the island on Thursday night inspecting the various polling stations.

    pollingrules16092010The first polling station that was inspected is polling station number 14 Belvedere Community Center. At that polling station Groeneveldt made sure the rules were in all the booths while he ensured that a special table was inside the polling station for voters to rest their cellular phones and cameras. Groeneveldt said there will be signs in all the polling stations warning voters that it is prohibited for them to take cellular phones and cameras inside the booth where they are to prepare their ballots.

    Also inspected was polling station number 16 the Methodist Agogic Center in St. Johns, then polling station number 8 the St Maarten Academy and polling station number 6 the Milton Peters College.
    cellularphone16092010

  • International Coastal Clean-up Next Saturday.

    Philipsburg:--- The International Coastal Cleanup will commence on Saturday September 25th. 2010 at the Mullet Bay Beach from 7am-10am.
    This year marks the 25th anniversary of this worldwide movement to clean up the world's oceans and waterways of marine trash.
    All groups and students are welcome to participate in the ICC at Mullet Bay Beach.
    Students who are need of community service hours will receive 4 hours for this event.
    The International Coastal Cleanup is about cleaning up our beaches and coastlines, preventing trash from entering our world's oceans and making an inventory of the trash found.
    All volunteers will sign in at the entrance to the beach and receive a special data card for marking down each trash item.
    Also on Saturday morning, an underwater diving cleanup will take place; dive volunteers who are certified must register this week with Nature Foundation Manager Tadzio Bervoets, please call 54-44267 for this part of the exercise.
    Porto Cupecoy employees have signed up to clean the Cupecoy Beach, volunteers who would like to join this leg of the cleanup, please contact ICC Site Captain Michelle Warden at the Porto Cupecoy Sales office.
    Last year over half a million volunteers in over 130 countries participated in this one of a kind event, making the ICC the largest volunteer effort worldwide.
    The Sint Maarten PRIDE foundation is the local coordinator for the ICC; our group has a direct working relationship with the Ocean Conservancy's ICC office in Washington DC.
    The Ocean Conservancy notes that "Our Ocean is Simply Getting More Crowded and we are putting additional strain on our fragile ecosystems essential for life on our planet"
    A comprehensive detailed report of all trash collected in the participating countries including St.Maarten can be found on www.oceanconservancy.org
    PRIDE foundation is looking forward to seeing our repeat volunteers as well as newcomers to this year's ICC.
    It is time to START A SEA CHANGE by taking back our beaches, one piece of litter at a time.
    For more info, please visit us on our facebook page St.Maarten PRIDE or call 5200650.
  • Keldamuzik aka Diva Tour in St. Maarten.

    Philipsburg:--- After touring in Barbados with Reggae singer Kirk Brown, Keldamuzik was invited back to the Caribbean to tour with artist Ku-J of the SXM Freedom Fighters Foundation in St. Maarten, Dutch side. Founder of Freedom Fighters, Roland Joe, better known as Ras Bushman respected Diva's history and music, and decided that her visit to St. Maarten would be a great way to build a relationship with the California artist. Two events took place which were presented by Freedom Fighters, at the Alley Simpson Bay featuring Keldamuzik, Ku-J, Versatile, Ziggy Chang, hosted by DJ Suppa Kidd of Laser 101 and on the turntables was the famous cut creator of St. Maarten, DJ Outkast of Shadyville Caribbean DJ's. The beach party concert, in which Keldamuzik and Ku-J performed at on Sunday, took place at Galion Beach in the French side of St. Maarten. Posters and flyers were spread throughout the island in numerous locations, and both events turned out to be a great success and woke up the island of St. Maarten, with not only great music but with the presence of Diva.
    The first day started out with a Keldamuzik and Ku-J collaboration in the studio, song entitled "You Don't Know Me", which has the essence of Reggae/Hip Hop World vibe to it. The next day, was full of press and media interviews, with Oasis Radio, and Island 92. A couple visits to sponsors later that day were with Tony Halley, marketing director of Caribbean Liquors, who sponsored Diva and her crew with top shelf liquor beverages for their stay. The 2nd day contained interviews with Laser 101, SOS Radio and a TV guest appearance at AVS Productions. On the 3rd day of the visit, the meet and greets continued with sponsors such as Pineapple Pete's Restaurant and Motor World, who all contributed to Diva's stay.
    Magazines and media were so impressed with Diva, the Daily Herald decided to give her the front cover with more write ups to follow inside. The publication was distributed all over the island and even found in Diva's hotel, Belair Beach's front desk. At the end of the trip, the entire island was familiar with Diva and wanted more. Golddigga Entertainment gives special thanks to Ras Bushman and the Freedom Fighters Foundation for putting together such a successful campaign. The founder Roland Joe aka Ras Bushman was exploiting farming activities at St. Peters, Marigot Hill. Ras Bushman, born in Curacao, reached St. Maarten on the 3rd of June 1985, where he continued his agricultural activities at a succession land in Marigot Hill. Ras Bushman found the Rastafarian faith and culture in 1980 and reached St. Maarten in 1985.
  • New Parliament will seek to Impeach Former Ministers of Justice --- Wiels—Politicians, Police, and Reporters, Union Leaders were targeted.

    hwiels22092010Philipsburg: --- Leader of the Pueblo Saberano and parliamentarian Helmin Wiels told SMN News in an exclusive interview on Wednesday that when the new parliament is convened after 10/10/10 he will seek to have former Ministers of Justice Pedro Attacho, David, Dick and Magali Jacoba impeached for the illegal phone tapping taking place within the Netherlands Antilles. Wiels said the new parliament would not limit itself to just impeaching the former Ministers from the PAR government but they would also expand it to the prosecutors and possible judges that are involved in the illegal phone tapping.
    The parliamentarian and current island council member said politicians on the opposition benches, reporters, police officers and unions leaders were heavily targeted. He said those involved in the illegal tapping went as far as tapping the phones of persons who were not supporting the PAR. It should be noted that several persons on St. Maarten had the same experience, just recently a news report states that leader of the United People's Party Theo Heyliger phone was also tapped.
    ddick22092010Wiels said that it has been years now that the members of the PAR government have decided to target politicians that are in the opposition, police officers and reporters by tapping their telephones. He said right now a number of police officers that worked in the three tap rooms in Curacao are speaking out against the illegal tapping simply because this has gone too far. Wiels said there is one particular tap room in Curacao that does not share information with local authorities. That tap room he said is called the "informatsie haishouding" and they share information only with the RST and the AIVD and the Federal Detectives. Wiels said the illegal phone tapping will spark one of the largest investigations in Caribbean history and will be the largest scandal ever known.
    Wiels further explained that the penal laws of the Netherlands Antilles have various procedures that must be followed when it comes to phone tapping. He said the procedures to tap phones are clearly laid down in the law but over the years the former Ministers of Justice did not follow those laws. He said in the criminal law, the elements and components of crimes are clearly laid down which dictates how investigations are conducted and the methods that must be used in these investigations.
    attacho22092010The parliamentarian said the international law on human rights clearly protects the people's privacy everywhere and the Netherlands Antilles is no exception. He said democracy dictates that no one can violate the privacy of an individual based on suspicions. This violation of one's privacy can only be done if the investigators can substantiate their suspicions in front of a judge.
    Wiels said the persons behind the illegal tapping have used the laws of the Antilles to commit injustice against their people and this kind of behavior is called fascism. They are trying to persuade people to think and talk like the Stateand this is called fascism. Wiels said right now this illegal tapping raised a lot of concerns and they have to ask for the impeachment of those persons who were behind it for the last 15 years.
    Wiels said over the years those involved in the illegal tapping have been breaking into people's vehicles and homes to place secret (hidden) cameras. He said hundreds of peoples privacy has been invaded. He said the persons that break into these homes and vehicles have been broken into not once but at least two or three times to either install or to remove the cameras and microphones.
    Wiels said his phone was tapped for the past three and a half years and he knew because of the echo that is normally heard when speaking on the phone. He said despite the advance technology in place those involved in the illegal tapping is arrogant and simply does not care whose privacy they invade. He said these people know they are tapping people's phone illegally yet they are doing it harsh and open.
    Wiels said this is one of the main reasons the police officers are speaking out against the illegal practice. Asked if he knows the officer who is accused of leaking the information, Wiels said he does not know the officer in question and he cannot say if the officer leaked the information or if he just decided to speak out.
    jacoba03022010Wiels said one has to realize that these people have broken into homes, vehicles, and offices to place the hidden cameras and microphones and they follow the same procedure to retrieve these devices. In doing so they not only violate the person they are targeting's rights but they also violate the rights of the family members that live in the homes or travel in the vehicles that were targeted. He said the situation right now is outrageous and if the illegal practice is not stopped it will get worse especially knowing those who are the targets. Wiels said politicians know that they were being tapped but when they expand to union leaders, reporters and police officers then something has to be done.
    Asked about the illegal phone tapping on Tuesday chairman of the parliament of the Netherlands Antilles Pedro Attacho said he did not receive any complaints from the members of the parliament regarding the illegal phone tapping. Attacho said unless the members of parliament inform him about their concerns it cannot be discussed. Attacho also said he can only speak on behalf of parliament and nothing else.
  • NAGICO Introduces Educational Coloring Books: “We all Need Insurance” Makes Donation to Samuel Academy.

    teacher23092010BRADES, Montserrat:--- NAGICO Insurances introduced an educational coloring book under the theme: "We all need insurance" The coloring book which contains a story and related pictures on the various insurance products, why they are needed and what each product can protect our families against, was officially introduced in Montserrat.
    Marketing Officer Jimmy Challenger: "NAGICO Insurances has over its twenty-five years of existence supported education in every sense of the word. The book will be available to children of clients at all the territories in which NAGICO operates with special introduction via NAGICO "adopted" primary education learning institutions. The community of Montserrat was selected as the official place to launch this educational book due to the call made by Mrs. Judith Greer, Managing Director of Judith Greer & Associates - local Agent representative for NAGICO Insurances. Mrs. Greer stated: "Every year NAGICO provides stationery to schools in different territories in the Caribbean. This year, I suggested we do something different and reemphasize education as the foundation for every child's personal development and the development of a nation as a whole. With Jimmy's assistance we are now able to add a tool which educates both the children and parents alike on the importance of education."

    monserratminister23092010To commemorate the official launching of the educational coloring book, NAGICO Insurances made a donation to Samuel Academy, a primary school in Montserrat that is currently faced with financial challenges to the value of EC$3000.-. The funds will be used to assist the school with its expansion project: building of a computer lab. The head of the Samuel Academy Ms. Rosmond Meade expressed much gratitude to NAGICO and Judith Greer & Associates for the contribution of the coloring books, pencil cases and monetary donation.
    sastudents23092010Dr. Sharon Burns, Education Officer Early Childhood Department in the Ministry of Education thanked NAGICO for the contribution to the local schools. She noted that the language in the coloring book may be above the level of some children but it was a perfect opportunity for parents to read and interact with their children while at the same time learning together on the importance of insurance and how parents can protect themselves and their families against natural disasters and accidents.
    Chief Minister for Montserrat the honorable Ruben T. Meade was also presented with a copy of the educational coloring book by Marketing Officer Jimmy Challenger and Mrs. Judith Greer, of Judith Greer & Associates.

  • DP Leader Refused to Hold Talks with NA---William ---Theo Wanted 3 Ministries (including ROB) and Control over Government Owned Companies---

    nateam23092010Philipsburg:--- The leader of the National Alliance William Marlin surrounded by the candidates who were elected as parliamentarians on Friday told reporters that when he contacted the leader of the Democratic Party Sarah Wescot Williams to begin formation talks Wescot Williams told him she already had an agreement with the UP Party to form a government.

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    Marlin said Wescot Williams and Heyliger did not keep this as a secret since they told reporters on Tuesday night when they signed their political accord that formation talks had begun even before the polling stations had closed on Election Day. Marlin said the only reason he held a press conference was to be able to set the record straight since many persons are saying he did not make an effort to form a government.
    Marlin also informed the media that the leader of the United Peoples Party shook hands with his son at 04:30am on Monday morning telling him that should the leader of the National Alliance agree to give him three ministries including Public Works, Chairman of Parliament and Minister of Plenipotentiary and control over all the government owned companies then the UP and NA would have formed a government. Marlin said when his son and another member of the National Alliance asked Heyliger about the declaration of intent he had with the DP, Heyliger responded by saying that is why they worded the agreement the way they did. Marlin said the member of the National Alliance who partook in that meeting was supposed to draft the governing accord and send it to the UP and NA leader to be reviewed and signed. Marlin said when he was informed about the meeting he asked his son if he was not being played by the UP leader and it turned out that was exactly what the UP leader Theo Heyliger did.
    Marlin made clear he has no hard feelings that his party has been left out of the process but he can assure the media that the public is very upset because the party that received the majority votes in 15 districts was left out. Marlin further explained that the reaction he has gotten from the people of St. Maarten thus far is that their will has been put aside. This is a reality the people either will have to live with or not accept.
    Marlin said he wants to set the record straight because it is clear that the UP and the DP had an agreement to form government. Marlin said by their own words they said they began negotiations before the polling stations were closed on Friday. Marlin all seven of the candidates on the National Alliance slate that were elected will be taking their seats in parliament and they will be a force to be reckoned with in the parliament of country St. Maarten. Marlin further explained that his faction will continue to fight for what is right and they have always said that they are on team St. Maarten and they will continue to look out for the people's interest.

    The National Alliance leader said St. Maarten has its own constitution and the seven members of from the National Alliance will be defending that constitution in parliament for the people of St. Maarten.
    He said based on the results of the island election the candidates on the National Alliance slate received the majority in 15 districts and the candidates on the National Alliance were broadly accepted by the voters. Marlin said if anyone analyzes the results they will see that the National Alliance had more of their candidates in the top ten spots.
    UP was trying to take NA members before and after election
    In response to a question posed by SMN News as to whether or not the leader of the National Alliance was trying to convince members of the UP to join in forming a government. Marlin said he never contacted any individual candidates. However, the other two parties contacted members of the National Alliance even before they launched their slate to have the NA members join them. Marlin further explained that those parties contacted at least two of the candidates that were elected on the National Alliance slate to join them to form this new government. He said they wanted a broader base rather than a majority by one seat which they believe is not solid enough and concerns were also raised about the in-experienced people that were elected in the other parties.
    Broad Base Government
    william23092010Asked if the National Alliance was willing to form a broad base government Marlin said on numerous occasions he said political parties needed to bury the hatchet and put aside their political differences and work together for St. Maarten. Thus, he wants to make clear that it is not a decision of the National Alliance to stay outside of government. He asked why would he have chosen to remain in government and to take care of the people's affairs while others were busy campaigning and most of all, why would he and the team of the National Alliance have worked so hard to make sure St. Maarten gets its desire to become a country on October 10th 2010.
    Marlin said his hard work and dedication over the past year was not for him to leave government now. He said despite being the largest faction in the new parliament and the party that clearly won the election they were forced out.
    He told reporters they should be asking the two other parties that formed the government why they began negotiating before the election results were announced. Marlin said it is clear that the UP and DP have placed their parties and personal interests before the interest of the people of St. Maarten when they formed the coalition government.
    Furthermore, he made it clear that it is unfair to the people of St. Maarten who gave the National Alliance a resounding victory in every district which gave them more than 25% more votes than the UP to be shut out and not given the opportunity to govern. Marlin said he heard that persons who are interested in seeing the two parties govern St. Maarten met with them prior to Election Day to see to it that they come together in an effort to keep the National Alliance out of government.
    Marlin said over the years the Democratic Party has dwindled and for the public to see that they are the ones who would be delivering Prime Minister on 10/10/10 is ridiculous. He said in recent functioning democracy there are certain rules to live by but in this case the self interest of individuals and political parties is what mattered most.

  • More Lionfish Appearing around St. Maarten; Nature Foundation increasing Management Efforts.

    lionfish24092010Philipsburg:--- The St. Maarten Nature Foundation is ramping up its efforts to control and manage the Lionfish Infestation in St. Maarten waters. In the past weeks there have been increasingly numerous reports of the invasive and dangerous fish being sighted on offshore reefs as well as on local beaches. "We are increasingly collecting specimens not only on offshore coral reefs but also in shallow beach areas. Recently there were specimens on Mullet Bay Beach and just off of Pelican which were sighted in very shallow water," commented Tadzio Bervoets, Nature Foundation Manager. Another worrying aspect of the lionfish infestation is that larger, more sexually mature specimens are being collected and more numerous sightings are being reported.
    In its efforts to manage and control the infestation the Nature Foundation, through the generous donation of the St. Maarten Timeshare Association (SMTA), has started distributing lionfish collection materials to the various dive centres' "dive operators are very important in capturing the lionfish. Already many dive shops are collecting and reporting numerous specimens and are being a tremendous help in controlling the infestation. We have given them a lionfish collection package which includes collecting nets, first aid equipment, and location markers," commented Bervoets. Also through the donation of the SMTA the Nature Foundation will be distributing heat packs, which is the primary first aid if a swimmer is stung by a lionfish, to the various water sports concession stands throughout the island as well as information signs informing locals and visitors about the lionfish threat.
    Representatives from the Nature Foundation also recently attended a regional lionfish workshop held in Mexico where various controlling strategies were discussed, including the future use of fish traps and the possibility of grouper eating the lionfish; "If our research shows that grouper indeed prey on lionfish we might be better able to control it. The problem is that, especially for St. Maarten, there are not enough large grouper due to a lack of formal protection. If protection such as the Marine Park Ordinance were in place we would be better able to promote a healthy grouper population which may naturally control the lionfish," commented Bervoets.
    The lionfish is an invasive species which was introduced into the Caribbean through the aquarium trade. The fish is a threat to local fisheries because they have the potential to destroy local fishing grounds and the economies which depend on them. The lionfish is also a venomous species which can inflict a very dangerous sting. If someone is stung by a lionfish heat should be applied directly to the wound and medical attention should be sought immediately. To a report a lionfish please call the Nature Foundation at 5444267.
  • Man Held for Ganja Possession.

    MARIGOT:--- A 21 year old who hails from Sandy Ground has been held by the gendarmes when he was caught with 22 grams of ganja. A press release from the Gendarmerie states that the suspect was found with nine sachets of the marijuana when he was arrested. The suspect will appear in court on November 18 2010 for drug possession.
  • Senior Citizens lament disappearance of ponds, filling of Lagoon during fun-filled island tour.

    seniors27092010Great Bay:--- It was more like a journey through memory lane for the 60 senior citizens of the Golden Age Foundation when they went on an island tour hosted by the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau on Friday, September 24th, 2010. The tour was organized as part of the activities marking World Tourism Day under the theme, "Tourism and Biodiversity".
    "We wanted the seniors to experience what the tourists see when they come to St. Maarten and to be able to compare the island today to the St. Maarten of their youth," said Tourism Director Regina LaBega.
    Taking off from the John Larmonie Center, the group sported complementary T-shirts provided by the Tourist Bureau and was alert throughout the tour as they acknowledged the tremendous development of the island in comparison with their younger days.
    "They lamented the disappearance of several ponds, and were saddened by the dilapidated buildings at Mullet Bay where several of them had worked before the resort was destroyed by Hurricane Luis in 1995." Lisa Coffi of the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau said. "They also noticed with regret that they could no longer see the Simpson Bay lagoon as they drove towards the airport because it had been filled and built up."
    "Some of them said they had never been at the Orient Park on the way to Orient Bay and promised to return there with their children and grandchildren," Ms. Coffi added.

    The tour took them around the entire island with a stop for lunch at Busby's at Oyster Pond. The showers that came down at lunch time could not dampen their enthusiasm as they expressed gratitude to the management and staff of the restaurant for a delicious meal.
    Such was the spirit in which they were that they broke into a sing-song on the way back into Philipsburg, intoning many old tunes.
    Patsy Flanders of Home Away from Home Golden Age Foundation thanked the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau for involving the elders in such an activity. "They all had fun," she assured.
    "They were very jovial, very exciting to be with. I learned a lot from them," said Fabian Badejo of East Caribbean DMC, who served as their tour guide.

    youngsters27092010A group young boys and girls of the Belvedere Community Center pose for a group photograph as they get ready to take part in the 12 metre race on Friday, September 24, 2010. The event was organized by the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau as part of activities for this year's World Tourism Day, which is on September 27th. It was sponsored by the 12 Metre Race ... The group enjoyed the activity very much. Indeed, for many of them, it was the first time they would participate in the 12 metre race. The St. Maarten Tourist Bureau has been focusing this year on activities for the youth and the elderly to familiarize them with what tourists do when they come to the island.

  • Mother and Son Arrested for Shooting Incident---Three persons in custody.

    cartridges28092010St. Peters:--- A mother and her son who is implicated in a shooting incident which occurred on September 23 on Apricot Road is now in police custody. Police spokesman Ricardo Henson said two young men apparently had some disagreement and they fired shots at each other. At least one of the suspects was shot twice in his legs and he was treated at the Louis Constant Fleming Hospital and later released. Henson said police visited the suspect at his home where they conducted a house search in the presence of the suspect's mother.
    stitches28092010Police found several cartridges for shotguns in the house but the woman refused to cooperate with police. The suspects in police custody have been identified as S.C who was arrested the same day of the shooting while F.G was arrested at his home on Caines Drive along with his mother V.B.M who refused to cooperate with the investigating officers. SMN News learnt that the young man's mother refused to tell police who exactly the cartridges belong to and where the shotgun was hidden.
    wounds28092010
  • Civil Servants Evacuated from Government Building after Fire Scare--- Central Committee forced to Adjourn.

    evacuation29092010Philipsburg:--- Civil servants working at the government administration building including the eleven island council members who were at a central committee meeting were evacuated from the building after someone called the fire department telling them that there was burning scent in the building.
    A central committee meeting that was in process had to be adjourned until later in the day as the elected officials were told they too needed to evacuate from the building until a thorough search was done.
    waiting29092010Two fire trucks as well as police officers rushed over to the government building to conduct searches to see if anything was alight. Workers were seen outside the building waiting to see if in fact there was fire in the building or if the call was a hoax. On numerous occasions the fire department was called to government building to put out mostly electrical fires.
    Workers were overheard saying that the call on Wednesday must be politically motivated since the person or persons who called the fire department could have easily called the maintenance department for them to conduct an initial search for fire. "It appears as if someone was used to stall the central committee meeting that was ongoing so that the current executive council could not finalize pending projects before October 5th" a group of civil servants was overheard saying.
    policeofficers29092010In an invited comment Clive Richardson from the fire department said there was no fire at the government administration building; however the search revealed that there was a malfunctioning air conditioning unit that was making funny sounds.
    firetruck29092010
  • DP Faction Complains about Not Getting Draft Organic Laws on Time—William says Advisors are limited—Delivered Hard Copies Himself.

    sarah31082010Philipsburg:--- Leader of the Democratic Party Faction Sarah Wescott Williams expressed her concerns about the lateness in which government is delivering the drafts copies of the organic laws to the island council members which is scheduled to be discussed on Tuesday at a central committee meeting. Wescott Williams said the meeting that was supposed to be held on Monday just after the passing of hurricane Earl had to be postponed because government could not muster a quorum to start the meeting, she said a member of the DP faction was present and he waited until after 5 pm to see if that meeting would take place. While there are about eight laws to be discussed the island council lady said they have not received the draft copies for all of them. Another concern for the DP leader is the question of dollarization and what type of currency will be used in country St. Maarten.
    ccmeeting31082010Wescott Williams said her concern however is with the fact that only on Monday evening copies of some of the organic laws were distributed and the agenda for Tuesday's meeting has been extended. She said her faction abhors the fact that government is seeking to handle this matter in such a rush, rush fashion. Wescott Williams said her faction is between a rock and a hard place because if they come to the meeting and seek to engage a discussion they are told they are drawing out the process, and if they stay away from these meetings they would also get flack for it. Wescott Williams said while her faction is willing to cooperate and to pass the laws and if changes are to be made at a later date then can be done at a future time however, when government is going to call a meeting for Tuesday and documents relating to matters like the central bank have not been distributed and the law for governing civil servants and the law that establishes the organization for country St Maarten then they cannot allow such to pass because government is racing against time. Wescott Williams said government has said their backs are against the wall but they are not going to allow such matters to be accepted as routine procedures. The Democratic Party faction leader said her faction is willing to draw the line since they would not be able to explain the people on matters pertaining to the central bank and the civil service and the organization for country St. Maarten. Wescott Williams said while her faction will be attending the meetings they will make their point extremely clear to government and they will take the position where government cannot expect them to be at a meeting for the sake of being present.
    Wescott Williams said government is saying they are being pressured by Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende who apparently told St. Maarten that if the organic laws are not passed then there will be now Round Table Conference (RTC) on September 9th. She said this type of excuse would not persuade the DP to vote for the laws if they are not comfortable with what is presented to them. However, she said her faction will be seeking the entire story on what exactly the Prime Minister said during his visit here on Sunday.
    cc1meeting31082010In an invited comment Leader of Government William Marlin said that St. Maarten had ten years in which to prepare these draft laws for country St. Maarten but none of it was done over the years. Marlin said one of the main reasons the draft laws are late is because the island is having some serious problems with its advisors most of whom are working part time outside of St. Maarten. Marlin said government is not withholding any documents or draft law intentionally but as soon as they get them they have to approve it in the executive council prior to sending them out to the central committee and island council.
    Marlin further explained while the island secretary sent out the draft laws digitally when they were ready he personally drove around the island and delivered the hard copies of the draft laws to the members of the Democratic Party on Monday afternoon. Marlin said the only faction member who did not meet him to collect his package was caretaker commissioner Theo Heyliger. Marlin said he informed Heyliger that he was on his way to deliver the documents but Heyliger waited until he reached in front of his gate to inform him that he was unable to get out of his house because a tree had fallen. As for the cancellation of the central committee on Monday the island leader said five members from the National Alliance including island councilman Louie Laveist was there and Leroy De Weever while the other members chose to stay away. He said he tried calling some of the island council members to the meeting but somehow there were phone problems while one of the island council members informed him they did not have water or electricity and thus they were not able to make it to the meeting.
    marlin31082010Marlin said St. Maarten has a serious deadline to meet if not there would be no RTC meeting in the Hague on September 9th. Marlin said if the factions want to postpone the RTC meeting and run the risk that St. Maarten would not become country on October 10th then these faction members should spell that out for the people of St Maarten. Marlin said when the Prime Minister came to St. Maarten some years ago and gave his famous lecture in the court house it was basically to give the island a message which was that the Dutch government and its politicians were not satisfied with certain developments on St. Maarten. Marlin said during that lecture the Prime Minister cited the WODC report and nepotism in government and several other things that the Dutch parliament and government were not happy about and if changes were not made in certain areas then the Dutch government would not support St. Maarten in becoming country. Marlin said it is almost a year ago (September 30th) since he signed the agreement with the Dutch and Antillean governments that by October 10th 2010 St. Maarten will become country. Marlin made clear that he placed all his energy and time went over the past year since he took over the leadership of government into achieving country status. "I have been attending meetings and signing agreements and getting the legislation through the different layers and channels so that St. Maarten could be ready for 10/10/10."
    Marlin said these organic laws were never brought to the island council but they were submitted to the Kingdom Council of Ministers and the vetting committee who made their observations and because of this certain adaptations had to be made to the draft laws and this he said is where the issues of the advisors came into play. He said because of all of the scenarios government is running a tight schedule. Marlin said one of the things the island council members want is for government to make a schedule but they cannot do so because government has no certainty as to when these draft laws would be ready. Marlin said right now government is racing against time and they began receiving these drafts over the past 48 hours. Marlin said St. Maarten voted for a new status some ten years ago and no preparation was made. He said if the island council members are serious about becoming country then they would stop the bickering about receiving documents late because no one sent these documents late intentionally. Marlin said they have to have all these drafts laws by Friday to send to the preparatory committee for the political steering group meeting on September 6th in the Hague in preparation for the September 9th RTC meeting.
    Marlin said despite the weather conditions government and its staff decided to work on Monday because they have to meet some critical deadlines. Marlin said if there are people in the council who wants to take their time they need to make that known so that government knows where they are standing. Marlin said when Prime Minister Balkenende visited St. Maarten on Sunday he informed them that the Dutch government is ready to go all the way and complete the process for St. Maarten to become country on October 10 but while they are happy with the progress the island has made there are three areas of concern which is Aruba must vote on the Kingdom Charter which is one of the requirements for St. Maarten and Curacao to get its country status. Curacao island council must vote on the constitution and it must be approved even by a simple majority while St. Maarten must have all its draft organic laws in place for the Round Table Conference to take place. Marlin said all three of issues must be addressed by each island before the process could move forward. Marlin said he was not able to send out any official notification as to what the Prime Minister said because the Prime Minister had to be rushed off of St. Maarten before the passing of Earl on Sunday evening. Marlin said the PM had to cancel his meetings with Saba and Statia and he went straight to Curacao and Aruba to address the three main concerns of the Dutch government.
    Asked about the currency issue Marlin said he did not take a decision on what currency the island would use. He said if one should read the final declaration of November 2006 and they would see that it was decided at that meeting that Curacao and St. Maarten would have a common central bank and a common currency. Marlin said he did not take that decision neither is he promoting the issue however he is busy executing the decisions that were taken by the former constitutional affairs commissioner Sarah Wescott Williams. "To dollarize or not is a position that St. Maarten took several years ago when St. Maarten establishes its position on central bank and on currency." Marlin said people are telling him that the other political parties are saying that he is against the dollarization in an effort to intimidate and scare the people from the National Alliance. He said as far as he can see is that while he had nothing to do with the dollarization and currency for St. Maarten the politicians are playing politics and causing confusion over nothing in order to gain votes on September 17th.
  • People’s Action Movement Leader Lindsay Grant Congratualates Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissesar and the people of Trinidad and Tobago.

    Basseterre:--- Trinidad and Tobago celebrated its 48th Anniversary of Independence on Aug. 31, 2010. People's Action Movement Leader Mr. Lindsay Grant on behalf of the St.Kitts-Nevis Opposition party sent aletter of Congratulations to the Honourable Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar .
    In his congratulatory letter to Prime Minister Persad-Bissesar, the Opposition Party Leader said, "On the occasion of the 48th anniversary of independence of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, I wish to extend, on behalf of my party and on my own behalf warm congratulations and best wishes to you and the people of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.
    The congratulatory message also highlighted the prominent role Trinidad and Tobago continues to play in the development of the Caribbean Community.
    Grant indicated , "There can be no doubt of the special leadership role that the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago has played within the Caribbean Community from the very beginning of the anti colonialist struggle and continuing to the present day. As we join in this celebratory moment as brothers and sisters across the Caribbean Sea, we feel confident that the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago will continue to serve as a major force in the continued development of the entire region."
    The message concluded with a special expression of goodwill and solidarity to Prime Minister Kamla Persad – Bissessar and it encouraged the recently elected Prime Minister to proceed to implement the historic vision of fundamental change for the betterment of Trinidad and Tobago and the wider region.
    The PAM Leader Lindsay Grant concluded, "On behalf of my Party the People's Action Movement it is my pleasure to be able to share this august moment with you at this historic crossroads in the development of both the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and the CARICOM as a whole."
    Lindsay Grant and members of the People's Action Movement executive were among the specially invited guests and dignatories at the historic swearing in ceremony of Mrs Persad-Bissesar earlier this year. Mrs Persad-Bissessar was a member of the Legal Team that fought Prime Minister Denzil Douglas and the Labour administration in the landmark boundary cases of 2009.
  • Hurricane Exercise to Begin Thursday.

    hurricanexercise01092010
    Philipsburg:--- The hurricane exercise is schedule to begin on Thursday and will last until Sunday September 5 the 32nd infantry company of the Netherlands Marine Corps participates in the yearly Hurricane Exercise on St. Maarten. During this exercise, realistic scenarios are presented to train the marines for any kind of emergency or disaster during the 2010 hurricane season.

    The first two days of the exercise the marines will conduct surveys of the shelters, their reachableness and possible alternative routes. Also they will set up a command post that will need to maintain contact with the shelters, re-establish contact with governmental institutions directly after the hurricane and coordinate the actions the marines have to take after the passage. As of Friday various serials will take place all over the island. During the simulated passing of the hurricane, the marines will spend the night in the shelters to maintain order, dealing with injured and scared people. The days following the marines will conduct foot patrols to do damage assessment and will be confronted by a group of angry citizens demanding food, water and shelter in a riot control exercise.

    During the Hurricane Exercise also the St. Maarten Voluntary Corps VKS personnel, members of the Aruba Militia, Red Cross medical personnel and the fire-department are part of the different serials.
    We would like to invite the press for the coverage of this important exercise. This is possible at Friday September 3, 13.30 PM at Mullet Bay.

  • Officers Sworn In.

    newofficersgrppic03092010Philipsburg:--- On Friday four new officers took the oath at the swearing-in ceremony in the presence of Acting Lt. Governor Mrs. Rachnilda J.A. Lynch-Arduin at the Government Administration Building. The names of these officers are Andrea D. De Jong, Carlos W. Muller and Juan F.J. Tromp who are coming from Aruba and are in Sint Maarten to assist the KPSSS in several ongoing criminal investigations.
    swearingin03092010Theodorus J. M. van Deventer is also one of the officers that have been sworn in. He is the Forensic expert from the Netherlands and is here to assist the Forensic Department for a period of two years. Also present during this ceremony were the Chief of police Commissioner Peter de Witte and the Acting Chief of police Commissioner Carl John.
    newofficer03092010
  • Democratic Party Leader Reacts to St Maarten’s Achievements at RTC.

    The Hague:--- Below is the full text issued by the leader of the Democratic Party and former Commissioner of constitutional affairs Sarah Wescott Williams after the conclusion of the RTC meeting in the Hague on Thursday.
    "The weather on the drive from Schiphol to the Hague on September 8th was depressing. It rained and the traffic was slow. The trip was a short one and I had traveled the day before the final RTC of the constitutional process which started in 2000. The impulse in 2000 was the referendum held on June 23, 2000 on St. Martin.
    The weather in the Netherlands on the day of the RTC however was appropriate and promising. It matched the mood of all delegation members in the Hague, hopeful and expectant.
    10 years, 2 months and 17 days later, here we are, awaiting only the final signing of the declaration that will herald the birth of country St. Martin.
    After 10 years of hard work, incessant travels, feats and defeats, delegation members from St. Martin need to mentally adjust themselves now that this process is over. The relief of a major accomplishment is however short-lived. For all, the sights and minds are now set on the job ahead.
    For me personally, there is relief and probably some unbelief until faced with the consequences of this watershed occasion in the political history of our island.
    We have undone ourselves of the classification of island territory. We are not a marked territory belonging to a bigger unit any longer.
    We are willing partners in a political constellation called the Dutch Kingdom.
    This feat is –in my opinion- no less than the charter declaration of 1954.
    Now suddenly, 10 years seem like only yesterday, as scenes of the process flash by.
    I look at the signatures affixed to the many declarations and agreements signed since 2000 and then again those in 2005, the year of the first RTC of this process and there-after. I see the different Dutch ministers and state secretaries responsible for Kingdom Affairs who have been part of this process. I see the representatives of the 4 other islands and I look back at the time we have all spent together on this process. I remember the euphoria of November 2006 and the disappointment when July 2007 was not achieved as the date for the new entities.
    I remember the RTC of December 2008, and the recognition that there was no turning back.
    I remember the meetings, some which went on for longer than 24 hours on a stretch. I see the faces, tired, happy, disappointed. People who came and went.
    I still hear the reproaches leveled at St. Martin, but also the acknowledgments of the efforts by St. Martin to fulfill the promise of constitutional change to the people of St. Martin.
    I remember the times, when compromise seemed to the detriment of the St. Martin people and we refused to budge. For years we lead the charge of constitutional change.
    And regardless of what we were sometimes accused of, one thing is certain, we commanded the respect of all in the Dutch Kingdom.
    This RTC is for me nearly a feeling of: "What do I do with myself now?" after giving the last 10 years or so to this process.
    Maybe the criticism is somewhat justified that I did all of this to the detriment of other developments on our island and of other areas that needed my attention as well. Maybe I left too much of what else was to be done up to others.
    But after having been part of St. Martin's renewed attempts at constitutional change in the late eighties, when St. Martin went in search of full independence; in the mid-nineties, when attempts to restructure the Netherlands Antilles failed, it was clear that we needed to complete this process once and for all.
    I thank the people of St. Martin for their confidence and critique.
    What do we do with ourselves now? Now, the work has started. On the horizon remains my conviction that this status of country within the Kingdom is a means, not an end.
    Another station in our development as a people.
    At this station, we have to build our country, starting at the very foundation. The future of our nation will fall or stand with the foundation we provide today; with the way we lead our country; the examples we set for our youth and the images we portray to the world around us.
    Our foundation begins with the strengthening of our democratic institutions, the promotion of social unity and a fair and open government.
    Even as an island territory we were part of the global reality, as a country this will be even more so.
    I have answered the question: "What will I do with myself." We have a country to build; a people to unite and a government to establish.
    I thank all the Kingdom partners who have been part of this process throughout. The successive Dutch Parliaments and Kingdom governments, the successive Antillean governments, the governments of Aruba, the governments of Curacao, Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius.
    I salute the strong women of the Kingdom, a relationship, born out of the Constitutional process. Ladies, it was good working with you for all our people in the Kingdom.
    And in a special way, I thank the teams of St. Martin, starting in 2000. Here too we saw people come and go, but a core remained constant and committed.
    Ten years of our lives have gone into this process and today, the sacrifices seem small in the face of finally having succeeded.
    We stood our ground. We did not know where it would end when we started, but we knew we would not give up, could not give up.
    I thank God Almighty, for our nation and its people. I thank him for his guidance and his plans for our country. And I thank him for things yet to come in his infinite wisdom.
    No-one ever said it would be easy, but no-one really knew the resilience of the St. Martin people and those called to lead them.
    God be praised."
  • TLH-SXMF and PEECC invite architectural firms and architect professionals to participate in project.

    stoneandarthur09092010GREAT BAY:--- Executive Director of the Tallahassee-Sint Maarten Foundation (TLH-SXMF) Arthur (Arturo) Lugisse, and PEECC (Progressive Educational Experiences in Caribbean Cultures) Director Sara Stone, are inviting architectural firms and professionals in the field to participate in a cultural exchange program in the area of architecture.
    The joint project of the TLH-SXMF and PEECC is promoting to connect University age students from the Netherlands Antilles and in particular Sint Maarten and those studying in Florida, to come together for a series of workshops instructed by various academic scholars, historians and architects.
    "The purpose of the exchange is to examine varied contextual projections of contemporary Caribbean spaces. Participants will exchange ideas and observations of the island and design an architectural drawing of an urban island community suitable to replace one of the select groups of debilitated building(s).
    "The plan must consider the surrounding architectural characteristics and respect the preservation of any historical properties and or environmental areas. I believe this is a great opportunity and a great experience for students culminating into the presentation and design being put forward to the public.
    "I look forward to the support and collaboration of local stakeholders on the island such as architectural firms, students and former architectural students who are now working and any interested persons," PEECC Director Sara Stone told the Government Information Service (GIS).
    Architectural students, graduates, historians, cultural icons, monument preservationists, architecture firms and other interested persons can contact Sara Stone at 5871636 or send an email to sstone@peec.org
  • Dollarization will not be in St. Maarten’s Best Interest—Blackman.

    blackman09092010Philipsburg:--- Commissioner of Finance Xavier Blackman at a press conference on Thursday told reporters that dollarizing St. Maarten would not be in the island's best interest since the monies that are in government coffers would have to be used to buy USD stocks to start off with, something that would run down the new country's foreign reserve. Blackman said while the topic of dollarization has become a debate over the past weeks no one seems to remember what Sir Courtney Blackman said when he gave his lecture here in 2002 at the public forum.
    "To start off with the United States currency St. Maarten would have to invest about 120 million dollars to buy the initial stocks of US dollars while there will be a recurring cost of about 45 million per year which would result in the lost of all profits made by the central bank which is about 33 million dollars." Purchasing US currency he said at a 5% would also cost about 6 million USD and another 6 million is lost interest.
    Blackman said the monies that is purchased (initial stock does not bear interest) and for countries that dollarize they end up with a never ending loan at 0% from the US government, owner of the United States Currency. The finance commissioner said these are only some of the financial effects of dollarization.
    Blackman said while there will be a new currency the exchange rate would remain the same and people would still be allowed to have their dollars accounts and the ATM will still be distributing dollars. The commissioner said no one would lose financially because the island has not dollarized. Blackman said buying US currency is like buying cars any other products they have to export and people simply would have to pay for it. Important to note is that when becoming a country one has to have its own identity. The commissioner gave examples of the British Territories in the Caribbean whose economies are based on tourism have teamed up and has kept Eastern Caribbean Dollar (EC). He said those islands do not have much of a natural resources yet their currency has remained stable against the US dollars since it was introduced in 1971. Blackman said that based on Sir Courtney Blackman's conclusion dollarization is only for countries that have lost confidence in their capacity to conduct their own affairs. Blackman said over the years St. Maarten was told repeatedly by the Netherlands that they do not believe the island is ready to manage their own affairs. "It was only on Thursday September 9th, ten years after the island voted for separate status St. Maarten managed to fully convince the Netherlands Kingdom partners that they are ready and prepared to move forward. He said giving away ones monetary authority to a foreign nation and having one's own currency is part of national pride.
    Dollarize is risky business and it is not something any nation can do from one day to the next.
    Blackman said lots of research was done and the decision taken both by St. Maarten and Curacao was to have one common currency. The finance commissioner said even though the Caribbean guilder will be introduced on St. Maarten nothing will change regarding businesses and the tourism economy.
  • Standing Ovation and Welcome Given To William Marlin for Bringing Home Country Status.

    williamarrives10092010Philipsburg:--- It was a joyful moment for every St. Martiner who attended the welcome ceremony and to witness the nation's address by leader of government and commissioner of constitutional affairs William Marlin who returned from The Hague on Friday with a signed Kingdom Charter that allows St. Maarten and Curacao to become country on October 10th 2010.
    jeffrywilliam10092010A motorcade by members of the National Alliance and some supporters followed the delegation to the Government Administration Building where the live address took place. Several persons supporting the National Alliance and persons who were simply overjoyed that the mission has been accomplished greeted Marlin with hug in front of the government administration Building. Among them was the leader of the Concordia Political Alliance, Jeffry Richardson.
    williamhugs10092010Members of the island council were also invited to attend the ceremony but island council member and caretaker commissioner Theo Heyliger did not show up.
    While supporters of the National Alliance wore their white tee shirts with the logo of the National Alliance that says "Forward Together" and members of the Democratic Party also clad in their party's red tee shirt the UP party and its supporters were no where around to witness the historical moment as St. Maarten celebrate the victory the island managed to score after ten years of hard labor.
    wescotwilliams10092010The island leader and commissioner of constitutional affairs William Marlin made sure he acknowledged all the persons who worked tirelessly to make sure the process is completed. Among those celebrating and witnessing the nation's address on Friday was the widow of the late Vance James Jr. and his children and grandchildren. Unfortunately Denis Richardson the person who spearheaded the process of separate status was not at Friday's celebration as Richardson stayed in Holland for medical reasons.
    ferrier10092010Marlin also presented each member of the island council, former Minister Richard Gibson Sr. Governor Eugene Holiday, Acting Lt. Governor's Reynold Groeneveldt, Nilda Arduin Lynch and the Chief of Police Peter de Witte with hard copies of the Constitution of Country St. Maarten.
    Following is the entire address with was transmitted live on cable television and simulcast on radio by the island Leader William Marlin.

    Fellow St. Maarteners, residents of St. Maarten, friends,

    On April 23rd, when the delegation returned from the Hague, I stood right here to address you, and at that time I said to you, ain't no stopping us now, we're on the move. But today, I stand before you, filled with joy, but yet humbled, and say to you: Mission Accomplished; St. Maarten will become country on 10-10-10. Another promise made, another promise kept!

    blackman10092010Yesterday, September 9th, 2010 together with other representatives of all the Kingdom partners I signed on your behalf, the decisions of the Round Table Conference held that same day in The Hague. At that historic Round table Conference it was agreed upon and signed off on, that St. Maarten will become country on 10-10-10, October 10th, exactly one month from today.

    Ten years ago they said it could not be done! Some thought it could not happen. Others didn't want it to happen. Some jumped off the train, before it even got moving, while others jumped off the train, saying 10-10-10 was not attainable! We have proved them all wrong!

    laviest10092010Reality had always been that you the people had spoken loud and clear on June 23rd, 2000, just over 10 years ago, and we the leaders were given a mandate. A mandate to take St. Maarten out of the Netherlands Antilles and establish the autonomous country in the Kingdom – St. Maarten.

    We, the political leaders of 10 years ago, the late Vance James Jr, Mrs. Sarah Wescott-Williams and your humble servant, William Marlin, had our work cut out to lead you the people to destination country St. Maarten.
    Our dear brother, Vance James, did not see the promise land. In loving memory of him, I propose we hold a moment of silence.

    buncampermolanus10092010Immediately, a work group constitutional affairs was established, several sub-groups made up of technical advisors appointed. The political steering group, made up of all the political leaders and the Permanent Committee on Constitutional Affairs of the Island Council made up of all 11 Members was also established.

    It was all hands on deck. We predicted that it won't be easy, but we also said that we won't give up. But we also, never expected it to take 10 long years, but it did. It was a rough journey, but I never lost faith, I never turned my back on you, and was there at every meeting to speak up and defend our case.

    roymarlin10092010When others thought it could not be done because the Dutch was constantly moving the goal posts, I stood alone in The Hague, backed by our advisors, and defended you the people of St. Maarten before the Dutch Second Chamber. And yes, I was able to convince them that their perception of St. Maarten was a wrong one.

    I convinced them, that we were ready to become country and take on the responsibilities previously held by the Central Government on Curacao. We were ready to run our own affairs.

    So, history was made, and will be made again, one month from today when we swear in the first Parliament of St. Maarten, with its own Chairman of Parliament elected from among the 15 Members of Parliament. History will also be made one month from today, when we swear in the first Council of Ministers and the first Prime Minister, when we have the swearing in of the first governor of St. Maarten, Drs. Eugene Holiday.

    We will also have our first Council of Advice, headed by Mrs. Mavis Brooks-Salmon, and our first Audit Chamber, headed by Roland Tuitt. Yes, history will be made! But what will all of this mean for you the people of St. Maarten. How will you benefit from all this history making?

    On October 10th, 2010 St. Maarten will become like a new born baby, but must also be ready to take on the responsibilities of an adult. And it cannot be left up to our leaders alone, to raise the new born St. Maarten.

    We must all contribute, we must all ad our block, no matter how little it may be, or appear to be, towards the building of our new nation. A nation for the next generations to inherit.

    Yesterday, after the signing of the Round Table Conference resolutions, I presented on behalf of the people of St. Maarten an English copy of the Constitution of Country Sint Maarten, to the chairman of the Round Table Conference, Prime Minister Balkenende, to the Prime Ministers of the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba, to the State Secretary Bijleveld, and to every delegation leader at the Conference and to several top advisors, from the Netherlands Antilles, the Netherlands, Aruba, Curacao and St. Maarten, who have played a role, some of them for the past 10 years, in helping guide this process to a successful end.

    dewitte10092010The constitution of Country Sint Maarten, unanimously approved by all 11 Members of the Island Council of Sint Maarten was drafted 8 years ago. It had been discussed at several public hearings and workshops and in meetings of the political steering groups and in the Central Committee of St. Maarten.

    In 2008 the draft constitution was sent to the Vetting Committee, without any mention of the St. Maartener.

    During the recent Central Committee meeting, we all acknowledged that no mention was ever made in the constitution, of who is a St. Maartener, not 8 years ago, not 6 nor 4 years ago and neither in the draft I met a year and 3 months ago when I took over as Constitutional Affairs Commissioner.

    And during the last debate held in the Central Committee several weeks ago, just days before all 11 Members of the Island Council voted to approve the Constitution as it is today, it was agreed upon that one of the first orders of the first Parliament of St. Maarten, would be to establish once and for all who a St. Maartener is and take this up in our constitution.

    I call on all St. Maarteners, those born here, those whose parents, grandparents or great grandparents were born here, and all other citizens and residents of St. Maarten, to embrace our constitution and live by it, day by day, step by step, and we will together move forward, and build St. Maarten into the strong nation we all dream of it to be.

    The preamble of our Constitution reads:

    We the people of St. Maarten

    Confirming that we recognize the guiding principles of the Almighty God as the core of our values;

    Inspired by the exercise of our universal right to self-determination as manifested in the referendum of June 23rd, 2000, when we freely opted for the status of country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands;

    Being determined to work with each other, with our partners in the Kingdom of the Netherlands, with our neighbours in French Saint Martin and with all peoples of the world on the basis of freedom, equality, peaceful coexistence and international solidarity;

    Declare that we are a people that believes in the principles of democracy, the rule of law, the principles of separation of powers, the dignity and value of the individual, and the entitlement of all individuals to the fundamental rights of freedoms;

    Being determined to care for the perpetual maintenance of nature and the environment;

    Declare that we wish to create a constitutional order based on an open and approachable government;

    And therefore, in order to record these objectives and convictions, the following provisions shall enjoy the force of law as the Constitution of Sint Maarten.

    Chapter 2 of our Constitution lists the fundamental rights of the people of St. Maarten, including the Freedoms, Equality, Solidarity, Citizenship and the Administration of Justice.

    This is the constitution we must all live by and abide to. And once that happens, we will create the Country St. Maarten, we all dream of. But in order to achieve this, we must believe in the Constitution of Country St. Maarten and live by it.

    Fellow St. Maartiners, residents of St. Maarten, friends,

    supporters10092010Exactly one week from today, the voters of St. Maarten will be called upon to go to the polls to elect those persons who will serve as the first 15 Members of the Parliament of Country St. Maarten, who will support the first Government – the first Council of Ministers of St. Maarten.
    And therefore, for just one more week, it will look like St. Maarten is divided, but we are not. We may have our political differences, which may continue to exist for years to come.
    But as soon as the polls are closed on Friday Sept. 10th, we must burry our political hatchets.
    I call on all leaders, to put aside our differences on October 11th, 2010, and rally round the common cause we have been struggling for all these years. This is the time to remember that we are in this together – no matter what option you voted for or what party you support.
    This is the time to really put St. Maarten first – Country above self - and demonstrate our love for our island by standing shoulder to shoulder to complete this project of building our new nation – St. Maarten.

    We have our work cut out for us. There's still a lot to be done. We have new structures to build and new institutions to develop, institutions that we have never had before. We have to continue to increase and improve our human resource capacity at every level. We have to prove to ourselves that we are capable of building a modern, responsible and responsive democracy.
    We have come very far; we have traveled for over 10 years now, on this long and winding road, but we are not altogether there as yet. All of us must redouble our efforts to reach the destination we all have been clamoring for, for so long.
    10-10-10, When we become country, is not the final destination. 10-10-10 Is a New Beginning.
    We have laid the foundation for what we believe and desire to be - a strong, virile, progressive and new Caribbean nation, home to a free, God-fearing, hard working, enterprising, resilient and proud people. It is a well-known fact, that the stronger and deeper the foundation, the higher the building can rise.
    The day, has already arrived when the government of St. Maarten will respect its people and be proud of its people and the people will respect their government, and be proud of their government.
    We are poised at the gates of a new day that is about to dawn. But make no mistake about it; the thrill of victory we all share now is only a signal for greater commitment, dedication, and determination to the cause, a cause that is greater than any one of us.
    Each victory, each step forward, is meant to actually encourage us to give our all - for the sake and benefit of St. Maarten, until the ultimate glory is achieved.
    October 10, 2010 is just one month away, and yes together we will march through the gates of the promised land. But we cannot stop there, the journey is not complete unless, all of us, the government and the people, work together, hand in hand to live our Constitution, each and every article of it.
    We must all ensure that:

    • The hopes dreams and aspirations of all are realized
    • Constitutional human rights and privileges are guaranteed, respected and protected under the law
    • Our institutions of democracy are jealously guarded
    • The governed and our government respect the law
    • We enjoy personal safety and public peace and order
    • We enjoy the right to secure work in safe conditions, on fair terms, and for just reward
    • We enjoy liberty, equal opportunity and equal justice
    • The human dignity and self respect of all is honoured
    • Our young people enjoy opportunities for growth, prosperity and individual achievement
    • Our natural resources are resolutely protected
    • We respect, celebrate and find strength in our cultural heritage and in our religious diversity
    • We protect our children, respect our women, venerate our elderly and care for our vulnerable
    • All enjoy access to premium education, fulfilling employment, adequate and affordable housing, quality health care, effective police services, compassionate public assistance and people-based policies that propel total development, without exclusion
    • We make St. Maarten an intelligent island, technologically driven and a centre of excellence in education and new media
    • St. Maarten is a preferred, year round tourism destination and international travel and transport hub, and shopping Mecca, where
    • St. Maarteners are involved in and benefit from all sectors
    • St. Maarten is a society of ever increasing prosperity for all who want to work

    Government cannot do it alone, we need all hands on deck! I therefore, take this opportunity to urge all of you, all of us, civil society and civil servants, elected and appointed officials in government, the private and public sectors, laymen and clergy, young and old, those who were born here, those who were brought here and those who have chosen to come here, to join hands together in this undertaking.
    And yes, it is only when we all move Forward Together and work together, respecting each other, we will be able to really reach the promised land of Country St. Maarten.
    Fellow St. Maarteners, Residents of St. Maarten, friends,
    It will be remiss of me again if I do not single out the outstanding and selfless contributions of people such as Dennis Richardson, Drs. Eugene Holiday, Island Secretary Joane Dovale-Meit, former Minister of Constitutional Affairs, attorney Richard Gibson, who will go down in history as the Man who got the Constitutional Train moving when the National Alliance appointed him as Minister in 2005, also our present Deputy Prime Minister of the Netherlands Antilles and Minister of Constitutional Affairs, Roland Duncan, and several others in getting us to the gates of the promised, which will be thrown wide open for all of us to step in, as we step out of the Netherlands Antilles and embark on the journey of a New Beginning as Country Sint Maarten.
    It is an honor and a privilege to have worked with you and I look forward to continuing on the same path of hard work and unselfish service to St. Maarten, with all of you.
    Congratulations once again to Mr. Eugene Holiday, who has been appointed to take up office as the first Governor of Country Sint Maarten. Congratulations also to Dennis Richardson, who was recently appointed by the Island Council to serve as one of the first Members of the Council of Advice for Country Sint Maarten.
    After the return of the delegation from The Hague on April 23rd, Dennis Richardson was not with us when we celebrated in this Hall, as he was still in a hospital in Colombia getting treatment following an accident he had on Holy Thursday, 3 days before, a small but determined delegation, consisting of Eugene Holiday, Richard Gibson and my person left for The Hague to take on the Dutch 2nd Chamber, during the debate on the Consensus Kingdom Laws.
    And today again, Dennis could not be with us; this time he had to stay on in The Netherlands to undergo some medical tests and exams because of his April accident. Dennis, the thoughts and prayers of all the people of St. Maarten are with you, and all of us look forward to welcoming you back home soon.
    In closing, I want to once again publicly thank, on behalf of the people and Government of St. Maarten, all civil servants, particularly those who work in the Secretariat for their hard work and dedication the past two months. Without their support, working long hours, seven days a week, even until 3:30 one day.
    And on the day Hurricane Earl passed St. Maarten, these young women were out by 2 in the afternoon to continue working for their country, leaving their homes and family behind, some of them without water and or electricity.
    Thank you, Cassandra, thank you Angelique, thank you , thank you thank you , thank you , thank you.

    A big thank you also to the legal experts, Robert Vennix and Iliana Pasman-Schotborg who put in days of long hours to finalize the Constitution of St. Maarten and all the Organic Laws and Legislation needed for us to pass the Kingdom Test to become Country.
    Let us be grateful to the Almighty for allowing us to reach this milestone, and pray that he will continue to crown our efforts with success. Indeed, with God on our side, we shall continue to move forward together to 10-10-10, to Country St. Maarten, to the Dawn of a New Beginning.
    God bless St. Maarten.
    It is now my distinct pleasure and honour to call on the members of the Island Council and Executive Council to accept a hard copy of the English translation of the Constitution of Country St. Maarten.
    Council Lady Wescott-Williams and Councilman Rodolphe Samuel received their copy in The Hague during the Round Table Conference on Thursday.

  • Frans And Macsood Unveil Plan for State of the Art Stadium.

    fransandmacsood12092010Cul de Sac:-- Sportsman and cricket pioneer Imran Macsood along with Commissioner of Sports Frans Richardson unveiled the plan for the new state of the art stadium that government intends to build if re-elected. Macsood said hundreds of thousands of dollars were spent on getting the technical drawings and conducting the necessary studies to build the stadium next to the Little League Stadium on Pond Island. Commissioner Frans Richardson said the stadium would have more than a well lighted cricket field, instead it will have a seating capacity of 10,000.
    spectators12092010
  • SEMSAMAR Appoints Interim President.

    Marigot:--- The Board of Administration of SEMSAMAR met on September 10, 2010. A motion was put during this meeting, requesting the dismissal of the President in office of the SEMSAMAR, Mr. Louis Constant FLEMING, elected in December 2009. This motion was adopted by a majority.

    Following the adoption of this motion, Mrs. Annette PHILIPS was elected to the post of interim President of the Board of Administration of the SEMSAMAR.

    "I thank the Board of Administration for entrusting me with the interim presidency, declared Mrs. PHILIPS. I shall convene the Board of Administration of SEMSAMAR within the time prescribed by our Articles of Incorporation for the election of the new President of the Board."

    Semsamar administration reminds the community that Mrs. PHILIPS has been an administrator of SEMSAMAR for three years and that she has always defended the interests of Saint-Martin in this company where the Collectivity holds 51% of the shares. Mrs. PHILIPS is a Territorial Councilor of Saint-Martin.

  • Drug Bust at PJIAE--- Curacao Man Caught with Cocaine.

    suitcase13092010Airport:--- On Sunday, Customs Officers at Princess Juliana International Airport during their regular checks of the incoming passengers from Curacao confiscated approximately 2 kilos of cocaine from a male passenger.

    Customs detected a passenger who was acting nervous during the routine controls. The Customs Officers on duty decided to control this male passenger more rigorously. Control was done on his body, nothing was found. During the control of his suitcase, the Officers noticed that the suitcase was heavier than usual. Due to a more rigorous inspection of the suitcase in question, Customs officers found out that the suitcase consisted of a so-called double bottom and double sides. The drugs were planted in a very professional and ingenious way to the sides and bottom of the suitcase.

    cocaine13092010The passenger in question with the initials J.L., born and resides on Curacao was detained by the officers and brought to the Customs station (ward) for further interrogation.
    J.L. is currently going through a series of interrogations at Customs to find out if the drugs that was found in his possession, were intended for the local market or the European Continent. After testing the white substance that was found hidden in the sides of the suitcase, it was proven to be Cocaine. Head of Customs Anthony Doran said due to the investigation more information cannot be released.

  • European Court Ruling Bolsters Media Freedom---Decision Sets High Bar for Disclosure of Sources.

    Strasbourg, France—Today the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights unanimously held that media premises are exempt from police searches, marking a major victory for press freedom across the continent.
    "This ruling was an acid test for the Court and for media freedom across Europe," said Geoffrey Robertson QC, counsel for a coalition of intervening organizations. "It sets a high benchmark for protection of journalistic materials and will force police and prosecutors across Europe, from Russia to France, to change their practices."
    In its decision in Sanoma v. the Netherlands, the Court reversed an earlier ruling and held that police cannot search media premises or seize journalistic materials unless they can show it is absolutely necessary in the investigation of a serious crime and have obtained a judicial warrant.
    "A number of recent judgments had raised questions about the European Court's commitment to the original principles of its Article 10 jurisprudence," said Darian Pavli, legal officer at the Open Society Justice Initiative. "Today's ruling reaffirms the vital importance of free media as a cornerstone of any democratic society."
    The judgment upholds and builds on earlier rulings such as Goodwin v. UK, which established the right of journalists to protect their sources.
    "In this judgment, the European Court lays down a clear marker for the protection of journalistic materials," said Peter Noorlander, legal director at the Media Legal Defence Initiative. "This will force a change in law and practice across Europe, not only in countries like Russia and Romania but also in France and the Netherlands, where new legislation is now required."
    "The Court today said in the clearest terms that all European nations must have strong laws that protect the media's fundamental right to confidential sources in order to ensure the public's right to know. Every country must now review their laws and ensure that these rights are fully respected." said David Banisar, Senior Legal Counsel for ARTICLE 19.
    The Media Legal Defence Initiative, ARTICLE 19, the Committee to Protect Journalists, Guardian News and Media Limited, and the Open Society Justice Initiative intervened jointly in the lawsuit, with support from the Associated Press, Bloomberg News, Index on Censorship, the European Newspaper Publishers Association, Condé Nast Publications, Hearst Corporation, the National Geographic Society, the New York Times Company, La Repubblica, Reuters, Time Inc., the Washington Post Company, and the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers.

    (SW Radio& Philipsburg Broadcasting)
  • Patrick Illidge NA Candidate #7 pledges Fls 1000.00 monthly to Social Causes, if elected to Parliament!

    pillidge15092010Philipsburg:--- NA Candidate #7 Patrick Illidge has pledged Fls. 1000.00 monthly to social causes if elected to Parliament, this pledge has come about based on the many requests by many persons in need within the different districts in St. Maarten.
    Illidge said "While on the campaign trail I have encountered many persons who are facing many different social hardships, it is somewhat overwhelming but I am committed to bring about solutions to these problems, you can lean on me." The NA Candidate is of the opinion that taxpayers money will be paying his salary so it is only fair to contribute part of his salary to the people. Once elected the funds will be dedicated to social concerns affecting single parent homes, elderly persons living alone, foundations that assist the community on a yearly basis, youth development and scholarship assistance for youngsters who excel in their academic studies.
    pillidgefood15092010Additionally, the NA candidate in collaboration with Prime Distributors in Cole Bay has donated over 300 boxes of basic food item to families in need. The recipients have have expressed much surprise and gratitude for the donation.
    food15092010
  • Christian Community and Political Parties Meet—Discussion Fruitful.

    Philipsburg:--- With the contributions to the final product of the Constitution of Country St. Maarten fresh in the minds of the Christian Community, the St. Maarten Christian Council, The St. Maarten Ministerial Foundation and the Seven Day Adventist Churches embarked on meeting with the political parties involved in the September 17th 2010 early elections.
    The first meetings were with the UPP & CPA and NA while the DP could not participate because of scheduling problems. The UPP had as a redline during the discussion that they were of the opinion that the Christian Community has been too passive and should more take on the profiling of e.g. SHTA.
    On the separation of church and state the party upheld that principle but felt too much authority has been given to government to dictate how things should be done. They were of the opinion that the churches must be prepared to get involved. The UPP envisaged the church via Culture and Education introducing Christian principles. As for Prayer at the start of all meetings, the party will encourage this as well as legislating the need for a chaplain.
    The UPP wants to have all stakeholders engaged in a discussion on nudity on the streets and carnival.
    The healthcare is the most expensive element in government, however the UPP felt the Medical Centre should be brought the standard of state of the art with telecasting operations. A conscious push will be made to emphasize the programmes during the terms of Commissioners Meyers as far as preventative methods and using generic drugs to reduce the cost of healthcare. We were further referred to the manifesto of UPP that would be brought to the Christian community.
    In education the party would emphasized the programmes of no child must be left behind.
    In economy the emphasis would be to invest in trade and they will make sure the labour law is applied and Seven Day Adventist will not be discriminated. The UPP is against same sex marriages, and euthanasia.
    The CPA stands for a close working relationship with the Christian community, but believes in the separation of church and state. They believed that the persons chosen for Parliament must be examples.
    A chaplain must be definitely appointed for Parliament as this also avoids corruption in Government.
    The CPA will call for more consultation between clergy and government.
    A cabinet minister of Ecclesiastic Affairs is something they will certainly support and implement prayer, while supporting the on going annual events financially.
    The CPA is against same sex marriages while they feel that government and the Christian community must set up offices to counsel those wanting to go into this. On abortion the CPA feels it is something one should be very careful with, while the party has not yet looked into euthanasia. But the party is contra hanging.
    On education, the party has no problem with compulsory education, but feels it should be tied to a strong immigration policy.
    The party feels that on healthcare much collaboration should be sought with the French side and other islands in the vicinity, especially to reduce the costs of healthcare.
    The manifesto was not yet ready but as soon as it was complete copies will be forwarded to the Christian community.
    The National Alliance was the third party to individually sit with the churches. On the matter of separation of church and state, the party said that while there are and must be clear lines of responsibilities between Church and state, there cannot be a total separation of both, since they both need to work together in order to fulfill their responsibilities.
    On the philosophy of prayer before meetings, National Alliance believes that while the idea of prayer at the annual opening of parliament is a good idea, implementing this will need to be properly discussed for its application.
    The National Alliance further believed that the Public Religious services are important and that they have played an important role in the spiritual life of the nation in the past. The N.A. Government will continue to support these ventures in every way it can.
    While individuals cannot be forced to take part in these activities, the N.A. Government will encourage and ensure as much as possible that its Government leaders support these services.
    On the cardinal points of Same- sex marriage, abortion and euthanasia as social ills, the National Alliance Party does not have an expressed corporate stand on the matters; members of the N.A. Government do have their own personal views. The matter will be more centered on.
    The morals of the country that are being trampled on and the N.A. believes that there are laws which regulate these issues, and these laws must be looked at and the necessary steps taken to enforce these laws.
    The National Alliance feels that St. Maarten is a signatory to the International Human Rights treaty, and so all persons when taken into police custody must be treated with dignity and availing their rights to them. The N.A. Government will continue to ensure that good practices are upheld. The N.A. Government believes that every child should be and must be afforded the right to an education, and so they will continue to implement this program. Finances have been and will continue to be made available for this program. There must be a proper system to ensure that issues concerning immigration and the compulsory education work hand in hand.
  • Police Reminds General Public to Exercise Caution on Election Day--- Persons holding Car Rallies Without Permits Will be Stopped and Action Will be Taken.

    Philipsburg:--- The police department will be taking on the responsibility of safety and security on Election Day Friday September 17th 2010 announced police spokesman Ricardo Henson.
    The police spokesman said the police will be responsible for the transporting of all ballot boxes to the various polling stations prior to the opening of these stations on Friday morning. Henson said the police would also transport the ballot boxes at the end of election-day to the main voting bureau which will be at the government administration building.
    Henson said police would be busy providing security around all polling stations and they would also stop persons who are engaged in holding car rallies without the necessary permits. Police would also take legal measures against those persons who did not obtain a permit from the chief of police to hold these rallies.
  • Civil servants attend DevInfo workshop for nation building.

    devinfo16092010GREAT BAY:--- Civil servants from several Ministries and the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) on Wednesday concluded three-days of attending the DevInfo User and Database Administration Training Workshop that took place at the UTS Training and Development Center.

    The workshop is part of the Island Government's commitment towards the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG). The main objective of the workshop is to train participants in the administration, maintenance and the usage of the database.

    DevInfo will be used to support the monitoring of progress towards the achievement of the MDG, the results of which will be directly applicable to the strategic planning of the Government of Sint Maarten.

    It is a database system that is used to compile and disseminate data on human/social development.

    The trainees were enthusiastic and have spoken very positive about the multi-usage of the DevInfo, for more purposes than MDG issues alone. At the end of the third day, the trainees received DevInfo certificates from the organizers.

    The DevInfo workshop forms part of the activities of the project, "Capacity Development for Nation Building of the Netherlands Antilles."

    It is a partnership agreement between the Government of the Netherlands Antilles and the United Nations Development Program in Trinidad & Tobago, Suriname, Aruba and the five Dutch Antillean islands.

    The workshop provided participants with hands-on expertise and comprehensive knowledge in setting up the DevInfo application software as another tool to support the CBS. By making DevInfo available to the civil servants in the various government ministries, employees can access a centralized data source and use this data for reports, proposals and policymaking.

    DevInfo was developed by UNICEF in cooperation with the United Nations System to assist the UN and Member States in tracking progress toward the MDG.

    In 2002, DevInfo was proposed as a standard software package for the whole UN system. Its specific purpose is to store existing data, identify gaps in the MDG indicators, provide a single entry point for data on the MDG indicators, and disseminate information simply and attractive.

    The workshop was organized by former Directorate Department of Projects & Programs (DPP, now BAK, Department of Internal Affairs and Kingdom Relations) in collaboration with the Federal Government Department of Development Cooperation (DEVCO) and the UN.

  • Bethel Vandalized--- Third time Star was torn down--- Jack.

    cross19092010Cole Bay:--- Unknown persons for no apparent reasons have been ripping off the hand-made wooden star of "David" that is on top of the Bethel shack at the look-out point on Cole Bay Hill. Owner of the wooden building and food truck on the hill Harold Jack said this is the third time persons have been tearing off his star and throwing it on the side of the building. Jack said he nailed on the star with huge nails but whoever is behind the vandalism does not seem to care about his personal property.
    wherecrossbe19092010
  • Frans Requested Recount of Ballots---Says there are too many invalid votes. (UPDATED)

    nacandidates20092010Philipsburg:--- The committee heading the main voting bureau was surely not happy on Monday when the number two candidate on the National Alliance slate Frans Richardson requested that all the ballots that were casted on Friday be recounted.

    Richardson and the number three candidate George Pantophlet delivered a letter to the chairman of the main voting bureau prior to making his request known orally during the verification process. Richardson said the request to recount the ballots is on behalf of the National Alliance and the reason they gave was because of the high number of invalid votes.

    After making his request the committee members were heard saying they could have looked at the invalid votes and not all the ballots but Richardson insisted that he wants a total recount. This of course did not sit well with the committee members some of them were heard saying that the recount is a total waste of time.

    observing20092010However, election expert Louis Duzanzong said that the recount can change the outcome of the election if they find mistakes. Duzanzong said should the National Alliance get about 100 votes then they would have been able to get the other residual seat that was given the United People's Party which would give the National Alliance the eight seat majority ruling out any coalition. "Right now we have to see if this recount would change the quota."

    As soon as the committee began the recounting several mistakes were found. There were invalid ballots counted as good ballots for the leader of the United People's Party, while a ballot belonging to the number 13 candidate on the UP slate Silvia Meyers was counted for Heyliger. Another error found Monday morning is the 15th polling station had awarded 30 votes for the 23rd candidate on the UP slate Octavio while the votes belonged to the number 22 candidate Jesus Richardson. Johan "Janchi" Leonard also lost one vote from polling station number two as they counted an invalid vote for a good vote in favor of Leonard. Leader of the Democratic lost one vote since it too was an invalid vote, while Frans lost one vote which was also invalid.

    The recount is continuing and might end early Tuesday morning. In an invited comment chairman of the main voting bureau Reynold Groeneveldt said that the committee is finding some discrepancies and it has to be corrected. "Our aim is to make sure the final results are 100% correct" Groeneveldt said.
    In the meantime it must be noted that the committee consists of the father of UP candidate Jesus Richardson and the brother of DP candidate Leroy De Weever.
    groenveltdenfriends20092010SMN News has been reliably informed that the UP party was informed since Saturday that an error had occurred with Jesus Richardson's and Octavio's votes at polling station number 15. SMN News further learnt that due to the notification the UP party held a meeting early Monday morning to discuss the findings before the verification process and recounting. If the error was not found then Octavio could have become a parliamentarian based on a mistake made during the counting of the votes.
    SMN News tried to obtain verification to see if the relationship with the two candidates and members of the committee would create a situation of conflict of interest. However, the chairman of the main voting bureau was busy during press time with the recounting process and he could not elaborate on the relationship of the committee members and the candidates.

  • VNA Official was on St. Maarten during Election Day.

    Philipsburg: --- An unconfirmed report has reached SMN News indicating that an official from the VNA (Dutch Secret Services) was on the island during Election Day. The source said the official is behind the investigation of a politician. SMN News understands that the VNA official visit to St. Maarten has nothing to do with the illegal phone tapping that has been reported in Curacao.
    SMN News is trying is secure more information on this story and we will publish it as the information becomes available.
  • Consumer prices Sint Maarten June 2010 --- Prices increased by 0.3 percent compared to April 2010.

    inflationgraph22092010
    In June 2010, the consumer price index for St Maarten has increased by 0.3 percent compared to April 2010.
    Over the period of twelve months ending with June 2010, average consumer prices have increased by 3.0 percent compared to the same period one year earlier.
    This appears from data presented by the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) today.

    Price changes between April and June 2010

    In June, consumer prices in St Maarten were 0.3 percent higher than in April.

    Food (-0.3%), Clothing and footwear (-0.3%) and Transportation and communication (-0.8%) dropped in price, whilst Beverages and tobacco (+1.7%), Housing (+1.0%), Household furnishing and appliances (+0.5%), Medical care (+0.1%), Recreation and education (+0.1%) and Miscellaneous (+0.1%) became more expensive.

    The three largest consumer categories, Food, Housing and Transportation and communication, together forming almost 70 percent of total consumption, accounted for the most noteworthy price changes of specific products.

    First of all, expenses for own transport vehicles (consumption category Transportation and communication) decreased by 2.7 percent, caused by the price fall of gasoline with 7 percent.

    Secondly, energy expenses (consumption category Housing) increased by 3.6 percent due to the fact that electricity (+4.0%) became more expensive.

    Finally it is remarkable that the consumption category Food showed a price decrease in June, albeit by less than half percent. The main factor of influence here was the price of potatoes, vegetables and fruits dropping 3.5 percent, mainly caused by the prices of cabbages (-19%), cucumbers (-19%), tomatoes (-28%) and paprika's / sweet peppers (-32%) tumbling down.

    Long-term inflation

    In June 2010, the twelve-month average of prices for St Maarten was 3.0 percent higher than in June 2009. This development implies that the inflation on the island has reached the highest level since April 2009, when an inflation of 2.9 percent was registered.

    According to the CBS, the twelve-month average of prices is a good indicator for long-term inflation. Thus the increasing trend of inflation in St Maarten continues, albeit in an ever slowing pace.

  • UP/DP Signed Governing Accord--- Every Man, Woman and Child Will be Represented--- Theo.

    signing22092010Great Bay:--- The Molasses restaurant at the Great Bay hotel was packed to its capacity on Tuesday evening with mostly members and supporters of the Democratic Party, dressed in red to witness the historic signing the "Country St. Maarten Accord" to form the first coalition government for country St. Maarten.
    Members of the Democratic Party including its leader Sarah Wescot Williams waited more than an hour before the leader of the United People's Party Theodore Heyliger and his elected candidates and supporters could arrive for the signing.
    President of the Democratic Party Michael Ferrier told the gathering that the accord took four long and hard days to negotiate and it was done by Andy Wescot representing the Democratic Party and Joseph Richardson representing the United People's Party. The Accord reads that the United People's Party and the Democratic Party have agreed that the Democratic Party would have the positions of Prime Minister, General Affairs, including the responsibility for Article 2 sub V1 Community Development, Minister of Plenipotentiary in The Hague, Public Health, Social Development and Labour and the Deputy Chairperson of Parliament. While the United People's Party would have, Deputy Prime Minister, Deputy Minister of Plenipotentiary in The Hague, Chairperson of Parliament, VROM and infrastructure, Tourism and Economic Affairs, Traffic and Transportation and Telecommunication as well as Finance, Justice, Education, Youth Affairs, Sports and Culture.
    leroy22092010The United Peoples Party will be appointing the shareholder representatives for EDC, PJIAE group of companies, GEBE NV, and the harbor group of companies. While the Democratic Party would appoint the shareholder representatives for Post NV, TELEM group of companies, and Winair NV.
    The two political parties that would be forming the first coalition after Friday's historic election have also agreed to jointly appoint the appointees to the government entities such as the Central Bank, Foundation Land Registry, Supervisory councils—SER, General Auditing Chamber and the Council of Advice.
    The Dutch Embassies and consulates will also be appointed jointly for those mentioned and not mentioned, Dominican Republic, Washington, Cuba, Trinidad, Venezuela, and Miami.
    meyers22092010Should parties encounter differences of opinion then an arbitration committee will be appointed consisting of two members one from each of the parties.
    A governing program along with the parties political programs will form the basis for a governing program, which shall be drafted within sixty days after they take office.
    The historic accord was signed by the leaders of the two parties Theodore Heyliger of the UP party and the Democratic Party, and co-signed by the other elected candidates from both political parties, signing as witnesses were Michael Ferrier of the Democratic Party and Franklin Meyers of the UP party.
    President of the UP Franklin Meyers took a quote from the President of the United States that said when people have worked and sacrificed together all things are possible. Meyers said the people that have voted for the UP and the DP have voted against the National Alliance and that must be respected. Meyers said the two parties would also work to make St. Maarten what it should be. While the president of the DP said they have a job to do and they will do it well.
    Leader of the United People's Party Theodore Heyliger in his address has guaranteed all persons living on St. Maarten especially those persons who did not vote for the UP party full representation. Heyliger said he is not a vindictive person and he wants to assure those persons that did not vote for the UP or DP that they will be represented, they will get the best in education, health, justice and in every other field that they can portray on St. Maarten. Heyliger also put to rest the constant rumors that spread like wild fire on Tuesday that states that he was either arrested or questioned by police. "I want to assure you I have not been any place else except driving around in my car." Heyliger said that putting together the accord has taken quite some time. He said the negotiations started even before the polls closed on Friday. He said they took governing St. Maarten very seriously.
    Heyliger said he is refreshed after a very bitter campaign, a campaign he said that has shown new levels of participation in all different fields however, they are there to bury all differences and to work toward the interest of the people of St. Maarten. Heyliger said that the UP is the youngest in the coalition and they have signed an agreement with the oldest party on the island thus they now have all the levels of experience the UP party did not have. Heyliger said he is thankful for the candidates that would be joining him in parliament because there are those that were looking to divide those elected on the UP slate.
    crowd22092010Leader of the Democratic Party Sarah Wescot Williams in her speech said the team that worked on the accord was small but they are motivated by securing that the future of St. Maarten is at the heart in everything they do. Wescot Williams said governing is not going to be an easy task and maybe that is the reason the UP and the DP has joined to form the next government for country St. Maarten. The DP leader also said that they began the negotiations before the polls closed on Friday simply because the people needed to know that serious people are committed to making sure the foundation for country St. Maarten is a solid one. Wescot Williams said she also hated to disappoint those who thought the agreement was signed before Election Day. After the signing the signatories held a toast to celebrate what they described as a historical moment.
    sxmgvnacc122092010sxmgvnacc222092010sxmgvnacc322092010sxmgvnacc422092010
  • Shots fired in St Peters---Police Calling to the Public for Information.

    gunshot23092010Philipsburg:--- The police department is calling on members of the public to assist them with information pertaining to a shooting spree in the St. Peters area. According to police spokesman Ricardo Henson at approximately 9am on Thursday police and the detective department responded to Apricot Road St. Peters where it was reported that a number of shots were fired. Henson said police believed the shots were fired by the occupants of a small vehicle. However, police did not locate the vehicle neither did they receive any reports from anyone who might have been shot.
    The police spokesman said that evidence was found at the scene which showed that a number of shots were indeed fired. He said so far no one was taken to the St. Maarten Medical Center for treatment of gunshot wounds. The police and forensic department are continuing with the investigation in this case.
    patroling23092010
  • Theo Skipped Official Send off of Governor General.

    icouncilmemngg23092010Philipsburg:--- Caretaker commissioner Theo Heyliger and leader of the United People's Party was the only member of the island council who did not attend the official farewell ceremony held on Thursday at the government administration building for Governor General of the Netherlands Antilles General, Fritz Goededrag. In an invited comment to SMN News, Heyliger said he called the governor general to wish him all the best even though he did not attend the ceremony.
    ggfarewell23092010The governor general is currently visiting the islands saying goodbye to his colleagues now that his term is about to end when the Netherlands Antilles is dismantled on October 10 2010. The farewell ceremony was held at Maho Sonesta on Thursday evening.
  • Collective Preventive Services advises persons at risk to consult family doctor for seasonal flu shot.

    GREAT BAY:--- The Collective Preventive Services (CPS) is advising persons at risk at the onset of the annual flu season, to get their flu shot from their family doctor.

    It is documented that one of the best ways to protect against the flu is to get vaccinated each year. Influenza is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses, and people of any age can get it.

    It can be a mild to severe illness which at times can lead to death. One of the best ways to reduce the chances of getting seasonal flu and lessen the chance to transmit it to others is to get a 'flu shot.' Other ways are to take preventive measures or good health habits.

    The influenza vaccine protects against seasonal flu. Influenza is not just a common cold. The 'flu shot' is given with a needle, usually in the arm.

    Like with all vaccines given, the body develops antibodies when one gets the flu vaccine. These antibodies provide protection against infection with the only viruses that the vaccine is made of.

    Persons who are at risk and should take their seasonal flu vaccine include: person's 65-years and older; pregnant women, persons with chronic medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease, and persons with immune compromised conditions.

    Persons who live in nursing homes and other long term care facilities and health care workers should also get their flu shot.

    Good health habits that are essential and protect against the flu include covering your cough and washing your hands often which can help stop the spread of germs and prevent respiratory illnesses like the flu.

    Avoid close contact with people who are sick, and keep your distance from others to protect them from getting too sick. Follow your doctor's advice; stay home when you are sick. It helps prevent others from catching your illness.

    Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or cough in your elbow, when you need to cough and sneeze, it may prevent those around you from getting sick.

    Germs often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.

    Practice other good health habits such as getting plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage stress, drink plenty of fluids, and strive to maintain a nutritious diet.

    Persons are recommended to check with their family doctor concerning the flu vaccine and any additional information that you are interested in receiving.

  • Man Arrested for Beating Woman with 2x4 Wood.

    Philipsburg:--- A man is now behind bars for beating one of his female relatives with a 2x4 wood. Police spokesman Ricardo Henson in his police report said police responded to Virgin Gordia Drive on Monday for a case of ill treatment. Henson said police encountered a woman at the scene identified as J.M.P with severe injuries to her right ankle. She was taken to the St. Maarten Medical Centre for treatment.
    The victim told police her relative took a piece of wood and beat her which resulted in the injuries to her ankle. The police spokesman said shortly after the suspect identified as V.S.L surrendered to police. He was immediately arrested. The investigation is currently ongoing.
  • Shots Fired During Armed Robbery.

    Philipsburg:--- A man identified as S. E, resident of Tangerine Road has filed a complaint with detective department stating that early Monday morning he caught a man in his house with a loaded shotgun. The victim told police that he was awakened when he heard noise from shattered glass coming from his front door area. S. E told police that when he approached his door he saw a young man whose face was covered with a mask armed with a shotgun. He said the suspect aimed his gun at him threatening to shoot.
    The suspect further explained to police that he ran away from the scene fearing for his life, while running away the culprit fired two shots both of which missed him.
    The man said later two other persons showed up at his house in a blue vehicle and they stole his 125cc scooter. Currently the special armed robbery unit is investigating the case.
  • Yaya’s new book The Frock & Other Poems just published.

    frockpresentation29092010GREAT BAY:--- The Frock & Other Poems by Laurelle "Yaya" Richards has just been released by House of Nehesi Publishers (HNP).
    In the book, "Richards grounds her verse in the history and culture of St. Martin," said the Jamaican/US author Geoffrey Philp.
    Yaya Richards had completed working on The Frock with her publisher at the time of her death at age 55, on May 26, 2010, said Jacqueline Sample, president of HNP.
    The St. Martin folklorist hailed from St. Louis where she organized annual food fairs and promoted knowledge of folk-life, said Sample.
    The folk, modern, and personal elements are reflected by Richards in poems such as "Silk cotton grow," "Value of a woman," and "Abandoned salt pond," which is dedicated to the last generations that picked salt in the Grand Case Salt Pond.
    Yaya's poems, like her signature piece, "The Frock," grew out of her Spoken Word presentations at schools and cultural shows throughout the island. "The poems celebrate the island and the proud heritage captured in the traditions and music of her people," said Philp, who is also a lecturer at Miami Dade College.
    Gracing the book's cover is a larger-than-life painting of Yaya wearing her colorful folk persona frock. The oil painting is by leading Caribbean impressionist Roland Richardson.
    The art link of the collaboration that produced the slim volume of verse inspired art gallery director Laura Richardson to say that, "As an emerging nation, St. Martin's cultural consciousness is also growing in leaps and bounds."
    "House of Nehesi's role as a publisher, Roland's role as an artist, Laurelle's role as a writer, all work in unison as beacons of light, reaching out to the universal society that hungers for new fresh thoughts from all points on the globe that perpetuates growth and evolution," said Richardson.
    thefrock29092010"Miss Yaya serves as an actual and symbolic cultural nexus from the villages of St. Louis, which includes Freetown, and Rambaud, ... a depository of the oral tradition and collective memory," wrote educator Lenny Mussington in the book's introduction.
    The Frock & Other Poems is "At times playful, sometimes stern, the poems do not avoid the conflicts that plague her home and by wider implication the Caribbean," wrote Philp in his review of the new seminal collection.
    Linguist Rhoda Arrindell was the language editor and Sundiata Lake designed the cover and illustrations for Yaya's book.
    "The Collectivity's government in Marigot provided a cultural arts sponsorship for the title as another concrete investment in the nation's literature," said Sample.
    The Frock & Other Poems is available at Roland Richardson Gallery in Marigot, Van Dorp in Simpson Bay and A.T. Illidge Road, Arnia's bookstore at Bush Road/Zagersgut Road, Philipsburg Jubilee Library, and www.houseofnehesipublish.com.
  • Marlin Says DP did not make Preparations for Country St Maarten—Reason to Rent Building is to house Parliament.

    william31082010Philipsburg:--- Leader of government William Marlin in an interview said the Democratic Party did not make provisions for country St. Maarten even though they were in government for almost 10 years. Marlin said while everyone is talking about the building government has decided to rent, they have failed to say that those in government in the past did not provide space for the future parliament.
    Marlin said when people heard about the $96,000 monthly rent they must have been shocked but it is cheaper than what most people pay per meter for a Front Street locations. Marlin said this issue has two components one is the amount of rent and the other is why they have to rent a building now. Marlin said people are confusing the new government building that is under construction and the parliament building. The new government building he said will house government and the council of ministers while they have to find space for parliament which is a separate entity from government.
    Marlin said the location that was rented is a temporary location and the owner of the building has to invest monies to make sure the building becomes suitable to be used as a parliament building. He said four of the floors will be occupied, the 2, 3,4th floors will be the loft and meeting rooms for the members of parliament. Marlin said parliamentarian's needs to have space to work on a daily basis. He said the permanent committees have to meet regularly especially those of finance, labour, education and justice. Also to be housed in the new building is the support staff of the members of parliament all of whom are to have their separate offices including faction offices and meeting rooms. Marlin said they had to rent the building for at least seven years so that they are guaranteed of a space, he said the contract do have provisions to terminate the contract prior to the seven years but there would be a penalty if that is to happen. He said one of the advantages of renting for seven years is that government would not have to focus on building a parliament building on day one but instead they would build the other necessary buildings.
    Marlin said one of the things the members of the opposition did not talk about is the 13 million guilders per year that is spent on office space for government offices throughout Philipsburg which is used only for the island government offices only. Marlin said government has been paying 3 million guilders per year for the white Administration Building which was not occupied for one day. Marlin also indicated that government is paying 60.000 guilders per year for the tax office which has been rented for the past ten years. The island leader said people need to put things into proper prospective and make the necessary comparison. He said while the other spaces were rented empty the parliament building will come fully equipped with the furniture and fixtures and other basic necessities. Marlin said based on an estimate they received from an real estate company, buildings on Front Street are rented as much as $100 per square meter while government would be renting Caribbean Palm for $45 per square meter and they would occupy 1200 square meters. Government will also have to pay $35 per square meter for the furnishings.
  • Schools to remain closed until Monday, September 6.

    GREAT BAY:--- On Wednesday, after an assessment of the situation at schools, and in consultation with educational officials, it has been decided that schools will remain closed this week and will open on Monday, September 6.
    Acting Lt. Governor Reynold Groeneveldt told the Government Information Service (GIS) on Wednesday that after a total assessment of the situation on the island which also includes the instability and lack of public utilities (electricity, water) in various districts; it has been decided to keep schools closed for the remainder of the week.
    This would allow for the situation on the island to normalize in the coming days and the necessary preparations and repairs that need to be carried out at the various schools.
  • NO Curfew as Fiona Passes, School Reopens on Monday.

    GREAT BAY:--- Operational leaders of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) 10 Emergency Support Functions (ESFs) met at the Fire Department in Cay Hill on Wednesday morning to assess the situation on the island with respect to post Hurricane Earl clean-up as well as approaching Tropical Storm Fiona.
    Tropical Storm Fiona: A Tropical Storm Watch remains in effect for Sint Maarten. Fiona is expected to pass approximately 70 miles North East of the island around 2.00pm this afternoon.
    The Netherlands Antilles/Aruba Meteorological Service informed the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) on Wednesday morning that the island can expect an increase in cloudiness, an increase in shower activity along with some heavy thunder storms. The possibility also exists for some high to gusty winds as the system passes. The majority of the weather is located in the Northern part of the system well away from the island.
    Curfew: During the passing of Tropical Storm Fiona, all persons are advised to remain indoors at home or at work until the weather passes. At this time it is not necessary to re-introduce a curfew.
    Electricity/Water: GEBE has reported that by late this afternoon, most of the island will have electricity. There are still some issues with overhead cables in some districts and these should be back online by late Thursday.
    Drinking water production is dependent on electricity. GEBE along with the Water Production Company Airfin have been busy replenishing the water tanks and as electricity is restored this problem would have been remedied.
    Clean-Up: Clean-up efforts continue. The Boardwalk will be cleaned during the course of Wednesday. Philipsburg has been cleaned for the most part and district clean-up of debris and household garbage will continue.
  • French Civil Servants Claiming Discrimination --- Says Unqualified Foreigners are given Preference.

    Marigot: --- The UTCG, CTG, and UTC unions are seeking to represent a number of local civil servants that are being pushed aside even though they are fully qualified to hold top positions in the Collectivity of St. Martin. Unionist Janine Arnel told SMN News in exclusive interview on Thursday that there are a number of local St. Martiners that has diplomas but they are not given the opportunity to serve their country. Persons like Alex Richards, Philippe Stephen, Rodrique Angely, Murielle Benissa and Henoc Patrick are only some of the persons that were named. Arnel said over the years they are hearing that there are no qualified locals on the island to take up major positions but there are at three persons who are currently being pushed aside while Guadeloupians were brought in and given huge salaries and benefits even though they do not possess the necessary diplomas for the jobs they are holding. Right now St. Martiners are less fortunate in their own country Arnel said.
    Arnel who holds a masters degree said she received a sanction on Thursday when she was informed that she was going to be taking up a new position over the dispensaries, while she has been the acting director of the social services for the past two years without a director. Arnel has served 25 years as a social worker with the General Council and she also holds a degree in management of sanitary and social affairs.(BAC+5 that is equivalent to a Masters Degree). Arnel said she had quite some challenges when she began setting up the social services on St. Martin because those in charge wanted things to be done outside of the law as if the island was part of a banana republic, something she is totally against.
    Arnel said one of the DGA Regine Ramassamy recently went back to her island after she was recalled by the General Council. She said that position will now be held by the DGS Pascal Avern. Avern she said will be holding two positions in the COM, while there are qualified locals sitting on the side line.
    Arnel said she was informed in a meeting that the COM is reorganizing the services and that they are making changes whereby she will be removed from her position. Arnel said she was an acting director now she is given a position as charge de mission which does not entail a promotion with salaries or benefit neither does it correspond to her qualifications. She said according to the law she is supposed to be promoted after three years of service but that has not happened. Arnel said she was made to understand that another outsider would be taking up her position even though that person does not have the necessary qualification to hold such a position. Arnel said another top position in the social services is also held by Guyanaise person who also is not qualified yet they are earning huge salaries with house and car benefits.
    Arnel named a number of persons who were brought in by the elected officials of the Union pour les Progres and the island she said went backwards by 10 years. She said there is one person who has more qualifications than the DGS and he is pushed aside. This person she said is waiting for the past four months and his expertise is not being used. Arnel said she felt that the people of St. Martin are being insulted with their educational achievements. Arnel named a number of persons who are currently holding the same position and are being paid for not doing anything that would benefit the island or its people. She said even though the elected officials know that certain persons are not qualified neither are they performing the duties they are paid to do, their contracts and benefits are being renewed at the expense of the people.
    Arnel said three unions are now gearing up to take actions against the COM. She said the unions met with the COM and they have sent a number of letters regarding the labour abuse against the civil servants. Arnel said one of the reasons she has chosen to speak out is to make sure the population is aware of the current state of affairs of their country. Arnel said the St. Martin people should be first in their country and she cannot continue to accept the mediocrity that is currently being displayed by the elected officials. The French civil servants intend to join the national strike which is scheduled to take place on September 7th regarding the pensionable age while they would be preparing to take action against the injustice that are meted out against the locals.
  • Semsamar Board Voted Louis Constant Fleming Out as President.

    lcf2Marigot:--- Five members of the board of Semsamar voted in favor of removing senator Louis Constant Fleming as president of the board. It has been months now several persons were speaking out against Fleming for postulating for the presidency of Semsamar because it is a direct conflict of interest. Fleming is a shareholder of Semsamar as well as St. Martin's representative in parliament in France.
    SMN News learnt that first vice president Daniel Gibbs added the agenda point to the regular board meeting on Thursday and at least two members of the Territorial Council that are part of the majority and are also members of the Semsamar board voted against Fleming. Sources close to the board said while nine members voted in favor removing Fleming as the board's president four of them voted for him to remain chairman of the board.
    Ever since Constant Fleming was elected President of the Semsamar board Gibbs raised his concerns and vowed to fight against Fleming. The first president also requested an audit be conducted at Semsamar even though his father held the presidency for over 20 years. It is not yet known when the board would meet again to vote for a new president and if Daniel Gibbs or Louis Jeffry would postulate themselves for the position. Fleming in a press release said he wishes the board well in their future endeavors.
  • Rhoda Arrindell takes language policy on election campaign trail.

    rhodaandyouths15092010GREAT BAY:--- On the campaign trail, I am presenting new ideas for a national education policy, with emphasis on a St. Martin language policy," says election candidate Rhoda Arrindell (UP #5).
    A 2005 scientific study by Arrindell showed that nearly 65% of the population in the South or Dutch part of the island "want English as the language of instruction in the nation's schools," said Arrindell.
    "A pilot study of teachers shows the same percentage as the general population," said Arrindell, who is a linguist and award-winning educator.
    Rhoda Arrindell said that she would work with the UP government, school boards, parents, teachers, related stakeholders, to develop a modern language policy and a "sound and competitive education system for St. Martin."
    The language policy would include "Dutch and French as mandatory second-language subjects, starting in the elementary schools, before children pass what is considered the critical age of mastering languages," said Arrindell.
    "This would give St. Martin's children the possibility to learn Dutch and French in much the same way European children learn English once they had been exposed to it from early on," said the language expert.
    "There is a difference between 'language of instruction' and 'language in instruction or education.' I am amazed that when I explain this to people they understand," said Arrindell, "but there are some people, and sadly some are educators, who should know better but get so angry and hostile when I talk about these ideas and plans with students, parents, teachers, and the St. Martin people at large."
    "Over 95% of the world's experts show that the majority of a country's children learn best when they are educated in their mother tongue. The mother tongue and historic language of St. Martin is English," said Arrindell.
    "This is the reason why English is also an official language in the territory's new constitution," said Arrindell, former language division head of the University of St. Martin. Arrindell is contesting the Friday, September 17 legislative election here.
    "I am not favoring one colonial language over another. What we are looking at is the historical reality of English in St. Martin and to the extent that it will make us as a nation and our young people as students, far more successful."
    "Furthermore, it will make our education system more competitive to prepare our people to assume full responsibility in an independent St. Martin. In this regard, it also showed courage and far-sighted leadership and when Theo Heyliger stood up and said in the debate on Sunday that he was proud to have voted for independence," said Arrindell.
    Another feature that Rhoda Arrindell's language policy proposal would "respect, encourage, and integrate is heritage languages as subjects – just like how geography, social studies, science, music, math, and sports are subjects in the schools."
    rhodaarrindell15092010"A heritage language gives especially parents the option to have their St. Martin children learn a language that may be part of their parents' or grandparents' heritage."
    "In that way, whether at school as an elective or optional subject, from private language institutes, or tutors, a St. Martin child could, and would have the right, to learn Haitian (Creole), Papiamento, Spanish, Hindi, Arabic, Yoruba, Chinese or Hebrew as their heritage language, or even just because as St. Martiners we love languages. Mind you, this is learning language as a subject, not as the language of instruction," said Arrindell.
    Arrindell is a PhD candidate at the University of Puerto Rico and has just submitted her completed doctoral dissertation. Interestingly, her committee chair is Dr. Mervin Alleyne, one of the world's leading language and Creole authorities.
    "In my new study, I am looking at language and culture in St. Martin and how they impact on identity," said Arrindell.
    "And again, I went to the population in a professional and democratic way, in 2009 and 2010, interviewed a wide cross section, to be able to put in that study and to analyze what the St. Martin people are thinking and doing when it comes to how they identify themselves in this nation of ours," said Arrindell.
    This will be the first such scientific study carried out in St. Martin, and her second major language-related study, said Rhoda Arrindell.
    "As far as a national education policy goes, some key signs of that new study can be interpreted to show that English as the language of instruction will serve as a unifying and progressive force for the St. Martin people," said Arrindell.
  • 10 of the 70 Homes in Hope Estate Awarded to Clients of Sister Basillia Center—Linda Richardson Receives Fully Furnish Apartment.

    ribboncutting16092010Hope Estate:--- The island government was able to secure ten of the 70 social homes in Hope Estate for clients residing at the Sr. Basilla Center confirmed leader of government William Marlin at a small ceremony on Thursday. In showing his appreciation to the clients who are part of the special Olympics Marlin surprised one of the clients currently living at the center will a fully furnish apartment.

    welcome16092010The lucky recipient is Linda Richardson a young woman who has hearing and speech disabilities. Marlin said Richardson earned two silver medals when she represented St. Maarten in Shanghai and even though she is unable to speak or hear. She is currently holding three jobs to pay her own bills. Linda Richardson works at the flower shop while she sells arts and crafts that she makes while at the center.
    livingroom16092010Director of the Sr. Basilla Center said the mentors have been training 15 clients that currently living at the center to become independent citizens. He said while the clients are partially handicapped nine of them are able to care for themselves with minimal supervision. The nine clients he said are currently working at several key institutions on St. Maarten and they are expected to move into their homes by the end of the month when there is water and utility available.
    bed16092010Linda Richardson assisted leader of government and commissioner of housing William Marlin to cut the ribbon to enter the one bedroom apartment. Upon entering the apartment Richardson expressed her joy by making numerous gestures. On several occasions she hugged the commissioner thanking him for his kindness in providing all that she needs in her new home. Advisor to the commissioner Dorothy Lake said the furniture and decoration of the apartment was done by Irene Hodge.
    kitchen16092010dinnertable16092010

  • National Alliance Wins Last Island Election--- Coalition Talks to Begin Shorty--- Heyliger Largest Vote Getter.

    williamtalks17092010Philipsburg:--- The last Island Council Election held on Friday has left a number of politicians disappointed while some of them are truly angry at the outcome of the results which was given early Saturday morning. It is clear that both the National Alliance and the United People's Party had preferred they had the majority seats to form the first parliament.
    partysupporters17092010The race between the NA and the UP was a close one, the National Alliance won in 14 out of the 16 districts, yet they were not able to muster enough votes to get the eight seats that are required to form a majority government.
    upleader17092010While the people have spoken and they have given the National Alliance a mandate to remain in government by awarding them with seven out of the 15 seats in parliament it is still not enough for the National Alliance to form the government by themselves. Leader of the National Alliance William Marlin said his party will begin talks as early as Saturday to form the next government since the members of parliament must be sworn in by October 5th. He called on the other political parties to bury the hatchet since the elections is now over and they should all get to work in the interest of St. Maarten. Marlin said there is a huge amount of work ahead of St. Maarten and politicians must know that the campaign is over and much work is ahead of them.
    dpleader17092010The United People's Party headed by Theodore Heyliger managed to secure six seats, while the Democratic Party headed by Sarah Wescott Williams secured two seats. Wescott Williams indicated shortly after the results were announced that her party will cooperate as much as possible to form the next government as early as possible, while Heyliger said he too would begin talks to form the government. Even though the National Alliance has won this election, they can well end up on the opposition benches if the Democratic Party and the United People's Party should team up to form the government with eight out of the 15 seats parliament.
    As it stands now the leader of the Democratic Party Sarah Wescott Williams and Leroy Petrus de Weever are the ones to decide with whom they would form the next government and most importantly the two would have to decide whom they see fit to manage the affairs of the people now that St. Maarten has taken on a new role within the Kingdom.
    naleader17092010The Democratic Party during the campaign trail said they are the most experienced of all the all candidates that postulated for this election. However the leader of the DP will also have to use her experience and wisdom to decide with whom she would share her golden keys since the voters have placed her in the position to decide with whom she will work.
    The UP leader Theodore Heyliger is the largest vote getter in this final island council election.
    Based on the outcome of the election the 15 persons that would form the first parliament for country St. Maarten are as follows.

    From the National Alliance Slate
    • William Marlin
    • Frans Richardson
    • Patrick Illidge
    • Dr. Lloyd Richardson
    • George Pantophlet
    • Louie Laveist
    • Hyacinth Richardson

    United Peoples Party

    • Theodore Heyliger
    • Gracita Arrindell
    • Sylvia Meyers Olivacce
    • Romain Laville
    • Jules James
    • Rhoda Arrindell

    Democratic Party

    • Sarah Wescott Williams
    • Petrus Leroy De Weever

    tvaudience17092010Theodore Heyliger received 2,912 votes, while William Marlin received 1,590 and Sarah Wescott William 1368, while Jeffry Richardson from the Concordia Political Alliance captured 115.

    SMN News will bring more on the last election for the island territory of St. Maarten and the first for country St. Maarten in our next edition of the news.
    electiondistrictresults17092010

  • Change Point Employee Stabbed during Attempted Robbery.

    MARIGOT:--- A employee of Bureau de Change at the Marina Royale is currently nursing a stab wound to his abdomen after he resisted two armed men who was about to rob the establishment.
    The victim was taken to the Louis Constant Fleming Hospital where he is receiving treatment. A press release from the gendarmerie states that the man's condition is not life threatening.
    The suspects it is reported managed to escape on foot, no further details on the investigation has been released.
  • Commissioner H. Richardson receives PAHO official.

    hyacinthpaho22092010GREAT BAY (GIS):--- Commissioner Hyacinth Richardson met with Dr. Luis Guillermo Seoane, a Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) official, of the Regional Office of the World Health Organization (WHO), based in Caracas, Venezuela.
    Commissioner Richardson welcomed Dr. Seoane, an Advisor in the area of Family and Community Health, to St. Maarten. "It is a pleasure for us to have you in St. Maarten. We wish you a pleasant stay and productive meetings while you are on the island."
    Dr. Seoane said that it was a pleasure to be here on St. Maarten and went on to outline the purpose of his visit. "On behalf of his Director and the PAHO official for the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba, he is here to continue the relationship with St. Maarten in order to strengthen the relationship, to maintain technical relations, to exchange information, to discuss new ideas, and to develop a consensus with St. Maarten so that the aims and objectives can be met.
    In addition, Dr. Seoane said that he wants to find out in what ways PAHO could assist in achieving the projected measures.
    The Directorate had a list of places to visit and people to see, namely, the White & Yellow Cross clinic, the Mental Health office, and the SLS Labs. Yesterday, Monday, September 20, Dr. Seoane visited the French side Health Authorities and facilities.
    Present at the courtesy visit were Maria Henry, Fenna Arnell, and Eva de Weever—all from the Directorate of Public Health.
    Dr. Seoane also met with other officials from the Departments of Social development & Labor and Epidemiology.
  • Police Investigating Drive by Killing.

    Philipsburg:--- The detective department is busy investigating another murder which occurred early Tuesday morning. A press release from the police spokesman Ricardo Henson states that at approximately 3 am on Tuesday several police patrols and detectives were directed to Gardenia road, in Betty's Estate, in the vicinity of house number 8 for a shooting incident.
    Henson said when police arrived at the scene they encountered the driver of a grey Jeep Cherokee with license plate M-151 dead in his vehicle. Preliminary investigations conducted at the scene show that the victim died of gunshot wounds. Police said it is believed that the shots were fired while the victim was driving his car. So far police has not determined who the suspects are neither do they know the motive of the fatal shooting.
    The victim has been identified as Eduardo Gumbs a.k.a. "Oggy" from St Maarten, 39 years old died on the scene as a result of the shooting. Police Spokesman Ricardo Henson said the victim was pronounced dead on the scene by the police doctor.
    The Public Prosecutor Mr. Rienk Mud and the Judge of Instruction Mr. C. Luijks were also on the scene. The investigation is still in its early stages and there is much work to be done in this case. The police are asking anyone who may have information that could shed some light in this case to contact the police department as soon as possible.
  • 10 Fire Fighters Pass Training Course.

    firedeptraining23092010GREAT BAY:--- Ten fire fighters including four colleagues from Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius, have completed a four-day safety equipment course.
    The course was related to safety equipment such as the breathing apparatus manufactured by Draeger. The instructor for the course was a representative from Draeger.
    Section Head Prevention, Preparation, and Education & Training of the Fire Department ing. Silvanico Pauletta told the Government Information Service (GIS) that the breathing apparatus is an essential tool for fire fighters as it makes it possible for them to enter hostile environments like smoke or gas filled rooms.
    Pauletta added that it is important for the various fire departments to have trained personnel on hand that are able to maintain and regularly test these sensitive pieces of equipment which have to be at the ready when the alarm sounds for an emergency.
    Fire department technical staff need to be certified at level three and has to be regularly certified.
    The course was given at Fire Department Headquarters in Cay Hill.
    The course included an examination and all fire fighters passed with flying colors and are certified to carry out regular maintenance of the breathing apparatus.
    On September 24, two firemen from the Sint Maarten Fire Department will continue to follow the course at level four which would entitle them to carry out a yearly inspection of the breathing apparatus.
    The Sint Maarten Fire Department now has six staff members who are able to carry out regular and annual maintenance testing.
  • SMSPA Plans Celebration for International Day of the Elderly.

    smspanotarization29092010Philipsburg:--- On July 15, 2010 twenty three seniors living in Sint Maarten decided to unite and establish an organization to improve the standard of living and the wellbeing of seniors and pensioners living on Sint Maarten. Two weeks later a general membership meeting was held on July 29, 2010 which adopted the Statutes of an association. This gave official birth to the Sint Maarten Seniors and Pensioners Association.
    The main objectives of the association are to accomplish the full realization of all human rights and fundamental freedoms of all senior citizens on Sint Maarten being part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. These objectives were also agreed upon by governments of the world during the 2nd World Assembly on Aging in Madrid 2002. Also the achievement of secure ageing, which involves reaffirming the goal of eradicating poverty in old age, was an objective. Among the more than 160 governments that signed the International Action Plan on Aging was the government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and in its delegation government representatives of the Netherlands Antilles. The Madrid International Action Plan on Aging signed had to be implemented before 2012.
    We are now less than two years away from the 3rd World Assembly on Aging, which will be held in 2012, and the main question is: have the senior citizens on Sint Maarten realized all the human rights?
    On Friday October 1st, 2010 on the occasion of International Day of Older persons the Home Away from Home Foundation has invited guest speakers from government of Sint Maarten and as keynote speaker drs Raymond Jessurun. Government officials will tell what they have done for the seniors. As the representative of the Sint Maarten Seniors and Pensioners Association Mr. Jessurun will share his views of the human rights situation of seniors living on Sint Maarten and the need for the Sint Maarten Seniors and Pensioners Association to organize the seniors on Sint Maarten. This will assist the seniors to achieve the full realization of all human rights and the eradication of poverty among them and their families.
  • Island Council Passes Eight Organic Laws in First Session of Island Council--- 10 votes in Favor.

    dpfaction02092010Philipsburg: --- Ten out of the eleven members of the island council of St. Maarten who attended the meeting on Thursday to debate and vote for the organic laws have voted in favor of the laws. Commissioner of constitutional affairs William Marlin in his elucidation explained the council that the island council is voting for these laws now so that the Round Table Conference can take place on September 9th to pave the way for St. Maarten and Curacao to attain its country status.
    Marlin said that when the parliament of St. Maarten is seated they would be able to make whatever amendments to any of the laws if needed. Members of the Democratic Party faction expressed their concerns saying the council was being pushed to vote these laws and they were not given enough time to study the laws. Even though expressing concerns the Democratic Party faction said they have confidence in the advisers who have worked long and hard to prepare the laws that would govern the parliament and country St. Maarten. The organic laws that were voted upon and approved are the ordinance regulating country St. Maarten, the ordinance regulating the personnel, the law regulating the promulgation of laws, the law regulating the position of the ombudsman, the law on emergency services, law regulating the legal position of the civil service, law regulating the security services for country St. Maarten, and the law regulating personal information.
    During the debate several issues were raised which was not related to the organic laws. Issues such as the executive council re-distributing the portfolios of care taker commissioner Theo Heyliger who has resigned since July 19. Councilman Leroy De Weever took a swing at the leader of government saying the only reason they took away Heyliger's portfolios was because the current government wants to take credit for the social homes that are to be given out soon. In rebutting that statement leader of government William Marlin assured that he is the commissioner in charge of housing since June 8th 2009 and he is not the type of person that would play with people's emotions during election. Marlin said he has no power over the 70 homes at Hope Estate and that the island government and the St. Maarten Housing Development Foundation will be signing an agreement on the homes on Friday. Marlin also refuted the statements made by De Weever who said government is playing cheap politics by saying the councilman should have looked at the publication sheet and he would have seen who holds the housing portfolio. Marlin said he is not one of those persons who held on to land for eight years and then sold those parcels on land one Saturday before election to gain popularity or votes.

    Also taking shots at the statements made by De Weever was Councilman Louie Laveist who said he is in no way defending Heyliger but government is about continuity and when Heyliger resigned he said he was doing so to begin his political campaign. Laveist said if Heyliger had indicated then that he was also pulling his support from the National Alliance/ Laveist and Heyliger coalition then his portfolios would have been distributed a long time ago. Laveist said that since Heyliger's resignation he has not shown up for work neither is he attending executive council meetings. Commissioner William Marlin also brought clarity to matter by saying that the information which was leaked to one of the daily newspapers was not correct. Marlin said since Heyliger resigned he did not attend any of the meetings neither is he participating in any of the deliberations. Marlin said because of that government felt it was prudent for them to redistribute the portfolios to the other members of the executive council. Marlin said the fire department and disaster management was transferred to commissioner Xavier Blackman, the SLAC, EDC and the harbor now falls under commissioner Frans Richardson, GEBE and ROB falls under William Marlin.
    De Weever also took a turn at government for amending the casino license ordinance which would pave the way for Caravanserai resort to obtain a casino license, De Weever said government seems to want to harbor money laundering since the casinos and change points is where these types of activities take place while stores on Front and Back Streets are closing down. Island council man Louie Laveist jumped after the statements saying that what the National Alliance/ Laveist and Heyliger executive council did now is exactly what the Democratic Party executive council did or wanted to do, something he said he knows about because he was part of the council. Laveist also promised to let the cat out of the bag regarding the same resort and the Democratic Party executive council.
    Marlin also mentioned that the former executive council voted in favor of granting a license to Caravanserai and the former chairman of the island and executive council had sent it to the governor general to have it overturned because the chairman was not in favor of granting the license. Marlin said had the policy been changed then the resort management would have had options which was to comply with the requirements as stipulated.

  • Sint Maarten Tallahassee Student Association participates in Flag Event.

    tallahasseflag08092010GREAT BAY:--- Executive Director of the Tallahassee-Sint Maarten Foundation (TLH-SXMF) Arthur Lugisse says that Sint Maarten students studying in Tallahassee along with the Sint Maarten Tallahassee Student Association (SMTSA) represented the island in a Flag Event.
    "The music was great as well as the attendance. Our students were able to participate with their Sint Maarten flags that Commissioner of Education William Marlin sent them a few months ago for the battle of the flags.
    "Sint Maarten competed against the U.S. Virgin Islands. The performances were very competitive. Commissioner Marlin realized that the students needed some support in the area of cultural activities and he sent flags, caps and t-shirts. A promise made was a promise kept, he said.
    "DJ Outkast came up and had the Caribbean students asking for more. It is our intention to arrange an exchange where DJs and Bands in the future can participate in different events and cultural exchanges between the City of Tallahassee and Sint Maarten," Lugisse pointed out.
  • St. Maarten Election Watch Night Results.

    Results from the Various Polling Stations, the following are the polling stations from which SMN News will bring you the results.

    Election Watch Nights --- results are coming to you live from the Main Voting Bureau located at the Government Administration Building on Clem Lageba Square.

    Parties that Contested the Early Elections for Country St. Maarten are:---

    The votes cast for today Friday at the various polling stations are

    1. John Larmonie Center, has 866 eligible voters, at 7pm 616 persons casted their vote bring it to 71%.
    2. Sundial School, 1169 eligible voters, 779 persons cast their votes bringing it to 67%
    2A. House of Detention, 59 eligible voters, 59 persons casted their votes , 100%
    3. Sint Maarten Senior Citizen Recreational Ctr. 1383 eligible voters, 1028 persons cast their votes a total of 74%
    4. Sister Marie Laurence School, 1557 eligible voters, 1080 persons cast their votes, a total of 69%
    5. Dutch Quarter Community Center,1420 eligible voters, 1027 casted their votes, a total of 72%
    6. Milton Peters College,1389 eligible voters, 1040 persons cast their votes, a total of 75%
    7. Rupert L. Maynard Center,1114 eligible voters, 829 persons cast their votes, a total of 74%
    8. St. Maarten Academy, 971 eligible voters, 748 persons cast their votes a total of 77%
    9. Celebration Palace,1288 eligible voters, 900 persons cast their votes a total of 70%
    10. Raoul Illidge Sports complex, 1152 eligible voters, 811 persons cast their votes a total of 70%
    11. Charles Leopold Bell School, 1581 eligible voters, 1096 persons cast their votes a total of 69%
    12. Leonard Connor School, 1112 eligible voters, 749 persons cast their votes a total of 67%
    13. Simpson Bay Community Center, 976 eligible voters, 568 persons cast their votes a total of 58%
    14. Belvedere Community Center, 1309 eligible voters, 1033 persons cast their votes a total of 79%
    15. Melford Hazel Sports 7 Recreational Center, 789 eligible voters, 574 persons cast their votes a total of 73%
    16. Methodist Agogic Center 1394 eligible voters, 1018 persons cast their votes at total of 73%
    16A. Sint Maarten Home, 72 eligible voters, 52 persons cast their votes, a total of 72 %

    Live Results

    Polling Station:

    John Larmonie Center NA(268 ) DP(115) UP(218) CPA(1)

    Valid votes 602, Blank 2, Invalid votes 8, Amount of votes cast 612.

    Raoul Illidge Sports Complex NA(335) DP(133) UP (313) CPA(11)

    Valid votes 792, Blank 10, Invalid votes 7, Amount of votes cast 809.

    House of Detention NA(20) DP(17) UP(19) CPA(0)

    Valid votes 56, Blank 0, Invalid votes 3, Amount of votes cast 59.

    Methodist Agogic Center NA(402) DP(181) UP(411) CPA(8)

    Valid votes 1002, Blank 5, Invalid votes 11, Amount of votes cast 1018.

    Simpson Bay Community Ctr, NA(158) DP(166) UP(221) CPA(4)

    Valid votes 549, Blank 6, Invalid votes 13, Amount of votes cast 568.

    St. Maarten Academy NA(378) DP(118) UP(229) CPA(6)

    Valid votes 731, Blank 7, Invalid votes 10, Amount of votes cast 748.

    St. Maarten Recreational Center NA(488) DP(180) UP(346) CPA(10)

    Valid votes1024, Blank 5, Invalid votes 10, Amount of votes cast 1039.

    Sundial School NA(317) DP(150) UP (287) CPA(5)

    Valid votes 759, Blank 2, Invalid votes 14, Amount of votes cast 775.

    Rupert Maynard Center NA(426) DP(115) UP(271) CPA(8)

    Valid votes 820, Blank 1, Invalid votes 8, Amount of votes cast 829.

    Celebration Palace NA(417) DP(114) UP(321) CPA(16)

    Valid votes 868, Blank 8, Invalid votes 24, Amount of votes cast 900.

    Leonard Connor School NA(361) DP(103) UP(263) CPA(9)

    Valid votes 736, Blank 3, Invalid votes 10, Amount of votes cast 749.

    Melford Hazel Sports &Rec. Ctr. NA(266) DP(70) UP(212) CPA(3)

    Valid votes 551, Blank 2, Invalid votes 19, Amount of votes cast 572.

    St. Maarten Home NA(33) DP(13) UP(4) CPA(0)

    Valid votes 50, Blank 1, Invalid votes 1, Amount of votes cast 52.

    Milton Peters College NA(560) DP(152) UP(307) CPA(11)

    Valid votes 1030, Blank 5, Invalid votes 5, Amount of votes cast 1040.

    Charles Leopold Bell School NA(415) DP (233) UP(392) CPA(7)

    Valid votes 1047, Blank 7, Invalid votes 37, Amount of votes cast 1091.

    Sister Marie Laurence NA(460) DP(176) UP(407) CPA(12)

    Valid votes 1055, Blank 20, Invalid votes 6, Amount of votes cast 1081.

    Belvedere Community Center NA(494) DP(152) UP(349) CPA(10)

    Valid votes 1005, Blank 14, Invalid votes 13, Amount of votes cast 1032.

    Dutch Quarter Community Center NA(479) DP(150) UP(370) CPA(6)

    Valid votes 1005, Blank 20, Invalid votes 10, Amount of votes cast 1035.

    Seat Distribution

    DP 2 seats
    UP 6 seats
    NA 7 seats

  • Illegal PhoneTapping Reported in Curacao---Dick and Jacoba Implicated --- Heyliger’s Phone was also illegally tapped.

    Philipsburg:--- The Vigilante Newspaper in Curacao has reported that former Minister of Justice David Dick and Magali Jacoba is linked to some sort of illegal wiretapping of citizens and politicians both in Curacao and St. Maarten. According to the news report the tapping is done by the VNA and the RST and they have illegally invaded the lives of scores of private citizens without an order from the judge.
    The news report further states that a police officer has been sent on non active duty because he leaked information about the illegal phone tapping since the officer in question is not in agreement with the actions of those behind the tapping. It is said the actions of the "special groups" that are used to carry out the taps have destroyed the image of the police and RST department. The Vigilante states that leader of the United Peoples Party Theo Heyliger's phone was tapped because those behind the tapping wants to see if Heyliger has connection with a Muslim group. Vigilante reported that they were able to get their information from an officer who participated in the illegal phone tapping and they will be releasing the names of those persons whose privacy has been invaded.
    Below is a scanned copy of the news report from Vigilante. We apologize to those persons who are not able to read and understand Papiamento.
    wiretapping121092010wiretapping221092010wiretapping321092010wiretapping421092010wiretapping521092010
  • Political Turmoil Hinders Working Relationship with French and Dutch---Mingo Email Considered to be Rude and lacks tact.

    gibbsandellis08092010Marigot: --- The constant bickering between elected officials among the majority of councillors in the Union Pour les Progres is hindering development and threatens joint cooperation between the two sides of the island. Ever since Daniel Gibbs now first vice president has been elected in 2007 he has shown very little interest in working with the Dutch side. Gibbs during his first year closed off the New York Tourist Office which was rented by the two sides, claiming that the French side did not have its budget in place, he also accused the Dutch side of overcharging the French side when the bills endured were to be divided equally.

    Gibbs refused on a number of occasions to even communicate with the Dutch side in the English or Dutch language as he expresses his lack of interest in the joint working relationship. Apart from that Gibbs has been involved in a number of disputes with the senator and party leader Louis Constant Fleming, over the past months. Gibbs requested an audit be done at Semsamar the moment Fleming was elected President of Semsamar. While the bickering and political turmoil continues between elected officials on the French side several elected officials are at lost with an email that was sent to the French and Dutch liaison officer Marcel Gumbs by the Mark Mingo CEO of St Maarten Ports Services. Mingo dispatched an email to Gumbs on August 5th informing him that he was rather upset about the news that the French Port (Galisbay Port) was negotiating with the port of Montreal to take over the Galisbay Port. Mingo further claimed that should this happen then the Dutch Cargo Port was going to be under threat. According to Mingo's email he said a meeting arranged by Gumbs which was held on the French side with the President of the Collectivity Frantz Gumbs and the Senator Louis Constant Fleming who assured them that the two were still in charge of the join working relations. Mingo said as of August 5th the Dutch side Harbour was not going to entertain cooperation with the French side until corrective measures were taken. He said the Cargo facilities invested close to 100 million USD and they were not going to put that kind of money at risk.

    Below is the content of the email from Mark Mingo to Marcel Gumbs.

    Mr Gumbs (Marcel)
    I am very upset about the news I received today that the french port is negotiating with port of montreal to take over their port.

    We had a meeting with the collectivitee which you preperared President Gumbs and Senator Fleming were present in that meeting and they said that they were in charge for us to work together.

    To let you know as of today we will no longer entertain coorporation untill corrective measures are taken.

    The Cargo facilities have invested close to 100 million USD and we sure not going to put that at risk.

    Kindly inform the collectivitee and respect our position

    Mark Mingo
    Ceo

    The liaison officer who is no longer the official representative since his contract was not renewed by government informed Mingo by mail that shortly after receiving Mingo's email that he had spoken to the President of the Collectivity who told him that he knows nothing about Montreal taking over the French side port and that the first Vice President Daniel Gibbs was in Canada and it appears he has a group of Canadians advising him on just about everything. Marcel Gumbs told Mingo that the President Gumbs wants him to know that the Port of Galisbay still belongs to the Collectivity of St. Martin and whatever agreements he had with the former commissioner of harbour affairs Theo Heyliger and the staff of the Cargo facility still stands. Marcel Gumbs also assured Mingo that he carbon copied his email to the senator while he offered to convened another meeting to clear the air.

    Mr. Mingo,
    I just spoke to President Mr. Frantz Gumbs, he said he knows nothing about the port of Montreal taking over the port at Marigot. V.P. Daniel Gibbs is presently in Canada, it appears he has a Canadian group advising him on just about everything. Le President said to tell you the port belongs to the Collectivity and what he said in the meeting with you and Commish still stands. I have cc'd Le President and Senator Fleming on this email.
    I propose to convene a meeting in order to clear the air.
    Regards
    Marcel

    Somehow a copy of Marcel Gumbs's email and the email sent to Mingo reached the first vice president Daniel Gibbs who is in charge of the Economic Development on the French side of the island. Gibbs then sent an email to President Gumbs on September 7 asking a number of questions regarding the secret meeting that was held between the Cargo facilities and the President and Senator. In Gibbs's email he reminded the president that they promised the population to be transparent during their campaigns in 2007. He also reminded the president that he is the one responsible for the economic development and most importantly he is the president of the board of directors for the port and airport affairs. Gibbs said he works relentlessly to develop the French side especially when it comes to investments on St. Martin and that it has been weeks now he has been hearing rumours that indicated that he had a Canadian group advising him as if he does not have anyone that is capable in his cabinet to advise him. The first vice president then admitted that he has a close friend of his family and someone who is familiar to St. Martin advising him on a voluntary basis this person he said has dual citizenship which is French and Canadian. Gibbs also asked about the secret meeting held between the two sides which were confirmed in the email that was sent by Marcel Gumbs. He also quoted parts of the email to show that a meeting did take place and he was not privy to what the discussions were. He informed the president that as an elected official he has the right to have information on the decisions taken during the meeting. Below is the content of the email sent to President Gumbs.

    Chers collègues de la majorité du Conseil territorial,
    Je ne cesse de réclamer le maximum de transparence dans nos prises de décisions sur la gestion de la Collectivité. C'était notre premier engagement de campagne en 2007.
    J'ai l'honneur d'exercer les fonctions de Premier vice-président responsable du Développement économique, je suis également président du Conseil d'administration du Port et de l'aéroport. Je travaille sans relâche au développement des investissements sur Saint-Martin.
    Il y a maintenant des semaines que, comme vous, j'entends des rumeurs à propos « d'un groupe canadien qui me conseillerait en tout ». Comme si je n'avais personne dans mon équipe capable de me conseiller. Il est vrai qu'un ami de la famille, familier de notre île, me donne aussi des conseils, d'une façon bénévole, je vous l'ai présenté, et il se trouve qu'il a la double citoyenneté française et canadienne.
    En revanche, j'apprends, et je veux vous en informer, qu'il y a eu entente secrète entre le Président et le Port de Phillipsburg, je cite un mail du Président que la grande majorité d'entre nous n'a pas eu l'honneur de recevoir : « The President said to tell you the Port belongs to the Collectivity and what he said in the meeting with you and Commish still stands». Je vous transmets en copie ce mail et un autre qui confirme cette information.
    Manifestement, ces écrits démontrent que le Président et le Sénateur ont pris des engagements envers la partie hollandaise de ne pas la concurrencer dans son développement portuaire : «The Cargo facilities have invested close to 100 million USD and we sure not going to put that at risk».
    Nous sommes en droit, en tant qu'élus, de savoir :
    1. Quelles sont les ententes prises entre le Président, le Sénateur et la partie hollandaise quant aux activités portuaires?
    2. Cette prise de position explique-t-elle les blocages que nous connaissons dans le développement de la partie française?
    3. Comment le Président peut-il affirmer qu'un groupe canadien me conseille sur tout ?
    4. Comment le sénateur peut-il participer à ces tractations contraires à nos intérêts?
    Je termine en soulignant à quel point il y a une réelle contradiction entre nos positions publiques et cette entente, une fois de plus faite sans nous, qui démontre le problème de gouvernance de notre Collectivité que je dénonce depuis des mois.
    Nous devrons, tôt ou tard, en rendre compte à la population.
    Je compte sur vous pour réagir à ce mail.
    Daniel GIBBS
    Vice-Président de la Collectivité de SAINT-MARTIN

    According to information reaching SMN News Daniel Gibbs only received the email correspondence on Tuesday September 7 and he distributed copies to several territorial counselors who met on Wednesday to further discuss the emails and its contents. SMN News further learnt that the elected officials on the majority of Union pour les Progres wrote a letter to the President demanding explanation and they give him an ultimatum which is to step down as president of the COM at the next territorial council meeting which is scheduled for the end of September.
    Efforts to reach Gibbs on Wednesday to comment on the ongoing issues proved futile.