St. Martin News Network

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Jul 28th
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  • Gregory Anthony van Gurp, b.k.a. Mighty Greg.

    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:

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

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

    Grandchild 
    Xeleah Augusta - Holland

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

    Brothers
    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

     

  • Josepha Corona Dollison.

    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
    25-05-2011

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

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

    Brothers:
    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

  • Agatha Joseph bka Agatha.

    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



  • Leonora Isaac-Illis better known as Grannie, Miss Mina or Mrs. Illis.

    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 IS OUR LAST LINE OF DEFENSE.

    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

  • William MARLIN's choice; 'Betray the native St. Martin People, but recognize and reward immigrants who broke the law'.

    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...
    Wattating.
    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....

  • THE PEOPLE OF STMAARTEN HERITAGE DESERVE RECOGNITION.

    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

  • Medical tourism: the benefits for the local and regional population.

    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

  • DID YOU KNOW WIB DESTROYS OUR DEPOSIT RECEIPTS?

    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

  • The making of a 'Brave New SXM Gypsy World......

    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....
    Hallelujah...
    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.
    Wattating.

    Yea,
    Me again,
    JAMES the 'dis'-honorable one..
    The proud native indigenous St. Martin one, with no apologies - that one.
  • Skills a Prime Minister should possess.

    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

  • THE BEST WAY TO FIGHT CRIME.

    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

  • Unanswered Questions.

    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
  • St. Maarten Pride, EPIC Open letter to the President of Parliament requesting protection of Mullet Bay Beach and Mullet Pond 09-06-11.

    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)

  • COUNTRY STMAARTEN MUST BE OF STMAARTEN HERITAGE.

    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

  • Summer Tourism: A New Sint Maarten Mindset.

    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

  • Open advice to Elected officials on St. Martin North and South --- Emancipation day without substance a waste of time.

    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

  • The Winds of Change- Revisited.

    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

  • Arrindell Receives 2010 Annual Report from General Audit Chamber.

    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.

  • St. Maarten Zoo: Calling all Children!

    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.
  • Minister Shigemoto informs CBCS President Tromp No Investments without his input.

    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.

  • A St. Martin Book Fair 2011 treat/St. Martin cuisine/Caribbean cooking.

    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.

  • Reminder: Waterfront Road to be closed on Wednesday at 9:00am; Businesses still accessible.

    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.

  • St .Maarten Table Tennis Federation introduces their newly elected board.

    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.

  • Imbali star dancers and Leon Noel to perform Tuesday at University of St. Martin.

    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.
  • Toastmasters kicks off "Speak Lead Excel" workshops.

    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 achievers@gmail.com or call 527 5577.

  • Minister Meyers meets with GEBE Managing Director William Brooks.

    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.
  • EMS Everyday Heroes Big Five Motorcades Scheduled for Friday.

    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.

  • Aruban Minister of Justice arrives for conference.

    arubanjusticeministerarrivesinsxm17062011Great Bay (DCOMM):--- Aruba's Minister of Justice Hon. A. Dowers arrived on the island Friday to attend several Justice Ministerial Conferences to be held in the coming days.
  • SMSPA Seminar Airing 9th and 10th Episode this weekend.

    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.

  • Dr. Haviser speaks on the Importance of Heritage in Nation-Building.

    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.
  • Delta Petroleum reaches out to fire victims.

    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.
  • Prime Minister recieves report from Ombudsman.

    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.

  • Sint Maarten gathering information for its EU Dossier on Future Relations and Opportunities.

    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.

  • Spanish Feud Leaves Hotel Worker Dead --- Victim Chopped to death in Sandy Ground Double Homicide.

    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.
  • PJIAE Carried Out Live Drill.

    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.

  • President of Parliament presents gift to Minister Mathias Voges.

    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.

  • FirstCaribbean to be branded as ‘CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank’ --- Co-branding incorporates heritage of FirstCaribbean with financial strength of CIBC, the world’s fourth strongest bank.

    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.

  • Road closure of the L.B. Scott road as of Monday June 27th 2011 until Sunday August 14th 2011.

    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
    ebenezersewer23062011

    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.

  • Guyana-born businessman refuses to leave BVI; threatened to create chaos on flight.

    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".
  • Arrindell meets with Legal and Legislation Department to establish protocol on handling 65 laws.

    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.

  • Parliament receives annual accounts of government owned companies and subsidized foundations.

    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.

  • St. Maarten Paid their Last Respects to Fallen Calypsonian Greg Van Gurp.

    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)
    casketwithgregvangurp10062011

  • Minister Shigemoto tells Curacao Finance Minister Sint Maarten has a Candidate for CBCS Board.

    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.

  • Students who applied for Study Financing need to submit a Police Record.

    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.

  • SCDF received warm welcome in Anguilla --- Johnson elated with working visit.

    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.

  • Section General Public Health is seeking parents/guardian’s assistance to allow their youth to participate in a pilot study; Parents asked to follow-up with CPS.

    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.

  • Community should follow official government advisories to avoid unnecessary chaos.

    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

  • Ministers and Parliamentarians to be present for Raising of flag in observance of National Flag Day.

    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.

  • Eleven to compete in Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens --- Athletes proud to represent young country.

    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).

  • Abuse of Elderly with Dementia Can Be Reduced By Raising Awareness and Training Caregivers About Dementia.

    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.

    DEMENTIA COMPOUNDS PROBLEM

    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.

    CAREGIVER STRESS & DEPRESSION

    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.

    CHALLENGING ELDERS INCREASE CHANCE FOR 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.

    SMAF – ROTARY CLUB AWARENESS CAMPAIGN

    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.

  • SOAB reps makes courtesy call on Minister Plenipotentiary Voges.

    soabvisitsmvoges15062011Great Bay (DCOMM):--- Honourable Minister of Plenipotentiary Mathias Voges received a courtesy visit from representatives of the S.O.A.B. Accountants Bureau on Tuesday.
  • UD Leader Calls on Elected Officials to Take Responsibility for COM’s Financial Predicament.

    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.
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  • 55 students to receive degrees from USM at Seventeenth Celebration --- Commencement to be held at Westin Hotel.

    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.
  • BOPP training kicks off.

    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.

  • National Alliance Faction Met with SHTA to Discuss Amendment to Civil Code.

    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.
  • Vice President Pierre Allioti Arrested as Terre Base Illegal Construction Investigation Continues.

    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.

  • Soualiga Toastmasters Club inducts 2 new members.

    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.

  • Civil Registry completes updating its database regarding persons born on Curacao and Aruba residents on the island.

    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.

  • Radon Gas Identified As a Leading Cause of Cancer: Feds Launch Action Plan to Protect People and Families From Radon.

    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 www.RadonPlan.us or by calling 1-800-SOS-RADON.

  • NAPB St. Maarten Wants Minister of Justice to Re-Negotiate --- Carlyle Rogers.

    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.
  • Because of Prayer presented at hospital in Puerto Rico.

    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).
  • Twenty five graduate from Oranje School.

    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.
  • Plenary Session of Parliament on 2011 National Budget to be Carried Live on Cable TV; All Ministers to be Present.

    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.

  • JOURNEY FOR EDUCATION FOUNDATION AWARDS US 10,000.00 --- Encourages students to give back to the Community.

    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.

  • Prime Minister recognizes growth of book fair.

    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.

  • Minister of Finance Shigemoto reiterates his answers to questions to Parliament at latter’s Secretariat.

    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.

  • George Asks for the Answers to Questions Posed to Finance Minister.

    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.
  • Plenary session and Central Committee meetings of Parliament scheduled for Monday.

    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.

  • Prime Minister says significant strides made in fight against AIDS; PM heads Kingdom delegation to New York for UN Meeting.

    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.

  • Minister Shigemoto receives response from Curacao’s Finance Minister Regarding CBCS Chairmanship.

    Philipsburg:--- Honourable Minister of Finance Hiro Shigemoto on Tuesday, June 07 received a letter from his colleague Curacao's Minister of Finance G. Jamaloodin regarding the position of chairman of the Supervisory Board of Directors of the Central Bank of Curacao and Sint Maarten (CBCS).

    Hon. Minister Jamaloodin stated in his communication that the Curacao Council of Ministers will decide by June 17 which candidate they will propose for the position.

    "I am looking forward to getting this concluded along with my colleague from Curacao where the CBCS can then move forward in handling its own business operations accordingly and dealing with pending matters.

    "Based on a political decision that has been taken, the process can then start for Sint Maarten to have its own full-fledge independent financial institution and have that in place by January 1, 2012," Hon. Minister Shigemoto said on Tuesday.

    Hon. Minister Shigemoto in a letter dated May 30, 2011 to Curacao's Minister of Finance, informed the latter that Sint Maarten has a proposed candidate for the chairman of the Supervisory Board of Directors of CBCS, and would like to know by June 6 who would be the candidate for Curacao.

    The letter was 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, also made 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 still Martin Hassink.

  • Prime Minister speaks at UN HIV/AIDS initiative for Women and Girls.

    Great Bay (DCOMM):--- Honourable Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams delivered an address on Tuesday in New York at the United Nations (UN) HIV/AIDS initiative "HIV Priorities for Positive Change" In Women's Words," a virtual consultation report which gave 800 women and girls around the world a voice.

    The Prime Minister is the delegation leader for the Kingdom of the Netherlands at the three-day high level meeting in New York at UN Headquarters that is currently taking place from June 8-10.

    The Prime Minister in her address to delegates stated: "The report, aptly titled "in Women's Words" bears witness to the realities being faced by women and girls around the world, many of whom work on the frontlines of this epidemic, and gives us a clear picture of the disparities that still exist in our collective progress, nationally, regionally and internationally, against the political commitments made since 2001.

    "Additionally, the report serves as a best practice model for national programmes as it clearly demonstrates the necessity for our responses to HIV to include platforms that foster and encourage the meaningful participation of not only women and girls, but also all vulnerable and at-risk groups.

    "As I read through the key messages for positive change, it quickly became evident that while some progress has been made we still have a long way to go to address issues which perpetuate the imbalance of the social, economic and power relations between women and men. These relationships compounded with physiological differences determine to a great extent women's and men's vulnerability, their ability to effectively protect themselves and access care and treatment to deal effectively with this infection," Hon. Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams stated on Tuesday.

    The Prime Minister informed delegates that the Kingdom of the Netherlands policy response to the HIV AIDS epidemic places strong emphasis on sexual and reproductive health and rights.

    With respect to Sint Maarten, the Prime Minister says: "...as with so many other countries, we continue to face a number of challenges in the development and implementation of solid gender-based programmes, however we have made some significant strides in our programme for commercial sex workers.

    "While prostitution still remains illegal, regularization of the adult entertainment industry through the implementation of a policy, which seeks to protect their rights, has resulted not only in a safer working environment but also in HIV prevalence rates of almost zero among the women working in the industry.

    "The programme has increased access to both male and female condoms, ensures regular health check-ups and provides monthly education and information sessions which include condom demonstrations for the women as well as their clients."

    The Prime Minister in her concluding remarks said: "As we commence with the official proceedings and participate in discussions relating to the strategies, responses, and approaches to HIV/AIDS, it is important that we recognise our responsibility to bring forward the key messages detailed in this report and incorporate them in own national policies.

    "Let us not let their words have been spoken in vain, let us commit to turning their strong and powerful words, their fears, hopes and dreams into action, so that ten years from now when we look back at this launch we will be able to say "In Women's Words" was not simply "another" report but the beginning of a movement of social transformation which changed the status of women and girls round the world, brought an end to gender-based violence and human rights abuses and reduced their vulnerability to HIV infection."

    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.

  • Road closure Waterfront Road (Intersection Cole Bay Tire Center).

    The Ministry of VROM, department of New Projects, Development & Planning, on behalf of The Government of St. Maarten is hereby informing the general public of the upcoming road closure for the Waterfront Road in connection with the Cole Bay Drainage and Infrastructure Project of which concerns the businesses in the surrounding area and motorist alike.

    As of Wednesday 15th June 2011 at 9:00 am the Waterfront Road, intersection at the Cole Bay Tire Center, will be closed for through traffic. The road will be closed off between the intersections of Welfare Road towards the intersection of Waterfront Road; the total length of this phase 2 is approximately 100 meters.

    This will enable the contractor Windward Roads to continue the drainage works with the removal of road surface and excavation works and construction of the main drain outlet towards the lagoon. However the area still remains accessible.

    The road closure will be during the period of June 15th, 2011 to July 23rd, 2011.

    Please note that these physical works does not impeded on the regular business hours of Cole bay Tire Center and any surrounding businesses. All businesses in the surrounding areas will be open and accessible for business as usual via a detour which will be in effect.

    The Department of New Projects Development & Planning is asking all motorists to pay extra attention to the traffic sign and detour route for a smooth and safe transition as the works for Cole Bay Drainage and Infrastructure Project is in the execution phase.

    We do apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, but we are moving forward in order to have the works completed before the start of the "tourist season" known to all as the "high season".

  • Parliamentarians to discuss energy policies; Sint Maarten parliamentarians on Friday to meet with S4.

    Philipsburg:--- The Sint Maarten Kingdom Affairs & Inter-parliamentary Relations Committee members will continue with deliberations with their parliamentary colleagues from Curacao, Aruba and the Netherlands on Thursday related to energy policy.

    The delegations will leave by bus from The Hague and drive to the Dutch town Delft to visit the Technical University of Delft/TNO Delft. There they will be given a presentation with respect to energy policies.

    Thursday afternoon they will return to the Dutch Second Chamber of Parliament where the delegations will discuss energy policies and how it relates to economic development, energy consumption, innovation, green energy, and waste and sewage treatment.

    On Friday, the parliamentary delegations will discuss the scheduling of future inter-parliamentary contact meetings between the four countries within the Kingdom. The contact plan meeting will conclude with a press conference by the delegation leaders and vice chair persons.

    Sint Maarten's parliamentary delegation will be visiting the S4 student organization in Amsterdam and will be holding an information session with respect to the role of the permanent parliamentary committee, the repayment of student loans, and 'Sint Maarten, your next best move after you have completed your studies.'

    The Sint Maarten parliamentary delegation comprises of President of Parliament Honourable Gracita Arrindell, Chairman of the Kingdom Affairs & Inter-parliamentary Relations Committee Member of Parliament (MP) Hon. Roy Marlin, MP Hon. Ruth Douglass, MP Hon. Patrick Illidge, MP Hon. William Marlin, Secretary General of Parliament Jossy Semeleer, and Advisor Ralph Richardson.

  • Three Arrested as Security Guard Strippers --- Drugs and Firearms Confiscated.

    Philipsburg:--- Detectives have arrested three persons whom they believe are responsible for the stripping of some Sherriff Security guards last week. Chief of Police Peter De Witte told SMN News that the three suspects were arrested on Monday afternoon. The top cop said police also confiscated illegal drugs and firearms when they made the arrests. Details on the suspects were not immediately available De Witte said.
    The suspects attacked some Sheriff Security guards at the Prince Willem Alexander School. It is understood that the attackers not only robbed the security guards but they stripped them of their uniforms leaving them naked on the job. Another attack took place at the St. Maarten Academy.
  • GEBE Making over 10 Million in Profit --- Consumers Need Relief --- Meyers --- Gov’t Analyzing Reports.

    franklinmeyers17062011Philipsburg:--- In reaction to statements made by the Managing Director of GEBE William Brooks, Minister of Economic Affairs Franklin Meyers shed more light on the correspondence his office had with GEBE on the fuel clause. Minister Meyers said he felt compelled to react to what the GEBE managing director said because he is now being called a liar.
    In the letter sent to GEBE, the Minister of Economic Affairs said the Government of St. Maarten has given GEBE conditional approval to apply the new tariff structure for electricity as per the KEMA report of March 8th 2010. This conditional approval will go into effect as of August 1 2011. As pre conditional GEBE must not pass on its inefficiencies but the actual cost for fuel that was incurred in the new fuel clause. Government is of the opinion that GEBE should absorb its own inefficiencies and it should not be passed on to the consumers of electricity.
    Government also informed GEBE that they are busy seeking an independent evaluation on KEMA's and KPMG's report. Government also informed GEBE that before the end of 2011 Government will decide on a new tariff structure for GEBE. Minister Meyers said the last tariff structure is from 1960 which allows GEBE to calculate at 17%. The Minister said they are fully aware that the population has grown and GEBE has been incurring more expenses since the company grew also, but it is not fair for the people to absorb GEBE inefficiencies. The people (consumers) need a relief and they are going to get it said the Minister of Economic Affairs.
    Minister Meyers said GEBE makes more monies when the cost of fuel is high simply because they pass on their costs to the consumers. "The high cost of fuel benefits GEBE that is why they are able to make over 10 Million in profits. One should look at the amount of power outages there are from GEBE and they are making monies even when the meters are not running. The loss of water has increased from 2% to 34% during the past three years yet GEBE nets a profit." Minister Meyers said. The Minister made clear that the consumers of electricity and water need relief and they will get it as soon as government gets its own assessment which is being carried out by the Bureau of Telecommunications in Curacao.
    {loadposition inset}
    Letter sent by Government to GEBE on Fuel Clause.
  • MOU Signed at Justice Conference --- Committee to be Installed to Hammer out Free Movement of People.

    ministersofjustice20062011Philipsburg:--- An agreement has been reached and a Memorandum of Understanding has been signed by the Ministers of Justice of Aruba, Curacao, St. Maarten and the Netherlands on human trafficking announced the Ministers of Justice on Monday. Minister of Justice of Aruba Arthur Dowers described human trafficking as a horrendous crime and as such the Caribbean islands are committed to working on combating human trafficking since it is not good for humanity. Minister Dowers said they are already getting strong support from the United States and the Dutch Government he said has shown interest in the subject.
    The Justice Minister of St. Maarten Roland Duncan said St. Maarten, Aruba and the Netherlands have agreed to install a committee that would be further discussing the free movement of people. Duncan said no decision was taken on this topic. He said it is indeed a hard topic but persons he said must put aside their emotions and continue the discussions.
    However, Curacao's Minister of Justice Elmer Wilso said there is nothing to discuss on this topic unless there is a different meaning for "free" in Papiamento than it is in Dutch. Wilso said the issue on the free movement of people has nothing to do with emotions. He urged politicians to set their priorities right and look at the family values that existed between the islands before the Netherlands Antilles dismantled. Wilso said politicians should look at how they treat each other because it is an important aspect of life. Wilso said the people of Curacao would literally hang him if he had engaged himself in the meetings of Sunday which dealt with free movement of people.
    The Ministers of Justice also discussed the situation that is currently plaguing the islands which is the lack of prison space. They have agreed to cooperate with each other whenever necessary.
  • Airlines Threaten to leave L’Esperance Airport should Landing and Other fees Increase.

    lesperanceairport20062011Grand Case:--- Shop owners and airline agents operating at the L'Esperance Airport have threatened the new management company; saying that they are ready to pack their bags and leave for the Princess Juliana International Airport should the management company increase landing and rental fees. Several of the shop owners told SMN News that their contracts have been up and to date the new management company SNC Lavalin never met with the vendors operating at L' Esperance. "Our contracts are up and we are hearing that this new management wants to increase the rents but to date they have not met with us, neither have they renewed our contracts. We asked to meet with them to outline the economic situation at L'Esperance." Gilberte Multi Fonctions cleaning company that has been working at L'Esperance for the past four years said their contract was up since April 21 2011 and the new management company renewed the contract for one month which was from May 1 to May 31 2011. The one month contract is now up and we have not heard anything from SNC Lavalin. "I asked to meet with them and have met with them but to date I cannot say when my contract will be renewed, while I have four full time workers. Christian Farden of St. Barths commuters the most outspoken said he also heard of increased fees and rents for the small space the airlines uses but to date no one said if they will improve the services offered at Grand Case Airport.
    carrentalbooths20062011Farden said he believes that the airlines operating at Grand Case are already paying too much landing fees because Grand Case does not give the required services. "Here at Grand Case there is no fuel refill on the airport, there is no operations room here. Since there is no fuel refill at Grand Case, airlines are losing monies because the aircraft cannot leave with a full load of passengers." Farden said there is a complete lack of infrastructure at Grand Case and the former management team did not do anything to improve services at the airport.
    Some of the vendors and shop owners felt that they would have to file a complaint at the higher courts against SNC Lavalin and they would request that an investigation be done into the company which they said is very incompetent. One of the vendors said this company has a track record for leaving airports in disasters. They said one example is the Vatry Airport. "This company is specialized in negotiating and signing contracts with people who have no knowledge on how to operate airports and the governments have to end up shouldering their expenses."
    As for the car rentals operating at L'Esperance they said they too never saw anyone from the new management. "All we got was a piece of paper telling us who we should write the checks out to, they were never introduced to us." The car rentals said they have been paying a monthly fee of Euros 800.00 for a small booth and three parking spaces inside the airport parking lot while they have to rent space outside the airport to park their vehicles. The car rentals said their contracts are up too and to date no renewal. The Rent Auto Association members said the car rentals are up to date with their fees yet they do not get any services from L'Esperance. They said the politicians are fully responsible for the situation at Grand Case because these politicians they said gave empty promises to the people and now that election is around the corner they are all looking for issues to champion to gain political mileage. "While we are paying a monthly fee we have gypsies that park up here and are taking away business from us and nothing was ever done by Daniel Gibbs. Gibbs told us point blank that he was not able to do anything about the gypsy situation while he was an active vice president and was in charge of transportation and the L'Esperance Airport.
  • NAGICO VELO Club takes 2nd place in the Grand Prix Du Conseil General.

    nagicovelo2ndplace21062011The NAGICO Sponsored VELO Club de Grande Case (V.C.G) cycling team again outshined several other countries, in the 9th Annual Grand Prix Du Conseil General held in Guadeloupe recently.
    Veteran cycler; Freddy Vargas copped the' Leading Jersey' after being named the best cycler and climber of the 527 kilometers long race, setting him ahead of the more than 130 cyclers who competed from other countries. In addition, the team received a hefty gold and silver toned trophy for coming in 2nd in the overall race.
    President of the Club; St. Elmo Arnell was overcome with joy at the team's performance and especially by Vargas' success. "I am really proud of him, we are really proud, because the team did well." He also had high praises for their main sponsor; NAGICO Insurances. "On behalf of the team I would really like to thank NAGICO for assisting us over the years, for the tenth year in a row, they made it all possible," he said.
    C.E.O of NAGICO; Imran McSood Amjad was also pleased with the groups success. "I am very proud of the VELO Club, to see that they really did it, their determination and their discipline has really paid off," he said. "They make the island proud and they make NAGICO a proud sponsor."

    NAGICO provides an annual sponsorship and subsidy for the club.

  • Rotary Alzheimer Awareness Campaign: What is Alzheimer's disease (AD)?

    The Rotary Club of St. Maarten launched its Alzheimer's awareness campaign last week Wednesday. As part of this campaign articles and useful information will be published. The source of the information in this article titled "What Is Alzheimer's disease" is the US National Institute of Health – National Institute on Aging.
    (AD) Alzheimer's disease (AD) is an irreversible, progressive brain disease that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills and, eventually, the ability to carry out the simplest tasks of daily living. In most people with AD, symptoms first appear after age 60.
    AD is the most common cause of dementia among older people, but it is not a normal part of aging. Dementia refers to a decline in cognitive function that interferes with daily life and activities. AD starts in a region of the brain that affects recent memory,then gradually spreads to other parts of the brain. Although treatment can slow the progression of AD and help manage its symptoms in some people, currently there is no cure for this devastating disease.
    AD is named after Dr. Alois Alzheimer, a German doctor. In 1906, Dr. Alzheimer described changes in the brain tissue of a woman who had died of an unusual mental illness. He found abnormal clumps (now called amyloid plaques) and tangled bundles of fibers (now called neurofibrillary tangles).
    Today, these plaques and tangles in the brain are considered hallmarks of AD. The third main feature of AD is the gradual loss of connections between nerve cells (neurons) in the brain. This loss leads to diminished cell function and cell death.
    We don't know what starts the AD process, but we do know that damage to the brain begins as many as 10 to 20 years before any obvious signs of forgetfulness appear.
    As nerve cells die throughout the brain, affected regions begin to shrink. By the final stage of AD, damage is widespread, and brain tissue has shrunk significantly.
    More information will become available during the three month Rotary Alzheimer's Awareness campaign. For more information please contact the St. Maarten Alzheimer's Foundation on HOTLINE 9220 or alzheimersxm@gmail.com.
    The Rotary Club of St. Maarten will continue with articles and provide more insight into the disease, the symptoms and provide tips for patients and caregivers.
    To support the campaign please contact any member of the Rotary Club or the St. Maarten Alzheimer's Foundation.
  • S4 Representatives will be on St. Maarten for VOBAS June 2011.

    Amsterdam:--- Representatives from the St. Maarten Student Support Services (S4) will be visiting St. Maarten from June 26th through July 1st to host the final round of Information Sessions for students planning to further their studies in the Netherlands in August 2011.
    This year more than 100 students have applied for study financing from the Government of St. Maarten and the qualifying group will be leaving for the Netherlands on Sunday July 31st. To help make the transition to the Netherlands as smooth as possible, S4 organizes the
    VOBAS twice a year on St. Maarten. Through the Information Sessions & Workshops we aim to give prospective students (and their parents) a good idea of what to expect when studying in the Netherlands. The program planned for the week is as follows:
    s4sxmworkshops22062011All interested persons are invited to attend these important Information Sessions. Make use of the opportunity to be informed of what to expect when studying in the Netherlands. Come with your questions, observations and possible concerns. Be on time and be prepared!

    For more information please contact our office or email us at info@s4foundation.nl.

  • MP Jules James condemns business owners for disregarding the laws of the land; Commends environmental groups and residents for quick action.

    Cole Bay:--- United Peoples (UP) Party Member of Parliament (MP) Jules James condemns business owners for taking the liberty of constructing structures without having the necessary permits in place, and also not having the necessary due diligence carried out to make sure that what is being constructed does not impair the laws of the land.
    The Ministry of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure (VROMI)'s Inspection Department has issued a building stop with respect to illegal structures at Tango Beach Bar on Simpson Bay Beach.
    In another case, illegal structures also on Simpson Bay Beach at Karakter Beach Bar, were constructed without the necessary permits being in place prior to construction. An immediate demolition order was issued and Karakter Beach Bar has appealed this decision.
    Prior to the appeal process, Karakter Beach Bar had requested a building permit, but it had not been issued. Ministry VROMI had advised to deny the request for a building permit because the construction would be in violation of applicable policies and regulations. It was then advised to issue an order for removal of the construction. Based on the advice, the Minister of VROMI denied the request for a building permit and issued an order for the removal of the construction.
    "I would like to commend the environmental groups and residents for their quick response in alerting the relevant authorities about the illegal construction activities on the public beaches of our country.
    "Sint Maarten will no longer tolerate the disregard for our laws. We cannot go into another man's country and construct a fence without having first and foremost the necessary permits in hand.
    "You would be heavily fined for infringing upon the countries laws. The same goes for Sint Maarten. We are a country, have respect for our laws. Follow the legal procedures to obtain your permits and once you have those in hand, you are able to construct whatever is in your permit and conforms to the laws of the land," MP James said on Wednesday.
    MP James added that the current situation that proprietors face when they pursue construction activities without the necessary permits in hand is an embarrassing one.
    "I do hope others out there are paying attention and take heed, and have learnt a lesson. Get the necessary permits before you start any type or form of construction. Respect our laws!" MP Jules James concluded.
  • ST. MAARTEN COURT FINDS TAPRC ACTIONS ILLEGAL, RULES IN FAVOR OF SIMPSON BAY RESORT --- Orders TAPRC To Notify Timeshare Members It Had No Right To Collect Payments.

    Simpson Bay:--- Simpson Bay Resort & Marina achieved another victory against the Tenant's Association of Pelican Resort Club (TAPRC) and the Special Foundation to Safeguard Interest Pelican Marina Resort (SBBPRC), in a verdict handed down by The Court of First Instance of Sint Maarten on June 17, 2011.

    The judgment ruled that TAPRC and SBBPRC acted illegally when it instructed timeshare members to pay their installments to SBBPRC, a Foundation recently set up by the TAPRC Board instead of to Simpson Bay Resort. Members were instructed to make payments to Oak View National Bank in Warrenton, Virginia where past TAPRC Board Chairman Robert E. (Gene) Albrecht, Jr. is the Chief Financial Officer.

    The court ordered TAPRC and SBBPRC to retract the incorrect information and immediately notify recipients that payments must be made exclusively to Simpson Bay Resort. TAPRC and SBBPRC were also ordered to pay the cost of the court proceedings.

    As of June 23, 2011, TAPRC has not fulfilled its court-ordered obligation to notify mortgagees they had no right to attempt to collect their payments, despite the fact that the attorney of TAPRC and SBBPRC has confirmed that they are aware of the verdict.

    It is unclear at this time how many timeshare members were duped by TAPRC and SBBPRC and if their money will be returned. Some have voiced their concern that TAPRC and SBBPRC may ignore the court order and attempt to retain any funds it collected illegally in order to continue the agenda of its current leadership and fuel future frivolous litigation. Under the leadership of 2010 Chairman Christine D. Schlunz of Springfield, VA, 2011 Chairman Jeffrey M. Borowick of Roslyn, NY, and 2011 Legal Advisor Joseph S. Costa of Middle Village, NY, TAPRC has lost all of the cases against Simpson Bay Resort as well as all of the cases it initiated against other plaintiffs.

    Timeshare members deceived by TAPRC and SBBPRC are encouraged to contact their local authorities as money illegally obtained by TAPRC and SBBPRC cannot be credited to each timeshare members' financial obligations for their intervals at Simpson Bay Resort & Marina.

  • THE 2012 MARINE TRADES DIRECTORY.

    The St. Maarten Marine Trade Association (SMMTA) is currently working on the 2012 Edition of the Marine Trades Directory. The bible of St. Maarten Services for visiting yachts of all sizes. Historically, the directory has been a "Members Only" guide with emphasis on the firms that strictly service the sector. This year, the SMMTA has added a new feature to the Directory with the addition of an entertainment, dining and spa section which will be open to non-members.

    The St. Maarten Marine Trade Directory is the most widely distributed destination guide targeted to the visiting yachts. It is the first guide that crew look for upon arrival often with multiple copies on board for the Captain, Chef, Chief Stew, Mate and Engineer. The Directory is distributed around the island; on both Dutch and French sides; at marinas, retail establishments, marine businesses, immigration clearing points as well as at many International Boat Shows which the SMMTA attends.

    Please note that the deadline for advertising in the 2012 St. Maarten Marine Trades Directory is July 15th and artwork must be received by July 31st.

    If you are interested in advertising in the 2012 Edition or becoming a Marine Trades Member, contact Christian Smith via email info@smmta.com or phone522-0231/ 556-3295 for more information.

  • Project Civil Registry Sint Maarten starts.

    dutchassistanceforcivilregistry27062011Philipsburg:--- As of Monday June 27, the Civil Registry Department has been reinforced with two specialists from the Netherlands.

    The engagement of the two specialists is part of the project "Versterking Afdeling Burgerzaken" which is led by project leader Johan van den Berg.

    The project is aimed at the realization of updating the civil records and the electoral lists, training personnel, improving security of files and work processes as well as strengthening internal controls.

    In collaboration with the head of the Civil Registry Department, the project leader will try to bring the Civil Registry to a higher quality level.

    According to the project plan goals, the aforementioned should be attained at the end of 2012. The project is financed from Dutch cooperation funds, managed by USONA. Project ownership rests with BAK, the Department of Interior and Kingdom Relations.

    Recently a lot has been written and discussed about the quality level at the Civil Registry Department.

    Many reports indicate the challenges the department faces. Partial successes notwithstanding, the recommended improvements were never fully realized.

    With the appointment last May of a project leader, Sint Maarten expects to alter this. The necessary preconditions were first realized. Currently the implementation has actually started with the engagement of two specialists of the Bestuursacademie Caribbean.

  • Some People are Missing the Mark --- MP George Pantophlet.

    george21082009Member of Parliament George Pantophlet says that the persons who are expressing negative opinions and suggestions against the proposal by the Faction of the National Alliance to make some amendments in Book 7 of the civil code to stop the abuse of short term contracts are missing the mark. What they should be focused on is the creating of a working environment where productivity and the feeling of humanitarian rights in the labor market can be increased and the name of the friendly island restored to its former glory. He says that he understands quite well that there has to be a balance between employers and employees. Many businesses are going through some difficult financial times, some might have to cut staff or even close but this does not take away from the fact that employees must be treated in a humane manner.
    The Member of Parliament says that he does not hear any complaints from these persons and institutions on the fact that there are employers who don't issue pay slips, he does not hear these persons or institutions complain about employers who don't pay SVB. He does not hear complaints about employers who don't pay wage tax, he does not hear complaints about employers who fail to adhere to the laws of the land. He does not hear these persons or institutions complain about the abuse of the people when they go to some business establishments where on the shelf one price is on the item and when you get to the cashier the price has been increased. He does not here complaints from these persons and institutions about wholesalers who are selling expired goods to some retailers who in turn sell them to the unsuspecting public? Do you know what this is doing to your health? Of course the call would be that Parliament has to change certain laws to address this abuse. I do understand that departments are understaffed. What must happen is that government should to start enforcing the existing laws. The abuse of the short term contract is creating a fertile environment for crime. If you are not covered by medical insurance it means you have to use the little income to pay a doctor, it means not having enough to put food on the table, it means frustration and anger which translates into violence. This can lead to all out crime. So to those of you who are saying that trying to stop the abuse of the short term contract will hurt tourism our one pillar economy you are missing the mark.
  • Former Police Officer Found Dead in Fefe’s Bar.

    Pond Island:--- A former police officer Julius "Junior" Hyman son of "Fefe" (Albert Hyman) was found dead in his room on Friday afternoon. Police and ambulance personnel were seen at the scene on Friday evening. Preliminary reports state the man died of natural causes but the police and forensic department are busy trying to confirm if the death was indeed of natural causes. SMN News learnt that the former officer was an epileptic patient and it appears as though he died after having an attack sometime Friday. Police Spokesman Ricardo Henson said the police doctor declared that Hyman died of natural causes. Henson said so far there is no sign of any criminal activities and as such his death has saddened his former colleagues. The Police Spokesman said the Police Department will be contacting his relatives and they will offer whatever assistance they could to the bereaved family of Julius "Junior" Hyman.
    The former cop was discharged from the police force some ten or more years ago when he shot himself in his leg with his service revolver. An investigation conducted by police internal affairs showed that the cop had fallen in love with one of the exotic dancers at the club and he threatened to commit suicide when his lover threatened to end the relationship. Hyman has since been working at his father's club where he managed the bar. Julius was one of the local police officers who received the highest grades when he wrote the police examinations but he broke one of the police codes of ethics when he got himself involved with one of the dancers at his father's club.
  • Bandits Attacked Member of Parliament Louis Laveist at his Cole Bay Home.

    laviest21122010Cole Bay:--- Two bandits tried to enter the home of Member of Parliament Louis Laveist on Friday evening around 8pm. The MP told SMN News that two of his god children were at his home at the time of the incident and one of them had left the house for a few minutes to purchase bread at the Peiking Supermarket when the incident occurred. MP Laveist said his 12 year old god son was in the house alone when an unknown man showed up at his house demanding that the child open the door to let him in. Laveist said when the child refused the man showed him signs telling him that he will kill him by cutting his throat. Laveist said while the unknown man was at his door the child called his god sister who was just a few yards away on the phone and informed her of the situation. Laveist said his god daughter then called him and he was at the Tackling Gas Station when he received the message.
    The Member of Parliament said that when he reached his house a government security guard who lives in the area confirmed to him that he saw the two men jumping his back fence as they made their escape.
    Laveist said police were called to the scene and they responded in record time but did not find the culprits in the area. Police Spokesman Ricardo Henson could not be reached on Friday evening when he was called for a report on the incident.
  • Hope Estate Resident Car Stripped while in Lighted Parking Lot.

    strippedvitaria10062011Hope Estate:--- Residents of Hope Estate are beginning to express fear of their community even though the new housing area is fully lighted. On Friday morning, a resident of one of homes woke up to find their jeep, a grey Suzuki Vitara almost fully stripped.
    The door of the vehicle was completely torn off with broken glass inside on the seats while the hood of the vehicle was forced open and parts of the engine were also removed. The entire steering system was also removed from inside the vehicle. Police Spokesman Ricardo Henson confirmed that the robbery took place late Thursday night. However, he said the detective department has not filed their report as yet.
    In the meantime, Henson also confirmed that two armed robberies were committed in the Ebenezer and Cole Bay area Thursday night. Henson said that a Toyota Yaris was used to transport monies that were stolen from one of the lottery agents. Police, he said confiscated the vehicle as they continue their investigation. The other robbery Henson said was committed at a Supermarket in Cole Bay area. The two robberies he said were committed during the same time period and that already gave police an indication that the robberies were not committed by the same suspects. The police spokesman said that he did not receive the report from the detective department up to Friday evening and as such he could not release more information on the three incidents of robberies.
  • Prime Minister Wescot reminds populace to be prepared as Pacific Ocean sees first major hurricane for the season.

    hurricanemarch12062011Great Bay (DCOMM):--- Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams, Chairman of the island's Disaster Emergency Management Organization, is reminding the Sint Maarten community to be prepared for the 2011 Atlantic hurricane season which opened barely two weeks ago.

    The Prime Minister's call comes on the heels of Hurricane Adrian that formed in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Mexico last week.

    Adrian, the first hurricane in the Pacific Ocean for this hurricane season, became a category four hurricane with wind speeds of 140 miles per hour. Thankfully, the system did not pose any threat to land as it remained in open waters.

    "This demonstrates that even the first storm of the season can be a major hurricane. I can't stress enough how important it is to be prepared. Remember, it only takes one," Prime Minister Wescot-Williams said on Sunday.

    Wescot-Williams, is also calling on the business community to have in place a business continuity management and disaster planning plans as well. Such plans outline what measures need to be taken prior to a hurricane strike to be able to pick back up as soon as the "all clear" signal has been given.

    With the state of preparedness in mind, the nation's prime minister held the 2011 Emergency Operations Center (EOC) kick-off meeting on June 1st, allowing all Emergency Support Functions (ESFs) to give a state of affairs regarding their areas of responsibility.

    Follow-up meetings will be held to assess the ESF's continued execution of their disaster management plan.

    All businesses and in particular those supplying vital services also need to have a recovery strategy in place. Once the "all clear" has been given, the nation's economy should be able to bounce back quickly.

    The names for potential storm systems for the 2011 Atlantic Hurricane season are: Arlene, Bret, Cindy, Don, Emily, Franklin, Gert, Harvey, Irene, Jose, Katia, Lee, Maria, Nate, Ophelia, Philippe, Rina, Sean, Tammy, Vince and Whitney.

    The 2011 hurricane season officially runs through November 30.

  • Derek Walcott paid a courtesy visit to the Council of Ministers.

    derekwalcottvisitscom02062011Philipssburg:--- On Wednesday June 1st, Derek Walcott Nobel Prize laureate paid a courtesy visit to the Council of Ministers at the Government Administration Building. The Prime Minister of St. Maarten Sarah Wescot Williams presented Mr. Walcott with a collection of books published on St. Maarten. The Minister of Education, Youth and Culture Dr. Rhoda Arrindell welcomed him officially to St. Maarten and thanked him for his attendance at the annual St. Martin Book Fair.
  • President of Parliament receives Ombudsman year report.

    ombudsmangivesreportgarrindell05062011Philipsburg:--- Honourable President of Parliament Drs. Gracita Arrindell stated that the Ombudsman will receive an official invitation from parliament to further provide elucidation to the House on the contents of the report as well as future plans of the office of Ombudsman. This presentation before members of parliament is expected to take place either in August or the first week of September.

    On Monday June 6, the Ombudsman report will be added on the list of incoming documents.

  • Goldfinger Robbery Suspects transferred to French Authorities.

    Marigot:--- The five persons that were arrested on Friday in Cole Bay are now in the custody of the gendarmes awaiting trial. A press release from the Gendarmerie states that the suspects attempted to rob Goldfinger jewellery on Friday June 3rd. The suspects are between the ages of 18 to 24 years old and they were turned over to the French authorities the same day they were arrested.
    In an unrelated case, the gendarmes also arrested two minors for burglarizing a restaurant in Marigot over the weekend. The duo ages 16 and 17 allegedly broke into the restaurant on Sunday morning.
  • Permanent Committee on Health to receive presentation on medical tourism.

    Philipsburg:--- Honourable President of Parliament Drs. Gracita Arrindell would like to announce that there will be a permanent meeting of the parliament committee for Health Care, Social Development & Labour on Friday, June 10.

    The meeting will take place in the General Assembly Chamber at 3:00pm.

    A presentation will be made about developments in medical tourism and the possibilities for Sint Maarten.

    Members of the permanent committee are Members of Parliament (MP) Leroy De Weever, MP Romaine Laville and MP Dr. Lloyd Richardson.

    All parliamentarians have also been invited to attend the meeting.

  • ROAT organizes fourth Father's Day Breakfast.

    roatdonatestomlkjrschool09062011On June 19, the Reach Out and Touch Foundation is having their fourth (4th) Father's Day breakfast at Taloula Mango, St. Rose Arcade on the Board Walk.

    The time of the breakfast, which is either sit in or take out, is from 8am to 12 noon, and will consist of scrambled eggs, salt fish, sausage or bacon, Johnny cakes, orange juice, coffee or bush tea, and fresh fruit (banana or apple).

    President of the non-profit organization ROAT Dennis Rombley said that the event marks the celebration of fathers and their role in the household: as being a parent to a child and a husband or partner to a wife or spouse.

    The importance of the father, like the mother, is paramount. With this in mind, we are promoting the importance of the meaning of fatherhood in our community, Rombley said.

    We ask the community to come out and join us at the breakfast. Your support will be invaluable, Rombley said. In addition, the proceeds will go towards contribution towards social programs in the community.

    The Reach Out and Touch Foundation consist of the President: Dennis Rombley, Treasurer: Franklin Watson, amongst others: Clarence Richardson,Edward Benjamin , Archie Mirchandani, Lloyd Temmer , Dr.Glen Bryson, Franklyn Maynard, Miguel de Weever, Winston Blythe

    The event, once again, takes place at Taloula Mango on June 19, 2011, from 8 am to 12 noon. Tickets are $10 per ticket for a wonderful breakfast, Rombley said.

    Persons can buy their tickets from members and at these different locations: Hong Kong Tailors and Maynard Car rental.

  • Police Finalizing the Silvia Lynch and Charmes Investigation --- Reports to be Sent to Prosecutors Office in one week.

    Philipsburg:--- The Detective Department is busy finalizing the reports on the fatal accident that killed 12 year old Silvia Lynch confirmed the Head of the Detective Department Denise Jacobs. Silvia Lynch, a 12 year old Marie Genevieve De Weever School student was crushed to death on May 6th shortly after she exited a school bus. Lynch was run over by a heavy Mack truck that was traveling at high speed along the Sucker Garden main road. Jacobs said the death of the young lady sparked public outrage when the driver of the truck was released but the police she said had to make sure a technical investigation was conducted. That investigation she said is almost complete and the files will be sent to the Public Prosecutors Office for a decision to be taken on prosecution.
    The top cop said her department is also busy finalizing the reports on death (suicide) of 11 year old Gregory Charmes. Jacobs described both cases as being sensitive but said the police and people of St. Maarten has to know what pushed the young child to take his own life. Jacobs said the police did not conduct a criminal investigation into the Charmes case but they did conduct a technical investigation since they want to know exactly what pushed such a young child to take his own life. Jacobs said the reason for investigation was not because they wanted to find a perpetrator but to prevent future incidents and most importantly the police want to know why it happened.
    Chief Commissioner of Police Peter De Witte assured that both these files will be sent over the prosecutor's office for a decision to be taken.
  • Sint Maarten parliamentary delegation visits Minister of Plenipotentiary Voges.

    sxmparliamentdelegationvisitsmvoges14062011Philipsburg:--- The Sint Maarten Kingdom Affairs & Inter-parliamentary Relations Committee members visited the Minister of Plenipotentiary Mathias Voges on Monday in The Hague.

    On Tuesday, will be the first official parliamentary committee discussions at the Dutch First Chamber of Parliament. Delegation leaders from Aruba, Curacao and Sint Maarten will give short introductory speeches. The Dutch delegation leader will thereafter officially open the meeting.

    Parliamentarians from the three Kingdom partners will exchange ideas and views related to the work procedures for the parliamentary summit during the coming days along with the first orientation meeting.

    The delegations will then visit the Dutch Ministry of General Affairs where they will pay a courtesy call on the Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

    Tuesday afternoon, the three parliamentary delegations will gather in the plenary hall of the First Chamber of Parliament where they will discuss the consequences of the introduction of the new constitutional status for countries Curacao and Sint Maarten with respect to the opportunities and challenges.

    Parliamentarian discussions which officially start on Tuesday, June 14 will continue on to Friday, June 17.

    The Sint Maarten parliamentary delegation comprises of President of Parliament Honourable Gracita Arrindell, Chairman of the Kingdom Affairs & Inter-parliamentary Relations Committee Member of Parliament (MP) Hon. Roy Marlin, MP Hon. Ruth Douglass, MP Hon. Patrick Illidge, MP Hon. William Marlin, Secretary General of Parliament Jossy Semeleer, and Advisor Ralph Richardson.

    Members of the Sint Maarten delegation left over the weekend and are scheduled to return on Saturday, June 18 and Sunday, June 19.

  • Arrindell says deliberations with parliamentarians positive and constructive; Sint Maarten aiming to become self-reliant.

    Philipsburg:--- President of Parliament drs. Gracita Arrindell described the first day of parliamentary deliberations in The Hague as very positive and constructive.

    "The first meetings went very well. We approved the agenda as was discussed prior to coming to the Netherlands with respect to the issues related to energy and education among others.

    "The delegations had the opportunity to add additional points for the next agenda which includes for Sint Maarten, the lowering of the costs of living which impacts the quality of life for many citizens especially the vulnerable members of our communities including pensioners.

    "Foreign affairs are another area that has been added to the agenda, especially where it concerns relations with the French side of the island and other countries in the Caribbean Basin where our economic interests plays a role," President of Parliament Arrindell said on Tuesday.

    Arrindell described the discussions with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte as interesting where he said that there have been enough discussions related to constitutional renewal and the focus should now be on how to stimulate economic activity for the countries within the Kingdom.

    "I told Prime Minister Rutte that Sint Maarten is equipped to make it happen due to its modern sea and airport facilities. The country is looking at ways and means to be less reliant on Dutch development aid funds and to depend on its own resources and the Government is working diligently with respect to becoming self-reliant," President of Parliament Gracita Arrindell pointed out.

    The Sint Maarten Kingdom Affairs & Inter-parliamentary Relations Committee members will continue with deliberations with their parliamentary colleagues from Curacao, Aruba and the Netherlands on Wednesday.

    On Wednesday morning parliamentarians will visit the Job Training School Vakcollege SG Zuidwest. There they will be briefed about the curriculum, on-the-job training, the practical program and the linkage with the job market.

    On Wednesday afternoon parliamentarians will receive a presentation from the Dutch study financing organization DUO-IB-Groep with respect to the set-up of study funding in the Netherlands.

    Thereafter, parliamentarians will exchange views and ideas over their respective educational systems within the four countries of the Kingdom and the relationship between education and the job market. Other areas to be explored are the costs of educating the current populace, study financing and brain drain.

    Parliamentarian discussions which officially started on Tuesday, June 14 will conclude on Friday, June 17 with a press conference.

    The Sint Maarten parliamentary delegation comprises of President of Parliament Honourable Gracita Arrindell, Chairman of the Kingdom Affairs & Inter-parliamentary Relations Committee Member of Parliament (MP) Hon. Roy Marlin, MP Hon. Ruth Douglass, MP Hon. Patrick Illidge, MP Hon. William Marlin, Secretary General of Parliament Jossy Semeleer, and Advisor Ralph Richardson.

    Members of the Sint Maarten delegation are scheduled to return on Saturday, June 18 and Sunday, June 19.

  • CPS Officials Attend Meeting on Preventing the Reintroduction of Malaria.

    edeweeverandnvlaun15062011Great Bay (DCOMM):--- Nirmala Vlaun, Surveillance Officer and Eva de Weever, Epidemiologist of Collective Prevention Services (CPS) attended a workshop on June 1-2 in Barbados entitled "Preventing the Reintroduction of Malaria in Non-Endemic Countries."

    Malaria is a disease caused by the parasite Plasmodium, which is transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito. Only the Anopheles genus of the mosquito can transmit Malaria.

    Malaria cases have declined 56 per cent in Latin America since 2000, while deaths have declined by 70 per cent.

    The two-day workshop was sponsored by the Pan American Organization (PAHO) and focused on strategies for preventing the reintroduction of malaria, interventions and mechanisms to respond to malaria outbreaks.

    The meeting also served as a platform to provide an orientation regarding the Strategy and Plan of Action for Malaria in the Americas 2011-2015 and PAHO's Biennial Work Plan.

    CPS surveillance team regarded the meeting as opportune and enlightening to the development and strengthening of the vector control and surveillance team.

    An efficient vector control unit is crucial to preparedness and prompt response to the community needs, as it pertains to vector-borne diseases.

    Participants attending the conference included countries of Dutch, French, and English-speaking Caribbean, which are all vulnerable and susceptible to malaria.

    Caribbean countries that had recent malaria outbreaks provided the group with insight/overview on how this was handled (surveillance, case investigation/follow-up, vector control strategies, etc.).

  • VROMI Tells PRIDE they can do their Work --- Enforce Building Ordinance says Pride.

    constructiononbeach16062011Simpson Bay:--- A press release from the St. Maarten Pride Foundation states that in April 2011, the St. Maarten Pride Foundation filed a complaint at the Inspection Department of the Ministry of VROMI regarding illegal construction activities at Karakter Beach Bar on Simpson Bay Beach. The Inspection department responded by informing Pride that they are capable of doing their job. A week later, Pride was informed that a removal order had been issued. Two months later the structures at Karakater have not yet been removed. As shown in these pictures taken at Tango's Beach Bar, in the vicinity of the White Sands Beach Club on the Beacon Hill side of Simpson Bay Beach, building on the Beach in violation of the Beach Policy seems to be becoming the norm. Where is the Inspection Department?
    Pride Foundation is once again calling on the Inspection department to enforce the Building Ordinance, the Beach Policy and the Nature Ordinance. The Foundation strongly recommends that the structures at Karakter Beach Bar and these new ones at Tango's Beach Bar in the vicinity of the White sands Beach Club be immediately removed.
  • Customs Intercept 18 year old with Cocaine in Chocolate Chip Cookies.

    confiscatedcocaine16062011Airport:--- Customs officials intercepted an 18 year old girl on Thursday who had two kilos of cocaine in chocolate chip cookies and two posters. The young female passenger identified as P.S. was traveling from Curacao to St. Maarten on an Insel Air flight.
    Head of Customs Anthony Doran said the young mule had the drugs in both liquid and powder form. Doran said tests were conducted on the substance which was found hidden in six parcels and it turned out to be cocaine.
    The passenger was then arrested and brought to the Customs station (ward) for further interrogation. P.S. is currently going through a series of interrogations at the Customs Department to find out if the drugs that was found in her possession, were intended for the local market or the European Continent.
  • “Thank you, Westin!” from the St. Martin Book Fair.

    bfcgivesgifttowestin19062011Dawn Beach:--- The Westin resort here received an "appreciation gift of books" last Friday from the St. Martin Book Fair Committee (BFC) and House of Nehesi Publishers (HNP), said Jacqueline Sample, HNP president. The resort representatives were thrilled with the gift, "especially the new St. Martin cook book by Yvette Hyman," said Shujah Reiph, BFC coordinator. The BFC thanked Westin for its gracious hospitality and fine accommodations in hosting Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott, the keynote speaker at the 9th annual St. Martin Book Fair (6/2/11). Westin reservations manager Marc LeBlanc extended his "heartfelt thanks" and said that Westin appreciated "the kind gesture, and we hope to assist you once again in the future." St. Martin Talk, White Egrets, and Brotherhood of the Spurs were also included in the gift box.
  • Short Circuits continue to Hamper New Parliament Building.

    parliamentbuildingmeter20062011Philipsburg:--- Members of Parliament and employees who are currently working at the new parliament building (the former Caribbean Palm building) are continuing to experience power outages due to short circuits. On Monday, the lights in the Parliament building were going on and off when wires coming from the GEBE electrical meter to the building began over-heating.
    Workers from GEBE were seen at the location sometime after they were informed that one of the fuses had blown.
    SMN News witnessed two civil servants who are not electricians trying to locate the blown fuse because the National Alliance and the St. Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association were having a meeting at the time of the power outage.
    Minister of Public Works Theo Heyliger told SMN News previously in an interview that the owner of the building did not have a building permit and as such GEBE will not change the wires and meter to accommodate the adjustments that were made to the building. It should be noted that the fire department wanted to prevent the opening of the Parliament Building because they said the building did not meet the fire regulations on St. Maarten.
  • Sandy Ground Murder Suspect Arrested.

    Marigot:--- The Gendarmes have arrested the main suspect in the Cuffy Peterson killing which took place on May 22nd 2011 in Sandy Ground. A press release from the Gendarmes stated that the suspect was arrested during the early morning hours of Monday June 20th on the Bellevue road. Peterson; a national of Dominica was shot while in the Sandy Ground area. He died of his injuries at the Louis Constant Fleming Hospital. The gendarmes previously reported that shortly after completing their investigation on site, the suspect fled the island.
  • EXPEDIA to host free workshop on 27 & 28 June 2011.

    On Monday, June 27 and Tuesday, June 28, 2011, a conference will be held by Expedia on the training of how to utilize the Expedia extranet to better accommodate hotels. This training will be by Sourigna Tangkhapanya, Market Manager of Caribbean Expedia Partner Services Group. 

    Expedia will be hosting its free workshops on Monday June 27th at the Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort from 2 – 6 pm and on Tuesday June 28th at Mercure St. Martin & Marina from 9:30 am – 1:30 pm.

    The training will cover, amongst others:

    • Expedia best practices
    • Yield overviews

    Followed by a Q and A session.

    The presentations are a way of Expedia to develop closer working relationships with the hoteliers on St. Maarten, both Dutch and French, and also with all its contracted hotelier partners. It is a unique opportunity for all hoteliers to ask questions to Expedia.

    If you have not already done confirmed your attendance for the day and you'd like to attend (27th or 28th), please feel free to contact the SHTA office at 542-0108 or email to temp@shta.com, no later than Friday June 24, 2011 as space is limited!

  • Minister Voges presents Sint Maarten Golden Book to Rotterdam Mayor.

    mvogesandaaboutaleb22062011Great Bay (DCOMM):--- Honourable Minister of Plenipotentiary Mathias Voges last week presented a copy of the Sint Maarten Golden Book to Rotterdam Mayor ing. A. Aboutaleb on behalf of Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams and the Government of Sint Maarten.

    Minister Voges attended a meeting with 22 Mayors who represent cities in Holland where many "Antilleans" reside. Mayor Aboutaleb chaired the meeting. Also present was Minister Piet Donner and the Ministers of Plenipotentiary of Curacao and Aruba.

    Minister Voges said the focus of the meeting were about the challenges many "Antilleans" were being confronted with in Holland. Many of the young ones end up in the circle of criminal activity. The meeting also addressed the fact that the Dutch Government is cutting subsidies to these cities that have "Antillean" intervention programs.

    Voges said that he advised the Mayors not to refer to the term "Antilleans" since the Netherlands Antilles has ceased to exist as of October 10, 2010.

  • St. Martin to sign MOU with Monroe College Wednesday.

    Great Bay:--- Minister of Education, Culture, Sports and Youth Affairs, Dr. Rhoda Arrindell, will be signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on behalf of the St. Martin government with representatives of Monroe College on Wednesday, June 29, 2011 at the Dr. A.C. Legislative Hall.
    The MOU is a result of a previous visit the Minister undertook to the campuses of Monroe College both in St. Lucia and New York recently. The MOU will open up the possibility for St. Martin students to enroll at the college to study a wide range of courses offered by the institution, including forensic science, teacher training and hospitality studies.
    The Chief Academic Officer of the New York campus, Dr. Karenann Carty and the Director of Admissions, Mr. Gersom Lopez will be signing on behalf of Monroe College. They both arrive the island on Tuesday, June 28th.
    The two Monroe College representatives will meet with officials of the Justice Department, Ms. Irene Simmons and Ms. Ludmila Duncan Wednesday morning to discuss possibilities in the areas of Forensic Science and Judicial studies.
    Following the signing of the MOU, they will also meet with University of St. Martin authorities to discuss areas of collaboration between the two institutions.
    The visiting Monroe College delegation will dedicate the afternoon hours of Wednesday, June 29th , from 5:00pm – 7:00pm to meeting with potential students and their parents, who can have their questions answered directly by the two representatives of the College.
    All Monroe College courses are also offered online, which opens up the possibility for students who, for whatever reason, may not be able to study on campus, to do so online from the comfort of their homes. Such potential students are also invited to meet with the delegation.
    The Monroe College delegation leaves the island on Thursday, June 30th.
  • Ombudsman presented the 2010 Year Report to the other High Councils of State.

    ombudsmangives2010yearreportombrooks25062011On June 23rd 2011 the Ombudsman presented the 2010 Year Report to the other High Councils of State. The report was presented to Mr. Roland Tuitt, chairman of the General Audit Chamber.
    The Vice Chairperson of the Advisory Council, Mrs. Mavis Brooks-Salmon accepted the report in the presence of the Secretary General of the Advisory Council Mrs. Niovis Winklaar.
    The year report can be viewed at the Bureau Ombudsman and can be obtained for a fee in accordance with the Resolution ("Besluit Openbaarheid van Bestuur") pertaining to the execution of the Ordinance Transparency of Government ("Landsverordening Openbaarheid van Bestuur AB 2010 GT no. 26).
  • Follow-up disaster management meeting scheduled for July regarding preparations for 2011 Atlantic Hurricane Season.

    eocmeeting26062011Great Bay (DCOMM):--- The 10 Emergency Support Functions (ESFs) which form the Emergency Operations Center (EOC), the country's disaster management organization, will have a follow-up meeting in July as part of continued preparations for the 2011 Atlantic Hurricane Season that began on June 1.

    Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams chaired the first meeting where she was briefed with respect to the national state of preparedness.

    Head of Section Disaster Paul Martens said the June 1 meeting was very informative and was looking forward to the updates that will be provided in the July meeting.

    "A date has not been set as yet for the July follow-up meeting, but this will be done shortly. I am looking forward towards the full participation of ESF-1 GEBE and ESF-2 Telem which were absent from the first meeting.

    "After July comes August, and things should start to heat up and we need to all be prepared for any eventuality," Paul Martens told the Department of Communications (DCOMM) on Sunday.

    ESF-3 representatives from the Ministry of Public Housing, Spatial Development, Environment and Infrastructure informed the meeting in the case of water management from heavy rainfall, small and large trenches are being maintained; the Great Bay temporary channel can be opened within half-an-hour should there be a lot of rainfall. Road clearing crews are already in place and can be mobilized at a moment's notice.

    ESF-4 Fire Departments says that everything is in place with respect to personnel and emergency disaster materials; emergency pump is ready for use; all public sirens are operational with the exception of the one at the Police Station which is undergoing repairs.

    ESF-5 Police says that they are ready for the season; two-Police Post will be established one in Dutch Quarter and the other one at the St. Peter's Community Center. Additional four-wheeled vehicles will be hired; the Police will work closely with the Voluntary Korps, Marechaussee and the Military.

    ESF-6 Ministry of Public Health has increased its operational teams to a second group.

    ESF-7 Department of Social Services has its action plan in place and plans to contact the Red Cross and Military. Community Help Desk will also be available to activate hurricane emergency shelters.

    ESF-8 Department of Communications (DCOMM) is ready and activated its pre-hurricane season awareness campaign since mid-May.

    ESF-9 Ministry of General Affairs Legal Affairs Department is working on a review of all documents pertaining to disasters along with decision-making authority. An update is to be provided at the next meeting.

    ESF-10 Ministry of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunications, is currently reviewing its action plan with respect to the ports of entry, price control, updating of hotels and the Meteorological Office.

    During the June 1 meeting, officials from the various ESFs present were given a tour of the Fire & Ambulance facility including a review of disaster relief equipment.

  • Judge Brings Clarity to BTA Applicants --- Minister of Justice has Right to Deport First Time Applicants.

    Philipsburg:--- Persons who applied the first time for a Brooks Tower Permit has no right to be on St. Maarten and can be deported at any time. Judge Rene Van Veen in a ruling on Monday said that the Minister of Justice Roland Duncan is within his rights to deport any first time BTA applicant who applied between November 24th and December 31st 2010.
    Judge Rene van Veen ruled that, based on the answers Minister of Justice Roland Duncan gave the court in his letter of May 27, 2011, the BTA process had been closed since December 2009, and after that date it was not possible to submit first time BTA applications as many people did last year, during the month of December.
    This case started in January when a national of the Dominican Republic Pascal Bertrand Perez who filed for a BTA permit and had a receipt in hand proving that he had applied for a permit, was picked up by immigration and subsequently deported. He was a first time applicant who applied during the renewal period in November and December last year. Though the BTA process of December 2010 was ostensibly only supposed to be for renewals, the BTA intake office informed applicants that it was also possible to submit first time requests. Based on this information, Perez and hundreds of other persons submitted first time BTA requests. When he was deported he therefore argued that his deportation was in violation of the expectations that had been raised, that he would be allowed to await the decision on his application on the island.
    The judge asked the Minister of Justice to inform the court if first time BTA applications were possible, and if so, would this mean that applicants could await the decision on their request on the island. The judge also asked the Minister to submit the minutes of a meeting of Parliament during which he had allegedly stated that first time BTA applications were possible. In a letter to the court dated May 27, 2011, Duncan replied that first time BTA applications were not possible.
    Based on that answer from the Minister of Justice, the judge then ruled that the Minister was fully within his rights to deport Perez.

    Consequences of Judgment.

    This ruling of the court of first instance granted on Monday means that all persons who submitted first time BTA permit requests in December 2010, cannot receive a residence permit, as there is no legal basis to grant them one. The judge made this clear in his ruling when he stated that their existed no "concrete outlook of obtaining a residence permit" when the decision to deport him was taken. The judge stated that, based on the Minister's answer, he had come to the conclusion that "if after 2009 first time applications had been submitted, it did not mean that Duncan had established a policy that made it possible to submit first time applications after 2009. There was also no policy in place to the effect that first time applicants may await the decision on their request on St. Maarten. In so far as Perez had argued that he be allowed to await the decision on his request on the island those arguments were rejected by the court.
    The ruling also means that immigration may now move to deport any first time applicant as they have no legal basis to be on the island. For some time now first time BTA applicants believed that having proof that they had filed for a BTA permit, protected them from deportation. It is now clear that according to the Minister's letter to the court, and the judge's acceptance of that letter, first time BTA applicants cannot receive a residence permit, and therefore will be deported if found by immigration. A first time BTA receipt has now turned into a trap since it can be used as proof that they were on the island illegally.
    What remains unclear in all this, is what recourse all those individuals have, who, based on written instructions from the BTA intake office, went to the labor office and paid for their work permit. It is clear from the court's ruling and the Minister's letter, that they are residing illegally on St. Maarten, and will never receive a residence permit under the BTA.

    Click here to read Judge Van Veen's Ruling delivered on Monday.

  • Central Committee to meet Corporate Governance Council on Tuesday.

    Philipsburg:--- The Corporate Governance Council (CGC) will be making a presentation to the Central Committee of Parliament on Tuesday, June 28, Honourable President of Parliament Drs. Gracita Arrindell announced on Monday.

    The meeting will take place in the General Assembly Chamber at 10:00am in the House of Parliament.

    The CGC forwarded two documents to Parliament dated May 13 and June 7 which will be discussed on Tuesday.

  • UTS sends two St. Maarten youths to compete in AC Milan Continental Cup 2011.

    utssoccerdonation27062011Two St. Maarten youths were hand-picked to be part of the AC Milan Junior Camp Curacao team that will participate in the AC Milan Continental Cup 2011 in Cleveland Ohio. 12 year-old Brandon-Lee Potmis and 11 year-old Kael Richards are attending the competition thanks to the support of UTS. By participating, the youths have a tremendous opportunity to showcase their talents on an international platform. International scouts will be visiting the camp to find talent among the 160 teams from around the world that will be participating. The competition will run from June 30th until July 3rd. 'We are happy to be able to assist two local talents in competing and further developing their skills,' says UTS Marketing and Communications Officer, Ivy Lambert. 'Local training has already taken them far and this competition can be a stepping-stone for them to be recruited by a team and continue internationally. We wish them much success during the competition.'
  • Ombudsman to Stop Taking Complaints as of July 1st 2011 --- No Materials and Tools to Function.

    nildarduinlynch28062011Philipsburg:--- The office of the Ombudsman will stop taking complaints as of July 1st 2011 announced Ombudsman Nilda Arduin Lynch on Tuesday at a press conference. The Ombudsman said when the Ombudsman Bureau gets the necessary materials and tools her office will resume taking in complaints from the general public. Arduin Lynch said during the time they will be waiting her staff and her will continue to work on the complaints they already received while they intend to launch an informative campaign on the role of the Ombudsman.

    Arduin Lynch said despite not having the tools such as an ICT system, telephones, computers and desks for her and her staff to work with, she and her staff received a total of 100 complaints. The ombudsman said of that amount 27% of the complaints did not belong to her office, while she already completed 14% of the cases her office has been working on. Arduin Lynch said most of the complaints and or cases she is dealing with came from the Personnel department, Domain Affairs, the Social Services and Immigration.

    Members of the media got a first-hand look of the almost empty office spaces that the Ombudsman and her staff have been occupying. The desk and chairs for the media personnel had to be rented for the press conference to take place on Tuesday. Arduin Lynch said she has been using her personal monies to get things done thus far. Employees of the Ombudsman office are using their personal computers to get the job done, while there is still no telephone system in the building. The office of the Ombudsman can be found on the first floor of the Eastern Caribbean Telephone Building on EC Cannegieter Street.

    Arduin Lynch said she attended the CAROA conference held in Curacao and she had to advance the cost of the trip after meeting with the advisor of government on this subject. Furthermore, the Ombudsman had to also finance her trip to the Netherlands, Austria and Curacao when she attended a training course on Sharpening Your Teeth. The St. Maarten Ombudsman received a scholarship from IOI when she attended the conference in Curacao last year. Sharpening Your Teeth she said is a training that teaches Ombudsmans how to focus on Systemic Investigations.

    Arduin Lynch said part of the expenses was taken up by the International Ombudsman Institute (IOI) via funds coming from USONA, while the other part of the expenses Arduin Lynch had to personally finance it until the budget of the Bureau Ombudsman is available to her bureau. It must be noted that the Bureau Ombudsman already submitted their budget while the year report has been delivered to Parliament and the Prime Minister of St. Maarten. Arduin Lynch said in the last paragraph of her report she made clear that Parliament should make sure that the Bureau Ombudsman is properly equipped so they can function, which she said is stated in the law of the National Ordinances.


    Arduin Lynch Cleared the Air on the Letter she sent to Parliament.

    Ombudsman Nilda Arduin Lynch has finally brought clarity to the letter she sent to Parliament informing them that she was going to be the caretaker of her late husband’s estate while representing him in his ongoing business until it is stabilized. Arduin-Lynch also dismissed the notion that she was going to leave her office for one year, she said it was a gross mistake by the persons who thought so.

    Arduin Lynch said several persons from the community bombarded her with questions as to why she wanted to leave her post. Arduin Lynch said for the sake of transparency she thought it prudent to inform parliament of her intention to represent her late husband as a caretaker among which will be assuming the directorship of his real estate company Arlyn Consultancy NV for a period of one year.

    The Ombudsman said the law provides her the opportunity and she is allowed to take up any other job as long as it does not compromise her impartiality and independence in the execution of her function as Ombudsman. Arduin Lynch also indicated to Parliament the articles of the law which allows her to act as caretaker of her late husband’s estate. The Ombudsman openly thanked the members of parliament who openly expressed confidence in her integrity that she would step aside should she be confronted with a situation of compromise. She said considering the legacy of her late husband Edgar Hubert Lynch who was adamant about “conflict of interest” and semblance thereof in public office, she will not assume the position as Managing Director of Arlyn’s Real Estate just to avoid any preconceived conflict of interest that was expressed, but as his spouse she must honor her obligations to be caretaker of his estate. Arduin Lynch made clear that she will not be vacating her position as perceived by many.

    Appointment of Patricia Philips as Deputy Ombudsman.

    arduinlynchandpatsyphillips28062011Asked about her letter to Parliament requesting their approval to appoint her Secretary General Patricia Philips to the position of Deputy Ombudsman, Arduin Lynch said he does not know if the members of parliament did not receive the legal opinion she sent to parliament about Philips appointment letter. Arduin-Lynch said she is fully aware of the law that states neither the Ombudsman nor its deputy can be active civil servants. She said based on that she did her own research while the appointment was discussed with PNO and a Dutch consultant all of whom gave their opinion on the appointment. The Ombudsman also said she does not know if parliament got their own legal advice but the law she said is clear.
    She said the staff members of the high council of state are placed in an independent institute even though these staffs are technically civil servants. The staff of the Ombudsman does not report to government, Arduin Lynch said they answer to the Ombudsman which means they are no longer active civil servants.


    Ombudsman to Continue with Cadastre’s Office Investigation.

    Ombudsman Nilda Arduin Lynch also announced on Tuesday that she will be continuing with the investigations she embarked on at the Cadastre’s Office late last year. Nilda Arduin Lynch said after attending the training “Sharpening Your Teeth” she is now equipped with the tools she needed for Systemic Investigations. Asked how that investigation is going, knowing that the Director of the Cadastre’s office had openly objected to her interference, Lynch said she has had several meetings with the Cadastre’s Office since then and they are cooperating.

    The Ombudsman also shed some light on a new file that she was presented with when she met with the National Ombudsman from the Netherlands. Lynch said the Prison Inmate Association sent their complaint to the National Ombudsman, but that person only represents the BES Islands and as such the file was turned over to her.

    She said she already met with the Prison Inmates of Pointe Blanche and they shared their grievances with her. However, she said the Minister of Justice is not yet informed, the Ombudsman said the Prison Inmates Association expressed concerns about Human Rights infringements, hygienic conditions, the evaluation process and rehabilitation at the Pointe Blanche Detention Center.
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  • Corporate Governance Council Gives Negative Advise on Regina Labega’s Appointment to PJIAE --- Monitoring outcome of Investigation.

    reginalabega11052011Philipsburg:--- The Corporate Governance Council has given a negative advice to the Council of Ministers on the appointment of Regina Labega to the position of Managing Director of the Princess Juliana International Airport.
    SMN News learnt that the council requested more documents and information on the Princess Juliana International Airport (a government owned company) and government never honored their request. According to one of the members of the council, Regina Labega was a member of the supervisory board of PJIAE and the council wants to see exactly when she resigned from that position and what role she played in the application procedures.
    The members of the corporate governance council also wants to make sure that Labega is exonerated from the current investigation that has been launched by the prosecutor's office regarding embezzlement of government funds.
    In its advice which was submitted to government, the council said that while they believe that everyone is innocent until proven guilty, government should wait on the outcome of the investigation before appointing Labega to such a position especially taking into consideration the statements that were made by the public prosecutor. They said appointing Labega now would compromise her authority and work and that she would need adequate time to prepare her defense, therefore government should seek to appoint someone else to the position or appoint an interim director for the time being.
    A copy of the report which SMN News obtained stated that the Corporate Governance Council responded with four main questions to the Council of Ministers before outlining the reasons of the negative advice.
    The council also feels that the Princess Juliana International Airport has to amend its articles of association which they said are antiquated and is not in line with the Corporate Governance Code. The council said they dispatched two letters to Government on May 4th expressing grave concerns regarding administrative organization and internal controls.
    The council recommended that to avoid the perception of undesirable political influence that PJIAE compare article 7 through 10 of its articles of Association with that of the Sint Maarten Harbour Cruise Facilities N.V.
    The council also wants to know what role Ms. Labega played on the Supervisory Board of Directors in the recruitment selection nomination and appointment of Ms. Labega who is also a member of said board.
    The council asked how the remuneration package for the candidate was determined and how it relates to the current market on St. Maarten and also how it relates to the remuneration package of the previous managing director.
    The council posed a list of questions to government based on the documents they were provided with to make the recommendations on the appointment of Ms. Labega. They asked why was the application addressed to the shareholder representative (government) and not the corporation (PJIAE). They said the involvement of the member of the cabinet in his capacity as shareholder representative may be perceived as undesirable political influence in the government owned company. The council further asked how many candidates applied for the position and if they all went through the same selection process including an objective assessment without discrimination and favoritism.
    The council wants to know if the candidate (Regina Labega) can be considered the best candidate for the job and requested more information be provided on this in their letter of motivation.
    The Corporate Governance Council concluded that they noticed that the appointment procedures were rushed especially when Ms. Regina Labega submitted her application which was dated January 14th 2011 with an assessment done by PWC on February 8 2011. The council further states that government were well aware that they needed to find a candidate to fill the position because they were aware that the former managing director had to leave his position to assume his role as Governor of St. Maarten. They asked when the application process was opened and if there was a deadline for filing application letters.

    Click here to view the Corporate Governance Council report on the appointment of Regina Labega to PJIAE.
  • Vice Prime Minister Theo Heyliger Welcomes Dom. Republic President.

    theyligerandhipolitomejia12062011Great Bay (DCOMM):--- On Thursday Honourable Vice Prime Minister Theo Heyliger welcomed former President of the Dominican Republic Hipolito Mejia at the Princess Juliana International Airport.
  • Finance Minister Responds to Questions on Budget --- Has until June 22nd to Answer Additional Questions --- Parliament Budget Debate June 29th.

    hshigemotoandadvisors10062011Philipsburg:--- Minister of Finance Hiro Shigemoto responded to most of the questions posed to him regarding the amendments of the 2011 budget on Friday. Shigemoto delivered a hard copy of the answers to the Members of Parliament shortly after reading out the answers. The chairman of parliament Petrus Leroy De Weever also gave the Minister until June 22nd to deliver in writing all additional answers to the questions that were posed during Friday's Central Committee meeting. De Weever said June 22nd would be exactly one week before the scheduled date of the public debate of parliament on the 2011 budget and the MP's would need the answers to their questions so that they can prepare adequately for the public debate of parliament.
    The Minister said the income tax shows -1,648,000.00 million guilders in the amended budget since his Ministry decided to follow the recommendations of the CFT to deliver a balanced budget. So far government is expecting Naf. 131,000,000.00 to be generated on the old budget but that amount has been reduced to Naf. 119,000,000.00 leaving a difference of 12 million guilders on the amended budget, the Minister said that the TOT calculations were based on realized figures in 2010 taking into account an increase of 2% points starting mid February. He said the original calculations were based on a higher projection.
    The Minister said that even though St. Maarten has a number of casinos none of them pays turn over tax. The Finance Minister explained that some six to seven years ago there was an issue regarding the funds generated by casinos since the ordinance is from 1948. He said the last two amendments that were made to this ordinance were in 1990 and government is not working on the ordinance at this present moment.
    williammarlin10062011Minister Shigemoto also provided some figures on the lottery companies and how they are accessed and the contributions they make to government on a monthly basis.
    As for the renovation of the Pointe Blanche Prison the Minister said the former Antillean Minister of Justice reserved Naf. 2,517,401. 91 for the prison repairs and upgrading under the master plan of the detention system from USONA funding, while St. Maarten's Minister of Justice allocated Naf. 4,143,778.00 for said repairs and upgrading. He said that the total amount of funds for these repair will run as high as Naf. 6,661,179.91 while the estimated cost can be as high as 8 million and government intends to use their reserved funds to complete the upgrading of the prison.
    National Alliance leader William Marlin asked the Finance Minister to provide parliament with the signed contract the Minister of Justice has with Sameer Andrawos for the BOX in Cay Hill since the Minister of Justice has said he is working on that project to create space for the prison.
    Minister Shigemoto said that government does not have any money in the budget for the upgrading of the sporting facilities on the island and the Ministry is busy trying to secure funds to make the necessary repairs to the facilities so that St. Maarten can host the Kingdom Games scheduled for 2013.
    The Minister of Finance also revealed that the invoice from GEBE for the 25 cents that is charged per consumer for stamps has not been paid since 10/10/10. He said they have been in communication with GEBE since February 2011 and government is expecting a payment from the company in June which will be retroactive to 10/10/10.
    membersofparliament10062011On the education front, leader of the National Alliance William Marlin called on government to provide answers on the current situation that is ongoing at the University of St. Martin with the Teachers Education Program (TEP) students who might not be able to graduate later this month because the Minister of Education has refused to sign off on the Bachelors Degree in Education. Marlin asked government to explain why is it necessary for the Minister of Education to conduct another assessment on the TEP program while USONA did an assessment on USM some months ago. The National Alliance leader said there are potential teachers that are being hindered who completed their four year program and as such he is requesting proper explanations from government especially the Minister of Education.
    Marlin also asked Government to explain what are the budget constraints facing the Members of Parliament who are scheduled to travel to attend meetings in Holland and Mexico. Marlin said he already explained to Parliament earlier that becoming a member of Parlatino has added additional financial constraints to the country's budget and the time has come for the chair to say how they will proceed with Parlatino and the scheduled meetings.
    SMN News learnt that chaos took place on Thursday and Friday when Members of Parliament were trying to obtain their tickets and travel allowances to leave on Friday afternoon to attend Kingdom Relations and Inter-parliamentary meetings in The Hague. The Minister of Finance already declared that Parliament used up almost 9 million guilders in tickets and travel allowances, monies which was also allocated for the hiring of staff.
    A copy of the answers can be viewed on this website while our readers can also listen to the audio presentation given by the Minister on Friday.
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    Click here to view the answers provided by the Minister of Finance Hiro Shigemoto on Friday during the Central Committee Meeting.

  • Parliament Meeting Disrupted due to Electrical Short circuit --- GEBE wants Building Permit for Renovations --- ROB wants old building plans for plumbing and wiring --- Fire Department has concerns on glass doors.

    Philipsburg:--- The Central Committee Meeting of Parliament had to be adjourned for almost one hour on Friday because of electrical short circuit problems which ROB, GEBE, Government and even Members of Parliament are refusing to address. During the adjournment and power outage in the building Minister of Public Works Theo Heyliger who was in the building at the time told reporters that the owner and contractor that renovated the Caribbean Palm Building to accommodate the needs of Parliament did not have a building permit to conduct the renovations. Heyliger said based on that, GEBE the utilities company is refusing to change a wire that can accommodate the amount of amps that is currently being used inside the new Parliament building. Heyliger said while he voted in favor of the contract the former coalition government awarded to Reynold Williams there were some hiccups with who was responsible for the signing off of these documents after 10/10/10.
    Besides the concerns of GEBE and the lack of a building permit, the owner Reynold Williams is also having some serious problems with the fire department since they refused to approve the building based on the fire department standards. One of the concerns of the fire department Minister Heyliger said is the glass doors on the upper floor which is not one hour fire resistant.
    The fire department also wants the owner to have a separate and bigger meter from GEBE. Due to the concerns of the fire department, two fire department officials showed up at the building on the April 28th 2011 to stop the opening of the building claiming that the building does not meet the standards of the fire department. Members of Parliament intervened that day and managed to have the proprietor sign an agreement with the fire department promising that he will make the necessary changes before the opening of the building could have taken place.
    In an invited comment the proprietor Reynold Williams said that when he got the contract from government he approached the fire department with the building plans and they approved the plans which they stamped, a copy of which he said he has. "Now the fire department wants me to change the GEBE meter which is not my jurisdiction. Right now, Parliament is running on a meter that was designated for Caribbean Palm Stores and we have since added more air conditions, electronic doors as well as all the equipment that GIS uses for its recording and broadcasting of meetings live. Government is the one who has to request a bigger meter but the GEBE bills are not in their names because the building permit is holding up the process." Even though Government has full access to the building since the beginning of the year Williams said he is the one that is paying the electrical bills because he is billed for it, but his intention is to turn over the bills this coming month to parliament so they can begin paying their bills now that the official opening of the building was done. As for the glass door that the fire department said is not fire resistant Williams said the glass wall and door has certain security mechanisms in place which will allow the Members of Parliament to get out of the building should there be a fire. He said nowhere else on St. Maarten has security like that of the Caribbean Palm building. Williams said the building is five hours fire resistant since there are double sheet rock walls on the outer and inner sides of the buildings while the doors are an hour fire resistant. He said he has no problems removing the glass door and wall and replace it with fire hazard door and sheet rock walls but the Members of Parliament are not in favor of that because that will create a separation in parliament and the different factions. Williams said the fire resistant glass door and wall the fire department is requesting is non-existent in the United States and Europe so a decision will soon have to be taken as to whether the wall and door must be changed as requested by the fire department. Besides that, the building has sprinklers inside and each section has water hoses which are installed and ready for use. Should there be a fire, the fire department does not have to take their hose inside the building Williams said.
    Asked why it took so long for him and the contractors to complete the building knowing that he promised government that the building would have been completed and ready for 10/10/10, Williams said he began negotiations will government in July 2010 and he made some verbal promises during those negotiations but he only received the actual contract from government in September 2010. Williams said one must know that he had to take that contract to the bank to obtain the financing which also took time and the inclement weather last year played a vital role in the delay.
    Based on the information SMN News gathered from all parties on Friday and what we witnessed during the power outage it is clear that some persons in government are busy stone walling the procedures to get the new parliament building fully functional. It appears as though politics seems to be playing a major role while the people's business is stalled and elections have long gone.
  • VKS TARGET PRACTICE.

    The Commander of the Voluntary Corps of Sint Maarten (VKS) hereby announces that the VKS will be having a target practice on Saturday June 4, 2011, from 10AM - 5PM at the shooting range, located at Emilio Wilson's Estate.

    The general public is requested to exercise caution when passing through this area.

    The Commander regrets any inconvenience caused.

  • Childfest 2011 a huge success --- Super Childfest raffle to draw at end of June.

    childfestwrestling31052011The curtains have closed on the successful fifth annual Childfest 2011 events, but the community of St. Maarten still have a chance to win one of three fabulous prizes in the Super Childfest Raffle which has been extended to the end of June.

    The raffle was scheduled to be drawn at the end of the Family Fun Day on Sunday May 15, but had been extended because not all the raffle booklet stubs had been returned and to give more persons a chance to enter.

    First prize is a Cruise for family of four and four airline tickets. Second prize is a one week in a two bedroom suite in Orlando, Florida USA and third prize is a one-week stay in a two bedroom suite in Panama.

    All proceeds from the raffle will go into the pool of funds raised during the Childfest 2011 activities and will be ploughed back into the community to benefit underprivileged children in St. Maarten/St. Martin. Tickets cost US $10 each and are available from any Childfest Foundation board member or from Port de Plaisance.

    Childfest Foundation President Angela Richards-Huggins said the foundation is humbled by the support it had received at the Childfest Gala Dinner held at Port de Plaisance on Saturday, May 14 and the Family Fun Day on May 15.

    Around 75,000 in donations and pledges were made at the gala dinner, which excludes ticket and other sales. The figures are still being tabulated and will be released in the special Childfest Thankyou Newsletter which will be out soon.

    The pledges included a US $50,000 joint pledge made by Sudi and Katsiaryna Özkan and their family and friends. About 300 persons supported the gala dinner, which featured entertainment from Youth Waves Band celebrating their 25th anniversary this year, Melvin Hodge, the Özkan kids and Iowa-based Russian pianist Marcelina Turcanu.

    childfest31052011The team of chefs for the evening Dino Jagtiani, Leslie Martina, Benjamin Laurent, Iwan Pennings and Floris Van Noort - were assisted by students from Sundial School, University of St. Martin (USM) and Lycee in St. Martin.

    Thousands of persons supported the Family Fun Day which featured a range of fun activities for children and families.

    The highlight was the Childfest Star singing competition and Childfest in Motion Dance competition. The junior category of the Childfest Stars competition was won by Angelle Presentacion, who also captured the most popular contestant prize. Second place went to Nikko Zurita and third place went to Princess Katherina Ozkan. The Pre-Teens 10-13-year-old category was won by Keoni York, while second place went to Geniquah Thewet and third place to Jemani Obrien. Thewet was the Most Popular contestant in this category. Other contestants were Che'Vonne James and Sara Grace Pittel.

    The teen category (ages 14-17.) was won by Julia Bates, who was also the most popular contestant. Marseno Bremer came in second and Fabian Martin third.

    Unique Freakz (Magnes Evers, Guillaume Richards, Miles Brown, Kael Richards and Ki-Mani Olivacce) won the Childfest in Motion dance competition. Shakers (Shakirah Gysbertha, Mahealeney Kemper, Che'Vonne James and Sha-Aeisha Gysbertha) placed second and Soualiga Solo (Yukti Jagtiani) placed third. Other contestants in this category were Fantastic Four (Ajay Dayalani, Mahek Ahuja, Jai Dayalani and Muskaan Dayalani) and Dynamite (Shivani Advani, Hrithik Alwani, Aashish Aswani, Kunal Bijlani and Viren Baharani).

    Childfest Foundation President Angela Richards-Huggins thanked all who in one way or the other supported the event. Also on the Childfest Foundation Board are Vice President Katsiaryna Ozkan, Treasurer Hakan Unal, Secretary Marsha Thomas and member Ami Bora. Coordinating team volunteers include Karen Hana, Wallenda Matser, Grisha Marten, Hanisha Alwani, Ursel Biabiani,Chris Seger, Mr. Danny Fleming and Ali Cetin.

  • Road Users Asked for Cooperation during Triathlon on Sunday.

    Philipsburg:--- In connection with the triathlon, organized by the "Friendly Island Triathlon Association" which will be held on Sunday June 5th from 07:00am through 10:00am, the police department wants to make the following known to the public.
    The second (the cycling) and third part (the run) of this triathlon will take part on the public roads on the Dutch Side starting on The Promenade.
    The route of the bike race is as follows: Starting on the Boardwalk (Taloula Mango) - Kanaal Steeg - Front Street - Welvaart Brug - W.G. Buncamper Road - Sundial School round-a-bout - W.J.A. Nisbeth Road – Saltpickers round-a-bout – W.J.A.Nisbeth Road – Prins Bernard Bridge – Bush Road – Church Hill round-a-bout – A.J.C. Brouwers Road – Welgelegen Road – One Tete Locke round-a-bout – Octavius Richardson Road – Link One – Little Bay Road – Kerkhof Steeg - Longwall Road – Percy Labega Street – W.J.A Nisbeth Road – Saltpicker round-a-bout - W.J.A. Nisbeth road – Sundail school round-a-bout – W.G. Buncamper road – Welvaart Brug – Emmaplein – Backstreet – D.C. Steeg – Front Street at the Sint Rose Arcade.
    The final part of the race will be the run which will be four times the entire length of the Boardwalk.
    The Police Department is hereby asking the general public to pay very close attention to any changes or diversion of traffic that would be in place during this event. The police department is requesting everyone who will be making use of the public streets at this time to give their full cooperation in order to make this event a successful one.
  • Request of Ombudsman and Appointment of Assistant sent back to Ombudsman for Clarity.

    parliamentmeeting06062011Philipsburg:--- The request from the Ombudsman to take on the position of Managing Director of her late husband's company for a period of one year has been sent back to the Ombudsman's bureau for further information.
    While the Ombudsman has to notify parliament of her undertakings, parliament does not have to grant the ombudsman approval. The point was made clear by Deputy Chairman of Parliament Petrus Leroy De Weever on Monday when he chaired the meeting.
    Ombudsman Nilda Arduin Lynch informed Parliament that she will be acting as Managing Director of Arlyns Real Estate for a period of one year as she finalizes some projects her late husband Edgar Lynch was working on prior to his death. Arduin-Lynch did not request time off from parliament as was reported by other media outlets. The Ombudsman stated in her letter that she will be holding the position for a period of one year by which time she will be able to finalize and structure her late husband's real estate business.
    Deputy Chairman of Parliament Petrus Leroy De Weever said that the law on the Ombudsman is clear and it states that the Ombudsman does not need the blessings of parliament if he or she is taking on another job. The only obligation the Ombudsman has is to notify parliament of such undertaking. De Weever said while the request should have been noted as incoming documents he allowed members of parliament to discuss the matter.
    Member of Parliament Roy Marlin expressed concerns on the position the Ombudsman intends to take up for a period of one year as the Managing Director of Arlyn Real Estate. Marlin said based on his knowledge he is aware that the position will create a conflict of interest since the company in question was busy negotiating business with government. Parliament agreed to ask the Ombudsman to provide parliament with the list of projects she will be working on while managing the company. The chair made clear that they know the integrity of the Ombudsman but felt that parliament needs to guard itself against any possible conflicts of interest.
    The Ombudsman also requested that senior civil servant Patsy Phillips be appointed as acting Ombudsman. However, Phillips is a civil servant who is currently working at the office of the Ombudsman. Parliament said before Phillips is appointed acting Ombudsman she must be placed on non-active duty by the government of St. Maarten.
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  • Yvette’s cookbook for Collectivity’s archives says President Gumbs.

    frantzgumbsandyvettescookbook07062011Great Bay:--- From Yvette's Kitchen To Your Table – A Treasury of St. Martin's Traditional & Contemporary Cuisine by Yvette Hyman will be placed in the archives of the Collectivity of St. Martin (COM), according to President Frantz Gumbs.
    House of Nehesi Publishers (HNP) presented the new cookbook to the territory's government head last Wednesday afternoon, said Jacqueline Sample, HNP's president.
    At the informal presentation in his executive office, President Gumbs said that he was happy to receive the cookbook, impressed with the content and design, "and assured us that a copy would be placed in the archives of the territory," said Sample.
    The cost of the final production of From Yvette's Kitchen To Your Table was sponsored with cultural arts funds from the COM.
    "On behalf of HNP and Yvette's family, I thank AMFO for the initial grant and the Collectivity for contributing to the project completion," said Sample on Monday.
    "Thanks also to the Tourist Bureau, Caribbean Liquors & Tobacco, and Guavaberry Company for their contributions to the cookbook project," said Sample.
    "We're happy that Yvette's family worked with the Book Fair Committee to launch the cookbook at the St. Martin Book Fair on June 4; and we're thankful for the over 250 people who came to the book party," said book fair coordinator Shujah Reiph.
    According to Reiph, "News and comments about Yvette's cookbook are blowing up on Facebook and the tourism blogs."
    With Prime Minister Sarah Wescott-Williams and Nobel laureate Derek Walcott in attendance at the book launch, guest speaker Regina LaBega called From Yvette's Kitchen To Your Table a heritage and tourism "treasure." LaBega is head of the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau.
    The hardcover book is made up of 13 chapters, including Appetizers, Soups, Poultry, Fish and Shellfish, Meat, Salads, Dumplings, Rice and Fungi, Breads, and Desserts, said Sample, who also served as the book's main editor.
    Among the book's 312 colorful pages, classic favorites such as souse, Johnny cake, Conch Yvette's, lamb stew, coconut tart, guavaberry and soursop drink are just a few of the over 200 recipes à la Yvette to be found in this Treasury of St. Martin's Traditional & Contemporary Cuisine, said Sample.
    "This cookbook is an important and outstanding acknowledgement of Chef Yvette Hyman's committed service to the culinary development of St. Martin," said Gloria Ferris-Bell, a leading nutritionist.
    Yvette' cookbook is now part of the gastronomic landscape of St. Martin. The 37-sq. mi. island, with over 350 restaurants from around the world, is known as the "culinary capital of the Caribbean," according to award-winning Canadian travel writer Melanie Reffes and ABCnews.com writer Kristin Braswell.
    From Yvette's Kitchen is available at Shipwreck, Arnia's and Van Dorp bookstores and amazon.com and houseofnehesipublish.com.
  • SHTA Requested Draft Amendment Submitted by National Alliance on Short Term Contracts.

    Philipsburg:--- The St. Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association has submitted a letter to the chairlady of parliament for a copy of the draft amendment on the civil code submitted by the National Alliance faction.
    A copy of the letter sent to the media states that the SHTA understands that the National Alliance faction has presented to her its draft amendment to the civil code to stem the alleged abuse of short-term labour contracts.
    "While we understand that the purpose of this draft amendment is to ensure job security and stability on the island, the SHTA is surprised that the proposal was submitted from the faction that was not present in their state of the economy meeting with Parliament on May 19th in which the need for short term contracts was attributed to the seasonal nature of our tourism industry compared to the rest of the region and Aruba in particular (due to the many similarities between the two destinations)."
    The SHTA also submitted a graph of the monthly occupancy figures on St. Maarten verses Aruba.

    Click here to view letter and graph that was submitted to Parliament.
  • National Alliance Willing to Meet with SHTA on Civil Code Amendment.

    williammarlin20052011Philipsburg:--- Leader of the National Alliance William Marlin has dispatched an email to Valya Pantophlet from the St. Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association informing her that his faction members in parliament are more than willing to meet with the SHTA and other stakeholders to further discuss the proposal they submitted to Parliament to amend the civil code. Marlin also provided Pantophlet with the draft amendments which he submitted to Parliament for her perusal.
    A copy of the email was sent to SMN News reads he Marlin understands that the SHTA wants a copy of the draft amendment of the civil code. The National Alliance Leader also made clear that his faction has no intention to abolish the short term labour contract agreements but they want to stop the abuse of the short term contracts which is also the wish of every citizen on St. Martin. Marlin said the proposal is simple, he said for jobs that are of a permanent nature the signing of short term contracts should not be permitted.
    Marlin asked how is it possible, for a casino to operate 7 days a week, almost 24 hours a day and all Slot Attendants are on contract, one after the other, year after year. Sometimes for as long as 13 years.
    How is it possible for a supermarket to be open 363 days of the year and the cashiers to be on contract? These are the abuses the National Alliance wants to put an end to. No business can be operational 365 days of the year, but want to have staff only on contract. Marlin said in his email.
    There must be a minimum amount of staff during the low season and there is absolutely no problem with hiring extra staff for the high season the National Alliance leader said but it is unacceptable for all the staff of a business that operates 365 days of the year to be on short term contracts. It is clear that businesses have been abusing the provision the law allows, and this has to stop Marlin said.
    It is unacceptable that St. Maarteners cannot share in the progress of their country, by purchasing a home, getting a mortgage to build a home or qualify for a substantial loan, simply because they are continuously on contracts.
    The faction of the National Alliance is prepared to have an open and honest discussion with the SHTA and all other Social Partners on this issue the email concluded.

    Click here to view the first version of the Amendment to Civil Code.

    Click here to view the corrected version of the Amendment to Civil Code which was presented to the Chairlady of Parliament.
  • Marijuana Shipped in Pepper from Jamaica --- Customs Busy Investigating.

    marijuanainpeppers14062011Airport:--- Customs seized some eight boxes of pepper that had marijuana inside the peppers on Monday night head of Customs Anthony Doran said. The shipment came in from Jamaica on BWIA. So far, no one has been arrested Doran said. He said the boxes came in as cargo and the Customs are busy trying to locate the person to whom the cargo was shipped.
    Doran said on Monday night customs officials controlled the passengers that came off BWIA 457 before moving over to the cargo section. He said the officials realized that something was wrong when they checked the weight of each box, upon further inspection they discovered the illegal drugs. The head of Customs said he believes that the drug cartel used peppers to scare the dogs away when inspecting the boxes.
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  • NAGICO Awards its Top Producers, 2020 Vision Presented by CEO.

    diamondawards14062011Philipsburg:--- NAGICO Insurances held its annual Agents' Awards Dinner and Dance on Saturday last at the Westin Dawn Beach Resort and Spa. The event was attended by NAGICO's agents, brokers, Key Managers and Officers from across the Caribbean including British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, Antigua, St. Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, Montserrat, St. Lucia, Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, French and Dutch St. Maarten, Trinidad and Guyana.

    Marketing Officer Jimmy Challenger: "The primary purpose of the Agents Awards Ceremony is to recognize NAGICO's top insurance sales producers for General, Life and health products for the previous business year. This includes recognition of the best NAGICO Branch Office, which NAGICO Dominica Branch has won for a second time. The event also serves as a platform for the CEO of the NAGICO Group of Companies to not only congratulate the top producers but to also give an overview of achievements against set plans, and to highlight future plans for the company as a whole. It can be considered the Academy Awards, with a NAGICO twist."

    The top producers were given their recognition awards by CEO Imran McSood Amjad, who was assisted by Executives and Managers. Bronze, silver, gold and diamond category producers were recognized and reflected an overall active and positive production throughout the "NAGICO islands".

    The recipient of the Most Outstanding Agent Award for the NAGICO Group of Companies was Century Insurances – NAGICO Insurances of British Virgin Islands. Most Improved Agent for NAGICO Ltd and NAGICO N.V. were awarded to FAIRPLAY Insurance Agency of Anguilla and Rivers Enterprises of St. Eustatius respectively. Agents of the year were Century Insurances of the British Virgin Islands and Henderson Insurances of St. Maarten. The latter was also recipient of the Top Producer NAGICO Life Award for a second consecutive term.

    shanmohamed14062011Mr. Imran McSood Amjad addressed the gathering on his 2020 vision, a set of goals that the company should achieve by the year 2020. The vision includes continued education programs for employees in the various fields of the insurance industry, and the appointment of at least 20 qualified professionals by the end of 2020. The plan also includes projected productivity levels for the respective islands and venturing into new business markets such as St. Lucia, Trinidad, Guyana, the Bahamas, Grenada, and the French Islands.
    By 2020, the CEO said NAGICO must be operating in 20 territories in the region and look forward to presenting at least 20 diamond awards. He was emphatic that by 2020 NAGICO would be the largest general insurance company in the English speaking Caribbean.

    Whilst addressing the attendees, Mr. McSood Amjad stated: "We have recently restructured the company's Executive Management responsibilities in such a way that each Executive Director will be in charge of a Center of Excellence (COE), with a responsibility to ensure that the islands under their management function optimally. From operations, to customer service, the Executive Director must ensure that goals set are met in the best interest of our customers, agents, brokers and employees alike. The appointed Executives will also maintain our commitment to give our agents and brokers the necessary support and tools to ensure that they are able to represent NAGICO in their respective jurisdictions to the best of their ability, without second guessing our pledge to support them."

    The event marked yet another year of continued positive achievements for the NAGICO Group, as the CEO remains vigilant at the helm, knowing that action must be taken to ensure that NAGICO withstands the storm of tough economic times ahead – action that include putting (agents, brokers, business associates, customers and employees) – people first.

  • May-Ling Chun Appointed as Tourist Office Director --- Labega to take on PJIAE Directors Post --- Government to Disregard Corporate Governance Councils Advice.

    Philipsburg:--- May Ling Chun will be appointed Director of Tourist Office announced Minister of Tourism Franklin Meyers on Wednesday. Chun is expected to take up her new post as of July 1st, 2011 when the resignation of current Tourist Office Director Regina Labega goes into effect.
    In the meantime, the Council of Ministers will be rejecting the advice given by the Corporate Governance Council on the appointment of Regina Labega to take on the position and Managing Director of the Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIAE). SMN News has been reliably informed that the Council of Ministers already decided that they will appoint Labega to the Princess Juliana International Airport.
    On Wednesday, members of the Council of Ministers spoke about the role of the Corporate Governance Council. Weighing in on the topic was Prime Minister Sarah Wescot Williams, Minister of Justice Roland Duncan and Minister of Tourism and Economic Affairs Franklin Meyers.
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  • Leena’s Jewelry Robbed --- Bandits left with large loot. (UPDATED)

    leenas3jewelrystore16062011Marigot:--- Two masked armed robbers made their way to Leena's Jewelry on Rue General du Gaulle on Thursday morning where they committed a daring daylight robbery. According to the owners of the store, the two robbers who were armed with a hammer, smashed the front door as well as several show cases before escaping with a large amount of jewelry on a scooter. At the time of the robbery, two employees were inside the store. The robbers did not use firearms but the incident has left the workers traumatized.
    Eyewitnesses said they saw the Gendarmes chasing the suspects towards the Bellevue area. It appears as though the culprits made their escape through the Cole Bay border on a scooter.
    Several Gendarmes and members of the Forensics team were on the scene gathering evidence. Commandant of the Gendarmerie Stephen Brunet confirmed that the robbery had taken place around 10am Thursday morning. Brunet said the suspects are still at large. The Commandant said that a lot of jewelry was stolen but he could not say the exact value at this time. He said the robbers used a hammer to smash open the stores' front door and showcases.
    It must be noted that this is not the first time Leena's Jewelry store was robbed.
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  • Corporate Governance Council Reacts to Debate on their Role --- Says Violation on Rights took place when CGC Report was leaked.

    Philipsburg: --- Chairman of the Corporate Governance Council Louis Duzanson has reacted to the statements made by members of the Council of Ministers and the debate on the council's role.
    Duzanson also addressed concerns about the breach and violation of a private person's rights which was mentioned in its advice to government regarding the appointment of the new managing director of the Princess Juliana International Airport. Duzanson said the CGC is not taking any responsibility for the breach and cautioned that parliamentarians as well as the Council of Ministers should do better when it comes to someones private rights.

    Click here to read the Corporate Governance Council's Letter to the Council of Ministers.
  • 16 Year Old Dead in Motor Cycle Accident.

    Philipsburg:--- A 16 year old boy identified as Marvin Michael Arrindell is now dead while another youth is seriously injured and now a patient at the St. Maarten Medical Center. Police Spokesman Ricardo Henson said the two youths were involved in an accident around 10:30pm Sunday night in the vicinity of Amsterdam Shopping Center. Henson said two private vehicles were involved in the accident M-8002 and MF-611.
    The police Spokesman said M-8002 was driving towards Mount William Hill while the scooter came from the other direction and they collided at the entrance of Amsterdam Shopping Center. Henson said the driver of M-8002 collided head on with the scooter as the driver attempted to turn into the parking lot of Amsterdam Shopping Center. As a result of the impact both occupants on the scooter were seriously injured, Arrindell died as a result of his injuries. The victim was pronounced dead on the scene by Dr. Mercuur around 11pm.
    All traffic to and from the Dutch Quarter area was diverted so that the police traffic department and Forensic department could conduct a thorough investigation.
    The driver of the M-8002 with the initials W.H. in the meantime has been arrested and held for questioning and for further investigation, because there is some suspicion, that he may have been using a controlled substance at the time of the accident.
    The investigation is still ongoing. It is still unclear what occurred prior and during this fatal accident. The Police Department is therefore asking anyone who has witnessed this accident to please contact the Traffic Department and to provide them with information that can lead to the exact cause of the accident.
  • BT&P CONDUCTING EXTENSIVE TOWER SCAN’S ON ST. MAARTEN’S MOBILE NETWORK.

    extensivetowerscans21062011Bureau of Telecommunication and Post St. Maarten is currently executing tower scans on strategically chosen transmitter sites on St. Maarten and St. Martin Mobile Networks with the aim to identify potential infringements of the frequency coordination agreement between Anguilla, France and Netherlands Antilles telecommunications authorities as it relates to intentional coverage of foreign territories by neighboring operators.
    Technical experts of the BT&P are working around the clock to ensure regulatory compliance of all operators on the island and also monitor the proper use of spectrum.
    The Tower Scans are executed with state of the art equipment in collaboration with Neptuno, a Venezuela based company with extensive experience in the area of engineering, custom-design and professional installation of towers, monopoles, shelters, accessories for the communications industry.
    Main focus is of this scanning campaign is to verify the alignment of the different antennas to guarantee that all mobile providers operating in S. Maarten /Saint Martin are adhering to the stipulations of the frequency coordination agreement between the islands.
    Moreover, the structural integrity of towers and antenna's is also being assessed. The results of the scans executed shall form the basis for the upcoming spectrum coordination meetings, starting June 27th 2011, between the BT&P and regulators from France, Anguilla and BES islands.
    Interim director of Bureau Telecommunication and Post, Mrs. Peggy-Ann Brandon, stated that "Regulation of the telecommunication industry is exactly what these scans are all about" With the results the Bureau will be able to irrefutably indentify those operators that are intentional covering foreign territory, but will also have insight into the structural integrity of towers and their capability to withstand hurricane force winds. The 3D scans are the first ever conducted on St. Maarten and have never been conducted in the former Netherlands Antilles setting.
  • GEBE should be more transparent.

    There has been a lot of back and forth about GEBE in the media recently. Discussions about efficiency, subsidy of BES islands, lost/stolen electricity and water and an outdated tariff structure are all valid, but ultimately the SHTA believes emphasis should be placed on the lack of transparency in GEBE's rate structure.

    In response to an overwhelming number of complaints by its members, the SHTA recently started researching the spike in the fuel clause. Taking a few samples, the SHTA realized that the fuel clause is significantly higher now (with a barrel of oil at +/- $100) than when the price of oil was $140 per barrel. This has led us to believe that there is more incorporated into the fuel clause than just the price of oil as previously mentioned by GEBE management. Therefore, if the claims of the supervisory board are correct, the community deserves a refund.

    In the event that claim of unreasonable water and electricity loss is correct, GEBE must address its inefficiency. Any business with those kinds of losses must address them or risk going out of business. If huge inefficiencies are rewarded by large profits, something is wrong.

    SHTA insists on transparency. The community deserves clarity and GEBE, as a monopoly provider of vital resources- water and electricity- has an obligation to be reliable, efficient and transparent.

    The SHTA commends Deputy Prime Minister Heyliger and Minister Meyers for recognizing the need for relief and demanding clarity on this issue.

  • Philipsburg Jubilee Library Annual Grace Period approaches.

    Our annual grace period for overdue books is from June 28th until July 9th. During these weeks patrons with overdue books do not have to pay fines.

    Philipsburg Jubilee Library Summer Vacation Schedule.

    Between July 4th and August 15th on Tuesdays and Wednesdays the library will close at 6:00pm. instead of 8:00 pm. There are no other changes in our opening hours during this period.

  • SNBF and Supporters Call on Government to take Affirmative Action when it comes to St. Maarteners --- Says tourism can be destroyed by Man-made Disasters --- Jeffrey Richardson.

    snbfmembers27062011Philipsburg:--- President of the St. Maarten Nation Building Foundation Leopold James, with members and supporters, Jeffrey Richardson, Daniella Jeffry and Miguel Arrindell called on politicians to take some affirmative action when it comes to native St. Maarteners, if not they are willing to take those actions by themselves.
    A press conference was called after two weeks of discussion in the media about the statement Member of Parliament William Marlin made during his visit to the Netherlands. The SNBF members said that they feel offended when an MP of St. Maarten would go as far as the Netherlands to ask that the laws be amended both there and in St. Maarten to accommodate immigrant students who are not able to obtain a scholarship, while denying the natives the right to be part of their own constitution. Marlin said in his presentation during the inter-parliamentary meetings in the Netherlands that St. Maarten should be allowed to amend its scholarship policy to grant students attending school without a Dutch passport a scholarship since IBG said they are granting scholarship to EU students.
    James said it appears as though the politicians on St. Maarten have forgotten St. Maarteners and their existence as a people while the politicians (leaders) are bent on rewarding illegal immigrants who broke the immigration laws with the same rights as natives. James further said he is of the opinion that politicians have placed politics over the rights if the natives of St. Maarten making them extinct in their own country.
    James said he neither his supporters have no problems with the politicians who believe they have to bend over backwards when they are rewarding those persons who broke the immigration laws. The SNBF President said their contention with elected officials is the fact they have neglected natives and have found excuses for not being able to assist their own. He said several developments over recent months have caused them to believe that the politicians (elected officials) are willing to throw locals under the proverbial bus and as such they have decided to draw the line since they will not allow themselves to be slaughtered as a people. James said they will not be accepting any more excuses from the elected officials but they are demanding that St. Maarteners be recognized in the constitution of St. Maarten.
    James highlighted the 10 years tax holiday that is granted to the foreign investors. He said at the time government found a way in the law to make sure foreign investors were rewarded. He said when that was done when St. Maarten was not known but today the situation has changed and yet politicians have the same law for the foreign investors on the books. He said politicians must now use the law to involve the natives where they will be given preferential treatment as natives of their country.
    Jeffrey Richardson, a former member of the SNBF said he has issues with the fact that foreigners are being placed in top positions, such as the Head of Domain Affairs, the USM President, and the Chief of Police, while he believes that there are locals here who can occupy those positions. Richardson said the people of St. Maarten have to wake up to a harsh reality since they are being marginalized in a very subtle way. He said St. Maarteners are not using their rights to speak out and that led to the current epidemic where they are now considered as underclass citizens which he said causes them to become hopeless and helpless, a situation which is causing them to react irrationally by committing crimes. Jeffry Richardson said he is of the opinion that this trend must stop now because the island's economy "tourism" will not be destroyed by natural disasters but by man-made disasters. He called on Parliamentarians to put the necessary laws in place that would empower and protect the natives of St. Maarten. He warned politicians: the unrest they saw happening in Tunisia, Lybia and Egypt can also take place here. Richardson said many people on the island goes to sleep hungry, they have no medical insurance, while not having any economic opportunities and are still unemployed and the politicians he said are living well, they are travelling and living up their lives while St. Maarteners are not able to even buy a home or purchase a piece of land due to the high prices.
    Miguel Arrindell, a well known writer of several letters to editors made a very emotional plea during his presentation. Arrindell said he has nothing against immigrants but he does have a problem with the leaders of country St. Maarten. Arrindell said politicians are talking about nation building but they first have to ask themselves how they will build a country and who are the people to build that country. He said no country can be built if the leaders don't know what they are building and their own identity. Arrindell used President Obama's challenge when he was confronted with dealing with his aunt who was residing in America illegally. Arrindell said the US President could have broken the rule of law and legalize his blood relative but he made the wisest choice by having her deported back to Africa since he swore to uphold the law. Arrindell said they do not hate anyone but it is about being real to the deal. He said the leaders and politicians are involved in hypocrisy when they are looking out for foreign children and not that of their own. Arrindell condemned Dr. Lloyd Richardson whom he said is the most educated person in Parliament but according to Arrindell, Dr. Richardson is sitting while allowing the leader of the National Alliance to belittle St. Maarten people. He said this is not the kind of leader St. Maarten needs since no one can build a nation while destroying natives. Arrindell said he has no problem with the immigrants instead he has a problem with the island leaders and thus making it hard for him to respect them. Arrindell went as far as saying that he is willing to teach the Parliamentarians how to make legislations that would protect the rights of St. Maarteners.
    Historian Daniella Jeffry who was also part of the panel said the people of St. Maarten/St. Martin have lived over the years by the treaty of Concordia of 1648. Jeffry wrote St. Martin's history based on the facts of life in her book 1963 a Landmark Year in St. Martin. Daniella Jeffry said politicians should know that the group of persons at the press conference are the spokespersons for those that are frustrated. She said the social problems facing the Dutch side of the island were created over 50 years while the French side about 30 years during the period the island was developing. Jeffry said over the years St. Maarteners from both sides felt they were a nation with many ancestry. St. Maarten/St. Martin she said is a nation that also had to immigrate in order for them to survive and this she said weakened the local population. Jeffry said while the politicians know they were a nation, they knew nothing about being a country since the island had no parliament, therefore politicians she said had no ideas on how to develop a country legally. Jeffry said there is a basic sense of protecting the island but leaders and politicians have chosen not to maintain the policy. The local historian said in the past when a foreign woman got pregnant in St. Maarten/St. Martin they had to leave the island to have their baby in their own country. Jeffry said St. Martin/St. Maarten did not have lawmakers locally so this she said affected the island. Jeffry made clear that no one can build a country with people from another country. This she said does not mean that they are not accepted. Jeffry said the foreigners have not integrated in St. Maarten's culture thus creating more problems and Parliament has to take these matters up now.
    Another aspect she said contributed to the situation today is because St. Maarten/St. Martin expresses solidarity with its Caribbean brothers and sisters. Jeffry also highlighted the effects of the Social Aid on the French side of the island. She said the Social Aid given out on the French side has taken away the rights of the people.
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  • 21-Year Old Committed Suicide --- Broken Love Affair may be motive for Suicide.

    Marigot:--- Relatives of a 21 year old young man from Concordia are now mourning his sudden death after his young brother found him hanging in their bathroom on Monday. Information reaching SMN News states that the young man just recently broke up with his girlfriend and that might be main reason why he took his life. The young man has been identified by friends as Travis Patrick Hubert. According to information reaching SMN News, Hubert's 10 year old brother found him hanging in their bathroom, he was taken to the Louis Constant Fleming Hospital where doctors and nurses tried to revive him but failed. Commandant of the Gendarmerie Stephen Brunet said he was not informed of the incident when contacted Tuesday.
  • Lack of Building Permit Still Hindering Parliamentary Meetings --- Power Outages due to Overloading GEBE Fuses.

    Philipsburg:--- Overloading of GEBE fuses at the new parliament building are still plaguing parliamentarians each time a public meeting is held. SMN News published several articles outlining the issues and road blocks that GEBE is using and has refused to change the wires that would accommodate the appliances that are now installed in the old Caribbean Palm Building. On Tuesday, a Central Committee meeting had to be adjourned for over half an hour when the power went out in the building.
    This time workers from GEBE refused to respond to parliament's call for assistance said owner of the building Reynold Williams. On Wednesday, Parliament is scheduled to meet for the public debate to establish the 2011 budget, it is not yet known how the MP's are going to deal with the issue if electricity goes out again.
    Williams said he had held meetings with ROB who is processing the building permit and to date the permit has not been issued. The proprietor said when he rented his building to government the plans of the building were drawn up by government's architect Elsokraai and the plans were taken to ROB with the stamps of the Netherlands Antilles. He said the official of ROB told him then that it appeared that government would have to sign for the building permit, but since 10/10/10 no one including Elsokraai or Rick Martina wants to sign the documents. "Today, I am told I have to request the building permit which I did but now ROB wants my old pluming plan which I do not have." Williams further explained that the entire inside of the building was redone and the building was inspected on several occasions by ROB inspector Henry Ellis, yet ROB and GEBE are using all sorts of tactics not to issue the building permit for the Caribbean Palm Building.
    Besides that, Williams said the building is fully secured with water hoses in case of a fire, the request for two extra meters was submitted for the fire hose and to date the GEBE cannot tell him when they will install those meters. Williams said  he filled out the necessary forms for the meters and each time he calls GEBE to find out when they will put in the extra meters he is given a different explanation.
    Commercial Manager of GEBE Steve Duzanzon said in an invited comment that GEBE is waiting on the Inspection certification from ROB and unless they get that document they cannot make the necessary changes to the electrical meter.
    As for the installation of the extra water meter, Duzanzon said he was not aware of the request and he is not sure what the delay might be. Duzanzon promised to check out the request on Wednesday and to rectify the delay.
    Williams said each of the departments handling the building permit and the meters of GEBE; Government has control over them and he is of the opinion that government can intervene and see it that a temporary solution be found until the building permit request is finalized.
  • Parents Seek Ways to Increase Involvement in the Education of Their Children.

    Great Bay:--- All Parents and Teachers Associations (PTAs) and Parent Teacher Foundations (PTFs) have decided to meet once a month. This was among several agreements reached at a recent meeting held with representatives of the Division for Educational Innovation of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, and Youth Affairs, DERPI at the Carl & Sons Conference Room.
    A total of 33 enthusiastic parents representing 15 schools, filled the room and discussed their experiences as PTA members, while exchanging the best practices of the schools in areas such as their school as a family oriented and safe school, feeling welcome as a parent in the school and even a successful breakfast program.
    "All schools have a School Development Plan in which there is a description of the role of parents in the school," stated Ms. Angela Dekker, the Program Manager for Innovations in education on St. Maarten.
    "The innovations in education can be successful with the participation of parents," she stressed.
    In order for parents to be involved in the education of their children they need to be adequately informed. All schools are familiar with the Active Parenting program, in existence since 2006 in all PSVE schools and since 2008 in all FBE schools. Through this program, schools are able to get more parents to understand the importance of communicating actively with their children and being able to help their children to be successful in school and beyond.
    At present, there are 133 leaders and 42 trainers for Active Parenting in and out of schools available to conduct workshops in Active Parenting. Also 2.300 parents have so far followed the program.
    According to Ms. Dekker, the next step is the strengthening of the Parents and Teachers Associations and/or Parents and Teachers Foundations.
    Participants at the Carl & Son meeting also got the opportunity to discuss in groups how they would like to continue from this point on.
    At the end of the night they expressed their gratitude for DERPI's efforts to make sure their voices are heard.
    The topics of interest for future meetings include: establishing a calendar of activities; helping PTA's to understand their roles and responsibilities; setting up of a parent platform; assisting PTA's upon request in project planning and budgeting; improving quality education; assisting to publicize the urgency of parental involvement; motivational activities for parents; and helping parents to upgrade their involvement in their children's education.
    The next meeting will be held on Tuesday September 6th, 700-9.00 p.m. The venue will be announced later. The topic chosen for this meeting is: "What does the Law say about parental involvement on St Maarten?"
    Following the meeting in September the next meetings will be on Tuesday, October 11, November 1, and December 6, 2011.
    DERPI would like to congratulate all PTA's /PTF's with this step and encourages all PTA's/PTF's that did not participate in this first meeting to be part of the up-coming ones.
  • Gas drops, but diesel increases.

    Philipsburg:--- Due to the volatility in the international oil market, local prices for petroleum products continue to be adjusted according to ongoing developments internationally.

    As of July 1, 2011, there is a decrease in ULG. However, the price for diesel has increased.

    Current Price                                                       New Price

    ULG 2.53. Antillean cents/liter                               2.46

    Diesel 2.07 Antillean center/liter                           2.15

  • USM Fall Enrollment Deadline Approaches.

    Philipsburg:--- The University of St. Martin (USM) is reminding all current applicants and those interested in applying to the University degree programs of the upcoming July 8, 2011 deadline.

    Applicants are asked to request transcripts from their respective high schools before they close for the summer break. Along with the official transcripts, applicants must complete the USM application form, pay a $25 application fee, submit official high school diplomas, exam results, two (2) passport pictures, an affidavit of financial support, copy of passport and proof of residency.

    All applicants entering USM for the first time are required to sit the university placement tests which are scheduled for July 29-30. Students applying for the Associate of Applied Science in Hospitality & Tourism Management degree program are asked to make the necessary arrangements to participate in the Interview/Assessment days which will also take place at the end July. Participation is mandatory in order to qualify for admittance into this program.

    The University of St. Martin offers the Associate of Arts degrees in Business and General Liberal Arts, Associate of Applied Science degrees in Hospitality & Tourism Management and Business Information Management, a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education and one in Hospitality and Tourism Management.

    Persons interested in more information can contact the USM Admissions Office at Tel; 542-5171 ext. 1008 or 1019.

  • MP De Weever does not think Corporate Governance Council should be financed by Government.

    membersofparliament28062011Philipsburg:--- The Chairman of Corporate Governance Council Louis Duzanzon made a presentation to members of parliament on Tuesday during a central committee meeting on the role of the council and all it has done since it was established. Several parliamentarians who were present questioned Duzanzon on the reasons why the CGC was not able to access the monies that government claimed to put at their disposal. Duzanzon informed parliament that the Finance Minister did send the council a letter informing them that Naf.400, 000.00 was put to their disposal but the CGC has no means of accessing of the funds.
    While Member of Parliament Olivacci Meyers said parliament will do the necessary to make sure the CGC funding is regulated and she applauded Duzanzon and his colleagues for their work, her colleague Member of Parliament Johan Janchi Leonard warned Duzanzon that while he holds an advisory position he should not sound confrontational with government since government is the one that has to sustain the CGC's existence.
    However, Member of Parliament Petrus Leroy De Weever informed the CGC chairman that he was never in favor of such a council and he also pointed out that he did not vote for the establishing of the council in the former island territory. De Weever based his contentions on GEBE a foundation or sub-body that is operating on behalf of government yet they have no say. De Weever said GEBE is giving the people of St. Maarten very bad services at very high prices and government he said can do nothing. While making his presentation, the electricity of parliament building was interrupted due to the overloading. When the meeting resumed De Weever continued his presentation by saying that he fully respected Mr. Duzanzon yet he cannot see eye to eye with him based on the position he (Duzanzon) is holding. De Weever said he questioned his appointment in the past simply based on the role of the council.
    cgcyearreportpresentation28062011De Weever said in the letter of May 27, 2011 that Duzanzon sent to government he pointed out that it was upon the insistence of the Dutch Government that this council was established. De Weever said the Corporate Governance Council does not exist anywhere else in the Kingdom except St. Maarten and for him it's a disservice to government. He said when politicians do a good job they re-elected, those that do a bad job are pushed aside.
    Therefore, he is of the opinion that the political powers should remain in the hands of the people via the parliament they elect. De Weever broke down the reasons why the council was established. He said if parliament would allow the CGC is to set the guidelines for the dividends from the government owned companies yet they want to be financed by the same companies they are supposed to supervise. He also warned that the council has an advisory role and nothing else. He said the CGC serves to interfere with the day to day running of government and yet they are asking for government to finance them. De Weever then advised Duzanzon to find an advice as to how he could get the Naf. 400,000.00 in his bank just the same way he advises government on other matters. The MP also lashed out at the CGC chairman for the debts they said they created and wants to know who gave them the authority to create debts and expect others to pay it. De Weever then said his advice is to send home parliament and let these CGC and other foundations run the government since they would have nothing to run.
    At the end of the central committee meeting, Duzanzon presented the year report of the Corporate Governance Council to the Chairlady of Parliament Gracita Arrindell.
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  • Prime Minister meets with Bishop Sicco.

    swescotwilliamsandsicco12062011Great Bay (DCOMM):--- Recently Honourable Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams met with Bishop Sicco at the Royal Palm Hotel.

    The Prime Minister discussed a number of matters including Sint Maarten's experiences since achieving country status.

  • Travelers to Europe should be conscious of E.coli Outbreak in Northern Germany and take precautionary measures.

    Great Bay (DCOMM):--- The World Health Organization (WHO), has reported an outbreak of severe illness in Germany, especially in the Northern part of that country of Haemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS) caused by the E.coli bacteria, which is a disease that causes bloody diarrhea and kidney failure and possible death.

    More than 1,730 people have been infected and 18 have died: 17 in Germany and another suspected death and one in Sweden.

    The outbreak appears to be limited mainly to Northern Germany at this point in time. A few cases have been reported in other European countries such as the Netherlands, France, Sweden, United Kingdom, Austria, Czech Republic, Spain, Norway, Denmark, Switzerland and the United States but all these cases had travelled to Germany recently.

    As a precautionary measure, the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development & Labour is advising persons traveling to Germany from the island to observe good hygiene (after toilet contact, regular hand washing, particularly before food preparation or consumption particularly for people who care for small children or are immune compromised).

    The Robert Koch Institute in Germany is advising people as a precautionary measure to avoid eating raw tomatoes, cucumbers and leafy vegetables and ensure that food is thoroughly cooked before consumption.

    The bacterium can be passed from person to person, as well as through food, water and direct contact with animals.

    Persons returning from Germany should maintain proper hand hygiene and immediately seek medical care if they develop diarrhea and abdominal cramps.

    The WHO at this point in time does not recommend any restrictions in travel to or trade with Germany.

  • Appointment of Terrence Rey hits Another Snag in Parliament --- Chairlady did not seek agreement with her faction to appoint her Campaign Manager as Deputy Griffier.

    Philipsburg:--- Member of Parliament Roy Marlin on behalf of the current coalition government requested that parliament differ the fourth agenda point of Monday's meeting which was to appoint Atwell Terrence Rey as the deputy secretary general of parliament back to the presidium.
    President of Parliament Gracita Arrindell added the fourth agenda point to Monday's meeting without having an agreement with members of her faction and the other presidium members.
    SMN News learnt that members of the United Peoples Party faction met twice over the weekend to see how they would handle the agenda point on Monday. Sources say the faction members also dispatched a letter to Arrindell on Friday afternoon requesting that she remove the agenda point from Monday's agenda since they need more time to discuss the advice submitted by the presidium some two weeks ago. The source said Arrindell did not respond to the letter sent by her faction and she reported sick on Monday leaving Petrus Leroy De Weever to chair the meeting on Monday.
    Members of the United Peoples Party faction met with two of the three members of the presidium early Monday morning to discuss the matter and they agreed that the presidium would postpone the appointment since members of the UP faction were prepared to vote against the appointment. The source said the UP faction members will maintain their position on the appointment since it is clear to them that Rey does not have the required qualifications and most importantly because the process seems tainted as pointed out by the members of the National Alliance.
    SMN News further learnt that the members of the United People's party are convinced that Arrindell promised Rey the position prior to him applying for the position. Rey also worked in the secretariat for some weeks shortly after parliament was established.
    Sources close to the United People's Party faction said the promise was made to Rey because he financed Arrindell's campaign for the September 17th elections to the tune of $60,000. 00, monies which they said Rey promised the UP party as campaign funds. "Appointing him as policy advisor is pay back for the monies he spent on Arrindell campaign." Atwell Terrence Rey is a businessman, he is the CEO of Air St. Maarten and GFR Enterprises.
    On May 19th, the presidium sent out an advice on the appointment of Rey to the position of deputy secretary general which was to be debated on May 20th, but members of the United People Party faction did not sign in for the meeting. On May 23rd, Parliament met again when the chairlady added the agenda point for the second time, but she also added another agenda point that day which was to appoint Aslain Van Dyke Bell as first deputy secretary general for a period of six months. Parliament on May 23rd postponed the appointment of Rey until further notice. However, on Thursday members of parliament including members of the presidium said they were shocked and taken by surprise when they received the convocation for Monday's meeting with Rey's appointment added. Members of the UP faction as well as members of the coalition met on Friday last week to discuss the matter and it was decided that they will inform Arrindell in writing that she needed to first tell them who she intended to appoint to the position and if Rey was the candidate then she must remove it from the agenda.
    On Monday, Member of Parliament Roy Marlin said the chairlady probably did not understand what was said when they postponed the meeting on May 23rd thus he is requesting that the advice be sent back to the presidium to further discuss the document based on the concerns raised by parliament earlier.
    Member of Parliament and leader of the National Alliance William Marlin said when they saw the convocation they thought it strange and they were not sure if the chairlady of parliament had intended to continue with the same proposal that was before parliament on May 20th and 23rd or if it was new proposal. Marlin said the chairlady did not provide clarity on the agenda point. Marlin said while the proposal had a the majority supporting them, the members of the National Alliance hopes that the measures used on Monday was not a backdoor procedure to appoint the person in question to the position he wanted. Marlin said he hopes the coalition or the factions supporting government are not going to appoint Rey to a position that does not need the approval of parliament since it would be a disdain to the integrity of parliament if that is done. Marlin said his faction already made clear that that proper procedure was not followed with the appointment.
    Member of Parliament Frans Richardson described the appointment of Rey as that of the bouncing baby boy. He said if parliament was serious they would not have had the agenda point added to Monday's meeting. Richardson said it is clear that there is a lack of togetherness among those supporting the government because they if they were together on the appointment they would have been on the same page. Monday's action shows the weakness of government since it was the third time the agenda point was postponed. Richardson also condemned the coalition for dragging the individual (Rey) through the mud. He said the attitude displayed by parliament is a signal of game playing with young professionals. Richardson said he spoke to Rey and what is happening to him is not fair since no one wants such to happen to their children. He said he could not sit back and see another St. Maartener bounced around because of political disagreements. Leader of the National Alliance William Marlin also made clear that his faction did not object to the person (candidate) instead his faction objected to the procedures that was used in the appointment. While Member of Parliament Roy Marlin said it is his belief that the appointment of secretariat members should be done by the griffier. Marlin said that the procedures have to open and transparent.
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  • SHTA pleased with demolition of Mullet Bay ruins.

    The SHTA is pleased that the demolition of Mullet Bay Beach Resort has finally begun. Whenever visiting with Industry partners abroad, travel agents always use the ruins of the Mullet Bay resort as an example of the island not having recovered from Hurricane Luis. The SHTA believes that this will send a positive message to the International Tourism Community. The SHTA commends Minister of Infrastructure, Theo Heyliger for this accomplishment and hopes to see the area redeveloped in a sustainable manner.
  • KLM Flight hit by Lightening over St. Maarten --- Inclement Weather Causes Emergency Landing in Guadeloupe.

    Philipsburg/Raizet:---The KLM flight 785 that was expected to land on St. Maarten at 2pm on Tuesday was hit by lightening while circling over St. Maarten to land at the Princess Juliana International Airport. The KLM flight was travelling from Holland to St. Maarten then its next stop would have been Curacao.
    SMN News learnt that due to the inclement weather conditions the plane could not land. While in the air over St. Maarten, lightening struck the aircraft which forced the pilot to make an emergency landing in Raizet Guadeloupe. Preliminary reports state that no one was injured in the incident.
    The aircraft is now on its way to Curacao after the technical staff checked to see if there were any possible damages. KLM flight 785 is expected to land in Curacao at 8pm then it will depart Curacao for Amsterdam at 9:30pm Tuesday night. Flight 785 has more than 8 hours delay. The 72 passengers destined for St. Maarten will be transported here by a chartered flight. The 108 passengers that were scheduled to leave St. Maarten on Tuesday afternoon will be flown out by a chartered flight on either DAE or Insel Air to Shiphol Airport in Amsterdam.
  • Presidium to Meet with Candidate for Deputy Secretary General on Thursday.

    terrancerey13032011Philipsburg:--- The Presidium of Parliament has invited the candidate that applied for the position of the second deputy secretary general position to meeting. The chairlady of parliament placed the appointment on the agenda on three occasions and it was deferred each time.
    The candidate Mr. Atwell Terrence Rey is expected to meet with parliament at 10:00am on Thursday. SMN News learnt that the presidium wants to hear directly from the candidate whom they interviewed in February 2011 and assured him that he will be hired as deputy secretary general (policy advisor) since he is the only one who did not pull back his application.
    SMN News has been reliably informed that the presidium intends to inform Rey that he cannot get the position he applied for since he lacks certain academic degrees. The source said the presidium will also be making some suggestions on the positions that are still available at parliament to which he can apply for. The members of the United Peoples Party faction are also expected to meet with the chairlady of parliament drs. Gracita Arrindell after the meeting of the presidium and the candidate Atwell Terrence Rey.
    The United Peoples Party faction will be discussing the contested appointment since they are not satisfied with the candidate's qualifications. Atwell Terrence Rey, CEO of Air St. Maarten and owner of GFR enterprises was the campaign manager of Gracita Arrindell. The National Alliance faction already indicated that the procedures to appoint Rey was tainted and it was not transparent. Leader of the National Alliance William Marlin already cautioned parliament that they should not use any backdoor procedures to appoint the chairlady's campaign manager because that would disdain the integrity of parliament.
  • SMSPA campaining for the Prevention of Elder Abuse.

    The United Nations International Plan of Action adopted by all countries in Madrid, April 2002, clearly recognises the importance of Elder Abuse and puts it in the framework of the Universal Human Rights. Preventing elder abuse in an ageing world is everybody's business. One of the main objectives of the Madrid International Action Plan on Aging is the realization of all human rights for seniors around the world before 2012.

    On June 15 all over the world countries will be commemorating World Elderly Abuse Awareness Day. Many abusers are individuals in the home or family environment that put seniors to suffer from physical, verbal, emotional, financial abuse and neglect. Providing poverty pensions and social allowances under poverty level is a violation of the right of older persons to a decent standard of living. Violation of human rights of the elderly is also a form of elderly abuse. So not only individuals but also governments can be abusers of elderly who put seniors to suffer from systematic, structural, collective, financial, emotional abuse.

    The Sint Maarten Seniors and Pensioners Association (SMSPA) is announcing some actions to stop the abuse of the seniors in Sint Maarten and in defense of the human rights of the seniors in Sint Maarten. These actions which will culminate on World Elderly Abuse Awareness Day are the following:

    1. On Wednesday June 15, on World Elderly Abuse Awareness Day, the SMSPA will hand a petition to the Council of Ministers of Sint Maarten and to the representative of the Dutch government in Sint Maarten, to equalize the old age pensions, the social allowances and all other social provisions in the Kingdom of the Netherlands, just as the social provisions on the French side of Sint Maarten are equal to the social provisions in France.
    2. On Thursday June 9 this week, the SMSPA will be meeting with Parliament to give a presentation and to discuss with members of Parliament the abuse that seniors of Sint Maarten have to suffer, because of the geo-political systematic structural discrimination that the Kingdom government is maintaining in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. In a petition to Parliament the SMSPA will request the members of Parliament to represent the people and the seniors of Sint Maarten and to demand from the Kingdom Government to stop this elderly abuse. The SMSPA wants the Parliament to pressure the Kingdom government to comply with its obligation to implement the non-discrimination principle as a signatory of International Human Rights Conventions and Declarations throughout the Kingdom of the Netherlands, so also here in Sint Maarten. The SMSPA reminds the members of the Kingdom Relations Committee of Parliament to address the elimination of the human rights deficit and human rights abuse of elderly in the Kingdom of the Netherlands in defense of the people and the seniors. The Kingdom Relations Committee and the President of Parliament will travel to the Netherlands for upcoming meetings from June 14-17 with the members of the other parliaments in the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Dutch First Chamber and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, an excellent opportunity to table this elderly abuse in the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
    3. Through press releases and interviews on radio and television board members of the SMSPA will inform the public of the different forms of abuse that the seniors in the world and the seniors on Sint Maarten are experiencing. The SMSPA calls upon the public to report all kinds of elderly abuse so that we can address these in a systematic organized way to put an end to the abuse of elderly in Sint Maarten and to change their living conditions so that seniors can enjoy a life of dignity and respect in sweet Sint Maarten land. The local press media is requested to cooperate and pay attention during this week to the different forms of elderly abuse in Sint Maarten. The public at large is asked to report any kind of elderly abuse to the SMSPA Secretary of Organization Frances Rovelet 5484205, 5242223 or to Vice-President Raymond Jessurun on 5220925 or write an email to smspa2010@gmail.com.

    By stepping up with these actions the Sint Maarten Seniors and Pensioners Association (the SMSPA) is one of the organizations in the Caribbean part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands who based upon this International Action Plan on Aging is advocating :

    • to stop the discrimination of seniors in the Kingdom of the Netherlands and
    • to implement non-discrimination and equality in the social provision level throughout the Kingdom of the Netherlands
    • for old age pensions, social allowances, etc for seniors on the Dutch side of Sint Maarten to be equal as in the Netherlands, just as is the case in France and on the French side of Sint Maarten
    • to stop the violation of human rights conventions in the Kingdom of the Netherlands all human rights of elderlys.
    Click here to view the SMSPA Petition that was delivered to the Council of Ministers on the 9th June, 2011.
  • Flag Day Celebrated --- Minister of Culture Boycotted Ceremony.

    flagraising13062011Philipsburg:--- June 13th, Flag Day was celebrated with a toast, march by the police and VKS in front of the Government Administration Building on Monday morning. While the parliamentarians, the governor of St. Maarten drs. Eugene Holiday and some members of the Council of Ministers joined the ceremony Minister of Culture Rhoda Arrindell was not present. Arrindell, SMN News learnt was not in favor of celebrating the St. Maarten Flag thus leaving the Prime Minster and her cabinet to put the ceremony together on short notice.
    Prime Minister Sarah Wescot Williams thanked all those who have heeded the call to observe the day by as simple an act as flying or displaying the St. Maarten flag. She admitted that the average St. Maarten resident would not have had an answer if asked if June 13th had any special meaning and if told that it is our "flag day", the first question that would come to most people's mind, "Is it a holiday?". The Prime Minister said she does not expect every household and business to be flying the St. Maarten flag on June 13th of next year. However, many years ago that the constitutional process was but a means, a means of nation building and of national development. During those years, nation building was an explicit trajectory of the constitutional process. The nation building process for Sint Maarten is daunting. In its narrowest form, nation building would be forming our nation and rallying around those symbols that binds us as a nation and which would be the basis for a national identity; that what makes us who we are collectively, the social harmony that is vital for continuous economic growth. In building the "State" of Sint Maarten, we look at the institutions that are the bedrock of our hard-fought for new status, our executive, legislative and judicial branches that are independent, yet dependent on each other and necessary for our democracy and State of law.
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    Click here to view more photos of Flag Day Ceremony.

  • GEBE SMS Keeping You Current.

    Philipsburg:--- GEBE is introducing GEBE SMS text message notices to alert you of any scheduled maintenance, outage alerts or hurricane updates that may affect your electricity or water supply. The formal launch is planned for Friday, June 10th at GEBE's St. Maarten offices, but customers can already start using the free service to keep up to date on electricity and water information specifically for their area.
    Customers will only receive SMS alerts for the area connected to their contract account. "We are very careful about not spamming our customers with unnecessary information. GEBE will send targeted messages for customers based on their contract accounts so they will know if their area will be going out and more importantly, when it is coming back on", said Managing Director William Brooks.
    To sign up for GEBE SMS, text "your contract account number <space> ON" to GEBE (4323). To unsubscribe at any time, text " your contract account number <space> OFF" to GEBE (4323). Customers with multiple accounts or interests can sign up for more than one area. To register for multiple accounts, text each contract account individually.
    The GEBE SMS alerts are free. Customers will not be charged for any SMS notices that they receive. Only registration or unsubscribe texts sent by the customer will be billed according to the customer's mobile service provider. The GEBE SMS is currently limited to TELCell and UTS mobile providers.
  • Dutch should consider adjusting its Study Financing Policy --- St. Maarten Should follow to be in line with IBG --- William Marlin tells Parliament.

    williammarlin30122010The Hague:--- During the meetings in The Hague on Wednesday afternoon, Member of Parliament William Marlin raised some interesting points on behalf of the St. Maarten Delegation who is currently attending inter-parliamentary meetings.
    The different Parliamentary delegations of the four countries in the Kingdom have been exploring means and ways of cooperation and support to each other. Before the parliamentary discussions started, a representative of the Dutch Study Financing Agency IBG gave the members of parliament an insight on how IBG processes Study Financing.
    Regulations of the IBG states that to be eligible for study financing one has to have the Dutch nationality and be at least 18 years of age. However, citizens of other EU countries who are not Dutch and have lived for at the least the past five years in the Netherlands could qualify for Dutch study financing as well.
    This prompted Member of Parliament William Marlin to raise a point in defense of St. Maarten students. Marlin pointed out that a large number of St. Maarten high school students do not have the Dutch nationality and therefore would not qualify for study financing on St. Maarten, neither would they do so in the Netherlands. Many St. Maarten students with the Dutch nationality who do not get study financing from the St. Maarten government, go to the Netherlands on their own and apply there and qualify for study financing from IBG as they have completed High School, are at least18 years of age and possesses the Dutch nationality.
    Marlin, pointed out that if there is a willingness on the part of the Dutch government to help the new country St. Maarten, the Dutch government should consider adjusting its Study financing Law to accommodate St. Maarten students. He told his fellow MP's from the other countries in the Kingdom, that just like an exception is made by the Dutch government and study financing is granted to EU citizens who do not have the Dutch nationality, an exception could be made for St. Maarten residents who do not have the Dutch nationality. The leader of the National Alliance argued that more and more St. Maarten students, born on St. Maarten do not have the Dutch nationality.
    As there are not enough education possibilities on the island after some of these students have graduated from the MPC, St. Maarten Academy, Sundial School and the St. Dominic School, these students are forced to remain on the island and enter the job market.
    If given an opportunity to get a college education or follow an MBO course of study on Aruba or Curacao, these young people would become better equipped to make an even better contribution to the further development of the young nation St. Maarten.
    If there is a will on the part of the Dutch government to help St. Maarten, this is one of the possibilities.
    The National Alliance leader and Member of Parliament concluded that for this to work, the St. Maarten government should also make the necessary adjustments to its own study financing policies.

    As the discussion on education continued and possible ways of cooperation was on the table, the National Alliance MP William Marlin suggested that the government of St. Maarten should explore a level of cooperation with the Dutch government that now has responsibility for education on Saba and Statia. Marlin said that St. Maarten has embarked on the realization of the long awaited SBO School in Cay Hill. Marlin pointed out that in the past he raised this with Dutch authorities and also with Saba and Statia Commissioners. William Marlin said that this is a unique opportunity for cooperation between countries in the Kingdom. It makes no sense for the Dutch government to build an SBO school for the students on Saba and Statia and neither does it make sense to send these students all the way to the Netherlands. With the language of instruction at the school being English, it creates a unique opportunity for cooperation. Marlin believes that if the Dutch participates in the school board together with St. Maarten for the operations of the SBO School this would be in the interest of both countries in the Kingdom and specifically for the students coming from St. Maarten, Saba and Statia.

  • St. Martin Talk - good humor and culture expressed in language.

    robertromneyatusm16062011Great Bay:--- St. Martin Talk took about three years of research and writing but the words and terms include those he heard as a child from his father, said author Robert Romney here on Tuesday, June 14. Romney was speaking about his new book to a full house of about 60 book party guests in the conference room at the University of St. Martin (USM). While stressing that St. Martin Talk is not a dictionary, he pointed out that the slim volume is a useful guide to students, teachers and the average readers about how culture and material conditions of a people are expressed in language. Romney kept his audience in good humor, even having the audience complete sentences and phrases that he began reading from his book. An educator based in Guadeloupe since 1972, Romney made a few references about the discrimination in Guadeloupe against St. Martiners because of the way they speak and other cultural features. The author encouraged St. Martiners to be proud of their culture. He said that the idea for St. Martin Talk was sparked a few years ago at the airport in Trinidad when he bought a book of "Trinbagonese" words and phrases. He thanked his publisher House of Nehesi (HNP) and Dr. Rhoda Arrindell for pushing him to develop the book beyond the snapshot variety. Tuesday's book party was organized by HNP and the St. Martin Book Fair Committee.
  • Bandits Broke into Royal Marechaussee’s House --- Warning Shots Fired.

    Cay Hill:--- Thieves are getting braver by the day as they continue to target peoples' homes in the community.
    A press release from Police Spokesman Ricardo Henson states that the home of a Royal Marechaussee was broken into on June 17th at approximately 04:00am.
    Henson said the officer was awakened from his sleep by some unusual noise. The police spokesman identified the officer as M.F. who got up and began checking inside his house and he was confronted by two unknown men who had broken into the premises.
    When the victim identified himself who he was and asked the suspects what they were doing on his home they took of running. Not trusting the situation the victim ordered the suspects to stop. However, they continued fleeing with a "weed wacker" and a small gasoline container belonging to the victim. The victim then fired several warning shots from his service weapon. Both suspects jumped on a scooter and took off. The detectives are currently investigating this case.
  • No Money for Parlatino Delegation --- Four of Six Members could not Travel --- First Class Tickets Eat Parliament Budget.

    Philipsburg:--- Four of the six members of Parliament who were scheduled to travel on Tuesday morning to attend the Parlatino meetings in Mexico could not travel since there is no money for the tickets and travel allowances. The six Members of Parliament namely Silvia Meyers, Romain La Ville, Louis Laveist, Johan Janchi Leonard, Patrick Illidge and William Marlin were supposed to attend the meetings that will be dealing with labour, education, economics and human trafficking. The meetings will begin on June 22nd and end on June 24th 2011.
    SMN News has been reliably informed that the leader of the United Peoples Party faction in Parliament took a decision on Friday to scale down the amount of persons who could travel to Mexico because there are no more monies, while the other members of parliament have travelled before to other destinations. The source said the only two persons that will be traveling on Tuesday morning are Silvia Meyers and Romain La Ville.
    The source said the trip to Holland last week cost government over $60,000.00 because the tickets were purchased one day before the departure time while all members of government that are travelling on behalf of government travels first class. Questions are also being raised on why government paid for the President of Parliament Gracita Arrindell to travel to New York prior to going to Holland. The source said government spent $11,000.00 for Arrindell to travel to New York last week prior to her going to Holland. Arrindell who is still in New York left St. Maarten on Saturday last week to New York, she then travelled from New York to Holland and instead of coming back to St. Maarten the President of Parliament went back to New York and she is scheduled to return to St. Maarten on Tuesday. What is not clear is if the chairlady is doing Parliamentary business in the Big Apple.
    The source said the United Peoples Party faction intends to take up the issue with Arrindell sometime next week because the travel expenses for Parliament has placed a huge dent in the government's budget. The source said the Ministry of Finance had to be taking monies out of different areas to finance the trips for the Members of Parliament. So far, Members of Parliament travelled to Cuba, Panama, Aruba, Holland and El Salvador while the President of Parliament and her delegation went to Barbados to attend the funeral services for that island's Prime Minister.
  • Dutch and French Taxi Drivers Met with COM President --- Parking Tax Postponed for Two Months.

    Marigot:--- Taxi Drivers from the Dutch and French side associations met with the President of the Collectivity Frantz Gumbs on Tuesday morning to iron out their differences on the parking tax the Collectivity plans to introduce as of July 1st 2011.
    The taxi drivers including the president of the associations chose to remain tightlipped on the ongoing saga. Several Dutch side taxi drivers protested against the Euros 150.00 per year the COM introduced when they voted on it two years ago.
    SMN News learnt that while the matter is not yet resolved, the President of the COM has decided that they will not introduce the new tax for the next two months. The COM had intended to introduce the parking tax as of July 1 which they informed the Dutch side drivers about in a letter.
  • Armed Robbery at Sunrise Supermarket --- No one Injured.

    sunrisesupermarket22062011Marigot:--- Two armed robbers entered the Sunrise Supermarket in Sandy Ground on Wednesday afternoon and held up the cashier confirmed Commandant of the Gendarmerie Stephen Brunet. Brunet said no one was injured but the thieves managed to steal the days till. The commandant of the Gendarmerie could not say how the bandits escaped.
  • ZOO needs donation of small pick up truck.

    As many people know, a few months ago the St. Maarten Zoo had it's pick up truck stolen. A few months later the pick up was actually found, completely stripped.
    Since that time, we have been unable to find the funds to purchase another one. A pick up is desperately needed by the Zoo for its day to day operations.
    We used our pick up daily for cleaning up in the Zoo, for such things as tree branch removal and garbage removal. In addition, and maybe more importantly, we pick up food for the animals every day at some of the supermarkets who donate their leftover produce to us.
    Currently, we are using a small car to pick up the food and we can only fit two or three boxes in the trunk of the car at one time. What used to be one trip to pick up food, now may be two or three trips by our staff.

    It is extremely difficult for us to be without a pickup and we are asking if anyone has a small pick up in decent working condition that they could donate to the Zoo.

    We have always had good support from the community ,and we are asking for that support once again. The Zoo is in a tight financial situation.,and we just do not have an extra funds to purchase a truck on our own.

    If you can help, please call the Zoo at 543-2030 and ask for Gene. The cell number is 588-0777.

  • Monkey Stolen from the St. Maarten Zoo.

    marmosetmonkey29062011The Zoo had another theft on the 28th June, 2011. Workers upon making their rounds this morning (29th June, 2011) discovered that someone had cut the mesh on the exhibit of the Common Marmoset monkey and stolen him.

    We are very upset about this and want our monkey back. If anyone sees anyone with this monkey please call the Zoo at 543-2030 or 588-0777.

    We are very concerned about these kind of burglaries. The Zoo is a non profit foundation existing on the island to provide recreation and education to our community. Yet we too are victims of robberies.

    Our Common marmoset monkey seen in this picture is very loving and friendly and needs to be returned to the Zoo immediately.

    Thanks to anyone who reads this and can help us out. If you see anyone with this kind of monkey, report it immediately. Please help us get our monkey back to his home in the Zoo!

  • Ministry of Public Health to commence mosquito fogging campaign July 3.

    Great Bay (DCOMM):--- The Collective Prevention Services (CPS) of the Ministry for Public Health, Social Development & Labour, will start a two and a half week mosquito fogging campaign starting July 3 up to July 19.

    The fogging schedule for the four days of the campaign is as follows:

    July 3rd , 2011 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm From the Border, Cole Bay Road, Cole Bay to the Cole bay Villas Round about Cole Bay, Harold Jack.

    July 4th -5th, 2011 4:30a.m. -7:00 a.m. Cole Bay Lagoon, Orange

    5:00 pm – 7:00 pm Grove, Well Road, Narrow Road, Cape Bay East, Welfare Road, Windsor Road, Cole Bay, Cape Bay west of the

    Cemetery.

    July 6th, 2011 4:30a.m. -7:00 a.m. Welfare Road, Pelican,

    5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Simpson Yacht Club Bay, Simpson Bay Bridge.

    The remaining days of the schedule will be published in the Government Information Page (GIP) in both daily newspapers which is published Monday to Friday.

    The schedule shows the date, time and neighbourhood where the mosquito fogging will be carried out.

    There will be no spraying in the event of rainfall. The mosquito control substance used will wash away. Homeowners during the time of the spraying should open all doors and windows.

    Dishes, bowls, pots and pans, fish tanks and bird cages should be covered. Stay away from open windows and doors during the spraying.

  • Several Motions Submitted During Budget Debate in Parliament --- GEBE Fuel Clause took Precedence --- People Needs Relief.

    membersofparliament29062011Philipsburg:--- Parliamentarians on Wednesday addressed several pressing issues that are currently affecting the community of St. Maarten during the 2011 budget debate. The first speaker Member of Parliament George Pantophlet posed questions on the casino ordinances that are about 20 years old. MP Pantophlet reminded the Council of Ministers especially the Finance Minister Hiro Shigemoto that this was mentioned in the WODC report. Pantophlet also addressed the hardships residents of St. Maarten are facing with the high cost of living since the increase in the Turn over Tax without consultation with the businesses or other stakeholders. He said right now the budget that was presented by Finance Minister Hiro Shigemoto does not reflect St. Maarten's reality. The National Alliance Member of Parliament suggested that the Government of St. Maarten should consider selling the minority shares of government owned companies so that they can acquire the much needed revenues.

    Independent Member of Parliament Patrick Ilidge suggested the Council of Ministers all of whom were present at the meeting to do what is necessary to grant the people of St. Maarten better services. MP Illidge said that government took the decision to increase the TOT but now he said is the time to deliver the much needed services to the people of St. Maarten.
    Ilidge highlighted the situation at the Census Office where people have to line up long hours to get an identification card or pay for their license plate. He said he does not want answers from the Ministries instead he needs them to fix the problems which would eliminate the long lines. MP Illidge also asked for queries as to why it is taking government so much time to grant people business licenses. Indications are that there are about 600 requests for business licenses that have to be processed. Illidge also raised questions about GEBE and the services that are offered by the government owned company. An interesting point raised by Illidge was the bad service that was given by ALM which is no longer exists. "ALM was always late and finally they were gotten rid of." He asked what about green energy and why is GEBE not promoting it while he highlighted the amount water loss. The Independent Member of Parliament said because of the bureaucracy of the former Netherlands Antilles several investors who were interested in St. Maarten went "bragadang". Right now he said people can stand up on Front Street and sleep as there is no more business taking place there.
    GEBE took a lot of criticism from the other Members of Parliament such as Dr. Lloyd Richardson who said that the Minister in charge of building permits should allow people to build cisterns since he has two of them and has not been paying water bills since 1985. Dr. Richardson also expressed concerns on the response time of GEBE to repair water leakage; he also felt that it is time for governments give an instruction to the government owned company. Another issued raised by Dr. Richardson is the performance of the University of St. Martin. He said if government has to sign working documents for an expat secretary for the institution it is clear that they have not done their job. Member of Parliament Dr. Lloyd Richardson said at least 80% of the prisoners that enter the Pointe Blanche Prison returns there and the cost of the prison maintenance to him is more than health care. Another solution brought forward by MP Richardson was to create a database which would link the social services, and health care. He said right now St. Maarten is spending thousands on expats who do not have medical health insurance.
    councilofministers29062011Member of Parliament Romain La Ville wants to know what is happening with the new tax structure which would enable a broad base tax system where everyone will pay their fair share. He asked what are some of the cost cutting measures government is using to tighten their fiscal belt. He also wants to know when government will go green to cut down on the cost of paper.
    La Ville also expressed some sentiments with the long lines at certain departments. He suggested that government send home some the department heads for at least one week so they can figure out how to improve services at their department. Government he said has to become proactive and stop the game playing especially when it comes to delivering proper services which would put more monies in government coffers. As for the high cost of electricity and water that GEBE charges, that he said must be fixed since certain businesses have approached him about their electricity bills. Besides that the MP wants government to issue more fines to people who are constantly breaking the traffic rules and those persons who are allowing their sewage water to run on public roads. La Ville said if GEBE is responsible for running water then government should also fine them.
    Leader of the National Alliance presented four motions on Tuesday during the budget debate. The first motion dealt with the amending the Study Financing Ordinance which would allow non Dutch Nationals who have been residing and attending school on St. Maarten to qualify for study financing. This he said will be in keeping with the Netherlands who are granting study financing to European Union students.
    Another motion presented to parliament regarding education has to do with the Rebounce Program which caters to students that have fallen backwards. This program Marlin said was introduced in January 2010 and it aims at developing the social and emotional skills of students that are part of the program. The motion is to order the Minister of Justice to make available the sum of one million guilders from the Crime Fund of the former Netherlands Antilles which will go directly to the financing of the Rebounce Program.
    The third motion submitted to parliament by the National Alliance Leader is to instruct the Shareholder Representative of GEBE to grant consumers at least 50% reduction in their fuel clause. Marlin said the people of St. Maarten are not able to pay their electricity bill and since the fuel clause is the main cause of the ever increasing bill it must be slashed in two. GEBE he said made over 20 million guilders in profit last year.
    The fourth motion presented by Marlin is to request the Minister of Education and Minister of Economic Affairs to establish the Special Purpose Educational Fund which could from every liter of gasoline sold. This fund he said must be in place for August 15th since the aim is to reduce the increase in school fees that parents are burdened with. Marlin said right now parents are paying between Naf 400 to Naf 700 for children that are attending government subsidize schools per year. Parents he said, cannot afford to pay these fees since their electricity bills are so high, parents most affected by this Marlin said are those working for minimum wage. The monies Marlin said can be obtained by government levying at least two cents on the whole sale price of gasoline which would generate Naf. 800,000.00.

    Other matters raised by the Leader of the National Alliance are the lack of a governing program which he said hinders a sensible debate of the budget. Marlin also addressed the overhead expenses Parlatino membership is costing St. Maarten, while he highlighted the predicament of the Ombudsman who has no tools and materials to function. He also called on government to make their position clear on their intention of the CFT. Marlin said on numerous occasions government is giving indications about their discontentment with the CFT controls but he felt the time has come for government to spell out their true intentions. He also asked if government wants to get rid of the Ombudsman who has been waiting for months now to get basic furniture and materials to execute her duty. "I want to know if government is using a special tactic to silence the Ombudsman and to avoid control." Marlin also asked about the Teachers Management Program and the fiasco created by the Minister of Education and the University of St. Martin. Marlin said he needs answers from the Education Minister about her refusal to sign off on the TEP diploma and if the assessment she spoke about was done. He said when he returned to the island he realized that all the students of USM graduated including the TEP students, while being happy for them, Marlin said he needs clarity on the assessment that the Minister spoke about and if she had in fact refused to sign the diplomas. He also questioned the appointment of Stuart Johnson and wants to know if Johnson has management experience.
    Marlin also fired several questions to the Minister of Justice regarding the Brooks Tower Accord, and his verbal decree. The MP referred to a judgment of the court which said that first time applicants who applied for a BTA permit during the renewal period late last year can now be deported. Clarity he said must be given especially knowing that several persons were locked up including civil servants who are still at home and cannot return to work.
    audience29062011The Minister of Justice he said must tell Parliament about his true intentions with the BOX he said he heard the Minister saying that he wants to expropriate the property or either he wants to purchase the building at a fair price. Marlin reminded the Minister that the owner of that building was ordered to demolish the third floor.
    Therefore, the Minister has to say if he intends to purchase or expropriate the entire building.
    Marlin also wants to know if the Finance Minister took direct orders from one of the Members of Parliament reduce the amount of persons from the delegation that was scheduled to travel to Mexico last week to attend a Parlatino meeting. He said he understood that the Minister of Finance issued two vouchers to the Members of Parliament which was used to buy their tickets. Marlin said based on the information he had received is that the MP (Romain La Ville) had contacted the Finance Minister and told him that the other members of the delegation had travelled to other destinations to attend meetings and it was his turn to travel. "I want to know if the Finance Minister thinks he is handling party funds." Marlin said there are rumors that all bank statements were not submitted to the CFT. He also called on the Finance Minister to provide clarity on his 12 million per month projection in the TOT increase. The Finance Minister he said must submit the receipts of such and he must also provide Parliament with the amount collected during the month of May and June 2011.
    Marlin asked the Minister of Finance about Governments' intention to introduce land tax, import duty tax on cars along with mix of direct and indirect taxes. The Minister of Finance had said this was governments' intention when he provided answers to Parliament during the Central Committee Meeting two weeks ago. However, during the budget debate the Finance Minister said no instruction was given to introduce any of the three taxes mainly land tax.
    Deputy Chairman of Parliament and Member of Parliament from the Democratic Party faction Petrus Leroy De Weever gave a compelling elucidation on Tuesday when he presented a motion to parliament to protect time share owners. De Weever did indebt research on the time share sales. He said timeshare industry is of vital importance to Sint Maarten's economy, therefore any negative events and developments may imply serious consequences. The MP reminded Parliament about the Pelican saga in December last year when the Timesharing Resort was sold by the lender in an auction pursuant to foreclosure. He said foreclosures had occurred several times in the past and it is in fact fertile ground for legal battles as time share owners would fight to regain their rights to properties they purchased. De Weever said he warned in the past that he was not coming with any kind draconian law but his motion is intended to give consumer protection while it will put monies in government coffers if these owners are able to obtain a deed of their ownership. De Weever said the major advantage of a Time Share Apartment Right is that the entitled party owns a registered property that is shielded from the foreclosure risks pertaining to the developer or to the operator or manager of the timesharing resort.

    Click here to view Presentation made by MP Petrus Leroy De Weever on Time Share Consumer Protection and its benefits.

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  • EMS Services Commence with EMS Week on Sunday.

    ambulancepersonnelchurchservice12062011Great Bay (DCOMM):--- The Emergency Medical Services (EMS), will be kicking off EMS Week on Sunday with a Church Service at the New Testament Baptist Church at 11.00am across from Government Administration Building.

    Ambulance Department Head Cylred Richardson told the Department of Communication (DCOMM) that EMS Week which is being carried out under the theme, "EMS Everyday Heroes," entails creating awareness within the community about what the Ambulance service offers.

    A number of radio interviews are planned on SOS Radio, PJD-2 and Laser 101 for Monday and Wednesday. The radio programs will focus on prevention of accidental injuries, brain injury, as well as the importance of using car seats for children and seat belts.

    From June 14-16, there will be lectures in a number of schools on drinking and driving, distracted driving when texting and talking on the phone.

    On June 17, appreciation will be shown to retired ambulance personnel. Also planned for that day is a Motorcade Parade which will include various agencies including those from the North side of the island followed by a Karaoke Night at the Ambulance headquarters in Cay Hill.

    On Saturday, the various agencies from North and South will come together for sports activities.

    The Ambulance Service falls under Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour. The service is committed to providing timely pre-hospital medical care and transport for the sick or injured persons 24 hours a day seven days a week.

    The service has a staff of 24 which include ambulance nurses, certified driver assistants, ambulance dispatchers, a medical adviser, support staff and management.

    The paramedics and emergency medical technicians are trained in pre-hospital emergency medical management of patients with medical conditions and traumatic injuries.

    For medical emergency persons should call the ambulance service emergency number 912.

  • Delta Petroleum partners regionally for Fisherman’s Day --- Appeals for more support for fishermen.

    deltapetroleumdonatestofisherman05062011Delta Petroleum renews its commitment to the 22nd Annual Fisherman's Day in the BVI. The Fisherman's Day is organized by the Conservation and Fisheries Department of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour in the BVI. According to information from the Ministry, the event will be staged at Long Bay Beach, Beef Island on Friday, July 1, 2011.
    The Ministry pointed out that the objectives of the Fisherman's Day is to continue to promote, develop, encourage and enhance a higher standard of a comprehensive network among active fishermen's associations, fishermen's cooperatives and other vital stakeholders. To help maintain and safeguard the country's fishery from illegal fishing activities and combating the presence of the invasive species, such as the lionfish, public awareness and education has become its focus. The ministry listed its final objective as being able to promote the country's fishery in the best interest of the Virgin Islands and its citizens at a sustainable level.
    The Regional General Manger commended the group on the importance of such events and further pointed out that fishermen do not get their deserved recognition but he emphasized that they are responsible for making available to the population, a vital source of protein all year round.

    The RGM also noted that fishermen contribute to food security, improved nutrition and work to eradicate poverty. This year's event is being hosted under the theme, "Fishers: Acknowledging the past, revitalizing the importance of our Fishery".
    The RGM stressed that fishermen are very 'brave and hardworking' since he noted that they work 24 hours a day, for most of the year in an effort of master their trade in extremely harsh conditions.
    The Delta Petroleum RGM disclosed that next weekend, he would be in Nevis for the weekend attending a similar event known as WinFes. He pointed out that like the Fisherman's Day activities in the BVI, the WinFes event also includes drag racing, a family fun day, Calypso show, Jouvert among other activities.
    While Delta Petroleum is supporting the Fisherman's Day activities in Tortola, it will also assist with WinFes activities in Nevis, which allows the company to demonstrate its continued commitment to activities within the region. "I want to reaffirm that we are a very proud sponsor of Fisherman's Day activities and would continue to be so," says Sylvester, Regional General Manager.
    Mr. Sylvester affirmed his company's commitment to providing support for the event and said that while Delta Petroleum would have loved to provide more assistance, there has been a great demand for support, but yet limited resources thus far. However, he wishes both events well by adding that his company remains pleased and impressed with their achievements and strides that the each event continues to garner.
    "It is my hope that other corporate citizens see the importance of this industry and will invest as well because it is an important thread in our economy in the Caribbean region", says Sylvester.

  • CPS maintains travel advisory for persons travelling to Hispanola; Number of cases increase.

    Great Bay (DCOMM):--- The Collective Preventive Services (CPS) which is part of the Ministry of Public Health, says its travel advisory to Hispanola (Haiti, Dominican Republic) remains in force due to the cholera outbreak which has claimed a total of 5,234 persons in Haiti. The cumulative number of cholera cases in Haiti stands at 302,401 according to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) with respect to Haiti, up to May 10.

    In Haiti a number of new hospitalizations is observed in comparison with previous weeks in Haiti, especially in the South-East and North-West departments and in the capital city, Port-au-Prince. Additionally, Arbonite and Centre continue to report new cases and an increase in cases have also been reported in the border zone.

    The Ministry of Health of the Dominican Republic has reported an increase in the number of suspected cases of cholera principally in the peripheral area of Santo Domingo, near river Ozama and Isabela.

    As of May 18, the Dominican Republic's Ministry of Health reported a total of 1,085 laboratory confirmed cases of cholera, including 13 fatal cases since the beginning of the outbreak.

    Since the beginning of the outbreak in the last quarter of 2010, there have been cholera-related cases, and hospitalizations registered in 26 out of the 31 provinces of the Dominican Republic.

    Persons who plan to travel to Hispanola are advised to take preventive measures. Ensure taking vital precautions such as hygienic food preparation, boiling or purifying all water, and washing hands often with soap and clean water.

    Family physicians are requested to be on alert and report any cholera symptoms to CPS to ensure proper case management and follow up according to WHO International Health Regulations.

    Symptoms can occur within 24 to 48 hours of being infected with the cholera causing bacteria. Cholera symptoms are generally mild; they include diarrhea, vomiting, and muscle cramps. About one infected person out of 20 has severe signs and symptoms, such as increased heart rate, dehydration, and shock. Immediately consult your physician if you have travelled and have symptoms, while maintaining proper hygiene.

    Cholera is a bacterial infection spread through contaminated water. It causes severe diarrhea and vomiting that can lead to dehydration and death within hours.

    Cholera is transmitted through fecal contamination of water and food. In places where there is infrastructure damage, the lack of safe drinking water and poor sanitation and hygiene can increase the risk of cholera, as well as numerous other diarrhea diseases.

    Cholera is easily treatable, and if patients are given oral re-hydration salts promptly to replace lost fluids, and they can nearly always be cured.

    In a small percentage of people, cholera can cause very severe dehydration potentially leading to death. To minimize the number of people infected, frequent hand washing, personal hygiene, safe water use and food preparation are a necessity.

    By taking a few basic precautions, cholera as well as most other food and water-borne diseases can easily be prevented. The main rule is, always be aware of the quality of what you eat and drink.

  • Mullet Bay to be Demolished --- Demolition Permit signed off --- Contract Awarded to BBW--- Sun Resorts to Finance Project.

    mulletbaydemolition06062011Mullet Bay:--- The Minister of VROMI Theo Heyliger has signed off on the demolition permit for Mullet Bay Resort and Casino which was destroyed by hurricane Luis some 16 years ago. The demolition process will begin next Monday as the contract has been awarded to BBW and signed off by Sun Resorts. Sun Resorts will be paying the cost of the demolition confirmed Minister Heyliger.
    On Monday, workers were on the scene cleaning areas of the property which will house a temporary office for BBW. BBW will bring in a crusher to crush the concrete and other solid materials which they said will be exported.
    Minister of VROMI Theo Heyliger confirmed that all materials will be stored on the property and that the concrete will be crushed for exportation. The Minister said the contract was signed off about two weeks ago and that the demolition will take place as of next week.
    CEO of BBW Etienne Toochie Meyers confirmed that BBW signed a contract with Sun Resorts for the demolition of Mullet Bay Resorts and Casino.
    SMN News learnt that shortly after the demolition Sun Resorts will begin reconstruction of a five star resort on St. Maarten.

    Click here to view more photos of Mullet Bay Demolition


  • Inclement Weather Forecasted to Continue; Drivers cautioned about: additional flooding in low lying areas; Possible rock falls due to water saturated hill sides – drive with caution.

    Great Bay (DCOMM):--- The Department of Disaster Management has been informed that the inclement weather that the island has experienced is forecasted to continue possible into Wednesday.

    Therefore motorists are advised to exercise caution while driving in low lying areas which could flood due to heavy and persistent rainfall.

    Motorists driving near hillsides are also asked to exercise caution with respect to possible rock falls.

    Drivers and individuals who do not need to be on the road should remain at home until weather conditions improve.

    The Fire Department will continue to monitor low lying areas. The Ministry of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure, has taken measures to deal with flooding situations.

  • Inclement Weather Forecasted to Continue; Drivers cautioned about: possible additional street flooding especially in low lying areas; Possible rock falls due to water saturated hill sides – drive with caution.

    Great Bay (DCOMM):--- According to the Meteorological Department, a very moist and unstable air mass will continue to persist across the local region resulting in periods of showers and thunderstorms through at least Thursday.

    The Department of Disaster Management therefore is advising motorists as it did in its advisory of Tuesday afternoon which referred to inclement weather continuing today, to continue to exercise caution while driving in low lying areas which could flood due to heavy and persistent rainfall within a short period of time.

    Motorists driving near hillsides are also asked to exercise caution with respect to possible rock falls.

    Drivers and individuals who do not need to be on the road should remain at home until weather conditions improve.

    Throughout Wednesday morning and early afternoon, the emergency services were busy monitoring the situation closely and would move into action if required.

    Personnel from the Ministry of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure, monitored the outflow of water at the Zagersgut Round-a-bout and the man-made Great Bay Channel was opened to allow the excess rainwater to flow into the bay.

    The Department of Disaster Management will continue to monitor weather conditions and should there be a need for an advisory, one will be issued.

    Should inclement weather conditions continue on Thursday, motorists are advised to follow the aforementioned advice.

  • INPEA Announces 6th World Elder Abuse Awareness Day 2011.

    Mark your calendars! The International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (INPEA) announces the 6th Annual World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) on Wednesday, June 15, 2011. Show the world you care about ending elder abuse and neglect by wearing something purple on this day.

    Communities and municipalities will make proclamations declaring June 15, 2011 as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) and hold events designed to raise their communities' awareness of elder abuse. The first Awareness Day in 2006 involved several hundred organisations and governmental bodies at international, national, regional, local, community and neighbourhood level, in every continent in the world. The day is in support of the United Nations International Plan of Action which recognizes the significance of elder abuse as a public health and human rights issue. Governments, non-governmental organizations, educational institutions, religious groups, professionals in the field of aging, interested individuals as well as older persons themselves will promote a better understanding of abuse and neglect of older persons by organizing activities around the world to raise awareness of the cultural, social, economic and demographic processes affecting elder abuse and neglect.

    Throughout the world, abuse and neglect of older persons is largely under-recognized or treated as an unspoken problem. Unfortunately, no community or country in the world is immune from this costly, public health and human rights crisis. Research indicates that public education campaigns like World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) are vital for informing people in a growing number of countries about elder abuse and active involvement of the media is central to its success.

    All countries, communities, neighborhoods and organizations interested in working to help bring recognition and ultimately an end to elder abuse and neglect are urged to take part in the 6th Annual World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) on June 15, 2011. Awareness activities may encompass volunteer or educational programs, cultural and art events, use of information technology, or any activity that aims to create awareness of elder abuse and neglect. Raising awareness of elder abuse and neglect is a challenge and no effort is too small. To learn more, and to download a free copy of the Community Guide World Day Tool Kit, please visit www.inpea.net/weaad.html.

  • Minors Arrested for Assaulting Parent --- Teachers calling for more Security.

    Marigot:--- Four youths ages 12 to 16 who assaulted a parent outside the Soualiga College would have to appear before the juvenile courts to answer charges of assault reported the Gendarmerie.
    A press release from the Gendarmerie stated that on May 31 a mother who was driving with her young daughter in the back seat was assaulted by the four culprits. The youths pelted the vehicle with stones which broke the back glass and injured the young child inside the vehicle. The first suspect was arrested on June 9th which led to the subsequent arrest of the other suspects the release states.

    The mother was able to alert her husband who arrived quickly on the scene. As he got out of his car to confront the youths he was attacked and thrown to the ground and repeatedly kicked. He was hospitalized for injuries to his back and face and was given eight days off work.
    The severity of the incident caused profound shock among parents and teachers and led to urgent calls for increased security at the Collège.
    On Thursday June 9th, all classes were suspended for one hour as teachers staged a strike protesting the lack of security.

  • Synopsis of the business trip of the Ombudsman Dr. Nilda Lynch-Arduin.

    The Ombudsman of Sint Maarten, Dr. Nilda Lynch-Arduin has completed the SYT training organized by the International Ombudsman Institute (I.O.I.) in Vienna from June 4th to June 9th 2011 . The Ombudsman is eager to return to implement all the newly acquired techniques and skills. In her own words: "I left Vienna with raised awareness regarding the task, powers and tools available to the Ombudsman to execute the job."

    The training was attended by some forty Ombudsman from countries such as Indonesia, Netherlands, Fiji, Slovenia, Austria, Uganda, Romania, Serbia, Ireland, St. Lucia, Taiwan and many others. In addition to the training the Ombudsman was able to establish contacts with other ombudsman and this is important for building the international network. The I.O.I. currently represents some 140 ombudsman from 75 different countries all over the world.

    During the conference Dr. Lynch-Arduin was privileged to meet with the Secretary General of the International Ombudsman Institute Dr. Peter Kostelka; membership of the Ombudsman Institute of Sint Maarten to the I.O.I. was discussed. Upon Dr. Lynch-Arduin's return the procedures for same will be initiated.

    In the Netherlands, the meetings with the National Ombudsman of the Netherlands Dr. A.F. M. Brenninkmeijer and Dr. Ulco van der Pol, Ombudsman of the Municipality of Amsterdam and surroundings were very successful; commitments were made to organize exchange of knowledge, training and internship, as well as consultation and assistance with literature and other material.
    During her visit with the Ombudsman of Amsterdam, Dr. Lynch-Arduin was introduced to other local Ombudsmen, and learned about the "growing pains" of the newly established Child Ombudsman.

    The Ombudsman is on the last leg of her trip: she is presently in Curacao where she will be one of the speakers on the general theme of the conference: "The Duty of Confidentiality, the Core of Trust".

    Upon her return a press conference will be organized at which time the Ombudsman will give a detailed report of her trip, as well as present her Year Report of 2010 to the public via the media.

  • Justice Minister Reserves his Right to Release Convicts --- BOX is still an Option for More Prison Space.

    Philipsburg:--- Releasing convicted criminals (early release) remains solely at the discretion of the Minister of Justice Roland Duncan. The Minister in responding to questions about the lack of prison cells and the proposal submitted by the Prosecutors Office said that he is jealously guarding his decision making powers. "While the Public Prosecutor is campaigning on the early release program that is my right and I am guarding it jealously."
    Minister Duncan said the Chief Prosecutor Hans Mos sent a proposal to him on the early release of convicted criminals which he cannot agree to because it undermines the efforts of the police. Minister Duncan said the back door policy proposed by the prosecutor's office which is to release persons who are still serving stint in jail is not something he agrees with. The Minister said it is not possible for him to release people if they are still a danger to society. "I cannot allow people who are serving time for rape, murder, armed robberies and other heinous crimes go thus I have been hesitating on making a decision on the prosecutor's proposal. This in fact makes the prosecutor's job more difficult and they have been joggling each time they arrests people," Minister Duncan said. Minister Duncan made a public appeal to the courts to understand the circumstances of Country St. Maarten when releasing suspects that spend too much time at the Philipsburg holding cells. The Minister said the courts have to understand that St. Maarten is dealing with problems they inherited. He said he also understands human rights but while Holland spent a lot of monies on the detention centers in the former Antillean constellation those monies he said did not show up on St. Maarten.
    The Justice Minister said there are several solutions that are being worked on to create more prison space and they are; the completion of the Simpson Bay substation and the BOX which is being criticized by residents of Cay Hill. Another plan the Minister said is to repair the cell blocks in Pointe Blanche that need to be repaired, however, he needs to find space to house the prisoners that are inside the blocks that have to be repaired. Already, the Minister has accumulated some six million guilders for the project but he lacks another 2 million.
    The Minister said St. Maarten has a few options one being, building a new prison. Minister Duncan said the BOX in Cay Hill is a real option for more prison space and each time he looks at the building he sees more viability. The Minister said the BOX is strong and sturdy and it is also safe, making prison escaping more difficult. Minister Duncan said if the BOX is used for a prison facility it will not only solve the problem of space but a Correctional Center for the youths and women can also be placed there.
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  • Two Ministry of Finance Civil Servants Return from Aruba after a successful Two-week working visit.

    financeministryarubavisit19062011Philipsburg:--- Two civil servants from the Ministry of Finance, section Financial Policy, Taxes and Budgeting, namely Julisa Frans and Catherine Arrindell-Conner, recently returned from Aruba after a two week working visit at the Aruba Ministry of Finance.

    The entire working visit was prepared and supervised by Mary Ann de Jong-Curet, Section head Budgeting and Policy of the Department of Finance for the Aruban Ministry of Finance, but paid for by the Sint Maarten Ministry of Finance.

    During their stay in Aruba they met with Section Heads and staff members of the Finance department, Economic Affairs department, Audit Council, Tax department, the Minister of Finance, Communication, Utilities and Energy and his policy advisor/Chief of Staff.

    Frans and Arrindell-Conner also had the opportunity to attend a 2012 Parliament budget meeting and took part in the Public Finances Aruba (LOFA) course.

    Honourable Minister of Finance Hiro Shigemoto says that it is essential for country Sint Maarten to have its personnel exchange views with their counterparts with the Kingdom, and the Aruba working visit allowed them to just do that.

    According to both Frans and Arrindell-Conner, it was a very intense two week work visit where they were given in depth insight into the policy and budgeting process within the legal framework.

    Economic growth projections and tax matters were also discussed. The information and advice received will definitely help the section of Financial Policy, Taxes and Budgeting with their daily work activities and advising role within Government.

    Both civil servants also got an opportunity to pay an educational and exciting visit to Parke Arikok & Museo Archelogico.

    Julisa Frans and Catherine Arrindell-Conner are very thankful for the opportunity that they were given by Minister of Finance Hiro Shigemoto and Aruba's Minister of Finance, Communication, Utilities and Energy Mike de Meza, and have only praises for all the various persons that they met who were more than willing to share their knowledge and expertise and have shown their willingness to assist and support Country St Maarten on its journey.

  • Several Traffic Accidents Reported this Past Weekend.

    henson17112010Philipsburg:--- This past weekend, the Police Traffic Department was quite busy investigating several traffic accidents in which several persons suffered injuries.

    One accident took place on Friday June 17th at approximately 1:30am in Cole bay on the Welfare road in the vicinity of Tendal Holdings involving two private cars with license plate M-9626 and 4852 AAA. The driver of the M-9626 who was driving on the Welfare road in the direction of the Kruythoff round about and possibly due to high speed lost control of his vehicle while overtaking the 4853 AAA driving in front of him. During the manoeuvring, the driver of 4852AAA struck an advertisement sign on the side of the road. As a result of this accident, the driver of 4852AAA complained of severe pain in his neck, left arm and elbow, while a passenger of M-9626 suffered a fractured left leg, ankle and the other cuts and bruises to his face and body. The victims were all treated on the scene by paramedics and then transported to the Sint Maarten Medical Center for further treatment and where they remained admitted. This case is still under investigation by the Police Traffic Department.

    On Friday June 17th at approximately 04:30pm, an accident took place on the Welfare road in the vicinity of Victoria's Fashion between a motorcycle with license plate MF-376 and R-1431. The cause of the accident was that the driver of the rental drove onto the street not seeing the motorcycle that was at the time overtaking the line of cars approaching. The motorcycle collided with car and the rider fell sustaining a serious head wound, a broken toe and cuts and bruised to his body. He was treated on the scene by the paramedics and then transported to the Sint Maarten Medical Center where he has been admitted.

    On Saturday at approximately 1:30am, on the Walter Nisbeth road in the vicinity of the Marcus Building a there was a traffic accident involving six vehicles which left two persons injured. The victims in this accident were treated on the scene and then transported to the Sint Maarten Medical Center for further treatment.
    The traffic department is still conducting this investigation.

  • PRIDE Foundation calling on Government to take Action on Illegal Construction.

    illegalconstructiononbeach20062011Simpson Bay:--- Members and supporters of the St. Maarten Pride Foundation are calling on the Minister of Environmental Affairs and VROMI Theo Heyliger to instruct the Inspection Department to execute their duties and stop all illegal construction on the public beaches. The members of PRIDE foundation took members of the media to Simpson Bay Beach on Monday morning to point out another illegal construction which is taking place less than 50 meters from the water line. Jadira Veen, President of the St. Maarten Pride Foundation said that enough is enough and while the Inspection Department is telling them they know how to do their work, the illegal construction is still taking place.
    Veen said some two months ago they pointed out to the Inspection Department that there was illegal construction taking place at the Character beach. She said it has been two months since a work-stop was issued for the illegal construction and to date the illegal structure is still standing on the beach.
    Ruben Thompson said the illegal construction on the beach is now becoming the norm and they are not getting responses from the emails they sent to the Inspection Department. However, on Monday morning a male information that seems to be working with someone inside VROMI was caught taking photographs of the PRIDE Foundation members and the reporters on scene.
    The culprit also called someone and shortly after an email was sent from the head of inspections Henry Ellis to the St. Maarten Pride Foundation which stated that the illegal construction on Simpson Bay Beach was halted way before their press release in the media. "All legal measures are taken to prevent any further illegal construction on this location," Ellis said. Ruben Thompson said while Ellis said legal actions are being taken within the Ministry and that a work-stop was issued, he knows work was done on the structure late last week. Besides that the inspector did not indicate what actions government intends to take with the structure that is currently standing on the beach even though it is a hazard during the hurricane season. While Ellis said government is taking the necessary measures to halt other illegal constructions he did not say what measures they intend to take to remove the one that is currently under construction.

    Both Thompson and Veen said that there are no more beach spaces for the locals to take their children. Thompson said the spot where the illegal construction is currently taking place is a spot that turtles have nested in the past. He said turtles are endangered and protected species and they tend to go back to the places they nested before. Also on the site was huge wooden deck that is also built on the beach. Further up there is a concrete house that is directly on the shoreline. Veen said in the early 1990's she remembered signing a petition to stop the construction of the house since it was dividing the beach, but government she said did nothing about it back then and the PRIDE Foundation was not existing at the time, neither was there a beach policy.
    Thompson also called on government and the people of St. Maarten to keep a watchful eye on Mullet Bay beach. He said Mullet Bay is the only beach that is left with sufficient parking and greenery and while the demolition of the ruins are currently underway, the people he said has to watch out for these investors who simply do not have respect for the people and their beaches which are all public.
    Thompson also lashed out at the Parliamentarians who have not addressed the issue in Parliament. He said just recently there was a huge fire on the dump which is health hazardous and the Parliamentarians have remained mum on the issue even though they all know how dangerous the dump fires are to human beings.
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    Click here to view more photos of the Illegal Construction on Simpson Bay Beach.

  • Minister Shigemoto tours CBCS facility.

    hshigemotomeetswithcbcs21062011Philipsburg:--- Honourable Minister of Finance Hiro Shigemoto along with several officials from the Ministry of Finance on Monday toured the Central Bank of Curacao and Sint Maarten (CBCS) facility on the Pondfill.

    Minister Shigemoto wants a fully operational independent Central Bank in Philipsburg by January 1st, 2012.

    The Council of Ministers last month took a decision with respect to the aforementioned and would like to see the necessary resources in place to facilitate the optimum functioning of the national financial institution which will be able to address pertinent operational and financial matters related to the country.

    The Minister and his delegation were briefed about the current state of affairs at the Philipsburg CBSC location and exactly what its current responsibilities entail.

    Minister Shigemoto already stated a few weeks ago in a letter to President of the CBCS Emsley Tromp that he would like management to work expeditiously in establishing a fully fledged independent institution that would be in place January 2012.

    The Minister also made mention that Government wants to be a part of the staff recruitment and development of the expertise locally.

    "It's been almost eight months since we achieved country status and the building on the Pondfill still does not have the name Central Bank of Curacao and Sint Maarten. There are only three employees working at the bank.

    "The aforementioned is indicative of the low level priority that Sint Maarten's branch has gotten and apparently is still receiving, and this is unacceptable eight months after.

    "There are plans, however to build up the bank and I would like to see these executed in order to be able to truly talk about a CBCS," Minister of Finance Shigemoto concluded.

  • Third VP Allioti Released --- Already back on St. Martin.

    Marigot:--- Pierre Allioti, the third Vice President of the Collectivity of St. Martin has been released from custody. Information reaching SMN News states that Allioti is back on St. Martin and has resumed his duties as a Vice President.
    Allioti was taken in custody on Monday and was transferred to Guadeloupe where he was on 'mise en examen" but was later released. Currently, the judge of instruction is leading an investigation into the issuing of building permits. Alloiti is the vice president that is in charge of the Pole Development Durable and Urbanism.
    SMN News learnt that an investigation is being conducted on the entire process on the issuance of building permits after a building stop was issued to the architect of Terre Basse villa.
  • Court Rules Null and Void in Lawyer’s Litigation against SMN News Reporter --- SMN News Will Continue Informing its Readers of the Truth.

    Basse Terre:--- A local lawyer, who was very angry at an article published by SMN-NEWS announcing his referral to the Criminal Court of Basse-Terre, sued Bibi Hodge Shaw of SMN News for defamation before the Criminal Court of Basse-Terre.

    At a recent hearing, the reporter was able to explain that she had only done her duty to inform the people of St. Martin as she considers it her professional mission.

    That is exactly what her lawyer, Maitre (Me) Jan-Marc Ferly, developed before the Court, explaining that the sources of the information was truthful and therefore reliable, that the reporter did not violate the presumption of innocence, and that her good will and the seriousness of her work could not be questioned.

    In a previous statement, Me Jan-Marc Ferly took the opportunity to emphasize a breach in the legal procedure, confirming that the summons did not spell out the complaint brought against the SMN News reporter therefore it was null and void.

    The lawyer representing the plaintiff considered this argument "pitiful". However, such was not the position of the Court, who declared invalid the summons drawn up by this lawyer for his colleague and client and acquitted the SMN News reporter in its final decision.

    The moral of this verdict is as follows: SMN NEWS will continue to do its work so that the truthful information and democracy prevails, and especially will not change its lawyer. As a matter of fact, immediately after the Bibi Hodge-Shaw case, Me Jan-Marc FERLY (www.cabinet-ferly.com) was automatically assigned to defend a homeless person who had secured shelter in the gardens of the Prefecture. Maitre Ferly managed to obtain the homeless man release that same day.

  • Public Session of Parliament on 2011 National Budget.

    Philipsburg:--- A plenary public session of Parliament regarding the 2011 national budget will be held on Wednesday, June 29, Honourable President of Parliament Drs. Gracita Arrindell announced on Sunday.

    The meeting will take place in the General Assembly Chamber at 10:00am.

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

  • July 1st Work-free day for Gov’t Employees --- Parliament to hold extraordinary session on Emancipation Day.

    Great Bay:--- The Council of Ministers has decided to all government workers the day off on Friday, July 1st, Emancipation Day.
    "We were hoping that Emancipation Day would have been a National Public Holiday in accordance with the wishes of the people, however, due to the fact that the draft law is still going through the necessary legislative process, and would not be passed by parliament in time for this year's celebration of July 1st, the Council of Ministers unanimously decided to give all government workers the day off," Minister of Education, Culture, Sports and Youth Affairs, Dr. Rhoda Arrindell said.
    "I have, on behalf of government, held a tri-partite meeting with the private sector, represented by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the St. Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association, SHTA, and the Chamber of Labor Unions and WITU, in an attempt to seek their cooperation so that workers in the private sector could also get the day or at least part of the day off," Dr. Arrindell added.
    "Although the meeting was very positive, the respective partners were however free to decide as they saw fit. They will, I expect, announce what their decisions are."
    According to the Minister, who has been spearheading the initiative to have the law passed that would declare July 1st a public holiday, the program for this year's celebration will start at 9:00AM with an ecumenical service which will be held at the New Testament Baptist Church.
    This will be followed by an Extraordinary Plenary Session of Parliament at 11:00AM during which the faction leaders as well as the President of Parliament will offer their Emancipation Day messages. The Minister of Education, Culture, Sports and Youth Affairs will deliver the message on behalf of the Council of Ministers.
    The Minister will host a luncheon for invited guests at the Sheer Restaurant on Front Street immediately after the parliamentary session.
    "At 4:00PM we will have a Cultural Parade which will start in front of the Courthouse, make its way along Front Street up to the Emmaplein and then to the Sundial School roundabout, coming up the Pondfill and turning in by the Salt Pickers Roundabout to end up at the Square," Minister Arrindell disclosed. At the Square, Tanny & the Boys will entertain the public.
    "We must honor the sacrifice of our ancestors, knowing that they did not wait for freedom to be given to them as a special gift, but actually did everything they could to be free. In fact, the freedom we are celebrating was won long before July 1st, 1863; historical records show our ancestors had been free since 1848 when Slavery was abolished in all French territories, including the Northern half of our island where many of the enslaved in the South fled to their freedom," Dr. Rhoda Arrindell concluded.
  • BTP HOSTS THE ANNUAL FREQUENCY COORDINATION MEETING.

    btpannualfrequencymeeting29062011On Monday June 27th 2011, the Annual Frequency Coordination Meeting with telecommunication regulators from the neighboring islands hosted by Bureau Telecommunications Post St. Maarten kicked-off.
    From June 27th until June 29th officials from Anguilla, St. Martin, St. Barths, Saba, St. Eustatius, and St. Maarten come together in Divi Beach Resort St. Maarten to discuss and agree on the coordinated use of the frequency spectrum between the islands.
    St. Martin (fr.) and St. Barths are represented by officials from France, Saba and St. Eustatius are represented by the Bureau Telecommunication Curacao, Anguilla is represented by the Minister of Communication of Anguilla and St. Maarten is represented by Bureau
    Telecommunications and Post St. Maarten.
    The annual frequency coordination meeting this year focuses on coordinated use of the land mobile and broadcasting frequency spectrum with the aim to reduce interference, address potential infringements, intentional and unintentional coverage within neighboring island and
    effective regulation and enforcement of conditions of the agreement reached by parties.
    The Bureau Telecommunications and Post St. Maarten welcomes the attendees, and presenters to St. Maarten.
  • NAGICO Donates to Alfredo Foundation - Recreational Swim, Snorkel and Scuba Diving School.

    nagicodonatestoalfredofoundation29062011Jr. Manager / Underwriter for NAGICO Life Mr. Howard Cheng-A-June presented the Alfredo Foundation with an underwater camera that would be used to document various training activities carried out by the school. The foundation was founded by Mr. Alfredo Tapia and Ms. Tswana Burleson has been in operation since 2009, was primarily established to open doors for St. Maarten students who have interests in taking up a career in the yachting industry.

    Cofounder and Swim Instructor of the Alfredo Foundation, Ms. Tswana Burleson: "The purpose of our organization is to introduce St. Maarten youths to swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving on a professional level, opening doors to future employment or business ventures in the tourism and marine industry. Basically there are five stages in the training, starting with swim and snorkel, open water diving, advance open water scuba diving, rescue diving and finally dive master. The classes are free of charge and carried out in collaboration with three local diving shops, namely Blue Bubbles, Scuba Dive Shop and Fun Scuba Diving Shop. NAGICO Insurances is the first non-marine private sector business to make a contribution and we look forward to a continuous positive relationship to jointly provide new opportunities for our youth."

    Mr. Howard Cheng-A-June stated: "The NAGICO Life Insurance team dedicates time to educating our community on the importance of life insurance coverage and providing product options suited to each individual need. The Alfredo Foundation performs a similar function in educating our youth. Only difference is that it focuses on education goals that open career opportunities, so that in the future these young adults can earn an income that would allow them to make necessary purchases, including acquiring proper insurance coverage to protect themselves against various potential risks in their lives."

    NAGICO Insurances will continue to support the communities which it serves in the areas of youth and education, sports and environment, culture and arts and other areas that are of valuable interest to, and develops our society as a whole.

  • CPS advises residents to take measures to prevent mosquito breeding during hurricane season.

    Great Bay (DCOMM):--- The Collective Prevention Services (CPS), is appealing to residents to take measures to prevent mosquito breeding during the 2011 hurricane season.

    The Caribbean region will see a frequency in weather related systems bringing rain showers just like we experienced the past couple of days.

    Proper control measures need to be in place around homes and businesses to reduce breeding of the Ades Aegypti mosquito which is mostly found in domestic environments as a result of human activity and has the potential to transmit dengue fever.

    Dengue is a mosquito-borne infection that causes a severe flu-like illness that affects infants, young children and adults. If you experience fever, body aches, headache, severe pain behind the eyes, consult your physician and check your surroundings to ensure that no breeding source is present.

    Clear stagnant water in old tires and other types of debris in yards can become a breeding ground for mosquitoes bringing about an increased risk of mosquito-borne diseases.

    CPS is therefore advising residents to take immediate measures after rain events to make sure there is no clear/clean stagnant water in their yards and disposing of responsibly old tires, empty drums, plant containers, paint cans and other items that can collect water around their homes and businesses.

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

    To avoid being bitten by a mosquito, use repellent and wear long sleeve shirts/blouses as well as pants. Place screens at windows, doors.

  • Fitness Coaching, Desiree Winkel takes over Princess country club at Port de Plaisance.

    desireewinkel12062011Fitness Coaching, Desiree Winkel is delighted to announce the take over of the lease of Princess Country Club at Port de Plaisance the largest and newest gym in Sint Maarten per June 13th 2011.

    Desiree Winkel lived for 15 years in Curacao. Here she was the owner/manager of a business event organizing company in Curacao. The last two years she lived in Curacao she opened for Kooyman NV. the store "Gifts & Garden in Zeelandia. 7 years ago after winning several fitness and body build competitions in Curacao and sint Maarten she started her own personal training studio at the welfare road in simpson bay. This personal training studio has been a great success.

    To take over the lease of Princess Country Club at Port de Plaisance is a real challenge. Desiree says. I know it will be a great success. The beautiful facility has everything a person is looking for. A luxurious day spa and salon with a VIP room, the gym with the latest equipment and services, including group exercise, personal training, cardiovascular equipment, spinning, Pilates and yoga, Tennis with 7 courts, a pool with services as swimming lessons, a kids gym and the best parking on the island. With this conclusion it's also the perfect place for sport events.

    Since her wide experience of organizing sport related events she invites all the businesses in sint maarten Dutch and French side to make an appointment with her. The company Caribbean Event Management Organization is a sint Maarten, Dutch Antilles based event management agency engaged in organizing various types of indoor and outdoor sport related events such as corporate business event, team building, family parties, theme parties, annual day functions, award ceremonies, corporate parties.

    Caribbean Event Management Organization presents her creativity through offering complete solutions related to event management to our esteemed clients. We organize sport events keeping in mind the taste and the budget of our customers. Our team of innovative and dynamic professionals gives attention to even minute details. Over the years, we have established ourselves as the pioneer in this industry because of our perfect execution of sport events and superior quality services.

    The clients of the exciting facility will be able to continue their . However we will make slide changes in order to serve our clients better. In the end its all about feeling good and as Desiree always says. A stronger body is a healthy mind.

    We are looking forward to see you soon. For information please pass by or call us 5247700.

  • Prime Minister HIV/AIDS speaks to PANCAP Caribbean Delegations about experiences within the Kingdom.

    Great Bay (DCOMM):--- Honourable Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams spoke at the Pan Caribbean Partnership Against HIV and AIDS (PANCAP) Caribbean Delegations Meeting on Wednesday, where she addressed at the United Nations (UN) HIV/AIDS High Level Meeting in New York, the experiences of some of the Kingdom of the Netherlands partners.

    The Prime Minister pointed out to delegates that the responses to HIV/AIDS are rights-based and fully imbedded in the broader health systems and in particular, in programmes to improve sexual health.

    Wescot-Williams added that stigma and discrimination still occur and affordability of treatment over the long term is a problem for the countries in the Dutch Caribbean.

    "They are specifically tailored to meet the needs of key populations, with an active testing policy and a good and consistent quality of care. There is a long history of collaboration between the government, Non-Governmental Organization (NGOs) and the private sector in implementing HIV responses. People living with HIV, as well as key populations at higher risk, are closely involved," Wescot-Williams said.

    The Prime Minister added that the countries in the Kingdom have been pragmatic in their approaches and have demonstrated that pragmatism works. Some examples she gave were:

    • The early roll out of comprehensive harm reduction programmes in the Netherlands has limited infections among people who use drugs. For the last couple of years the number of new infections in this group has been close to zero.
    • Active testing and quality care during pregnancy has resulted in zero transmission in both the Netherlands and in Sint Maarten.
    • Comprehensive sexuality education works. Experience in the Netherlands shows that if young people have the knowledge, the tools and a supportive environment – in particular access to youth friendly services – they are sexually active at later age and have safer sex. However sexuality education programmes have not been comprehensively introduced in all parts of the Kingdom. Their sexual debut continues to happen at a very early age and while safer sex practices are improving, they are not yet normative. We must improve our policies in this regard.

    "Thirty years into this epidemic much has been done, but still too much remains to be done. We have the tools to end the epidemic. As this week's Economist writes: "the question for the world will no longer be whether it can wipe out this plague but whether it is prepared to pay the price." This price tag is financial as well as political," Wescot-Williams pointed out.

    "We must use the occasion of this high level meeting to not just sign another declaration but commit ourselves to ensuring that all of the commitments being made here are realised when we go back to our countries. We have the tools to end this epidemic; it is up to us now to use them effectively," Hon. Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams concluded.

    The Prime Minister is the delegation leader for the Kingdom of the Netherlands at the three-day high level meeting in New York at UN Headquarters that is currently taking place from June 8-10.

    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.

  • Jamaican Bites Police Officers --- Officer punched in the face.

    henson17112010Philipsburg:--- Two police officers had to be transported to the St. Maarten Medical Centre for treatment to bite wounds on Wednesday. According to a police press release, the two officers attempted to arrest two suspicious suspects who were seen walking in the vicinity of Tropicana Casino on Wednesday afternoon.
    Police Spokesman Ricardo Henson said the two officers spotted two men walking in the area and when they noticed police they began running. The officers then decided to go after the two men and to establish who they were. One of the suspects was apprehended in the vicinity of Pieking Supermarket but he resisted his arrest. At one point, the suspect who has been identified as G.M punched one of the arresting officers in his face and he also bit both officers on their fingers. The officers eventually managed to subdue the suspect who was transported to the Philipsburg Police Station. The second suspect managed to successfully escape.
  • Tires on Dump Caught Fire --- Dump Lifetime Almost Up --- Prosecutor’s Office Investigating.

    fireondump02062011Philipsburg:--- Constant fires at the dump (sanitary landfill) on Pond Island have caused the Prosecutor's Office to launch an investigation into the causes of these fires and to see if Windward Roads can be held responsible confirmed Chief Prosecutor Hans Mos.
    Mos said his office requested information from Windward Roads since February when there was a huge fire on the dump and the company took almost three months before they provided some information and the report they dispatched to VROMI. Mos said he witnessed first-hand the effects the dump fire have on people working on AT Illidge Road and surrounding areas. He also saw some of the environmental effects these fires at the dump have on St. Maarten. This he said was the main reason why he requested information from Windward Roads.
    The latest and largest fire on the dump took place on Wednesday night when a pile of tires that are stored on the dump was either set on fire or caught fire says Claudius Buncamper head of VROMI.
    Windward Roads in their report to the head of VROMI Claudius Buncamper expressed concerns on the pile of car tires which they said is close to one million. Windward Roads says should this pile of tires catch fire it would take days for the fire department to bring it under control. However, the lack of high winds Wednesday night helped the firemen greatly as they were able to totally extinguish the fire by 6am Thursday morning. Buncamper said the fire started just after 9pm Wednesday night but by 01:00 am Thursday morning the firefighters had the fire under control. Concerns were raised about the health hazard toxic fire in the center of town would cause to the environment and the elderly. The management company for the landfill also expressed concerns about the amount of vagrants and illegal persons that are constantly on the dump looking for copper to resell.
    The head of VROMI said that he believes the vagrants and persons who frequent the dump to search for valuables such as copper are the ones responsible for setting the fires. "These people would search for cable wires and burn them right there on the dump to get the copper which they would resell since the island has no recycling plant." It is believed that persons from the US territory would visit St. Maarten and they are the ones buying the copper and crushed cans from the vagrants who conduct business in around the dump. Buncamper said a number of people are doing business on the dump and he is certain none of them have licenses to operate there.
    hansmos26022011Buncamper said government had intentions of brining a shredder to St. Maarten to shred the tires before exporting them but the fire on Wednesday night thwarted that decision. Buncamper said right now government is planning to ship the old tires out in containers but he did not say how soon that will be done. While government might be planning to find solutions on what to do with these tires they did not say where they would continue to store tires in the future. Buncamper said garbage trucks from the French side of the island were caught taking their garbage to the landfill and that he said was stopped. "Trucks bearing French number plates are not allowed to enter the Sanitary Landfill."
    While the Prosecutor's Office is seeking information on who is responsible for the recklessness at the Sanitary Landfill and those responsible might face prosecution, it should be noted that the life time of that landfill is nearing its end and there is still no waste management plant in sight. The Minister of Environmental Affairs Theo Heyliger has said on a number of occasions that he is working on building a waste management plant but to date no contract has been signed. Several attempts by SMN News to get an update on the waste management plant from the Minister proved futile.
    In the meantime, environmental watchdogs such as the St. Maarten Pride Foundation have expressed concerns on several occasions regarding the Sanitary Landfill. On Thursday, the foundation said there is much concern about the human health and environmental consequences of fires at the landfill, such as the fire which took place on Wednesday evening.
    These landfill fires release fine ash and potentially cancer-causing substances and therefore pose both immediate and long-term health risks to those exposed to the smoke, gases and toxic fumes. The hazard and level of toxicity of landfill fires depends on the length of exposure to them and on the type of material that is burning.
    pileoftires02062011Landfill fires generally release high levels of Carbon Monoxide (CO) which is harmful when inhaled as it displaces oxygen in the lungs thereby depriving the brain, heart and other vital organs of oxygen which can cause permanent damage.
    Another extremely serious concern during landfill fires is the emission of dioxins. Exposure to dioxins is a major concern due to their highly toxic potential and their persistence as organic pollutants. International studies have revealed that dioxins adversely affect a number of vital organs.
    Even very low levels of dioxin emissions can have negative effects on the environment and on human health, in particular on the most vulnerable groups like infants and young children. Symptoms of short-term exposure to humans to high levels of dioxins include asthma, skin rashes and liver problems. Long-term and or repeated exposure to high levels of dioxins may lead to impairment of the immune system, cause nerve damage (particularly with infants), reproductive and developmental problems and an increased risk of diabetes and heart disease.
    The poor management of St. Maarten's solid waste and by extension thereof the dump which government chooses to refer to as the "sanitary landfill" is a longstanding issue. St. Maarten Pride Foundation reminds Government of its duty to safeguard the health and overall wellbeing of the island's residents and its visitors alike. The landfill fires are a serious health concern and therefore deserve Government's undivided attention.

    St. Maarten Pride Foundation advises the general public to safeguard their health by taking precautionary measures to avoid inhalation and exposure to toxic fumes and particles during landfill fires.

  • Robbery Suspects Intercepted --- Five in Police Custody.

    henson17112010Philipsburg:--- Police arrested five persons on Friday morning in the Cole Bay area. The suspects, two of which are females, committed a robbery in the Nettle Bay area on the French side of the island. They are identified as S.H., T.R., E.G.B, M. G from Sint Maarten and S.J.W. from Jamaica.

    Police Spokesman Ricardo Henson said the police patrols were dispatched to Cole Bay to intercept a black Hyundai Sonata bearing license plate P-7992. Henson said when police found the vehicle which was in the vicinity of DIVICO, there were four persons inside the vehicle. Police also found ammunition cartridges in the pocket of one of the suspects. However, police did not recover any firearms during the search. The vehicle and ammunition have been confiscated as the investigation continues.

  • Well known Calypsonian "Mighty Gregg" found dead at his home. (UPDATED)

    greggvangurp06062011Philipsburg:--- Calypsonian Gregg van Gurp "Mighty Gregg" also known as "Snoopy" died over the weekend at his home on Cannegieter Street, "Mighty Gregg" was also the driver of BUS-191. SMN News learnt that his body was found Monday morning by his brother. Reliable information reaching SMN News states that his body was already decomposing when it was found by his relatives who missed him over the weekend.
    Relatives of the deceased man said Gregg informed his mother and other relatives that he was feeling unwell on Saturday. Police forensics confirmed to the relatives that he died on Saturday evening of natural causes.
    SMN News learnt that Mighty Gregg was told by a particular doctor that he needed emergency medical care some two months ago but the lack of medical insurance prevented him from seeking the emergency care he needed.
    In a press release, the St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) extends heartfelt condolences to the family, friends and fans of legendary Calypsonian and former Road march King The Mighty Gregg aka "Snoopy". May his artistry live on in others and may he forever be remembered as the GREAT Carnival stalwart that he was. Carnival on St. Maarten has lost a terrific artist with a unique voice. A voice we will all remember. He will definitely be missed, but forever loved. Sing on Snoopy, sing on!
  • Nature Foundation Plants Mangroves in the Simpson Bay Lagoon: Tests new way to ensure mangrove success after planting.

    naturefoundationplantsmangroves06062011On Friday the 3rd of June, the St. Maarten Nature Foundation tested a new method for planting Mangroves within the Simpson Bay Lagoon. Approximately twelve Mangroves were planted off of Little Key in the Simpson Bay Lagoon using the Stabilization Method. "During previous Mangrove Planting Activities we have found that the success rate for mangroves planted lies around the 30 to 40% rate, meaning that almost 70% of all mangroves planted died due to them being unsuitably planted. Based on research that we have conducted we have started to test a new way of planting Mangroves which involves using a stabilizer, in this case piping which we disinfected and inserted into the sand and to which the mangroves are attached," commented Nature Foundation Marine Park Manager Tadzio Bervoets. Hopefully by using this method the success of replanted Mangroves can increase by 60 to 70%. "We will wait two weeks for the mangrove shoots to take hold, after which we will remove the stabilizers and let Nature take its course," continued Bervoets.

    The planting of the Mangroves involved the use of Kayaks to access suitable areas for planting. "What we did was load the Mangroves on the Kayak and plant them in areas on Little Key which have seen a relatively significant loss of healthy mangrove habitat. We hope in this way to quickly rehabilitate an area which has lost mangroves by using this new technique", concluded Bervoets.

    The activity was made possible through the generous donation of Kayaking material from Tri-Sport in Simpson Bay and upon the recommendations from various international organizations working with Mangroves throughout the Wider Caribbean Area.

    Mangroves are important for the protection and stabilization of low-lying coastal lands and their importance in coastal fishery food chains. Mangrove forests protect from storm winds, waves, and floods. Mangroves also help to prevent erosion by stabilizing shorelines with their specialized root systems. The relationship between mangroves and their associated marine life cannot be overemphasized. Mangroves provide protected nursery areas for fishes, crustaceans, and shellfish, including conch and various snapper species. Up to seventy-five percent of the game fish and ninety percent of the commercial species in the Caribbean are dependent on mangrove ecosystems. They provide food for a multitude of marine species as well as important habitat for various species of bird. It has been estimated that almost 80% of all mangrove areas within the Simpson Bay Lagoon have been lost during the last three decades due to habitat destruction. More pictures of Mangrove planting activities can be found on the Nature Foundation Facebook page. Those interested in assisting with the planting of mangroves can call the Nature Foundation on 5444267.

  • Teen Times can rely on UTS' yearly support of Prom once again.

    utsdonatestoteentimes08062011Philipsburg:--- United Telecommunication Services (UTS), through its Chippie and Chipster brands, has once again sponsored Prom Night which is organized on an annual basis by the young people of the youth organization Teen Times. UTS made a financial contribution of US $3,500 to go towards the overall organization of the event.
    Teen Times will be marking 15 years of Prom Night on Sunday, June 26 at the Dawn Beach Westin Resort & Spa. The event has blossomed into one of the most anticipated functions for high schools seniors, for whom it exclusively caters to.
    "We are happy to help Teen Times make this yearly celebration a success. It's an event the graduating seniors all look forward to and we are delighted to assist in staging the event which is the high point after a year of hard work for the senior class," said Marketing & Communications Officer of UTS Ivy Lambert.
    In addition to the monetary contribution, UTS will also team up with Teen Times to provide several prizes for the various activities that are held during the course of the prom. The Prom King and Queen for example will each win a new Blackberry smart phone. UTS will also assist Teen Times with advertising in daily media as well execute a promo specifically geared towards Prom students.
    "UTS has supported Teen Times for years. From our Talent Showdown, to our monthly newspaper, to Prom Night, the company has been a terrific corporate citizen to us. We are grateful that the company expressed its confidence in our organization once again and in our ability to continuously provide clean, positive and safe fun for the youth of St. Maarten,"  said Founder and Coordinator of Teen Times Mike Granger.
    Prom Night 2011 is elegantly formal affair exclusively for the senior students of all high schools on Dutch and French St. Maarten.
  • Minister of Plenipotentiary Voges receives courtesy visit from Dutch Representative.

    dutchrepvisitsmvoges09062011Great Bay (DCOMM):--- Honourable Minister of Plenipotentiary Mathias Voges received a courtesy visit from the newly appointed Dutch representative to Sint Maarten, Curacao and Aruba Gerard van der Wulp on Wednesday.

    Accompanying Wulp was the Dutch representative in Philipsburg M. Jonkers.

  • St. Martin Talk by popular demand at USM on Tuesday.

    mrmongooseandchickens09062011Great Bay:--- A book party for St. Martin Talk by Robert Romney will be held at the University of St. Martin (USM) on Tuesday, June 14, at 7:30 PM, said House of Nehesi Publishers (HNP).
    However, it was not the publisher of the new book that came up with the book party idea so quickly after the just-concluded St. Martin Book Fair.
    "The demand and questions from so many people about where to buy St. Martin Talk by Romney, Yvette's cookbook, and White Egrets by Derek Walcott, are amazing," said Shujah Reiph, book fair coordinator.
    "We never got so many calls, and questions on the road, after a book fair, from people wanting books connected to our invited authors. And people can see for themselves the chatter about the two St. Martin books on Facebook," said Reiph.
    The entire pre-order of St. Martin Talk sold out in less than 30 minutes after the book fair's ribbon-cutting on June 2, leaving guests asking how to get their own copy of the book, said Reiph.
    The bulk of the books arrived here this week and Romney will be at the June 14 book party to present and autograph his book, said HNP president Jacqueline Sample.
    robertromneyanddiamondkath09062011"Everyone is welcome to this book party, it's a cultural treat" said Sample.
    St. 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 book party is a chance to collect St. Martin Talk on Tuesday."
    According to educator Marcellia Henry, "St. Martin Talk is a resource on the journey of St. Martin's ever evolving culture."
    Romney compiled and wrote the book during his 2007-2010 tenure in Marigot, as representative of the Rector of the Academy of Guadeloupe for the collectivities of St. Martin and St. Barth's.
    St. Martin Talk was featured at the opening ceremony of the 9th annual St. Martin Book Fair. Nobel laureate Sir Derek Walcott was the book fair's keynote speaker. His new book also arrived this week because of shipping glitches late last week, said Reiph. Yvette's cookbook was the main book launched at the book fair and is in bookstores.
    From Yvette's Kitchen To Your Table by Yvette Hyman, founder of Yvette's Restaurant, and Walcott's White Egrets will be available at the book party on Tuesday.
    The first 10 people arriving at the book party on June 14 will get a free copy of the new Yvette's cookbook poster, said Sample. The cooking heritage poster is a book fair promotion and cultural education feature from the Book Fair Committee (BFC) and HNP.
  • Local Detectives Led the Afoo Murder Investigation --- RST did not work case --- Mos.

    Philipsburg:--- SMN News reported that the investigation into the murder of Eric Yuan Sam owner of the Dutch Quarter Afoo Supermarket was bungled by the RST who investigated the case. Chief Prosecutor Hans Mos said on Monday that the Eric Sam murder investigation was not conducted by the RST. He stressed the case was investigated by the local detectives with the assistance of the Royal Marechaussee. Mos said in the past murder investigations were led by the local police until the TGO team was installed to work on the recent murder cases.
    SMN News reported that the investigators bungled the investigation when they deported some Jamaicans who led them to the weapon that killed Eric Sam during a robbery on December 30th 2009. Mos said police found the weapon that was used in the killing but he said he is not able to divulge more information the case since it is still open and is being investigated. He said the persons who were deported gave police statements which helped the investigation and their statements can still be used as the investigation progresses.
    Mos said the report creates the impression that the RST and the local detectives are at odds but that he said is not the case. According to well placed sources, SMN News learnt that the informants and possible eye witnesses into the brutal murder which was caught on camera was picked up and turned over to immigration prior to the case being solved.
  • Book Signing for "Saint Martin, Destabilization of the French Caribbean".

    destabilizationofthefrenchcaribbean22052011Marigot:--- The Librairie des Iles has organized an autographing session for the author Daniella Jeffry for her latest book "Saint Martin, Destabilization of the French Caribbean". The session will take place on Wednesday June 29th 2011 starting at 3pm and it will conclude at 6pm. Persons who are interested in having their personal copy of Jeffry's latest book signed are urged to attend the event.
  • “A USM graduate in every St. Martin home,” says Shujah Reiph.

    shujahreiph26062011Great Bay:--- Leading cultural activist and recent University of St. Martin (USM) graduate Shujah Reiph wants to see "a USM graduate in every St. Martin home."
    Reiph made his statement while delivering the "Address of the Class of 2011" at the USM commencement exercise at the Westin resort on Saturday, June 18. He told the graduating students that he believed in them and in the university's potential and increasing contribution to the development of the entire island.
    Reiph said that as the nation's premier institution of higher learning, he looked forward to the day when there would be "a USM graduate in every St. Martin home." He received a vigorous applause from the graduates, USM officials and faculty, and their over 200-odd guests.
    Reiph was elected by his fellow students to deliver the Class of 2011 address. He recounted with admiration the "sacrifice and commitment" made by the students, and pointed out that a number of them worked full time and had their own families to care for while pursuing a college degree at USM.
    One student, said Reiph, had to bring her child to her evening classes at USM for two years. Another attended lectures dressed in her casino uniform and would then rush off to work after her evening classes.
    Reiph himself worked fulltime as a supervisor at EDF (Electricity company of France), while studying at USM for his associate's degree in general liberal arts. Along with Reiph, seven other students obtained the AA degree in liberal arts, and three received an associate of applied science in business information management. An additional 20 associate degrees were bestowed in business at the graduation ceremony.
    Nearly half of the USM graduates were awarded a bachelor's degree in education, business administration, or hospitality and tourism management.
    The Bachelor of Arts (BA) and Bachelor of Science (BS) courses in business and tourism were offered at USM in conjunction with UVI, UNA, and CURISES. One teaching certificate was awarded.
    The class of 2011 constituted about 58 students, making it the largest single group of USM graduates since the university was founded in 1989. Reiph commended his fellows for "making history" as the largest USM graduating class, which included at least nine men, also the largest number of males graduating in one group to date at USM.
    The keynote speaker at the graduation ceremony was Vivian Roberts, MA, a USM alumnus and principal of the Sr. Marie Laurence School. In her address, Roberts repeatedly called on USM and government officials to find ways to cooperate in developing the university in the interest of St. Martin. USM is a private institution.
  • Kick off meeting for Community Help Desk/Integrated Neighborhood Development Program.

    cdeweeverandswescotwilliams29062011Great Bay (GIS):--- The Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labor had a kick-off meeting and warm up session for the members of the Community Help Desk and Integrated Neighborhood Development Program at the Government Administrative Building.

    This integrated program is a first of its kind, where the various government departments and agencies come together to provide services on behalf of the same target group/ persons within our community.
    These projects are meant to assist the community from the initial stage that the person makes contact with government organization.

    Present at the meeting were Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams, Minister of Health, Social Development, and Labor Cornelius de Weever, Program Manager Joy Arnell, and project management team members, and members of the different departments that will be working in this integrated manner, namely, Labor affairs, Social services, Community development, Family and Humanitarian Affairs and Police, amongst others.

    Prime Minister Wescot-Williams made her stance and Governments future intentions known. "Community Development is top priority for this government. This program transcends ministries. Previously social development focused on economic development like jobs, but now it has a more social element and is also more integrated, where more ministries are involved, like Justice, Economic affairs, Infrastructure, Education, Youth among others."

    Minister De Weever agreed and offered additional remarks:

    "Change has to come; and it (the change) is inevitable," when addressing community issues from an integrated approach.

    "Our inefficiencies and short comings will be made visible but we must persist, we must move forward with determination to do and accomplish what we have set out to do. The community depends on us. We cannot let the people down. We must commit ourselves to go out and communicate and assist people with their problems, issues, and situations."

    nwpattendants29062011Joy Arnell, project leader said that after years of discussing and debating social solutions for the ills of society, persons can now get a more holistic assistance and intimate support concerning their issue or situation. With an integrated approach to providing assistance for the community, there is an invigorated hope.

    The aim is to bring social services to the people in a central, low-threshold location, services will be provided in the community, thus eliminating transport costs and long waiting lines. It will be more client-focused and enhance personal interaction, it will be both preventive and curative.

    The Community Help Desk and Integrated Neighborhood Development Program had a base study, from which recommendations and policy will be derived in order for there to be sound basis for the community program that will follow.

    The pilot study was conducted in St. Peters, where the needs of the people in the community and the social agencies were assessed and also community stakeholders were looked at.

    The results were as follows: though the area has some problems, people are generally content to live in the area of St Peters; most crucial problems: lack of activities to raise children and youngsters; parenting programs; isolation of elderly, housing conditions; sewage issue; among other situations that need to be addressed.

    Within short, the program shall officially begin in St. Peters.

  • VKS BIVOUAC THIS WEEKEND.

    The Commander of the Voluntary Corps of Sint Maarten (VKS) hereby announces that the VKS will be having a bivouac this weekend from Friday June 10 until Sunday June 13, 2011. This bivouac forms the practical test for a group of VKS members who are following a training course for sergeant.

    The bivouac will take place on various locations on the island. The general public might notice VKS members in action and is therefore requested to exercise caution.

    The Commander regrets any inconvenience caused.

  • Nation called upon to observe National Flag Day.

    Great Bay (DCOMM):--- The nation is called upon to observe national Flag Day on Monday, June 13 by flying the national flag.

    The flag is one of the national symbols of our country and accordingly it should be treated with respect.

    On June 16, 2005, the Executive Council of Sint Maarten proclaimed the 13th day of June as Flag Day.

    Residents are encouraged to fly the Sint Maarten Flag at their place of residence and place of business.

  • Spanish Couple Robbed at Gun Point.

    Philipsburg:--- A couple from the Dominican Republic identified as I.M.P. and P.R.S. filed a report with the Special Robbery Unit on Monday May 30th, stating that earlier that evening after returning home from dinner, they were unexpectedly attacked by four unknown men, two of whom were definitely armed with handguns. Both victims tried to escape but were prevented from doing so. The victims were then threatened by the suspects with their weapons, struck several times in their head with the weapons and forced into their home. The house was searched and the victims were asked to hand over the drugs and money. After the victims told the robbers that they had no money and no drugs they fled the scene taking a shoulder bag containing identification card, drivers license, a small amount of cash and a cellular telephone belonging to the female victim.
  • Chippie sponsors fundraising bike-athon.

    utsdonatestobikeathon05062011Chippie supported the fundraising efforts of the Alpha and Omega Foundation by funding a bike-athon that was held Sunday morning. The well-attended bike-athon, organized by the Soualiga Riders, was open to all ages, from 2 to 100 years old. The bike-athon started at the John Larmonie Center, turned on to the Bush road, went on to the Jose Cooper Ball park and Coralita Road. From there it continued to Point Blanche, down Backstreet and ended on the boardwalk. On the boardwalk leg of the bike-athon, the youngest participants of 2 to 4 years old also joined in on the fun. Funds raised during the bike-athon will go towards the purchase of a playground for the Alpha and Omega Foundation playschool. "We were delighted to be able to support the school. Especially because it is raising funds by showing kids that they can have fun through exercise," says UTS Marketing and Communications Officer Ivy Lambert.
  • St. Maarten Alzheimer Foundation met with Minister of Public Health.

    Great Bay (GIS):--- On Friday June the 3rd, 2011, Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, Cornelius de Weever, met with the President and the Secretary of the board of the Sint Maarten Alzheimer Foundation (SMAF) Mr Keith Franca and drs Raymond Jessurun.

    The meeting was held on the request of the SMAF, who wanted to inform the Minister about the objectives, the programmes, the activities and the organizational structure of the SMAF.

    COOPERATION
    Minister de Weever welcomes private social initiatives from organizations as the SMAF and applauded the help from all the individuals and organizations that are working together with the SMAF to raise the public awareness of dementia diseases and Alzheimer, to improve the care for the persons affected by the disease. The Minister suggested to discuss with the policy advisors from the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour how the Ministry and the SMAF could work together to realize the assessment of the needs of the persons with dementia or Alzheimer and their careers and to develop policy and legislation to protect the interests of dementia and Alzheimer patients and their family members in Sint Maarten.

    The SMAF representatives gave the Minister an overview of what the SMAF had done since the foundation was formally established in February last year.

    ALZHEIMER AWARENESS CAMPAIGN
    The SMAF representatives informed the Minister of their awareness campaign together with radio host Valery van Putten, every Thursday afternoon from 5-6 pm at PJD3. This is a weekly radio program that started in March this year where Valery has interviews with family care givers and professional caregivers concerning their experience with dementia and Alzheimer disease.

    This month June the Rotary Club together with the SMAF will launch a daily awareness campaign in the local media. The Lions Club also has cooperated with the SMAF's awareness campaign by inviting the SMAF to participate for the second year in their Annual Health and Wellness Fair in March, and is organizing with the SMAF a lecture on Alzheimer especially for the men in our society. The SMAF awareness campaign will culminate in September this year with special activities to commemorate World Alzheimer's Day 2011.

    ASSESSMENT OF THE NEEDS
    The SMAF had meetings with the Windward Island Medical Association (WIMA) and with the White and Yellow Cross Foundation. Together with the home physicians and the nurses from the Sint Maarten Home and the District Nursing, the SMAF will start an assessment of the amount of persons affected by dementia or Alzheimer's in Sint Maarten.

    The assessment must also give detailed information of the needs of the patients with dementia and of their family care givers on the one hand, and on the other hand about the needs and the desires of the professional care givers to provide the best quality care to these affected persons.

    ALZHEIMER DEMENTIA A HEALTH PRIORITY
    Furthermore the SMAF board members wanted to know from the Minister what government had done with the official report and especially with the recommendation of Alzheimer Disease International to make dementia and Alzheimer a high policy priority.

    This report was presented six months ago on World Alzheimer's Day September 21, 2010 to the Executive Council of Sint Maarten, officially represented by Commissioner of Public Health, Mr. Hyacinth Richardson. The SMAF board members handed the Minister a copy of the annual reports from Alzheimer Disease International from 2008, 2009 and 2010.

  • Prime Minister Meets with Royal Decorations Committee.

    swescotwilliamsandrodac07062011Great Bay (DCOMM):--- Last week Honourable Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams met with the RODAC Royal Decorations Committee which formerly fell under the Lt. Governor, but now falls under the Prime Minister.

    Wescot-Williams during the meeting discussed the committee's plan of operations. Nominations for Royal recognition will be approved by the Council of Ministers and forwarded to the Governor. The annual deadline is December 1.

  • Henri Arnell Accosted by Four Armed Bandits in his Home --- Transported to Hospital by Ambulance for Treatment. (UPDATED)

    arnellsestate08062011French Quarter:--- Four armed bandits were in the home of businessman Henri Arnell when he arrived at his home Tuesday morning at Arnell's Estate in French Quarter. The robbers gun butted the elderly Arnell as they demanded money and other valuables. One of the victim's brothers told SMN News that Henri and his wife were out and when they returned home they met four armed robbers inside their house. The bandits he said demanded monies and other valuables and when they could not get it they began beating the businessman. Alvin Arnell said his brother received minor injuries to his face and head. He and his wife were transported to the Louis Constant Fleming Hospital by ambulance for further treatment.
    At the scene, there were several gendarmes and a forensics team taking evidence from scene. Several members of the Arnell family including his sisters were seen outside of the property as it was sealed off. Residents, neighbors and other persons who knows the well known businessman flocked the area when they heard he was injured during a daring daylight robbery. Residents of French Quarter were heard saying that the people would soon have to take the law in their own hands since crime is escalating on the island. The angry residents said Henri Arnell is a hardworking businessman and this is the second time bandits have targeted him at his home.
    It should be noted that the home of SMN News reporter Bibi Hodge Shaw was robbed five times over the past two years and to date no one has been arrested for the robberies. All the electronic equipment that was stolen was never recovered.

    Click here to view more photos of the scene during the rainfall on Wednesday.

  • PHILIPSBURG JUBILEE LIBRARY AND GPS HOST LECTURE: TAKE BACK YOUR POWER, HEAL YOURSELF by Dr. Darko Velchek.

    The Philipsburg Jubilee Library in collaboration with Global Professional Services will be hosting a very thought provoking and inspiring lecture entitled:
    TAKE BACK YOUR POWER, HEAL YOURSELF!
    The lecture will be given by Dr. Velchek and will take place at the Philipsburg Jubilee Library on Friday, June 10th, 2011 and will start promptly at 7:30pm.
    Dr. Velchek, who is a Croatian and studied medicine in Eastern Europe, has a great interest in cellular medicine and is a strong advocate of natural healing.
    Dr. Velchek who believes that there are no incurable diseases and that you have to cure the cell for the body to be healed, states: "If you do not understand the way the cell functions, you cannot help the body heal at the cellular level".
    Everyone is invited to come out and listen to this very interesting lecture and be informed on ways to take back your power and heal yourself and several diseases by making simple changes to your lifestyle.
    The lecture is free of charge and you will get the opportunity to ask questions during the question and answer period.
  • U.S. FOL Personnel Complete Siloam Garden Project.

    usfolcompletegardenproject08062011Curacao will shine much greener and some of its children will eat much healthier thanks to the completion of a new vegetable garden at the Siloam Orphanage-Hospice in Soto. Members of the 429th Expeditionary Operations Squadron located at the U.S. Forward Operating location (FOL) at Hato airport teamed up with volunteers from the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Diligence and led by the FOL‟s Chaplain, Denis Gueu, recently completed the garden.
    Dozens of volunteers spent hundreds of hours clearing brush, removing debris, tilling and cultivating the soil, and finally planting the seeds for the garden which will go a long way in making the orphanage-hospice more self-sufficient. The volunteers even installed metal barriers around the garden to keep out local critters that may want to snack on the delicious vegetables at the children‟s expense. Eventually the garden will even include its own water irrigation system thanks to a $500 USD donation from United States contributors.
    Chaplain Gueu, born and raised in Africa‟s Ivory Coast where independence and self-sufficiency is often required for survival, is a firm believer in the benefits of having a garden. The Chaplain, now a Captain in the U.S. Air Force, remarked "It sure looks like a million dollar garden and we want to thank everyone for their contributions whether it was with their time, money, seeds or materials – we just want to say a big „thank you‟. We look forward to seeing the plants germinate, grow and produce healthy food for the orphanage".
    The 429th Expeditionary Operations Squadron, U.S. FOL, supports multinational aircraft operations that conduct detection, monitoring and tracking missions supporting counterdrug efforts in the region. U.S. military and civilian personnel often volunteer their services in support of community projects and are pleased to partner with local agencies in reaching out to the people of Curacao.
  • Minister of Health De Weever praises EMS.

    emsworkers12062011Great Bay (DCOMM):--- The Minister of Health, Social Development, and Labor Cornelius de Weever would like to congratulate the Ambulatory Services and other Emergency Medical Services.

    This week, June 12-18, is EMS Week, and there is a program commemorating the week, which the Minister urges the public to support all of the events.

    "Firstly, I would like the public to support the EMS week events. Secondly, I want to say congratulations and keep up good work," Minister de Weever said.

    "I know that every day, the public depends on you. Your work in naturally demanding. This may cause some stress. However, rest assure that your services are a contribution to the community of St. Maarten, and I want to thank each and every one of you for your hard work and dedication to your work and the community of St. Maarten."

    The year the theme is "EMS EVERYDAY HEROES."

    There will be several interesting events, from a motorcade parade to radio appearances to a lecture at different schools to karaoke night to a sports day. For more information, contact EMS at 542-9292.

    Come out and enjoy what the EMS have to offer, the Minister said.

  • Mullet Bay Demolition in Full Swing --- Demolition order needed for 13 buildings.

    mulletbaydemolition13062011Mullet Bay:--- Workmen operating heavy equipments for BBW were busy demolishing the structures at Mullet Bay on Monday as the contract was awarded to the lowest bidder by Sun Resorts.
    Managing Director of BBW Fernando Williams said BBW was contracted to demolish 63 buildings but there will be s light delay for at least 13 of those buildings. Williams said the company is presently working on demolishing 50 of the buildings which would take about six months to complete. He said though that BBW will do its best to see if they will be able to complete the demolition process faster. As for the 13 buildings that are still owned by investors government will have to take a decision to move to court for a demolition order if an agreement cannot be reached with the owners, government and Sun Resorts. The materials from the demolition Williams said will be crushed on site and be reduced to waste for disposal.
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    Click here to view more photos of the Mullet Bay Demolition.
  • House of Nehesi Publishers Community Bulletin.

    Tuesday, June 14

    Book PARTY

    "St. Martin Talk" by Robert Romney

    A new handbook of "words, phrases, sayings & general communication terms" of the St. Martin way of speaking. English and French references. Illustrations included.

    7:30 pm, University of St. Martin, Philipsburg.

    Contact: (590.690) 30.73.66, nehesi@sintmaarten.net.

    Organized by House of Nehesi Publishers and St. Martin Book Fair Committee.

  • Lands Recherché Investigating Seven Cases --- Vote Buying Not the Highest Priority Case --- Mos --- Department Still Understaffed.

    hansmos12062011Philipsburg:--- The Federal Detectives (Lands Recherche) headed by Ademar Doran under the supervision of Chief Public Prosecutor Hans Mos is currently investigating seven cases all of which were approved by the Attorney General said Mos in an invited comment. Mos said the cases that are currently being investigated are the Tortola mishap which involved human smuggling from St. Maarten that left eight people dead.
    The detectives are also busy gathering information on the Buncamper case, the case of the Tourist Bureau which involves Regina Labega, other senior civil servants and a politician but unless all the information is compiled, a decision cannot be taken as to whether or not these persons will ever be prosecuted.
    The team is busy investigating the Pointe Blanche Prison on two different levels, first the federal detectives wants to find out how the prisoner Omar Smith better known as Chucky Nelson escaped while at the facility and they are also investigating the incident where a prisoner's money was stolen while in safe keeping at Pointe Blanche Prison. Mos also indicated that a foreign country requested assistance from St. Maarten which the federal detectives are also working on and that makes the amount of work for the meager staff too much. He said that there are times when the detectives work on two or three cases at a time while some of the cases just have to wait until there is more manpower or when the detectives here are free.
    The Chief Prosecutor said the department is currently understaffed since they only have five people working while there is a need for 16 persons. He said right now the Lands Recherché has three detectives all of whom are new to St. Maarten and have to provide top quality reports from the investigations they conduct which are based strictly on the law.
    Therefore because of the lack of manpower Mos is the one who decides which of the investigations that are stacked up to be investigated gets priority. Already Mos has removed the case of vote buying involving the United Peoples Party and some police officers and placed it to the bottom of the stack because for him it is not a high priority case. Asked if he will ever get to the case file and if an investigation will ever be done Mos said he does not want to give predictions in none of the cases. While the detectives are busy gathering information on the Buncamper's file which involves the sale of the economic rights of government lease land and that of the Tourist Bureau that has Regina Labega on a leach when it comes to her career, Mos said he cannot and will not say when these investigations will begin rolling.

    BTA Scandal Report Expected by July 1--- Case Might go to Court after the Summer.


    As for the investigation surrounding the Brooks Tower Accord which kicked off on January 21st 2011, the report on that case is still not ready and the prosecutor's office may get the report by July 1 2011 Mos said. Mos explained that the BTA report took longer than expected but his office will not do anything on the case until after the summer of 2011.
    While the prosecutor's office is waiting on the report to take a decision on BTA investigation which rocked the St. Maarten community leaving at least seven person's lives in shambles after spending days if not weeks in jail as suspects of bribery, forgery and human smuggling. One of those persons is Evelyn Hodge who has worked for at least seven former Lt. Governors of St. Maarten.
    Hodge is currently at home awaiting the outcome of the ongoing investigation to see if she will ever return to her job as a civil servant, besides that, she has to remain content with a salary slash while having her daughter in a university abroad to support.
    The BTA extension project which was continued by the current Minister of Justice and the ongoing investigation also have a number of persons waiting on the outcome of this investigation to see if the Minister of Justice will ever grant them a residency permit for St. Maarten.

    Unsolved and Solved Murder Cases --- 50% of Cases Solved for 2011---Record in 6 years for St. Maarten --- Afoo Investigation flawed by Investigators.

    As for the crime situation on St. Maarten, Mos said it's the first time in the past five or six years that St. Maarten was able to solve 50% of its murder investigations within days. So far this year six persons were killed at the hands of criminals. The cases that were solved are the Cheetah Moon (Death of L. Guillevin, Mullet Bay, February 26th), Learning Unlimited (Death of F. Louis, Chopin Road, March 4th), Cake House (Death of E. Nova Valdez, Cake House Road, March 4th). While the investigators are still busy working on the murder case of Amador Jones, Miguel Arrindell of Cappuccino Bar and Emilio De Leon Reyes who was gunned down in his home in Dutch Quarter.
    Despite the progress, the community of St. Maarten is still waiting to see if the investigators would ever solve the murder of David Eustace Priest who was gunned down while in his van in the presence of an eye witness in Oyster Pond. Mos said he is of the opinion that there are persons on St. Maarten who have information on this particular killing but people he said are not coming forward with the information which would help the investigators close in on the killers.
    Another case that rocked the community of St. Maarten is the murder the owner of Afoo Supermarket in Dutch Quarter which according to our sources said was bungled by the detectives that investigated the case. SMN News learnt that local police officers tried to assist the RST when they were investigating this case by bringing forward some Jamaicans who saw the killers escaping. The source said that the Jamaicans even led the investigators to the gun that was used to kill the well known businessman but the investigators heading the case deported the eyewitnesses. The source said that when the informants led the detectives to the shot gun that was used to kill the owner of Afoo, the RST thought that the weapon they found was not the murder weapon but that was proven when ballistics was done on the faulty shot gun. However, by the then, those that had valuable information and could have assisted in solving this brutal murder were shipped out of St. Maarten because they were residing on the island illegally. When asked about this, Mos said he does not want to divulge information on the case because it is still open. Mos said that the gun found by the investigators is the gun that killed the owner of Afoo supermarket, he stressed that the case is still being investigated and hopes that persons in the community that have information that can help police solve this case will come forward.
    The prosecutor's office with the assistance of other islands exhausted their resources when they put together the TKO team to investigate the murder of Clemencia Julot who was raped and stabbed multiple times but to date the killers could not be found. Investigators will not reopen this case unless they get new and convincing leads. Another case the prosecutor's office exhausted money and time on was the Leta Lynn Cordes case which is now placed on the cold case files. In 2007, the body of a Spanish man was discovered in the water behind Francis Bar on A.T. Illidge road, he was buried without an autopsy conducted and to date his bereaved relatives do not know his exact cause of death. While they are sure someone killed their loved one, the lack of a proper investigation has left his mother and other close relatives without hope of getting justice.
    Several persons have contacted SMN News expressing outrage at the increased amount of crimes especially armed robberies, hold ups and house break ins. Mos said on several occasions that his hands are tied because of the lack of prison cells. He said he presented a proposal to the Minister of Justice which would assist law enforcement to create much needed space but to date the Minister has not taken a decision on how he will secure more cell space. Unless that is done, St. Maarten/St. Martin would have to brace itself with more of these armed robbers who are ahead of the game with the justice system. Should they be caught and arrested they will only spend 26 days in jail before they are back on the streets doing what they do best.
  • Two Armed Robberies Committed in Marigot Simultaneously --- Bandits Robbed Change Point Express and Chinese Supermarket.

    changeexpress11062011Marigot:--- Four armed and masked bandits walked into the Change Express on Rue de Saint James on Saturday shortly before 3pm and attempted to rob the establishment. The armed robbers fired shots through one of the glass doors which also hit another glass door at the rear of the Change Point. The robbers failed to access the safe because the glass protecting the employees and safe did not break open. The daring daylight robbery left the only cashier that was on duty shocked and scared while the other cashier left an hour before. Despite the aggression and use of firearms no one was injured and the attempted robbery failed as no monies were stolen. Several Gendarmes and a Forensics team were on the scene on Saturday while they searched the area for the culprits who left with a car that was waiting outside of the establishment.
    goldentreasuresupermarket11062011The bandits then made their way further down Rue St. James and they held up Golden Treasure Supermarket. Two of the armed robbers held the cashier at gun point before taking away the days sales from the till and escaped. The armed robbers did not fire shots during the second robbery but the daring robbery was caught on surveillance cameras.
  • Minister Shigemoto wants Fully Operational Central Bank by January 1, 2012.

    Philipsburg:--- Honourable Minister of Finance Hiro Shigemoto wants a fully operational independent Central Bank in Philipsburg by January 1st, 2012.

    The Council of Ministers has taken such a decision and would like to see the necessary tools in place so the national financial institution can function at an optimal level and be able to address pertinent operational matters.

    Once a Supervisory Board of the Central Bank of Curacao and Sint Maarten (CBCS) is in place, Sint Maarten would like the board to work on this as soon as possible.

    "We would gladly appreciate Tromp's co-ordination using all the resources available to implement the necessary measures for this initiative.

    "Sint Maarten also wants to be a part of the staff recruitment and development of the expertise locally," Hon. Minister of Finance Hiro Shigemoto stated on Tuesday.

    The Minister in his letter to the CBCS President Emsley Tromp dated May 31, 2011, also pointed out that Sint Maarten is doing its utmost to get the Supervisory Board of the CBCS established.

    A letter has once again been sent to the Government of Curacao informing them about Sint Maarten's proposed candidate for Chairman of the Board of CBCS.

  • Notary Association met on Sint Maarten --- Henry Parisius elected as President.

    notaryassociationsxmmeeting06062011On the weekend of June 4th, a total of 23 legal professionals; notaries, junior notaries and lawyers working at civil law notary offices on Curacao, Aruba and Sint Maarten attended the Annual Meeting of the Antillean & Aruban Civil Law Notary Association, which after many years was held on Sint Maarten.

    At that occasion Mr. Henry Parisius LL.M., MSc, civil law notary on Sint Maarten, was elected President of the Notary Association.

    The other Board Members are Alba Chatlein (Vice-President), Andre Palm (Secretary) , Mandy Berends (Treasurer), Igor Naaldijk (Member) and Ted Johnson (Member).

    Henry Parisius: "The very successful meeting on Sint Maarten evidences the important role that our Association plays in the furtherance of our common professional interests!".

  • Nature Foundation Launches Reef Check Volunteer Program.

    naturefoundationreefchecktraining07062011On June 3rd and 4th a group of seven volunteer divers attended a Reef Check training course held by the St, Maarten Nature Foundation. Reef Check is a coral reef research method designed to be both simple while at the same time effective in researching the health of both the country's coral reef health and fish stock population. "One of the main tasks of the St. Maarten Nature Foundation is to conduct research on the health of our Marine Ecosystem. However, because we lack the resources to conduct a wide scale, continuous study we have decided to relaunch Reef Check on St. Maarten using volunteers from within the community" commented Tadzio Bervoets, Nature Foundation Marine Park Manager and Instructor during the Reef Check course. The course involved one day of theory including theoretical exams and one day of practical work involving conducting an actual Reef Check while SCUBA diving on Frenchman's Reef.

    Reef Check is a coral reef monitoring protocol designed to research tropical coral reefs. Reef Check works to create partnerships among community volunteers, government agencies, businesses, universities and other non-profits. The Goals of Reef Check are to: educate the public about the value of reef ecosystems and the current crisis affecting marine life; to create a global network of volunteer teams trained in Reef Check's scientific methods who regularly monitor and report on reef health; to facilitate collaboration that produces ecologically sound and economically sustainable solutions; and to stimulate local community action to protect remaining pristine reefs and rehabilitate damaged reefs worldwide.

    On St. Maarten Reef Check dives will be conducted once a month from June to October on four different sites to monitor for the various threats and changes on our coral health. Specific attention is given to Coral Health and Diseases, the presence of Important Fish Species and the Health of Invertebrates including Lobster and Conch. In addition to Nature Foundation staff the St. Maarten Reef Check Team is comprised of Kippy Gilders, Andrew Murphey-Laws, Fleur Hermanides, Ivana Rakutt, Giedre Lesmaityte, Lucas Berman, and Jeffrey Bruning.

  • Parliament in Limbo with Finances --- Budget would need second amendment to suffice the year.

    Philipsburg:--- Members of parliament are currently trying to work out ways of getting monies to conduct the people's business. SMN News learnt that the finance department informed parliament that there is no money to finance their scheduled trip to Holland and Mexico.
    SMN News has been reliably informed that parliament would lack close to Naf.100.000.00 to meet its needs by the end of 2011. Monies are needed for legal fees, travel expenses and the hiring of staff. The source said while parliament will be meeting again on Friday in a Central Committee meeting to debate some amendments to the 2011 budget, parliament they said will have to meet again before the end of the year for a second budget amendment. The intention of the ruling coalition is to get at least Naf.100.000.00 more so that parliament would be able to meet its expenditures.
    SMN News learnt that the two largest factions in parliament namely the United Peoples Party Faction and the National Alliance are suffering from the budget woes, since these two factions are supposed to have Naf.200, 000.00 each for the hiring of staff and that money they said is not available.
    While Parliament, the main organ of government is having problems with finances the source said the Council of Ministers have lavish monies at their disposition even though the budget has not yet been signed off. Members of the Council of Ministers are traveling almost every week and while the Ministers are obligated by law to notify parliament of their travel plans, that is never done. On Friday afternoon,  the Council of Ministers were supposed to attend the central committee meeting to discuss the budget amendments but four of the seven Ministers were off island, namely Prime Minister Sarah Wescot Williams, Minister of Justice Roland Duncan, Minister of Education Rhoda Arrindell and Minister of Economic Affairs Franklin Meyers. Those that attended the meeting were Deputy Prime Minister Theo Heyliger, Minister of Health and Labour Cornelius De Weever and Minister of Finance Hiro Shigemoto.
    Parliament would also need to have monies for legal fees since the legislators would need to pay attorneys who would be working on the laws to govern St. Maarten. Members of Parliament also need to have their tickets paid for as well as their daily travel allowances to participate in meetings overseas.
    There are currently two trips scheduled before parliament closes off for the summer. A delegation is expected to travel on Thursday to Holland to attend meetings with Kingdom Affairs and inter-parliamentary relations committees and to Mexico on June 21st to attend a Parlatino meetings related to education, labor and justice.
    Leader of the National Alliance and Member of Parliament William Marlin said he raised this issue with the chairlady because to date members of parliament never met neither have they debated a budget for parliament. Marlin said he does not know if the budget of parliament was decided upon by the presidium but he already indicated to the chairlady of parliament that being part of Parlatino has severe financial consequences for parliament. Marlin said parliament has to decide whether or not they will continue to take part in the Parlatino meetings since there are severe financial constraints facing parliament.
    Besides the budget woes, SMN News learnt that members of the National Alliance still cannot obtain a key to enter the new parliament building for them to work. The source said the new assistant to the management team of parliament Benjamin Kelly was supposed to make copies of the key some two weeks ago and to date no one knows what is the delay.
    The source said the only Member of Parliament who can enter Parliament after hours is Romain La Ville since he knows where the key for the shutter of the new parliament building is hidden. However, La Ville was forced to stand up outside of the Parliament building Wednesday morning because the parliament building was still closed at 10:00am and he could not find the key. SMN News further learnt that La Ville was locked out of parliament at 3pm one afternoon. It should be noted that Romain La Ville is the only parliamentarian who is on the job daily.
    Leader of National Alliance William Marlin confirmed that he gave Benjamin Kelly monies to duplicate keys for the National Alliance faction members since Kelly claimed that he does not have any petty cash available to him to duplicate the keys.
    Marlin said Kelly later informed him that the key shop does not have the type of key in stock so he could not get the duplicated copies of the key for the shutter. Marlin said right now members of the National Alliance faction are being locked out of the building after hours. He said he is one of the persons that are being affected by this because he works best at night.
  • Foundations relocate Iguanas --- Iguanas protected by local and international laws.

    foundationsrelocateiguanas09062011On Tuesday June 7th EPIC and Nature Foundation removed a number of Iguanas from the demolition site of the old Mullet Bay resort. During previous days both Foundations received various calls from concerned citizens informing staff that large numbers of iguanas were being caught and sold by workers on the site. It was therefore decided to capture and relocate the iguanas to a more suitable area. Iguanas are protected under International and Local legislation, including under Appendix II of CITES, under Appendix III of the SPAW Protocol and under Section IV article 16 and 17 of the St. Maarten Nature Conservation Ordinance. Harming, killing, buying or selling them is an illegal act and punishable by law.

    On Wednesday June 8th both Foundations were once again alerted by members of the community regarding workers at the construction site capturing iguanas either for sale or food consumption. Three iguanas were found tied up and hidden away in a storage shed. Workers at the site were made aware of the protected status of iguanas on St. Maarten and the Iguanas were released at a safe location. EPIC and the Nature Foundation will continue with their relocation activities and have launched a comprehensive Iguana relocation project for the Iguanas at Mullet Bay. Volunteers interested in assisting EPIC and Nature Foundation with this project are requested to email rjthompson@epicislands.org or manager@naturefoundationsxm.org and provide their name and telephone number. Iguana capture and relocation will most likely take place on Saturday mornings.

  • Burglary Decreased by 15% Compared to Same Period Last Year --- Robberies Decreased by 4% --- Main Perpetrators Arrested --- De Witte/Jacobs.

    djacobsandpdewitte13062011Philipsburg:--- With the spate of armed robberies and house burglaries that are being committed far too often, the local police department said that crime has in fact decreased this year compared to the same period last year. Chief Commissioner of Police Peter De Witte and the head of the Detective Department Denise Jacobs told SMN News in an exclusive interview on Monday that burglaries have decreased by 15% compared to the same period last year. Both top cops said that some 18 suspects were arrested for burglaries and they managed to solve more than 80 cases of house break-ins. The police arrested 25 suspects that are the main suspects of most of the armed robberies, solving over 40 cases of armed robberies. The figures they said showed a decrease in 4% of armed robberies compared to the same period of 2010. De Witte who just celebrated his first anniversary as the Chief of Police on St. Maarten said the police department is very concerned with the amount of crimes that are being committed on a daily basis but severe emphasis is being placed on upgrading the police department for 2014.
    Jacobs said that while there is public perception that the crime rate is escalating, the police she said also feels that every robbery and other crime that are committed on the island is one too much. De Witte said that the situation does create a sense of insecurity but the police he said works with numbers. The top cop said each and every robbery or house break-in is too much especially when people's rights and privacy are violated.
    The police they said are mostly worried about the brutality that takes place during these robberies and house break-ins since it happens in peoples home and during the day time. Jacobs said the police is doing all they can to reduce these incidents. Asked why these incidents and the arrests of the perpetrators are not being reported. Jacobs said the police have nothing to hide and they are trying to be as transparent as possible. She said in several instances the detectives work overtime to catch the criminals causing them to file their reports late. The policy of the Government and Police is to make sure they are informed and to be transparent. While the police is only one partner they are all working together to identify the social aspects of the crime and juvenile delinquency.
    The intention they said is to work harder on crime prevention which involves the development of the people, to provide a social structure, while the police will work on stopping or preventing the crime.
    Jacobs said all the social partners such as the schools, the community and associations have to come together if they are to better improve the safety and security of the people. The time she said has come for community policing but there must be communication between all partners. The lack of communication Jacobs said is what is hindering progress, while she agreed that everyone is working very hard, they need to bring their efforts together to become more efficient. De Witte said one of the setbacks of the police is that they are too shy of their success because they have not done enough to report their progress.
    Asked how the lack of prison space is affecting the work and progress of the police, Jacobs said the police department just continues to work and tries not get distracted by the lack of cells. "We know when we arrest these perpetrators they cannot commit any robbery or house break-in while in the police holding cells."
    Chief Commissioner of Police Peter De Witte said each and every time the tripartite committee meets, the lack of prison space is on the agenda. He said the Prosecutor, the Police Chief and the Minister meets monthly and the lack of prison space is discussed in each meeting. De Witte said while prison space has to be created by the Minister of Justice, the police and the prosecutors feels just as responsible for the inadequacies of the system and they are doing their best to make sure the criminals are put away.
    De Witte said the aim is to have a professional police force in place for St. Maarten, one which St. Maarten never had before.
    One of the projects that are currently in the hands of the Minister of Justice is the police school which they want to launch by the first week of August 2011. De Witte said when the Minister takes a decision on the establishment of a police school St. Maarten and the BES islands will work together on the project. Students who want to be part of the police force would only have to spend like 2 months in Curacao while the rest of the training will take place locally. In the meantime, the police department is expected to get at least 10 new police officers from Holland on a temporary basis. De Witte said St. Maarten already requested 20 officers but he is not sure if the added manpower will be here by the end of the summer. He said another 18 students are scheduled to leave shortly to join the police academy but they will be there for at least two years.
    The top cop said that the police force needs to have 389 persons on staff but right now there is only 189.
  • BTA Applicant Notice.

    Philipsburg – The BTA Advisory Committee responsible for the review of all Brooks Towers Accord permits officially announces that all persons who have paid the required fees at the Receivers' office are now given a final opportunity to submit their files with all the necessary documentation to the office.

    Files can be submitted as of Monday June 13th,2011 until Thursday June 16th, 2011 daily from 7:00am to 8:00pm at the temporary BTA office in the last building behind NAPA at A.Th. Illidge road. Please be advised that this date will not be extended.

    This notice is ONLY for persons who have made the required payments to the Receiver's Office. Please do not go to the Labor department but rather to the temporary BTA office as explained above.

  • Ambulance Workers threaten to Strike for Unpaid Overtime Incentives --- Minister Meets with Ambulance Personnel.

    Philipsburg:--- Ambulance personnel are threatening to hold industrial actions as of 11pm on Tuesday night for monies they claimed are owed to them for the overtime work they put in during the carnival season.
    The emergency workers called on government to make the necessary payments because industrial actions could be consequential should there be an emergency during the night. On Tuesday evening, Minister of Health Cornelius De Weever said he was meeting with the ambulance workers and his intention was to find a solution to prevent industrial actions.
    Up to press time the meeting was still in progress with the Minister and the Ambulance personnel.
  • NAGICO Urges community to include insurance on their hurricane preparedness checklist.

    GREAT BAY:--- June 1st is the official start of Hurricane season and NAGICO Insurances is reminding their existing and potential customers to get their insurance policies regulated so that they are fully prepared for what is deemed to be an above average hurricane season.
    "A natural disaster especially a hurricane, is not one of the things in life we can take for granted, because we cannot predict whether or not it happens nor do we have any control over the extent of the damage it will cause when it does in fact occur," Dwayne Elgin, Executive Manager and Chartered Underwriter of NAGICO Insurances said. "So the most we can really do is be prepared, make sure we are properly secure in terms of our food and water supply, try to make our homes and our surrounding as safe possible and to also ensure that the insurances for our homes, businesses and motor vehicles are up to date."
    After the passage of Hurricane Luis in 1995, many people realized the importance of planning ahead and understood the value of insurance.
    "Just before the passage of Luis, people were warned just as how they are being warned now," he explained. "It was in the papers, on the radio and on the television, but many people still did not believe that we would suffer any damage or even that the hurricane would come because we were spared and lucky so many times before. It was not until they had to watch helplessly as the category four hurricanes caused severe damage to their homes, vehicles and to their lives that people actually started to place importance on insuring their homes and property."
    If you are a homeowner and especially one who was involved in it from the first block was laid, then you will understand what it must feel like to see something you worked so hard to build, or something you worked so hard to pay the mortgage for be taken away in a matter of minutes.
    "When you have insurance, you have peace of mind," Elgin said." Because once you have paid your premium, you won't have to worry about what will happen if your home or property is damaged during the hurricane. We are sure you have other things to worry about, other than where you will get the money to repair or rebuild your home. That is why we are here."
    NAGICO Insurances offers comprehensive home insurance, auto, marine, life, medical, motorcycle and extended perils insurances.
  • Acting Governor Reynold Groeneveldt Ties the Knot on his 59th Birthday.

    reynoldgroeneveldtwedding07062011Maho:--- Acting Governor Reynold Groeneveldt and Glenda Patricia Smith tied the knot on Tuesday at the Sonesta Maho Beach Resort among family, friends and several dignitaries. Acting Governor Groeneveldt also celebrated his 59th birthday on Tuesday.
    The ceremony was conducted by Reverend Brisset while Pastor Romney, brother of the groom gave the blessings.
    Attending the ceremony were Governor Eugene Holiday and first lady Marie Louise, Deputy Prime Minister Theo Heyliger, Minister Franklin Meyers, Parliamentarians William Marlin and Johan Janchi Leonard and his spouse.
    The newly wedded couple were friends since they were teenagers but at some point went their separate ways. They described their love story as "A Miracle of Love" which stated that they were friends from teens, when they fell in love and went their separate ways. The spark they said was rekindled after many years which they decided to set straight on Tuesday June 7th when they tied the knot.
    SMN News wishes the couple a fruitful and blessed marriage.

    Click here to view photos of the Wedding Ceremony 1.

    Click here to view photos of the Wedding Ceremony 2.
    Click here to view photos of the Wedding Ceremony 3.
  • Abusive Parents Transferred to Guadeloupe for Prosecution.

    Marigot:--- The mother and step father of 13 year old boy was transferred to Guadeloupe on Monday to face prosecution for constant child abuse. The transfer was done on the orders of Prosecutor Jacques Louvier.
    A press release from the Gendarmerie states that the 13 year old boy (victim) approached the Gendarmerie on Saturday June 4th to file an official report against his mother and step father since he was a victim of constant abuse. The victim alleged that his parents would inflict injuries on him on a regular basis. On Saturday, the gendarmes saw signs of abuse on the child and they took him to the hospital where he was examined. Doctors at the emergency room of the Louis Constant Fleming Hospital delivered a medical certificate that has a 10-day sick leave on it. An investigation conducted by the Juvenile Department of the Gendarmerie showed that the parents have two other children ages four and nine all of whom were regularly beaten with belts or electric cables. The parents will be face charges of inflicting harm on minors under 15 years as well as two incidents of aggravated violence which was followed by the issuing of a sick leave note for the duration of more than eight days. The release did not state if the children were placed in protective custody of the state.
  • Students Stranded in Flooded Schools --- No Directives given to School after 11am.

    roadsflood08062011St.Peters:--- Students of several schools in the St. Peters area were stranded in their school compound surrounded by water as the principals of these schools tried several times to reach the Ministry of Education to get directives to call the school buses to take home the students.
    Students of the St. Maarten Academy were seen trying to get through the water on a chair that is dragged by rope and other students. Some parents who showed up at the school to retrieve their children had to leave without their children because the school did not obtain directives from the Ministry of Education to release the students.
    SMN News made several phone calls to the policy advisor of Minister Rhoda Arrindell to see who would be giving out the directives and when but we were told to contact the sector director Mrs. Claudette Forsight Labega who could not be reached by phone. It is understood that CIB was instructed to call out the bus drivers to take the students home as government is trying to avoid a congested road ways if parents should head out towards the schools.

    Photos of the flooded roads on St. Maarten.
  • Parliament to hire Atwell Terrence Rey as Policy Advisor --- No voting will be Required.

    Philipsburg:--- The Presidium of Parliament has taken an alternative decision on Thursday to hire the campaign manager of the chairlady of parliament Atwell Terrence Rey as their policy advisor. Rey met with the presidium on Thursday where he explained the presidium and the United Peoples Party faction that he applied for the position of policy advisor and not the position that the presidium offered to him in February 2011 which was the second deputy secretary general.
    Policy Advisor is a lower position which would not require voting by members of parliament. SMN News has been reliably informed that Rey accepted the position the presidium offered him on Thursday. Sources say members of the United Peoples Party faction in Parliament have no problem hiring Rey in the lower position. SMN News learnt that Rey will begin working as of July 1 2011.
  • Armed Robbers Demanded Money Safe and Jewelry when they Held Up Henri Arnell --- Released from Hospital and Recuperating.

    French Quarter:--- The four armed bandits that accosted businessman Henri Arnell on Wednesday demanded that he hand over his money safe and valuables such as jewelry that they believed he had at his home at Arnell's Estate.
    The businessman said the armed robbers gun-butted him several times on his head when he told them that he had no safe at home. He said he received several bursts on his head which was bleeding profusely as they continue to hit him. Arnell said he lifted his hand over his head to shield himself from the blows and they lashed him with the weapon on his hand and cut his right thumb finger. Henri Arnell was transported to the Louis Constant Fleming Hospital for treatment, he has since been released and is recuperating at home.
    The businessman said he tried to convince the robbers that he had no safe at his house and that the only money he had on him was his pocket money. Arnell said when he said that, the bandits immediately went into his pockets and retrieved his pocket book before escaping.
    Several persons in French Quarter including some of Arnell's relatives said they believe that there are persons who might be involved in setting up the businessman. While the family has refused to divulge further information on what they believed, they said this is the second time in recent months Henri Arnell was held up by bandits at his home in French Quarter, each time the robbers were armed with shot guns.
    Residents of French Quarter are also beginning to express outrage with the amount of criminal activities taking place in their neighborhoods.
  • Veteran Educator Resigns from USM --- Late Payments and lack of Doctor Cards Frustrating Employees --- Kenneth Nolan to be sent home --- Contract not Renewed.

    sharonfreiburg09062011Pond Island:--- Professors at the University of St. Martin (USM) are becoming frustrated by the day as they are constantly being paid late and to date they still do not have doctor cards. SMN News has been reliably informed that Sharon Freiburg has submitted her letter of resignation which will become effective August 1 2011. Freiburg is the division head of Education and has 32 years of experience under her sleeves.
    SMN News learnt that another issue facing the professors at USM is the fact that the board decided to hire someone to fill the position of President who does not have an education degree while the Acting Dean also does not have an education degree. The source said Freiburg is angry because these two persons wanted her to do things that are not ethical and legal.
    SMN News also learnt that the chief finance controller Kenneth Nolan will be relieved from his job this coming week. The source said the board is claiming that Nolan's contract is up and it will not be renewed. However, sources say Nolan's contract has been up over a year now and he was kept on the job by the same board who now says he will be relieved. SMN News also learnt that the former President of USM Josianne Artsen Fleming informed Nolan in August 2010 that his contract would not be renewed that year and the board agreed but when Fleming Artsen resigned the board claimed they extended his contract.
    Sources say that Kenneth Nolan is fully responsible for the financial woes the University of St. Martin is facing. They said that Nolan did not provide USM with a budget for three or four consecutive years since the CFO does not know how to prepare an annual budget. Questions are now being raised as to how government was funding the institution without a budget.
    kennethnolan08082010SMN News learnt that the CFO made some bogus accounting entries which USMs' former accounting firm Deloitte & Touché refused to process. The source said the board of USM then followed the CFO's advice and changed the accounting firm to Price Water Coopers where the CFO allegedly has friends working.
    SMN News also learnt that the treasurer of USM board discovered that a financial racket was being carried out at USM by persons who were working at USM in the past. Where at least two of the past employees were making more monies than the institutions' former President Josianne Artsen Fleming. They said the monies were being made through outside projects which were going to one of the former professors and former deans because these workers were allowed to bill USM for work they were already getting paid to do as full time workers. At one point, the board was contemplating turning over the documents the treasurer unearthed to the prosecutor's office but subsequently changed their minds because USMs' financial records were not in order for at least three years. It was also decided that if a complaint was filed then USM fundraising activities were going to be affected.
    Several of the USM employees and professors were seen at the RBTT bank on Thursday June 9th trying to obtain monies from their accounts. Many of them said only on Thursday the University paid their salaries. One of the employees who spoke to SMN News anonymously said each month she is forced to pay late fees on her mortgage because USM is paying its workers late. When the employees/professors complain they are told that they should exercise patience with the institution.
    The teacher said they would love to show more patience with their bosses but the banks and landlords such as St. Maarten Housing Development Foundation does not show their tenants and clients any patience and mercy at the end of the month. The said only last month they received a letter from SHDF informing them that the rents will be increased as of January 2012 and persons paying their rent late would have to pay an additional amount as late fees.
    Last week Wednesday, Minister of Education Rhoda Arrindell confirmed that USM sent a letter to head of the Education Department Quincy Harrigan requesting $350,000.00 from government because they were not able to make their salaries for the end of May 2011. Minister Arrindell said the Council of Ministers discussed the letter since it was forwarded to them and decided to grant USM some $45,000.00. The Minister described USMs' letter as being a "little rude." The Minister further explained that USM is a private institution and that would remain her mantra until the situation changes at USM. Minister Arrindell also expressed hope that the financial situation at USM would change since that she said would be in everyone's interest and government was working closely with the institution to find a solution.