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Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in me. - John 14: 1

It is with profound sadness that we announce the death of our son, father, grandfather, brother, cousin, friend and neighbor Gregory Anthony van Gurp, b.k.a. Mighty Greg, born on July 11, 1961 and died on Monday, June 06, 2011, at the age of 49 years.

He leaves to mourn the following:

Eugenie Van Gurp a.k.a. Ms. Eugie

Geonary Fidanique  & Jean-Yves Maduro – Curacao
Faradit Augusta – Holland
Meladie – Santo Domingo

Xeleah Augusta - Holland

Vivian Cocks & family – Atlanta
Glenda van Gurp & family – St. Maarten
Kim Wilson & Keelee Wilson & family – St. Thomas

Franklin & Herman Van Gurp & family – St. Maarten
Kareem Wilson & family – St. Thomas

Special Cousins
John van Heyningen a.k.a Bubba & Windell Lake

Aunts, Uncles & Cousins
Too numerous to mention

Close friends
All Calypsonians, Band members & his downstreet family and many other close friends too numerous to mention

He was related to the following families:
Van Gurp, Scott, Van Heyningen, Richardson, Lake, Illidge, Tjen-a-Kwoei, DeWeever, Baptiste, Proctors, James, Brazou, Sprott, Mathew, Leonard, Kentish, Vlaun, Butlers, Bailey, Voges, Hubbard, Rivers, Peterson, Bells ,Wilson , Laurence, Henry, Olivacci,  Hughes, Huggins, Allen, Green, Cocks, Fidanique, Augusta & Wilson

The Funeral arrangements for the late Gregory Anthony van Gurp, b.k.a. Mighty Greg will be take place on Friday June 10th 2011 at the Festival Village. Tributes from 2pm to 3pm. Service commences at 3pm.Internment at the Cul de Sac Cemetery thereafter.

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

May His Soul Rest in Eternal Peace


I am so glad that Jesus loves me”
Ye thou I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil, for thou art with me.

With Great sadness in our hearts, we announce the passing of our beloved Mother, Sister, Aunt, Great Aunt, Great Great Aunt, Grand Mother, Great Grand Mother & friend.

Josepha Corona Dollison
Affectionately Known as Safa or Say say
Born 23-10-1928
Gone to be with her Lord

 Domingo Dollison
Marvin “King Stunky” Dollison and fam
Raphael “ Raffie” Wilson and fam

Claire Maduro Dollison and Fam Cur
Shirley Dollison and fam SXM
The family of deceased sister Particia Dollison. Cur & Holland

Jacobo Dollison and fam. USA
The family of deceased brother Mario Dollison. Cur & Holland
Jean “ Junior” Dollison and Fam. Fr

Daughter in law Juliana Carty and fam.
Granddaughter Anjolie Carty
Great granddaughters Aqcuilla Carty and Amory Eusebius

Nieces, great nieces,and great great nieces and nephews to numerous to mention, in St.Maarten ,  St.Martin,  Aruba, Curacao, USA, Guadeloupe ,The Netherlands and England.
Special cousins Vincent Doncher and Fam, Terese Richardson and fam, Alicia Warner and fam, Prudence Hodge and fam, Gloria and Godfried Brooks and fam Kenneth Bryson and fam Dorothy and Glenda Dollison and fam, SXM, Suzette Bryson and fam USA, Kenneth “ Jackie” Glassford and fam USA & Norma Brooks and fam  Aruba.

Special friends: Sadie and Julie Vlaun, Eliane Gumbs Vlaun, Beatrice “ Lonnie” Deweever Vlaun.
Silly Mardembrough, Elmie Thompson, Maisie Richardson and fam, Emma Petty and fam,. And many other friends too numerous to mention.

Special adopted niece Esther Davis.
Special god Child Chrystal George.

Neighbors: LuLu and Eddie Baptist, Gloria Cuffy, Tropicana Store management and staff, Supper Discount Store management and staff.

Josepha was related to the following families: Dollison, Doncher, Bary, Cocks, Richards, Bryson, Glassford, Vlaun, Joseph, Maduro, Thopmson, Hazel, Meyers, Lake, Monte, Olivier, Brooks, Thomas, Richardson, Hodge, Carty, Pantophlet, Warner, Van Heningen, Puriel, Glascow, Wilson, Sprott, Sommersal, Martina, Thewet, Baly, Romney and Arrindel and many others  too numerous to mention.

Josepha was a member of The Charismatic group, Legion of Mary, Senior citizen recreational foundation, Home away from Home foundation, the P.M.I.A and the O.B.I.A.

Special Thanks going out to Ambulance dept.  SXM Government fire-dept, Dr. Mercuur , the nurses & staff of  the S.M.M.C.,  Dr. Wynter, Management of the Emerald funeral Home & her Roman Catholic Church Family,Father Bob and Father Manuel.

The wake will be held on Monday 30 May 2011 at the P.M.I.A. hall on backstreet from 7:00pm to 10:00pm.
The funeral service for the late Josepha Corona Dollison will be held on Tuesday May 31st, 2011 at the St. Martin of Tours Roman Catholic Church on Front Street. Viewing and tributes: 1:30pm to 3:00pm. Service: 3:00pm.
Interment at the Catholic Cemetery in Philipsburg.

The family kindly requests no visitors after the funeral 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 Eternal Peace

Proverbs 3:6  In all Thy ways acknowledge him and he will direct thy path.

It is deep sadness we announce the passing of

Agatha Joseph bka Agatha

Sunrise: February 3rd, 1945
Sunset: June 1st, 2011

She leaves to mourn:
Adopted mother: Agnes Campbell in St. Lucia
Daughters: Loretta. Techler, Veronica & Eatha in St.Lucia
Sons: Miguel b.k.a Al in St.Maarten, Rockey, Nexon & Dwite in St.Lucia
8 Grandchildren
Sisters: Pricilla & Simone Joseph in St.Maarten, Florita Carnibert, Monica Remy & Euralis Joseph in St.Lucia
Brothers Francis b.k.a Mannie in St.Maarten, Clarence, Kenneth & Emmanuel Joseph in St.Lucia, Don Joseph in Trinidad
Adopted son: Tony Benders
Godchild: Marie Macdalla Francois
Close friends: Jacklin Richardson & Fam., Shirley, Dolores, Olivia Benders, Barbara Cornet & fam., Jacintha & fam., Felicita (Ayie), Esmay & Laban & fam.,Hinky, Junie & fam., The entire neighborhood of the SMHDF of Cole Bay & her friends at The MailBox in Simpson Bay.

She also leaves to mourn her friends of the Philipsburg SDA church, The Golden Age Foundation & The Helping Hands Foundation of which she was a member of.
She was related to the Jospeh, Caribert, Remy and her many adopted families in St.Maarten too numerous to mention.
Special thanks to Dr.Jolis & the nurses of SMMC & the Ambulance Dept. Brothers & Sisters of SDA church & others who visited her during her illness.

The funeral service for the late Agatha Joseph bka Agatha will be held on Wednesday June 8th, 2011 at the Seveth –day Adventist Church Philipsburg Zagersgut, St.Maarten
Viewing of the body 1:00pm to 2:00pm. Service: 2:00pm
Interment at the 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 Eternal Peace

I will lift up mines eyes unto the hills from whence cometh my help. - Psalm 121

We regret to announce the death of Leonora Isaac-Illis better known as Grannie, Miss Mina or Mrs. Illis. She was the wife of the late Frederick Illis former resident of Cannegieter Street #60 Philipsburg St. Maarten. Leonora was born in the year of the Lord on June 12th, 1919 in St. Kitts and Died May 29th, 2011 at the St. Maarten home in St. John Estate. Mina left to mourn her brother John Isaac & Family in Curacao, Nieces and Nephews in St. Kitts, Curacao and St. Maarten, her nieces in law Evencia Howell and Family in St. Maarte, Claudia Brynes and family in St. Maarten, Antoinette Cocks and family in St. Maarten, Bernice and Nelcia Illis in Aruba, Nephews in law Fred Phillips and family in St. Maarten, Marks and David Illis and family in St. Maarten, Marvin Illis and Family in St. Eustatius and Donald Illis in Aruba. She also leaves to mourn her extended family Patricia Krolis, Doreen lewis and family in St. Maarten, Marguerite Hildevert Cocks her niece and care taker, her former care takers Rudolpg Cocks and Amosi, Unice Matthew all in St. Maarten, Grannie left to mourn the nurses and staff of The St. Maarten Home.
She was related to the Timberton, Isaac, Illis, Cocks, Phillips, Brynes, Hildervert and Juluis Family.

A wake will be held on Thursday June 2nd, 2011 at the family residence on Cannegieter Street #60 Philipsburg St. Maarten.

 The funeral service for the late Leonora Isaac-Illis better known as Grannie, Miss Mina or Mrs. Illis will be held on Friday June 3rd, 2011 at the Risen Christ Roman Catholic Church in South Reward. Viewing will be from 2:00pm to 3:00pm. Service will commence at 3:00pm. Interment will follow at the 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 Eternal Peace

Affirmative action refers to policies that take factors including "race, color, religion, gender, or people of a particular Heritage or origin" into consideration in order to benefit an underrepresented group (people of StMaarten Heritage), usually as a means to counter the effects of a history of discrimination (In StMaarten case people of StMaarten Heritage has been purposely been neglected by the government of StMaarten). The focus of such policies ranges from employment and education to public contracting and health programs. Affirmative action is the process of a business or governmental agency in which it gives special rights of hiring or advancement to people of minority to make up for past discrimination against that minority, in StMaarten case people of StMaarten heritage. Many or most people in our government have this hypocritical policy of helping the Caribbean neighbor and the unfortunate children of illegal immigrants while they purposely ignore the plight of people of StMaarten Heritage. I have a dream that one day people of StMaarten Heritage will get their recognition for their outstanding hospitality of helping other people from different heritage while their governments deny them of their rights to exist as an to be recognize as the origin of country StMaarten. If our elected officials take examples of real nation builders like Nelson Mandela who sacrifice himself for his people. Mandela said there is no peace without equality and this is a message Nobel peace prize Mandela has sought all his life to bring through to the people of South Africa. His own people have shown him the honor by naming him Mandiba. This is an honorary name that represents his tribe, and some say the one he prefers. It is a sign of both affection and highest respect. Equal opportunity, education and political rights are the things that Nelson Mandela has spent his life fighting for. Inequality is seen all over the world, but perhaps nowhere more so with the extinction of people of StMaarten Heritage. Our government of both past and present sacrifice the people of StMaarten Heritage for their personal interest. In Brazil and parts of South America and in the U.S.A and Canada people of those origins are protected under the law because they are in danger of being extinct. Not forgetting my friends of Israel which fight and attain their country and is now 6 million Jews living in Israel. This is the big question, in the last 50 years of development in StMaarten has the people of StMaarten Heritage increase in numbers and did they attain economic wealth? Let the reality of the people of StMaarten Heritage be your answer which is no. Another big question is what is the necessity of government? Thomas Jefferson who is a past President of United States answers the question in this manner. The purpose of government is to protect the individual rights of its citizens. Individual rights state explicitly the requirements for a person to benefit rather than suffer from living in a society. I agree with Thomas Jefferson. The conclusion is the individual rights of the people of StMaarten Heritage being protected, and the answer is obvious which is no, this means that Affirmative action is the only and the last line of defense. If it is good for African Americans and the real South Africans which is black and Cherokee Indians in Canada and USA and the Jews. Then let your conscience be your guide even more so for people of StMaarten Heritage. While Mr. Marlin and his political party is seeking affirmative actions for children of immigrants then let's do it for the people of StMaarten Heritage who are on the brink of extinction. I reaffirm, affirmative action is the people of StMaarten heritage last line of defense. If it does not happen all of us has help in terminating the sweat, blood tears of ancestors and we will thy in guilt for standing, looking and not doing anything. For evil will continue to triumph when good men look and do nothing.

Yours truly,

Miguel Arrindell

Never mind, that while championing some constitution for some country called 'St. Maarten', he proudly stated not to know who is a St. Martiner...
Never mind, that he and other politicians always hasten to declare that it is against the law to recognize the natives St. Martin people and adjust the law in any fashion to protect and preserve them...
Never mind, that whenever, government's assistance is needed to help the descendants of those whose blood, sweat and tears laid the foundation for this country, there is always some lame excuse why such is not possible...
But here it comes...
The 'honorable' member of Parliament, Mr. William MARLIN felt extremely proud that during his visit to the Netherlands, he was the one to champion the rights of immigrant children, who do not have the Dutch nationality, to still qualify for study-financing by the Dutch government.
Mr. 'honorable' event went so far as to propose the Dutch change their scholarship laws to reward these non-nationals, 'because they have been living so long on the island'...
His was oh so concerned, that by the law being applied as is, would perhaps cause us to lose potentially brilliant minds...
As prime example, the man took his own situation.
'Look, I became teacher, principal of a school, leader of a political party and now even member of the parliament of St. Maarten.'
And know what ?
My father was from Gyuana.
Long live Guyana in 'Country St. Maarten' and forget about gratitude to the people of the island and their genuine hospitality in accepting people like his father...
In other words, this is the same political leader, who does not know who is a St. Martiner and who has adamantly refused to recognize the native St. Martiners in the so called constitution, let alone to protect them by offering them a form of positive discrimination.
But, lo and behold, making use of St. Martin people's tax monies the 'honorable' member of Parliament, goes to the Netherlands to champion changing the law to benefit immigrant children, whose parents came illegally into the country.
And yet, the 'honorable' gentleman still has to take a stance for the St. Martin people, who no politician on the island seem to want to recognize and protect.
The bottom line is, that he has simply once more publicly betrayed the St. Marten people.
For the record.
Not that I oppose helping 'everybody' who 'washes up' on our island.
I would do anything for them believe me.
But I would do such AFTER making sure that the native St. Martin people are duly recognized, respected, protected and given preferential treatment, positive discrimination if you will, as a means to survive against the onslaught of the massive immigration.
The statement of the most honorable 'Proud-to-be-Guyanese- but- ungrateful-St. Maarten-Parliamentarian', has clearly exposed him as totally not to be trusted.
Ni by St. Martiners, ni by immigrants- , ni even by the illegal ones.
If he can betray native St. Martiners in their own home-land, who wouldn't he betray ?
Keep posted, this is only the beginning.

You bet it's me William,

Leopold JAMES,
Proud, native, indigenous St. Martiner - no apologies.
That one....

Dear Mr. Editor,

It appears that some in parliament and in the council of ministers are scared even to mention the words "people of StMaarten heritage". Let's look at the facts here. People of StMaarten heritage are the most sweet and loving people who was taught and brought up to respect the rule of law and to love your neighbor as yourself. We were taught to be friendly to all people whether it is tourist or foreigners that come here to work. But our loving ancestors never for see that their great grand children will be brought to extinction for being nice to others. Our past governments were responsible for protecting us as a people. Instead they help cater to our demise. After all of our hospitality we have given so many cultures from all over the world and help them to be a part of our society which our past and present government embrace and say it is good what we doing. Now our time has come as a country where you will think our government that should loves its people and say lets defend people of StMaarten Heritage. Some are saying we cannot recognize the people of StMaarten Heritage. Our parliament has two groups of legislators those who love people of StMaarten heritage and those who are anti People of StMaarten Heritage. Let's start the debate now as the last executive council has promise of determining who is a StMaartener. Bring that legislation to Parliament and let every person show were they heart really is. We need 10 votes to pass legislation making it law of the land out of the 15 member parliament. People of St.Maarten Heritage you already know William Marlin, Roy Marlin, George Pantophlet and Leroy Deweever are not going to vote on your side. Those are the vampires that are not to be trusted and pretend to like us but envy us. When the sunlight shine they will vaporize for they betrayal against StMaarten people. Good news is we will end their political career anyway. Now Theo Helliger test is coming to show if he is a real man of StMaarten Heritage, we know he has the power to bully everyone in his party, so I can safely say the 6 legislators of UPP will vote Theo 's way. Patrick Illidge is a man from StMaarten heritage; he will be foolish to vote against his own people that is like committing suicide, after all the people are already mad with him. That is 7 votes so far. Hyacinth Richardson and Frans Richardson is people of StMaarten Heritage. Town and down street people will wreck vengeance on Frans if he goes against us, brother (Hyacinth Richardson would not be able to walk the streets of St. Peters if he goes against us people of StMaarten heritage. That is 9 votes. Louis Laveist only can do himself more damage and bring the worst kind of judgment from the hands of Cole bay people if he votes against us. However we look at it, these 11 members in our present parliament we will whole responsible if they do not recognize people of StMaarten heritage as the real StMaarteners. Gracita Arrindell will have to behave a good girl and sing Theo tune or else bye bye President of parliament. All of UPP members Lavile Dr. Ruth, Sylvia Meyers, Johan Leonard will be force to vote their Masters wish or else Master Theo will make them an outcast and they will be left in the claws of the people of StMaarten Heritage. So Theo and Sarah you can make yourself or break yourself. The way we look at it the people of StMaarten was thrown under the bus, so the only thing left is to come after you all. But if you use wisdom and vote the right way, we can be forgiven for your past crimes you commit against us. Each and every legislator if he or she goes against us (people of St.Maarten Heritage) will be label a traitor to the spirit of our ancestors and will never be forgiven. So let's bring this vote to the floor and show us where your heart truly lies. Politics is opportunity to do something that will make you great, will our legislators do the right or will they divide us more. At the end of the day the people of StMaarten Heritage stand the most to lose in our own country. So I am warning the parliament of StMaarten that the wrong decision will create division and country StMaarten will fail, if the right and moral decision is not taken. I am counting on our Prime Minister Sarah Wescot to introduce this legislation. And here I am making my first offer open to country StMaarten if you need my help I will do it free of charge because my motto is "be a real patriot, love people of StMaarten Heritage, duty, honor and country". We must recognize people of StMaarten Heritage. God bless the people of StMaarten Heritage and all people living in St.Maarten.

Yours truly,

Miguel Arrindell

Having specialized treatment care on the island will be a plus for the local population as well as those from the surrounding islands. Medical tourism is where people who live in one country travel to another country to receive medical, dental and surgical care while at the same time receiving equal to or greater care than they would have in their own country; affordability, access of care or better availability.

Today for specialized care, individuals are sent to other Caribbean islands (Guadeloupe, Martinique), Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, South America (Venezuela, Colombia), the United States or Europe. The costs are very high especially in the US and Europe besides the psychological costs to the person who is in a foreign country. You don't have anybody to greet you; no family at your side or to visit; language may be an issue, and all this adds to the stress of recovery an wellness.

Having specialized care on the island takes that burden away where you remain amongst family and that helps towards a quick recovery.

Secondly, another aspect of not having specialized care on the island especially for young country Sint Maarten which now has its own health insurance system, is the overseas expense. When you send an individual abroad, you have the added costs of airfare, hospital and specialized treatment. If you have a family member traveling with you, that is an additional expense of airfare, a hotel, meals, transportation etc. These will costs millions on an annual basis while it would mean less if the person could be treated on the island and a savings for our health insurance system and sector.

Thirdly, people with life-threatening injuries and illnesses need critical care. Critical medical care after an accident or falling ill is key to whether you will recover fully or not. Having additional facilities on the island will be a tremendous step forward in this area.

Other plus benefits for the resident population and those seeking medical care from abroad are that there would be no waiting periods. For example, a hip replacement in Britain, can be up to a year or more while in medical tourism destinations such procedures can be done almost immediately and for the fraction of the costs.

Insurance is another factor in medical tourism when persons choose a foreign country for a medical procedure. Some orthopedic operations, especially knee and hip replacements, are often not covered by health insurance. As a result, orthopedic surgery has emerged as one of the main treatments performed overseas due to the low cost. The cost savings can be up to 90 per cent.

Another added benefit is adding some travel and adventure where your medical trip is also a relaxing vacation period following the medical procedure. Medical tourism destinations promote this aspect just as much as the quality and cost of their healthcare.

Sint Maarten has much to benefit from the development of medical tourism. The benefits for the island besides medical access for residents are employment opportunities, business for restaurants, hotels, taxi drivers and other hospitality service providers.

Roddy Heyliger

I guess many people think banks do as they please. I have always watched them closely as the seem to write their own banking policy irrespective of what government or banking regulations say.

Like many people who live on one side of the island and keep bank accounts on both sides, I inquired at the Windward Island Bank why I was no longer receiving my Speedy Deposit receipts back in the mail, as was the case before. (these deposit envelopes you fill up and drop in a box to save time).

Imagine my surprise to hear that the bank destroys them because it has become too much work to mail back. So our bank is taking it upon themselves to destroy legally required receipts without our permission or knowledge. Who gave the bank permission to destroy my source legal proof of that transaction between me and the bank? I certainly didn't, nor would I.

So why isn't there an uproar about this? Could it be people don't know? Maybe in their line of business they don't want any records? Maybe people don't care.

Well in case you do want your receipts I was politely informed that we have a month to call in to pick them up otherwise they are torn up. I wonder how many users of Speedy Deposit know about this when they use the service? It sure is not published in any of the bank's promotional material. Did I miss out receiving notification of this change in policy on unclaimed receipts? Is this the case of the bank doing as it pleases?

Being that I live on the French side, I cannot be sure if this policy applies only to non-residents or Dutch side as well. Please add a comment to Bibi's wonderful web site, so we can all know.

Concerned WIB Customer

One of the 'benefits', progress has blessed the 'Friendly island' with, is the phenomenon of the 'gypsy' transportation system.
Never mind that it is in fact one of the many imported examples of lawlessness into our society...
Never mind as well, that it has created an enormous unfair level of competition towards the regular drivers, whose taxes contribute towards the coffers of the island...
Never mind, that it has created a real wild-west out there in traffic-land...
Certainly, never mind the risk of an accident to the passengers of these gypsy vehicles, and others road-users as well, due to the gypsy-drivers not being insured...
God forbid a tourists becomes a victim of a gypsy driver's accident...
Never mind, the legal precedence it has created for 'all-future-things-gypsy'...
No of course, never mind, never mind, never mind........ until of course 'that fateful day'.
As the island's foremost popular talk-show host once stated all of this talk of illegal-, unregulated-,  unfair way of doing business is simply irrelevant...
What is relevant according to Mr. 'Most popular' was that the gypsy transportation system provided in a much needed 'service' for the public.
That need therefore justified the gypsy transportation needs, overruling all other arguments....
That really struck me as a really brilliant, creative and out of the box type of solution for addressing the many other needs on the island.
After all, if its good to have a gypsy transportation system openly operating on the island, than such creates a legal precedence and basis for servicing the many other needs on the island 'gypsy-style', or not ?
So, based on the precedence and conclusion that needs justifies and rewards the gypsy phenomenon, I propose we now also consider the following areas to be serviced as well.
The waiting lists and under performance in all these areas are very evident, therefore apart from rendering services, these new 'gypsy-enterprises' can also create the following employment opportunities.
Gypsy dentists, gypsy eye-specialists, gypsy police-officers, gypsy surgeons, a gypsy justice-system, a gypsy prison n.v, a gypsy government, with a gypsy Prime-minister, who would then at least get things done...
Imagine, no red-tap, no bureaucracy, just pure efficiency, - doing the people's business.
What a 'Brave New SXM Gypsy World' it would be, once the 'gypsy-genius' would have been released from the proverbial bottle.

Me again,
JAMES the 'dis'-honorable one..
The proud native indigenous St. Martin one, with no apologies - that one.

A prime minister is the most senior minister of a cabinet in the executive branch of government in a parliamentary system. In our system, the prime minister can select other members of the cabinet (council of ministers), and allocates posts to members within the Government. In most systems, the prime minister is the presiding member and chairman of the cabinet. The prime minister chairs the weekly meetings of the council of ministers and he or she has the power to set the agenda of these meetings. The prime minister is also Minister of General Affairs (Minister van Algemene Zaken), which takes an important role in coordinating policy and is responsible for the Government Information Service (Dutch: Rijksvoorlichtingsdienst). Skills that a prime minister should possess and expected to have are as follows:

1 A personality with overall National acceptance and charisma. 2 Ability to communicate convince and gain acceptance of most of the people. 3 Proven ability to deal with crisis. 4 A proven ability to mobilize the support of masses. 5 Ability to develop and express sound vision. 6 Good international exposure and network. 7 Non routine and a source of innovation. 8 Achieve an economic growth of at least 5 %. 9 Reduce both external and internal debts by 20% per year. 10 Optimize the subsidy system in order to release the financial pressure on the country resources (Tax break for small local business owners to stimulate job growth in the economy.)

A prime minister should have the vision to lead and institute plan to take the country out of economic disaster. A prime minister should be the prime example for the people of a country to promote nationalistic pride, and live and lead by example. The role of the prime minister is to make sure that the national security of the country is a good state. (People of StMaarten Heritage along with born here Dutch citizens of StMaarten are a minority in country StMaarten, which is a direct national security threat). The Prime Minister is a head of government, chief executive, chief legislator and party leader. There for he or she must have the ability to institute legislation and ask parliament to make it a law. Any person that does not possess skills of what is stated above should not run for prime minister it does not matter how much degree they have. What he or she needs to be a prime minister is to possess lots of general knowledge and the ability to think effectively. Recently Sarah Wescott said drastic measures must be taken against our deteriorating crime problem in our country StMaarten. A good prime minister will create a plan and say this is the drastic measures that will be taken. A good leader knows how to delegate and motivate people to get the plan executed well. So far StMaarten has fail miserably in the art of leadership. This message is for the people of StMaarten to understand what the roll and more importantly what skills our prime minister should have to be a good and effective successful leader. It is up to you to judge our Prime Minister Sarah wescott on these principles which was mention above.

Yours truly,

Miguel Arrindell

Educate your children to self-control, to the habit of holding passion and prejudice and evil tendencies to an upright and reasoning will and you have done much to abolish misery from their future lives and crimes to society. We must first focus on the root of the problem. We must ask ourselves, "how does the mind of a murderer, rapist, thief or kidnapper develop?'" Perhaps this mind-set is formed from a young age. We should put measures in place, such as extensive school programs, to develop self-esteem and national pride. If all our children were raised with values such as honesty, integrity and patriotism, St.Maarten would be a State built on the basis of law and order. We are faced with a crime situation which is affecting our opportunities for foreign investment and tourism; therefore, we must put in place some short-term solutions. Long-term solutions will eventually make the most impact on our society's crime rate. We need to understand why certain sectors of the community have decided to commit crime. We should equip these people with the tools to help themselves, instead of giving them handouts. I believe that punishment needs to be enforced on anyone who has proven to commit a crime because it sets an example for those who are thinking of doing the same. There is an old saying that says "If you can't do the time, don't do the crime", and many people have not heeded those words of wisdom, and have gone out and committed crimes anyway. Many show little or no remorse for their actions, because doing evil has become second nature to them, so they don't give a crap. So why should we have to pay to educated them. Prison Fellowship has worked with many convicts behind bars over the years, their program called Inner Change Free Initiative, is a re-entry program that is helping prisoners get out, and stay out of prison. One way they do that is to work with them on their anger issues, also helping them respect the law, and the rights of others, and they have seen lives transformed by God. Another program that Prison Fellowship has is called Operation Starting Line. This program is all about seeing lives transformed by the Gospel of Christ. Upon receiving Christ as their Lord and Savior, they are disciple, and grounded in the faith. Only God can change a man on the inside, and change his whole way of living, thinking, and his behavior. Either makes prison life so hard that they never want to go back, put them to death, or let prison fellowship offer them a chance to experience a changed and transformed life. The crime against the Maria Buncamper and he family is a sad situation, but it should be an eye opener to the entire justice system and government, tomorrow it can be Justice Minister Roland Duncan, Prime Minister Sarah Westcott. Governor Eugene Holiday, or Parliament President Gracita Arrindell or Deputy Prime Minister Theo Heliger not forgetting all Judges or chief of police and the lawyers that love defending crime for the love of money. My people treat ever crime that happen in StMaarten like it was your own family. And start turning back to the good moral values which is the key to change our society for the better. Let me be hardcore now, without teaching about Christ in our schools we are breeding generations of criminals. The government programs can never do for a person what God can! Common law has two mechanisms for dealing with criminality: 1. Ostracism via blacklisting serves as a deterrent.2. Persons failing to answer charges and/or recompense their victims would be subjected to outlawry. Ostracism the state of being ban or excluded from society by general consent. Outlawry is a person declared as outside the protection of the law. In pre-modern societies, this takes the burden of active persecution of a criminal from the authorities. Instead, the criminal is withdrawn all legal protection, so that anyone is legally empowered to persecute or kill them. For the wages of sin is death. But if criminals turn away from their wicked ways and ask for forgiveness, the gift of God is everlasting life. To the people of StMaarten and the government of StMaarten we should make it compulsory education to our children about God and Jesus Christ. For that is the best way to fight crime.

Yours truly,

Miguel Arrindell

Dear Editor,

We owe a great deal to scientific researchers as they have greatly improved the quality and convienience of our lives and continue to do so. However, I recently learned of the existence of a so-called Life Extension Science. Life extensionists are researchers who claim they can achieve longer lives for themselves and for others.
This life extension industry has no doubt become a billion dollar a year business, and the researchers have become extremely wealthy by developing and selling their life extension vitamins and anti-aging supplements to a vanity stricken world. There are many people who are afraid of the dire effects that come along with aging. I once heard of an educated lady who cried long tears when she turned thirty.
It is quite understandable that people want to remain healthy and still look good in their latter years and these products may temporarily help us look and feel better to some degree,(I know I won't hesitate to use anti-aging cream the morning after the first wrinkle appears), but expanding one's life is quite a different matter.
When we study God's Word we quickly realize how helpless we really are. Scripture tells us that we can't make a single strand of hair black or extend our lives even for an hour. (To think of the countless hours we waste). There is actually a case in the Bible where God extended a dying king's life for fifteen years, that is, after he had done a lot weeping and begging Yes, even royalty is afraid of old age and death. But it was the Creator Who extended this man's life, not science.or any man-made concoction.
Physicians use drugs as directed by the pharmaceutical companies. These man-made medications often kill instead of heal. The total number of deaths in the USA caused by adverse effects of conventional medicine is 783,936 per year. Some call to it: death by medicine. Information on the Internet is awesome,
isn't it?
A wise king once pleaded with God:"Teach us to number our days,that we may gain a heart of wisdom" People were a lot wiser spiritually 2,000 years ago than they are today.
My daugher once had a very close friend. They danced together for many years. They would practice dancing four times a week, six (almost non-stop) hours on Saturdays.They were both pictures of perfect health at the time; not an ounce of fat on their slim bodies.On more than one occasion I picked up this friend to take her to the beach with my daughter .Graduation was approachi ng and as they sat in the backseat of my car, I would overhear them talking enthusiastically about their chosen careers, the colleges they were going to attend, and their future plans
They both graduated the same year and left the island at about the same time, my daughter to the USA and her friend to Canada. Ofen when my daughter called home she would tell her mother how strange it was that she hadn't heard from her best friend, who had faithfully promised to send her phone number and email address so they could stay in touch. We later learned to our horror, that her friend had caught a deadly virus shortly after arriving at her destination and was dead within a month.
So, here are some hard questions: Why does a very healthy and intelligent girl-who had such enthusiastic plans for her future die one day before her 18th. birthday? Why does a 12-year-old girl die tragically? Why do some babies die in their mother's womb or a few hours after they come into the world, never having seen the sun, God's blue sky, the vast,turquoise ocean that surrounds our beautiful island and not even a glimse of the faces of their loving parents? Why are some babies born blind or autistic or with some other disabling and life-shortening disease that will make them suffer throughout their brief lives and then take them to an early grave? Why are so many children born in a poverty-stricken country where there is no hope, while others are born to well to do parents in developed countries?
When you take time out to ponder these questions, you inevitably come to the realization that nothing in life is left to chance. Everything in life, be it;country of birth, success or failure, health or sickness, prosperity or poverty, a short or a long life, all aspects of our lives solely depend on God's mercy and His purpose for us individually.
I firmly believe that before we even come into this world, God has already determined the course and quality of our lives and the number of days we will spend on His earth.Fortunately, nobody knows that number. No life extension or medical science or doctor is going to change that.
We can and certainly should make plans and set goals for our lives, but let's also bear in mind that: In his heart a man plans his course but the Lord determines his steps. God has predetermined our destiny and He did so before we even enter His world. Some day we will have the answers.

Clive Hodge

RE: Pride and EPIC renew calls for the Protection of Mullet Bay Beach and Mullet Pond

Dear Drs. Arrindell,

St. Maarten Pride Foundation and Environmental Protection In the Caribbean (EPIC) welcome the news that the Ruins of the Mullet Bay Resort will finally be demolished after having been an eyesore for almost 16 years. The Foundations however urge Government to ensure that the debris is disposed of or reused in a responsible manner.

While the previously mentioned plans for the demolishment of the Mullet Bay Resort Ruins are indeed refreshing, Pride and EPIC are very much concerned by indications that there are plans for building a new resort in Mullet Bay. The Mullet Bay area is one of two remaining open and green (although not entirely natural) coastal zones on St. Maarten. Mullet Bay Beach is the last open and easily accessible beach on St. Maarten and is extremely popular with residents and visitors. St. Maarten Pride Foundation volunteers counted over 120 cars parked at Mullet Bay during a survey carried out in the 2010-2011 high season. Public access and parking at Mullet Bay must therefore be guaranteed. The Foundations believe it is important that Mullet Bay's green and open character is maintained and therefore appeal to Parliament and the Council of Ministers to zone Mullet Bay and to set stringent criteria to manage any potential development of the area.

St. Maarten Pride Foundation and EPIC are hereby also requesting Parliament and the Council of Ministers to establish Mullet Pond and its immediate coastline consisting of a Buffer-zone of 45 meters measured from the Pond's high water mark as a protected area as provided for/ described in the Island Nature (Conservation) Ordinance.

Research carried out by St. Maarten's environmental organizations and visiting experts has shown that Mullet Pond harbors a relatively intact marine ecosystem, particularly when compared to the rest of the Simpson Bay Lagoon which has suffered considerable degradation over the past four decades. The mangrove trees of Mullet Pond represent an estimated 65% of all mangroves remaining in the Simpson Bay Lagoon. Until the 1950s Dutch St. Maarten boasted at least 19 ponds (all documented in maps available at the Cadastre's office); by 1995 this had been reduced to 10 ponds and today, 16 years later, less than 5 remain intact.

Mullet Pond has been recommended for protection in numerous Government commissioned reports including The Ponds of Sint-Maarten, (Ecovision, 1996), the Carrying Capacity Study, the Tourism Masterplan and most recently the "Inventory of marine natural values in the Eastern Part of the Simpson Bay Lagoon" as prepared by Ecovision and included in Appendix G of Link 9 through Simpson Bay Lagoon, Environmental Impact Study, which concluded that the pond is of ecological and environmental importance.

"It is highly recommended that such areas (Mullet Pond) be given "full protection" meaning that their survival is guaranteed through legal protection in combination with active management and/or restoration". Paragraph 5.2, Inventory of marine natural values in the Eastern Part of the Simpson Bay Lagoon, Ecovision, 2010.

The Foundations remind Parliament and the Council of Ministers that Government is responsible for the Protection of St. Maarten's Flora and Fauna and is tasked with the establishment of protected areas as indicated in the Island Nature (Conservation) Ordinance of 2003.

Public demand for such protected areas is clear. The Mullet Pond Coalition was established in 2007. Members of the Mullet Pond Coalition include Environmental Protection in the Caribbean (EPIC), Nature Foundation St. Maarten, OceanCare, and St. Maarten Pride Foundation. The coalition formed in response to development plans and submitted hundreds of signatures to government in support of the Mullet Pond Conservation Zone.

This online petition allowed signers to add comments on why Mullet Pond is important to them. Many expressed their concern at the rampant development taking place on St. Maarten, resulting in what they termed a "concrete jungle." A tourist from the U.S. wrote "We came to St. Maarten years ago because of the over building in the Virgin Islands and Cancun... Please don't allow that to happen to your island." A resident of St. Maarten wrote "enough is enough, soon nothing will be left for us."

Trusting that Parliament and the Council of Ministers will take note of and grant the Foundations' requests to ensure the protection of St. Maarten's natural heritage,

Best regards,

Rueben J. Thompson                                                                               Jadira Veen

Independent Project Manager                                                                 President
Love the Lagoon                                                                                        St. Maarten Pride Foundation
Environmental Protection in the Caribbean (EPIC)

Dear Honorable Prime Minister Sarah Wescot Williams,

If you want to build a country St.Maarten, you first need to understand who is a StMaartener and not who is consider a StMaartener. Use your government register and cadastre which was mostly maintain by your Democratic Party for the last 55 years. And the answer to who is a StMaatener is in your hands. In short you will see people of StMaarten heritage. If I have to explain the word heritage to you, I will gladly do so. Heritage does not mean naturalize or even born here, Heritage means things inherited from the past be it land culture, or property, practices that are handed down from the past by tradition from your ancestors. All those wannabees who does not know who is St.Maartener are people who knows they are not of StMaarten heritage. They have Dutch nationality but are not of StMaarten Heritage. They are all welcome to be a part of country StMaarten as long they understand respect to people of StMaarten Heritage and culture. If you have the guts to reject people like William Marlin and Roy Marlin and George Panthophlet and Leroy Deweever which are people who do not believe in born here and rights for people of StMaarten Heritage. These are the anti StMaarten legislators which I promise the people I will name. If you Honorable Prime Minister defend your own StMaarten heritage which you are a real StMaartener and state the definition of a StMaartener are people of StMaarten heritage. I promise & guarantee you; you will become a national hero. You will display more courage and StMaarten values than any other men in the parliament or council of minister. That will definitely make you Prime minister again. The choice is yours.

Wherever we go, and wherever we are, let us always take pride in our nation. Let us take pride in the Land of the Brave. Let us take pride in our history of StMaarten, in our StMaarten culture and StMaarten traditions. These should be the foundations upon which we can build a stronger and secure nation, a country which all people of StMaarten Heritage would be proud to call home. We have about 150 nationalities here, which are welcome to join us, but they must understand that StMaarten heritage and StMaarten culture is the norm. For example Japan isn't a country which makes its inhabitants Japanese, but the country Japan is founded upon the Japanese culture and ethnicity. The people define what Japan the state is. More importantly, a nationalist works for the betterment of their nation, for its evolution, its cultural growth, its well being, prosperity and sustainability. One cannot improve their own home if they don't admit there is room for improvement. Nationalism is often associated with an unwavering national pride, with a love of country, of their nation and unquestionable loyalty. Strong feelings of patriotism, which would be more accurately, termed strong feelings of allegiance, and love to people of StMaarten heritage. Nationalism states that a country is defined by the very people who founded it, and that it is an organic entity, in StMaarten case people of stMaarten heritage. So a nationalist can be thought of in a strict sense, as one who holds the belief that the nation (in the literal sense) is the most appropriate basis for building political entities on. More importantly, a nationalist works for the betterment of their nation, for its evolution, its cultural growth, its well being, prosperity and sustainability. In StMaarten that is promoting people of StMaarten heritage, culture and values. You cannot demand patriotism, as if it were a switch that could be flicked. You must work toward building a nation that people can be proud of, that they feel attachment to. Our country is for our people, for ourselves, just as we believe that every other peoples of the planet should have a place they can call home, that they can be proud of. My motto is "be a real patriot & love people of StMaarten heritage, duty, and honor country". God bless the people of StMaarten Heritage and all people living in StMaarten. Unity must begin with our own before we can unite with other cultures. Mrs. Prime Minister the road to be elected prime minister for another term will be the courage to make the right decision of who is a StMaartener. This issue will make or break any and every politician in government today. But the dagger is on you, many times I do not agree with you but believe me when I say, I am glad that a lady of StMaarten Heritage was our first Prime minister. Now finish fulfill your duty to your own heritage or else you will become a traitor. I pray that God give you the courage to make the right and moral decision.

Yours truly,

Miguel Arrindell

With the tourist high season behind us and the start of the low season before us, some resorts and other businesses are offering summer specials to attract visitors to the island. St. Maarten Cultural, Music and Entertainment Development Foundation organized on June 3 a music and food festival called Boardwalk Fest. It will be held on the last Friday of each month from June through October. This event caters not only to residents but visitors as well.

The summer months, or what we also call the low season, are a challenging period for the island with fewer visitors calling upon our shores. Therefore, a concerted effort is needed to bring more visitors to the destination for the summer months, from June through August. September is normally a month that businesses use to carry out repairs, do a little sprucing up in preparation for the upcoming high season. It is also considered the busiest month of the hurricane season.

A new Sint Maarten Mindset is needed in order to jumpstart the economy during the low season. Various stakeholders and promoters need to come together and get the ball rolling. Deliberate, put ideas on the table, and look at funding aspects/sources, set-up a 'Sint Maarten Summer Splash' schedule, put in place an organizational structure that would organize events and do what has to be done.

Utilize the Sint Maarten/Tallahassee sister-city relationship that has been in existence for more than 10-years.

As a country, we cannot afford to wait on somebody.

The Sint Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association (SHTA) made a presentation to Parliament about the challenges being faced by the economy. According to media reports, the SHTA attributed the economic difficulties being experienced by the country as self-inflicted and will only continue to grow should government not work together with the private sector partners like SHTA to address social ills and properly promote the destination.

Do not let the challenges being faced by Sint Maarten, but also by many other countries around the region, deter one from coming together and considering what can be done to continue to promote the destination, especially during the summer months.

The global tourism industry is worth US$6 trillion globally and employs 258 million people, according to information that was released at the World Travel and Tourism Summit in Las Vegas. Travel and tourism has grown by an average of four per cent each year since the 1970s, with the exception of sharp recessions triggered by war, terrorism and economic slowdowns.

At the summit, a presentation entitled, 'A New Global Mindset,' postulates that as economic growth picks up in 2011, there would be an 'explosive shift' from traditional Western markets to emerging markets such as Brazil, Russia, India and China. Attendees to this session discussed how to deal with this potential marketing shift which included understanding investment and the challenges facing developers, investors and approval processes plus sustainable tourism growth.

There are trends and developments taking place that we have no control over. What we do have control over, we should make every effort to do what we can to address the challenges by working together and moving things forward which in the end benefits the destination and the hardworking people in the tourism sector.

We must start looking from within and moving beyond that by developing a new mindset of how we deal with challenges and attracting more business to the country. Perception is, wait and see what will happen for the next season. Let's change that mindset.

Roddy Heyliger

We highly appreciate and recommend the initiative brought forward by dr. Rhoda ARRINDELL, Minister of Education, Culture etc to have July 1, recognized as an official holiday, commemorating the Emancipation of Slavery on the Southern side of the island.
It is a very good first step.
However, we would like to add more substance to this great initiative.
To that end, we recommend that there be ONE official holiday for the ENTIRE island.
After all, St. Martin people have one common heritage and are one indivisible people and that should increasingly be reflected in all our future thinking.
In addition, with all due respect it should be recorded here that we will only be able to recognize such a day under the following conditions.
That it is not only 'ceremonial' in terms of its meaning, but that it is also real and meaningful to the descendants of those who were enslaved, that they will never again become victim of such atrocity - never again- as the Jews have solemly committed themselves.
Consequently such pledge should therefore be anchored in our constitution.
In that case every celebration will be marked by pledges of the population to preserve, defend and guarantee eternal survival of the native-St. Martiners, for instance by means of granting them first rights to each and every opportunity in their land.
Any Emancipation-day that does not inherently stands for such commitment, will be interpreted by us as more style than substance and consequently hypocritical at best and anti-St. Martin at worst.
We would like to believe that the latter is not the case.
Therefore, we look forward to SUBSTANCE becoming an integral part of any future celebration of Emancipation-day.

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

On November 23, 2002 an article I had written titled The Winds of Change Are they blowing in St.Maarten? Appeared in the business section of the Daily Herald. The focus of the article, was the suggestion that St.Maarten look into harnessing the abundant winds present in order to generate electricity and thus free itself from the high cost of oil (which at the time was trading at $24.29 per barrel). I thought it was a good idea and it prompted a lot of discussion on the then very active Daily Herald message board. 

Since GEBE has been in the news quite a lot lately with regard to the fuel clause it charges customers, I thought a revisit was due.

From what I can gather from reading the papers and listening to the press conference given by Minister Franklin Myers, all this squabbling amounts to not much more than the issue of how GEBE discloses it's cost for fuel to the consumer. GEBE now has two choices, it can either disclose the cost separately as is done now or it can bury the cost by lumping it together with the cost of the electricity used. At the end of the day the customer is still going to be charged for the fuel required to produce their electricity. You still haven't addressed the core problem and that is the need for fuel to begin with.

Sadly in the time between now and when I originally wrote the article almost nothing has changed, at least in St.Maarten. When asked about alternative energy while he had the GEBE portfolio Roy Marlin said it was being studied. So what were the results of your study Mr. Marlin? I do recall Mr. Lambert attending a conference on wind energy and some GEBE people going to Nevis to look at a hole in the ground that will someday provide them with geothermal electric power. That's about all that has transpired since then, other than GEBE spending 30 million dollars on new generators and another 45.5 million dollars a year on diesel fuel to run them.

Elsewhere wind energy projects are moving forward. Nevis opened it's first wind farm on August 27th of last year and St.Kitts will break ground in July or August of this year for their first wind farm. I mention these two islands because they are, like St.Maarten, small in size and in the same geographical area.

Farther away, France in February of this year announced that by next June a tender will be launched for the construction of five 3,000 MW offshore wind farms, worth about € 10 billion. A subsequent tender will assign another 3,000 MW. In November of last year they put out for tender the first phase of ten projects with a combined capacity of 75 MW in the overseas departments. 20 MW of which are in the department of Guadeloupe and the Collectivities of Saint-Barthélemy and of Saint Martin (3 projects). It's interesting to see that France is willing to invest this amount of money in wind energy, since currently over 75% of its electricity comes from nuclear energy.

Even more eye opening is Venezuela, which has plans to install 10 thousand megawatts of wind generation in the country within the next 15 years. Currently Venezuela is installing 100 MW in what will be that country's first wind farm. 76 wind turbine generators will be installed amounting to almost €116 million. Yes, this is happening in a country that is a member of OPEC and currently gets 70% of its electricity from hydroelectric power sources. A drought over the last two years caused water levels to fall and created a shortage of electricity, proving that there is no perfect form of power generation. Diesel generators were added to the grid to fill the gap but these consume 100,000 barrels of oil per day and at today's prices that means a daily loss of over 10.7 million in revenue if that same oil was available for export. Hugo Chavez would rather sell his country's oil on the world market, than burn it domestically to generate electricity.

The recent revelation that GEBE actually benefited financially from higher oil prices through its fuel clause markup scheme is shameful. It also proves that no real solution to the problem is likely to come from anyone working there.

Politicians need to do more than provide lip service when it comes to bringing alternative energy to the people of St.Maarten. A start would be legislation requiring that some significant percentage of the electricity produced by GEBE come from something other than diesel fuel and establish a firm date that this must be accomplished by.

The excuse that St.Maarten is too small and can't afford this will not play. There are companies out there that are in the business to build, finance and operate wind parks. An offshore wind park for St.Maarten could easily be built and in full operation before the next election rolls around. If a politician would go to work and accomplish this for the people of St.Maarten, he or she, would have no need to hand out Blackberries, laptops, washing machines, refrigerators, airline tickets or cash in order to garner votes come election time.

Think about it, if GEBE didn't need to charge the fuel clause, over a four year period the average voter would save enough money to be able to buy their own washing machine, refrigerator and actually be able to afford to run them. The politician that achieves this rightfully deserves their vote.

Properly constructed a wind park would provide a clean, reliable and cost stable source of power for the people of the island for the next 20 years before the turbines would require replacement. The same can not be said about a diesel generator. An errant rat or clumps of seaweed will not cause a wind turbine to go offline either.

Provided the wind park was built with enough capacity, cruise ships could be required to plug in to the grid while in port and shut down their engines which burn the cheapest dirtiest bunker fuel available. They currently are required to do this at other destinations. St.Maarten could benefit both financially and environmentally from this.

A very well known politician predicted the age of wind power, his name? Abraham Lincoln. In a lecture he gave in 1860 titled "Discoveries and Inventions" he said: "Of all the forces of nature, I should think the wind contains the largest amount of motive power ... Take any given space of the earth's surface, for instance, Illinois, and all the power exerted by all the men, beasts, running water and steam over and upon it shall not equal the 100th part of what is exerted by the blowing of the wind over and upon the same place. And yet it has not, so far in the world's history, become properly valued as motive power. It is applied extensively and advantageously to sail vessels in navigation. Add to this a few windmills and pumps and you have about all. As yet the wind is an untamed, un-harnessed force, and quite possibly one of the greatest discoveries hereafter to be made will be the taming and harnessing of it."

A pretty wise observation considering this was 21 years before the first public electricity supply was even available. In the 151 years since he made that speech it has become possible to harness the wind and as I've pointed out it is being done all over the world. So why is it not being done in St.Maarten? With the amount of information that is readily available on the Internet about alternative energy there really is no excuse that not one of St.Maarten's handsomely paid politicians has any plan for the future.

Bottom line, St.Maarten has wind, it does not have oil. Does it make sense to allow GEBE to continue doing what it has been doing to the people of St.Maarten? Is there anyone who really believes that buying more diesel powered generators in the future is the answer?

I hope the next time I choose to revisit this topic, St.Maarten will have finally experienced the "Winds of Change". Just remember what Albert Einstein once said: "We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them."

Andy Croxall

generalauditchamberreportpresentation28062011Philipsburg:--- Chairman of the General Audit Chamber Roland Tuitt along with Acting Secretary General Joane Dovale-Meit on Tuesday presented their 24-page 2010 Annual Report to President of Parliament drs. Gracita Arrindell.

The presentation was done in accordance with article 38 of the National Ordinance for the General Audit Chamber which says the former should present its annual report no later than July 1 to Parliament.

The annual report is written in both official languages of English and Dutch. Some of the topics covered in the report are: position within the country status; operations 2010; government finance; and looking forward.

"I am very pleased that the General Audit Chamber is doing its utmost to present on time its annual report according to the law.

"The various institutions of our Government system are demonstrating that we are up to the tasks and everything is being done to adhere to the laws of the land.

"I would like to congratulate the board of the Audit Chamber on the compilation of their report. On behalf of Parliament, we are looking forward to working closely with the General Audit Chamber.

"We must use the past functioning of the General Audit Chamber of the Netherlands Antilles to improve on the work processes where Sint Maarten comes out on top with one of the best functioning institutions in the Kingdom," President of Parliament Arrindell said on Tuesday.

Chairman of the Audit Chamber Roland Tuitt stated that he is looking forward to a good working relationship with Parliament.

He added that he will be looking at establishing a structural meeting schedule with the President of Parliament with respect to advising on compliance, control and supervisory roles as well as goals and objectives of investigations.

A meeting is planned for August where the General Audit Chamber will inform the President of Parliament about two investigations it plans to carry out.

The annual report was registered with the Parliamentary Secretariat as an incoming document and distributed to Members of Parliament.

The other members of the board of the General Audit Chamber are: Ronald Halman, Alphons Gumbs, and replacement members Mark Kortenoever and Daniel Hassell.

Come one, come all!
The St. Maarten Zoo is having a Sunday Zoo Special for the month of July. Every Sunday in July, two children can be admitted free with one paying adult admission. So come visit the Zoo this Sunday and every Sunday in July (there are 5 of them) and take advantage of our special price. The Zoo is a great place to relax in the shade, let the children play on the pirate ship and of course, see the animals. We are open daily from 9:00 AM until 5:00 PM.

Philipsburg:--- Honourable Minister of Finance Hiro Shigemoto in a letter dated May 30, 2011, to the President of the Central Bank of Curacao and Sint Maarten (CBCS) Emsley Tromp, says that no investments are to take place without the input of the Minister of Finance of Sint Maarten.

This is the position that has been taken by the Government of Sint Maarten.

The letter makes reference to current developments surrounding CBCS, and that no decisions are to be taken involving shares that country Sint Maarten is entitled to which amounts to 26 per cent of the gold reserves and 26 per cent of the assets of the CBCS.

"We have a new ball game where country Sint Maarten has a certain percentage of shares in the CBCS. Before that, the financial institution fell under the Netherlands Antilles.

"We have to look out and protect our interest. The position taken by the Council of Ministers of Sint Maarten is basically in line with the letter that has been sent to Mr. Tromp with reference to that," Hon. Minister of Finance Hiro Shigemoto stated on Tuesday.

yvettescookbook01062011The essence of St. Martin's cuisine. – Gloria Ferris-Bell, nutritionist

Recipes from the "First lady of St. Martin's national cuisine," founder of Yvette's Restaurant on the Caribbean's "best dining island" — hailed in Newsday, The Boston Sunday Globe, The Washington Post among other media.

Great Bay (DCOMM):--- Motorists are advised that Waterfront Road in Cole Bay will be closed to motorized through traffic as of Wednesday 9:00am.

This closure is between the intersections of Welfare Roads towards the intersection of Waterfront Road in the vicinity of Cole Bay Tire Center.

The closure will be during the period of June 15 to July 23. The area will still remain accessible. The closure is related to the Cole Bay drainage and infrastructure improvement project.

The physical improvement works do not impede on the regular business hours of Cole Bay Tire Center or surrounding businesses. Patrons will still be able to visit the businesses in that area.

The Department of New Projects Development and Planning of the Ministry Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment & Infrastructure is asking all motorists to pay extra attention to directional and information detour signs which would allow for a smooth and safe transit around the area.

Contractor Windward Roads will remove the road surface and carry out excavation works leading to the construction of the main drain outlet.

smttf12062011On January 3rd 2011, the St .Maarten Table Tennis Federation introduced the newly elected board.
The Board consist of former players, coaches, and parents of the players who are willing to dedicate some of their time to the sport.

The S.M.T.T.F Board:

President: Miss Rita Pantophlet
Vice President / Coach: Mr. Franklin Radjouki
Treasurer: Mr. Rignald Eugenio
Assistant Treasurer: Mrs. Lisa Pantophlet-Sorhaindo
Secretary: Ms. Mira Hellemun
Assistant Secretary: Mrs. Sylvia Benjamin-St.Jean
Public Relation Officer: Mr. Donald Hughes
Assistant Public Relation officer / Marketing: Mr. Glenton Pantophlet

Also serving on the Board: Mr. Calvin Turner

The objective of S.M.T.T.F is to take table tennis once again into all schools and into the communities, to effectively teach children the game of table tennis in the most positive and fun way possible.
In doing so, S.M.T.T.F strives for each child to learn and advance themselves at their own pace, gain confidence, both with other children and also surrounding parents, and to have a heap of fun.

Because S.M.T.T.F is a non profit organization there was also a fundraising committee established in order to raise funds, we are solely dependable on donations from the businesses in our community.
In the past years, Rotary Club Mid Isle has been like a father us.
Their is no age limit for table tennis anyone who is interested can join up at the Sports Auditorium in Philipsburg . However, in the near future, there are monthly dues to be paid by all children and board members, funds received will be able to assist S.M.T.T.F with buying balls, nets, rackets and other materials. As member of the Chamber of Commerce, we also have to pay a yearly fee of 250 guilders.

As member of the Caribbean Table Tennis Federation we are also paying a yearly fee of $100. Recently St. Maarten got the rights to participate in the Latin Championships after placing third in the last Caribbean Championship, that was held in San German, Puerto Rico. Presently, we are also lobbying to become member of the International Table Tennis Federation, through ITTF Development manager: Mr. Leandro Olvech, based in Germany.

To further extend table tennis into the communities, S.M.T.T.F is busy organizing a fathers day "1 Day Tournament" on June 18th 2011 at the Sports Auditorium in Philipsburg from 10 am - 5 pm. Fathers who are interested in participating can contact Mr. Robert Pantophlet at 5534714 or Coach Franklin Radjouki at: 5865406 for more information. There will be a registration fee of $20. Food and drinks will be on sale. We are asking all fathers to come out with their family to have fun and display their moves. Funds raised would be able to assist the children with travel to the Dominican Republic in July 2011, to take part in the 16th Caribbean Pre-Cadets Table Tennis Championship.

diofannydiaz14062011Great Bay:--- Award-winning dancers and the writer of the "Soldier crab" poem will perform at the book party for St. Martin Talk by Robert Romney at the University of St. Martin (USM) on Tuesday, June 14, at 7:30 PM, said Jacqueline Sample, president of House of Nehesi Publishers (HNP).
Author Romney will discuss and autograph St. Martin Talk but he will have to share the limelight with two new stars on the culture scene, said Shujah Reiph of the Book Fair Committee (BFC).
Jeremiah David, 10, and Diofanny Diaz, 14, will perform their prize-winning dances at the book party organized by HNP and BFC.
The Imbali center dancers won a gold and a bronze medal respectively in early June at the Confederation Nationale de Danse Concour National 2011 dance competition in Amiens, France.
Another guest at the book party will be Leon Noel, reciting his "Soldier crab" poem. Noel's "popular 'Soldier crab' hits the mark clean on; it has in poetry what St. Martin Talk has in sayings, proverbs and St. Martin English," said Reiph.
robertromney14062011St. Martin Talk is a handbook of "words, phrases, sayings and general communication terms that are normal or traditional to the St. Martin way of speaking," said Sample. The chapters are entitled "Words & Phrases," "Proverbs & Aphorisms," and "Verbs & the notion of Aspect in St. Martin English."
The St. Martin Talk author was born in Great Bay (Philipsburg) and reared in Marigot. Romney studied at the University of the Antilles and Guyane and the University of Bordeaux.
"Lovers of books, poetry, dance, culture and the general public are most welcome to this cultural treat of a book party," said Sample.
Two other excellent new books, From Yvette's Kitchen To Your Table by Yvette Hyman, founder of Yvette's Restaurant, and White Egrets by Derek Walcott, will also be available at the book party, said Sample.
The first 10 people arriving at the book party on Tuesday, June 14 will get a free copy of the just-released Yvette's cookbook poster, said Sample. Principals attending the book party can register for their school's free poster. The cooking heritage poster is a book fair promotion and cultural education feature from the BFC and HNP.

Philipsburg:--- This coming Thursday June 16th 2011 the St. Maarten Toastmasters clubs will kick off a series of dynamic workshops on improving speaking and leadership skills. Dubbed the SPEAK LEAD EXCEL workshop and held at the USM campus, the series offers a 5 day program catering to such important areas as Speechwriting, public speaking, conflict resolution and team building as well as effective leadership.

The sessions will be facilitated by advanced Toastmasters who are also notable leaders in the community. The first session, which will be held this Thursday evening, will be facilitated by Distinguished Toastmaster Rolando Tobias. He will conduct an interactive session on effective speech writing, where participants will be able to craft a speech as they go through the fundamentals of speechwriting. The second session on June 21st, which be facilitated by Sinatra Rouse ACG who will demonstrate the elements of effectively presenting a speech. On June 23rd, Valerie Brazier will conduct a session on the characteristics of effective leadership, followed by Joy Arnell CC on June 28thwith a session on how to conduct effective meetings. The final session will be held on June 30th and will be facilitated by Leona Marlin-Romeo who will conduct a dynamic interactive workshop on Conflict resolution as part of Team building.

Companies on St. Maarten are being asked to sponsor their employees to this imperative seminar where, along with excellent trainings, materials and refreshments will be provided. SPEAK LEAD EXCEL will be held at the University of St. Maarten.

For more information all interested persons and/or companies are asked to contact the Achievers club through This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 527 5577.

gebemeetsfmeyers17062011Philipsburg:--- GEBE Managing Director William Brooks and GEBE Commercial Manager Steve Duzanson met with Hon. Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport & Telecommunications (Ministry TEATT) Franklin Meyers on Thursday. Also present in the meeting were Secretary-General of Ministry TEATT Miguel de Weever and Lucy Gibbes from the Directorate of Economic Affairs, Transport & Telecommunications.

Great Bay (DCOMM):--- Emergency Services Week (EMS), under the theme, "EMS Everyday Heroes," will kick-off its Big Five Motorcade at 5.00pm Friday afternoon comprising of approximately 30 emergency vehicles from both sides of the island.

The Big Five Motorcade will depart from the Fire & Ambulance Building in Cay Hill and head towards Belair, Little Bay Hill, passing Sonesta Great Bay Beach Hotel, down Front Street, to the Emmaplein, Yuancho Yrausquin Blvd, Suckergarden, Belvedere, Dutch Quarter, Mt. William Hill, Madame Estate, A.T. Illidge Road, Bush Road and back to Cay Hill.

The vehicles involved are from various departments and entities: Police; Government and Airport Fire Departments; Ambulance Department; WIEMS; Red Cross; Voluntary Korps; Funeral Services; and vehicles from the North side Fire and Ambulance Services.

After the motorcade retired ambulance service personnel will be given a token of appreciation followed by a karaoke night for EMS staff both from the Dutch and French sides of the island that is scheduled to start at 8.30pm.

On Saturday, EMS Week 2011 will come to a close with a Sports Day to be held from 10.00am to 1.30pm at the Melford Hazel Sports facility in Suckergarden. The sports day will feature EMS teams from both sides of the island.

Ambulance Department Head Cylred Richardson said he is very pleased with the activities that have been organised so far for EMS Week.

The National Health Insurance and its implications for the seniors of Sint Maarten.

This week Friday June 24 at 6 pm you can see and hear on Channel 15 of the St. Maarten Cable TV the government officials Jorien Wuite and Clifford Pinedo of the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour on the plans of the policy makers for the National health Insurance for Country Sint Maarten.

During the first seminar of the Seniors and Pensioners Association in January, these high ranking officials presented the plans for the National Health Insurance System that has to replace the current FZOG, SVB and BZV health insurance packages to bring more equality.

If you want to know what are the improvements of the new proposed Health Insurnace Insurance system fro country Sint Maarten so that you can form your own opinion about what should be done to improve the health care system in country Sint Maarten, than you must watch Episode 9 and 10: National health Insurance for Sint Maarten (Part 1 and Part 2)

Last week, St. Maarten Cable TV Channel 15 aired the 8nd episode of the First Seminar from the SMSPA which dealt with the number 1 Health Care System in the World which is the system in the Netherlands. The government of Sint Maarten has already decided to copy some of the elements of the Netherlands health care insurance system. What will be the same and what will be different from the Dutch health insurance system will be presented by the two presenters from government.

All these episodes have been made possible by the SMSPA, the speakers, the participants and last but not least the sponsors of the First Seminar of the SMSPA .

On Saturday evening June 25 at 8pm, St. Maarten Cable TV on Channel 15 will repeat Friday's 6 pm broadcast of the episode for the viewers who have missed the program on Friday or for those who want to see these very informative and educative seminar episodes once more.

jayhaviserspeaksatrotarymeeting26062011St. Maarten's resident archaeologist, Dr. Jay Haviser, recently gave an explanation of the importance of heritage and monuments in St. Maarten's development into nationhood, as guest speaker at Wednesday's Rotary Club meeting. He outlined several heritage research projects being conducted on St. Maarten by the SIMARC youth program, and he requested support for some future programs. As well, the Rotary members were provided a preview of the new 'Save Our Heritage' TV commercials which are now being made by the SIMARC students. Rounding out the presentation, Dr. Haviser and the Rotary members discussed candidly about the need for sustainable development on St. Maarten, whereby developers and heritage/nature preservationists must work together for the good of the island. In the end, a generous Rotary member stepped up to the plate and offered to sponsor one of the SIMARC projects.

deltapetroleumdonatesstove03062011Delta Petroleum Limited continues to demonstrate its commitment to community enhancement and spirit of compassion by presenting a four burner gas stove along with 3-100 lb Cylinders to fire victim, Ms. Leilani Stevens, daughter of Mrs. Ziska Stevens.
The family who resides in Virgin Gorda was presented with the timely donation at a brief presentation ceremony held at the Pasea Service station.
The Stevens lives were devastated when fire destroyed their home on Thursday, April 21. The Regional General Manager of Delta Petroleum Limited, Bevis Sylvester said that he is very happy that his company was afforded the opportunity of coming on board to help Mrs. Stevens in being able to rebuild their home and lives.
Sylvester explained that his company sought to help in whatever way they could so as to assist in the rebuilding process. He told the younger Stevens that the Delta Petroleum family recognises their loss and have decided to pause today to let them know that Delta Petroleum is a caring company.
"We are a company that cares about the well being of the public and being one of our many customers, we are more determined to lend valuable assistance. This is just a token of how we at Delta Petroleum would like to show our appreciation," he said.
The RGM reminded Leilani that many of the staff supports their restaurant, Island Pot which he said has been a noteworthy contributor to the holistic development of the community. He further said that it was because of this that Delta Petroleum have ventured towards lending assistance thus aiding in their road to recovery.
stevensburnhouse03062011"I want to tell you that your road to recovery may be long but do not dwell in the past but I dare you to seize the opportunity because I am confident that God has something greater in store so as to make something out of it," he said.
The Regional General Manager reiterated his pledge to help the Stevens family to remain strong, while urging others to come forward in lending whatever assistance during these difficulties and challenges as a result of the devastating fire.
Meanwhile, the younger Stevens said that she was extremely thankful for all the assistance they received from Delta Petroleum, while adding that they would remain hopeful that everything would work out.
It is moments like these that make our work in the community so rewarding, says Mr. Sylvester.

swescotwilliamsrecievesreport08062011Great Bay (DCOMM):--- Last week Honourable Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams met with the Ombudsman Nilda Arduin-Lynch who presented the first year report of the Office of the Ombudsman.

The Prime Minister added that operational and budget matters were also discussed as well as a presentation and elucidation of the Ombudsman's first report, namely for 2010.

mvogesandlmorales14062011Great Bay (DCOMM):--- Loekie Morales from the Department of Interior and Kingdom Relations (BAK) that falls under the Ministry of General Affairs, is currently in the Netherlands visiting the Cabinet of Minister Plenipotentiary of Sint Maarten regarding the development of a European Union (EU) dossier for the country.

The BAK is the focal point of EU relations. Morales will be visiting the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Interior & Kingdom Relations concerning Overseas Countries and Territories (OCT)-EU relations for Sint Maarten.

The aim of the visit is to also gather information about programs and projects of the European Development Fund (EDF), and putting together a framework for a good working relationship between Sint Maarten, the Netherlands and Belguim on EU matters.

During Morales working visit, she is being assisted by Cor (Cornelius) James, Director of the Cabinet of the Sint Maarten Minister Plenipotentiary. Besides visits to Dutch ministries, the duo will visit the permanent representative of the Kingdom to the EU Commission and Overseas Countries and Territories Association's (OCTA) in Brussels.

"After the visit, the intention is to inform and receive input from several Sint Maarten Ministries in order to create a vision and a master plan for EU relations. My Cabinet will work very closely with the Ministries in Sint Maarten on this EU dossier," Minister Plenipotentiary Mathias Voges told the Department of Communication (DCOMM).

Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams, earlier in the year attended the OCTA Ministerial Conference and the OCT-EU Forum held on the South Pacific island of New Caledonia.

After Sint Maarten acquired country status last October, Sint Maarten is now officially an OCT, but before that the Netherlands Antilles was an OCT.

The OCTs are non-European countries and territories that have special relations with Denmark, France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

They are associated with the European Community with a view to promoting their economic and social development and establishing close economic relations between them and the Community as a whole.

The European Community Treaty states that the association of the OCTs with the Community 'shall serve primarily to further the interests and prosperity of the inhabitants of these countries and territories in order to lead them to the economic, social and cultural development to which they aspire.'

There are in total approximately 25 OCTs. The OCTs are constitutionally linked to a Member State, but without being part of the Community.

The European Commission has since 2005 suggested building a new relationship based on the OCTs and EU membership of the same family.

The European Commission (EC) wishes to carry out a holistic review of the relations between the EU and the OCTs and to consider a substantial revision of the OCT-EC association.

delbertnicholas15062011Orient Bay/French Quarter:--- Hotel workers, guests, relatives and friends of Delbert Elisha Nicholas (28) employee of Alamanda Hotel are still in shock as they mourn his sudden demise. Nicolas was chopped to death on Tuesday night not far away from his home on Yellow Tail Road Sandy Ground.
Colleagues of Delbert describe him as an honest and hard working man who was working for Alamanda for the past 9 years. He leaves to mourn his parents and two young children ages 6 and 2 years old.
Egbert Nicholas, father of the victim said his son was chopped to death by some Spanish men who attacked his son Delbert and his friend Willy Lake. The elder Nicolas said that he learnt that the three Spanish men had an argument Sunday night in a bar and restaurant with his son's friend Willy and they returned Tuesday night to Sandy Ground to settle the score. "Willy was on the scene Tuesday night but he escaped unharmed." The suspects they said also lives in Sandy Ground.
Nicholas said one of the attackers who are of Spanish decent was accidentally shot by his own cousin the main perpetrator of the attack and killing. The unknown victim he said died on the spot, while his son Delbert died at the Louis Constant Fleming Hospital. The attackers he said chopped Delbert on his neck, head and side. The bereaved father said he does not have the details of the Tuesday nights' fight but somehow his son was actively involved in a wrestling. Relatives of the deceased man said they know the main perpetrator whom they said works in St. Barths and lives in Sandy Ground.
A press release from the Gendarmerie states that the incident occurred around 10pm on Yellow Tail Road and two persons ages 28 and 36 years old died. The gendarmes are busy investigating.

pjiaedrill16062011Great Bay (DCOMM):--- On Wednesday emergency services from the Princess Juliana International Airport and other services carried out a live mock drill of an aircraft crash. The simulation exercise has to be carried out every two years as part of international aviation requirements.

In the exercise the fire department extinguished the fire while medical personnel extricated wounded passengers and crew and evacuated them to the triage.

garrindellgivesmvogesgift17062011Philipsburg:--- Left to right; Hon. President of Parliament, Gracita Arrindell presenting a gift to Minister of Plenipotentiary Mathias Voges on behalf of the Parliament of Sint Maarten. The presentation took place at the Sint Maarten House in The Hague.

Similar gifts (a plaque with the crest of the Parliament of Sint Maarten) were also presented to the chairpersons of the Dutch First and Second Chambers of Parliament.

Bridgetown, Barbados:--- FirstCaribbean International Bank is today announcing that it will be branded under the CIBC banner by adopting the co-branded name of 'CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank.'

FirstCaribbean's parent company, CIBC, is one of Canada's largest banks with offices in major financial centres around the world. As an important member of the CIBC group of companies, CIBC FirstCaribbean will be adopting new branding elements to be more closely aligned to the CIBC brand, while still maintaining the FirstCaribbean name and local identity.

"By joining together the strong branding identities of both CIBC and FirstCaribbean, CIBC FirstCaribbean represents the proud heritage and uniqueness of the Caribbean backed by the financial strength of CIBC, one of the largest and best capitalized banks in Canada,' explained Michael Mansoor, the bank's Executive Chairman.

"CIBC is one the leading bank's in Canada and Canada's banking system has been ranked as the best in the world by the Geneva-based World Economic Forum for the last three years,' continued Mansoor. "And in May, the Bloomberg Markets magazine named CIBC the fourth strongest bank in the world, so linking the FirstCaribbean brand with CIBC will leverage this financial strength and world class recognition."

The transition to the new CIBC FirstCaribbean identity will be gradual over the coming months as the CIBC FirstCaribbean brand is introduced to operations across the Caribbean region. Over this time the claret (red) and gold of the CIBC brand will be phased-in as branch signage, employee uniforms, and marketing materials are updated.

"The addition of CIBC to the FirstCaribbean brand emphasizes CIBC's long-term commitment to the Caribbean region, our employees and our clients," emphasized the bank's CEO John Orr. "Our clients and our employees across the Caribbean will continue to benefit from the long-term investment that CIBC is making in the region that dates back to our first branches opened in 1920."

CIBC FirstCaribbean will continue to operate as a Caribbean-managed business within the CIBC group of companies, and will continue to be traded on the stock exchanges of Barbados, Trinidad, Jamaica, The Bahamas and the Eastern Caribbean Securities Exchange.

The Government of St. Maarten represented by the Ministry of VROMI, Department of New Projects Development and Planning would like to hereby make known that the following project will begin execution on June 27th, 2011:

Main Sewage Line: Ebenezer – A.T. Illidge Road

The Ministry of VROMI, Department of New Projects Development and Planning on behalf of The Government of St. Maarten is hereby informing the general public that:

L.B. SCOTT ROAD will partially closed in connection with the construction of phase one of the gravity sewage line from the aeration basin at Ebenezer II to the A.T. Illidge Road Wastewater Treatment Plant;

Phase 1 concerns the road section from the bridge adjacent to the St. Peter Sol Gas Station on L.B. Scott Road to the intersection at Cake House Supermarket, with a length of approximately 1,300 meters;

The duration of the closure will be from Monday, June 27th, 2011 to Sunday August 14th, 2011;

The works will be executed during the hours of 07.00 a.m. to 10.00 p.m., Monday through Saturday during this period;

If necessary, the works will also be executed on Sundays during this period;

Through traffic entering the Cul-de-Sac area will be unhindered;

Through traffic exiting the Cul-de-Sac area will be detoured;

Sections of 50 - 200 meters will be inaccessible during the works;

The Ministry of VROMI, Department of New Projects Development and Planning on behalf of the Government of St. Maarten is asking all motorists to pay keen attention to the traffic signs and detour routes for the duration of the works, to ensure a smooth and safe transition while the works for Main Sewage Line Ebenezer – A.T. Illidge Road is in the execution phase. Furthermore, the Government of St. Maarten asks for your patience and understanding for the inconveniences that this will cause as it is our strive to execute these works during the school vacation.


Synopsis Ebenezer Sewage Line

Project History

The Ebenezer Project is an initiative which results from the increasing health and sanitation issues that were being faced in among others, the district of Ebenezer.  The primary goal of the project is within a relatively short period to provide the above mentioned Ebenezer District with an upgraded wastewater treatment system to compensate for the current overload at the existing facilities. As the sewer infrastructure of Ebenezer Estate was in place when the property was developed, it is important that a receptacle facility is available for the produced wastewater to avoid environmental and health related problems.

Upon Request of the Government of St. Maarten, CEC-Windward was assigned to prepare a Terms of Reference for the construction of a modular wastewater treatment system for 1500 residents that in the future could easily be extended to 2500 residents. Based on this, a financing agreement was signed between Government of St. Maarten and SUONA under the Social Economic Initiative (SEI) Program as one of the goals of the SEI program is the alleviation of the waste problems on St. Maarten and to maintain the quality of the living conditions, environment and economic growth.

Tender and Technology Selection

The public tender for the Design and Build Wastewater Treatment Plant Ebenezer II was held on Wednesday, March 23rd , 2011 at the office of the Ministry of VROMI. Three contractors presented a bid during this tender; namely MNO Vervat N.V., Smaal Water Service N.V. and Windward Roads B.V.

During the tender procedure, Windward Roads B.V. submitted two (2) alternative bids, one of which was the construction of a main sewer from the current aeration basin at Ebenezer II to the upgraded wastewater treatment plant at A.T. Illidge Road.  This has more advantages in the future, mainly the possibility to connect the surrounding areas in the Cul-de-Sac basin. After reviewing the possibilities the Ministry of VROMI has come to the conclusion that based on the proposed alternative, in combination with an existing plan of CEC Windward / Witteveen & Bos dating from 1998, in compliance with the Eilandelijke Riolerings Plan (ERP) and the intention to centralize the sewage treatment as much as possible, a sewage gravity line will be the most desirable and sustainable alternative.

Project Execution

On Monday June 27th, 2011, the execution of this project will begin at the bridge adjacent to Sol Gas Station at Illidge Road. The project is subdivided into two phases; namely phase one and phase two. Phase one, which consists of the completion of the works on the L.B. Scott Road will be executed in 2011. Phase two, which consists of the completion of the works from the entrance of link 2 to the wastewater treatment plant at Illidge Road  and the remainder of works at the Ebenezer II location will be executed in 2012.

Within the works that will be executed in this project, the preparation for the branch sewers will be made that within the short term, homes and businesses in the Cul-de-Sac district can be connected to the main gravity sewer.

The works involved include the breaking open on one side of the road and installing the sewer, pits and connection points for future home connections. The L.B. Scott Road will be demolished in sections of ranging from 50 - 200 meters per segment. The sewer will be places, and the section reclosed before continuing to the following section.

In phase one, the works will take place in two shifts of 8 hours, starting at 7:00 a.m., from Monday through Saturday. If necessary, works will also take place on Sunday. This will be for a duration of seven (7) weeks.

In phase two, normal working hours will be maintained with the exception to critical traffic points. At these road crossing, evening works will also be carried out.

Financial Consequences

The project is co-financed utilizing Social Economic Initiative (SEI) funding represented  by USONA, and the Government of St. Maarten. As the project is under FIDIC regulations, the contractor Windward Roads B.V. is responsible to design and construct the gravity sewer. Cost and Quality Control for this project is currently in the tender process.

The total cost of the project is approximately NAF 4.2 million of which USONA will finance NAF 960,000.00 from the SEI-Program budget and the Government of St. Maarten will finance the remaining NAF 3.24 million.

The project is being managed by the Ministry of VROMI, department of New Projects Development & Planning.

desmondalphonso26062011Threatening to create chaos on the flight, businessman Desmond 'DA' Alphonso is not prepared to leave the British Virgin Islands without a fight to have certain demands met before he is deported to his native Guyana.
He is demanding more time on the territory to sort out things in relation to his business, the BVI Platinum News Online.
DA should have departed the BVI around 7 AM Sunday on a LIAT flight and arrive in Guyana at 2 AM.
However, he refused to do so, contending that he was not given sufficient time to get his business documents in order and that he is going Guyana, a place he has not visited since he left as a child.
The businessman said if his demands for more time are not met, he will be seeking to return to Guyana on a chartered flight.
This morning at about 5:30 am, Alphonso refused to be taken from the Road Town Police Station by Police and Immigration Officers, who were set to escort him to the Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport.
According to BVI Platinum News sources, Alphonso also told authorities that he will create a disturbance on the flight if he is not placed on a chartered flight or given the opportunity to sort out his business.
Lawyer Vernon Malone was also at the Police Station meeting with the hierarchy of the Police force and Immigration Department on the matter
on behalf of DA. However, Malone told BVI Platinum News that he does not wish to comment on the matter. He did confirm that Alphonso is still being held at the station in Road Town.
"I am not aware of any details with respect to his removal. You will have to get that from Mr. Fraser, the head of Immigration or the Deputy Governor because I am not at liberty to talk about it...As a matter of fact, I do not know of any of the details and I expect to be advised...Yes he is [on island]; I left him at the Road Town Police Station," Malone told BVI Platinum News when contacted.
Meanwhile, at the airport, family, friends and workers of DA's businesses were all there waiting for him to arrive at the airport. However, at 7:00 am it was obvious that he was not coming and the word later got around that he was putting up a resistance at the station.
And Virgin Islands News Online reported that Alphonso has threatened to create chaos on the aircraft, and the safety of the other passengers had to be taken into consideration.
"We could not risk that because the airline could have been sued," a source told VINO.
VINO quoted the unnamed source say saying that officials there hoped to resolve the issue this week.
VINO was reliably informed, he was picked up a little before 5 p.m. According to sources, immigration officers went to Mr. Alphonso's Fish Bay residence around 4:30 pm but he was not there. However, officials are tight-lipped as to where he was apprehended.
This means that the Guyanese citizen, who is in his 40s, lost his legal battle about being deported. The decision was made by the Governor Boyd McCleary.
On May 26, 2011, Governor McCleary had told VINO that "it [the decision] is something that I have to review very closely, so I will be taking my time."
He also revealed that DA's legal team and the Attorney General's office had provided convincing arguments and "a lot of documents" during a hearing that was held on Friday, May 20, 2011.
As first reported by VINO, six character witnesses gave glowing testimonies to Mr. Alphonso's character. For the deportation proceeding, he was represented by Stephen Daniels. Efforts to contact Mr. Daniels proved futile.
DA first landed in hot water after he was charged and ultimately spent four years in prison for harbouring three murderers.
In addition to that, while DA was found not guilty of killing one of the murderers – Marlon Bailey, his reputation has taken a blow. The Guyanese born businessman has been living in the Virgin Islands for over 40 plus years, and has belonger's status.
But according to the Immigration and Passport Act of 2000, section 19, it states, "The Governor in Council after consulting with the board can revoke a certificate of residence or any endorsement thereon on the grounds that the person to who it relates:
  1. Subsequent to the grant of such certificate has been ordinarily resident outside the Territory continuously for a period of three years.
  2. Has in any country been sentenced to imprisonment for a criminal offence for a term of one year or more.
  3. Has so conducted himself that is not in the public interest that he shall continue to enjoy the privileges conferred by the certificate.
Taken from "Demerara Waves".

garrindellandlegalaffairs27062011Philipsburg:--- President of Parliament drs. Gracita Arrindell has established a protocol of understanding with the Legal and Legislation Department on how Parliament will handle the process of 65 laws of the former Netherlands Antilles.

Six of those laws are time-sensitive and will have to be presented to parliament before October 11, 2011 since they are also linked to international law.

The 65 pieces of legislation has already been through the formal legal preparatory process of the former Netherlands Antilles, such as the relevant Ministries and the Council of Advice.

President of Parliament Arrindell met on Friday with Head of the Department of Legal and Legislation Affairs Henk Jan Habermehl and legal specialist Nancy Joubert. Also present in the meeting was Parliament's Secretary General Jossy Semeleer.

Henk Jan Habermehl gave an overview of the state of affairs with the Legal and Legislation Department with respect to human resources and the workload of the department.

"This meeting was long anticipated and is a very important step in setting up the procedures and future contact between the relevant entities in order to ensure a smooth process in handling parliamentary legislation.

"We have established an understanding where the Department of Legal and Legislation Affairs will meet with the Parliamentary Secretariat on a regular basis to exchange information on legislation initiatives.

"Timely and proper coordination is necessary between the Executive and Legislative branches of government where legislation is concerned. Parliament is aware of the human resources challenges being faced by the Legal and Legislation Department, however, the hiring of additional legal specialist is being worked on.

"During parliament's working visit to Holland recently, Chairman of the Committee Kingdom Affairs and Inter-Parliamentary Relations Member of Parliament (MP) Roy Marlin brought the issue up with our colleagues from the Dutch Parliaments who are willing to assist us in this area. We now need to follow-up.

"The Parliament of St. Maarten is committed to producing quality legislation," President of Parliament Arrindell said on Tuesday.

The President was also informed that the department has drafted a legislative "draaiboek" (operational manual) similar to those of Aruba, Curacao and Holland. It should be ready the end of June and copies will be provided to Parliament, the Governor and the Council of Advice for their input.

"We were also informed about the Legislation Meeting within the Kingdom, which brings together top civil servants from the Kingdom partners to discuss laws, coordination of legislative agenda's etc.

"As part of one Kingdom, there is legislation that would influence and apply also to the other partners. Coordination under such a scenario would be necessary.

"The Legal and Legislation Department has also worked out the process it would take for legislation to become law. The process would take 52 weeks from A to Z when parliament passed the actual piece.

"The department also plans to draft a multi-year legislation plan which I find is very necessary and will further enhance the efficient and effective functioning of this institution," President of Parliament Gracita Arrindell stated on Monday.

Philipsburg:--- Parliament has recently received from the Minister of Finance 22 annual accounts for the year 2009 from government owned companies and subsidized foundations.

The law prescribes that Parliament should receive the annual accounts from the aforementioned.

"I am very pleased that we have received the annual accounts. These will be circulated to Members of Parliament (MPs) for perusal," President of Parliament drs. Gracita Arrindell said on Tuesday.

MPs have the opportunity to review the accounts and then follow-up with the respective Ministers with regards to the content of those annual reports.

Parliament also has the power to instruct the General Audit Chamber to investigate government owned companies and subsidized foundations with respect to the content or aspects of the annual accounts where they seek additional information or clarification.

gregvangurpfuneral10062011Pond Island:--- A large gathering braved the hot sun on Friday afternoon to pay their last respects to one of St. Maarten's fallen heroes Greg Van Gurp. Calypsonians on St. Maarten gathered at the Festival Village in large numbers to perform their musical tributes in a short period of time due to time constraints. The funeral services began shortly after 1pm and ended by 4pm. Photos show a cross section of the crowd of people that attended the funeral service, while the other shows a fan of the late Greg Van Gurp giving her tribute next to the closed casket.

 (Photo Courtesy Today Newspaper)

Philipsburg:--- Honourable Minister of Finance Hiro Shigemoto in a letter dated May 30, 2011 to Curacao's Minister of Finance G. Jamaloodin, informs the latter that Sint Maarten has a proposed candidate for the chairman of the Supervisory Board of Directors of the Central Bank of Curacao and Sint Maarten (CBCS), and would like to know by June 6 who would be the candidate for Curacao.

The letter is a follow-up to a letter dated May 10, 2011 from Minister Jamaloodin to discuss the chairmanship position.

Minister Shigemoto in his letter to his Curacao colleague, makes reference to the current developments in Curacao surrounding the CBCS and its current President, and would like within the short-term to see the position of the chairmanship of the supervisory board filled.

The Minister says that Sint Maarten's proposed candidate for the chairmanship of CBCS is Martin Hassink.

On May 31, 2011, His Excellency Governor Eugene Holiday signed the national decree for Sint Maarten's and Curacao's members of the CBCS Supervisory Board of Directors.

The Sint Maarten members are Jairo Bloem, Robbie Ferron and Marciela Illidge.

The decree also appoints Curacao's three candidates and the same decree will be signed on Curacao by Governor Frits Goedgedrag and Curacao's Minister of Finance.

The six candidates will take the oath in both countries with the Governor of each country, who will administer the oath.

Please be advised that all students, who have applied for study financing to pursue a study in Holland, Curacao or Aruba need to submit proof of good conduct (police record). This document should be no older than 6 months.

All applicants should report to the Department of Police affairs on the A.T. Illidge road (next to Napa) between 8 am – 11am, with a registration form from the Census Office no older than 3 months.

Please be aware that a request for a police record takes about 6 weeks to process.

For any additional info. please contact the Division of Study Financing, Mrs. I. Gaari.

scdfinanguilla05062011The St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) President Stuart Johnson and the reigning Miss Sint. Maarten Carnival Queen 2011 Trumane Trotman went to Anguilla on Friday afternoon.

Johnson led the delegation which was invited for the unveiling of the Anguilla Festival 2011 Carnival schedule.

Johnson and Trotman were invited by Vanier Harrigan Chairman of the Anguilla Festival Committee. Also comprising the delegation was Lavinia Marsham as chaperon of our reigning Carnival queen. The working visit to Anguilla also meant it was the first official trip for Trotman as she continues to prepare for regional pageants.

The lineup of activities at the block party afterward included speeches by general government officials of Anguilla as well as performances by several local bands. Johnson also addressed the large crowd bringing words of congratulations to a successful event, thus far.

"The bond between the people of Anguilla and St. Maarten is unbreakable, and whenever I'm in Anguilla I feel at home," remarked Stuart Johnson President of the SCDF in his address.

Johnson went on to say, "We started this working relationship for St. Maarten Carnival 2011, and this is just the beginning for Anguilla and St. Maarten Carnival Committees working together." Trotman also made some remarks thanking everyone for their hospitality and
encouraged everyone to embrace and support their cultural celebration.

Johnson extended his appreciation to warm welcome and friendliness of the people of Anguilla towards the St. Maarten delegation.
Everywhere the delegation went pictures were being taken as well as other media interviews.

"It comes as no surprise that St. Maarten people invade Anguilla every year, and this year shall be no different for the August Monday Beach party and Jouvert Morning Jam. However, this year we intend to work jointly with Mr. Harrigan and his team to ensure further visibility," Johnson said.

I extend my best wishes to the people of Anguilla, and wishing them safe and successful Carnival 2011.

Great Bay (DCOMM):--- Section General Public Health of the Collective Prevention Services (CPS), executing agency of the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, in collaboration with stakeholders is embarking on a survey in several secondary schools in order to understand the health situation of the nation's youth.

The Ministry of Public Health is working with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Emory University, St. Maarten Aids Foundation and local stakeholders to carry out the survey in order to get an overview of the issues that might affect young people's, ages 15-19, health and well-being.

This survey is planned to be realized in different islands within the Caribbean region, each country has their respective timeline.

In preparation of realizing this survey a pilot study is planned for the week of June 13 to 17. The objective of the pilot is to test the survey's logistics and timing and adjust where necessary.

Parent's permission will be needed for the participation of young people in the adolescent health survey. The survey is to improve strategies to support young people in protecting and advancing their health and wellness.

Parents/guardian's who would like their son or daughter to participate in the survey should contact Section General Public Health at the Ministry of Public Health.

The survey includes general questions about the student's personal information such as their feelings about school, their peers, their knowledge and attitudes, and their health behaviors. The student may also be asked to participate in a focus group, which is a group discussion. The student can refuse to participate or withdraw from the study at any time with no questions asked and without any negative consequences. Participation in the survey is completely voluntary.

Once the process of the pilot study is completed then the actual survey will be realized. A representative sample of the youth population is needed to have a good and accurate picture of the youth's needs and challenges.

This survey will document the challenges and needs of the youth population and give the necessary information to develop policies to provide the necessary respective services or programs. The accumulated data from this survey can also assist to adjust existing services and programs.

Parents/guardian's who are interested in allowing their child(ren) to participate in the pilot study or who would like additional information should contact Margje Troost or Deeann Horsford at CPS, at 542-2078, 542-3553, 542-3003 or 520-4523.

Great Bay (DCOMM):--- The Department of Disaster Management (DDM) is calling on the community to follow official government advisories when it comes to inclement weather conditions.

DDM has been informed that information published which was not official information from the latter department, created some concern for teachers at schools and parents whose children were at school with respect to the heavy rainfall that the island experienced on Wednesday.

The safest place for children to be is at school if there is inclement weather, especially when such a weather event occurs during school hours.

It would be very irresponsible for the government to alert parents to go pick up their children from school during heavy rainfall.

This creates an unsafe situation for children and parents as well as adds congestion to the road network.

The community is advised to follow official government advisories when these are issued.

DDM spoke with the Meteorological Service on Thursday at 4:00pm, and weather conditions will continue to improve throughout Wednesday evening.

For Thursday there should be some scattered showers, however conditions of heavy rainfall as experienced on Tuesday and Wednesday are not forecasted for Thursday.

Editors note:- Photos taken by SMN News that are posted on our website and the SMN News Fan Page on Facebook is the proof as to what happened at the schools on Wednesday. Government in their press release failed to mention what time they called the school buses to take the students from the various schools that were flooded out home. We also took note that the DDM said they spoke to the meteorological Service on Thursday at 4pm while they issued this press release on Wednesday June 8th 2011. Several parents contacted SMN News and said they received messages on their Blackberries telling them they should proceed to the schools to pick up their children shortly after midday on Wednesday.

Let us not forget teacher Maccow who was washed away some years ago, had government taken the necessary precautions in time, teacher Maccow would not have been on the road during the heavy flooding in 2006 and she could have been alive and well today.

Click here to view photos of the flooded roads on Wednesday 8th June, 2011

Great Bay (DCOMM):--- At 9.00am on Monday, June 13, National Flag Day, ministers and parliamentarians will be present at the Government Administration Building for the raising of the national flag.

Flag Day is a celebration of the adoption of the Sint Maarten Flag by the Executive Council on June 16, 2005, proclaimed the 13th day of June as Flag Day.

The Sint Maarten flag should be flown with great pride and admiration. Flag Day isn't simply about honouring a particular design on a cloth. It is more about taking time to reflect on our freedoms and of our island nation for which the flag stands.

specialolympicsathletes13062011Eleven "special" athletes will represent young country St. Maarten at the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens, Greece from June 25 – July 4.

The delegation leaves the island on June 18 and returns on July 5. This will be St. Maarten's second participation in the World Summer Games. The first time St. Maarten participated was four years ago when Sr. Basilia Center clients Marijke Linda Richardson and Lindomar Carvon participated in Shanghai, China and won one gold and two silver medals.

Special Olympics Foundation St. Maarten President Former First Lady Angela Richards-Huggins said the athletes have been undergoing intensive training and are ready to represent young Country St. Maarten to the best of their abilities while having fun.

Athletes are drawn from the Prins Willem Alexander School for Special Education (PWAS), Sr. Basilia Center and St. Maarten Vocational Training School.

Athletes will participate in three of the 24 areas: track and field (racing, shot put and long jump), swimming and bocce.

Representing St. Maarten in track and field will be will be Linda Richardson and Milinda Rogers from the Sr. Basilia Center; Katiana Pierre and Joseph Fidanque from Prins Willem Alexander School and Stefano Gordon and Jivana Claxton from the St. Maarten Vocational Training School. Competing in swimming will be Willemijn Verloop and Roger Jeffers of the Sr. Basilia Center and Jivanta Claxton and Nathan Mollineau from the Prins Willem Alexander School (PWAS). Albert Arrindell from the Sr. Basilia Center will compete in bocce.

Athletes will be accompanied by five coaches (Les Brown, , Antroy Cleghorn, Isha Marlin and Debby Rombley), Head of Delegation (HOD) Special Olympics Foundation St. Maarten(SOSM) Secretary Loyola Seymonson and one Assistant Head of Delegation (Asst. HOD) Greta Mathew.

The entire trip costs an estimated NAf. 68,000 (NAf. 58,000 in tickets alone). The host country is responsible for meals, accommodation and ground transportation. The St. Maarten team will be sporting uniforms bearing the colours of the country's flag: red, white and blue.

An estimated 7,500 Special Olympics Athletes from 185 nations will compete in 22 Olympic-type sports at the international event. The games are held every four years in a different nation.

SO President former First Lady Angela Richards-Huggins said the preparations for the games have been going smoothly with athletes stepping up their training as their date of departure draws near.

As the 11 St. Maarten athletes prepare for to depart for Greece this weekend, Richards-Huggins hopes that athletes have fun and meet new friends while they compete and enjoy this once in a lifetime experience of being in a big country and participating in a world renowned competition with 10,000 fellow athletes and spectators from all over the world.

"I am happy that we are able to accomplish this," she said thanking the coaches, SO board, donors, parents, athletes and the wider community who are supportive in one way or another of the SO movement in St. Maarten. "I salute you all."

The Special Olympics World Summer Games is the crowning of a long lasting movement founded in 1968 by the late Eunice Kennedy Shriver, who managed to realize her dream of putting the spotlight on intellectually challenged athletes around the world.

The games offer participation opportunities to persons with intellectual disabilities in 24 Olympic-type sports: Athletics, Swimming, Artistic Gymnastics and Rhythmic Gymnastics, Basketball, Tennis, Football, Volleyball, Equestrian, Table Tennis, Bowling, Canoe-Kayaking, Cycling, Weightlifting, Golf, Judo, Handball, Sailing, and four winter sports: Alpine Skiing, Cross Country Skiing, Ice Skating and Snow Shoeing. St. Maarten will participate in four of these.

It is the only games in the world, where all participating athletes are winners. They are winners in their struggle for our respect in their diversity, winners in their struggle for self-esteem and winners in their struggle to defend their special abilities.

Delegations from around the world will be received in a host-town program for four days throughout the 13 regions of Greece prior to their arrival in Athens for the Games.

Through a series of sporting, cultural and artistic events, Special Olympics athletes will have the opportunity to adapt to a new environment, to experience the Greek culture, to enjoy the natural beauty and traditional cuisine, as well as train before the Games, it was stated on the games official website.

Other members of the St. Maarten Special Olympics Board are: Lisandra Havertong (Treasurer and Vice President); Les Brown (Sports Director); Loyola Seymonson (Secretary); Joycelyn Patrick (Parent liaison); Willemijn Verloop (Athlete representative); Brigitte Halley (Prins Willem Alexander School Coordinator) and Greta Mathew (Sr. Basilia Center Coordinator).

Elder Abuse is an expanding serious problem affecting hundreds of thousands of elderly people. Since the abuse is oftentimes at the hand of a family member or friend, the issue remains largely hidden by the families, causing gross under-reporting of the crisis. In the USA it is estimated that only 1 out of 14 incidents come to the attention of authorities. Criminal prosecution rarely occurs, because by the time law enforcement gets involved, the incident has long passed and the family doesn't want to bring attention to their disgraceful family secret.

What is the situation in Sint Maarten? Who speaks out on behalf of the elderly with dementia who are being abused? These elderly have to experience many forms of abuse: physical, verbal, emotional abuse and neglect. Even financial abuse, as is the experience of all other elderly in this society, they all collectively have to survive with a little old age pension or social allowance which is under the poverty level and which is not equal in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Of the dementia patients we know how that little income that they have, is taken away by family members who have lost the respect for their elderly person with dementia.

The Sint Maarten Alzheimer Foundation and the Rotary Club of Sint Maarten have started an awareness campaign today on June 15, 2011 so that the people in Sint Maarten can be better informed and educated about dementia and Alzheimer. So that all of us can help to prevent dementia and Alzheimer patients from being abused in Sint Maarten and so that we can guarantee that these older people with dementia will live out their life in dignity in this country that they have helped to build.


Statistically families (and many doctors who are not dementia specialists) in the USA ignore the early warning signs of dementia because they incorrectly believe that the intermittently odd behaviors are just a normal part of aging and untreatable senility. Most say that the behaviors just "aren't that bad yet" - which is a costly mistake in every regard. Since one out of every eight persons by the age of 65 gets some form of dementia (Alzheimer's makes up 65%), and nearly one out of every two by the age of 85 is afflicted (the fastest growing segment of population), dementia adds an enormous burden on families who are already ill-prepared for the strain of caring for an aging loved one.


Overburdened caregivers ride a roller coaster of emotions - feeling overwhelmed, out of control, sad, angry, guilty, and obligated to be in constant demand. They lose touch with friends who don't understand, their careers suffer when they must take time off or quit work, they suffer sleep deprivation, and they rarely get adequate nutrition or exercise. They feel overwhelming frustration and grief that they are not able to make their loved one better - and they experience ominous thoughts of impending death.

The National Center for Elder Abuse (NCEA) in the USA reports that the rate of depression for caregivers of non-demented patients is 35.2%, which is twice the public average. Among dementia caregivers, the rate is a whopping 43-46%. And caregivers who experience the greatest levels of ongoing stress were 63% more likely to die within the next 4 years than their non-caregiving peers.

What is the rate in Sint Maarten? The Sint Maarten Alzheimer Foundation wants to be that entity in this society where you can report the need of the caregivers and their loved ones with dementia. Together with their volunteers the foundation wants to support those families in need of assistance to prevent elder abuse.


When a patient becomes very difficult to manage, the caregiver experiences yet another level of frustration. Just looking at figures from the USA gives us an idea what is probably also going on here in Sint Maarten. Since there are 5 million people with Alzheimer's in the US, and agitation occurs in 40-60% with 7 out of 10 being cared for at home, is it any surprise that elder abuse can occur when an overstressed caregiver reaches their limit with a challenging elder? People who would have never dreamed of crossing the line are finding themselves lashing out in a moment of utter frustration. Of course, overwhelming guilt and hopelessness is the outcome. NCEA reports that 20% of caregivers live in fear they will become violent-and this rate increases to 57% among caregivers who have previously experienced violence from those they now care for. Researchers conclude that previous violence by the care receiver appears to move persons who are fearful of becoming violent to actually commit violent acts.


The Sint Marten Alzheimer Foundation is now already one year in existence. On different occasions they have been informing the society of the disease. With radio host Valery van Putten they have a weekly edition of Now You Know on PJD3 dedicated to raise the awareness on dementia and Alzheimer in our society. It is expected that with the daily adds from the SMAF with the assistance of the Rotary Club of Sint Maarten more people will show interest to be better informed and to be educated about dementia and Alzheimer and how to help people affected with the disease and give them and their family members a decent quality of life.

The kick-off of the campaign will be today on Wednesday June 15, 2011 at noon at 12.00 pm in Divi Little Bay Hotel.

danielgibbs16062011Marigot:--- Leader of the Union for Democracy and Vice President Daniel Gibbs has called on the elected representatives of the Collectivity of St. Martin to take full responsibility for the Collectivity's financial predicament. Gibbs called a press conference on Thursday mainly to rebuke the elected officials of the COM who are now blaming the former commune for its financial predicament. The 2010 budget has been deferred to Chamber Territorial du Compte (Chamber Regional Compte) who is expected to give a report on the 2010 budget sometime this month. Gibbs accused the Prefet of not respecting the Organic Law of St. Martin since he did not issue a report on the 2010 budget to the territorial council instead he deferred the budget to the Chamber Territorial du Compte.
Gibbs, a former deputy mayor said when the commune dismantled there was 18.3 million Euros in the coffers which he said could have sustained the Collectivity for at least six months. Right now, the Territorial Council has to deal with the outcome of the report from the Chambre Territorial du Compte and instead of making a realistic budget with the expenditures and income, the elected officials are busy blaming the former commune. Gibbs said the elected should begin with transparency since that would be the beginning of a solution for the financial constraints.
It should be noted that St. Martin was given strict instructions by the Chambre Regionale du Compte not to hire more staff since their budget was already in the red prior to the new status in 2007. However, the current leaders have added at least 30% new staff most of which have extreme salaries and benefits.
The majority should have known that St. Martin was losing the Octre du Mer funds, Tax du habitation which is not processed and was eventually suppressed would have impacted the budget of St. Martin, Gibbs said. The majority to which he was part of is fully aware of what St. Martin was losing when they abolished the Tax de la Fortune and when the regle 50 was not transferred to St. Martin.
The vice president also took shots at the statements that were made by the Minister of Overseas Territories who said he is not aware of St. Martin's economic situation. Gibbs said if the Minister is not up to date with St. Martin's economic situation then someone here did not do their job. St. Martin he said has a deputy, senator, President and a Prefet while the Minister visited the island twice. "With all of the technologies that are available today, I am shocked to read that the Minister was not aware of St. Martin's disastrous economic situation," Gibbs said.
The vice president also took jabs at Semsamar whom he said is not paying its fair share to the Collectivity. Gibbs said he voiced his opinion on several occasions on lack of control government has on Semsamar when government owns 51% of the shares. The Minister of Overseas Territories he said shared the same views.

Philipsburg:--- Some 55 students will graduating and added to the University of St. Martin (USM) alumni roster on Saturday, June 18, 2011 when the island's institution of higher learning holds its Seventeenth Commencement Exercise under the theme "Enriching Lives Through Higher Education."
The USM graduation will be held at the Westin Hotel beginning at 7pm and the keynote speaker is Principal of the Sister Marie Laurence School Ms. Vivian Roberts.
"This is a momentous occasion for USM as it is the largest number to date that has graduated at the University of St. Martin. It is also the first time ever that USM is breaking tradition and is having one of its own alumni as Keynote speaker for the seventeenth commencement," says USM President Ms. Annelies van den Assem.
In addition to remarks from the Board of Directors, remarks are also scheduled to be made by the Prime Minister of St. Maarten, Mrs. Sarah Wescott-Williams and Minister of Education Dr. Rhoda Arrindell. This is the first graduation where a prime minister and education minister from St. Maarten will be addressing USM graduates.
Recently appointed President of USM Ms. Annelies van den Assem will also be making some remarks while the Class of 2011 address will be delivered by Mr.Alex "Shujah" Reiph, a General Liberal Arts major, who is also well known for his community involvement, his Conscious Lyrics Foundation, and radio programs.
Some twenty (20) students will be receiving an Associate of Arts Degree in Business. These students include Stephanie Auguste, Arun H. Balani, Cedinio Baly, Peterson Bourjoly, Ingrid J. Delgado Embus, Endene D'Haity, Kennedy Drapin, Felicia Euson, Edsel Gumbs, Chirag Jagwani, Simon Jeffrey, Iva Jno Baptiste, Mohit Kamal Kapoor, Rishma C. Mirchandani, Jamila K. Oliver, Jeriza Rijo-Cedeno, Anacarla C. Rombley, Janel Thomas-Mairs, Tessa Williams, and Paul Wilson.
Eight (8) students will be receiving an Associate of Arts Degree in General Liberal Arts. These students include Judith Bain, Christel E. Brandy, Jemima A. Conquet, Micaela Hart, Tamara Leito, Alex "Shujah" Reiph, Tiffany Samuel, and Erika Van Putten.
Three (3) students will be receiving an Associate of Applied Science in Business Information Management. These are Cheyenne Le Zandra Douglas, Isabelle Hodge and Maria Peterson.
The Bachelor of Arts Degree in Education recipients are Robin A. Boasman, Kimberley Duzong, Katie P. Hassell, Altagracia Hawley, Natorii Illidge, Corinne Isaac, Georginette Lake, Latiesha Lynch, Sergia Milton,
Casandra Richardson, Shiera M. Richardson, Jennifer Rombley, Amaris Slac, Andrea A. St. Luce, Erika Van Putten, and Roxana R. Williams.
Jolicia Alexander, Vanessa Bruney, Ashma John and Tamisha Wigley will be receiving their Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business Administration, a program that is done in collaboration with the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI).
N'Kesi Cramer, Gerline Isaac, Audrey Jack and Hector Ravelo are the four graduates with a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality and Tourism Management, a program offered by USM in conjunction with CURISES and the University of the Netherlands Antilles (UNA).
Kenneth Cook will be receiving his Certificate in Teaching from USM.
"The graduating students are 55 examples of determination. They are 55 young individuals who have been educated and trained at USM ready to take on the responsibility to help shape the future of this new country St. Maarten," says USM President van den Assem.
The keynote speaker Ms. Vivian Roberts has over 25 years in education. She can be considered a true USM product since she holds an Associate and Bachelors from the University of St. Martin and did her Master's degree with the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) in a program jointly offered by USM and UVI.
Pastor Elmead Allen is scheduled to deliver the invocation and benediction at the Commencement Ceremony while musical selections are scheduled to be performed by God's Chosen.
Founded in 1989 by the late Dr. Claude Wathey and Hushang Ansary, the University of St. Martin began as the Mullet Bay Training Institute and now offers a wide array of degree and non-degree classes. Throughout USM's 20 year existence, over 500 Associate of Arts and Bachelor of Arts degrees have been conferred by USM.

bopptrainingworkshop17062011Great Bay (DCOMM):--- On Thursday, June 16, Section Youth Affairs launched its workshop training for student applicants who signed up for the Business Outreach and Placement Program (BOPP) at the University of St. Martin.

Coordinator of BOPP Elmora Pantophlet welcomed all the students in attendance. The BOPP, also known as the summer job program runs from July 5 through August 13. During the two days of workshops, students will be given instructions on how to write resumes and cover letters, interview skills and techniques.

nafaction20062011Philipsburg:--- Four members of the National Alliance Faction and Members of Parliament namely its leader William Marlin, George Pantophlet, Dr. Lloyd Richardson and Frans Richardson met with a delegation from the St. Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association to discuss the amendment of the civil code that would curtail the abuse of the short term labour contract.
National Alliance Leader William Marlin in an interview with SMN News said the SHTA is concerned about the consequences of the amendment of the civil code. Marlin said the SHTA made a presentation to them which showed that the tourism industry on St. Maarten is bleak compared to Aruba. The information provided by the SHTA showed the hotel occupancy rate on St. Maarten is much lower than Aruba while the price for hotel rooms there are also cheaper than St. Maarten. The SHTA also pointed out that the marine industry also suffered tremendously since the increase in fees. One of the objectives of the SHTA was to convince the National Alliance to maintain the short term labour contracts. Marlin said his faction pointed out that the intention is not to get rid of the short term contracts but they need to curtail the abuse of the short term contracts.
shta20062011The National Alliance faction members of Parliament also pointed that amending the civil code is not the cure for every problem that is presented by the labour policy but their objective is to make sure that persons who are working certain jobs be taken off the short term contracts.
Marlin indicated to the SHTA that there are local people working year after year at the same job on contracts and they are not able to even rent a house from the St. Maarten Housing Development Foundation. These people he said cannot get a loan from the bank to purchase a parcel of land or a house, yet they have to live with the stark reality that St. Maarten has the one of largest harbor and airport facilities in the Caribbean.

terrebassevilla16012011Marigot:--- Lips are sealed but emotions are running high among the members of the Union Pour le Progres as the third vice president of the Collectivity Pierre Allioti was arrested and placed in garde de vue on Monday. Allioti was transferred to Guadeloupe on Tuesday at 2pm where he will be placed on 'mise en examen" by the judge of instruction. Efforts made by SMN News to confirm the arrest of Allioti on Tuesday proved futile. Head of the Gendarmes Stephen Brunet said they are not allowed to comment on the case. All comments he said will be made by the judge of instruction and prosecutor that is stationed in Basse Terre, Guadeloupe. Brunet did not deny neither did he confirm the arrest of the third vice president.

The arrest of the third vice president who is in charge of Pole Development Durable (Urbanism) came after months of investigation into the illegal construction and subsequent work stop of a home in Terre Basse. Pierre Allioti and Serge Wienum were questioned on Monday by the investigators but Wienium was released late Monday afternoon while Aliotti was placed in garde de vue.
The Terre Basse investigation started early January 2011 after the attorneys representing the owner of the property filed a complaint and requested an investigation into the building permits department (Urbanism) with Prosecutor Jacques Louvier. Several gendarmes and officials from Urbanism issued a work-stop on December 19th 2010 after several persons in the Terre Basse area began filing complaints about the huge wall and ramp that was built on the beach. It must be noted that there are several other villas in the area that has walls directly on the beach, which is in contravention of the law.
beachwall16012011This prompted the owner of the building to seek legal council since he spent over 8 million Euros in trying to build his dream home in the Caribbean for his handicapped daughter.
On March 4th, several gendarmes were seen at the department of Urbanism conducting a search of the various offices there. Sources say lots of documents and computers were seized during that search. While the investigation is ongoing and several top civil servants are being questioned the Prosecutors that are leading the investigation remain tightlipped.
Ever since then employees of the department are being questioned on the procedures that are being used to issue building permits. The investigators are also trying to determine how was it possible for the department to issue a building permit to the architect Maurizio Lanari while the file he submitted to the department was incomplete.
The source said the owner already spent over 8 million Euros and the building is far from being complete and it appeared that several people were allegedly bribed to deliver the building permit. Already the gendarmes have detained the architect Maurizio Lanari who remains in Guadeloupe.
SMN News also learnt that Allioti allegedly filed at least two complaints against some of the employees working at Urbanism when he realized that his department was under investigation.

twonewtoastmasters22062011Philipsburg:--- Soualiga Corporate Toastmaster Club recently inducted 2 new members at its regular bimonthly meetings. TM Chantale Groeneveldt and TM Diahenn van Heyningen were welcomed by President of the SCTC Julisa Frans who stated, "the Soualiga Club is committed to ensuring that members achieve their educational goals with the help of fellow toastmasters in a supportive environment. I am a strong believer in the saying that excellence is the unlimited ability to improve the quality of what you have to offer."

As Toastmasters both ladies will follow development manuals to enhance their communication and leadership skills. TM Diahenn van Heyningen has chosen to focus on the Competent Communicator Manual. Her goal is to achieve the ACG Title within 2 ½ -3 years. After attending a number of meetings as a guest TM Chantale decided to join Toastmasters for a few reasons; attending TM club meetings will help me to network with other coworkers, Toastmasters will also give me the ability to sharpen my leadership skills. I see Toastmasters as yet another tool I can add to my tool box that adds more value and increases my ability to be employed. Additionally, TM will help boost and sustain my confidence in public speaking so I don't miss future opportunities to "stand out" from the crowd especially as global communication becomes more important.

Soualiga Corporate Toastmaster Club encourages all civil servants to join its ranks and benefit from the programs and trainings the club has to offer.

civilregistryatwork23062011Great Bay (DCOMM):--- The Civil Registry Department in connection with an ongoing updating of its registry, has completed its compilation of information regarding Sint Maarten residents born on Curacao and Aruba.

The department announced two months ago that it was in the process of updating personal profiles of residents especially some of those from Curacao and Aruba residing on the island, but whose profiles were incomplete with respect to a missing birth certificate.

Four staff members travelled to Aruba and Curacao where they were able to retrieve the missing data of the majority. Leona Romeo-Marlin, Head of the Sint Maarten Civil Registry Department, was very pleased with the cooperation she and her staff had received from the Census Departments of Aruba and Curacao.

Leona-Marlin explained by having the necessary birth certificates on file with the personal profiles, the parental information is complete and when a person is researching their family tree the information is readily available. The information is also valuable in the case of death, because the parent's information should be placed on the death certificate.

The updating of the database is also part of the plans of approach for the Civil Registry Office.

"The work in both Aruba and Curacao was very tedious and tiresome, but we prevailed and were able to retrieve the majority of birth certificates. Those that were not found we will send a letter to those specific individuals asking them to take the responsibility to bring it in to the office.

"The next group of persons will be minors without parental information. We have already published the names and will now run another query to see who complied and then send out letters to the parents.

"The last group are those born outside the former Netherlands Antilles and whose parent's information are missing. To prevent this from reoccurring, legal advice is being sought to make it mandatory for all persons registering with the Office of Civil Registry to bring a birth certificate," Head of the Civil Registry Office Leona Romeo-Marlin told the Department of Communication on Thursday.

Yesterday, The U.S Environmental Protection Agency, the General Services Administration, and the departments of Agriculture, Defense, Energy, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, and Veterans Affairs have joined forces to help save lives and create healthier home and school environments for America's families. The plan brings together commitments that help to reduce exposure to radon and protect the health of Americans through leveraging and advancing existing state, local, and national programs. Radon exposure is the leading cause of non-smoking lung cancer and leads to an estimated 21,000 deaths each year.

"With nearly one in 15 homes affected by elevated levels of radon and thousands dying each year from radon-induced cancer, it's time to step up our actions in the federal government," EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson said. "Through the Federal Radon Action Plan, we're working with partner agencies to raise awareness about the threat of radon in our homes and to take steps to mitigate this hazard. Together our efforts will help reduce radon exposure and make our homes, schools and communities healthier places to live, learn, work and play."

The Federal Radon Action Plan brings together government agencies to demonstrate the importance of radon risk reduction, address finance and incentive issues to drive testing and mitigation, and build demand for services from industry professionals. The plan will help spur greater action in the marketplace, create jobs in the private sector, and significantly reduce exposure to radon. The plan includes strategies to reach low-income families, many of whom do not have the resources to make the simple fixes necessary to protect their homes and loved ones. With the help of all agency networks, approximately 7.5 million buildings and homes in the United States will be able to receive information and build awareness around this serious public health risk.

The plan includes federal government actions to reduce radon risks:

  • Launching a cross-government outreach initiative to educate families about the health risks associated with radon exposure and the solutions to address the risks.
  • Incorporating radon testing and mitigation into federal programs.
  • Investing in new standards and updating codes for measurement and mitigation in schools, daycare facilities, and multi-family housing.
  • Establishing incentives that drive testing and mitigation in the private and public sectors.

Radon is a naturally occurring, invisible and odorless radioactive gas. Approximately one in 15 American homes contains high levels of radon. Millions of Americans are unknowingly exposed to this dangerous gas. EPA and the Surgeon General urge people to test their homes for radon at least every two years. Contact your state radon office for information on locating qualified test kits or qualified radon testers. Learn more about the Federal Radon Action Plan at or by calling 1-800-SOS-RADON.

Philipsburg:--- The President of the NAPB St. Maarten Carlyle Rogers said in a press release on Sunday that the Minister of Justice should go back to the negotiating table with the police unions to re-negotiate since his plans are different to those that were made prior to the island achieving its separate status.
Rogers said prior to St. Maarten receiving its status, several agreements were made and he realized that the St. Maarten's Minister of Justice has a lot of plans that are differing from the agreements that were made pertaining to police matters and agreed upon on all Political levels.
Rogers said the NAPB chapter St. Maarten is of the opinion that in the event that this government would like to see these plans carried out that they by extension of the Minister of Justice should come back to the negotiation table with the above mentioned unions to re negotiate.
Rogers said after the NAPB St. Maarten installed their board they held several fruitful meetings with the Minister of Justice and the Management team of the St. Maarten Police Force over the past days.
The NAPB president said before 10-10-10, a work group for the Police force of St. Maarten was put in place, consisting of members of the Police from Holland, St. Maarten, the public prosecutors' office and the unions being NAPB, ABVO and the WICSU.

fwilliamspresentsbooktojmatta26062011Great Bay:--- St. Martin author Felecita Williams returned here last weekend from San Juan, Puerto Rico, where she presented her autobiography Because of Prayer to the Hospital Universitario de Adultos.
"What a marvelous blessing it was to be back 'live and well' at the hospital where I laid as a child in 1978!" said Williams on Sunday to her publisher, HNP.
Williams was received last Wednesday at the busy medical center by Lcdo. Jorge Matta González, MHSA, executive director and Kermith J. Silva Hernandez, MS, head of the Medical Records Department.
Because of Prayer tells of the author's near-death experiences from kidney failure as a child. The book also tracks her treatment at St. Rose Hospital, and at hospitals in Curacao, Puerto Rico, and the Netherlands in the 1970s and 1980s.
In San Juan last week, Silva gave Williams a brief tour of the hospital facilities where children are also cared for. "Nothing was familiar to me of course," said Williams, "but on the other hand, Mr. Matta absolutely enjoyed the fact that a previous patient came after such a long time to visit."
"I commend Mr. Silva dearly for his assistance and patience during my research, and for eventually finding my old file," said Williams. During the writing of the book, which was published in 2010, Williams was pressed by her editors to recall and research factual data about her stay and treatment in the various hospitals.
"I would also like to thank the SZV, formerly SVB, and Insel Air where I won the raffle ticket that came in handy for me to travel to Puerto Rico and have this wonderful project come to pass. God is so Awesome!" said Williams.
"For a first time author, Felecita is doing an amazing job promoting her book and encouraging children and the elderly on her visits to schools, churches, conferences, and hospitals to write their stories and to try and get published," said Jacqueline Sample, president of House of Nehesi Publishers (HNP).

oranjeschoolgraduation27062011Philipsburg:--- The Oranje School, which is presently celebrating its 160th year, held its annual graduation ceremony at the Sonesta Maho Resort on Thursday 23rd June under the theme "GOING THE DISTANCE-FOLLOWING OUR DREAM" with a total of twenty-five graduates.
School manager, Ms. Kay Lind Philips proudly welcomed the governor and First Lady.
"I am especially proud to welcome His Excellency and the First Lady who have both been graduates of the Oranje School."
She further went on to encourage the graduates with the hope that that would inspire them to pursue academic excellence, to become productive citizens, successful teaches, lawyers, carpenters, electricians or even one day to serve in the capacity of governor of St. Maarten. She encouraged them to go the distance, to continue until they have successfully completed their educational journey no matter how difficult. She further admonished the parents to help their children develop their potentials.
The highlight of the nearly two hour ceremony was the presence of his Excellency drs. Eugene Holiday and the First Lady Marie Lousie Holiday-Hazel. As the key note speaker, Mrs.–Hazel stressed four main points to the school leavers. She emphasized that they should aim for an education by being the best. She pointed out that there will be a lot of changes from elementary to secondary but keep in mind that it is only through education they will achieve. Secondly she urged them to never give up on their dreams.
"Don't ever tell yourself or let anyone tell you that you can't. Keep in mind the slogan of President Obama-Yes, We can. Thirdly, work hard. There will be challenges but know that only hard work will bring success. Finally she urged them to keep the name of the Oranje School high. As a proud past student, I want to know that the flag of the Oranje School continues to fly high.
Also in attendance was Ms. Pricilla Bell, Inspector of Education. Acting Manager of Public Education, Mrs. Glenderlin Davis-Holiday, who is travelling, sent a congratulatory message to the school leavers.
The valedictorian was 12 year old Tenia Arrindell. Arrindell, who is humble, caring and eager to learn excelled as the top student for all three exams she wrote - Coordinated Exams, St Dominic and St. Maarten Academy - chose to attend HAVO because she sees the importance of receiving her subjects in Dutch.
"We need Dutch," she said simply.
Arrindell firmly believes in being your own leader, something that was instilled into her by her mother Olga Arrindell. In an emotional speech she reminded her peers that they were a part of the school's history. She also admonished them that while planning their future they should set goals, figure out ways to achieve them and try hard to fulfill their dreams.
"If you do not like the path your life has taken thus far, if it does not make you happy, re-route yourself, blaze your own trails if it is needed."
Arrindell also shared the motivational poem "Start where you Stand" in order to stress the importance of looking ahead. To coincide with the theme, which was put together by the school leavers, they also chose the "Optimist Creed" and songs "Follow your Dream and Half-way There."
Students received awards for outstanding work in all subject areas as well as for Best Behaved, Most Improved and Most Helpful. These were made possible through the knid contribution of several businesses and individuals.
The school wishes to give special thanks to Mrs. Sylvia Meyers (MP), Mr. Janchi Leonard (MP), The Learning Center, Van Dorp Edine, Blue Point and The Big D' s Photo Studio for their contributions to the graduation.

Philipsburg:--- The plenary session of Parliament regarding the 2011 national budget will be carried live on Sint Maarten Cable TV Channel 20 on Wednesday, June 29.

The meeting will take place in the General Assembly Chamber at 10.00am and all Ministers are scheduled to be present for the opening.

Minister of Finance Hiro Shigemoto will be the first to address Parliament. He will be followed by the following ministers, Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labour Cornelius De Weever, Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports Rhoda Arrindell, Minister of Justice Roland Duncan, Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunications Franklin Meyers, Prime Minister/Minister of General Affairs Sarah Wescot-Williams, and Vice Prime Minister/Minister of Public Housing, Spatial Development, Environment and Public Infrastructure Theo Heyliger.

The two agenda points are incoming documents and the second national ordinance establishing the 2011 national budget for country Sint Maarten including attachments.

jfegrants29062011"As you pursue your higher levels of learning, please do not forget to give back to the community that has made this all possible"; that was the sentiment expressed by members of the Journey for Education (JFE) Foundation. The Foundation handed out U$ 10.000.00 to 4 students who are continuing the education on St Maarten and abroad. The short ceremony took place on Wednesday afternoon in Point Blanche.

The four students were selected out of 19 applications and represent four cornerstones of capacity building and development on St Maarten. Jermain Harrison is pursuing a Masters in Theology and intends to return to St Maarten and contribute to the spiritual development of the community in all aspects. Alexi Flanders is pursuing a degree in Computer Management at USM on St Maarten. Darisca Walker is pursuing her degree in Pharmacy and hopes to return to the island and start her own pharmacy, while Gisella Hilliman is pursuing her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology with the intention to put her degree to good use for the benefit of the local community.

While addressing the students, members of JFE commended them on their exemplary achievements so far, while encouraging them to continue. The members also echoed the need for students to return and give back to the community in all regards. There are many non-profit organizations competing for an ever dwindling amount of donation funds and with the present economic challenges, raising large amounts of funds and assisting large groups is also a challenge for JFE. But if you can continue to be great role models and give back to the community, organizations such as JFE can continue provide the much-needed supplementary funding to many other students; JFE President Rolando Tobias concluded in addressing the recipients.

The Journey for Education Foundation is the oldest educational organization that provides supplementary funding to students seeking tertiary education. The Foundation raises funds by means of two events annually; the annual gala dinner takes place in November and the annual walkathon in April.

bookfairguests12062011Great Bay (DCOMM):--- Honourable Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams recognizes the growth of the national book fair over the past years.

The Prime Minister who was one of the speakers at the recently concluded 9th Annual Book Fair added, "I say this taking into account the changes that have taken place over the years on all fronts and the challenge to maintain your core objective, promoting writing, literature and documentation.

"In doing so, you have been confronted with the impact of the rapid changes, especially in technology and information, enormous! Just imagine how technology has transformed the production and reproduction of books and writings, of exchange and dissemination of information and of course publishing.

"You had no choice but to every year assess the scope of these new and exciting developments and their significance for an event like this book fair. In doing so, you have managed to keep it exciting, year after year."

Wescot-Williams pointed out that the island has come a long way from the days when the right to free speech was paramount to ensuring and securing democratic societies. In some countries, this right is still subject to conflict, sometimes with fatal results.

Prime Minister: "Today so-called Governance Indicators (a project of the World Bank) tie accountability to freedom of speech as a measure of the quality of governance under the indicator labeled "Voice and Accountability".

"St. Martin anno 2011: Fundamental Rights, (liberties), because we also have the rights of equality, solidarity, administration of justice, and citizenship. Chapter 2 of our young constitution: (one of the 15 "liberties") No one shall require prior permission to publish thoughts or opinions through the press.........without prejudice to the responsibility of every person under the law.

"There shall be no prior supervision on the contents of a radio or television broadcast. No one shall be required to submit thoughts or opinions for prior approval in order to disseminate them by means other than those mentioned.

No one shall need prior permission to gather and receive information.........without prejudice to the responsibility of every person under the law. The right to gather information may be restricted by national ordinance.

"These are excerpts, which in full contain some nuances that diminish the absoluteness of the right itself. The more complex the society becomes, the more we will see this.

Freedom of speech, is one where quickly the right of the individual vis-à-vis the right of others or the community at large could easily become strained.

"Exercising one's right could be harmful or offensive to another or even trample that other person's rights. That right could even be a threat to the security of all.

"And so, mostly these rights are not absolute. In the case of St. Maarten, you heard the part "without prejudice, without prejudice. To be further regulated by law in the interest of the orderliness of society at large.

"Speaking of orderliness, how could that work as far as the freedom of information is concerned, where the medium of expression is the internet. What about the right to privacy in the context of the internet and information technology?

Is there a happy medium to be found?"

With respect to the book fair, "I know full well in what context the freedom of expression should be seen for this book fair.

"St.Martin is at cross roads where the exercise of some of our fundamental rights is concerned. Not that these rights are new to us. We have been subject to constitutions and human rights treaties since the 20th century. But now, do we place limits on some of these to protect others?

"When you go there, you enter the realm of customs and norms and what is acceptable to us, now as a St. Martin society or not.

Notwithstanding the potential down sides of one exercising one's fundamental rights such as that of expression unabridged, this particular right and freedom allow us to bring out the best in us, and to bring it out in our way.

"Writers are free to write. Books are viewed as new-borns of literature. Poets are free to express in poetry. Dancers in dance and actors in acts and all means of expression thinkable.

"In its purest form this has a huge social value.

Every part of it, the book, the author, the party, the criticism, the praise. The same goes for the dance, the speech, the song," Hon. Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams concluded.

Philipsburg:--- Honourable Minister of Finance Hiro Shigemoto reiterated on Tuesday that his answers to questions that were partly asked in the parliament meeting of April 21, 2011 or were provided to him in writing by the faction of the National Alliance (NA), is at the Parliament's Secretariat.

The Minister has received information that parliamentarians did not receive the answers to questions only related to developments surrounding the 2011 budget. The letter was delivered to the Secretariat of Parliament on Monday, May 16, 2011.

The NA had requested the meeting and the presence of the honourable Minister at the meeting of Parliament to provide information related to developments surrounding the 2011 budget. The NA sought answers to 102 questions that the faction drafted.

george21082009Philipsburg:--- Member of Parliament George Pantophlet is wondering what happened to the over 100 questions that were submitted in writing to the Minister of Finance Mr. Hiro Shigemoto during the meeting on developments surrounding the 2011 Budget. The Member of Parliament is basing this on the fact that on Monday May 30, 2011 Parliament received a convocation for a central committee meeting to be convened on Monday June 6, 2011 to discuss amendments to the 2011 Budget. In it was also stated that the Minister of Finance would like to have any questions submitted in writing. The Member of Parliament says he finds this ironic knowing the Minister is yet to answer the 100 questions that were submitted to him.
In a discussion with the President of Parliament drs. Gracita Arrindell, Pantophlet made it clear to her that the answers to the questions posed by the National Alliance faction should have been received already. His faction had requested that the answers be submitted in writing. Unfortunately, over one month after the meeting was adjourned the answers are still not forthcoming. And he suspects that the old political maneuvering is alive and well. It is quite obvious that the intention of the Minister of Finance is to give the answers on the day of the meeting. This is petty politics and belongs to the past. Furthermore, the central committee meeting to discuss the amendments to the Budget of 2011 is scheduled for Monday June 6, 2011 and probably with the support of the majority of members of Parliament of the Democratic Party, United People party and Independent will probably schedule the public meeting on said Budget for the 10th or 11th of June. The reasoning behind this is that they don't want this to interfere with trips abroad which are scheduled for sometime around the middle of June. The Member of Parliament said also that he will be requesting from the Minister of Finance Mr. Hiro Shigemoto copies of the 22 financial statements of government owned companies and foundations he claimed according to media reports to have sent to the CFT. Finally, while he thanks Minister Theo Heyliger for the answers to his questions on the Harbor expansion, some of the answers need more clarity. So the Minister should expect more questions in the near future on this matter. It is said that there are plans to build a Hotel and a casino. It is all about transparency and accountability.Be clearer with your answers next time.

Philipsburg:--- Honourable President of Parliament Drs. Gracita Arrindell would like to announce that there will be a plenary public session of Parliament on Monday, June 06.

The meeting will take place in the General Assembly Chamber at 10.00am.

The agenda point is related to incoming documents; dispensation for the Ombudsman in order to handle the affairs of her late husband; advice of the Presidium of Parliament concerning the appointment of a deputy Ombudsman; and advice from the Presidium concerning the advice of a deputy Secretary-General.

The Presidium of Parliament is the supervisory body comprising of the President of Parliament (chairperson) together with the two Vice Presidents of Parliament (vice chairpersons).

The President of Parliament and the two Vice Presidents deal with the business of organizing and running the House of Parliament; they also discuss working procedures of parliament and matters related to the secretariat organization.

The Central Committee of Parliament will meet at 11.00am in the General Assembly Chamber.

This meeting is related to the second concept of the national decree for the country 2011 budget along with accompanying documentation.

The Minister of Finance Hon. Hiro Shigemoto has been invited to elucidate on the content of the aforementioned and the other Ministers will be invited as it relates to their respective ministerial responsibilities.

swescotwilliamsaidsundelegation06062011Great Bay (DCOMM):--- Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams says significant strides have been made during the past 30-years in the global response to AIDS where a record number of people have access to treatment, rates of new HIV infections have fallen by nearly 25 per cent, and a greater number of pregnant women are living with HIV and are keeping their babies free of infection.

The Prime Minister who is also Acting Minister of Public Health and Chairperson of the Sint Maarten HIV/AIDS Steering Committee left the island on Monday heading a three person delegation to a three-day high level United Nations (UN) meeting in New York at UN Headquarters that will take place from June 8-10.

Besides the aforementioned, the Prime Minister is also the delegation leader for the Kingdom of the Netherlands to this high level meeting.

The meeting will focus on efforts to combat the epidemic. Thirty years ago scientists first identified AIDS which was mysterious, deadly and spreading.

The Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) just released a report, "AIDS at 30: Nations at the crossroads;" notes that about 6.6 million people were receiving antiretroviral therapy in low and middle income countries at the end of 2010, a nearly 22-fold increase since 2001.

Also, a record 1.4 million people started life-saving treatment in 2010, more than any year before, and at least 420,000 children were receiving antiretroviral therapy at the end of 2010, a 50 per cent increase since 2008.

The latest estimates from UNAIDS shows that 34 million people were living with HIV at the end of 2010 and nearly 30 million have died from AIDS-related causes over the past 30 years.

The Prime Minister is accompanied by Emilia Thomas, Policy Advisor Cabinet of the Prime Minister, Drs. Khalilah Peters, Senior Policy Officer at the Directorate Foreign Relations of the Government of Sint Maarten, and Suzette Moses-Burton, HIV/AIDS Programme Management Team Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour.