St. Martin News Network

Thursday
Oct 23rd
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  • LOUIE, WE want to know too!

    In November 22nd Herald I read that the "Honorable" Parliamentarian Louie Laveist wants to know "how the people's money is spent". He theatrically stood on the Parliament's expensive Front Street stage and pretended to champion "the people's business". What I want to know is: "what happened to the loot the judge convicted the "Honorable" Parliamentarian of collecting from the new Government Building project? And while we are at it, can he tell us who were the recipients of a reported
    US $15 Million for the sale of the land formerly occupied by BBW / EFB next to the Simpson Bay bridge? Also, can he confirm or deny that while he was a commissioner he arranged for 30 Bus and Taxi licenses to be issued to two transportation companies supposedly set up /directed /owned by him and/or members of his immediate family? And if yes, can he tell us if it is true or not that those companies (and thus he and/or his family) collect 30 X $600 per month equaling to US $18,000 a MONTH from the exploited bus and taxi drivers the licenses are supposedly rented to . If this is all true, it would explain the beautiful $83,000 White Range Rover SUV the "honorable" parliamentarian now drives! Talk about "the people want to know"!

    Michael J. Ferrier
    Citizen

  • THE QUALITY OF LIFE.

    Wikipedia states the following:"The term quality of life (QOL) references the general well-being of individuals and societies. The term is used in a wide range of contexts, including the fields of international development, healthcare, and politics. Quality of life should not be confused with the concept of standard of living, which is based primarily on income. Instead, standard indicators of the quality of life include not only wealth and employment, but also the built environment, physical and mental health, education, recreation and leisure time, and social belonging." Another indicator which isn't mentioned would be "safety".
    Let's look at the indicators one by one and ask ourselves some questions:
    Are we satisfied with projects executed, on-going projects and projects in the (near) future in Sint Maarten? How do you feel about "the Pigeon Coop", Causeway Bridge, Filling of the Great Garbage Pond and The Tunnel(s) of Doom?
    Physical and Mental Health: Are we satisfied with our current health care system in Sint Maarten (coverage, service, costs)? How do you feel about general practitioners no longer taking private insurance cards, the Mental Health Foundation which cannot obtain a license to optimally execute its tasks and the ongoing saga at our only hospital the Sint Maarten Medical Center?
    Education: Are we satisfied with the set up of our current educational system in Sint Maarten (drop-out rate, level of education, accessibility)? How do you feel about schools lacking stationary and lesson materials, drug abuse in and around schools and gang fights in and around schools?
    Recreation and Leisure Time: Are we satisfied with the recreation facilities offered in Sint Maarten (accessibility, costs)? How do you feel about the lack of recreational facilities (besides the natural locations)?
    Social Belonging: Are we satisfied with the amount of community activities in Sint Maarten (church groups, trade-unions, community foundations)? How do you feel about the level and amount of events organized by community groups?
    Safety: Are we satisfied with the current justice system in Sint Maarten? How do you feel about the crime rate and your safety?
    Now let's ask ourselves one final question:
    What can the government do, what can you do and what can we do as a community to increase the quality of life in Sint Maarten? #sxmmovement

    Soualiga Social Movement

  • The role of our Government and our People?

    It is the assumption of "the people" that, when voting for a political candidate of their choice, our best interest would be looked after.
    However, the trend always seems to be, electing leaders who take everything else into consideration except the best interest of "the people and our Country".

    Parliament, which is our highest governing body and responsible for passing Legislations, thereby removing all doubts, insecurities and abuse of its people, are actively and publicly involved in wheeling, dealing and instructing their individually selected Ministers how and what deals to cut and accept.

    Governor, who should uphold the practice of "good governance", is visiting schools, attending ceremonies and like all others, traveling the globe.

    Prime Minister, who heads the Council of Ministers while holding her own portfolios, is just being the pretty face of Government and ribbon cutter, with
    lots of talk but little meaning or substance.

    Leaders of Government who only makes appearances at press briefings when having to dictate to us what projects will be executed, with total disregard as to
    our views on such projects.

    The people cried about the neglect of our elderly, youth, unemployed, poverty, educational system, healthcare, traffic, crime situation, environment and much,
    much more. The people sighed a breath of relief when a "new" Government took office with the promise of: "Working FOR the people".

    Unfortunately, the change of Government has proven to have as much meaning/substance as our Dutch/French borders. Absolutely no meaning at all.
    We have seen nothing more than the "same ole, same ole with a little extra icing on top", showing total disrespect and disregard to the people of this Country.
    Is this what we opted for? The answer is YES. We continue to complain but yet we ridicule anyone who tries to take our Leaders to task. We fight with each
    other to defend the failures of our favorite politicians and/or political parties. A change of Government is not the solution unless we as a people stand up and
    demand the promises we voted for. We did not vote for a tunnel, cricket field, race track, TEMPO and more debts.

    We voted for a better way of life which includes but is not limited to our elderly, education, healthcare, employment, crime and immigration control.
    It is time to seriously let your voices, concerns, disapprovals and (possible) solutions be heard, considered/regarded. #sxmmovement.

    Soualiga Social Movement

  • Society Stuck in Traffic….

    Traffic Jam! Traffic Jam! Build some roundabouts! Traffic Jam still? Let's build a causeway! Still more Traffic? Well let's build some tunnels through the hills! So much effort to alleviate road traffic but when it comes to social mobility it seems that we are also stuck in traffic.
    Social mobility is the movement of individuals or groups in their social position over time. This mobility may refer to changes in the measurement of health status, literacy, home and business ownership or level education attained but more commonly it refers to individuals or families, and their change in income. Are the low income parents raising children to live middle income lives? Are the high income parents raising children to live low income lives?
    Are the people of Soualiga really moving forward in life? Very regretfully, the answer for most people is no. In past times, our parents had homes they could afford and they carried less debt, nowadays most of us have no way of affording a simple home and on top of that we are packed full of debt. Similarly, our parents had less educational opportunities but settled securely in their jobs with a high level of knowhow, while today a lot of returned students feel like educated fools seemingly overqualified, underpaid and in some cases unemployed. Most young St. Maarteners are simply trying to get to that destination where they can provide a better life for their kids than was provided for them by their parents.
    But why is it so hard for young people to move forward in their own country? We are the most informed, most knowledgeable, most technological generation ever. As an island it seems we have been great at developing infrastructure, seaports and airports in the name of our tourism industry but we have failed to develop aspects of our society in the name of providing a better life for our people.
    An elder St. Maartener constantly reminds me that his supervisor's job paid 1000 guilders 40 years ago, and he was able to pay all his bills, take care of the family, have a good time and still save 400 guilders a month. He refuses to understand why the young people today always complain about not having enough money, or not being able to purchase a piece of land or get a business off the ground. "Awyousuppose to be smarter than we were!"
    My answer to him is always, 'Awyou should have thought better about the future for us'...
    We have had countless politicians promising this and that, and all the manifestos of every political party in St. Maarten has aimed for a better life for the St. Maartener. But why is the same effort not being put into health, the diversification of our economy, immigration, housing and sports? If these parts of our society were to be developed with the amount of fine-tuned professional precision as was put into the airport, seaport and infrastructure this place would be a paradise to live in, for all.
    The young adults in St. Maarten simply just want to get into gear so we can move forward in life, trying not to run into a pothole of debt, avoiding crashing into a wall of unemployment and not being able to tank up because of the high costs of living here. At the end of it all, having a home to go home to where we can put our kids to sleep at every night.
    We definitely all have experienced, that when a young St. Maartener, straps in his/her seat belt, turns the ignition, gets into gear, puts their foot on the gas and tries to move forward in his life in the right direction we definitely encounter countless amounts of roundabouts, but are there any causeways to the other side? I guess that's may be the reason nowadays why so many young adults tend to go offroad...

    Soualiga Social Movement
    www.sxmmovement.com

  • The Campaign is on.

    george21082009Member of Parliament and Faction leader of the National Alliance George Pantophlet says the campaign is on. Recent statements by the leader of the UP Party Theo Heyliger and the former Minister of Economic Affairs Franklin Meyers have indicated this. They have come out with the same old political spin they have learnt from a very large country. If we would look at old newspaper clippings and television programs, listen to tapes of radio we will hear the same old political statements of the past. Even one their cronies Theo Heyliger's right hand man recently wrote a piece in the opinion page. But why don't they tell the people of St. Maarten why they are out of government today? It hurts me to regurgitate things of the past but people often forget. Can the leader of the UP Party please tell the people if government was included in the bridge to nowhere discussions? Can the leader of the UP Party tell the people of St. Maarten which one of his relatives wanted to take over the entire Bus operation at the Harbor? Can the leader of the UP party tell us why a relative got the contract to do the Christmas decorations at the Airport? Can the leader of the UP Party tell the people who was going to take over the cleaning contract at the airport? And who is in charge of the cleaning at Simpson Bay Resorts the former Pelican Resort? Do we know how many projects are in the pipeline that would benefit the prosperous few? Need I say more? And all at once the former Minister of Economic Affairs Franklin Meyers is blowing his horn again. He was able to sign off on taxi licenses and bus licenses galore within record time. Didn't someone living mind you not vacationing in the United States for years received a call from the Minister's office stating that their request for a taxi license was ready? It is certain that if Minister Romeo Pantophlet embarks on this that he had first done proper research. And let us don't forget the moratorium on jet skis which was suddenly lifted to grant more licenses before he (Minister Franklin Meyers was thrown out of office? And what about the hundreds of requests for business licenses that were lying there for years? Finally now many are being processed by the present Minister Romeo Pantophlet who has been working diligently to get things up to date? Was it not the same Minister when he was Commissioner of Health and Sports complaining that he could not get funds for the St. Maarten Medical Center? And when were any of the sports facilities upgraded? In her short 7 months Minister Sylveria Jacobs has already started the bidding process to get the Raoul Illidge Complex up to par something lagging behind for more than a decade. The Member of Parliament says he is depending on the wisdom of the people of St. Maarten not to be fooled by these political tactics or spin moves they learnt from a very large country. Let them (tactics) stay where they belong in the past. St. Maarten needs innovative, forward thinkers not persons who are imprisoned in the past. The campaign is on.

    MP George Pantophlet

  • NOVEMBER 11th, to ALLOW business to do business, or NOT.

    If we are to pay for all the Cause Ways, Justice Parks, Ring Roads, Tunnels, Police cars, Schools, Mental Health Care, Drug Rehabilitation, Street lights, Road repairs, Empty Government Buildings, Full Parliament Buildings, etc., etc., I strongly recommend our Government reconsider the forced closing of businesses on any holiday or Holy Day. Employees that volunteer to work on these days can earn double and in some cases even triple pay, while businesses can try to make up for the absolutely dismal "off-season" that is now slowly coming to an end. Hiding behind "it's our culture" as an excuse to not allow businesses to open (especially when there are numerous cruise ships in port) may sound good, but no longer holds water if there is continued talk in the corridors of the Administration Building about budget deficits and increased taxes, new fees and other government levies that supposedly are on the planning board. Let's embrace each other and form a true Public/Private Sectors' partnership to dig this Sweet St. Maarten's Land out of the financial hole it is in, rather than finding 16 ways for Government to say NO!

    Michael J. Ferrier

  • WE WANT TO KNOW…

    Who authorized the dredging of sand for the amount of 4.9 million dollars?
    Who did the trucking of the sand?
    Who authorized the sale of sand belonging to the people of Sint Maarten?
    Who is receiving these revenues and what will be done with it?
    Who authorized the filling of the Great Garbage Pond for a drag strip and possible cricket stadium?
    We deserve answers to these questions without any delay or hesitation. Neither studies nor plans about a drag strip in the Great Garbage Pond have been revealed to the public. After the "change" of government (same parliament) we all of a sudden saw trucks loaded with sand racing up and down to full fill some political promise made by one of the Three Amigo's to a very small group within the electorate.
    And it's not that we do not want the drag strip, we actually support St. Maarten having a drag strip. Think about all the extra inter-island visitors for grand events as it is easier to host such major events in St. Maarten than it is in the neighboring islands. So we do recognize the potential. Our issue is simply in the way this came to pass.
    The cricket stadium is a whole other issue.....
    So when these questions are asked, we have come to understand that nobody has a clue about what, when, how and by whom this went on. These kind of childish games are a display of blatant disrespect to the electorate and democracy on Sint Maarten. You have to give account for this mess and take responsibility. Let's go back to the polls and let the people of Sint Maarten show you if we agree or disagree with you. We want to know. #sxmmovement

    Soualiga Social Movement

  • Attitude determines altitude.

    george21082009Member of Parliament George Pantophlet says that most of us remember or have heard the phrase Attitude determines your altitude. In this case he is referring to the words by Professor Jaime Saleh during his speech at the Westin Hotel organized by the High Councils of State. I think the professor also mentioned the word mindset. This word is also a key proponent according to the Member of Parliament if St. Maarten is to move forward in a consistent constructive and concise manner. The member of Parliament said that when Queen Beatrix was here last she asked him what he thought about the transition from Island Territory to Country, His response was "that the old mindset is still there." He understands that we are a country for only 2 years but there must be forward movement and fresh thinking. It is up to us as government and people to transition in our minds from old to new. More authority means more responsibility. The words we hear the most or the actions we see the most are the ones that mold our character be it in a negative or positive manner. How we respond to situations or experiences depends on us. The world is still in a financial quagmire. Economist financial experts are trying to find a solution. Formulas are being tested in the hope to restore an ailing global economy and St. Maarten is not excluded. But how do we deal with it? What kind of attitude do we display? Will it be the same old politics or critical innovative thinking? I am still proposing that government, public sector, the church, unions and non- governmental organizations get together to find a solution or common ground to deal with the present and impending situation. There is a solution to every problem, there is a positive to every negative but there must be a willingness to work together to get the job done. As Professor Jaime Saleh said and let me quote the headlines of one of our daily newspapers: "The problem is not the law but your attitude" end of quote. What a loaded statement. I would like to say for specificity "my attitude". All of us have a responsibility towards each other regardless of political affiliation, color (note I did not mention race because there is only the human race), religion or culture. Hurricane "Sandy" has dealt a devastating blow to the East Coast of the United States of America. We will be affected. Notice I did not say whether positive or negative because it is up to us. What is our attitude? The responsibility does not rest solely on the shoulders of government but on every individual who lives on this island and calls it their home.

    MP George Pantophlet

  • Appel à projets dans le cadre du Contrat Urbain de Cohésion Sociale (CUCS).

    Le Contrat Urbain de Cohésion Sociale (CUCS) signé par l'Etat, la Collectivité de Saint-Martin prorogé jusqu'en 2014, a pour but d'encourager la réalisation de projets visant à:

    • favoriser la participation des habitants,
    • soutenir les associations, développer le partenariat, le travail en réseau,
    • promouvoir l'égalité des chances, lutter contre les discriminations,
    • améliorer les relations entre les citoyens et leurs administrations.

    Ces projets doivent s'inscrire dans les champs prioritaires de la politique de la ville que sont :

    • l'éducation,
    • l'emploi et le développement économique,
    • la citoyenneté et la prévention de la délinquance, (F. I. P. D.),
    • la santé,
    • le programme « Ville Vie Vacances » (V .V. V.).

    Nous vous appelons à participer en 2013 aux objectifs de la politique de la ville en nous adressant vos projets.
    Nous serons particulièrement attentifs à la qualité de vos projets, reposant sur des objectifs clairs, précis et mesurables, et devant constituer un apport concret et adapté à la situation des habitants et des publics des quartiers prioritaires, notamment les plus vulnérables.
    Si vous souhaitez répondre à cet appel à projets nous vous invitons à télécharger le nouveau modèle utilisé pour la programmation 2013 (dossier CERFA) + la fiche Action (document obligatoire) sur le site Internet.

    • de la Préfecture : www.saint-barth-saint-martin-pref.gouv.fr
    • de la Collectivité de Saint-Martin : www.com-saint-martin.fr

    Les dossiers, devront êtres renvoyés par voie postale le 20 décembre 2012 à 16h00, délai de rigueur.

  • Discussion sur l’éventualité de l’obtention du titre de «maître-restaurateur» à Saint-Martin.

    Une réunion s'est tenue à l'Hôtel de la Collectivité le lundi 19 novembre dernier, réunissant des représentants de la Collectivité, de l'Office du tourisme, des restaurateurs et des hôteliers, afin d'évoquer l'opportunité de se doter du titre de «maître-restaurateur» à Saint-Martin.

    Cette réunion s'est déroulée en présence du Président du Conseil territorial, Alain Richardson, de la vice-présidente de l'Office du tourisme, Jeanne Vanterpool-Rogers, de la directrice de l'Office du tourisme, Sylviane John, de la directrice du tourisme à la Collectivité, Stéphanie Bessière, des membres de la FERCOM (restaurateurs) et du porte-parole de l'AHSM (hôteliers). L'objet était d'échanger entre les différentes entités représentées, les avis concernant ce titre de « maître-restaurateur », qui permet de distinguer des dirigeants d'une entreprise exploitant un fonds de commerce de restauration. Pour les restaurateurs de Saint-Martin, cette certification constitue une reconnaissance éthique significative, et une avancée positive pour leur profession. Une adaptation des textes semblent toutefois judicieuse eu égard aux spécificités de Saint-Martin. Le Président Richardson a estimé qu'il s'agit d'un sujet important pour la destination Saint-Martin, et que l'acquisition de ce titre permettrait de valoriser et d'encourager la profession de restaurateur, précisant que la restauration est un atout incontournable pour Saint-Martin.

  • L’heure doit être au rassemblement de notre famille.

    Au lendemain de l'annonce officielle de la victoire de M. Jean-François Copé à la présidence de notre parti, je souhaite lui adresser mes plus sincères félicitations pour sa victoire et pour sa remarquable campagne électorale, menée tambour battant ces derniers mois, afin de faire triompher les valeurs d'une droite moderne et déterminée.
    L'heure ne doit pas être aux polémiques : l'UMP doit rester sur le champ de bataille et ne surtout pas devenir un champ de ruines. Le vote pour les motions, éclipsé par des commentateurs plus portés à faire leurs choux gras des peccadilles de la soirée électorale que d'entrer dans le fond du sujet, révèle un réel ancrage à droite de notre parti, dont l'opposition porte, finalement, plus sur la forme donc, que sur le fond.
    L'heure doit être au rassemblement de notre grande famille autour d'une ligne politique commune et d'un vrai tempérament, incarné par son nouveau président. L'UMP ne doit pas apparaître scindée : un affaiblissement de notre parti profiterait dangereusement à la gauche et aux extrêmes.
    Comme le dit Jean-François Copé, il est grand temps de « construire une droite et un centre-droit fiers de leurs valeurs » : une nouvelle page va s'écrire et chacun d'entre nous devons en être les auteurs.

    Daniel GIBBS

    Député de Saint-Barthélemy et de Saint-Martin
    Secrétaire territorial de la Fédération UMP de Saint-Martin

  • COMMUNIQUÉ DE PRESSE: Ateliers de Concertations.

    Dans le cadre de l'élaboration du Plan Local d'urbanisme, la Collectivité de Saint-Martin lance les ateliers de concertations, qui auront lieu le :

    Mardi 27 Novembre 2012 de 9h00 à 12h00
    Salle des délibérations de l'Hôtel de la Collectivité

    Thème 1 « La démographie (dynamismes de développement, attractivité socio-démographique,...), le développement et la structuration du territoire, les pôles économiques, résidentiels et touristiques ».

    Mardi 27 Novembre 2012 de 14h00 à 17h00
    Salle des délibérations de l'Hôtel de la Collectivité

    Thème 2 « Le maintien et le développement des piliers économiques actuels (agriculture, tourisme, commerce et BTP), quel devenir pour les infrastructures (port, marinas, aéroport), les inter-relations avec Sint-Maarten ».

    Mercredi 28 Novembre 2012 de 9h00 à 12h00
    Salle des délibérations de l'Hôtel de la Collectivité

    Thème 3 « Préservation des centres-bourgs de Marigot et Grand-Case, protection des espaces et écosystèmes patrimoniaux, patrimoine bâti et vestiges ».

    Pour toutes informations complémentaires, veuillez contacter Madame Sabrina PLACIDOUX au 0590 522730, par fax 0590 877307 ou par mail au sabrina.placidoux@com-saint-martin.fr

  • COMMUNIQUÉ DE PRESSE: Réunion de coopération.

    arichardsonandswescotwilliams20112012Une réunion de coopération s'est tenue ce matin à l'Hôtel de la Collectivité, en présence des élus du Conseil territorial de Saint-Martin et les membres du gouvernement de Country Sint-Maarten. Il s'agit de la première réunion de coopération de ce type entre les deux parties de l'île depuis le début de la présidence d'Alain Richardson à la tête de la Collectivité, durant laquelle il a été évoqué les priorités à suivre pour l'année 2013. Chaque thème lié à la coopération a été développé, la sécurité, les transports, les infrastructures et le développement durable, les affaires sociales, la santé, l'éducation, la formation, les affaires économiques (y compris le tourisme), et les prérogatives de ces thèmes ont ainsi été définis: les travaux publics, le réseau routier, la circulation, la sécurité sociale, la santé, et l'éducation (notamment le problème des enfants quittant l'école durant l'année scolaire).
    La prochaine réunion de coopération aura lieu le vendredi 07 décembre prochain, en présence des élus de la Collectivité de Saint-Martin, des membres du gouvernement de Country Sint-Maarten, et de la préfecture, puisque l'Etat reste compétent dans des domaines régaliens qui sont inclus dans les objectifs de coopération entre les deux parties de l'île.

  • Un individu incarcéré pour agression sexuelle, vol avec violence et vol de véhicule.

    Le dimanche 18 novembre 2012, les gendarmes de l'escadron de Chaumont, unité de force mobile actuellement déployée sur le territoire de la collectivité de Saint-Martin en renfort de la compagnie de gendarmerie, procédaient à l'interpellation en flagrant délit d'un individu circulant au guidon d'un quad venant tout juste d'être signalé volé par son propriétaire.
    Immédiatement placé en garde à vue par les enquêteurs de la brigade de gendarmerie de Quartier d'Orléans, il se trouve que l'intéressé était par ailleurs activement recherché pour des faits d'agression sexuelle commis en date du 12 novembre 2012 ainsi qu'un vol avec violence au préjudice d'un couple de touristes en date du 16 novembre 2012 au cours duquel le malfaiteur, dans sa fuite, avait violemment percuté au guidon de son scooter un témoin des faits lequel tentait de s'interposer, occasionnant chez lui de très graves blessures.
    Présenté au Procureur de la République de Saint-Martin à l'issue de sa garde à vue, le mis en cause comparaissait le 20 novembre 2012 devant le tribunal de Basse-Terre où son incarcération était décidée dans l'attente de son jugement le 11 décembre prochain.

  • Jugement au Tribunal de Basse-Terre d'un auteur de vols à main armée.

    Le 16 octobre dernier, une opération judiciaire était réalisée par la compagnie de gendarmerie de Saint-Martin dans le quartier de Concordia, aboutissant à l'interpellation et au placement en garde à vue de trois individus soupçonnés d'avoir participé à deux vols à main armée commis quatre jours auparavant, à l'encontre de deux couples de touristes visitant le Fort Louis de Marigot d'une part, et au préjudice d'une épicerie du quartier de Concordia d'autre part.
    Les auditions et investigations réalisées par les gendarmes de la brigade de recherches avaient alors abouti à la mise en examen devant le juge des enfants de Saint-Martin d'un mineur soupçonné d'avoir fourni l'arme utilisée pour le vol commis à la supérette ; au déferrement d'un autre mineur en vue de son placement au centre de Sainte-Anne, celui-ci étant soupçonné d'avoir participé en tant qu'auteur au vol au sein de la supérette ; enfin, au déferrement d'un majeur soupçonné d'avoir
    participé en tant qu'auteur aux deux faits.
    Ce troisième et dernier individu a donc été jugé par tribunal correctionnel de Basse-Terre, le 16 novembre 2012. Jugé coupable des faits qui lui étaient reprochés, il a été condamné à une peine de trois ans d'emprisonnement ferme et incarcéré à la maison d'arrêt de Basse-Terre.

  • Régulation économique outre-mer: le projet de loi définitivement adopté.

    Le Parlement a adopté le projet de loi sur la régulation économique outre-mer après le vote de l'Assemblée nationale, jeudi soir, à l'unanimité des votes exprimés par le centre et la gauche, l'UMP s'abstenant dans une « opposition constructive ».

    Pour rappel, ce texte pour une régulation économique outre-mer a été examiné selon la procédure d'urgence (une seule lecture par Chambre). Ce projet de loi a pour objectif de s'attaquer aux fondements structurels de la cherté de la vie outre-mer, par un arsenal de dispositifs: renforcement des pouvoirs de l'Autorité de la concurrence, bouclier qualité/prix permettant l'ouverture de négociations sur un panier de produits de consommation courante, plafonnement des tarifs bancaires ou encore interdiction des exclusivités d'importation. Les députés de tous bords ont salué hier soir, l'intérêt du texte « pour l'ensemble des territoires d'outre-mer ». Daniel Gibbs, orateur du groupe UMP pour ce dernier round, a mis un bémol sur « les conditions d'examen du texte » et a tenu à avancer « qu'améliorer la situation des territoires d'outre-mer, ce n'est pas seulement la régulation économique et le contrôle des prix ». « Il y a d'autres pans de l'économie qui méritent une action appropriée » a notamment déclaré le député de Saint-Barthélemy et de Saint-Martin dans son intervention, citant l'aide aux PME pour la conquête de nouveaux marchés, la question fondamentale de l'intégration économique régionale des territoires ultramarins, la valorisation des filières de production locale ou celle des espaces naturels et la biodiversité pour « répondre à une nouvelle demande en matière de tourisme ». M. Gibbs s'est toutefois réjouit de quelques avancées pour les deux jeunes Collectivités qu'il représente, notamment l'obtention, par convention, de la gestion matérielle du Registre du commerce et des sociétés par les Chambres de commerce et d'industrie de Saint-Barthélemy et de Saint-Martin. « Nous considérons que tout ce qui peut être mis en œuvre pour améliorer la condition de nos outre-mer doit être reçu avec le plus attentif des accueils par notre Assemblée, au regard de la situation exceptionnelle de nos territoires » a conclu M. Gibbs. De son côté, le ministre a remercié l'UMP pour son « abstention constructive » sur ce texte.

  • COMMUNIQUÉ DE PRESSE: Evelyne Fleming reconnue pour son implication dans la Société saint-martinoise.

    evelynefleming15112012Dans le cadre de la célébration du Saint-Martin's Day/11 novembre, une cérémonie d'hommage s'est déroulée à l'issue des allocutions officielles, reconnaissant neuf personnes ayant contribué à l'avancement de la Cité et de la communauté. C'est ainsi que Josette PLAISANT, Cindy CHOISY, Evelyne FLEMING, Georgina Rohan, Laurent FLANDERS, Mildred CARTI, Joseph Lake Junior, Clara Reyes, et York CHESTER ont respectivement été honorés selon la nature de leur engagement au sein de la société. Quatre catégories ont été retenues, l'enseignement, le parrainage de l'Art, la culture et le patrimoine, et le service. Evelyne Fleming a été reconnue dans la catégorie « parrainage de l'Art » ainsi que Cindy Choisy, Josette Plaisant pour l'Enseignement, Georgina Rohan Mildred Carti et Laurent Flanders pour le « Service à la communauté », Joseph Lake Junior York CHESTER et Clara Reyes pour la culture et le patrimoine.
    Parmi ces personnes, dont la valeur de l'engagement pour le mieux-être de la société saint-martinoise n'est plus à démontrer, Evelyne Fleming symbolise bien cette volonté d'améliorer la vie de la Cité et son parcours l'atteste bien. Enseignante au Lycée Polyvalent des iles du Nord, Madame Fleming est également présidente du Foyer socio-éducatif des lycée depuis sa création en 2003, et le référent culture du lycée et chargée de mission pour la communication et la culture pour la représentante du recteur de Saint-Martin. Fermement attachée à la valorisation de l'identité culturelle saint-martinoise, Evelyne Fleming œuvre à la promotion culturelle de Saint-Martin, avec pour leitmotiv, la réussite des jeunes, la reconnaissance du patrimoine, et la revalorisation de la société.
    Rappelons que cet événement est à l'initiative du service Culture de la Collectivité, dont est en charge l'élue Rollande Questel et la responsable de ce service, Minerva Dormoy, sous l'autorité de la vice-présidente de la Collectivité chargée du pôle développement humain, Aline Hanson.

  • COMMUNIQUÉ DE PRESSE: Renouvellement du Conseil d'analyse économique.

    Le Premier ministre, Jean-Marc Ayrault, a procédé aujourd'hui au renouvellement du Conseil d'analyse économique (CAE).

    Conformément à ce qui avait été annoncé, le nouveau CAE est resserré. Il comprend, avec sa présidente déléguée, quinze membres, tous des universitaires reconnus dans leur domaine, dont beaucoup font leur entrée au CAE pour la première fois.

    Ils couvrent un champ large de compétences et reflètent une diversité de profils et de points de vue.

    En outre, trois économistes travaillant pour le secteur financier sont nommés correspondants du CAE. Ils contribueront aux travaux au cas par cas, en fonction de leurs domaines d'expertise.

    Le CAE travaillera en bonne intelligence avec les autres instances de réflexion et de prospective réunies autour du Premier ministre, ainsi qu'avec les administrations économiques.

    Les travaux du CAE commencent immédiatement. Une première réunion d'installation se tiendra prochainement, sous la présidence du Premier ministre.

    Sont nommés membres du CAE pour une durée de deux ans :

    • Philippe Askenazy
    • Antoine Bozio
    • Pierre Cahuc
    • Brigitte Dormont
    • Lionel Fontagné
    • Cecilia Garcia Penalosa
    • Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas
    • Philippe Martin
    • Guillaume Plantin
    • David Thesmar
    • Jean Tirole
    • Alain Trannoy
    • Etienne Wasmer
    • Guntram Wolff

    Sont nommés membres correspondants pour une durée de deux ans :

    • Patrick Artus
    • Laurence Boone
    • Jacques Cailloux
  • UPESM COMMUNIQUÉ DE PRESSE.

    L'Union des Parents d'Elèves de Saint-Martin, section Lycée des Iles du Nord vous informe qu'une réunion mensuelle se tiendra au LPO le Jeudi 15 novembre 2012 à 17h30. Ces réunions importantes sont l'occasion pour vous d'évoquer les problèmes que rencontrent vos enfants, de proposer des idées, des projets, d'échanger les expériences et les connaissances et surtout d'écoute.
    C'est aussi l'occasion pour les parents élus de vous informer de ce qui se passe au collège, de l'actualité au niveau de l'éduction nationale, des différentes rencontres (RECTORAT /COLLECTIVITE...).

    Parents, nous avons besoin de vous pour mieux aider vos enfants. Rejoignez nous !

  • COMMUNIQUÉ DE PRESSE: 3ème session de formation prévue dans le cadre du DLA.

    Le D.L.A. (Dispositif Local d'Accompagnement) outil de développement des structures d'utilité sociales, propose cette année de nouvelles opportunités de formations au tissu associatif de Saint-Martin.
    La troisième session de formation intitulée : « La démarche commerciale, de communication et de marketing », démarrera le Jeudi 15 novembre 2012 de 9h00 à 16h00 à la CCISM de Concordia, salle « Aventurine ».
    La quatrième et dernière session, vous sera communiquée ultérieurement par voie de presse, afin de vous inscrire à ces ingénieries collectives.
    Public concerné : Associations
    Contact : Pôle de cohésion sociale de la Préfecture de Saint-Barthélemy et de Saint-Martin, 0590 29. 18. 79.

  • COMMUNIQUÉ DE PRESSE: Captures de chiens errants.

    La prochaine capture de chiens errants, en divagation sur la voie publique, aura lieu du 19 Novembre au 30 Novembre 2012.
    Tous propriétaires d'animaux sont priés de les garder attachés même après la capture.
    Pour tout renseignement complémentaire, contactez Mlle ISAAC Hélène au 05 90 52 27 30 extension 1201 à la Direction de l'Environnement et du Cadre de Vie.

  • Le mot du Député: 11 Novembre, 2012.

    Mes chers concitoyens,

    Le vote du budget 2013 des outre-mer étant débattu cette semaine à l'Assemblée nationale, je ne peux être physiquement à vos côtés, aujourd'hui, pour ce week-end de réjouissances du Saint-Martin's Day. Je tenais cependant être parmi vous, d'une manière ou d'une autre, à l'occasion de ce temps fort pour notre île. Des commémorations placées par les organisateurs cette année sous la thématique de « S'investir dans l'avenir en respectant son histoire », qui revêt pour moi une double résonnance.

    Tout d'abord, si le 11 novembre est devenu un jour de mémoire, c'est aussi la mémoire d'un jour : celle de l'Armistice de 1918, qui mit fin aux combats de la « Grande guerre » et dont la signature semblait inaugurer une ère nouvelle, avec cette promesse que cette tragédie serait bel et bien « la Der des der ». Mais l'homme n'a pas retenu longtemps les leçons de la Première guerre mondiale, et le nationalisme, l'individualisme, ont conduit quelques années plus tard à la Seconde guerre mondiale et à son lot d'atrocités. Les guerres, comme les périodes troubles qui les ont précédées, ne doivent jamais être oubliées. « Parce qu'un homme sans mémoire est un homme sans vie, un peuple sans mémoire est un peuple sans avenir... » écrivait Foch. Retenir les leçons du passé, celles de l'Histoire « avec sa grande Hache » comme disait Perec, au moment où les derniers témoins directs de ces guerres disparaissent, pour ne jamais avoir à revivre les tragédies du siècle passé : tel est le devoir de mémoire qu'il nous appartient à tous de cultiver, surtout en cette période de crise internationale.
    L'unité contre la division ; la fraternité contre les haines ; le dialogue contre les raccourcis : tels sont les principes forts qui doivent guider nos actions, sur lesquels doivent reposer nos valeurs. Des principes qui doivent primer aussi, inconditionnellement, sur le plan local. Et ce 11 novembre, jour du Saint-Martin 's Day, est l'occasion symbolique, de nous rappeler que nous sommes un peuple indivisible, uni par la richesse de son histoire commune, de sa culture et de son patrimoine partagés. La question de la coopération entre nos deux territoires jumeaux à la « frontière » non matérialisée, est la clé de notre développement.
    Je vous souhaite, à toutes et à tous, de belles réjouissances du Saint-Martin's Day.

    Daniel GIBBS,
    Député de Saint-Barthélemy et de Saint-Martin

  • Interpellation et déferrement de l'auteur présumé de 5 vols à main armée.

    Mercredi 07 novembre, à l'occasion d'une patrouille de surveillance générale réalisée dans le secteur de Marigot, le peloton de surveillance et d'intervention de la gendarmerie de St Martin interpelle sur la voie publique un individu de trente quatre ans, soupçonné d'avoir commis plusieurs vols à main armée. Il est immédiatement placé en garde à vue à la brigade de recherches, et reconnaît devant les enquêteurs sa participation à cinq vols à main armée réalisés entre le 11
    septembre et le 3 novembre 2012, à l'encontre de commerces de Grand-Case, de Concordia et de Sandy-Ground ; dont le vol à main armée commis récemment au sein du supermarché US Market. L'individu agissait seul, il revêtait systématiquement un imperméable jaune, et dissimulait son visage à l'aide avec un filet à cheveux. Présenté aux autorités judiciaire du tribunal de Basse-Terre vendredi 09 novembre, il a été placé en détention provisoire dans l'attente de son jugement qui interviendra le 4 décembre prochain.

  • COMMUNIQUÉ DE PRESSE: Jour de la Saint Martin (1959 - 2012) - de Lasana M. Sekou.

    mdormoylsekouandiyork08112012Le synopsis suivant par Lasana M. Sékou a été écrit pour le 53e anniversaire de St. Martin Day, Novembre 11, 2012, à l'invitation du Département de Culture et du Patrimoine (Service Culture), Collectivité de Saint-Martin. Lasana M. Sékou est un poète, historien, auteur et éditeur.

     

    La St. Martin Day, le 11 novembre, célèbre la culture, l'unité et la force de travail de Saint-Martin, une nation qui se constitue de tous les individus du Nord et du sud de l'île.

    La fête annuelle de la St. Martin Day est le jour « national » principal, et le seul jour férié qui a Saint-Martin « officiellement » uni le peuple locataire occupant le territoire français (Nord) et le territoire néerlandais (Sud) pour célébrer cette île de la Caraïbe comme étant leur un patrie.

    L'accent mis sur l'unité du peuple de Saint-Martin a commencé à se manifester plus fortement comme fondement de la célébration de la Saint-Martin à la fin des années 1980. Cet accent a été soutenu avec une détermination croissante depuis le début des années 1990, à la fois dans les discours officiels et les programmes et au travers des activités culturelles populaires qui ne cessent de se développer.

    Toutefois, un principe fondateur qui a lancé la première célébration du jour de la Saint-Martin en 1959, a eu comme un objectif déclaré « l'anniversaire de la découverte de l'île de Christopher Columbus. » Cet objectif thématique a été un point de référence tout au long des années 1960 et 1970 et a connu quelques variantes jusqu'au début des années 1980 lors de l'organisation de la célébration de Saint-Martin tant à Philipsburg (Grand Baie) qu'à Marigot. En outre, « Cette unification de la population des deux côtés de l'île n'était pas le fait du traité de Concordia comme beaucoup le pensent. » L'idée concurrente de l'accord de Concordia comme base pour fêter le jour de la Saint Martin reste l'affaire de poches résiduelles d'une imagination populaire fervente et certaines déclarations officielles, jusqu'à dans la première décennie du nouveau siècle. La « motivation » Christophe Colomb a bein disparu.

    Puis, il y a le fait rapporté par la Tradition Orale, qui, quelque part entre 1958 et 1959, nous dit que deux jeunes dirigeants politiques, commissaire Claude Wathey du Sud et le maire Dr. Hubert Petit de la partie Nord, se sont réunis pour discuter de l'industrie touristique naissante. Tous deux étaient déjà totalement acquis à l'idée de cette industrie nouvelle. Le Saint-Martin pastorale et postwissel était sur le point d'être plongé dans la modernité d'une manière sans précédent. En quelque sorte l'idée a germé d'un jour férié unique à la population de Saint-Martin, pour leur rappeler et pour célébrer leur longue histoire commune et active et les traditions de famille, d'amitié, de travail, de terres successorales, de commerce et de culture qui ont traversé la frontière pendant des siècles.

    Ce qui mérité d'être mieux recherché, c'est que le 11 novembre a été convenu comme date à fêter entre ces Messieurs, et moins pour la supposée, mais non prouvée, célébration de l'observation de l'île par l'Amiral de la Mer — le jour anniversaire du noble soldat/moine/saint, Martin de Tours. Tout laisse à penser que le 11 novembre a été choisi plus à cause de la difficulté que l'administration locale à Marigot aurait eu, ou a cru qu'elle aurait eu, à convaincre les autorités de l'Etat, à une période politiquement sensible pour les régimes coloniaux, que « leur » colonie de 33.6 kilomètres carrés méritait son propre jour de « réunion » avec un territoire contigu hollandais de 25.6 kilomètres carrés, pour célébrer l'unité du peuple, leur vie en harmonie et cela certainement de leurs propres faits et du fait de leurs volontés, depuis 1848.

    Le Nord était déjà contraint de célébrer avec la République le jour de l'Armistice le 11 novembre — un jour férié français depuis 1922, en l'honneur de l'héroïque « Ancien Combattant » (les fils de Saint-Martin inclus). Les Pays-Bas éloignés pourraient également penser que la journée avait davantage à voir avec Christophe Colomb, Saint Martin de Tours et ses propres fêtes de Martinstag ou Martinmas, qui est la Fête de Saint-Martin de Tours, ou de Martin le Miséricordieux, également célébré le 11 novembre. Une véritable tempête de « jours » a fini par permettre à ces deux territoires sur l'île de 37 kilomètres carrés de contourner les fastidieux et interminables obstacles qui pourraient être posés par des gouvernements lointains et de décider en un temps record, de réaliser un jour pour mettre en avant la « particularité » du peuple du Doux Pays Saint-Martin ? Peut-être.

    Selon Jocelyn Arndell, trésorier de la « Commission du 11 novembre 1963, »  « l'idée de la célébration à la frontière » est venue du Dr Petit, de Felix Choisy et de Clem Labega. Une des premières photographie de la cérémonie au « Monument de l'amitié », largement diffusée a été prise en 1964. Comme une carte postale, elle montre le lieutenant-gouverneur Jan Beaujon disant son discours à l'occasion du jour de la St. Martin en présence des dignitaires, des troupes françaises, des gendarmes, des policiers, des scouts et une foule de gens de Saint-Martin debout sur la route et le mur de pierres sèches — tous bien habillés. Les drapeaux nationaux de la France et des Pays-Bas sont au premier plan. Pas très loin de là bat le pavillon du territoire des Antilles Néerlandaises.

    Il est à noter que la loi émanant du centre décisionnaire des Antilles ou du Gouvernement Central (Landsbesluit) à Willemstad, assimilant le 11 novembre « avec dimanche, » donc un jour férié, « voor wat betreft het eilandgebeid Sint Maarten » (en ce qui concerne le territoire l'île de Saint-Martin) a été officiellement promulguée le 10 décembre 1984 et a publiée le 11 décembre, 1984.

    Dès le début, la responsabilité de l'organisation de la célébration du jour de la Saint-Martin a alterné entre les gouvernements locaux dans les deux capitales. Le comité mis en place par l'administration organisatrice et hôte a organisé le programme officiel, par exemple: les services religieux (quatre messes en 1963. Le « Programme des festivités du 11 novembre 1980 » présidé par le sous-préfet Guy Maillard, mentionnait un service religieux) ; discours officiels, dépôts de gerbes, toast officiel et déjeuner, défilés des troupes avec fanfares et costumes et chars, spectacles culturels, jeux pour enfants et adultes, courses de bateaux, un match de football opposant le Nord au Sud et un bal public.

    La dispute sur le fait de savoir si ce sont les élus locaux ou les représentants de l'État qui devraient être les principaux orateurs lors de la cérémonie à la frontière, elle non plus n'est pas nouvelle. Selon les informations que nous reçues, en 1959, le maire Dr Petit, considéré par certains comme radical ou progressiste pour son époque, était l'orateur principal représentant la partie Nord tandis que le lieutenant-gouverneur parlait au nom de la partie Sud (nous travaillons toujours à confirmer cette information). À leur crédit, ou du fait de l'hospitalité confiante et désarmante, née de la vie traditionnelle Saint-Martinoise, les représentants des États qui avaient tendance à exprimer une certaine affinité avec les gens de Saint-Martin, généralement parlaient de « l'unité », de « l'amitié » et « harmonie » du peuple par opposition à l'autorité ou au principe de nationalité française et néerlandaise.

    Un exemple de cette expression serait le thème du discours à l'occasion de la fête de St. Martin en 2011, prononcé par le Gouverneur Dr. Eugene Holiday, dans lequel il mettait l'accent sur « une île, un peuple, un destin. ». À un moment de leur histoire où les deux territoires se débattent, chacun doté d'un statut autonome nouvellement acquis et distinct. Dans un exemple précédent, le sous-préfet S. Thirioux demandait à son auditoire lors de la cérémonie à la frontière, la permission de « rompre avec cette tradition » de parler de « ce qui a été fait durant l'année,... et de l'année à venir. » C'était le 11 novembre 1963, à l'aube de l'ère moderne de Saint-Martin. Le discours a fait l'objet d'une publication en anglais dans le journal Winward islands Opinion. Le représentant officiel de l'État français appelait directement tous les « Saint-Martinois, » à faire preuve de vigilance « en présence du progrès. Nous devons nous lever de nos berceuses et retrouver devant nos portes l'ardeur de nos pères » à développer l'île, et «chassant loin de nous le danger quelle qu'en soit sa forme. »

    « Nous devons être les ouvriers de ce progrès et en faire la promotion afin d'en rester les maîtres. De passifs, nous devenons actifs. D'êtres endettés, nous devenons ambitieux [,] de personnes découvertes nous devenons des explorateurs. Tous les Saint-Martinois possèdent en eux ces qualités alors pourquoi ne pas les mettre en exergue ? Le progrès fait appel à la fierté, au courage et à la vigilance. ... Là, à cet instant même, prenez l'engagement devant vos ancêtres de rester dignes d'eux. ... »

    « Saint-Martinois, ayez courages, la tâche est nouvelle et immense. C'est à vous de décider ».

  • COMMUNIQUÉ DE PRESSE: Contrat de génération.

    Après la signature par toutes les organisations syndicales de salariés et d'employeurs de l'accord national interprofessionnel du 19 octobre 2012 relatif au contrat de génération, le Premier ministre se félicite de la volonté unanime des partenaires sociaux d'avancer ainsi ensemble pour la mise en œuvre rapide de ce dispositif.

    Ainsi, conformément à un engagement majeur du Président de la République, le contrat de génération traduit en actes les trois objectifs suivants : l'emploi des jeunes de façon durable en contrat à durée indéterminée, le maintien dans l'emploi des seniors et la transmission des compétences dans les entreprises.

    Le Premier ministre salue les partenaires sociaux pour avoir ainsi fait la preuve de la réussite de la méthode définie lors de la grande conférence sociale et de leur capacité à répondre par le dialogue social et dans des délais rapides, à l'urgence sociale que représente le chômage des jeunes et des seniors.

    Le gouvernement souhaite que le projet de loi s'appuyant sur l'accord national interprofessionnel du 19 octobre, qui sera présenté en Conseil des ministres le 12 décembre, soit le premier texte discuté par le Parlement début 2013.

  • RESTAURATION ET COMMERCES, LES CONTROLES SE MULTIPLIENT A LA VEILLE DE LA SAISON TOURISTIQUE.

    Suite à un contrôle coordonné des services de l'Etat sur plusieurs enseignes de restauration, le préfet Philippe Chopin vient de procéder, à la suite d'une procédure contradictoire, à la fermeture d'un restaurant, après avoir fait constater par ses services des manquements graves aux règles d'hygiène. De surcroît, cet établissement n'est pas à jour des redevances d'autorisation d'occupation du domaine public depuis son installation.
    Une troisième vague de contrôles sanitaires et d'hygiène sur Saint-Martin a permis de procéder courant octobre et début novembre à l'inspection de seize restaurants, d'une demi-douzaine d'entrepôts et cinq lieux de vente de poissons. Ces contrôles ont fait l'objet de plusieurs avertissements administratifs et rappels à la loi. Ils seront renouvelés et une opération assurée conjointement par l'Urssaf, les services fiscaux, la Police aux Frontières et la police de l'hygiène sera organisée dans les prochaines semaines.
    Ces actions de contrôles ont également pour objectif, outre le simple respect de la loi (hygiène et AOT), de renforcer le civisme parmi nos concitoyens en rappelant à certains professionnels de la restauration notamment, l'importance de la place qu'ils prennent dans l'image qui se forme de « Saint-Martin » dans l'esprit de nos visiteurs. Cette action a été réalisée en liaison étroite avec le Président Alain Richardson et M. le Procureur de la République averti.

    Philippe Chopin, le 8 nov. 12

  • Le Canada et le Brésil, deux marchés fructueux à conquérir.

    jeannevanterpoolrogers08112012La vice-présidente de l'Office du tourisme, Jeanne Vanterpool-Rogers, accompagnée de Cindy Miller, représentante des Offices du tourisme de Saint-Martin/Sint-Maarten et de la St Martin/St Maarten American Marketing Association (SAMA) à New-York, Maurice Perrinmaréchal président de l'Association des hôteliers de Saint-Martin (AHSM), Emile Louisy en charge du marché canadien pour le compte de l'Office du tourisme, et Kevin Matier, représentant de l'hôtel Sonesta de Maho, se sont rendus respectivement à Toronto et Montréal afin de renouer les contacts avec les tour-opérateurs, agences de voyage et compagnies aériennes.
    De nombreuses présentations de la destination Saint-Martin ont été effectuées par les techniciens, qui ont reçu un écho très favorable dans la mesure où les Canadiens ont une image positive de Saint-Martin qui conserve un capital sympathie confirmé. La délégation saint-martinoise a également rencontré trois compagnies aériennes canadiennes, West Jet, Air Canada, et Sun Wing. Si la desserte demeure stable, « il convient de la renforcer, mais pour le concrétiser, il nous faut augmenter le nombre de chambres d'hôtels ; les hôtels doivent cesser de se transformer en résidences, c'est une question de survie pour notre destination », précise la vice-présidente de l'Office, Jeanne Vanterpool-Rogers. Une volonté clairement affichée dont ne pourra s'exonérer la destination, si elle veut poursuivre une promotion cohérente et efficace de ses atouts.
    Les représentants du tourisme de Saint-Martin ont ensuite participé au Salon International Tourisme Voyages (SITV), qui rassemble plus de 400 exposants et 250 destinations à la rencontre du grand public. Un rendez-vous important puisque ce salon montréalais s'avère être l'un des plus grands événements de ce type en Amérique du Nord, avec plus de 35 000 visiteurs ciblés.

    Parallèlement, une délégation de l'Office de Tourisme de Saint-Martin s'est rendue au Brésil afin de démarcher des tour-opérateurs et des agences de voyages à Sao Paulo, avant de se rendre au salon ABAV, qui fêtait sa 40ème édition à Rio de Janeiro où le stand était partagé avec Sint-Maarten et Anguille. Ce salon est le rendez-vous incontournable des professionnels du tourisme au Brésil réunissant l'ensemble des interlocuteurs du tourisme, du marketing aux agences de voyage. Des centaines d'exposants étaient réunis sur plus de 40.000m2, pour cette occasion unique que représente le salon du tourisme ABAV, considéré comme le plus grand en Amérique du Sud, qui rassemble des hommes d'affaires, des acheteurs, des étudiants, des organisateurs de voyages d'affaires, etc.
    Les différentes rencontres avec les tour-opérateurs et les agences de voyage ont permis d'évaluer la notoriété ou encore l'intérêt pour Saint-Martin par rapport aux autres îles de la Caraïbe. Force est de constater que les Brésiliens connaissent bien Saint-Martin. Ce marché a donc un énorme potentiel notamment pour les mariages civils, la lune de miel ou le shopping. Convaincu que le Brésil peut représenter une part de marché importante pour la destination, l'Office de Tourisme de Saint-Martin compte mettre en place des moyens financiers et humains, afin d'accroître sa visibilité sur ce marché et développer le flux touristique entre l'Amérique du Sud et Saint-Martin. « L'éventualité d'une représentation constante de Saint-Martin à Sao Paulo semble judicieuse, tant le dynamisme et la puissance de ce marché sont prometteurs pour notre destination », a indiqué Jeanne Vanterpool-Rogers, vice-présidente de l'Office du tourisme de Saint-Martin et déléguée aux affaires économiques.
    Etaient également présentes, Silviane John - Directrice de l'Office de Tourisme, Aïda Weinum – Chargée de promotion du Marché US et Gwen Feliciano- Directrice des ventes et marketing du Radisson Blu Resort, Marina & Spa St-Martin.

    Pour Jeanne Vanterpool-Rogers, les efforts de promotion à l'international n'ont de sens que s'ils sont accompagnés d'une volonté de garantir aux visiteurs démarchés, l'assurance d'un séjour de bonne tenue. C'est ainsi que la propreté et la sécurité de l'île sont des éléments indissociables afin d'assurer une promotion efficace de la destination Saint-Martin au-delà de ses frontières. La grande opération de nettoyage de l'île, qui débutera le 17 novembre prochain, s'inscrit dans cette logique, mais également les réunions régulières sur les problèmes de sécurité et les solutions à mettre en œuvre. La vice-présidente de l'Office du tourisme ajoute que dans le cadre de la promotion de Saint-Martin, la coopération et le travail en commun avec les hôteliers doivent se poursuivre : « Les professionnels du tourisme que sont les hôteliers connaissent très bien les tendances du marché, la nature de touristes qui viennent à Saint-Martin, et ont autant intérêt que nous à la réussite d'une promotion cohérente et opérante de la destination. »

  • COMMUNIQUÉ DE PRESSE: Dîner Atelier international du Grand Paris.

    A l'occasion d'un dîner à l'Hôtel de Matignon le mercredi 7 novembre, le Premier ministre s'est entretenu avec les représentants de l'Atelier international du Grand Paris – Pierre Mansat, son président, et les équipes d'architectes urbanistes du conseil scientifique de l'AIGP – en présence de Mme Cécile Duflot, ministre de l'Egalité des Territoires et du Logement, de Mme Aurélie Filippetti, ministre de la Culture et de la Communication, et de M. François Lamy, ministre délégué en charge de la Ville.

    Les équipes d'architectes urbanistes ont exposé leurs visions et leurs orientations pour l'aménagement de la métropole.

    Le Premier ministre a tenu à affirmer à cette occasion la mobilisation du Gouvernement pour le développement de la métropole capitale et pour la poursuite des projets du Grand Paris, au bénéfice de tout le pays. L'élaboration d'une stratégie ambitieuse au niveau régional, l'attention portée à l'habitat et aux mobilités ainsi que la mise en œuvre de projets urbains de qualité sur chacun des territoires sont une condition essentielle de la réussite de ce grand chantier. L'AIGP devra y contribuer.

  • Condamnation de l'auteur d'une agression sexuelle à 7 ans de prison.

    Dimanche 04 novembre 2012, entre 03h00 et 04h00, une jeune femme habitant à Quartier d'Orléans est surprise dans son sommeil par un individu, qui résidait dans son voisinage. Cet individu, très alcoolisé, la menace avec un couteau et la contraint à des relations sexuelles.
    L'alerte est rapidement donnée à la gendarmerie. Une patrouille de l'escadron 32/7 de Chaumont procède à l'interpellation de l'agresseur dès 05h10. Celui-ci est placé en garde à vue à la brigade territoriale de Marigot-Concordia, et déferré le lendemain au tribunal de Basse-Terre. Jugé en comparution immédiate lors de l'audience correctionnel du mardi 06 novembre, il est condamné à 7 ans de détention.

  • Condamnation de l'auteur de 2 vols à main armée à 3 ans de prison.

    Le vendredi 12 octobre 2012 à 12h45, deux couples de touristes américains qui visitaient le Fort Louis avaient été victime du vol de leurs bijoux, de téléphones et d'une petite quantité d'argent par deux individus qui les ont menacé d'une arme de poing.
    Le même jour à 20h54, deux individus aux visages dissimulés avaient dérobé la recette d'une épicerie du quartier de Concordia sous la menace d'un fusil à pompe.
    L'auteur principal de ces deux faits, interpellé le 16 octobre 2012 à l'issue d'une enquête diligentée par la brigade de recherches de St Martin, a été condamné à 3 ans de détention lors de l'audience correctionnelle du tribunal de Basse-Terre, mardi 06 novembre.
    Le coauteur du vol commis au sein de l'épicerie, un mineur de 15 ans, demeure incarcéré dans l'attente de son jugement qui aura lieu ultérieurement, compte tenu des nécessités liées à une instruction diligentée par le juge des enfants.

  • Interpellation d'un individu se livrant à u n trafic de stupéfiants.

    Le mardi 6 novembre 2012, un individu âgé de 21 ans a été interpellé par le Psig de St Martin sur la voie publique, à proximité de la plage de la Baie Orientale, alors qu'il était en possession de 36 grammes d'herbe de cannabis. 114 grammes d'herbes de cannabis, ainsi qu'un couteau et une
    balance de précision ont par ailleurs été découverts par l'équipe cynophile du Psig sur la voie publique, non-loin du lieu d'interpellation.
    L'intéressé, déjà interpellé 3 jours auparavant pour des faits similaires, a été immédiatement placé en garde à vue et conduit à la brigade de Marigot. Il est convoqué devant le tribunal de St Martin le 10 janvier 2013 pou répondre de ses agissements.

  • Le programme du Saint-Martin’s Day 2012.

    Dimanche 4 novembre
    16h : concours de « Little Miss Saint-Martin » (Celebration Palace, Philipsburg)
    Du 5 au 10 novembre
    Toute la journée : l'association des commerçants de Marigot célèbre le jour de Saint-Martin, avec de nombreuses activités dans les rues de Marigot, et ambiance musicale.
    Jeudi 8 novembre
    20h : débat sur le patrimoine diffusé sur la chaîne câblée MSR et des radios.
    Vendredi 9 novembre
    19h30 : ouverture officielle de la célébration du Jour de Saint-Martin (Belle Plaine, Quartier d'Orléans)
    De 20h à 23h30 : de jeunes talents musicaux exprimeront leur art, sur le thème « rendre hommage à l'Histoire et construire l'avenir ».
    Samedi 10 novembre
    11h : dépôt de gerbes pour la commémoration du 11 novembre 1945 (parc de l'Hôtel de la Collectivité)
    12h : des plats locaux seront en vente à Belle Plaine (Quartier d'Orléans), dans une ambiance musicale
    13h : tournois de dominos et de belotte
    De 20h à 23h30 : show calypso, avec des artistes de Saint-Martin, Sint-Maarten, tels que Kaiso Brat, King Tmo, Ricky Boys, King Beaubeau, The Mighty Dow, Kind Fish The Boss (MC : Ricky d fox et Fernando Clark)

    Dimanche 11 novembre

    9h : messe œcuménique à l'église méthodiste de Quartier d'Orléans
    10h45 : dépôt de gerbes à la frontière (Quartier d'Orléans)
    11h15 : défilé (Quartier d'Orléans, RN7)
    12h : discours officiels et déjeuner (Belle Plaine, Quartier d'Orléans)

    A Belle Plaine :
    12h : dégustation de mets locaux, ambiance musicale (Gun slingers)
    13h30 : présentation culturelle, intitulée « i gah tell ayo the story » ; cérémonie honorifique.
    14h : course cycliste : départ & arrivée au centre culturel de Quartier d'Orléans ; défilé (départ : centre culturel de Quartier d'Orléans, arrivée : village de Belle Plaine.
    14h : présentation de groupes culturels sur scène : tournois de basket ball et de volley ball
    15h : jeux traditionnels pour enfants et adultes ; compétition de roller
    15h30 : finale du trophée des champions (football) au stade Thelbert Carti : FC Concordia contre Young Stars de Saint-Barth ; Juniors Stars contre FC Marigot.
    16h : Phox & ses danceurs (Belle Plaine)
    18h30 : projection d'un documentaire « le respect de l'Histoire, conquérir l'avenir)
    De 20h à 23h30 : concert (Ruff Sand Production) ; présentation d'artistes locaux de différentes générations (MC: Dutty Sham, Bunfire Band, Percy Rankin, 4M Band, Velly, DJ Stiky Banton, Modeling par Sugary Treasures Girls, SXM DHQ Dance Group)
    23h30 : fermeture du Village

  • Les emplois d’avenir à St Martin et à St Barthélemy.

    Le Préfet de St Barthélemy et de St Martin informe que le dispositif gouvernemental « contrats aidés » appelé Emplois d'Avenir est
    devenu opérationnel pour St Martin et St Barthélemy depuis le 1er novembre 2012.
    Il s'adresse aux jeunes de 16 à 25 ans ( 30 ans à St Martin ) sans emploi et sans diplôme. Par dérogation, les jeunes diplômés BAC + 3 résidant à St Martin ou St Barthélemy qui sont inscrits à Pôle Emploi depuis plus de 12 mois sur les 18 derniers mois sont éligibles à ce dispositif.
    Pour l'instant, seuls les employeurs du secteur non marchand (associations, collectivités territoriales, personnes morales de droit public sauf l'Etat , les structures d'insertion par l'activité économique, les personnes morales de droit privé chargées de la gestion d'un service public) sont concernés par ce dispositif. Il sera étendu au secteur marchand sous certaines conditions.
    Ces Emplois d'Avenir sont des contrats de travail à temps plein (35 heures), à durée déterminée ou indéterminée. L'aide de l'Etat représente 75% de la rémunération brute du jeune (hors cotisations sociales) sur la base du Smic pendant trois années maximum, soit environ 1070 euros par mois.
    Pour plus d'informations, vous pouvez consulter le site internet www.lesemploisdavenir.gouv.fr et contacter le Pôle de cohésion sociale : 05 90 29 18 79.

  • Approvisionnement pharmaceutique des îles de Saint-Barthélemy et de Saint-Martin.

    La Préfecture de Saint-Barthélemy et de Saint-Martin et l'Agence de Santé de Guadeloupe, Saint-Martin et Saint-Barthélemy informent la population qu'une réorganisation du circuit d'approvisionnement des 11 pharmacies de Saint-Martin et des 3 pharmacies de Saint-Barthélemy est en cours actuellement, compte tenu des actions développées par l'Agence nationale de sécurité du médicament (ANSM).
    Ces changements visent à garantir une meilleure desserte de la population, dans le respect des dispositions réglementaires du code de santé publique, tout en reconnaissant le rôle premier de l'établissement pharmaceutique local de vente en gros basé à Saint-Martin.
    Tout est mis en oeuvre, notamment aux cotés des pharmaciens locaux, pour que cette réorganisation ne perturbe en rien l'approvisionnement habituel de la population.

  • Communiqué de presse du Premier ministre sur le Haut conseil du financement de la protection sociale.

    Le Premier ministre, Jean-Marc Ayrault, a reçu cet après-midi la note du Haut conseil du financement de la protection sociale dressant un état des lieux du système de financement de la protection sociale. Il salue la qualité du travail du Haut conseil du financement de la protection sociale présidé par Madame Mireille Elbaum.

    Conformément à la feuille de route de la conférence sociale des 9 et 10 juillet 2012, le Premier ministre avait demandé lors de l'installation du Haut conseil du financement de la protection sociale le 26 septembre que ses premiers travaux soient consacrés à un état des lieux du système de financement de la protection sociale, analysant ses caractéristiques et ses évolutions. Le Haut conseil du financement de la protection sociale a consacré ses séances des 17 octobre et 30 octobre à ce sujet.

    Ainsi que l'a annoncé le Premier ministre, à l'issue du séminaire gouvernemental du 6 novembre 2012 sur la compétitivité le Haut conseil poursuivra ses travaux sur les évolutions souhaitables des modalités de financement de la protection sociale. Il s'agit de définir les conditions du retour à l'équilibre des comptes de la Sécurité sociale, d'en préserver le caractère solidaire et soutenable, de favoriser la compétitivité de l'économie française ainsi que le développement de l'emploi.

  • Civil Servants participate in Organizational workshop.

    Philipsburg (DCOMM):--- For the past two weeks, about 800 civil servants have been taking part in a one-day course at the University of St. Maarten.

    The name of the course is "Country Status: The New Organizational in Development," funded by the funding agency USONA and executed by the Development/Government Administration Academy (Bestuursacademie).

    Organized by the Department of Interior Affairs and Kingdom Relations (BAK), the course is mandatory for and is part of Government's efforts to improve the civil service core skills and knowledge.

    The course consisted of eight 20-30 minute lectures on the following topics: New State, Council of Ministers, the Governor, Social Economic Council (SER), Council of Advice, Parliament, Ombudsman, General Audit Chamber.

    Each organization or institution provided information about their organization, tasks and responsibilities, and examples so that the civil servants, ranking from general secretaries to secretary general of ministries, can acquire concrete knowledge on the changes to Government since St. Maarten became country on October 10, 2010.

    The main objective of the training:

    1. Knowledge of, and practical insight into the change of the organization's acquired by the target group.
    2. The target group can translate the knowledge and skills to their own workplace.
    3. Support for the recently implemented new organizational structure.

    Marcel Gumbs was the moderator, and lectured twice on the New State and the Council of Ministers. The other institutions mentioned above each sent a representative to inform the participants during the morning session. At the end of the morning session, participants completed a short quiz, and continued onto the afternoon session, when participants were divided into 5 groups of twenty people.

    During the afternoon workshop, the trainers, in an interactive way, concentrated on: customer service, communication, and teamwork.

    The course was a useful exercise to improve the working of the government apparatus, according to officials.

  • Ombudsman plans community information session for Simpson Bay, Pelican, Beacon Hill and Low Lands.

    GREAT BAY (DCOMM):--- The Office of the Ombudsman will be having its last community information session for the residents of Simpson Bay, Pelican, Beacon Hill, Maho, Mullet Bay and Cupecoy.

    The session will be held at the Allen Halley Jr. Recreational Center at Sr. Modesta Road #25 in Simpson Bay (next to the basketball court) on Tuesday, December 04 from 7:30pm to 9:00pm.

    The community information session will allow residents from the aforementioned communities to learn more about the role of the Office of the Ombudsman and how it can assist individuals.

    The Ombudsman has a legal basis embedded into the Constitution of Sint Maarten under Article 78. The main task of the Ombudsman is to investigate the conduct of Government, civil servants and other Administrative bodies based on complaints received from individuals in the community, organizations and based on its own prerogative.

    The Ombudsman will be available to provide information and to answer any questions that members of the community may have with respect to the role of the organization with respect to the citizen.

    The information session is being organized in close collaboration with the Simpson Bay Community Council.

    For more information and inquiries you can call Tel. 542-1250 or via email: bureauombudsman@gmail.com.

  • Disaster Coordinator Salomon thankful Country was spared devastating damage this hurricane season.

    GREAT BAY (DCOMM):--- Disaster Coordinator Fire Commander Winston Salomon, is thankful that once again the nation has been spared serious devastation from a hurricane for the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season.

    The six-month 2012 season comes to an end on Friday, November 30.

    The season turned out to be an extremely active one with 19 named storms forming. The 2011 season had 18.

    "We have much to be thankful for having gone through the 2012 hurricane season without being directly hit by a storm system. We did have some close calls.

    "I would like to thank the people of our island nation for taking the necessary preparations for the season when it was advised to do so. We had a number of storm systems that forced us into an emergency preparatory mode to take the necessary actions required to protect life and property.

    "I would like to thank the public as well as the island's disaster management team and emergency support functions for their role played in preparing the country," Disaster Coordinator Winston Salomon told the Department of Communication (DCOMM) on Thursday.

  • World Aids Day 2012.

    Great Bay:--- World AIDS Day will be commemorated on Saturday, December 1, 2012 worldwide. The theme which was launched in 2011 and goes until 2015 is "Getting to zero: zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS related deaths". The World AIDS Campaign focus on "Zero AIDS related deaths" signifies a push towards greater access to treatment for all; a call for governments to act now.
    Minister of Public Health Social Development & Labor, Cornelius De Weever, is urging the community of St. Maarten to "Get Checked," and know their status. "As we reflect on the theme for World AIDS Day, we here in St. Maarten are doing our utmost to get to zero, as it relates to HIV infections, discrimination and deaths, so if we all "Get Checked" we are well on our way to zero status," said Minister De Weever.
    Minister De Weever congratulated the HIV/AIDS Programme Management Team, the St. Maarten AIDS Foundation, and all entities in the private sector that in one way or the other has made and continues to make its contributions to St. Maarten "Getting to Zero."

  • President of Parliament Samuel says Bullying Panel Discussion should lead to Locally Tailored Intervention Measures.

    PHILIPSBURG:--- On Friday several students will give insight and personal experiences about bullying at the Belair Community Centre as a result of a collaboration by Voice of Our Children (VOOC) Foundation with the Department of Sports and Youth Affairs.

    The national panel discussion is scheduled from 8:00am to 12:00pm with students of secondary schools of St. Maarten/St. Martin

    President of Parliament Hon. Drs. Rodolphe Samuel, says he is in full support of the initiative and collaboration with the Sports and Youth Department.

    Bullying happens when someone hurts or scares another person on purpose and the person being bullied has a hard time defending themselves.

    It is a behaviour that makes the person being bullied feels afraid or uncomfortable. There are many ways that young people bully each other, even if they don't realize it at the time. Some of these include: punching, shoving, spreading bad rumours, keeping certain people out of a group, teasing people in a mean way and ganging up on others.

    "Parents have a role to play with respect to talking with their kids and asking them have they been bullied. This open relationship between child and parent is necessary in order to help the child overcome.

    "I am looking forward to hearing about the outcome of the Friday panel discussion. One of the main things should be the development of home grown anti-bullying measures and interventions developed by our young people which can then be used in different schools and also circulated to parents so that they are aware and are informed," President of Parliament Hon. Drs. Rodolphe Samuel said on Thursday.

    The newest form of bullying is cyber bullying (via the internet or social media platforms), and this is presenting a whole new range of challenges.

    President Samuel commends the efforts and initiatives of the organization Voices of Our Children (VOOC) where it concerns bullying.

  • KPSM requesting Public's Assistance to solve recent murder.

    Philipsburg:--- In connection with the ongoing murder investigation into the murder of Gaston A. Gumbs, whose body was found on November 10th, 2012 at approximately 11:00pm in Hope Estate, the investigating team is asking the entire community on Sint Maarten if anyone has any information concerning the location of the victim's vehicle. The vehicle in question is a red 2007 Toyota Yaris with dark tinted windows, black hubcaps, and license plate 978 ZBC 971. The investigating team is also asking anyone who may have any information that could shed some light on this investigation to call the tip line 9300.

  • Minister Jacobs attends Loekie Morales Book Launch.

    loekiemoralesandsilveriajacobs29112012GREAT BAY (DCOMM):--- The Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports the Honorable Silveria Jacobs attended the book launch of Bloodline – A family Search by Loeki Morales at the Philipsburg Jubilee Library on November 28th, 2012.

    In addition to the book launch an audio book of the same title with voice of Sharon Freiburg was launched.

    RBC bank sponsored the distribution of the hardcover version and several audio books to all high schools on St. Maarten, Saba, St. Eustatius, Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao.

    The Minister was grateful and proud to accept a signed copy of the book from its author. The launching of this book is considered an accomplishment of which students will be able to experience a book about family, love and honor from the perspective of a local author.

    Minister Jacobs encouraged the author to continue to fulfill her dreams of writing and touching the hearts and minds of young readers.

  • SMMTA calls on Ministry of Justice to cover openings used to smuggle contra-band in prison.

    smmtalogo29112012Further to the article in November 29th's news, the St Maarten Marine Trades Association would like to note the raids in the prison and all the contra-band imported through the open window in the Simpson Bay holding cells. This open access to the community for accused or convicted felons continues to be not only a nuisance to the public but now proves to be a serious safety concern as well. We feel it is absolutely imperative that these openings are covered swiftly, not only to stop the unnecessary harassment of our residents and visitors, that in fact is a black eye on our tourist product and may in fact prevent visitors from returning to the island; but to avoid the easy importation of contra-band into the prison.

    The SMMTA would like to propose that the holding cell windows that are facing the street be filled in with Glass bricks or similar material to a height higher than the inmates can reach or look over allowing for continued light and air flow at the top of the windows. This would eliminate the direct leering and menacing comments of the inmates on the pedestrian traffic below, as well as hinder their direct access to the public.

    We hope that the Ministry Of Justice appreciates the detrimental effect that this has on the island and acts to rectify the solution swiftly, not only after the end of season when the damage is done.

  • PJL Invites Public to "Faith" book launch.

    faithbyjanicejames29112012Philipsburg:--- The Philipsburg Jubilee Library invites the general public to the book launch of Faith by author Janice Alina James. This event will take place on Friday, November 30th, 2012 at 7:00pm at the Library.
    James' book "Faith", is a compilation of poems and short stories written over a period of years. The languages used in this book, English, Dutch, and Papiamentu respectively, are part of the uniqueness of Curaçao, where she was born and grew up. "We spoke English at home, Dutch at school and Papiamentu among friends", James explained. Janice was born on the island of Curaçao, where she was raised and completed her education. Janice migrated to St. Maarten in 1988 and has been living on St. Maarten ever since. Janice always loved to put her thoughts on paper. This talent grew as she matured and this project is a result of her love for literature in the form of poems and stories, which started at the tender age of fourteen.

  • Minister Jacobs invites nation to thanksgiving service this Sunday; Theme: Celebrating God’s Goodness.

    GREAT BAY (DCOMM):--- The annual Thanksgiving Service will take place on Sunday, December 2 in front of the Government Administration Building.

    Service and activities start at 4:30pm with the customary praise worship followed by the service at 5:00pm

    Minister of Education, Culture, Youth, and Sports Hon. Silveria Jacobs, is inviting the nation to the service which also marks the end of the hurricane season.

    The Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports in collaboration with the Christian Council of Churches, the St. Martin Ministerial Foundation and the Seventh Day Adventist Churches are jointly hosting the annual thanksgiving service.

    The Thanksgiving Day proclamation has had a great impact on the community over the years and brings together the different denominations and the community at large.

    Churches are encouraged to observe this proclamation during their morning services in their respective house of worship as a day of Thanksgiving.

    The general public is invited once more to come prepared to give a love offering which go towards the purchase of goods for Christmas Baskets.

    The churches along with the department of Culture are charged with the distribution of the love offerings, amongst the most vulnerable groups within the community.

    Thanksgiving Service is observed annually based on the Executive Council's proclamation of December 1, 1999 which outlines that Thanksgiving Day should be observed on the first Sunday of December following the official end of the hurricane period.

  • Town Hall Meeting Covering Dawn Beach and Point Blanche Zoning/development plans scheduled for December 4.

    PHILIPSBURG:--- The Ministry of Public Housing, Spatial Development, Environment and Infrastructure (MinVROMI) has organized a Town Hall meeting covering Dawn Beach and Point Blanche to be held on Tuesday evening.

    Residents, stakeholders, and interested persons are invited to attend the town hall meeting which will take place at the University of St. Martin from 7:00pm to 9:30pm. The meeting is part of the process of drafting "development plans" for country Sint Maarten.

    The development plan will comprise of a legal framework for possible future development that would take place in the district; to designate and/or reserve land for desired use; to prevent undesired development; and to offer legal security to residents about future development in their district.

    This is the first meeting for this area which will allow residents, stakeholders and interested persons of the aforementioned districts to provide their views and ideas with respect to the future development of their districts. The views presented by the public will then be included into the design development plan and presented at a follow-up town hall meeting.

    The process to develop the development plans are funded by the Dutch agency USONA to the tune of Naf. 2 million.

  • Safety tips for shopping this holiday season.

    cdeweever19082012GREAT BAY (DCOMM):--- As part of the Minister of Public Health's Hon. Cornelius de Weever 'Get Checked' campaign, every parent's number one concern this holiday season should be to make sure that whatever it is you buy for your child this year, it's safe. Therefore, make sure you check the safety information of toys before you purchase it.

    Every year Collective Prevention Services (CPS), a department of the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, as part of its calendar of observances, highlights and creates awareness where it concerns safe holiday experiences for the entire family.

    Before purchasing or giving any gift, particularly one intended for a child, double check to make sure it does not pose a hazard by reading the safety conditions attached to the gift.

    Here are some safety tips for holiday season shopping: select toys suitable for a child's age, abilities, skills and interest level; for infants, toddlers, and all children who still mouth objects, avoid toys with small parts, which could pose a fatal choking hazard.

    Avoid toys that have sharp edges and points, especially for children under age eight; do not purchase electric toys with heating elements for children under age eight; read the labels that give age and safety recommendations and use that information as a guide in your holiday shopping.

    One of the most important gifts of all to give a child is time spent with you as a parent this holiday season.

    Safe holidays.

  • Minister Jacobs presented with copy of Education Digest.

    sjacobsreceiveseducationdigest29112012GREAT BAY (DCOMM):--- The Division Educational Innovation presented the Education Digest for the school year 2010/2011 to the Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports the Honorable Silveria Jacobs on Wednesday November 28th 2012.

    The Education Digest provides general data on schools, enrollment, genders parities, teachers, educational outcomes and finances. It also describes indicators for the educational system, the structure of education, coverage of the system as well as public expenditure on the system.

    The Education Digest is divided into three sections in addition to statistics to incorporate Special Needs Education and Tertiary education and indicators on education quality.

    Several members of the Education Digest workgroup were on hand to present the Minister with the Digest. Members of the workgroup are Patricia Lourens – Chair person, Milton Top, Cheryl Labega, Nina Joseph, Marcellia Henry and Priscilla Bell. Every division/department and each school will receive two copies of the Digest.

    In addition the Labor Department will also receive a copy of the digest. The Education Digest will be presented annually. The 2011/2012 edition is scheduled to be finalized in March 2013.

  • Police Providing Medical and Social Care to Illegal Chinese National --- Chinese Association and White and Yellow Cross Refused to take responsibility.

    sangwengli29112012Philipsburg:--- The Philipsburg Police Station now finds itself providing social and medical care to a Chinese national who has been residing on St. Maarten for the past 23 years. SMN News reporter met the ill man on a prison mattress on the floor inside the police station covered with a brown blanket, next to him are two bottles of water and a pack of pampers since the man is unable to walk or assist himself in any way.

    Police Officers have to bathe and clean the man while they also have to physically feed him since he is not able to do anything for himself. While SMN News reporter was on the scene the man was asking the officers to change his pampers because it was filled and overflowing.

    Some officers at the Police Station on Thursday told SMN News that Li was a patient at the St. Maarten Medical Center and just a few days ago the hospital felt it necessary to discharge him because according to the medical professionals he no longer needs medical care. The police officers said that Li who was working and residing at Yang Yang Supermarket on Sucker Garden Road fell down and he ended up at the SMMC for medical care but when he was discharged he asked someone to take him back to Yang Yang where he was residing. That night the owners of Yang Yang Supermarket and so called friends of Li placed him outside on the supermarket porch. Several persons alerted police of the situation and a patrol decided to take the man to the police station where he remains up to late Thursday. Even though the Minister of Justice Roland Duncan has removed the immigration department from the Police, an illegal immigrant that is in need of social and medical services ended up at the doorsteps of the police instead of the IND Building where immigration matters are being handled. It should be noted that Minister of Justice Roland Duncan also replaces the Minister of Health, Labour, and Social Welfare when he is off island.

    Officers at the Philipsburg Police Station whose duty is to provide security and deal with criminals identified the man as Sang Weng Li (57 years old). Two of the officers Albert Thomas and Leroy Beau Beau Brooks told SMN News that the Li speaks Spanish and Chinese fluently and that he has been residing on the island for 23 years now without legal documents.

    However, the past three days Li ended up on the floor of the police station when a patrol found him lying outside of Yang Yang Supermarket one night after being discharged from the St. Maarten Medical Center. Officer Thomas explained that 23 years ago Li entered St. Maarten with a falsified passport from the Dominican Republic and he was working at the Sang's Supermarket. In 1989 immigration officers arrested Li when he was caught working for Sang's illegally. Li spent nine months in the police holding cells before he was deported to China. However, when Li reached China the Chinese government deported him back to St. Maarten because Li was never in possession of Chinese passport. According to Officer Thomas, Li left China on a falsified Taiwanese Passport and went to the Dominican Republic where he lived and worked for five years. The Immigration department made a second attempt to deport Li to his country which they know to be China but there again they failed because he was deported back to St. Maarten from Amsterdam.

    sangwenglicloseup29112012According to the officers who have been providing assistance to Li since he is now in their care, Li was robbed in August 2012 by some bandits who beat him badly, the incident landed Li in the St. Maarten Medical Center for one month. Li has an outstanding bill at SMMC which amounts to $23,000.00 and another $10,000.00 at St. Maarten Laboratory Services (SLS).

    He was admitted about a month ago at SMMC when he fell down at Yang Yang Supermarket. According to the officers that know Li they said the man makes his living as gardener who would plant and sell lettuce and other vegetables to the supermarkets around the island. Li is also known to be working in several of the Chinese restaurant on St. Maarten when he is in good health, but today he needs care and assistance the Chinese community has chosen to distance themselves from him. The Police Officers said that police management team made contact with the Chinese Association and they have since disowned Li claiming he is from Taiwan and not China even though Li provided them with the name of his wife and children that still lives in China, the Chinese Association claims that they first have to establish his identity before they are able to provide any type of assistance to their countryman. Contact was also made with the White and Yellow Cross who also refused to take the medically ill man into their service claiming that they have no room. The officers said that the entire Council of Ministers are aware of the situation and everyone claims they are working on finding a solution for Li but in their opinion its taking too long. "What seems to be the biggest issue here is that everybody is more concerned about who will pay for their services and it's not about the risk and health conditions of a human being."

    In an invited comment, Chief of Police Peter de Witte said he already submitted a request to the Minister of Justice to find a solution for Li. De Witte said Li is not a criminal he is an illegal resident and the police is not responsible for immigration matters. De Witte said he also asked the Minister of Justice to see if the Council of Ministers can find a solution to provide some kind of social care for the man who has a medical condition and needs assistance.

    Currently the Minister of Health Cornelius de Weever is off island while his replacement Minister of Justice Roland Duncan could not be reached by telephone for a comment on Thursday.

  • 1963: A LANDMARK OF ST. MARTIN.

    The second and revised edition of the historic book 1963: A landmark Year in St. Martin is here. This edition is a gem, which differs from the first edition in several ways. It is a beautiful treasure, professionally laid out in a handy format with glossy paper and numerous coloured photo's depicting St. Martin and St. Martin families in the olden days.
    In this book, historian Daniella Jeffry gives an explanation on how St. Martin became one of the top Caribbean tourist destinations. The book defines the year 1963 as the beginning of the tourism development on the island of St. Martin and as the transition year between an agricultural, rural economy and a commercial, tourist-oriented economy.
    According to Daniella Jeffry, the tourism boom brought about an enormous influx of numerous immigrants from the neighbouring islands in search of work as well as the return to the island of St. Martin of waves of St. Martiners, who had migrated to the then prosperous islands to fill the new positions in the first banks, business administrations and government offices. The festive, gentle way of life of the native St. Martiners harmoniously blended with the burgeoning new economy, and greatly contributed to the success of the tourism industry.
    In 1978, seven years before 1963, A landmark Year in St. Martin appeared as a fourteen-part series in the St. Maarten/St. Martin Newsday of Jose Lake Sr. Today, St. Martin is one of the top Caribbean destinations. 1963, A Landmark Year in St. Martin gives readers a look at the island's unique beauty, warm hospitality and friendliness of the native St. Martiners which includes delightful stories and photos.
    The book can be obtained in soft and hard cover at the Van Dorp bookstores and also as an e-book from the publisher Xlibris, that is promoting the book as a great travel book for persons visiting the island. However, the book also has a tremendous educational and historical value for young and old as it captures several parts of the island that can no longer be found or recognized as a result of the unbridled tourism. With the Christmas holidays right around the corner, this book is a great Christmas gift.
    On Saturday, December 1, 2012, Daniella Jeffry will be present at a booksigning event at Van Dorp Bookstore on the Illidge Road from 10:00 to 02:00 p.m. to sign her books and to interact with the public. A similar book signing event will take place at Van Dorp Bookstore in Simpson Bay on December 4, 2012 from 11:00 am to 2:00 p.m.
    To request a complimentary paperback to review copy, contact Xlibris at (888)795-4274 ext. 7879.
    To purchase copies of the book for resale, please fax Xlibris at (610) 915-0294 or call (888) 795-4274
    Ext. 7879 or contact Xlibris publishers via email:info@xlibris.com

  • Town Hall Meeting for residents of Middle Region and Dutch Quarter to cover traffic, commercial, residential, agriculture, nature and cultural development.

    PHILIPSBURG:--- Residents of Middle Region and Dutch Quarter are reminded to attend the Ministry of Public Housing, Spatial Development, Environment and Infrastructure (MinVROMI) Town Hall on Thursday evening.

    Representatives from the Ministry VROMI and consultants working on the project, will discuss the current situation with respect to roads and other infrastructure; shops and sub center; housing, public space; small scale agriculture; water and landscape; cultural heritage and archaeology.

    Residents, stakeholders and interested persons are invited to attend the town hall meeting which will take place at the Belvedere Community Center, on Low Estate Road Belvedere from 7:00pm to 9:30pm. The meeting is part of the process of drafting "development plans" for country Sint Maarten.

    The development plan will comprise of a legal framework for possible future development that would take place in the district; to designate and/or reserve land for desired use; to prevent undesired development; and to offer legal security to residents about future development in their district.

    The process to develop the development plans are funded by the Dutch agency USONA to the tune of Naf. 2 million.

  • Prison Management Confiscated Several Dangerous Items from Prison Cells --- Makeshift Plastic Vagina Among the lot.

    confiscatedweaponsfromprisoners28112012Philipsburg:--- Prison Director Edward Rohan and Head of Unit Detention Wilfred Williams displayed several items they confiscated in the prison cells located at Simpson Bay, Pointe Blanche, and the Philipsburg Police Station. Among the items confiscated is one of the fishing lines that are used by prisoners at the Simpson Bay Outpost to smuggle illegal and unwanted items in the prison cells. The prison management also managed to confiscate an escape ladder that is made from sheets, a quantity of marijuana, and a scale that is used to weigh the illegal drugs. Several cell phones including Blackberries, and other high end cell phones were also confiscated. What was most shocking to persons who witnessed the display at the A.C. Wathey Legislative Hall on Wednesday morning shortly after the Council of Ministers' press briefing is a plastic makeshift vagina that is sold at sex shops on the island. Rohan told reporters that the inmates are very creative since they have lots of time to think. He said a paint roller was used to make a dangerous weapon that can be used to stab other inmates, a bucket handle was also used to make a sharp edged weapon while the prisoners destroyed chairs that are inside the prisons to use the legs of the chairs as weapons. Rohan said that the prisoners concealed the items in their mattresses and even in their cupboards that are carved out since these prisoners are very skillful. The prison management also confiscated a number of pills some of which they said are steroids while others are simply pain killers that the prisoners sell to each other.
    Rohan said that the inmates even removed a window pane from the Simpson Bay holding cell to create more space for their fishing expedition.
    During the display, Minister of Justice Roland Duncan told reporters that the prison is short staffed, thus allowing the prisoners to smuggle items inside the prison. The smuggling of illegal items is openly done at the Simpson Bay location. The least amount of items were confiscated at the Philipsburg Police Station. Duncan said mostly marijuana was confiscated at the Philipsburg holding cells while the dangerous items were confiscated at the Simpson Bay Outpost and Pointe Blanche House of Detention.
    The Minister of Justice said he saw several articles in the media condemning the adequacy of the Simpson Bay facility but his concern is mostly is the type of persons that are being incarcerated in the prison system. The Justice Minister said he once mentioned in Parliament and was highly criticized for it when he announced his intention to allow conjugal visits in the new prison facility but he is of the opinion that prisoners have needs like everyone else, therefore allowing conjugal visits would only facilitate their human needs. When asked if that is the case then why did the prison management confiscate the makeshift plastic vagina which is not a weapon, the Justice Minister said that prisoners are supposed to ask permission to have such an item inside their cells and it appears as though the prisoner did not request permission to have the sex toy.

    Click here to view the items that were confiscated inside the prison cells.

  • 2013 Budget has Naf. 29 Million Deficit --- Finance Minister Plans to finalize Budget by Friday.

    rtuitt29112012Philipsburg:--- Minister of Finance Roland Tuitt announced on Wednesday during the Council of Ministers' weekly press briefing that he is still working on balancing the final draft 2013 budget which has a deficit of 29 million guilders. Minister Tuitt said that he is hoping to finalize the 2013 draft budget by Friday this week which will he submit to the CFT and Council of Advice before sending it over to Parliament for approval. The Finance Minister said he is trying hard to have the budget dealt with in Parliament before the Christmas recess.
    One way the Minister of Finance is looking into to collect more revenues is to offer incentives to businesses that are not paying their share of taxes. Minister Tuitt said that his Ministry is focusing heavily on tax compliance and if the businesses respond accordingly then St. Maarten would be able to balance its budget without any hardships. Tuitt said because the government placed heavy focus on the compliance of taxes they already have six million guilders more than they had last year. The intention he said is to be able to cover 10 million in tax collection next year. The Finance Minister said government is busy putting certain tools in place to further increase the tax compliance. Tuitt also issued a stronger appeal to the businesses on St. Maarten to comply with his request and pay their dues. Tuitt said that his Ministry is willing to put incentives for businesses for the month of December 2012 for those businesses that show interest in paying their taxes. He said government is willing to waive the penalties that were placed on businesses who did not comply and pay their taxes over the past years. Another step the government is trying to take is to collect its dividends from the Central Bank and to privatize the granting of scholarships that are given to students annually. Tuitt said government gives out over Naf. 4 million annually on scholarships. The Finance Minister said the idea is to place the scholarships in a fund that would be tasked with collecting the monies past (old) students owes the government. He said over time this fund will become self-sufficient and government would no longer have to contribute to it or budget for it. Tuitt said there is one worrisome item in the budget and that is the debt ceiling that St. Maarten has. The Finance Minister made clear that this is one topic he intends to discuss with the Government of the Netherlands. Tuitt said when the calculations are done St. Maarten would be in a position to borrow as much as 620 million guilders.
    The Finance Minister also announced on Wednesday that the government of St. Maarten is considering levying more taxes on the sale of alcohol and tobacco. He said St. Maarten is not the only country heading in this direction because the State of France already implemented laws to add more taxes on the sale of alcohol and tobacco.
    The Minister of Finance also intends to meet with the various casinos on the island to inform them that government is also contemplating the implementation of Turn over Tax (TOT) on casinos. Those meetings the Minister of Finance said are scheduled to take place next week.
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  • St. Martin’s Historian and Author Presents Latest Edition to Prime Minister.

    djeffreyandswescotwilliams28112012Philipsburg:--- Renown author and historian Daniella Jeffrey who is also a former politician, founder of the United St. Martin Movement (USM), and teacher presented the latest edition of her book which is done in two languages French and English "1963 a Landmark year in St. Martin" to the Prime Minister of St. Maarten Sarah Wescot Williams. Jeffrey made the presentation shortly after the weekly press briefing on Wednesday morning at the A.C Wathey Legislative Hall. The newest edition of "1963 a Landmark year in St. Martin" has color photographs that illustrate the island's history. The author and historian told reporters that she did her first signing in New Orleans with AARP USA and the second signing will take place at Van Dorp Bookstore. Jeffry said her publisher is currently marketing her book as a travel book.

    Prime Minister Sarah Wescot Williams thanked Jeffrey for the work she has been doing especially when it comes to documenting the island's history.
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  • Prime Minister looking at Amending Electoral Law and Constitution to create Stability in Government.

    Philipsburg:--- The Prime Minister of St. Maarten Sarah Wescot Williams announced on Wednesday during the Council of Ministers' weekly press briefing that she has been monitoring the Parliament of Curacao where one of the factions has submitted a proposal to have the Electoral Law and the Constitution amended. The Curacao Parliament wants to put in place that the seats that are held by parliamentarians belong to the political party on which they were elected. Wescot Williams said should this happen St. Maarten would have to take action, by this she said St. Maarten should also change its electoral laws to guarantee a more stable operation of government. She said she does not think St. Maarten has to follow the exact exercise Curacao followed because a part of the proposal was criticized by the Council of Advice. "The part that was criticized was the part that stated that politicians running on political slates would have to sign a declaration stating that the seat they are sitting on while in parliament belongs to the political party they ran on. The Council of Advice in their opinion said doing so would be unconstitutional." Jurisprudence in the Kingdom does not allow the seats of Parliament to be tied to a political party. However, the Netherlands is based on the Constitution they have in place for centuries. Wescot Williams said in the case of St. Maarten it's a young country that is going through a learning process. The Prime Minister said she believes that these changes in the electoral law are necessary and she will give the issue all her attention to find ways and means within the legislation, including in the constitution to create a basis that would give any government stability. Even if the government is formed by coalition this government would have to provide a governing program which would be judged by the people. Wescot Williams said she is sure that she will receive the necessary support for her endeavors to make certain changes to the electoral law. Wescot Williams said St. Maarten as a young country needs stability and transparency and has to be accountable to the people that elected a government into office.
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  • St. Maarten gets Bad Rating from CFATF Reporting.

    Philipsburg:--- Minister of Justice Roland Duncan told reporters on Wednesday at the Council of Ministers' weekly press briefing that St. Maarten did not get a good rating at the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) annual reporting.

    The Justice Minister said that he went along with a huge delegation which involved members of the Central Bank, the Ministry of Finance, Customs, and representatives from the Justice Ministry. While the reporting focused on money laundering and financing of terrorism, the police department was not part of the delegation that went to Tortola to defend St. Maarten. The Justice Minister said that the meeting in Tortola was to mainly discuss the report on St. Maarten which was not in good standing. He said the United Nations and CFATF have given St. Maarten forty recommendations with nine core recommendations which the new country has to meet by May 2013 to respond to the CFATF findings and present a plan of action as to how St. Maarten will comply to reach its full compliance. Minister Duncan said when these recommendations are given to any country that country is expected to carry them out. One of the things St. Maarten must do to get to full compliance is to strengthen the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU/MOT) while the Central Bank has to step up to the plate and the laws on St. Maarten have to be adjusted further.

    Minister Duncan said that he is not too happy with the results St. Maarten got because of the 40 recommendations St. Maarten has to deal with 15 of them. He said the delegation that went on behalf of St. Maarten put up a fight when they got the results. He said they met with the review group and managed to defend their position on the findings. Minister Duncan said Curacao got a more favorable result than St. Maarten. He further explained that he believes that Country St. Maarten got a bad evaluation because the island's country system is not properly understood, and besides that they found that there are countries that are in worst standing than St. Maarten. Minister Duncan said that St. Maarten is not in danger and one of the most challenging situations is the language because no one understands Dutch. He said St. Maarten must translate everything to either English or Spanish and if that is not done then the country did not comply.

  • Police has Right to Use Force --- Excessive Force will be Investigated.

    Philipsburg:--- Minister of Justice Roland Duncan said that the police has a right to use force based on their instruction book but the use of excessive force will be investigated by the Police Internal Affairs or the Landsrecherche. The Justice Minister was responding to questions posed by SMN News reporter on Wednesday during the Council of Ministers' weekly press briefing.

    The Minister said that the police have trained dogs that are used to attack and apprehend people who do not respect the commands of the police. Just recently a Guyanese national who police claim was running away from them received a number of dog bites and a broken jaw. The man was released by the judge of instruction the first time he appeared before the judge while in pre-trial detention. In the meantime, the judge also ordered that the Landsrecherche investigate the six police officers that were involved in a road control when the suspect/victim was arrested and brutalized by police.

    When asked by SMN News how many police officers are on suspension and how many he plans to fire because of questionable behavior, the Minister said that there are about three officers that are on suspension, while one was fired already and there are at least two more that will be fired.
    SMN News learnt that the Minister has to sign off on a number of decrees including the termination of two female officers.

  • TAXAND Curacao Files Complaint against Judith Brewster --- Allegation of Defrauding TAXAND of Naf 100,000.00.

    Philipsburg:--- The Chief Prosecutor of Curacao Heiko de Jong confirmed to SMN News on Wednesday morning that his office is busy conducting an investigation based on a complaint filed by TAXAND. De Jong said that he is not prepared to divulge information on the ongoing investigation which involves the countries Curacao and St. Maarten.

    SMN News has been reliably informed that Judith Brewster took Naf. 100,000.00 in bank overdrafts for TAXAND and she allegedly embezzled a large portion of the monies which she used on personal matters for herself.

    SMN News questioned the Minister of Finance Roland Tuitt on the SOAB investigation he had conducted on the contract the former Minister of Finance granted to Judith Brewster (TAXAND). Minister Tuitt said he does have that report in his possession but because he was tied up these past weeks trying to balance the 2013 budget he did not have sufficient time to deal with the TAXAND report. The Finance Minister promised some months ago that he will publish that report after the Council of Ministers takes a decision on its way forward in handling the matter. The Finance Minister promised to divulge more information on the TAXAND investigation next Wednesday at the Council of Ministers' weekly press briefing.

    When SMN News asked the Minister of Finance of Country St. Maarten if he was aware that TAXAND had filed a complaint against Judith Brewster, the Minister admitted that he knew of the investigation that involves both countries but he would allow the Prosecutor's Office in Curacao to do their job and comment when the investigation is completed and the outcome is made available to him.

    Minister Tuitt also confirmed that Ms. Brewster is no longer working for Country St. Maarten since he took office because he sent her an official letter requesting information regarding the work she was conducting for St. Maarten and Ms. Brewster never replied to the letter therefore the Government of St. Maarten terminated the contract she had with the UP/DP Government. Tuitt said Ms. Brewster was granted a contract by the former Minister of Finance Hiro Shigemoto which amounted to Naf. 17,500 monthly.
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  • Sunrise Rotary participates in the World Biggest Commercial by Rotary International End Polio Now “This Close” Campaign.

    rotaryendpoliocampaign28112012The Rotary Club of Saint. Martin Sunrise is joining Rotary International on Tuesday, 27 November, 2012 to help raise awareness for polio eradication by joining the World's Biggest Commercial. Members are donating their Facebook profile "this Close" picture for the day. We are also asking you to do the same, just go to www.endpolionow.org for further details. Our club Rotary Foundation Committee is also organizing a Fellowship/ Fundraiser on Friday, November 30, 2012 at Air Lekkerbek, all funds raise at the event will be donated to the End Polio Now initiative, you can contact any of the club members if you would like to be a part of this great effort.

    Polio anywhere is a risk to children everywhere. The Global Polio Eradication Initiative is committed to fighting the disease until every child is safe. This is our chance to make history by wiping out the second human disease ever. Globally, we are "this close" to ending polio.

    Since the global initiative began more than 25 years, Rotary and its partners have reduced polio cases by more than 99 percent worldwide. There are only three countries where the wild poliovirus has never been stopped: Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan.

    Rotary has raised more than US$1 billion dollars and committed countless volunteer hours to fight the disease.

    The Sunrise Rotary Club meets at Air Lekkerbek Restaurant every Tuesday mornings at 7:00am for fellowship and breakfast. For more information on the club visit us at: www. sxmsunrise.org or email sunriserotary.sxm@hotmail.com, we are also on Facebook: Rotary Club of Saint Martin Sunrise.

  • Nature Foundation and Visiting Scientists to Host Workshop on the Identification of Whales and Dolphins.

    humpbackwhale28112012On the third of December from one thirty until four pm a workshop will be held at the Nature Foundation Office in Cole Bay which will provide information on how best to identify whale and dolphin species around St. Maarten. Meike Scheidat and Steve Geelhoed from the Dutch research institute IMARES, which part of Wageningen University in the Netherlands will give a short presentation about marine mammals in general and how to recognize local species using video and photos. The workshop is also an opportunity to exchange ideas and discuss experiences with whales and dolphins in the Caribbean.

    The Nature Foundation and the Saba Conservation Foundation have yearly Marine Mammal Sighting Programs in which valuable information on marine mammals around the islands have been gathered. The Caribbean is rich in whales and dolphins and many people see them but unfortunately many sightings are not recorded. To get to know more about the distribution of these magnificent animals, their seasonal pattern and their numbers the collecting and recording of sightings is important and can be done by anyone going to sea.

    "Every sighting is valuable, but they are even more valuable when the species is identified. Ideally, a sighting contains information on species, date, time, place, number, behavior, calves, pictures and videos. This workshop focuses on identification of species. It will help people to identify all those small grey dolphins they encounter," stated one of the researchers.

    The workshop is primarily for seagoing people who could encounter a whale or a dolphin, but all are welcome. Entrance is free, but if you want to attend, please send an email to manager@naturefoundationsxm.org and steve.geelhoed@wur.nl.

  • PJIAE Supports Awareness Week for the Physically Challenged and Wheelchair Tennis Tournament.

    pjiadisabilitysigns09022012SIMPSON BAY:--- The Princess Juliana International Airport Operating Company NV (PJIAE) fully supports the ongoing Awareness Week for the Physically Challenged and the international Wheelchair Tennis Tournament organized by the Committee Be Able, set up by Top Promotions Foundation.

    The Awareness Week which began November 23 and ends December 2, 2012, features several activities aimed at empowering the disabled and educating and informing the general public and the governments about the value of sports for disabled persons so that good policies could be designed and executed by the authorities, not only for sports, but also in other areas for disabled persons on the island.

    Highlight of the week is the Wheelchair Tennis Competition with Esther Vergeer from the Netherlands, the number one female player in the world, as one of the main attractions. She won her opening match at the Princess Port de Plaisance Resort on Monday, when the competition was officially opened.

    Six top female players and six males are participating in this tournament, which also includes the number one player in the male category, Stephane Houdet of France. Play starts at 3 PM each day with the semi-finals slated for Friday at 3:30 PM and the finals set for Saturday at 8:30 AM.

    PJIAE has pledged its support to the foundation and made a surprise donation toward the event. The company has been a longtime advocate of the disabled. This is evident in the traffic signs added earlier this year in front of the airport to aid in the drop-off and pick-up of physically-challenged persons.

    "As an international airport, PJIA must cater to all users, including the physically-challenged," Regina LaBega, Managing Director, stated in an invited comment. "Our signage must therefore clearly reflect this philosophy."

    In addition to the drop-off and pick-up zones, special handicapped parking is provided in the airport's public and employee parking lots.

    PJIAE is further considering how it can assist the committee even more and create awareness for the needs of the disabled throughout its facilities.

  • APS INFORMATION SESSIONS WELL RECEIVED BY PARTICIPANTS.

    Philipsburg:--- APS is busy rounding off information sessions for active participants, after the sessions were launched in September. APS is most pleased with the attendance of active participants at the informative sessions being held by representatives of the general pension fund administrator.
    Organizations for whom sessions have been organized thus far are the Fire Department, Ambulance Department, Bureau Telecommunications and Post, SVOBE (foundation for secondary education), SZV and government ministries of Finance, Health and Labor Affairs (VSA), Economic Affairs (TEZVT)and VROMI.

    APS continues with the organizing of the sessions for other entities with employees who participate in the pension fund which was formerly administered by APNA and is now administered by APS. During the sessions, APS provides as much information as possible regarding the APS organization. Participants are also given an outline of how APS was established as a new pension fund when St. Maarten attained its new status of a country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
    Participants are making use of the opportunity to ask questions and gather the facts about their pension plans. APS welcomes this type of interaction since it provides the organization an opportunity to offer first-hand information and dismiss misconceptions that may have grown over time.
    A concern is whether participants in the fund who have worked their entire lives for an employer on Sint Maarten can qualify for early retirement (VUT). Participants are entitled to VUT once they have met (at minimum) the criteria of being in service before or on January 1, 1996 or having been in service more than 20 years. Of these years in service, at least 5 would have been at the central government level. In any case, further legal clarification is still being sought on the 5 year requirement.
    "Persons would like to know what their rights are. We are here for our participants; so every concern or question they have on their mind, are valid ones", says APSA director Kendra Arnell.
    Of particular interest seems to be APS' asset management activities. In order to grow the pension fund's capital and to ensure pension benefits payment in the future, APS invests according to a prudent investment policy.
    "Contrary to what many may think, not all of our funds are invested abroad. APS realizes the importance of investing on Sint Maarten and embraces viable and lucrative opportunities to do so. At the end of the day it is about ensuring pension benefits to those who are entitled. This will always be first and foremost in the fund's vision" says Arnell.
    Recognizing that APS may be dealing with somewhat outdated legislation, that leaves room for modernization of St. Maarten's pension system, questions on whether a common law spouse can be acknowledged, must be answered in the negative. This is also the case for same sex marriages.
    "Our current pension legislation does not allow for this. There are other areas where pension systems have modernized over the years. As an example, we can mention that in some countries participants can opt to retire at an earlier age while accepting a lower pension amount than they would normally receive", explains the APS director.
    The development of a draft legislation to increase the amount to be paid out in AOV and the eligible age to collect AOV at 62 years, has also been anticipated by participants. The main question being asked is whether the pensionable age in the APS pension fund will also go up. "This is understandable. Thirty plus years is a long time to be working. An extension of the pensionable age implies additional years of working. It should be clear that the AOV is separate from the APS pension that participants are entitled to. The pensionable age for collection of APS pension benefits is still legally bound to 60 years", states Arnell.
    According to the APS director " no advice for a change in the pensionable age has been submitted to date".
    The general pension fund administrator is additionally planning information sessions for participants who are already receiving pension benefits and for those who will soon be receiving pension benefits.
    Participants needing specific information on their individual situation are reminded that they can always make an appointment to visit the office of APS at the Yogesh Building in Cul de Sac.

  • Minister William Marlin and Minister Silveria Jacobs in Parliament on Monday and Tuesday.

    PHILIPSBURG:--- Parliamentarians will be meeting with Minister of Public Housing, Spatial Development, and Environment & Infrastructure (VROMI) Hon. William Marlin on December 03, and Minister of Education, Culture, Youth, & Sports Hon. Silveria Jacobs on December 04.

    The Central Committee session with Minister Marlin is scheduled for Monday morning at 10:00am in the General Assembly Chamber of the House of Parliament at Wilhelmina Straat #1 in Philipsburg.

    Minister Hon. William Marlin, will be providing answers to questions asked by Members of Parliament about maintenance and zoning.

    This meeting which was requested by the United Peoples (UP) party faction is a continuation of a meeting held recently with respect to the aforementioned agenda point.

    The second Central Committee meeting is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon at 2:00pm in the General Assembly Chamber.

    This central committee meeting is a continuation of the previous session with the Minister of Education which was adjourned to be reconvened.

    The agenda point for the meeting is the present Youth and Sports Policy. This meeting was requested by the United Peoples (UP) party faction.

    Members of the public are always welcome to be present in the General Assembly Chamber during public meetings to follow the parliamentary session scheduled for that particular day.

    The House of Parliament is located across from the Court House.

    The parliamentary sessions will be carried live on St. Maarten Cable TV Channel 120, via Pearl Radio FM 98.1, the audio via the Internet www.pearlfmradio.com, and also via www.sxmparliament.org.

  • Residents and Motorists Requested to pay keen attention to Traffic Signs in connection with Changes in Road Works in Cole Bay on November 28.

    PHILIPSBURG:--- Residents and motorists from Cole Bay, Cay Bay, Pelican and Simpson Bay, and the general public as well as public transportation, are requested to pay keen attention to traffic signs in connection with current road work activities in the vicinity of Tropicana Casino and Daily Extra Supermarket in Cole Bay.

    The Ministry of Public Housing, Spatial Development, Environment and Infrastructure (MinVROMI), would hereby like to inform all stakeholders and motorized traffic that as of Wednesday, November 28 to Monday, December 3, the following schedule will be in place which would facilitate the general contractor Windward Roads to complete certain pertinent parts of the civil works in the area between Tropicana Casino and Daily Extra.

    The civil works will commence at 6:00am through 5:00pm with respect to the aforementioned dates, and again from 9:00pm to 6:00am.

    The entire project is scheduled to be completed by mid-December.

    All motorists are asked to pay extra attention to the traffic signs and detours for a safe traffic flow through this particular area during the dates and times mentioned.

    Ministry VROMI apologizes for any inconvenience the civil works may cause during the aforementioned period.

  • Mighty Dow Pulls out of TEMPO Turns 7 --- Says he was attacked by MP and Promoters lied on local artists.

    Philipsburg:--- Sir Isodore York, famously known around the world as the Mighty Dow said he has decided to pull out from the TEMPO Turns 7 events that are currently taking place at the Festival Village.

    York told SMN News on Tuesday that he is not bashing TEMPO or its organizers but he felt very disrespected when Member of Parliament Romaine La Ville attacked him in the corridor of the Government Administration Building on Friday. The Mighty Dow said that what is more disturbing to him is that the organizers mainly Peter Gittens and Fredrick Morton have chosen to lie on him claiming that he wanted $15,000 to perform during the TEMPO Turns 7 concerts. Dow said he did have a conversation with MP La Ville and threw out that figure but he submitted an invoice for $9.500 and later reduced it to $6000.00. The local music icon said he even emailed Peter Gittens and told him he was willing to accept his payment in installments if TEMPO did not have all the monies at one time but Gittens never responded to his email. York said while the promoters are talking about how much monies they asked for, he wants the promoters to tell the people of St. Maarten how much monies they are paying the foreign musicians to perform during the TEMPO Turns 7 concerts. "We need Gittens and Morton to show us how much they are paying the Mighty Sparrow and what will the Mighty Sparrow do during his performance. Show us the documents because our government invested $400.000.00 of the tax-payers monies for this show to take place on St. Maarten," Dow said.

    The Mighty Dow said that during the meeting with the promoters they were told that TEMPO wants them to perform for $0. He also told SMN News that the Minister of Finance Roland Tuitt agreed to pay $23,000.00 to the ten local artists that were scheduled to participate, but the Finance Minister did not tell them how and when they would be paid. "All we got from the Minister of Finance is a promise that we will be paid this amount, but the Minister did not say when we will be paid or how we will get paid."

    Sir York said La Ville claims he has an agreement with the local artists and he is calling on La Ville to produce the agreement because for him an agreement is when there is something on black and white. The Mighty Dow said that the MP accused the local artists of calling in the media last Thursday night but he wants to make clear he did not invite the media to the meeting. He said he does not know why a particular reporter was at the location that night and the reporter asked them for a statement and they gave the reporter a statement. "I want La Ville to know that he cannot tell us who to talk to or when to talk. This man is supposed to be my representative and the way he spoke "attacked" me on Friday inside the government building shows that he has no respect for anyone. I also want to know why La Ville is in every meeting for the TEMPO Turns 7 because he is involved in all the meetings and organizing the show and the only reason behind this is because La Ville is benefiting from the show in one way or another."

    Sir Isidore York (Mighty Dow) is a recipient of the lifetime achievement award from the International World Music Awards and he was Knighted by the House of Oranje earlier this year.

  • Educational success, Parental Support and Parental Involvement.

    Parents all over the world are looking for support and assistance to raise their children. Parents on St. Maarten are no exception when it comes to that. Through the Dutch funding project for Innovations in Education that is being channeled through USONA organization and the Division for Educational Innovations, the Parents of all children in FBE and PSVE schools can participate in parenting programs such as Active Parenting Now in 3, Active Parenting of Teens and Family in Action.

    All these programs are free of charge for the parents and are conducted by enthusiastic and experienced leaders and trainers. There are also additional programs offered by some schools to accommodate the parents where needed.

    In order to get parents more involved and truly be the voice and advocate of their children, all subsidized schools are required to have a parents' committee as stipulated in the Ordinance for Foundation Based Education, Secondary Education and Secondary Vocational Education.

    Presently almost all subsidized schools have a Parents 'Teachers Association or Parents' Teachers Foundation. The members of these PTA or PTF's are being informed in several sessions on the regulations, duties, rights, benefits of a Parents' committee.

    The ultimate goal is that these entire Parents' committees are represented in a unified body, the National Parents Platform for St. Maarten.

    This Platform will function as an advisory body to the Ministry of Education. Parents will no longer be there in the parents' committee to solely take care of fundraising, bar-b-que and fun activities, but will also be able to ensure that they contribute to the quality of the Education that is being offered to their children.

    As part of the parental involvement programs all parents have been given a survey to fill out regarding the indicators of parental involvement. A large number of parents have indicated their willingness to help but that they are unfortunately unable to find the time to be able to do so effectively.

    To prepare representatives of the PTA and PTF's for their tasks in the National Parents Platform an information session has been scheduled for this evening November 26th 2012 by the Division of Educational
    Innovation. The Division of Educational Innovation will be supported by the Division of Inspection who will present the representatives with in-depth information on their rights and obligations.

    The following week Dr. Judith Arndell will host an interactive session regarding interaction between people with different characters. The Division of Educational Innovation urges representatives of the PTA and PTF's to make use of the information sessions as they believe that an informed and unified body is able to achieve great things.

  • PJIAE signs contract for airport runway rehabilitation project.

    rlabegasignscontractforpjiaerunwayresurfacing26112012Works expected to be completed in October 2013.

    SIMPSON BAY:--- The contract for the rehabilitation of the runway at Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA) in the amount US$16, 637, 215.11, was signed on Tuesday, November 20, 2012, between PJIA's Operating Company NV (PJIAE) and the joint venture, Janssen de Jong Caribbean BV/NV Arubaanse Wegenbouw Maatschappij/Windward Roads BV.

    Managing Director Regina LaBega signed on behalf of PJIAE, while Janhendrik Boekaar signed on behalf of the contractor.

    "The rehabilitation project will start by the end of November with the actual physical runway works getting under way by mid-March 2013," said Mirto Breell, PJIAE's Technical Director. The project is scheduled to be completed in October 2013.

    All works on the runway will take place at night between 10 PM and 6 AM when there are no aircraft operations and the airport is normally closed, hence there will be no effect on flight operations.

    "The entire length of the 2,300 meter (7,545ft) airport runway will be replaced with a fresh layer of asphalt and an asphalt overlay will be applied to correct the longitudinal profile of the runway, serving to significantly improve the structural integrity of the pavement construction," said Breell. Windward Roads BV last resurfaced the runway in 1997.

    "The project also includes the implementation of the required Runway End Safety Area (RESA) to the west," Breell explained.

    "The runway threshold will be shifted 70 meters to the east to accommodate the RESA. The rehabilitation of the runway is urgently required due to the deterioration of the asphalt surface after 15 years of use. It is customary to have a major resurfacing of the runway done every 15-20 years depending on the circumstances," added Breell.

    If the runway is not regularly resurfaced it can become a potential safety issue as the integrity of the pavement surface breaks down.

    The taxiway will be modified to allow larger commercial aircraft to have better access to the ramps and shorten the backtracking on the runway prior to take off.

    The existing airfield ground lighting will be replaced with the more economical LED lights. Furthermore, an entirely new remote system will be installed in the control tower.

    "The rehabilitation project also includes the construction of a helipad for helicopters at the southeasterly end of the runway," said Breell.

    In preparation for this runway rehabilitation, a topographical survey, a pavement investigation with core drilling and subsoil testing among other stringent internationally required studies were carried out.

    A project manager from the Netherlands Airport Consultants BV (NACO), Rob Noorman, has been contracted to supervise the project.

  • “Fresh and new” Yvette’s cookbook in time for the holidays and tourism season.

    yvettescookbookphotoshoot26112012GREAT BAY:--- From Yvette's Kitchen To Your Table – A Treasury of St. Martin's Traditional & Contemporary Cuisine by Yvette Hyman is back in bookstores.

    This is the third printing of the popular cookbook in less than two years since it was first published in 2011, said Jacqueline Sample, president of House of Nehesi Publishers (HNP).

    A few days ago, radio executive "Billy D" Hamlet encouraged listeners of his popular program to buy Yvette's cookbook for the holidays. He also recalled his repeat successes with his favorite recipe from the book. Little did the talkshow host and many of his listeners know that the cookbook had been sold out in all bookstores a couple of months before.

    The backlog from the demand by customers for Yvette's cookbook caused one bookstore to immediately buy 100 copies of the new printing instead of the usual less-than-15 copies per re-stock order, said Sample.

    "As of today, fresh and new copies of Yvette's cookbook are available to everyone," said Sample.

    "We're just in time for Thanksgiving (1st Sunday of December); the opening of the new tourist season in mid-December; and for the Christmas-New Year's holidays that are so special to us in St. Martin," said Sample.

    The hardcover book has 13 chapters, including Appetizers, Soups, Poultry, Fish and Shellfish, Meat, Salads, Dumplings, Rice and Fungi, Breads, and Desserts, said Sample. As the book's main editor, Sample had worked closely with the award-wining chef Yvette Hyman to test the recipes.

    Among the book's 312 colorful pages are classic favorites of St. Martin cuisine such as souse, johnny cake, Conch Yvette's, lamb stew, and soursop drink. Iconic holiday specials such as coconut tart and guavaberry add to over 200 recipes à la Yvette in this Treasury of St. Martin's Traditional & Contemporary Cuisine, said Sample.

    "Yvette's cookbook is a wonderful addition to the written story about the exciting world of Caribbean cooking," said Sample.

    From Yvette's Kitchen can be found at Van Dorp, Shipwreck, Caribbean Liquors, and Yvette's Restaurant. Limited copies are available at www.Amazon.com.

  • LU Interactors preside over Rotaract Sunrise General Meeting.

    luinteractors26112012Philipsburg:--- In recognition of Interact week celebrated in November, the Interact Club of Learning Unlimited chaired the Rotaract Club of St. Maarten Sunrise general meeting and Induction ceremony on Saturday 24th November 2012 at Chesterfield's. Among the President and Secretary of LU also present were Rotaract members, prospective members, ADG Jim Ferris, ADRR Sarah Khalfaoui, members of the Interact Club of St. Dominic and their Advisor Jon Hart and Rotary Sunrise and Mid Isle members.

  • Minister Jacobs Opens Rights of the Child Sports Day.

    sjacobsatrightsofthechildsportsday26112012GREAT BAY (DCOMM):--- Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports Honorable Silveria Jacobs opened the Rights of the Child Sports day on Saturday November 24th 2012 at the Alberic Richards Stadium in Sandy ground.

    Children from both the Dutch and French side participated in the all-day event. In addition a team from Saba travelled to St. Maarten to be part of the Rights of the Child celebrations.

    Minister Jacobs opened the Sports day event with a speech encouraging the children to enjoy their sports day and to remember the spirit of sportsmanship.

    She welcomed the children that travelled from Saba to participate and encouraged all the children to be the best representatives of themselves, their schools and their communities.

    "Not so long ago children were seen but not heard. But as we opened these celebrations on Monday (last week), I along with others have said that there are several entities working for your rights. You have a say in what goes on in your lives. You have the responsibility to be the best that you can be, so that we can continue to fight for your rights," Minister Jacobs concluded her speech by encouraging each participant to enjoy their day and to make the best of the fellowship amongst each other.

    The Minister along with the participating children officially opened the Rights of the Child Sports day with a parade of participants. The day's activities continued with matches in several sports such as Tennis, Basketball, Volleyball and Soccer.

  • Minister Jacobs throws first ball at Wheelchair Tennis Tournament.

    sjacobswithwheelchairtennisplayers26112012GREAT BAY (DCOMM):--- Minister of Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, and Sports Hon. Silveria Jacobs on Monday hit the first ball at the start of the Wheelchair Tennis Tournament at the Princess Port de Plaisance.

    The ball was thrown by the founder of Wheelchair Tennis Brett Parks. The Minister was in awe of these athletes who have risen above all circumstances and to excel in the sport of tennis.

  • Dilapidated Gate fell on Students Attending Oranje School --- School has no cleaners, Education Department Fails to Re-act to several letters sent by the school.

    oranjeschoolgate26112012Philipsburg:--- Students of the Oranje School are facing some serious health risks and the Department of Education has so far failed to render assistance to the school.

    On Monday parents of a six year old girl told SMN News that the dilapidated gate at the school fell on their six year old daughter and they had to rush her to the St. Maarten Medical Center for medical assistance. The father and mother of the child said that this is the second time the heavy Iron Gate has injured students and the Department of Education has not responded to the calls of the school to have the gate repaired. SMN News spoke to some teachers who said two years ago the same gate fell on a male student and his leg was broken. They said the school Principal sent several letters to the Department of Education and not once they responded to the letters that were sent to them.

    One of the teachers who preferred to remain anonymous fearing that they might be severely victimized said that the school ending up using its own funds to repair the gate when the Department of Education did not respond to them. "We do fundraisers here and when we realized that a child's leg was broken because of the heavy gate that would slip off its track we used our monies and repaired the gate. On Thursday another child got injured and we are still awaiting the results and report from the doctor who attended to her at the St. Maarten Medical Center.

    oranjeschoolwatercooler26112012Besides the gate, the water cooler that the children have to drink water from is in an unsanitary condition while the school yard is cleaned once per month by a private company.

    The teachers said that they had six cleaners at the school that were responsible for cleaning the classrooms and two of them left recently and to date they have  not been replaced. They said five months ago the gardener/cleaner who was responsible for cleaning the yard went on pension and they submitted a request to the Department of Education to have them appoint someone to clean the school yard but to date that appointment has not been made. They said a company was contracted to clean the school yard once per month and students and teachers attending the school have to deal with the garbage that piles up around the school yard. "We have over three hundred students attending this school so you can imagine what the teachers and the students have been going through these past five months"
    SMN News visited the school on Monday to take photos and to obtain a comment from the Principal of the school Ms. Sonia Parrotte- Warner on the ongoing health and hygiene risks at the school but the Principal also refused to comment fearing that she too might face victimization from the Department heads.

    SMN News also visited the Department of Education on Monday to obtain a comment from the Head of the Education Department Mrs. Glenderline Davis Holiday but she was not in office.

    Minister of Education Silveria Jacobs confirmed some weeks ago at the Council of Ministers' weekly press briefing that she ordered an investigation into the functioning of the Department of Education. The Minister had also sent home the head of the department for one month when she initiated the investigation.

    Click here to view more photos of the Oranje School yard.

  • Town Hall Meeting Covering Middle Region and Dutch Quarter Zoning/development plans scheduled for Thursday.

    PHILIPSBURG:--- The Ministry of Public Housing, Spatial Development, Environment, and Infrastructure (MinVROMI) has organized a Town Hall meeting covering Middle Region and Dutch Quarter to be held on Thursday evening.

    Residents, stakeholders and interested persons are invited to attend the town hall meeting which will take place at the Belvedere Community Center, on Low Estate Road Belvedere from 7:00pm to 9:30pm. The meeting is part of the process of drafting "development plans" for country Sint Maarten.

    The development plan will comprise of a legal framework for possible future development that would take place in the district; to designate and/or reserve land for desired use; to prevent undesired development; and to offer legal security to residents about future development in their district.

    This is the first meeting for this area which will allow residents, stakeholders and interested persons of the aforementioned districts to provide their views and ideas with respect to the future development of their districts. The views presented by the public will then be included into the design development plan and re-presented to the community in a follow-up town hall meeting.

    The process to develop the development plans are funded by the Dutch agency USONA to the tune of Naf. 2 million.

  • TEMPO Turns 7 Caused Temper Flare in Government Building.

    boxinggloves26112012Philipsburg:--- A newspaper article published in one of the daily newspapers last week about the grievances of the local artists that are scheduled to perform at TEMPO turns 7 this week caused a huge temper flare between the Mighty Dow and Member of Parliament Romaine La Ville.
    According to several civil servants and workers at the Government Administration building MP La Ville verbally attacked the Mighty Dow in the corridor of the Government Administration Building after reading the newspaper article. The workers said that the verbal brawl almost got out of hand because some of them had to hold back Dow and La Ville to prevent them from throwing punches at each other. "The MP got on so bad as if he was in the ghetto using all sorts of foul language when Dow entered the building. It is sickening to see how an elected official behaves when he is angry," one of the civil servants told SMN News.

    In an invited comment, MP La Ville admitted that he lost his temper when he read the newspaper article. La Ville said Thursday night the local artists called him to an urgent meeting at the Divi Little Bay Hotel and their concern was the amount of monies they wanted to perform during TEMPO turns 7.

    La Ville said he had an agreement with the artists where he asked them to give him until Friday to regulate the monetary matters. He said he did not even know that the artists also called the Minister of Finance Roland Tuitt who agreed to pay the artists the monies they wanted just to avoid negative press, yet the artists called a particular reporter and gave him a one sided story.

    La Ville denied using foul language during the brawl but admitted that he lost his temper and all respect for the Mighty Dow and Shadowman. La Ville further explained that it is the Mighty Dow and Shadowman who called him and asked him to be part of the one week show because no one contacted them. He said when he first spoke to the Mighty Dow he wanted $15,000 to perform and when heard the price he thought that Mighty Dow did not know how many people (music artists) would have wanted the opportunity they are getting which is to perform on a music network. "I did not do this for myself I did this for the local artists because I want to showcase them. None of the former commissioners or Ministers ever paid attention to the local artists here on St. Maarten and I am doing all I can to give these artists the international and Caribbean publicity they need so that they too can become big and successful." La Ville made clear that the local artists are being paid much more than those coming from abroad to perform during the one week of events. Efforts made to reach the Mighty Dow by telephone proved futile on Monday as the local musician did not answer his telephone. Minister of Finance Roland Tuitt also could not be reached on Monday for a comment.

    It should be noted that the Government of St. Maarten invested $400.000.00 in TEMPO turns 7, of which $300,000.00 is already paid to the organizers.

  • Dr. Rhoda Arrindell co-authors chapters in new book on ‘creole languages’.

    rhodaarrindell25112012GREAT BAY:--- Leading St. Martin linguist Dr. Rhoda Arrindell has co-authored two chapters in a new book of scientific studies about how various historically new Caribbean, Pacific, and Houma-French languages originated.

    The Amsterdam-based John Benjamins Publishing Company published agency in the Emergence of Creole Languages (2012), edited by Dr. Nicholas Faraclas.

    The first chapter of the book for which Dr. Arrindell is an author is entitled, "Sociétés de cohabitation and the similarities between the English lexifier Creoles of the Atlantic and the Pacific: The case for diffusion from the Afro-Atlantic to the Pacific." Dr. Faraclas is the lead author.

    The other chapter co-authored by Dr. Arrindell is "Marginalized peoples and Creole Genesis: Sociétés de cohabitation and the Founder Principle," for which Prof. Cándida González-López is the lead author.

    "The chapters were developed from papers presented at international conferences and for which I conducted research and wrote part of the paper," said Dr. Arrindell when Offshore Editing Services (OES) caught up with her over the weekend.

    The other joint authors of the two essays, along with the lead authors and Dr. Arrindell, are Micah Corum, Jean Ourdy Pierre, Lourdes González Cotto, Pier Angeli LeCompte Zambrana, Diana Ursulin Mopsus, and Marta Viada Bellido de Luna.

    Agency in the Emergence of Creole Languages explores and discusses "The role of women, renegades, and people of African and indigenous descent in the emergence of the colonial era creoles," according Dr. Faraclas. A professor at the University of Puerto Rico, Faraclas is himself an internationally respected linguist.

    The 246-page book of eight chapters is a "must read" for its fresh perspectives on the process of creolization of language. It also focuses on peoples that are often made invisible in colonial and neo-colonial history, and that have too often been silenced in linguistic accounts of how creoles – such as Haitian, Papiamento, Kwéyòls of the eastern Caribbean, and Sranan Tongo – came about, said Dr. Arrindell.

    Dr. Arrindell, the former minister of education and culture of St. Martin (South), wrote her doctoral thesis on language, culture and identity in St. Martin. Dr. Arrindell was recently a panelist for the St. Martin Day discussion on the island's current socio-cultural developments. The department of culture of the Collectivity of St. Martin organized the program of experts from both parts of the island, which was broadcast live on MSR Cable TV.

  • SHTA hosts successful General Managers Retreat.

    shtagmretreat25112012PHILIPSBURG:--- The St. Maarten Hospitality & Trade Association (SHTA) has announced the successful hosting of a recently held General Managers Retreat which was held on Friday 9th November at the Divi Little Bay Beach Resort under the theme "Energy, Economy and the future of Country St. Maarten."
    The keynote address on Energy was given by Mrs. Loreto Duffy-Mayers who is the Project Manager of Caribbean Hotel Energy Efficiency Action CHENACT of Barbados. The main message according to SHTA that Duffy-Mayers brought to the GMs was, while green or alternative energy was indeed an attractive investment for the future, it was important that steps are taken now in order to mitigate energy waste as this can already see energy cost reductions of up to 50%.
    She explained also that there is an urgent need for hotels to move away from the R22 Air-Conditions as they were too costly and not readily available any more. Her presentation also included a brief discussion on water conservation and preventative measures that can be taken to avoid waste. The opening remarks for the GM Retreat were given by SHTA President Emil Lee who thanked the SHTA Member hotels for attending and gave a brief "behind the scenes" explanation of some of the work that SHTA was busy with for the benefit of the island and its membership. He explained also the work SHTA had been doing with regards to bringing airlift to the island and the marketing initiatives it has undertaken in this regard. He said that the SHTA was strengthening itself as the Umbrella Association to include more businesses, which it could provide representation for.
    Also in attendance was Policy advisor on Energy in VROMI Kendall Dupersoy who on the request of SHTA to Deputy Prime Minister William Marlin, minister in charge of VROMI, shared the Ministers vision for sustainable energy in the future for St. Maarten. In answer to questions raised by the GMs on whether there would be any incentives for businesses who invest in alternative energy coming from government Dupersoy confirmed that the Ministry of Finance was preparing a law to be introduced which will allow tax based incentives for investment in alternative energy. He said this was part of the plans to stimulate green and alternate energy and reduce the cost of energy on the island while at the same time making it more stable.
    Paul Van Vliet, Director of PricewaterhouseCoopers also addressed the GMs on the work being done by the Tripartite Committee as it relates to the proposed new Labor laws of St. Maarten while SHTA Board Member and attorney at law for law firm VanEps Kunneman Vandoorne Peter van Dort gave brief remarks and fielded questions regarding the existing labor laws.
    Executive Director for SHTA Alfred Harley also addressed the GMs and gave a brief overview of the Dollar-A-Day program managed by the SHTA office. He said that the SHTA had embarked on a strategy to improve on the program based on the request of many GMs from the different resorts that were DAD members. He also announced plans to expand the DAD program to include other businesses who wanted to contribute to the Social and Economic Development of the island.

  • TelEm Group announces official end to restructuring process.

    telemgroupclosesrestructuring25112012Pond Island:--- TelEm Group management last Thursday announced the official closing off of the company's restructuring process following months of negotiation and final implementation.
    In a brief ceremony, management and union used the occasion of Thanksgiving Day, November 22, to give thanks for the successful completion of restructuring within the TelEm Group and exchanged mutual congratulatory messages for carrying out a "difficult, but necessary" exercise in the history of the company.
    Management has confirmed that as of Thursday, November 22, 2012, all personnel remaining with the company after restructuring have been successfully moved from the former Sint Maarten Telephone Company N.V. to the new Sint Maarten Telecommunication Holding Company N.V.
    At the end of the exercise the number of personnel in TelEm Group has been reduced from 200 to 134 workers following a program of voluntary leave, early retirement, non-placement of staff and non-replacement of non essential staff positions during the past three years. The manning levels are expected to rise to no more than 154 workers should remaining vacancies be filled.
    During the short ceremony held at the TelEm Group Building, Thursday, both management and union were joined by Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Directors of the Sint Maarten Telecommunication Company N.V., Mr. Rafael Boasman, to recognize the work of various stakeholders played their respective parts.
    Chief Financial Officer, Mrs. Helma Etnel said the process has been a large and painful one for all parties concerned requiring much preparation from the Transition Agreement, the Social Plan and the new Collective Labour Agreement signed between management and union.
    "Most people focus on the placement only but it was an entire process that took us more than a year to complete and included the process on how to place workers, how to prepare the new organization, new and more efficient ways of working, manpower planning and then after placement, the objection and appeal process.
    "The most intense part was between April and June when management and union worked together side by side, sometimes on a daily basis, next to each other, to try to take decisions to the benefit of the company and staff.
    "We have tried to be as transparent as we can, to be objective and fair by working with independent committees wherever possible to ensure that no personal liking or disliking affected the process.
    "In the end you will have some pain, but by proceeding the way we have, by admitting to mistakes we have minimized the pain to the extent that we have now placed as much people as we can in the new company," said Mrs. Etnel.
    The CFO said persons not placed in the new company received redundancy packages that were more than required by law and management has also put an Outplacement Program in place to counsel and guide personnel no longer with the company so that they can be trained to find other jobs or start up new businesses, some of which are already contracted by TelEm Group.
    "Although at times we have a different role from the union, we were still able to find common ground to achieve our goal and to save this company and the remaining jobs of people in this company," said Mrs. Etnel.
    She said both parties have done the best they possibly could and went on to thank the Supervisory Board Chairman, Mr. Boasman for his support throughout the process, as well as the Shareholder.
    Mrs. Entel also thanked her colleagues on the Management Team, Chief Technical Officer, Mr. Eldert Louisa, and Chief Commercial Officer, Mr. Brian Mingo for each playing their own respective parts.
    Mr. Mingo said his initial fears of a social nightmare from restructuring thankfully did not happen because of the strong measures put in place by management to ensure fair and transparent treatment for its personnel. Similarly, Mr. Louisa recognized the diligent work carried out by both parties in the long-term interest of the company, but preferred to look forward to what remains to be done, especially in the technical department where a number of personnel positions and departmental changes have taken place creating a number of challenges that have to be bridged.
    Mrs. Etnel said the next step will be intensive training programs for staff in the new company along with new work practices to become a better company and to work in the interest of TelEm Group customers in a positive manner.
    "We still need each other, and hopefully we can continue to prepare this company for the future," the CFO added.
    President of the SMCU, Mr. Ludson Evers, acknowledged that the restructuring process was not an easy task for management, nor for the union and its membership.
    "We had battles to get restructuring going because of partnering talks that were going on at the time. We had our disagreements and there were a lot of emotions, but we still managed to come out of this in a positive way after signing different agreements and amendments.
    "We want to thank the employees who have left us and those who remain and who have had to put up with this heavy, heavy burden that was resting on their shoulders, because it was a very stressful moment for them as well.
    "We look forward to a professional company working to safeguard the company to make sure that we get good profit-sharing for the years to come and that we do not have to talk about restructuring again," said Mr. Evers.
    Fellow board member Mrs. Nathalie York-Frans also thanked management for its efforts over the past months and indicated that the restructuring process had also taken an emotional toll on the union board members themselves, who found themselves having to explain their actions to their membership on many occasions when some of the issues became complicated and had to be addressed with management.
    "The pain is over and the pain is much less, but even with the understanding and compassion in the company, we still have angry employees and issues that still need to be addressed," said Ms. Frans.
    Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Directors, Mr. Rafael Boasman, praised both TelEm Group management and the SMCU union for putting personalities aside so that they could complete a very difficult task not only in the history of TelEm Group, but also in the history of labour relations on St. Maarten.
    He said management and union together accepted a challenge by the Supervisory Board to complete the restructuring process themselves – without outside help – and it was only then that the ball really got rolling.
    Mr. Boasman predicted that in terms the type of labour organization that has prevailed over the TelEm Group restructuring process, this will serve as a model for St. Maarten for years to come.
    "In all my years involved in the labour movement I have never witnessed a re-organization that was completed to this extent with the co-operation of a union that would be considered relatively small by union standards in terms of it's membership, working along with a management team that had a number of projects running, investments, renovations, 3G innovations - all at the same time that restructuring was going on.
    "The odds were in favour of losing rather than winning and yet you both managed to bring it to a successful conclusion with mutual respect and without the need for any industrial actions or lockouts," continued Mr. Boasman.
    "On behalf of the entire Supervisory Board I am very proud to have been chairman of the board in the period during which this remarkable achievement was realized and I hope that the new working relationship that you have managed to achieve with each other continues to be put to good use in the further development of TelEm Group," added Mr. Boasman.
    And following the Thanksgiving Day announcement last Thursday, TelEm Group announced that it has called a general meeting of staff for November 30, 2012 during which the official closing off of the restructuring process will again be confirmed to staff along with a presentation on the next steps that will be followed.
    TelEm Group management meantime thanked its personnel and the families of its personnel for their co-operation, patience and understanding during this entire process.
    Management is especially keen to show that in collaboration with the union the well-being and fair treatment of personnel during this difficult time was foremost in the minds of all stakeholders and that all efforts have been made to make the restructuring changes as painless as possible.

  • Rotaract Sunrise inducts 2 new members.

    rotaractsunriseinducts2newmembers25112012Philipsburg:--- The Rotaract Club of St. Maarten Sunrise held their second Induction for the term 2012-2013 on Saturday 24th November 2012 at Chesterfield's. Among Rotaractors and Rotarians; 2 members were welcomed into the Rotaract family. The new members joining the club are Micaela Hart and Chanelle Hart. Special guests at the Induction were ADRR Sarah Khalfaoui who conducted the induction proceedings, ADG Jim Ferris, St. Dominic and Learning Unlimited Interactors and members from Rotary Mid Isle and Rotary Sunrise. On behalf of the club, President of Rotaract Sunrise Elisia Lake congratulated the 2 new members and encouraged them to continue with the same enthusiasm that they have shown in the past months and continue to put service above self. The Rotaract Club of St. Maarten Sunrise has increased their membership from 18 members to 20 members.

    The Rotaract Club of St. Maarten is a service club where four types of activities take place in varying degrees: professional development, leadership development, service projects and social activities. Together, these four areas ensure a balance program and provide important experience and opportunities for the personal development of each Rotaractor.

    The Club encourages persons between the age of 18-30 to become a member of the organization and give back to your community. The Rotaract Club of St. Maarten Sunrise meets every 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month at 7pm at the Holland House Conference Room. For more information about the club you can visit their Facebook page: "RotaractSunrise St Maarten" or send an email to rotaractclubsunrise@hotmail.com.

  • Prime Minister Wescot-Williams Emphasizes Various Items with Regards to Pensioners.

    sarahwescotwilliams25112012The Prime Minister of St. Maarten the Honorable Sarah Wescot-Williams joined pensioners and long time Civil Servants in celebrating their commitment and service to the Government and people of St. Maarten last Sunday at the Sonesta Great Bay Beach Hotel. In previous comments the Prime Minister stressed her commitment to ensuring that pensioners are able to live as comfortably as possible as part of her wider initiative in strengthening the Civil Service. "I want to place the focus both on government as a present and future employer. We often talk about the civil service but we should also focus on Government as a caring employer as well. So we will use this as a recurring theme in the future: 'What are WE doing for our workers, both current and former,'" emphasized the Prime Minister.

    The PM has also stated that Government is taking significant steps to alleviate the financial burden placed on pensioners, especially with regards to the increase in the price of living. "When I go into a supermarket and realize the costs I ask myself what about those that rely on a fixed pension. That is why government continues to work hard at changing the law to change the indexation in addition to increasing the pension amount. We are also contemplating what we can do with regards to the high cost of living, which is effecting all of us in the community.

    In addition to extending the option to apply in connection with the impending increase in the pension age, The Prime Minister has also emphasized the other employee related aspects on which Government is working on including time off for civil servants to spend time with their children in the school or on an educational project and the extension of maternity leave.

    From the Cabinet of the Prime Minister

  • Minister Tuitt gives address at signing with Henderson Insurances, New India Assurance, & Insurance Company of the West Indies.

    rtuitt25112012Philipsburg (DCOMM):--- On Friday evening November 23rd, Minister of Finance Roland Tuitt gave an address at the signing ceremony between Henderson Insurances (broker), New India Assurance and The Insurance Company of the West Indies. The importance of the signing by Henderson Insurances and the two insurance providers further enhances the goal and aim to spread the risk by insurers which helps to reduce overall premiums and also to provide choice to the general public of Sint Maarten.

    The following remarks were made by Minister at the ceremony,
    "As the Minister of Finance, I am responsible for the financial well-being of the country and what I understand out of the insurance industry, is that it is primarily charged with the (indemnification) putting clients back in the financial position they were prior to an insured loss.
    It goes without saying that this industry has my attention for the simple reason; if we have a good functioning insurance industry, it can go a long way in keeping the economy intact.
    If the industry is not functioning properly, it tells me that clients can suffer financial losses for which there will be no settlements. This by extension places an extra burden on our social budget, with all the associated tax-hike implications.
    I am aware and understand that the role of the CBCS is to focus on a number of specific details regarding the function of the insurance industry and to ultimately ensure that all insurance companies are in a sound state of solvency. However; one of the things I personally believe that may still require some special attention; is the substance of the policy itself.
    And yes often times, people do believe that insurance covers everything, something I know would not really be possible, given the contractual nature of an insurance product. On the other hand however, it is only fair that insurance companies take sufficiently into account; (I) the market demands and (ii) the needs and expectations of the individual customer.
    Taking the market demands and the specific needs of customers into account, coupled with some simplified insurance language (jargon) would go a long way in improving the understanding of the insurance industry. I am also confident that this will result in more people seeking solutions for some uncertainties through insurance products.
    If we give sufficient attention to these areas, it is my humble opinion that we will also see fewer disputes between parties in an insurance contract.

    As far as the Ministry is concerned, we know that this industry remains an important instrument to ensure continuity of our economic activities, whether it concerns settling the claim of a private car, fire losses at a hotel, medical expenses, or even a nationwide devastation after a hurricane.
    I want to applaud Henderson Insurances for its tireless efforts in helping to shape this industry from a proactive approach. I know Mr. Henderson from the time he started some 15 years ago and watched his involvement with the SIBA initiatives which resulted in legislation for brokers in 2003. Today I experience his initiatives for a new chapter I would call "the importance of spreading risk".
    I applaud these traits and encourage all industry leaders to lead and demand the attention for positive change and enhancement of your respective industries. This I am convinced will help us to build a strong country that is effective and workable for the masses. And there is no better time than now, that our country is still in its infancy stage.

  • St. Maarten Academy launches “Fitness Friday Project”.

    sxmacademyfitnessfriday25112012CUL DE SAC:--- On November 23, 2012, St. Maarten Academy launched its "Fitness Friday Project", an initiative born after winning the interscholastic "Flash Mob" competition earlier this year.

    As pledged in the online 'Get Fit' video, the school has started utilizing the $2,000 grand prize winning to bring fitness in a fun way to both students and staff. The Flash mob winnings will go towards paying the instructors of "Fitness Friday". The project will run the course of this school year with the projection to continue into the following academic year.

    Close to 100 students, teachers and other staffers gathered in the school's courtyard after classes Friday afternoon for the first Zumba session under the guidance of Ms. Maribel Posteina. They were decked in white T-shirts designed by students Claudia Simms, Chakeame Arrindell, Shawn Peterson, and Nakisha Williams, in collaboration with the school's Art Department.

    "We will be inviting different fitness instructors and/or our gym teachers to facilitate various classes, such as, Zumba classes, Hip Hop classes, Yoga, aerobics and the like," said Head of Student Care Department and School Psychologist, drs. Tallulah Baly-Vanterpool.

    Teachers were especially encouraged to join the project as a way of raising the consciousness of students to be fit. "When students and staff get together in other ways than in the classroom with a common goal, it fosters camaraderie, teamwork and school spirit between teachers and students," said Baly-Vanterpool.

    "Fitness Friday" will be held every two weeks and there will be various fitness classes open to students and staff from 2:30pm - 4:00pm.

    Aside from "Fitness Friday", the 'Flash Mob' cash prize will also be used to finalize the installation of a sound system in the school's gym by purchasing a player that can accommodate both CDs and iPods and the necessary accessories, such as cords, plugs and cordless microphones.

  • Ombudsman has two community sessions planned for Tuesday and Thursday.

    nildaarduin25112012GREAT BAY (DCOMM):--- The Office of the Ombudsman has two community information sessions planned for the week in the communities of Philipsburg/Belair and Dutch Quarter.

    The first session is at the Philipsburg Jubilee Library on Tuesday, November 27 from 7:30pm to 9:00pm. This session is for the residents of the Philipsburg area and Belair.

    The second session is at the Dutch Quarter Community Center on Thursday, November 29 at the same aforementioned time.

    Both community information sessions allows residents in their communities to learn more about the role of the Office of the Ombudsman and how it can assist the community.

    The Ombudsman has a legal basis embedded into the Constitution of Sint Maarten under Article 78. The main task of the Ombudsman is to investigate the conduct of Government, civil servants and other Administrative bodies based on complaints received from individuals in the community, organizations and based on its own prerogative.

    The Ombudsman will be available to provide information and to answer any questions that members of the community may have with respect to the role of the organization with respect to the citizen.

    For more information and inquiries you can call Tel. 542-1250 or via email: bureauombudsman@gmail.com.

  • PERIDOT FOUNDATION REMINDS PUBLIC TO REMAIN STEADFAST IN ITS VIGILANCE AND SUPPORT AGAINST DOMESTIC AND RELATIONAL VIOLENCE.

    garrindellandsmeyers25112012Attended as MP the Regional meeting of Parliamentarians that also commemorated International Day for No Violence Against Woman Sunday November 25th.

    Philipsburg:--- Gracita R. Arrindell, Founder of the Peridot Foundation stated; The date of November 25th is just a reminder, for ordinary citizens as well as governments around the world, not to forsake those who have suffered at the hands of an abuser. It is also a promise as well as a firm commitment by those who work tirelessly to make sure that this anti-social act against another human being is eradicated from our respective communities
    Domestic or relational violence comes in many shape and forms. Domestic or relational violence, is physical as well as mental aggression. As a civil community we must remain vigilant, be proactive in preventing abuse, as well as report all forms of domestic violence to the police or the public prosecutors office. The prosecutors offices who we highly commend for placing this subject on the front burner of their policies as well.

    Peridot Foundation remains committed to its mission to eradicate domestic violence from our society. Our symbol; The statue, with our theme: GUARDING LOVED ONES YOU MAY LOOSE, will be replaced in the period assigned by the United Nations ( November 25th –December 16th). The date and time of the placement of this symbol which was vandalized last year will be announced shortly. Our foundation takes this opportunity to thank all those sponsors who have made a valuable contribution over the years and continue to show their support to this very important cause. A cause which more and more is gaining attention and support by notable actors and actresses who have started their own foundations to bring more attention to this horrible issue; Domestic Violence.

    As members of Parliament, myself and MP Sylvia Ollivacci- Meyers are honored to have been part of an international forum held Sunday November 25th as we participated in the Regional meeting of Parliamentarians. This international session also commemorated the International Day for No Violence Against Woman. The theme of this three day regional meeting is: "Making the rights agenda a reality in Latin America and the Caribbean: the role of Parliaments to achieve equality" As members of Parliament we will continue to make our voices heard and hope to make a valuable contribution to this important forum.

    Gracita concludes; "I ask for each man and woman to thinks about committing an act of domestic violence or relational violence against another, to please stop and consider the consequences. Our sons and daughters, the next generation of leaders, teachers, lawyers, nurses, musicians, mothers and fathers depend on our generation of today to make our homes, schools and workplace a safe and peaceful place. Let us all commit to GUARDING LOVED ONES YOU MAY LOSE."

  • Triple Car Accident on Chamba Hill leaves one Injured --- Drunken Drivers Racing home from Beach.

    chambahillaccident125112012French Quarter:--- A brother and sister and other relatives or friends that were in a black car and a blue jeep caused a huge accident and traffic back up on Chamba Hill Sunday night. The accident occurred in the vicinity of Nagico Insurance office. According to eyewitnesses and several persons on the scene, a family (brother and sister) were apparently racing home from a beach party they had when the accident occurred. One eyewitness said it appeared as though one was over taking the other when they slammed against each other. The blue jeep also hit head on with a Chevrolet van owned by a taxi driver. The taxi driver said that when the jeep that was driven by the severely injured man hit his van it went airborne and then flipped around and hit his sister's car head on. All three vehicles involved in the accident are total loss. The ambulance personnel and firemen had to use the jaws of life to remove the male driver from his vehicle.

    Three women who were in the vehicle on the scene and seemed under heavy influence of alcohol were seen sitting holding their heads, while some other male relatives or friends were seen removing some heavy speakers and coolers that had alcoholic beverages inside.

    On the scene were two ambulances, a fire truck, the SAMU doctor, and multiple Gendarmes who were investigating and diverting traffic at the same time. A large gathering of people surrounded the area where the accident occurred as they were amazed at the damage caused by the sister and brother who hails from the Dutch side on the island.

    chambahillaccident225112012chambahillaccident325112012

    Photos by Anzario Serrant.

     

  • US Vice Consul to provide services to US citizens on December 5 at House of Parliament Conference Room.

    PHILIPSBURG:--- The Consulate General of the United States of America will be providing services at the House of Parliament conference room for American citizens on Wednesday, December 5 from 12:00pm to 5:00pm. The House of Parliament is located across from the Court House.

    The Consulate has cancelled appointments in Saba and will only be in Sint Maarten.

    On Thursday, December 6, services to American citizens will be provided from the Asha Stevens Hillside Christian School which is located at Jackal Road #4 in Cay Hill in the vicinity of the Fire and Ambulance Building. Services at this venue will be rendered from 8:00am to 12:00pm.

    An appointment is necessary and individuals will have to call 599 9461-3066 ext. 2225 or via email: acscuracao@state.gov

    The Vice Consul will only be able to provide the following services: accepting applications for a US passport; accepting applications for a report of birth abroad to a US citizen; notarizing documents; and social security applications.

    Check the following webpage for fees and to download application forms or any other detailed information on passport applications and consular reports of birth abroad: http://curacao.usconsulate.gov or www.travel.state.gov

    Once an appointment has been made, the individual should make sure they have all the documents required for the type of service you are applying for in order to avoid delays. Forms should be completed prior to arriving, but do not sign the form until in the presence of the Vice Consul.

  • Court to Determine Fate of Lee’s Roadside Grill and Deep Sea Fishing --- Water Edge Development tries to force Minister of VROMI to Sign deed for more Water Rights.

    williammarlinandleehalleywithlawyers23112012Philipsburg:--- Judge Thierry has to decide if Lee's Roadside Grill and Deep Sea Fishing that has been operating in Simpson Bay for decades will remain at the location or if Water's Edge Development will prevail over the local businessman who worked endlessly with his employees to develop what is known as one of the island's franchises.

    The director of Water's Edge Development (Jerry Speetjens) filed an injunction which was heard on Friday afternoon to force the Minister of VROMI and Deputy Prime Minister William Marlin to sign off on the deed for 2000 square meters of water rights in the Simpson Bay Lagoon that was granted to them on May 18th, 2012 by the former Minister of VROMI Theodore Heyliger. The UP leader and former Minister signed off on the long lease for Water's Edge Development three days before leaving office when the UP/DP government lost their majority.

    In the Court of First Instance on Friday afternoon was the owner of Lee's Roadside Grill and Deep Sea Fishing who was represented by Attorney at Law Snow while Richard Gibson Jr. represented the Government of St. Maarten. Water's Edge Development was represented by Attorney Kortnover.

    The attorneys that represented government and Lee Halley told the court that Halley developed his business in Simpson Bay, a business his entire family in Simpson Bay operated during their entire lives. Both Attorney Gibson and Snow told the Court that Halley did everything possible to obtain the long lease from the government of St. Maarten but his request was never granted. However, the attorney for Water Edge tried to convince the court that the only reason the Minister of VROMI refused to sign the deed was because he did not consider Jerry Speetjens to be a local St. Maartener.

    Minister of VROMI William Marlin in his address told the court that he has been involved in trying to grant Lee Halley the long lease for the area he has been occupying since 1999. Marlin said at the time he was a commissioner and when he ordered the person in charge to do the necessary paperwork for Lee Halley that person never did it and shortly after there was election and he was no longer in government. Marlin explained the judge that he was of the opinion that the businessman had acquired the water rights back then but ten years later when he took office again (2009) Halley approached him informed him that he never got the long lease for the water rights where he is operating his business. The Minister of VROMI told Judge Thierry that he invited the owner of Water's Edge Development Foundation and the businessman and notary agreed on a gentleman's agreement which is to allow government to grant Lee Halley the long lease for the space he is occupying since Halley developed the area as well as building the dock where his boats are docked every day. Marlin said he agreed to compensate notary Speetjens with one third of water rights on each side and Speetjens even told him he was not interested in more water rights because he could not fill the space. Marlin said again that the agreement also did not materialize because shortly after that it was the 2010 election and he was again out of office because the United People's Party and Democratic Party formed a government. Marlin said when the former Minister of VROMI realized that his government lost its majority he signed off 2000 square meters of water rights to Water Edge while the outgoing Minister also signed off on several other long leases, some of which was for his employees. He said even though the case heard on Friday was not to deal with that he wanted the Court to know that the first deed he signed off shortly after taking office in May was for someone who was working in the Minister's cabinet and one week later after signing that long lease off he realized the land was being occupied by another family since the 1950's. Marlin told the court that when he took office earlier this year Lee Halley approached him again and explained him that the agreement he had with Speetjens did not go through and now Speetjen's son Jerry Speetjens who is the managing director of Water's Edge wants him out of the area since he got the water rights in long lease from government. Marlin said this time he invited Jerry Speetjens to his office and asked him to execute the agreement he had in 2009 with his father or let them agree on something that would allow Lee Halley to maintain his franchise in Simpson Bay where he was born and grew up. Marlin said he offered Jerry Speejens the same one third water rights and even a parcel of land on the ring road when it is completed but the young Speetjens refused to cooperate.

    Marlin told judge Thierry that Lee Halley was not treated fairly by his own government and while it might not be legally correct, surely the situation Lee Halley is placed in is not morally correct. Judge Thierry tried to see if Water Edge was willing to grant Lee Halley a decent contract the government attorneys informed the judge they want Mr. Lee Halley owner of Lee's Roadside Grill and Deep Sea Fishing to obtain the long lease for the water rights where he is operating his business. Both the attorneys and Minister Marlin made clear that Water's Edge is not occupying or using the water rights they obtained from government, instead they are leasing it out to hard working people. "The water rights is the cash cow for the Jerry Speetjens because he collects large amounts of monies in rents each month." Marlin maintained that the government of St. Maarten will compensate Water Edge with one third more water rights on the other side as well as with a parcel of land on the ring road. Judge Thierry will render his decision on December 15th, 2012

    Click here to see the arguments presented in court by Attorney at Law Richard Gibson Jr. on behalf of the Government of St. Maarten.

  • OASIS Games Training Sessions Underway.

    curacaooasisgame23112012Dutch Quarter:--- Training sessions for the Oasis Game is currently underway and will continue on Saturday and Sunday at the Dutch Quarter Community Center. Persons interested in becoming a trainer are invited to attend either session on Saturday or Sunday, from 8.00am to 6.00pm.

    The Oasis game originates from the favelas in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Earlier this year, Oasis games were organized on Curacao and Bonaire.

    To realize this Oasis Game, energetic and inspiring volunteers are invited to attend the weekend sessions. Community members from Dutch Quarter who want to work for their own community are also invited to the meeting. Volunteers from other communities, who would like to learn how to prepare and organize an Oasis game for their own community, are more than welcome. Help your community, learn and have a lot of fun! Join the group of facilitators.

    An Oasis game is filled with games, dance and surprising activities. During two weekends (24-25 November, and 1-2 December), Dutch Quarter will be the vibrating scene of an Oasis game. An Oasis game is an event for community members to make their dreams come true. By realizing their dreams, they also raise their capacity to help themselves in a better way and to connect them with their fellow community members.

    During the first weekend, community members are encouraged to express their dreams for their community. The second weekend, the community members start working together to realize one of their dreams. The Oasis game will conclude with a celebration party.

    The European Development Fund is funding this initiative through USONA.

  • MHF and SZV sign AVBZ contract.

    rwillemsbergfholidayandevanderhoek23112012The Mental Health Foundation has a Care Agreement for AVBZ care since 2007. AVBZ is the compulsory insurance that all persons legally living and working on St. Maarten contribute to. The care covered by the AVBZ law (LVO Aº1996 Aº211) is for chronic illnesses these illnesses are not covered by medical insurances. Chronic illnesses are for example; care required after a stroke, amputation, trauma, and for disabilities such as mentally as well as physically challenged. With an AVBZ care agreement MHF can apply for this chronic care assistance for a patient.

    Since St. Maarten became 'Country St. Maarten' the SZV now manages the AVBZ funds and therefore the renewed contract is now offered by Mr. Reginald Willemberg COO of SZV.
    For the Mental Health Foundation the AVBZ Care Fund finances the Faraja Center (re-socialization and education) , Guided Living and the Ambulant Care.
    Thanks to the SZV, MHF can offer patient's continuity of care from the time an intake is done at the center or a patient is admitted to, Guided Living, Faraja or Ambulant Care.

    The SZV and the MHF team work together to provide quality care to the St. Maarten patients, to do so care plans are made and evaluated every 3 months, quality reporting with regards to the care provided, is also evaluated annually.

    The signing took place at the Mental Health Foundation, by Reginald Willemsberg, Felix Holiday President of the Board and Eric van der Hoek Treasurer.

    MHF Press Release

  • Last day to vote for Crystal Pineapple Awards.

    Voting for the Crystal Pineapple Awards nominees will be closing on Monday, November 26th at 12 noon, so if you haven't already cast your vote for your favorite nominee, please do so by noon.
    Voting can be done on www.shta.com. Simply click on the 'Crystal Pineapple Awards' tab on the left hand side of the page and follow the instructions. A link to voting is also available on the Crystal Pineapple Awards Facebook page.
    Tickets can be collected and paid for from Monday to Friday 8am – 5pm.
    The award ceremony will be held on Friday, November 30, 2012, and will be a Gala evening with academy award treatment. For more information, please contact Natasha at the SHTA office at 542-0108.

  • Researcher Looks at Health of Local Reef Fish.

    drpaulsikkel22112012Dr. Paul Sikkel has just completed several days of research on the health of St. Maarten's reef fish by investigating a species of parasitic isopod that feed on fish blood. The Assistant Professor of Marine Ecology at Arkansas State University has conducted research on parasites throughout the world, including many islands in the Caribbean. Dr. Sikkel, who serves as Chair of the United States branch of Environmental Protection in the Caribbean (EPIC) was visiting St. Maarten to participate in the annual retreat of the Foundation's Board of Directors and took the opportunity to conduct research while on the island. He was assisted by fellow EPIC-U.S. Board Member Helen Gratil and partnered with Nature Foundation St. Maarten to access offshore reef areas.

    Dr. Sikkel recently made headlines when he named a species of fish parasite new to science after Bob Marley. As a long-time fan of Marley, Dr. Sikkel considers the naming of a new species, Gnathia marleyi, a tribute to the memory of the late reggae artist.

    The research on St. Maarten included collecting a variety of fish, taking a minute blood sample, and then safely returning the fish to the location where they were collected. "At one location, we were swimming with buckets of live fish and attracting quite a bit of attention from sharks" reported Dr. Sikkel.

    The research project is funded by the National Science Foundation. Research results from this and other locations will be published in the near future. To hear Dr. Sikkel interviewed by Nature Foundation Manager Tadzio Bervoets, readers can tune into 98.1 Pearl FM on Friday, November 23rd at 10 a.m.

  • POSTAL SERVICES ST. MAARTEN NV (PSS) LAUNCHES ITS MRD TEAM.

    pssmrdteam22112012Postal Services St. Maarten NV is proud to introduce to the St. Maarten community its very own MRD team, which will focus on Marketing, Research, & Development for our post office. They will be known by their Purple shirts and PSS is proud to have them go out essentially into the business community to promote the services of the posts and also discuss new products and ways how to better serve one and all. This team will also be open to the public to approach, while they are out on the road, to present some of the challenges or issues the public may have.
    The MRD team will consist of actual employees from the post office and who together have a wide range of knowledge about the operations. The parties making up the MRD Team are of Mr. Rutherford Reed, Ms. Merlena Proctor, and Mr. Emmanuel Lo Black (who is missing from the picture). PSS hopes together with this team and initiative to get feedback on how to improve on the current level of service but also to introduce new services and products that will benefit you the business community and general public even greater.

    The MRD individuals will be known by their purple color shirts, and will be approaching a number of business establishments on the island to promote the current services of the post office, while also taking feedback and suggestions on possible new services and products. The aim behind this whole initiative of PSS is to bring the postal world closer to your doorsteps and seek to continually improve the service offered. As such PSS asks the business establishments to openly welcome and accommodate our MRD Team members.

    Postal Services St. Maarten NV (PSS) hereby thanks the community for its continued support and PSS management wishes all a safe and joyful season and 2013. There is a lot of work to be done and PSS is continually working on ensuring together with its team being your only local Post Office that we serve and serve you the community as is expected.

    For more information please contact your local post office at Tel. 542-2289 or 545 3782 or by e-mail: info@pssnv.com.

    PSS Press Release

  • PUBLIC NOTICE: PEACE IS Paradise 6.

    The PEACE IS Foundation is inviting the general public to come out and support their 6th annual PEACE IS Paradise fundraiser breakfast this Saturday, November 24 at Taloula Mangos restaurant on the Boardwalk.

    The Breakfast which is usually held on St. Maarten's Day each year was postponed but the foundation has announced that everything is on schedule for this Saturday. "Make sure you get your tickets, because we anticipate the usual large turnout which we are accustomed to getting in support of our peace keeping efforts;" Glenville Blake; President of PEACE Is said.

    The Fundraiser breakfast is held annually to generate funds to foster and assist with violence prevention in our local schools.

    According to Blake; the beneficiaries of this year's proceeds will be the Milton Peters College and Sundial School. Both schools are jointly working on 'Peace Keeping' projects which they hope will continue to raise the level of awareness of non-violence among students in their respective schools.

    As in previous years, the patrons can enjoy a traditional local breakfast at Taloula Mangos Restaurant on the Boardwalk from 8:00-11:00am and tickets are available for only $10. We urge our patrons to purchase and wear our Specially-designed "PEACE IS Stop The Violence" t-shirts, which will also be on sale for $10 each.

    Tickets can be obtained at Milton Peters College, Sundial School or from any PEACE IS member.

    For further information or queries, please feel free to contact Peta-Gaye Harriott at Tel: 542-2739 ext.232.

  • Council of Ministers receives presentation about diabetic foot.

    compresentationondiabeticfoot22112012GREAT BAY (DCOMM):--- Collective Preventive Services (Ministry VSA) in collaboration with the Diabetes Foundation, officially presented the results of their report 'Results of the evaluation of the diabetic feet at the local medical clinics' to the Council of Ministers on Thursday.

    In commemoration of World Diabetes Day on November 14, a campaign was launched with as main focus foot care. In the opinion of the foundation, this issue has been underexposed in St. Maarten.

    The Caribbean has one of the highest rates of amputations as a result of diabetes when compared to other regions in the world. Bringing the diabetic foot and foot care to the attention of patients and professionals was according to the Foundation was a necessity.

    The Council was briefed on what items the patients were checked and questioned and was informed on the outcome of the examinations and checks.

    Over a period of eight months diabetic patients of 15 clinics, totaling 423 persons, received a free foot examination and advice. The main goal of the foot examination was prevention of wound development and amputation.

    The Diabetes Foundation, which will celebrate 15 years in existence as of January 10, 2013, will continue raising awareness and providing education on diabetes.

    As a government subsidized foundation it provides policies and policy directions to government. Through their input and in collaboration with the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, and the Social Insurance Bank SZV, has now put the care of diabetes as part of the health package, trying to focus on the preventative side than solely the treatment of the disease.

    The Foundation concluded their findings by stressing the importance of data collection and training for doctors and nurses in terms of prevention. Ultimately, all efforts combined should result in a decrease in health care costs.

  • MP Ruth Douglass speaks about the State of Affairs at SMMC.

    ruthdouglass23092012"Usually when people are sad, they don't do anything. They just cry over their condition. But when they get angry, they bring about a change."- Malcolm X

    We need not get angry to bring about Positive changes, we just need to act responsibly and be reasonable.

    The article (in the daily Herald on Tuesday Nov 6, 2012) on Medical Center objecting to the Inspector General Dr. Earl Best demands is very alarming to me as a Doctor and Member of Parliament. Why is the SMMC board, of one, not willing to compromise and act responsibly. To resist all efforts to improve the effect running of our Only Hospital on the Dutch side of our Island is neither productive nor smart, in my humble view. The demands that stick out to me as a Doctor are as follows:

    • The institute of SMMC needs to have an approved Rules of Regulation for the Board of Directors as per article 5 of the Articles of Incorporation of SMMC, and article 16 of the National Ordinance of Health care Institutions. This simple means that SMMC current board needs to ensure that representation of Management of SMMC in absence of members of the Board of Directors is regulated by means of a formal appointment of a replacement representative with the required experience and expertise on the Board. Since a Board of ONE cannot be present all the time (he is off the Island 2 weeks out of every month) this is a no brainer.
    • All medical administrative data, medical data, files and computer files required for an adequate representation and care are placed in one location within SMMC.
    • SMMC has to provide a suitable action plan in finding solutions to prevention of infections during Surgery and after Surgery.
    • Directors who are representing SMMC should be at all times accessible by phone (who else should we call, when we need answers if not the persons in charge?.)
    • SMMC needs an action plan for the ER (Emergency Room): the supervision, improvements of the medical staff, file management and a proper notification system for acute issues.
    • SMMC needs a disaster plan and a disaster awareness system and annual drills for the staff. I remember hearing this from a Smart guy on this Island:" If you fail to plan, you plan to fail" We cannot afford to fail because of a lack of having a plan on this Island that can be hit by a hurricane a Earth quack or another national disaster. We don't have FEMMA on speed dial, Like New York, New Jersey and other States in the North East of the USA.

    These are reasonable request because this is how you should function unless you have an agenda to keep running a 3rd World nation's Hospital.

    Why make it more difficult? instead make it easier to run the SMMC , As we grow older and wiser we need to find solutions and not stay stuck in old methods of doing thing that are neither effective, efficient or productive. Taking these matters to court to resist doing things better is neither good nor smart because it helps no one in this case. The Hospital may be a private foundation but is it not a Kingdom on its own with one single Ruler. These articles of incorporation are VERY clear... SMMC Board of Directors should Comply with the articles and put these other issues to rest ASAP, Please plan to succeed because lives are at stake here, we have to minimize our failure rates, is my recommendation.

    I thank you for attention.

    Sincerely ,

    MP Dr. Ruth Douglass

  • Minister Jacobs calls on parents to attend friendly games on Saturday in celebration of the Rights of the Child.

    silveriajacobs22112012GREAT BAY (DCOMM):--- As part of celebrating the United Nation's (UN) Universal Children's Day, and in connection with the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, Minister of Education, Culture, Youth, and Sports Hon. Silveria Jacobs, is calling on parents to make time on Saturday to support their kids in a Sports Day of friendly games with children from St. Martin and Sint Maarten participating in various sporting disciplines, that kicks off at 9:00am until 5:00pm at the Alberic Richards Stadium in Sandy Ground and Sal Omnisport.

    Minister Jacobs delivered the following address at the Commemoration of International Day Rights of the Child at the Collectivite building in Marigot earlier this week:

    Today is day of celebration... International Day of the child- A day of Awareness among children and among all adults of the rights of each and every child.

    I commend the governments on both sides of the island and private organizations who year round, protect and promote the rights of our children right here on St. Maarten.

    In our culture traditionally, we all grew up hearing from our parents and others "Children should be seen and not heard!"and that children should respect their elders.

    In 2012 it behooves us all to embrace the fact that children also have rights, and therefore also deserve respect.

    We can and should expect our children to show respect. However, it will not be a one way street.

    RESPECT is an obligation for us all, to give as well as receive.

    Today, as a society, we recognize that how we treat our children today will determine their success in the future; what we provide them with today is what will help them to survive and thrive in these times.

    Respecting the Rights of our children, their thoughts, ideas and dreams will have very positive effects for our collective future here on St. Maarten/St. Martin.

    Children should be taught respect, but also to express their opinions and to voice their concerns.

    Our education system already reflects those rights, as it is a child centered one, based on the needs of the child.

    In order to respect The Rights of the Child, which is an obligation, I appeal to all parents, teachers, care givers, after school activities leaders, counselors, and all those who meet our children on the streets to respect oneself, then each other and of course respect especially our children.

    In this way, our children will feel valued; validated; grow in confidence and self-esteem; be ready to grow into adults of strong character and a strong sense of self.

    Is that not the type of citizen we want for St. Maarten/St. Martin?

    Let us together promote the Rights of our Children to make sure that our children:

    • Learn and live well
    • play
    • are healthy
    • have a name, nationality and an identity
    • have family love and care
    • has and shares their own opinion
    • religion
    • information
    • protection from abuse
    • having their special needs met
    • get financial assistance to survive if neede
    • develop as individuals
    • develop their own talents

    Let us all do what we can to build a strong nation of strong children, who are secure in their value to their families, their communities and our country St. Maarten.

    Let us all teach respect by modeling respect to the children of St. Maarten and the world.

  • Nature Foundation Records Increase in Lionfish Population --- Working with American University on Researching Parasites.

    lionfishincrease21112012The St. Maarten Nature Foundation has noted an increase in the lionfish population in the waters surrounding the island. Over the last few weeks during their regular lionfish sweeps, Foundation staff has noticed an increase in the venomous creatures, particularly along some beaches. "We have removed ten specimens during one day's work from bathing beaches on the Dutch Side. Although it appears that beaches are now clear of lionfish we will return in a week or so to do follow-up checks," read a statement from the Nature Foundation. Although the increase has been noticed close to shore, the lionfish population within the Man of War Shoal Marine Park seems to be stable, with dive centers and fishermen cooperating closely to control the species.

    The Nature Foundation is also collaborating with various universities in the United States on a research project where natural parasites are measured which might be affecting the Lionfish population in local waters. "We have been sending specimens to the US where scientists are using lionfish caught locally to see if parasites are starting to effect the population here on St. Maarten."

    Lionfish are an invasive venomous fish that can inflict a painful and sometimes fatal sting. Lionfish are usually found in the Indian and Pacific Oceans but were introduced into the Atlantic thru the aquarium trade. Native fish species don't recognize the Lionfish as a threat so they are unable to defend themselves against it. In other places were lionfish were spotted there are hardly any snappers and grouper left because those are the type of fish the lionfish likes to eat.

    The Nature Foundation encourages fishermen, divers and all those who may have captured or sighted lionfish to report their catch or sightings to the Nature Foundation through calling 5270490 or via email at manager@naturefoundationsxm.org.

  • EPIC U.S. Board Meets in St. Maarten.

    epicusboardmeetsonsxm21112012The Board of the United States-based chapter of Environmental Protection in the Caribbean (EPIC) held its annual retreat this past weekend in St. Maarten. EPIC U.S. was established in 2000 and works throughout the West Indies conducting research and community-based conservation projects.

    The seven Directors were able to visit sites of projects on both sides of the island being conducted by EPIC U.S. and partner organization EPIC St. Maarten and meet with Love the Lagoon Project Manager Rueben Thompson. The Board also addressed issues related to the governing framework and conducted an assessment of accomplishments related to the organization's strategic plan.

    For profiles of each Director and to learn more about EPIC's work visit www.epicislands.org and www.facebook.com/epicislands

    EPIC looks forward to continuing its positive impact in addressing environmental issues in the years to come.

  • The Angel of Death.

    lasanasekou21112012I cannot write a poem for gaza children
    It would be a mangle of grief, a dirge for peace
    I cannot write such a poem for gaza children
    It would be a sad thing, a crying shame
    I cannot write this poem for gaza children
    It would fall down, a blubbering bloody squall,
    a murderous rite.
    even now as we weep and wail,
    there is reeling and raging
    there is a mass of gales in the whirlwind
    there will be sowing in the blink of a blasting eternity
    that is never far off.
    I cannot write that poem, the one you're thinking of,
    The one you know that I should write.

    © 11.18.2012 by Lasana M. Sekou
    (A St. Martin poet/author, houseofnehesipublish.com).

  • Prime Minister Reacts to SER statements and letter --- COM Approved Supervisory Directors for Corporate Governance Council.

    sarahwescotwilliams21112012Philipsburg:--- Prime Minister of St. Maarten Sarah Wescot Williams told reporters at the Council of Ministers' weekly press briefing on Wednesday that the Council of Ministers has approved the profiles of the Supervisory Directors for the Corporate Governance Council. Wescot Williams said the government of St. Maarten was waiting for feedback on the draft profiles that were sent to various companies. Wescot Williams said only some of the companies responded but the Council of Ministers went ahead and approved the profiles. Wescot Williams said that discussions have been taking place with the Corporate Governance Council and the CFT. One such meeting is scheduled to take place on Thursday.

    The Prime Minister also reacted to the letter the SER sent to the government of St. Maarten regarding the filling in of the Great Salt Pond and the drag strip which was also published in the media. Wescot Williams who was obviously not pleased with how the SER handled the letter and list of questions they posed to government said that the SER is supposed to act as an advisory body to government. Wescot Williams said she was taken aback when she received the format of the letter sent by the SER to government. The Prime Minister said she also does not see the need for a letter that was sent to government to be published which she believes was on the basis of a wrong premise.

    The Prime Minister read out the letter which was also published on SMN News regarding building the drag strip. The SER in their letter also addressed statements that were made by the Prime Minister during previous press briefings, such as government has no knowledge as to who authorized the filling in of the Great Salt Pond and construction of the drag strip/cricket stadium. Wescot Williams said the SER gave government a period of three weeks which is according to law where government must respond within that time frame.

    Wescot Williams said the letter sent to government is not an advice and in her opinion the SER did not follow the right procedures.
    {saudioplayer}swescotwilliamsonserletter21112012.mp3{/saudioplayer}

  • Public Health Minister Reacts to Newspaper Article --- Hires Law Firm to take Legal Action against SMMC Board and MD.

    corneliusdeweever21112012Philipsburg:--- Minister of Public Health Cornelius de Weever tore up a newspaper which he considers to be a tabloid newspaper. De Weever said doing so allows him to get things off of his chest. The Minister of Public Health, Labour, and Social Affairs said generally he respects freedom of the press but more so objective journalism. "With the headlines of the TODAY tabloid that is being used to mislead people I want to clear the air with regards to the St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) because the people of St. Maarten need to know. It is clear that SMMC is busy with the wrong things. I have never given any instructions to the inspectorate; the inspectorate has a job to do which is what they are doing. The same way they handled the General Practitioners (GPs) and other health care institutions they are dealing with the SMMC, something they are being paid to do."

    Minister de Weever also made clear that no business licenses have been issued to any potential American clinic and if those at SMMC are looking for any semblance of conflict of interest then SMMC and their legal team are looking in the wrong place.

    The Minister of Health also distributed copies of the MOU letter of intent that was to be signed with the American Clinic where Dr. Hess was supposed to be the Managing Director. Minister de Weever said that document was to be signed by SMMC, the Government of St. Maarten, and the American Clinic but SMMC distanced itself from the MOU because a particular consulting company was not part of the agreement.

    After making his statement the Minister of Health did not take questions from the reporters present at the press conference. However in an invited comment to SMN News, Minister de Weever admitted that government (his Ministry) has already hired the services of a law firm to take the necessary actions and do all that is necessary to address the issues at the St. Maarten Medical Center. SMN News learnt that the Minister of Health will be engaging the Courts to dismiss the Supervisory Board and Dr. George Scot while seeking the intervention of the prosecutor's office to take actions if any crimes were committed by anyone representing the St. Maarten Medical Center.

    It has been months if not years now the media on St. Maarten have been reporting the inconsistencies at the St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) under the guidance of Dr. George Scot who spends half of the year in the Netherlands. The "one man" show at the island's only medical institution has created a number of issues regarding proper health care. Currently, the hospital is functioning on a skeleton staff with its only intern specialist giving notice that he will quit the job as early as May 2013.

    The latest scandal surrounding SMMC is the contract signed between SMMC and the company belonging to the MD Dr. George Scot. SMN News managed to obtain some documentation on the company that Dr. Scot registered in May 2008 at the Chamber of Commerce. AnG Consultancy does not have a contract with SMMC and while it is portrayed that the name on the contract is a simply slip of the pen. SMN News also obtain the articles of incorporation for the AnG Consultancy which is published below for our readers' pleasure.

    Click here to view the Chamber Declaration on AnG Consulting/Consultancy.

    Click here to view AnG Consultancy Articles of Incorporation.

  • Additional agenda point added to Thursday Central Committee Meeting.

    PHILIPSBURG:--- An additional agenda point has been added to the November 22 Central Committee meeting.

    The central committee public session is scheduled for Thursday afternoon at 2:00pm in the General Assembly Chamber.

    Members of Parliament according to agenda point one; will be informed by Minister of Finance Hon. Roland Tuitt, about the current financial state of affairs of the country. This agenda point was requested by the Minister of Finance.

    The second point is the advice from the Permanent Committee of Parliament for Kingdom Affairs and Inter-parliamentary Relations with respect to the Council of the European Union (EU) and the Association of Countries and Territories with the EU.

    Members of the public are always welcome to be present in the General Assembly Chamber during public meetings to follow the parliamentary session scheduled for that particular day.

    The House of Parliament is located across from the Court House.

    The parliamentary session will be carried live on St. Maarten Cable TV Channel 120, via Pearl Radio FM 98.1, the audio via the Internet www.pearlfmradio.com, and also via www.sxmparliament.org.

  • SCDF Presents Carnival Logo to Minister of Education and Culture.

    scdfpresentslogotosjacobs21112012Philipsburg:--- President of the St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF), Micheal Granger presented the logo that was designed by Cleon Fredrick to the Minister of Education, Youth, Sports, and Culture Silveria Jacobs. Granger told reporters on Wednesday that just two months ago the SCDF members held a discussion with the Minister regarding the branding of the St. Maarten Carnival through a logo.

    The designer of the banner and logo for St. Maarten Carnival was compensated with two season passes for the next two years.

    Minister Jacobs said she is honored to have been contacted and given the opportunity to share her views on the creation of the branding for the St. Maarten Carnival.

    President of the SCDF, Mike Granger said the SCDF is proud to have finally been able to give St. Maarten's Carnival its own image, an identity, with which St. Maarten largest festival will be marketed and branded worldwide.

    The foundation responsible for St. Maarten's Carnival has always had a corporate logo, but the festival itself has never had one. Granger explained that the SCDF is on a strategic mission to elevate St. Maarten's Carnival to new levels and it all starts with marketing and branding and increasing Carnival's profile.

    The logo was designed by graphic artist Cleon Frederick and also bears a new slogan, a permanent and official one, for Carnival on St. Maarten: "Come, Experience Life". "We believe this is the perfect slogan for our Carnival. We have the best revelers, the energy level of our people is at its peak, we embrace all cultures, we simply live," Granger said.

    The SCDF will no longer be changing slogans every year. "While this was nice for a while, it doesn't set our festival apart, changing slogans all the time never properly identified St. Maarten's Carnival and could not be used as a long term marketing tool. Our branding logo and the slogan will literally be everywhere."

    "We wanted to send a message to one and all that St. Maarten's Carnival is the greatest in the North Eastern Caribbean and we want you to come and enjoy life," he added. Granger also disclosed that the SCDF is embarking on significant merchandising for Carnival 2013 including a Carnival Store inside of Carnival Village, the re-launching of the foundations website and other initiatives that will be announced soon.

    Minister Jacobs congratulated the SCDF on the occasion, thanked the foundation for the honor of presenting it to her first and said she looks forward to continuing discussions with the foundation about the further development of Carnival in particular the cultural aspects. Granger also presented the Minister with a large laminated version of the new logo. He was joined by Frederick and Janelle Hermance of the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau. Hermance is also a board member of the SCDF.

  • National Alliance Faction Intends to Call Harbour Holding to Parliament --- Laveist.

    scaleofjustice21112012Philipsburg:--- Member of Parliament Louie Laveist made several statements during Monday's Parliamentary meeting where the Deputy Prime Minister William Marlin was bombarded with questions regarding his VROMI portfolio. Laveist in his statements said he wants to know if St. Maarten has two governments, since the Harbour Holding Company has been acting as their own government. Laveist said that the Harbour is responsible for the filling in of the Great Salt Pond starting since 2009 for the "Ring Road" without the necessary permits. He said just recently he read on SMN News that the Harbour Holding Company has been paying a Daily Herald reporter thousands of dollars per month to promote the leader of a particular political party who thinks he owns the St. Harbour Holding Company. "I need to know if there are two governments on this side of the island. If that is so we need to get the Harbour Holding Company Managing Director Mark Mingo to say how he manages the company."
    In an invited comment on Wednesday, Laveist said that he already held discussions with his colleagues in Parliament (National Alliance Faction) who agreed in principle to call the Supervisory Board of the Harbour Holding Company and its Managing Director Mark Mingo to explain to Parliament how the people's patrimony is being used. Laveist said that the same reporter purposely held a smear campaign against him and apparently the Leader of the United People's Party Theodore Heyliger has decided to use the monies of a Government owned company to finance his personal political standing in the community.
    Laviest said he is not afraid to call names neither is he afraid to demand answers when it comes to the people's business. "If a reporter that is working for a newspaper is paid by the Harbour to promote a politician or political party then we have problems and there lies a conflict of interest within the media and (no)fair and unbiased reporting."
    On Wednesday during the Council of Ministers' weekly press briefing SMN News reporter asked the Prime Minister of St. Maarten Sarah Wescot Williams if the Harbour Holding Company pays its fair share of dividends to the government of St. Maarten since it is a government owned company. Wescot Williams said the monies the harbour is supposed to pay to government is used for projects (such as road network repairs) that are undertaken by the Harbour. When SMN News further inquired if the Council of Ministers has decided to request that an audit be conducted at the Harbour now that it is known that a Daily Herald reporter who supports and writes for the United Peoples Party is being paid by the Harbour, the Prime Minister said that the Council of Ministers has not taken such a decision.
    While the Daily Herald in an editorial written on Friday last week acknowledged they also received press releases from the United People's Party and that their reporter's name was recorded as the author of the Microsoft Word files and they also acknowledged that the reporter (Alita Singh) breached the company's policy by not informing them that she was working for the Harbour Holding Company, the Daily Herald said that they received explanations from the leader of the UP Party and the reporter in question. In the editorial, management of the Daily Herald said for now they will have another reporter handle the portfolio of the harbour while they expect their reporter to act professionally in the future. The Herald did not say anything about whether or not the reporter will continue to cover the political portfolio. Amazingly on Wednesday after SMN News questioned the Prime Minister about the Harbour Holding Company, Alita Singh then made a statement prior to posing some lengthy questions "Let's turn to the real news," she said. Based on the statements Singh made, it is clear that she has no remorse. She is yet to acknowledge that her actions is totally against the principles of good journalism.
    As if that was not enough, the advisor to Deputy Prime Minister William Marlin, Kendall Dupersoy was overheard telling Singh that he hopes when the National Alliance or the office of the Deputy Prime Minister sends out his press releases that they would receive fair and unbiased coverage, Singh's response to the statement Dupersoy made was "you all just cannot afford me."

  • EPIC Presents Bird Activities Saturday.

    ruddyturnstone20112012Environmental Protection in the Caribbean will be celebrating International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD) during a presentation hosted by the Phillipsburg Jubilee Library this Saturday titled "Helping Birds Every Day". Parents are encouraged to bring their children (approximately aged 6-12) to learn about what we can do to help birds, hear a bird migration story, and (weather permitting) walk to the Great Salt Pond to view birds there. A coloring book, posters, and stickers will be distributed.

    "Children are fascinated by wildlife and this is a great opportunity to learn more about the birds around us every day, especially their amazing migration, and how we can help birds" said EPIC President Natalia Collier.

    International Migratory Bird Day is celebrated throughout the Americas and aims to raise awareness of the incredible phenomenon of the migration of millions of birds. Approximately 350 species of birds that breed in North America, including songbirds, ducks, and shorebirds, migrate each year to spend the winter in Latin America and the Caribbean. Additionally a smaller number of species migrate from South America into the Caribbean to breed during the summer. The Caribbean therefore shares these species with North and South America, and many spend the greater portion of each year on our islands (up to 9 months annually) compared to the time they spend outside of the region. Because most birds migrate primarily during the night, their epic movements, though frequently spectacular in numbers, are often unnoticed by the public.

    The event will begin at 11 a.m. on Saturday, November 24th at the Philipsburg Jubilee Library and is available to a maximum of 30 students. Other groups interested in hosted similar events are encouraged to contact Natalia Collier at 545-3009 or ncollier@epicislands.org.

  • Police Department receives 2 SEGWAY vehicles.

    kpsmreceivessegwayvehicles20112012Philipsburg:--- On Monday November 19th at approximately 9:00am the Police department officially received its first two SEGWAY-vehicles. Inspector Ricardo Henson received these vehicles on behalf of the Police management from the Managing Director of Fun and Roll Tours, Mr. Norman Vidal. These SEGWAY-vehicles will be used by members of the Bike-team and the Community Police Officers. The entire Police bike-team and two CPO's have received a training course on how to use this vehicle effectively. The officers who follow this course also received their certificates. This is a pilot-project and if this projects have positive results, the police department will definitely be looking into purchasing more of these vehicles.

    KPSM Press Release

  • CPOs and VROMI conduct major clean-up in Sucker Garden.

    cposcleanupsuckergarden20112012Sucker Garden:--- On Friday, November 16th between 8:00am and 12:00pm. The Community Police officers Helen Romeo-Cristina and Arsela Leonard along with Pablo Wilson from the Department of VROMI carried-out a major clean-up campaign in the Sucker Garden area. The drive's that were tackled were the Cinnamon Cactus drive, Vine Cactus drive, a section of Mathew Lane, and the Jumping Chola Cactus drive. Heavy equipment from Leap year Towing Company and personnel from Bakker Crushing Company were brought in to remove old car wrecks, old air condition units, and a lot of other garbage and debris. After the clean-up the people living in this area were extremely happy especially the children who now had space for them to play.

    KPSM Police Report

  • Minister of Health Dr. Cornelius de Weever presents a financial contribution to the “Be Able” committee.

    cdeweeverpresentsfinancialcontributiontobeablecommittee20112012Philipsburg (DCOMM):--- On Monday November 19, 2012 the Minister of Health, Labor and Social Affairs Dr. Cornelius de Weever presented a financial contribution on behalf of the Government of Sint Maarten to the "Be Able Committee" towards the upcoming Awareness Week for the Physically Challenged & Wheelchair Tennis Tournament. The financial contribution was handed over to Mr. Henri Brookson and Mr. Michel Soons of the "Be Able Committee".

  • Lavesh Mirpuri & Ece Unal receive Pursuit of Excellence Award at Youth Council’s ISDAAA.

    laveshmirpuri20112012On Saturday November 17, 2012, the St. Maarten Youth Council Association marked International Students Day with its 13th annual Academic Achievement Awards (ISDAAA). The award ceremony, held at the Philipsburg Community & Cultural Center, honoured thirty-nine secondary school students for their outstanding academic accomplishments in the 2011/2012 school year. Among the recipients, eleven students were honoured with the Stellar Performance Award for Continued Academic Performance. Lavesh Mirpuri of St. Dominic High School and Ece Unal of Learning Unlimited received the Pursuit of Excellence Award. Both students have been top of their class throughout their secondary school career. The award ceremony was hosted by members of the St. Maarten Youth Parliament, with performances by Rochana Richardson and Isaiarah Baptiste.

  • UTS donates senior phones to White and Yellow Cross.

    utsdonatesseniorphonestowhiteandyellowcross20112012Philipsburg:--- UTS donated 5 Alcatel One Touch 282 devices to the White and Yellow Cross foundation for the use of its residents/patients. "These phones have very specific features that are very useful for users whom may have trouble with a smaller, more elaborate phone," says UTS Marketing and Communications Officer, Ivy Lambert. "The device has very large keys and an easy to read display, but the star feature of the device is really the Panic button. With the push of one button it will instantly SMS and call up to 4 pre-programmed numbers to notify caregivers and family members that the user is in distress," Lambert continues. The phones will be given to some residents of the St. Maarten Home, but some will also go to elderly persons that are living in their own home, but are under the care of the White and Yellow Cross. "We are very happy with these devices and we already know exactly which residents and patients would appreciate such a device. It will enable them to stay in contact with their loved ones more easily and it also gives family an extra sense of security to know that their loved one is able to send a distress signal if needed," states White and Yellow Cross Operations Manager Bregje Boetekees (not pictured). "These devices are currently available at our UTS stores. We purposely set the price at a reasonable $62 so that it remains affordable for many," says UTS Commercial Manager, Christina Sprock. "The decision to invest in safety is something we feel should not weigh heavily on your budget. We hope that this device will help families stay in touch and also offer them peace of mind when it comes to the safety of their loved ones." "With the holiday season coming up, this device is actually a perfect gift for children to give to their parents. You get to stay in touch more easily and the bonus for all is the added peace of mind," states Lambert. The UTS Contact Center can be reached at 1 721 542 0101 for additional information on the Alcatel One Touch 282.

    UTS Press Release

  • French and Dutch Councils Meet to Discuss Cooperation.

    arichardsonandswescotwilliams20112012MARIGOT:--- Members of the Territorial Council and their counterparts from Country Sint Maarten held a joint cooperation meeting in the Hotel de La Collectivité Tuesday morning.

    This was the first cooperation meeting held between the two sides of the island since President Alain Richardson and his majority RRR party took office. A press release from the Collectivité's communication department states that the meeting held on Tuesday was to set priorities of cooperation for the year 2013. Some of the areas the two sides will work closely on are Security, transport, infrastructure, sustainable development, social affairs, health, education, training, economic affairs (including tourism) are the main themes under which public works, road networks, traffic circulation, social security, health, education (notably the problem of children leaving school early) were highlighted according to a release from the Collectivité.

    The next cooperation meeting will be held on Friday December 7 with the respective government officials from both sides, and will also include State representatives from the Préfecture as per the Tripartite agreement.

  • Plenary session scheduled for Wednesday on Voluntary Corps, ID Cards and Driver’s License; Meeting on Country Finances for Thursday.

    PHILIPSBURG:--- Parliamentarians will be meeting in the first of two plenary sessions of parliament on November 21.

    The plenary public session is scheduled for Wednesday afternoon at 2:00pm in the General Assembly Chamber.

    The first agenda point is incoming documents followed by the second agenda point, changes to the national ordinance regarding the Voluntary Corps; third agenda point, changes to the national ordinance due to the introduction of a new Identification Card and Driver's License.

    On Thursday November 22 at 2:00pm the central committee will meet with the Minister of Finance Hon. Roland Tuitt, who will inform Members of Parliament (MPs) with respect to the current financial state of affairs of the country. This meeting was requested by the Minister of Finance.

    The second plenary session for the week is scheduled for Friday morning November 23 at 10:00am in the General Assembly Chamber.

    The two agenda points are the composition of permanent and extra ordinary committees of parliament and of Parlatino.

    Members of the public are always welcome to be present in the General Assembly Chamber during public meetings to follow the parliamentary session scheduled for that particular day.

    The House of Parliament is located across from the Court House.

    The parliamentary sessions will be carried live on St. Maarten Cable TV Channel 120, via Pearl Radio FM 98.1, the audio via the Internet www.pearlfmradio.com, and also via www.sxmparliament.org.

  • Former Board Members of SMMC Supervisory Council say Scot drafted the Contract for AnG Consulting --- Supervisory Council did not do background check on Company.

    smmc2010annualreport20112012Philipsburg:--- At least three former members of the Supervisory Council/Board of the St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) told SMN News on Tuesday that while they were the members of the Supervisory Council/Board they did not draft up the contract that was signed by the chairman of the council Robert Velasquez and the Managing Director of SMMC Dr. George Scot.

    The board members said they have been following the recent media articles and the statements that are being made to a particular newspaper by Dr. Scot's father. "The statements Dentist Scot is making on the behalf of his son is far from the truth because the Supervisory Board drafted a contract for the MD to sign and he refused to sign that contract because he did not like the wording of the contract.

    The board members said MD Dr. George Scot could not be paid directly and while the intention was to remove the fees he was getting as a Managing Director that remained in the contract with AnG Consulting, the 2010 annual accounts show that Dr. George Scot received more monies even though he was off island half the year. They said the Supervisory Council comprised of a lawyer and notary and they were the ones that had to check the legality of the contract. "When the two persons checked the contract Dr. George Scot provided and approved it, the other members of the board went along with it and also approved the contract. "While we checked the contract and approved it unanimously we did not do any background check to see if AnG Consulting was legally registered at the Chamber of Commerce and if the company was paying its dues in taxes and that is the reason the chamber registration and business license are not attached to contract. Since dentist Scot is saying he saw the contract with AnG Consultancy he should provide it to the media so that this mess can be cleared up. We only approved one contract and it is the one with AnG Consulting which the Chamber of Commerce gave a declaration to say is not a registered company on the island.

    Former Chairman of the board and signatory to the contract Robert Velasquez said in an invited comment that he knew the legal team of the SMMC board dealt with the contract and he only signed off on the contract after it was approved.

    Click here to view the contract signed on September 17th, 2008 between SMMC Supervisory Board and AnG Consulting.

    Click here to view the Chamber of Commerce Declaration showing that AnG Consulting is not registered on St. Maarten.

  • Suspect in car Break-in Arrested.

    Cole Bay/Sandy Ground:--- On Saturday November 17th, 2012 at approximately 2:30pm, a Simpson Bay police patrol was informed of a car break-in that had just taken place in the vicinity of La Bamba. The suspects in this case were two unknown men who were driving a silver colored Hyundai Accent with license plate P-6462. The suspects had fled the scene in the direction of Cole Bay. The patrols immediately started searching the area for the vehicle and suspects in questions. During the search a patrol spotted the suspected vehicle and one male person was driving. The police patrol started following the vehicle and when the suspect noticed he was being followed he increased his speed and headed across the border to Marigot. The patrol informed the Central Dispatch of what was taking place. The French authorities were immediately informed as the patrol crossed the border. The car was followed to Sandy Ground where the suspect jumped out of the car and went into hiding. The police officers stayed on the scene where the suspect had left the car awaiting the arrival of the Gendarmes. After a short while the suspect turned himself in. The Gendarmes arrived immediately on the scene and after being informed arrested the suspect and confiscated the vehicle. The officers then returned to the Dutch side and informed the Public Prosecutor of the incident while the suspect remained in custody on the French side. On Sunday November 18th, the suspect with initials G.A.H. born in de Dominican rep. was handed over to the Police Department. He was arrested and taken to the Philipsburg Police Station where he remains in custody for further investigation.

    KPSM Police Report

  • Youngster Snatches Gold Chain.

    Cole Bay:--- A man with initials R.W. filed a complaint with the Detective Department stating that on Friday November 16th at approximately 05:10pm while behind of the counter of the former Tito's Bar on the Well road, an unknown young man came into the establishment and at an unexpected moment snatched his gold chain from his neck and took off running. The victim stated he chased the suspect for a short while but then stopped. The Special Robbery Unit is investigating this case.

    KPSM Police Report

  • Attempted Murder Suspect Arrested.

    Bush Road:--- On Friday November 16th at approximately 12:40pm, police arrested a man with initials J.O.M. born on Sint Maarten (25) in an ongoing attempted murder investigation. The arrest took place on the Bush road in the vicinity of the Vehicle Inspection Center, when the suspect drove up in a car with license plate 5440 ABB accompanied by a friend. The attempted murder took place in Dutch Quarter on October 3rd of this year. The suspect had shot his girlfriend in the apartment she was staying and after shooting her he fled the scene and had been on the run ever since. The suspect was taken to the Philipsburg Police Station and handed over to the Detective Department. He will remain in custody for further investigation.

    KPSM Police Report

  • PJIAE IN COMPLIANCE WITH ICAO NEW FLIGHT PLAN 2012 AND AUTOMATION SYSTEMS.

    pjiaeupgradesatsflightplan19112012SIMPSON BAY:--- Princess Juliana Int'l Airport operating company N.V. (PJIAE) is proud to announce that the Air Traffic Services Division has met all requirements in accordance with Amendment 1 to ICAO PANS ATM DOC 4444 that pertains to the implementation of the ICAO New Flight Plan on November 15, 2012.

    PJIAE upgraded the AFTN (Aeronautical Fixed Teletype Network) with the latest communication system, the AMHS (Air Traffic Message Handling System) provided by UBITECH at the ATC Facility during the month of July, and also upgraded the automation system by RAYTHEON during the month of August 2012 in preparation of the ICAO New Flight Plan Implementation date of November 15, 2012.

    The new flight plan was introduced to enable airlines to indicate the capabilities of their aircraft and better utilize the airspace, thus cutting cost on fuel and reducing delays.

    Operator training and technical training on both systems were carried by Ubitech and Raytheon specialists. Flight Information Officers within Princess Juliana Int'l Airport Air Traffic Services Division were trained by local Air Traffic Control instructors.

    PJIAE Air Traffic Services performed several successful tests with DCANSP in Curacao, FAA, and several Airlines flight plan dispatch centers.

    Air Navigation Service Providers in the Caribbean, Central America, North America and Canada did not encounter any major errors during the transition period from November 12 to November 15, 2012. The official cut-over at midnight (Universal Coordinated Time) of the new flight plan was successful.

    Safety and technology enhancement with an emphasis on cost effectiveness is the main focus of PJIAE and it is the intention to have one communication system operational within the Terminal Control Area of the airport.

    PJIAE officials are currently in talks with airport authorities of the islands within its airspace about becoming user agents of the newly upgraded AMHS and Automation system at PJIAE.

  • Rotary Club presents check to Diabetes Foundation.

    rotarysunrisedonatestodiabetesfoundation19112012A donation of USD 350 was presented to Diabetes Foundation of St. Maarten at their presentation of the diabetes foot investigation results 2012 in the A.C. Wathey Hall, Government Administration Building, this contribution is part of the joint organization of the training in foot care for diabetes patients to further support efforts to decrease burden of chronic diseases, including Diabetes Training that will be given to nurses and owners of beauty salons to be aware of sensibility disorders of diabetics and to refer to experts in diabetic foot care.

    Our sponsoring is to cover travel cost for the Podiatrist who will be traveling to St. Maarten during the presentation of the results of the foot study from the Foundation to health care workers. A copy of the study was also presented to the Sunrise Rotary Club.

    Training dates will take place on the 25th and 26th of November, 2012; persons interested in attending can contact the DF for further information.

    World Diabetes Day (WDD) was celebrated on November 14. The World Diabetes Day campaign is led by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) it raises global awareness of diabetes its escalating rates around the world and how to prevent it.

    The Sunrise Rotary Club meets at Air Lekkerbek Restaurant every Tuesday mornings at 7:00am for fellowship and breakfast. For more information on the club visit us at sxmsunrise.org or email sunriserotary.sxm@hotmail.com, we are also on Facebook: Rotary Club of Saint Martin Sunrise.

  • Globe Observes Universal Children’s Day on Tuesday.

    GREAT BAY (DCOMM):--- The United Nation's (UN) Universal Children's Day, was established in 1954, and is celebrated on November 20. Each year countries promote international togetherness and awareness among children worldwide.

    The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), promotes and coordinates this special day, which also works towards improving children's welfare.

    On November 20, countries use the date to highlight the Declaration of the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

    Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports Hon. Silveria Jacobs, would like to wish the young people of the nation a happy Children's Day.

    "Universal Children's Day acknowledgement represents important steps that were taken in the 1950s and 1980s with respect to children's rights, an obligation, which has to be respected by all.

    "Making a commitment to respect the rights of children has profound implications for the status of children in our society. Children are subjects of rights, and those rights impose obligations on adults to ensure their implementation, and it is necessary to address the inter-relation between the rights embodied in the Convention in order to promote respect for children.

    "One of the most important rights of the Convention states that all children capable of expressing a view have the right to do so freely in all matters of concern to them and that their view shall be given due weight in accordance with their age and maturity.

    "On this 2012 Universal Children's Day, I call on parents and guardians to reflect on the aforementioned, on how this takes place within their own family circle. Communication and dialogue are the foundations of excellent family interaction. Happy Children's Day," Minister Jacobs said on Monday.

    On December 14, 1954, the UN General Assembly recommended that all countries should introduce an annual event from 1956 known as Universal Children's Day to encourage fraternity and understanding between children all over the world and promoting the welfare of children.

    On November 20, 1959, the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child and on November 20, 1989, it adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Since 1990, Universal Children's Day also marks the anniversary of the date that the UN General Assembly adopted both the declaration and the convention on children's rights.

  • LET'S PUT THE FOCUS BACK ON IMPROVING HEALTH CARE TOGETHER.

    smmc23082012CAY HILL:--- The Court of First Instance has ruled in favor of St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) in this second court case we started against the Inspectorate. SMMC is very happy with the outcome and we hope that this verdict can help bring back the focus on improving quality health care in a realistic manner. In the first court case the judge had ruled that the case was not admissible because the letter send by the Inspectorate to the SMMC was not a formal decision (in Dutch:"beschikking") but an informative letter that could not be appealed.

    SMMC first wants to stress that it recognizes the authority of the Inspectorate of Health Care. A good and healthy working relation with the Inspectorate stimulates the improvement of safe and quality health care, which is our goal. SMMC is not opposed external supervision on its services.

    In this second court case the Court of First Instance ruled against the 13 demands that the Inspectorate of Public Health imposed on the St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) on October 12th citing that the demands are insufficient substantially motivated and carelessly prepared.

    It is unacceptable and irresponsible that the Inspectorate being the highest supervisory authority in health care handled in that manner.

    The judge ruled in favor of SMMC because he is of the opinion that:

    1. there is no final report as the inspector did not take the 23 pages of comments of SMMC in consideration;
    2. the Inspectorate did not give SMMC reasonable time to respond to the draft report and again not enough time to submit an action plan that should be fully supported by the Board of Directors, Supervisory Council and Specialists;
    3. the Inspectorate complained about the attitude of SMMC while there were no facts or findings in the report to substantiate this;
    4. the Inspectorate stated in the report that there were no high risk factors found that needed immediate action. This cannot support the stringent and heavy measures that the Inspectorate imposed on SMMC.

    The judge concluded that the imposed demands in the letter of October 12th don't have a legal basis, are unjustified, unnecessary or practically impossible to carry out in the given time-frame.

    The manner in which the Inspectorate handled towards SMMC defied all grounds of reasonableness and fairness. We started the court case because we felt that the Inspectorate interfered in the governance of SMMC in a way that has no direct relation to health care. The SMMC however does not oppose the external supervision of the Inspectorate on our services.

    Imposing unreasonable demands and communicating and/or implying that SMMC is unsafe, while this is clearly not the case and again also not proven in the draft report, has had detrimental consequences on the trust of the community in the care given at SMMC.

    Chairman of the Board of Directors, Dr. Scot: "If you talk about sub-optimal care you should be clear and give an explanation or definition what sub-optimal care entails. If you talk about 7 incidents whereby patients died, you should have the final reports of your investigations in your hand and not be "still working on them". He continues: "If you perform unannounced inspections, ask questions, look into documents and even take pictures, you should explain what you came to inspect, submit a report of the findings of that visit as soon as possible with your recommendations how to improve the service. These changes in approach will lead to improvement of the care and in building a relationship based on trust."

    This will then positively improve the trust of potential financiers in SMMC's ability to responsibly carry the financial obligation of the investment related to the expansion and will increase the chance for the realization of the much needed expansion project. A project that is critical to improve the health care in the SMMC.

    Daily our staff deals with patients and visitors who question the safety of care at the hospital and question the staffs qualifications and ability. The hostile situation created has made it extremely difficult for our staff to stay motivated and focused on delivering quality care. We publicly commend our staff and affiliated specialists for still doing so.

    In the ruling the judge highlighted that in the audit report the inspectorate literally stated that it has not noted any findings at SMMC of severe risk to health care. The judge stated that based on the law, the instruments of administrative enforcement, conditional penalties and imposing fines are reserved for severe cases of misconduct. This is categorically not the case at SMMC.

    Amidst the negative campaign against SMMC, we maintained our focus on improving quality care. We have been and are working on improving the health care offered. We agree with certain points mentioned in the audit report and prior to receipt of the report have developed a plan of approach to further improve quality care aspects. We have shared our plan with the Inspectorate, however it did not consider it. We have developed an action plan in line with the request of the Inspectorate and have worked on meeting the demands imposed on us in the letter of October 12th within our capabilities. All which have not been considered by the Inspectorate. The Judge has recognized our actions and considered this in his verdict.

    The SMMC will continue to work on the action plan that was sent to the Inspectorate and will execute and implement the steps to improve the quality and patient safety in the SMMC. We will work with the Inspectorate when they come, announced or unannounced. Management and the entire staff are committed to improve the care in a realistic manner.

    A critical stance from our stakeholders to do the right things right and continue to work on improvement, be it from the Inspectorate, patient groups, insurance companies and alike are welcomed by the SMMC. It is however essential that there can be a dialogue between parties whereby parties are willing to listen to and consider the information given and that there is a basis of trust. Trust is something you have to earn, something that we also have to earn. If we have to be more transparent then we will work on that.

    The St. Maarten Medical Center is the only hospital on the Dutch side of St. Maarten. The Community should feel safe at SMMC. We truly hope that the verdict can help establish some form a normalcy.

    Management Team, Board of Directors, Supervisory Council
    St. Maarten Medical Center

  • OPERATION “VIGILANCE” SUPPORTED BY PROSECUTOR’S OFFICE.

    The Public Prosecutor's Office will give a follow up to police efforts during the so called "Operation Vigilance'. Like last year the Prosecutor's Office will strongly cooperate with police to maintain safety in the streets during the coming holiday season. Arrangements have been made on how to tackle all sorts of crime and unwanted phenomena, such as unlicensed street sellers, gypsy taxis, pick pockets, and shop lifters. They can expect a zero tolerance policy both from police and the prosecutor. Unlicensed street sellers will face prosecution and forfeiture of their illegal merchandise. Gypsy taxi drivers will face their taxi being seized and their cases presented in court. Robbers will likely celebrate Christmas in jail.
    A special Court session will be arranged in January 2013 when all cases will be presented to the judge.
    By arranging this follow up the Prosecutor's Office wants to underline the importance of this police operation and their joint effort to maximize safety and security during the holiday season.

    Press Release from Public Prosecutor's Office

  • Ministry of Public Health invites Owners and Managers of Beauty Salons and Spas to Sign-up for Workshop.

    GREAT BAY (DCOMM):--- A workshop is planned for beauty salons and spas in particular for their owners and employees about identifying diabetic feet on November 26.

    Beauty salon and spa owners and employees are asked to sign-up with the Ministry of Public Health by calling 542-2078 or email: sectionpep@yahoo.com. The workshop will be held at Carl & Sons Café on the Walter Nisbeth road.

    The Minister of Public Health and his overall prevention program 'Get Checked' along with the Collective Prevention Services (CPS) in the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, is working in collaboration with the Diabetes Foundation and Rotary Club St. Martin Sunrise, to profile diabetes prevention, and have organized a number of activities.

    Diabetes is escalating around the world and the global community needs to be informed including the community of Sint Maarten how to prevent the illness in most cases.

    The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that more than 346 million people worldwide have diabetes. This number is likely to more than double by 2030 without intervention. Almost 80 per cent of diabetes deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.

  • Celebrations underway for the Rights of the Child.

    GREAT BAY (DCOMM):--- Celebration of Rights of the Child kicked off on Sunday with Educational Festival at the Raoul Illidge Sports Complex by the UJIMA Foundation.

    The Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is the body of independent experts that monitors implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child by its State parties.

    All States parties are obliged to submit regular reports to the Committee on how the rights are being implemented. States must report initially two years after acceding to the Convention and then every five years. The Committee examines each report and addresses its concerns and recommendations to the State party in the form of concluding observations.

    The theme is "Children's Rights an Obligation, Respect It."

    Monday, November 19th – December 1st 2012

    Philipsburg Jubilee Library Exhibit

    Tuesday, November 20th 2012: 9:00am

    Commemoration of International Day Rights of the Child

    Official opening at the Collectivité building in Marigot

    Platform of discussion with the different partners of a child's life from St. Maarten/St. Martin.

    Wednesday, November 21st

    "BE WISE" children and associations all day at Sports Auditorium in Marigot. The day to end off with "LIGHTING OF CANDLES"

    Exhibition at the Library in Marigot.

    Thursday, November 22nd

    Unveiling of the painting in Marigot.

    Saturday, November 24th 2012: 9:00am – 5:00pm

    Sports day of friendly games with children from St. Martin & St. Maarten participating in various sporting disciplines.

    Alberic Richards Stadium in Sandy Ground and Sal Omnisport

    Friday, November 30th 2012: 9:00am – 12:30pm

    Voice of our Children - Panel discussion on "Bullying" Belair Community Center

    Friday, November 30th 2012: 7:00pm – 9:00pm

    St. Maarten Youth Council & Youth Parliament

    Arts, Poetry and Essay Awards Presentation

    Rupert Maynard Community Center in St. Peters

  • Governor on working visit to Europe.

    His Excellency Governor Eugene B. Holiday begins 5-day working visit to Europe on Monday November 19, 2012. The focus of the visit is on sustainable educational, cultural, and economic development. During his working visit Governor Holiday will meet with the Director General of the UNESCO and other UNESCO representatives, as well as with the Permanent representative of the Dutch Kingdom at UNESCO and the Dutch Ambassador in Paris.
    The Governor will also visit the EU headquarters in Brussels where he will hold talks with, among others, EU Commissioner for Development Cooperation and the Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands at the European Union.
    Governor Holiday will conclude his visit in The Netherlands where he will have a number of meetings. During his stay in The Netherlands Governor Holiday will, among others, pay a visit to the Cultural Heritage Agency, meet with the new Chairperson of the Dutch Second Chamber and attend the bi-annual meeting between the Governors of Aruba, Curacao and Sint Maarten and the Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations.

  • Shaquille Ortega wins JCI Youth Speech Competition in Curacao.

    PHILIPBURG:--- JCI St. Maarten was once again in the spotlight for their great achievement during their National Convention held recently in Willemstad, Curacao.
    Highlight of the event was Mr. Shaquille Ortega representing St. Maarten, taking home the top prize in the Speaking competition for his speech themed "Diversity is strength rather than a weakness". Mr. Ortega hailing form the Learning Unlimited School, was the winner of local competition a week prior to moving on to the National level where he represented St. Maarten.
    In his speech Mr. Ortega outlined how despite our differences in race, ethnic backgrounds, educational level and social class, these elements indeed makes us stronger as individuals and a community. He further stated that even despite our differences many people have made St. Maarten their home and have contributed towards the building of the country in various ways. This title marks the third consecutive year that JCI St. Maarten has earned the top prize in this category.

    The theme of this years' Convention was 'Diversity into Action' was held in Willemstad, Curacao by one the local chapters, JCI Willemstad, where the young leaders got together to elect the new of board directors and discuss issues and strategies for the upcoming calendar year, slated to start in January. During the event, the members engage in networking, trainings, service to humanity and socializing.

    The members, who also believe that they are individually responsible for better communities, took some time from their busy agenda, to execute their fair share of community work in the district of Wishi/ Marchena. While one group was busy cleaning up a neglected sport facility of the district, another hosted a campaign at a nearby community center on the topic diabetes that was also assisted and attended by some key physicians in Curacao. With this initiative the young leaders encourage the leaders of all the countries of the Dutch Caribbean not only to sit at the round table and talk, but also get out and be active, put your passion into action. The project was hosted by members of Aruba, Curacao and St. Maarten.

    JCI St. Maarten is a non-profit organization affiliated with Junior Chamber International (JCI), a worldwide organization of young active citizens that contributes to the creation of positive changes in the community in which they live and serve and by extension the world, particularly among the ages of 18-40.
    JCI Dutch Caribbean is the National Organization to the chapter of the former Netherlands Antilles and Aruba.

  • “Everything St. Maarten” Website Surpasses 3.5-million Visitors.

    Jeff Berger's www.everythingstmaarten.com website surpassed 3,500,000 visitors this past weekend, as it continues to promote St. Maarten and St. Martin around the world.
    To celebrate, the site will give away seven SXM vacations early next month and an additional vacation in January. Entry is open to anyone; enter online at
    www.everythingstmaarten.com.
    A property of Jeff Berger's Crystal Pineapple Award-nominated JMB Communications, the site started in 1993 as a writing sample for JMB, Berger's PR
    and marketing company.
    "Since our original one-page story about the island was created as a simple writing sample, we never had any expectation that it would be seen by anyone other than our marketing communications and PR clients," Berger recounts. "But then the search engines kicked in a people looking for St. Maarten information found our story."
    The site has grown so today, it includes many dozens of pages plus several affiliated pages on Facebook, LinkedIn, and a free weekly newsletter read by over
    180,000 people worldwide.

    Prizes in the December 10 celebratory giveaway include:
    Vacations at top St. Maarten / St. Martin hotels:

    • Hotel L'Esplanade, Grand Case;
    • Divi Little Bay Beach Hotel, Little Bay;
    • Oyster Bay Beach Resort, Oyster Pond;
    • Summit Resort Hotel, Cupecoy;
    • Club Fantastico, Orient Bay (naturist);
    • Mary's Boon Beach Resort on beautiful Simpson Bay Beach;
    • La Vista Resort or La Vista Beach in Pelican Key.

    More prizes for the Grand Prize winner:

    • Dinner for two at renowned Chef Dino Jagtiani's Temptation or Rare restaurants
    • Dinner for two at IZI Ristorante Italiano
    • Dinner for two at Spiga Restaurant
    • Dinner for two at Le Pressoir Restaurant
    • Dinner for two at Daniel's By The Sea
    • Dinner for two at Pineapple Pete
    • Dinner for two at Toppers or Toppers by the Sea
    • Breakfast or lunch for two at Mr. Busby's Beach Bar or Island Pizza
    • Free day trip to Tintamarre aboard Neil Roebert's Celine catamaran
    • Free massage from Tricia Altenau from AIA Massage
    • Free factory tour and free ice cream from Etna Ice Cream
    • Free one-week car rental from Unique Car Rental
    • Free cell phone rental from Sharon's Cell Phone Rental

    Entries are open until December 5.

  • SER questions government about drag race strip and cricket stadium.

    In a letter dated October 15, the Social Economic Council (SER) posed a number of questions to the Prime Minister about the nature of the apparent filling-in activities of the Great Salt Pond, and the status of a possible drag race-strip and cricket stadium project.
    Like the general public and many organizations in society, the SER took notice of the filling activities in the north-western part of the Great Salt Pond through the news media and through their own observations. Remarkably, at that moment there was no clarity yet about who authorized the filling of the Pond, nor had there been any official government announcement as to the use of the reclaimed land.
    As the main advisory body to government regarding social-economic matters, the SER expressed their interest in such an apparent project with an evident social-economic impact and unavoidable environmental consequences. It is the duty of the SER to advise government, solicited or unsolicited, on all important socio-economic issues. In order to execute its task however, the council needs to be informed about the state of affairs in government decision making.
    By means of the questions submitted to government, the SER requested confirmation of the fact that the reclaimed land would indeed be used for a drag race strip and/or cricket stadium, and furthermore, should such a project not materialize, inquiring if the sand would be removed again.
    Furthermore, the SER inquired whether any environmental, health or economic impact studies were conducted to support the decision to pursue the project at hand, with specific attention to the water management situation in and around the Great Salt Pond to prevent flooding, and to noise or air pollution.
    Finally, questions were posed as to the efficiency and financial aspects of this project, inquiring what level of government investment would be involved, and whether operational subsidies would be necessary, or if there would be any other impact on government finances. From the point of view of cost-effectiveness, the SER asked whether the option of a new cricket stadium was compared with the upgrading of existing facilities or with constructing a multifunctional sports facility.
    Up to the present day, a month from submitting the letter, the SER did not receive any reply to their inquiries.

    Click here to view SER letter to Prime Minister Sarah Wescot Williams sent on October 15, 2012.

  • Several Importers in the process of complying with Agricultural, Animal, and Seafood Products Import Conditions.

    GREAT BAY (DCOMM):--- Part of the responsibilities of the Inspection Department TEZVT - Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries (LVV) which is part of the Ministry of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunications, includes the issue of pre-entry application forms and the inspection of agricultural, animal and seafood products when they arrive in the country.

    Since the placement of a notice in the media with respect to pre-entry application forms, a number of individuals and importers have inquired for additional information and to put the necessary system in place. TEZVT/LVV however, is appealing to all importers who have yet to make an effort and contact the department to do so as soon as possible.

    Sint Maarten as part of the Caribbean community is obligated to comply with international laws, rules and regulations.

    The Inspection Department TEZVT - LVV informs importers of agricultural, animal and seafood products that approved import rules and guidelines have to be followed. These conditions have been implemented to protect human, animal and plant health. The process and forms have been approved by the Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transportation and Telecommunications.

    Businesses and individuals desirous of importing agricultural, animal or seafood products must fill out and submit an import application form. This must be done at least five (5) working days prior to the arrival of the produce and will give adequate time for the preparation of the import permit.

    It is the duty of the importer to secure his/her permits prior to the arrival of their produce and to ensure that their products are accompanied by necessary Sanitary or Phytosanitary certificates. Products or produce not listed on the application but which appear on the aircraft or ship manifest will be subject to additional control measures.

    Importers must request the necessary forms in order to comply with the import conditions. The forms must be filled completely as they address food safety and environmental protection issues.

    Businesses and individuals importing agricultural products from within the region also have to comply with enhanced import protocols that have been put into place at our port border control points.

    The Inspection Department TEZVT- Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries (LVV) office is located at Zoutsteeg nr. 3, Philipsburg, in the building that houses the Department of Economic Licenses. The office can be reached by calling 543-7820 ext. 148 for further information.

  • Minister Marlin and Minister Jacobs in Parliament on Monday and Tuesday.

    PHILIPSBURG:--- Parliamentarians will be meeting with Minister of Public Housing, Spatial Development, and Environment & Infrastructure (VROMI) Hon. William Marlin on November 19, and Minister of Education, Culture, Youth & Sports Hon. Silveria Jacobs on November 20.

    The Central Committee with Minister Marlin is scheduled for Monday morning at 10:00am in the General Assembly Chamber of the House of Parliament at Wilhelmina Straat #1 in Philipsburg.

    Minister Hon. William Marlin, has been invited to parliament to provide information about maintenance and zoning.

    This meeting was requested by the United Peoples (UP) party faction.

    The second Central Committee meeting is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon at 2:30pm in the General Assembly Chamber. Originally it was scheduled for 2:00pm.

    This central committee meeting is a continuation of the October 22 session with the Minister of Education which was adjourned to be reconvened. The agenda points are the present Education Policy followed by the present Youth and Sports Policy. This meeting was requested by the United Peoples (UP) party faction.

    Members of the public are always welcome to be present in the General Assembly Chamber during public meetings to follow the parliamentary session scheduled for that particular day.

    The House of Parliament is located across from the Court House.

    The parliamentary sessions will be carried live on St. Maarten Cable TV Channel 120, via Pearl Radio FM 98.1, the audio via the Internet www.pearlfmradio.com, and also via www.sxmparliament.org.

  • French residents with expired Sint Maarten driver’s license need to call Civil Registry for an appointment to renew their license.

    GREAT BAY (DCOMM):--- All French residents who holds an expired Sint Maarten driver's license is hereby requested to call the Sint Maarten Civil Registry Department to make an appointment.

    Appointments will take place between Monday and Friday from 11.00am to 3.30pm with the exception of Wednesday's, to renew their driver's license.

    The driver's license will be valid until March 31, 2013.

    The following documents are required: 1. Passport picture; 2. Valid French ID/passport; 3. Medical Declaration; 4. Proof of French residency (attestation domicile); 5. and an Expired Driver's License.

    Note that the Civil Registry Department will only accept and process by appointment only.

    For more information and for making appointments you can call tel. 542-2457.

  • Former Doctor and Founding Member of SMMC Foundation calls on Supervisory council/board of SMMC to do the Honourable thing.

    Philipsburg:--- Former Gynecologist and founding member of the St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) Dr. Michel Petit has issued a strong call on the supervisory board of SMMC to do the honourable thing and dismiss its Managing Director Dr. George Scot.

    In a press release Dr. Petit said that based on the recent development and court verdict issued by the Court of First Instance it is clear that the MD Dr. George Scot is not acting in the interest of Health Care and the residents of St. Maarten.

    Dr. Petit said that his involvement in Health Care in St. Maarten for over 27 years is known to the Council and the people of St. Maarten. He said based on his own experience and his current opinion about the management of SMMC which is known to the council by now since they also admitted to the Inspectorate that the council is fully aware of the existing problems the inspectorate highlighted in its report.

    Dr. Petit said he recently got information that the SMMC Foundation entered into a contractual agreement with an N.V. called AnG Consulting, this agreement is worth in excess of Naf. 350,000.00 per year including bonuses. A contract that has a lifetime of five years. The N.V. AnG Consulting was represented at the signing of this contract by its director who is also the MD of SMMC board of Directors Dr. George Scot. This is extremely unethical and there lies a severe conflict of interest based on the ordinance on health care that stipulates that persons that are part of an institution at managerial level cannot be part of companies doing business with the same institution.

    However, the most troubling issue with this contract, is that it was signed by the Chairman of the of the Supervisory Council/board and AnG Consulting N.V. on 17/09/08 without the Supervisory Council doing a background research on the legality of AnG Consulting. It is now clear that this N.V. AnG Consulting is not registered at the Chamber of Commerce and probably does not have a business license and is not paying the Director's Licenses fees which is required by law.

    "I cannot believe that the Supervisory Board did not do a background check for registration and license and attach the documents to the existing contract they have with AnG Consulting. While I want to believe that this is just an oversight on their part and they trusted the Director of AnG Consulting N.V. What is sure is that the director of AnG Consulting N.V. knew that his company was not registered at the Chamber of Commerce and the company was not meeting its rightful and legal obligations. I still would leave it up to your council as why this was not done the legal way. I would also leave it up to your council as to how you would categorize and individual or company doing business with a foundation responsible and ensuring that quality health care is provided to its people/clients, while that company is not meeting its legal obligations.

    This situation as it is unfolding will not inspire sufficient trust in the institution and the future project and expansion of SMMC and by extension the improvement of health care on St. Maarten is in jeopardy. Serious financial institutions would hesitate to lend 30 million guilders to a foundation whose general director is doing business with the foundation that hired him via his own company that is not registered on St. Maarten and probably does not have a business license.

    In no way the situation at SMMC is conducive of improving health care on St. Maarten and certainly is disrespectful to the citizens of St. Maarten who are paying their fair share of taxes. Members of the Supervisory Council/Board of SMMC I urge you for the sake of health care, future expansion of SMMC, the citizens of St. Maarten to take adequate action and dismiss the Managing Director of SMMC board of Directors Dr. George Scot. SMMC director Dr. George Scot is also constantly absent from his job for approximately six months of the year for the past few years. At this stage the Council should re-appoint two directors as allowed by the articles of incorporation of SMMC Foundation.

    In doing so the SMMC will regain some credibility within the community and lending institutions. It is clear a "one man" show has its consequences which are not in the interest of SMMC and health care.

  • Judge Ordered that case of Police Brutality be Investigated by Landsrecherche --- Victim Bitten several times by Police Dog and suffered a broken jaw. (UPDATED)

    Philipsburg:--- A judge approved the proposal of the Chief Commissioner of Police Peter de Witte with regards to a case of severe police brutality. According to victim's Attorney Brenda Brooks, a Guyanese national was severely beaten, got his jaw broken, and bitten several times by a police dog on Friday night by six police officers.

    Brooks said that after she met with her client on Saturday and saw his injuries she immediately contacted Chief Prosecutor Hans Mos and a judge in the Court of First Instance who ordered that she be given the file on the case regarding her client on Monday. Brooks said it appears as though her client was driving through a traffic diversion somewhere in Sucker Garden and he did not see police officers standing in the area conducting a traffic control. Attorney Brooks said that the police are claiming that the man hit a female police officer on her arm while driving through the diversion. Brooks said according to her client the police began following him and stopped him and the man panicked because he did not have his passport on him with his visa inside. According to Attorney Brooks her client got out of his vehicle and ran in the bushes and the police immediately loose the police dog on him and when the dog started to bite him he surrendered. Brooks said her client told her that even though he surrendered the police beat him severely and broke his jaw. "What is amazing about all of this is that the police took the man to the emergency room and while there an officer spoke to the doctors and told them that he fell down and that was how his jaw got broken."

    Brooks said that the judge agreed that the case must be investigated by an independent body which is the Landsrecherche as suggested by the Chief of Police Peter de Witte to the Prosecutor's office.

    In an invited comment, Chief Commissioner of Police Peter de Witte said that the case was brought to his attention on Saturday and he advised the Prosecutor's office to have the matter be investigated by the Landsrecherche for the sake of transparency because the injuries the man suffered are serious.

     

    Police officers injured during control/ suspect arrested.

    During a general control carried out by police on Friday November 16th, one female police officer was hit and injured by a vehicle. The general control was taking place at approximately 08:30 p.m. at the crossing of Gladiola road and L.B. Scot road at the Jose Lake Sr. Ballpark. A female officer had given the driver of a private vehicle with license plate 320 ZBB 971 a stop sign and instructed him to enter the parking lot of the ball park to be controlled. Instead cooperating with officer and following the orders she had given him the driver increased his speed and drove the car towards the officer. The officer jumped aside to avoid being hit by the vehicle, however, she was struck on her lower part of her right arm by the outer rear-view mirror. The driver did not stop and continued fleeing from the scene. A police patrol and K-9 patrol chased the suspect vehicle through the neighborhood. At some point the suspect jumped out of the still moving vehicle and took off running. After a short search the police K-9 the suspect was located hiding in the thick bushes in the Betty's Estate area. The police dog was sent in and the suspect was taken out of the bushes. The suspect however continued to resist against the arresting officers. The suspect was then over powered by the officers and taken to the Philipsburg Police Station. At the police station the suspect with initials R.L. (36) from Guyana was treated by paramedics for the injuries he had suffered while resisting his arrest. The female officer was taken to the Sint Maarten Medical Center for treatment where she later learnt that she had suffered a fracture to her right lower arm. The vehicle in question was confiscated and the suspect remains in custody for further investigation.

    KPSM Police Report

  • Son of Police Territorial Killed in Shooting Incident.

    murderfillin13082012Marigot:--- The Gendarmes are busy investigating the shooting death of a young man who was killed in Agrement Friday night. SMN News learnt that the young man who works at an Indian store "Multibus" across from Nina Duverly School in Marigot was brutally murdered during an altercation. Several persons that know the victim identified him as Alain Mainville son of Territorial Police Alexis Carty.

    Sources said that the victim was involved in a fight the night before with someone identified as "Maccow" that lives in St. James and it is believed that this is the person shot and killed Mainville.

    Captain of the Gendarmerie Mathieu Glavieux confirmed that the Gendarmes are busy investigating a homicide which took place in Agrement Friday night. Glavieux said he is not in a position to divulge any information on the ongoing investigation since the case is in the hands of the Prosecutor of the Republic.

  • Police launches 2012 Holiday season project.

    The Police department launched its 2012 Holiday Season Project on November 15th. This project is called "Operation Vigilance 2012" which will continue for some time into the 2013 and like the previous years will definitively be focusing on SAFETY. The cruise season has started, the mega yachts are arriving and more flights are landing on Sint Maarten. This holiday season promises to be a very busy one and it will be another major challenge for the police department in combating criminality. There will be many shoppers on the island and also those who are there involved in criminal activity. The police management and the Community Police Officers have kept meetings with other departments such as Immigration and Naturalization Department, Customs, V.K.S., Fire Department, Control Unit, Ambulance Department, VROMI and other stakeholders such as Indian Merchant Association, Chinese Ass., the Taxi's and Bus Drivers Associations, to discuss issues such as crime, public order and safety. The police department will be assisted by the V.K.S, Control Unit, and Customs for the increase in manpower. There will be an increased police patrols on foot, on bicycle, and in cars in Philipsburg and surrounding areas, Simpson Bay, Maho Reef, Low Lands, and surrounding areas and also other areas where tourist frequently visit. There will also be an increase in police patrols in residential areas during the day and at night. There will be road and street closures, traffic diversions, and other traffic measures taken, depending on how busy these areas become. The goals of this project are to reduce the amount of armed robberies, chain snatchings, business and home break-ins. Increase controls in and around hotel and restaurants etc. There will be many traffic controls. All drivers should carry their valid driver's license at all time with them and should have all documents for their vehicle in order. Everyone should walk with proper identification to avoid unnecessary inconvenience.

  • Readers are Leaders celebrate St. Maarten’s Day with Poetry Evening.

    pjlsxmdaypoetryevening16112012PHILIPSBURG:--- Tuesday November 13, 2012 The Philipsburg Jubilee Library (PJL) in collaboration with the Rotary Club St. Martin Sunrise hosted the Readers are Leaders post St. Maarten's Day Poetry Evening entitled "An Expression of Love for St. Maarten's Past, Present and Future", geared specifically for high schools students.

    The Readers are Leaders poetry evenings are organized to promote literacy by encouraging high school students to not only read but express their thoughts, feelings and ideas through the written word. Monique Alberts, Director of PJL and Marcelia Henry, President of the Rotary Club St. Martin Sunrise each gave word of welcome. Host Lenworth Wilson introduced poets Brilliana Hodge of the Sundial school and Andrew Peterson of the St. Dominic High School, who bravely expressed their pride, frustration and love for St. Maarten through their spoken words. St. Maarten student, Merlina Aventurin, currently studying at the Tallahassee Community College, was invited to share her poetry, to the delight of the audience, via a Skype video call. Audience members were also treated with a mix of jazz and reggae music by the MPC Band.

    Students interested in joining the Readers are Leaders can contact the Philipsburg Jubilee Library at 542-2970 or join their FaceBook page to get more information.

  • Dutch Council of State makes presentation to Council of Ministers.

    councilofstatepresentationtocom16112012GREAT BAY (DCOMM):--- A delegation of the Dutch Council of State ('Raad van State') consisting of Marten Oosting, member of the 'Staatsraad'; Dennis Richardson, member of the 'Staatsraad van het Koninkrijk'); Ron van der Veer, advisor; Arnold Weggeman, acting director legislation, accompanied by Vice Chairman of the Council of Advice Mavis Brooks-Salmon, brought a courtesy visit to the Council of Ministers this week.

    Deputy Prime Minister Hon. William Marlin, Hon. Minister Cornelius de Weever and Hon. Minister Romeo Pantophlet were present during the meeting as other Ministers were off island at the time.

    Oosting provided an explanation on the role of the Council of State in the process of lawmaking as well as their procedures applied.

    The institute was established in 1531 and the advisory branch is currently the highest advisor to the government and parliament in matters of legislation and administration.

    Aruba created its Council of Advice after obtaining their status of aparte as country in 1987, and both Sint Maarten and Curaçao did similar after the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles October 10, 2010.

    A close collaboration has been established between all the Councils of Advice and the Council of State within the Kingdom of the Netherlands; regular consultations take place and a conference is planned to take place every two years.

    The next upcoming one will take place on Sint Maarten. Part of the visit of the members of the Council of State included a meeting with Parliament and a guest lecture at the University of St. Martin with the topic 'Good advice is precious. On the importance of independent advice on legislation.'

    A visit to the BES islands was also part of the itinerary.

  • Nature Foundation Launches Promotional Video for the Man of War Shoal Marine Park --- Hopes to Inform the Community of the Uniqueness of St. Maarten’s Underwater Resources.

    marineparkmoviesnapshot16112012The St. Maarten Nature Foundation, supported by the Prins Bernhard Cultuur Fonds and through the efforts of filmmakers LeRoy French and Laura Bijnsdorp, has developed a short, thirty second video clip showing the public video images of the wildlife which can be found within the Man of War Shoal Marine Park. "Many people are not aware of the diverse and important Marine Life which can be found within the Man of War Shoal Marine Park. Therefore we thought it very important to show the community how much diversity there is still left in the ocean surrounding St. Maarten and the importance of protecting it," stated a release from the Nature Foundation. The soundtrack for the movie is from a humpback whale singing, which Nature Foundation staff recorded while researching the migrating whale population within the Man of War Shoal marine Park.

    The images were taken within the Man of War Shoal Marine Park, the island's only natural area protected by law. The Nature Foundation is the Environmental Conservation and Management Organization tasked with the Management and Protection of the Marine Park. "Our goal with the launching of the clip is to of course use social media as much as possible to promote the video so that people can see what their underwater resources look like. Secondly we hope that, with support of the Prins Bernhard Cultuur Fonds, we can show the video clip ion the preview section of the local theater so that movie goers can also have an idea. In the meantime we encourage the public to share this video as many times so that people are aware of the amazing Marine Life that can be found inside of the Man of War Shoal Marine Park, "continued a Foundation statement.

    The Video can be found on the Nature Foundation YouTube page (NFSXM) or by following the link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XleHnRYJkyw&feature=plcp. The video can also be seen on the Nature Foundation Facebook Page Facebook.com/St-Maarten-Nature-Foundation.

  • Court of First Instance Rules against Inspectorate --- Power of Inspectorate now at Stake. (UPDATED)

    jbloemandebest16112012Philipsburg:--- Inspector General Dr. Earl Best, Interim Inspector General Dr. Jan Haeck, and attorney at law Jairo Bloem told reporters that they are saddened by the verdict rendered by the court of First Instance on November 16th, 2012. Inspector General Dr. Earl Best in his statements said that Court of First Instance ruled against the demands the Inspectorate of Public Health imposed on the St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) on October 12th. Dr. Best said that the Inspectorate respects the verdict the court rendered, however laments very much the grounds on which the judge assessed the case and believes that the verdict is judicially flawed.

    In explaining the situation Dr. Best said that on October 12, 2012 the Inspectorate imposed 13 measures against SMMC to ensure that good basic quality of care is rendered in SMMC and as such within the only hospital on St. Maarten. These measures were imposed after the Inspectorate established, following an extensive investigation, that the care rendered is presently sub-optimal/sub-standard. This was also the conclusion drawn by the Inspectorate of the now defunct Netherlands Antilles in its reports in the years 2007 and 2008. It is therefore not now that sub-standard care is being rendered in SMMC; that has been going on for several years. SMMC is or should be aware hereof and the Inspectorate regretfully established in its latest report, that matters are not improving, on the contrary.

    Dr. Best said it is well known that in the course of especially the last years various incidents have occurred in SMMC, with often dramatic consequences. It can in practice not be established that the sub-standard basic care that is being rendered within SMMC is at the root or forms the –main- cause of these incidents. On the other hand, it can also not be excluded that this sub-standard basic care has caused/influenced some of these incidents. It is therefore of cardinal importance that SMMC renders good basic care, as is required by Law and as can and should be expected by the St. Maarten Citizens.

    smmccontractwithang16112012Instead of adjudging whether or not the measures imposed by the Inspectorate result in disproportional advantage to SMMC as per article 85 LAR, the Court of First Instance considered if the measures imposed by the Inspectorate are reasonable. This is an entirely different examination or review, and one that unavoidably puts the Court in First Instance in the seat of the Inspectorate, a position wherein it should not want to find itself in, for the simple reason that the Court of First Instance is not equipped or capable to determine whether or not good basic quality of care is rendered and what does and/or does not constitute serious violations that inhibit good basic quality of care. It is not without reason that the legislator has granted a discretionary right to the Inspectorate to make assertions with regards to quality of care and has determined that measures imposed, in this case by the Inspectorate, can only be suspended in case they are disproportionally disadvantageous to a party. The disputed verdict does not contain one (1) consideration pertaining to possible disproportional disadvantage. The Court of First Instance in essence ruled that the Inspectorate did not give SMMC enough time to respond to the draft report made by the Inspectorate and that the Inspectorate did not give SMMC the opportunity, although the SXM law does not require that, to be heard before deciding to impose the 13 measures. No consideration has been made pertaining how this, even if assumed that it is correct, causes SMMC to suffer disproportional disadvantage as a result of the imposed measures. One of the most remarkable aspects of the disputed verdict is that the Court of First Instance doesn't take a decision as to whether or not SMMC violated the law, as established by the Inspection. Without determining if the law has been violated by SMMC, the Court of First Instance however concludes that the reasons given by the Inspectorate to impose measures, are not severe enough. The Inspectorate begs to differ and wonders what definition, if any, the Court of First Instance applied for the qualification of "severe violation", in order to determine that the violations established by the Inspectorate (a subject that the Court of First Instance as it stated deliberately did not address in its verdict) are not severe enough to justify imposing measures.

    The Court of First Instance not only applied incorrect judicial criteria in its decision of November 16th, 2012, but in deciding to within the limited scope of this injunction procedure as per the Law, also evaluate whether or not the infringements established by the Inspectorate should or should not be considered serious, it violated the discretionary rights granted by the legislator to the Inspectorate. The Inspectorate is of the opinion that it is especially fit and suited with professionals in the medical field, with the capacity to determine, as designated by the legislator, whether or not good basic quality of care is being rendered.

    The quality of care and well-being of the St. Maarten citizens is what is at stake. The suspension by the Court of First Instance of the measures imposed by the Inspectorate in essence makes it impossible and in any case very challenging for the Inspectorate to fulfill its legal obligation to ensure that proper quality of care if rendered, at least expeditiously, and in general for the Inspectorate to exercise its legal authority. The Inspectorate fears that the various established infringements and the sub-standard care that is now being rendered with SMMC will continue.

    smmccontractwithangsignatures16112012By law the decision of the Court of First Instance cannot be appealed. The Inspectorate is analyzing its recourses in order to still be able to safeguard that basic quality of care is available on St. Maarten for all citizens.

    Responding to questions posed by the reporters present Dr. Best and his attorney said that the verdict rendered on Friday has made it quite difficult for the Inspectorate to conduct its duty which is in accordance with the law. Attorney at Law Jairo Bloem and the Dr. Best said that the Inspectorate will continue with its intensified supervision of SMMC. On Thursday, the Inspectorate issued a press release asking that SMMC terminate the contract they have with ANG Consulting because the company is not registered at the Chamber of Commerce neither does the company has a business license. The Inspectorate produced a copy of the declaration they received from the Chamber of Commerce that shows that ANG Consulting with whom SMMC has the contract is not registered, however there is a company registered as ANG Consultancy. Bloem said that the SMMC does not have a contract with ANG Consultancy and the by-law and the ordinance on health care clearly stipulates that persons who are part of the institution cannot be part of companies that are providing services for the same institution.

    Dr. Best said also explained that right now the SMMC has no radiologist, there is only one intern specialist who already notified SMMC and the inspectorate that he will resign and there are also other doctors who already stated that the workload for them is too much and they too will soon leave SMMC. He further explained that St. Maarten has one gynecologist (Dr. Randall Friday) and the Medical Director has refused to work with this doctor instead he (Dr. Geoge Scot) is bringing in gynecologists from everywhere else.

    Dr. Best also explained that he invited Dr. Scot to several meetings and Dr. George Scot chose not to attend any of the meetings. Furthermore, the Inspectorate met with the Supervisory Council and they admitted that they are aware of the concerns pointed out by the Inspectorate in its reports. Dr. Best also confirmed that he held a meeting with the General Practitioners on St. Maarten and they have all expressed concerns about the communication between them and the St. Maarten Medical Center.
    {saudioplayer}jbloemandebestonsmmcvsinpectorateverdict16112012.mp3{/saudioplayer}

    Click here to view the Declaration from the Chamber of Commerce showing that AnG Consulting N.V. is not a registered company on St. Maarten.

  • Minister De Weever attends Diabetic Foot Care Presentation.

    cdeweeveratdiabeticfootcarepresentation16112012GREAT BAY (DCOMM):--- Minister of Public Health, Social Development, and Labour Hon. Cornelius de Weever (second from left) attended the presentation on the results of the pilot project 'Evaluation of Diabetic Foot Care' on November 15 at the A.C. Wathey Hall in the Government Administration Building. Also present were health care professionals and representatives from the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, the Diabetes Foundation and Rotary Club St. Martin Sunrise. (DCOMM Photo)

  • Everything in place for Diabetes ‘Walk for Health’ Blue Walk and Bike-a-thon this Saturday.

    GREAT BAY (DCOMM):--- Everything is in place for the Diabetes 'Walk for Health' blue walk and bike-a-thon on Saturday, November 17.

    The Minister of Public Health and his overall prevention program 'Get Checked' along with the Collective Prevention Services (CPS) in the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, in collaboration with the Diabetes Foundation and Rotary Club St. Martin Sunrise, have been working diligently to create awareness surrounding diabetes.

    Residents and interested persons are asked to come and join the organizers for the Walk and Bike-a-thon that will kick-off from the Le Grand Marche Supermarket on the Bush Road at 6:00am under the banner, 'Walk for Health.'

    The Diabetes Foundation of St. Maarten has tickets on sale for US$10 which includes a T-shirt, a healthy sandwich and orange/bush tea.

    The walking route is: A.J.C. Brouwers road, Welgelegen road, over Link One, Front Street, past RBC Bank, left onto J. Yrausquin Blvd., Pondfill road to the stop lights, turn right onto A.Th. Illidge road, at the round-a-bout turn left onto Zaegersgut road towards Bush road, and back to Le Grande Marche Supermarket.

    The bike-a-thon route is: Le Grand Marche Supermarket Bush Road starting 6:00pm, Prince Bernhard Bridge, Longwall road, Front Street right on Pompsteeg (by Sea Palace), Boardwalk (rest for water and fruits), Kaneelsteeg, Emmaplein, Suckergarden, Arch road, A.T. Illidge road, Coralita road, L.B. Scott road, ending at Le Grand Marche Supermarket Bush road.

  • NAGICO to host Christmas Food and Toy Drive.

    nagicofoodandtoydriveflyer161102012GREAT BAY:--- NAGICO Insurances, will be hosting a NAGICO Christmas Food and Toy Drive on St. Maarten/St. Martin. The project is a collaborative effort by the Management & Staff of NAGICO Insurances. The aim is to give back to society by way of making it possible for some of our less fortunate children to experience the joy and cheer that the holiday season brings.

    To achieve this goal we will be placing a 'Collection Bin' at our Front Offices as well as at the offices of participating Agents and Brokers. We encourage you to place non-perishable food items and new or gently used toys as your goodwill Christmas contribution.

    This drive will run from October 29 - December 21. We believe that we can make an impact and we hope that this venture will be successful and become an annual event.

  • Certificate Ceremony for the completion of the 1st “Taking Control Through Budgeting” Course on Friday.

    From the different neighborhood assessments carried out by the Department of Community Development, Family & Humanitarian Affairs (CDFHA), indications are that an increasing number of persons encounter great difficulty in managing their personal finances. Upon further investigation it was learned from the individuals, and is parroted, that the two main reasons that determine the financial status of a person is primarily due to controllable and uncontrollable factors. Controllable factors can be defined as those internal forces that can be influenced by the individual through a change in behavior, attitude or circumstances. In this case, a controllable force consists of poor money management. In contrast, uncontrollable factors include, amongst others the high cost of living, unemployment, seasonal economic opportunities that have made financial planning for household's complex if not impossible. As a result, many persons find themselves living from paycheck to paycheck with no savings that would serve as a "safety net" in the event of unexpected expenses.

    On St. Maarten, as in many societies, money is a fact of life. There is hardly any area of human activity where its influence is not felt. The inability to meet one's basic needs may engender desperation, low self-esteem and poor health. Thereby negatively hampering one's quality of life.

    Through this lens Community development, Family & Humanitarian Affairs strives to organize empowerment programs and workshops Therefore, this course "Taking control through budgeting" is part of CDFHA's strategy to deliver social empowerment programs in the form of training workshops that are designed to equip residents with the tool and knowledge needed to be proactive, confident and improve one's financial capability in order to lead a fulfilling life.

    "Taking control through budgeting" consists of a series of practical and interactive lectures where the general public and or persons, that face difficulty "in making ends meet", will acquire knowledge and skills to effectively manage their personal finances. Lectures were held at the Community Centers and or the various Community Help Desks located in the various districts and or buildings nearby the helpdesks that can accommodate the workshops and the number of participants targeted.

    The course ran for nine weeks (Aug 27-Oct 29) allowing participants to be make full use of the workshops that were facilitated by S.I.F.M.A.

    Each workshop session lasted two hours per week and the topics combines Introduction to Budgeting, Nutrition on a Budget, Importance of Insurance and Savings Plans, Living on a Budget and Knowing yourself-worth.

    The course is scheduled to take place every 6 months and the next one is due early 2013; the general public will be informed in due time of the commencement date of the next course.
    A total of 98 participants registered for the course and a total of 60 participants earned their certificate as they met the set criteria of attending 70% of the workshops provided.

    The certificate ceremony will take place on Friday, November 16 at the Philipsburg Jubilee Library from 6:30-8:30 pm.

    After completion of the budgeting course interested participants, that need additional coaching, can receive this on a one-on-one basis from the various Case Managers within the department of Community Development, Family & Humanitarian Affairs as well as Social Workers from Social Services. This coaching will take place for duration of maximum 3 months, depending on the individual need, at all 4 Help Desks locations.

  • PUBLIC NOTICE: Arch Road Closure on Friday, November 16.

    Please be informed that due to repairs to be carried out on the Arch Road on Friday November 16, 2012, sections of the Arch Road between the A.Th. Illidge and the Guadeloupe Road will be closed to all vehicular traffic from 7:30 p.m. – 2:00 a.m.

    Motorists are asked to pay keen attention to the following re-routing:

    • Motorists coming from the direction of Sucker garden will be redirected to the Guadeloupe Road, Greneda Road and onto the A.Th. Illidge Road
    • Motorists coming from A.Th. Illidge Road heading towards Sucker Garden will be directed to the Greneda Road, onto the Guadeloupe Road and back onto the Arch Road.

    The Ministry of VROMI apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause.

  • NO CONSULTATIONS AT PUBLIC PROSECUTOR’S OFFICE THIS MONTH.

    Due to lack of staff on Thursday November 29th, 2012 (the fourth Thursday of the month) the Prosecutor's Office will not be open for consultations.

    Instead the Prosecutor's Office will be open for consultations on Thursday December 13th 2012 when an extra hour will be available: from 9 AM – 12 AM. This will be the last time this year. The next time will be on Thursday January 24th, 2013.

  • Officer Gerson Jakobus sent home as Police Internal Affairs Investigates Brutality and Abuse of his Ex-Partner.

    Philipsburg:--- The Police Management team has sent home officer Gerson Jakobus pending the outcome of an investigation that is now being conducted by the Police Internal Affairs Department. SMN News has been reliably informed that Jakobus was sent home last week when one of his colleagues and his current girl friend witnessed him abusing his ex-partner.

    The source said that the incident occurred sometime last week and since another officer witnessed the abuse, Jakobus was immediately suspended. This is the second time the officer in question has been accused of abusing his ex- partner but the police management team did not take action the first time around because both Jakobus and the alleged victim were in a meeting with the management team who managed to talk to both of them and the woman decided not to press charges.

    Jakobus was also involved in a shooting incident in the Tantra night club which also went unattended by the Police Management Team. Chief Commissioner of Police Peter de Witte confirmed that the officer in question was suspended pending the investigation. De Witte did not divulge any details as to why Jakobus was suspended and what sparked this investigation.

  • Five Parliament meetings planned for next week.

    PHILIPSBURG:--- Members of parliament will meet next week in the setting of three Central Committee meetings and two plenary sessions.

    Parliamentarians will be meeting with the following members of the Council of Ministers, Hon. Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams, Hon. Minister of Education, Culture, Youth & Sports Silveria Jacobs, Hon. Minister of Finance Roland Tuitt and the Hon. Minister of Public Housing, Spatial Development, and Environment & Infrastructure (VROMI) William Marlin.

    The first Central Committee meeting is scheduled for Monday morning, November 19 at 10:00am in the General Assembly Chamber of the House of Parliament at Wilhelmina Straat #1 in Philipsburg.

    The Minister with responsibility for Public Housing, Spatial Development, Environment and Infrastructure (VROMI) Hon. William Marlin, has been invited to parliament to provide information about maintenance and zoning.

    This meeting was requested by the United Peoples (UP) party faction.

    The second Central Committee meeting is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon November 20 at 3:00pm in the General Assembly Chamber.

    This central committee meeting is a continuation of the October 22 session with the Minister of Education which was adjourned to be reconvened. The agenda points are the present Education Policy followed by the present Youth and Sports Policy. This meeting was requested by the United Peoples (UP) party faction.

    The next meeting is a plenary public session scheduled for Wednesday afternoon November 21 at 2:00pm in the General Assembly Chamber.

    The plenary session first agenda point is incoming documents followed by the second agenda point, changes to the national ordinance regarding the Voluntary Corps; third agenda point are changes to the national ordinance due to the introduction of a new Identification Card and Driver's License.

    On Thursday November 22 at 2:00pm the central committee will meet with the Minister of Finance Hon. Roland Tuitt, who will inform Members of Parliament (MPs) with respect to the current financial state of affairs of the country. This meeting was requested by the Minister of Finance.

    The second plenary session for the week is scheduled for Friday morning November 23 at 10:00am in the General Assembly Chamber.

    The two agenda points are the composition of permanent and extra ordinary committees of parliament and of Parlatino.

    The parliamentary sessions will be carried live on St. Maarten Cable TV Channel 120, via Pearl Radio FM 98.1, the audio via the Internet www.pearlfmradio.com, and also via www.sxmparliament.org.

  • Semsamar Employee and Urbanism Worker to Return to Court on December 20, 2012.

    Marigot:-- Jose Carti, a Collectivity employee who has been working for years in the service Urbanism was supposed to appear before the criminal courts at the Palais de Justice St. Martin on Thursday but somehow the court failed to adequately notify Carti, therefore his case will now be tried on December 20th, 2012. The panel of judges had a huge file on Carti before them but they simply did not divulge any information on the case except to say that Carti's case could not be heard on Thursday because he was not notified.
    Yanick Beaud, a former employee of the state department DDE and now employee of Semsamar was charged on three counts of mixing private and personal matters while executing his job. Beaud was arrested about a month ago where he spent 48 hours in garde à vue when the judicial control was conducted. On Thursday his lawyer asked that Beaud be allowed to return to work but the panel of judges concluded after a short discussion that it would not be in the interest on the investigation for Beaud to return to his job. The investigation is ongoing and Beaud's case will also be heard on December 20th, 2012. The wrong doings the court claims were committed in December 2009, December 2010, and May 1, 2011.

  • Bush Fire Victim Identified through Fingerprints --- Foul Play Suspected, Criminal Investigation Started --- Mos.

    gastongumbs15112012Philipsburg:--- The body that was found in the Hope Estate Bush fire Saturday evening has been identified on Thursday. Chief Prosecutor Hans Mos confirmed that the victim is Gaston Gumbs from French Quarter who was reported missing the same day. Relatives of Gumbs reported him missing but when his name was mentioned on this website as the possible victim his daughter called and said her father was missing but he is not dead. Mos said even though the body was severely burnt the identification was done through fingerprinting and the pathologist who conducted the autopsy indicated that foul play is involved in the death and burning of Gumbs' body. Mos said the police are now conducting a criminal investigation (homicide) and he is certain that the killer or killers of Gaston Gumbs will be caught and brought to justice.

    Body found in Hope Estate identified.

    On Thursday November 15th, 2012, an autopsy was done on the body found during a bush fire at night in Hope Estate on Saturday November 10th. The body was positively identified as that of a man by the name of Gaston Ambroise Gumbs, born on the French Side of the island, 50 years of age. The results of the autopsy indicates that there is foul play. No further details in connection with this investigation will be released at this time. The police department is asking anyone who may have information that could shed some light on this investigation to come in and give this information.

    KPSM Police Report

  • Court of First Instance Convicts all Seven Vesuvius Suspects --- Jones and Richardson sentenced to Life. (UPDATED)

    Belair:--- The seven suspects that stood trial in the "Vesuvius investigation" two weeks ago for the several murders, gun possession, and other illegal activities were sentenced by the Court of First Instance on Thursday. The sentencing was handed down at the make-shift court house at the Belair Community Center by Judge Rick Smid.

    The prosecution asked that Andrew Davis be sentenced to nine years imprisonment for his involvement in the crimes committed but the judge sentenced him to six years. Akron Morgan was sentenced to eight years even though the prosecution asked that he be sentenced to 11 years. Charles Fleming got five years despite the prosecution's request that he be sentenced to eight years. Erno Labega Jr. was sentenced to six years even though the prosecution demanded ten years. Doniel Thomas received seven years instead of nine years that was requested by the prosecution team led by prosecutor Bart den Hartigh.

    The two main suspects Omar Jones and Carlos Richardson whom the prosecution believes are the ones that spearheaded the gang and the criminal activities which took the lives of Miguel Arrindell, Rodulfo Arrindell, Kevin Gumbs, Eric Lake, and Anthony Whyte along with the attempted murder of a St. Kitts national were sentenced to life time imprisonment as demanded by the prosecution. The attorneys representing the seven Vesuvius suspects already indicated that they will appeal the decision rendered.

    Chief Prosecutor Hans Mos said in a statement to SMN News that the conviction of all seven suspects in the Vesuvius investigation shows that the police on St. Maarten are able to solve all murder cases. He said these cases may take some time to solve but people should not lose faith in the judicial system, instead they should cooperate with the police and that would bring similar results to what they obtained on Thursday. "I am convinced that the police will solve all the other murder cases that are not yet solved and when they do those responsible will be sent behind bars."

  • Melanie Choisy to Represent St. Maarten at the UNESCO Caribbean Youth Forum on Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage.

    melaniechoisy14112012The UNESCO Caribbean Youth Forum on Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage will be held November 20-24 in Grenada. The objectives of the forum are to:

    • build knowledge of youth on the Convention's concepts and mechanisms and their role in safeguarding intangible cultural heritage;
    • foster dialogue among youth on strategies to strengthen the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage;
    • orient youth toward activities and collaboration geared at safeguarding their intangible cultural heritage, and building mutual respect for the heritage of others.

    The five-day forum which will be structured around a number of sessions will be attended by approximately 25 participants from youth groups/organizations from about 16 different Caribbean Small Island and Developing States (SIDS) and Least Developed Countries (LDCs). At the conclusion of the session, participants will draft a brief report on their experience during the Forum, which will be submitted to the 7th session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.

    Melanie Choisy who is a 22-year-old recent graduate of the University of Miami where she received double Bachelor of Arts degrees in Latin American & Caribbean Studies and International Development with a minor in Spanish, was selected from among the applicants who applied to represent St. Maarten at this youth forum.

    Majoring in these subjects has allowed Melanie to be very knowledgeable of numerous cultures, languages, and institutions, especially those particular to the Latin American and Caribbean region. During her last two years in Miami, she interned for Diaspora Vibe Cultural Arts Incubator, a local Miami 501(c)(3) organization that offers support and exhibition opportunities for Emerging Artists of the Latin American and Caribbean Diaspora.

    In late March of this year, Melanie traveled to Kingston, Jamaica with Diaspora Vibe and fourteen American and UK-based artists to host its 15th International Cultural Exchange at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts. Two months later in May, Melanie was presented with the rare opportunity to travel to Cuba from the United States for the 2012 edition of the Havana Arts Biennial.

    Since her return to her homeland of St. Maarten, Melanie has decided to channel her energies towards improving our island's social structure by encouraging volunteerism and the importance of philanthropy by way of a newly established local non-profit foundation called Be The Change.

  • PJL Conducts Successful Staff Retreat 2012.

    pjlstaffretreat14112012Friday, November 2 - Monday, November 5, 2012 the staff of the Philipsburg Jubilee Library (PJL) took part in their second annual Staff Retreat at Divi Little Bay Resort. The central theme of this year's staff retreat was "Work Uncomplicated: Un-complicating the Complicated".
    PJL's staff retreat was declared open by the President of the Board, Chantal Schaminee-Ringeling. The first work session started early Friday morning with a presentation by the keynote speaker, Counseling Psychologist and Certified Crisis Management Specialist, Aisheline Maduro of JCI Services. She spoke about discovering how to harness the power of personality, work successfully with anyone paying attention to basic personality differences, and combine different personalities to maintain a vital and harmonious workplace. Saskia Kliphuis, Representative of Cooperating Foundations, lectured on "Project Proposals" and how to formulate logical, successful projects. The evening session ended with a social gathering at "Toucan's Restaurant" of Divi Little Bay Resort with poems by PJL's Activity Manager, Morenika Arrindell and a skit by Circulation Clerk Morena Ignacio called "Mamselle" about a fictitious character, who is unruly, unapologetic and a hilariously funny worker at PJL. The staff were also given a sneak peak of the coming uniforms, modeled by staff members, which will go into effect in the coming month.
    Local banker, Jimmy Challenger continued Saturdays morning's session with a lecture on "Budget Proposals" and elaborated on how to plan and manage a realistic budget and attain personal or business financial goals. Psychologist, Maduro continued the day's sessions with team building activities on the beach, which reinforced and gave a hands-on practical approach to her previous lecture on Friday. Zumba Instructor, Patricia "Patty" Pantophlet ended the day with vigorous dancing exercises to the delight of the staff members.
    The final day began with a morning boat ride to Anguilla for a session at Paradise Cove Resort with Director of PJL, Monique Alberts, who spoke on "PJL in a Changing Society" and gave an overview of the achievements and activities for the past year and set projected goals for the New Year. Alberts also expressed gratitude to the staff members and trainers by awarding certificates for completing a successful staff retreat 2012. Special thanks was extended to PJL staffer, Lucille Kolf and Shirley Richardson and their executing team, who were responsible for organizing another successful staff retreat. The day's activities continued with a guided tour of the Anguilla Public Library at the "Edison L Hughes Education & Library Complex", an island tour, visits to museums and Arts and Craft Shops.
    The annual staff retreat is an initiative of the PJL management and board in efforts to promote staff development and morale so that the institution can properly serve the community of St. Maarten.

  • Sports Tourism Public Meeting Scheduled for Nov 19th, 2012.

    A Public Panel Speaker Meeting has been scheduled for Nov 19th at John Larmonie Hall at 7:50 PM. The event has been coordinated by the St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce and the St. Maarten Sports Tourism Commission Board (SSTC). A Florida Group of Guest Speakers has been invited to the event by the Tallahassee St. Maarten Foundation Exec Director Arthur Lugisse and Sports Tourism Consultant Reggie Plaisir. The guest speaker is Mr. Charlie Hendricks of Southeast Fields Construction an industry expert on Sports Facilities Planning and Construction. Mr Hendricks will do a presentation on Sports Facilities on behalf of the Sports Commission. The SSTC has a panel of speakers to discuss Sports Tourism Development with the business community, government stakeholders and sports leaders on St Maarten.

    The Guest Panel Speakers are:(Moderator) Mr. Arthur Lugisse-Exec Dir TLH-SXM Foundation & Government Liason, Mr. Arturo Bute President - Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Gus Priest Exec Dir St Maarten Tourism Bureau, (Presentor) Mr. Charlie Hendricks- CEO Southeast Fields Construction, Mr. Juan Pablo Piscione-SSTC Board Member- Trisports -Event Rights Holder, Mr. Mike Mcleod Head Baseball Coach TCC, Mr. Aarwighct Bell- President St Maarten Sports Federation, & Mr. Reggie Plaisir -SSTC President -Sports Tourism Consultant.

    The SSTC has invited media outlets to cover the event. The Ministry of Sports and Ministry of Tourism is also invited to the Sports Commission Public Meeting. All Tourism based stakeholders are encourage to attend the meeting. Many opportunities will be available for entrepreneurs in the tourism sector. The SSTC invites the Indian Merchants, Jewish Merchants, PJIA, Harbor Group of Companies, SHTA, St Maarten/St Martin Tourism Development Teams, Event Planners, Entertainment Promoters, Printing companies, Cable TV Producers, Tour Bus Operators, Car Rentals, Taxi Associations, Restaurant Owners, Small Hotel Owners, Upkeep Foundation Management, Sports Federation Clubs and anyone interested in the Sport Tourism Development niche market. Sports Tourism is a niche tourism product under development to be launched early 2013 under a Service Level Agreement with the Ministry of Tourism. The operating budget of SSTC would be derived from public and private sector joint venture funding concept. The St Maarten Sports Tourism Commmission is structured to operate during the offseason months. From May to November with the specific goal of revenue generation for the economy hosting sports events bi-monthly on St Maarten.

    Any questions or concerns contact: Sports Tourism Consultant Reggie Plaisir 522-2828.

  • Everything set for Community Empowerment Game OASIS Information Meeting in Dutch Quarter on Thursday.

    curacaooasisgame14112012Dutch Quarter:--- The community is reminded about the information session that is set for Thursday, November 15 at the Dutch Quarter Community Center from 7:30pm until 9:30pm. This is a unique opportunity for the Dutch Quarter community as well as Non-Governmental Organizations to learn about the Oasis Game.
    The Oasis game originates from the favelas in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Earlier this year, Oasis games were organized on Curacao and Bonaire.

    To realize this Oasis Game, energetic and inspiring volunteers are invited to the information session. Community members from Dutch Quarter who want to work for their own community are also invited to the meeting. Volunteers from other communities, who would like to learn how to prepare and organize an Oasis game for their own community, are more than welcome. Help your community, learn and have a lot of fun! Join the group of facilitators.

    An Oasis game is filled with games, dance and surprising activities. During two weekends (24-25 November, and 1-2 December), Dutch Quarter will be the vibrating scene of an Oasis game. An Oasis game is an event for community members to make their dreams come true. By realizing their dreams, they also raise their capacity to help themselves in a better way and to connect them with their fellow community members.

    During the first weekend, community members are encouraged to express their dreams for their community. The second weekend, the community members start working together to realize one of their dreams. The Oasis game will conclude with a celebration party.

    The European Development Fund is funding this initiative through USONA.

    For more information or for registration to participate as a volunteer facilitator, contact:
    Mr. Bernard Serrant (580 3027), local Oasis team coordinator
    or Mr. Ron Oei (+5999 510 5335, e-mail: gtroei@gmail.com), EU project team member.

  • CEO of Harbour Holding Companies Confirms that Daily Herald Reporter Works for Company’s Commercial Department --- Just Recently made handbook for the Harbour.

    markmingo14112012Philipsburg:--- The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Harbour Holding Company Mark Mingo confirmed to SMN News on Wednesday that the reporter of the Daily Herald Alita Singh does work for the commercial department of the Harbour Holding Company. Mingo who spoke to SMN News casually on Wednesday in his office said he has nothing to hide because the reporter in question does work for the harbor and when he was asked by the Minister of Tourism and shareholder representative Romeo Pantophlet during a meeting he did tell the Minister that Singh is on the payroll of the St. Maarten Harbour Holding Company. Mark Mingo who was reluctant to go on the record prior to meeting with the Minister of Tourism Affairs which was scheduled for Wednesday afternoon said Singh just recently produced a handbook for the harbor, while she writes and edits all articles including their advertisements and condolence messages for the Harbour. Mingo said he was somewhat shocked when he saw that SMN News managed to obtain the figure Singh receives for services. He said Singh does not have a fixed salary at the harbor, he said some months its more and some months it's less, her salary depends on the amount of work she does for the government owned company. SMN News previously reported that Singh is earning $6000.00 per month at the harbour some days ago, according to Mingo, some months it is that amount and some months it is less.

    When he was asked how many years Singh has been working for the Harbour Holding Company, Mingo said he could not remember the exact amount of years she has been working for the Harbour Holding Company but promised to release the information to SMN News later.

    Mingo said that Singh does not have a contract with the harbour because she does not have a company ,he said the harbour does work with other people such as Roddy Heyliger but recently most of the work is done by Singh because he is satisfied with her work. "It is easier to work with people who don't have a company, and for me I know Singh personally since she approached me several times for articles relating to the Habour. I also have to be discreet when it comes to releasing figures."

    When asked if he did not realize that Singh is a permanent employee of the Daily Herald on St. Maarten and she is the one that has the harbour portfolios and that in itself creates a conflict of interest because the reporter in question can no longer remain objective in her writings neither is she loyal to her employers who have signed for her work and residency permits. Mingo said he does not think that he is responsible for the work Singh produces for The Daily Herald because it is the newspaper's responsibility to ensure they have workers that are working in their interest. "For me I do not have to check on how the Daily Herald runs its operations." When SMN News reminded Mingo that as an employer he should know that the company she is working for has to have solid proof to dismiss or even discipline an employee. In this case the harbour did not give this reporter a contract therefore there is no black and white trace.

    SMN News also reported that Alita Singh has been writing press releases for the United Peoples Party leader and UP Members of Parliament. The press releases which were sent via email in a Microsoft document which was attached to emails showed that Singh is the author of about 25 press releases from the UP Party. Leader of the United Peoples Party Theodore Heyliger told SMN News on Tuesday that no one writes his press releases and in fact he normally sends his messages to Roddy Heyliger for mailing out to the various media houses. Heyliger said when he saw the proof SMN News posted on its website he immediately contacted Roddy Heyliger for an explanation and he was told that Singh had sent some type of template file to Roddy Heyliger and apparently Roddy Heyliger saved the template on his computer and that is how Singh's name shows up as the author of the articles issued by the United Peoples Party. SMN News had three IT technicians one of whom is working for Microsoft in the United States verify if the Microsoft document was written through a template file and we were told that the 'template story that the UP leader is giving is bogus and holds no ground since the documents sent to them for verification were written from a computer that is registered to "Alita" and they are simple Microsoft documents." In a follow up email SMN News sent to the UP leader on Wednesday to inform him of our findings regarding the "template" explanation, Heyliger said Singh does not write for him and he has shown that he is capable of speaking and writing for himself. When he was asked if Alita Singh writes on behalf of the UP Party, Heyliger said he suggests that SMN News talk to the Members of Parliament directly. SMN News also pointed out to Heyliger that we are in possession of several press releases that were written by MP Gracita Arrindell and the writing style of this particular MP has changed dramatically.

  • POSTAL SERVICES ST. MAARTEN NV (PSS) LAUNCHES CHRISTMAS PARCEL SPECIAL TO THE NETHERLANDS.

    As promised PSS will be affording the students studying in the Netherlands a warm nice Christmas from home, through allowing family and friends the opportunity to send Christmas goodies to the Netherlands, the opportunity to do so from the 15 November up to 18 December 2012. Persons are allowed to send packages to the Netherlands weighing per package no more than 30 kilograms. Each package can be up dropped off, and there is no limit to the amount of packages a person can send their love one or friend in the Netherlands. PSS asks one and all to come and make use of this special and allow our love ones a St. Maarten style Christmas. Packages can be dropped off at either of our two Post office branches, with the main branch in Philipsburg or Simpson Bay (across from Banco di Caribe). PSS, the only local post office, is here to serve and look forward to making this one a greater success.

    All packages brought to the Post Office will be held and shipped out on the following two dates, the first being on the Tuesday, 11 December and the second on Friday 21 December 2012. Those who would like to have their love ones receive their packages before Christmas; need to bring their package(s) in no later than Thursday 6 December to the Post Office. The last day to bring packages to the Post Office will be 18 December, which will ship out on the 21 December 2012. When dropping off your package(s) please ask for the Christmas Parcel Special.

    Mr. Richardson and his PSS team is hoping with this Christmas special to afford families, friends, and anyone here the opportunity of sending their children and loved ones abroad a well-deserved Christmas package at a very low affordable price during the ongoing economic hard times. The PSS team hereby wishes all season greetings and a brighter 2013.
    The rates to ship out a package starts as low as ANG 89, for the first ten (10) Kilograms and goes up to a maximum of ANG 190 for a package weighing thirty (30) kilograms. For more information please contact your local post office at Tel. 542-2289 ext. 100 or 545 3782 or by e-mail: info@pssnv.com.

    PSS and team are here to serve and is working on improving our services offered, while offering you our valued customers and parents a very competitive and low charge product to the Netherlands!

    PSS Press Release

  • Dr. Ian Robertson Lectures tonight at Library.

    ianrobertson14112012MARIGOT/GREAT BAY:--- Creole language expert Dr. Ian Robertson is the guest speaker on Thursday evening at the language and history lecture, at Philipsburg Jubilee Library, said Shujah Reiph, president of Conscious Lyrics Foundation (CLF).
    The lecture, which begins at 7:30 pm, is entitled "Linguistics and History: Associates or strange bedfellows," said Reiph.
    Dr. Robertson is an author and professor at the University of the West Indies, and a former Dean of its Faculty of Humanities and Education.
    Dr. Robertson has been researching Dutch and French Lexicon Creoles for the past thirty years. "Berbice Dutch Creole, the only uncontroversial Dutch related Creole, is dying today with only one last speaker of the language still alive," said Dr. Robertson.
    The Berbice Dutch Creole was spoken in the forest of Berbice, Guyana, according to results of a 2009 study by the professor.
    The lecture on Thursday is organized by CLF and House of Nehesi Publishers, in collaboration with Philipsburg Jubilee Library.

  • Marlin Reacts to Statements made by UP Leader Regarding the Signing off of Deeds.

    williammarlin14112012Philipsburg:--- Deputy Prime Minister William Marlin who is also the Minister of VROMI admitted that he stopped signing off on the deeds of long lease land that were issued to several persons by the former Minister of VROMI Theo Heyliger. Marlin made the statements on Wednesday during the Council of Ministers' weekly press briefing. The Minister of VROMI said that the leader of the United Peoples Party and former VROMI Minister attacked him on a particular program and he felt it necessary to respond. Marlin explained that he was called by a notary to sign off on a deed and he went and signed the document and even congratulated the person who was given 2000 square meters of land in St. Peters. Marlin said that a few days later he was contacted by the siblings of the late Godfrey Richardson. Marlin said the land that Heyliger gave to another person had been occupied by the late father of Member of Parliament Hyacinth Richardson for a number of years and that family has been using the land for agricultural purposes.

    The VROMI Minister said that the 2000 square meters of land that was taken from the Richardson family is even fenced in and it was given to someone that worked for the former Minister of VROMI and leader of the UP. He said after that someone else got another 2000 square meters from the same property and he refused to sign off the deed simply because the Richardson's has been using and occupying the land for a number of years now and they too had submitted a request for the land and it was never granted to them. In another incident, Marlin said one Lee Halley from Simpson Bay requested from government years ago for water rights in Simpson Bay where he operates his boating business, but government never handled his request instead they granted the water rights to someone else who is not even from St. Maarten. Marlin said Halley is a local St. Maartener who then had to go to the person government gave the water rights to and leased it from them so he could continue his business operations.

    The Deputy Prime Minister said that in 1999 when he took office he tried to regulate the matter by making a deal with the person who the government at that time gave the water rights to and the parties agreed because his intention was to have the person give Halley the part he is using and government would have compensated him with more space on the other side. Marlin said while he gave instructions for the resolution and deed to be drafted up it was never done because government changed shortly after. He said when he returned to office in 2009 Halley approached him again to see if he could get the owners of the water rights to make good on the agreement they had in 1999 but that person handed over his properties to his son and the son is now saying that he knows nothing about the agreement and they want Halley off their property. Marlin said he is still trying to find a compromise with the property owners because soon there will be land available when the ring road is completed.

    Marlin said while he refused to sign off on the barrage of deeds the former VROMI issued one week before he left office, he has solid reasons for his decisions. Marlin said the former Minister also signed off additional water rights to the same family while Lee Halley still did not get any for his business. He said he did not sign off on it and just recently government got a letter from a lawyer giving them a certain period of time to sign off on the deed or they will take government to court. He said so far he has not responded to the letter and neither to sign off on the deed. He said one of the things that he is worried about is what is right, or what is legal. He said he is troubled that a local St. Maartener cannot get something from government to continue his business.

     

    Tunnel Vision living its own life.

    The Minister of VROMI also refuted some of the comments that are being made on the streets and within the community about his vision of the tunnels that he wants to construct to alleviate traffic from Cole Bay after the construction of the causeway.

    Marlin told reporters that while these are his thoughts and a possible solution for the traffic congestion that will be created in the Cole Bay area, so far no decision has been taken and the studies for the tunnels are being done. He said tunnels are nothing new and several places around the world have tunnels, it is time St. Maarten elevates itself with technology.

    Dutch Quarter Road to be Paved --- Homes will be connected to main sewage.

    The VROMI Minister announced that he signed off on an advice to upgrade the A.T. Illidge road, Dutch Quarter Main road. Marlin said several weeks ago they decided to repair the road but now he signed off on the advertisement for contractors to bid on the project to upgrade the A.T. Illidge Road, Dutch Quarter road. During this major upgrade Marlin said drainage will be installed and homes in the area will have the possibility of hooking up on the main sewage line of government. He said the upgrade will include asphalting of the main road and sidewalks will also be built.
    {saudioplayer}wmarlinonvromiportfolio14112012.mp3{/saudioplayer}

  • Minister of Transportation Affairs will Issue More Taxi and Bus Licenses before placing of Moratorium.

    romeopantophlet24092012Philipsburg:--- Minister of Economic Affairs, Tourism, and Transportation Romeo Pantophlet told reporters on Wednesday during the Council of Ministers' weekly press briefing that he will be issuing a number of bus and taxi licenses in the near future to St. Maarteners who are in need of these permits to make a living. Minister Pantophlet said that he intends to issue about 30 bus licenses and 70 taxi licenses. The Minister of transportation explained that there were people who applied for years for these licenses and they were never granted while there were others who wanted to file a request but only recently did so. Minister Pantophlet explained that when these licenses are issued he will place a moratorium on the issuance of bus and taxi licenses. He said the advice is already is on his desk and he will soon sign off on it as long as those requests that are being processed are issued.

    Pantophlet said that during the past weeks he made several visits abroad and was busy working with several airlines such as COPA to increase the airlifts to St. Maarten. He explained that so far there is a positive outlook for the increase and definitely there would be need for more buses and taxis to transport people from one place to the next.

    Minister Pantophlet said that he is quite sure that with the strides his Ministry is making in tourism St. Maarten will hit the two million mark next year.

    The Minister also confirmed that he received a letter on Tuesday from the Dutch St. Maarten Taxi Association (DSTA) who requested a meeting him. The Minister said an article published in one of the daily newspapers stated that he had already received the letter but that was pure maliciousness because on Tuesday a board member of the DSTA presented him with a copy of the letter that they did not send to him through the regular legal system. Minister Pantophlet said that he will meet with the DSTA in the near future.
    {saudioplayer}rpantophletontaxiandbuslicenses14112012.mp3{/saudioplayer}

  • Permanent committee for Kingdom Affairs and Inter parliamentary Relations to meet on Friday.

    PHILIPSBURG:--- The Permanent Committee of Parliament for Kingdom Affairs and Inter-parliamentary Relations will meet in public session on November 16.

    The meeting is scheduled for Friday morning at 10:00am in the General Assembly Chamber of the House of Parliament at Wilhelmina Straat #1 in Philipsburg.

    Members of Parliament will discuss a decision and advice of the Council of the European Union (EU) with respect to the Association of Countries and Territories with the EU.

    Members of the public are always welcome to be present in the General Assembly Chamber during public meetings to follow the parliamentary session scheduled for that particular day.

    The House of Parliament is located across from the Court House.

    The permanent committee session will be carried live on St. Maarten Cable TV Channel 120, via Pearl Radio FM 98.1, the audio via the Internet www.pearlfmradio.com, and also via www.sxmparliament.org.

  • Epileptic Patient Badly Burnt after Receiving Treatment at SMMC.

    walterwalters14112012Philipsburg:--- The Minister of Health Cornelius de Weever referred a man who identified himself as Walter Walters (Wally) to the Inspectorate of Health on Wednesday when the man showed up at the government administration building to see the Minister of Health concerning severe injuries he sustained at the St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC). Walters told SMN News that he is an epileptic patient and he was taken to SMMC last week Tuesday when he fell ill. Walters said this is not the first time he is treated at SMMC but this time after receiving drips and other medication his body (mostly his neck) has sever third degree burns. Walters' eyes were also burnt and swollen. Currently the Inspectorate of Health is investigating the case.

  • Severe conflict of interest within the board of directors of the SMMC hampers improvement in quality of care; Inspectorate imposes new demand against SMMC, under penalty of forfeiture of fines in case of non-compliance.

    The continued failure by SMMC to not adhere to the legal demands by the Inspectorate to take actions that will remedy the current deficiencies in rendering a basic quality of care within the hospital has regretfully resulted in a decision by the Inspectorate to impose another demand against SMMC, under the penalty of forfeiture of significant fines in case of non-compliance within set deadlines. SMMC must now also procure that within a period of 14 days and thus on or before November 28th, 2012, either the service agreement with AnG Consulting N.V. is terminated or (alternatively) Dr. G.A. Scot resigns as a member of the Board of Directors of SMMC.
    SMMC maintains its position that the Inspectorate is not authorized to supervise the governance process in the SMMC. Articles 15, 16, 17 and 30 of the National Ordinance on Health Care Institutions however stipulate clear regulations for governance, management and quality monitoring in these institutions. Articles 23, 24 and 30 of the same Ordinance also state that the Inspectorate is the body authorized to enforce those regulations.
    Unlike in the old days when the Supervisory Board only supervised the financial status of the hospital, nowadays the Supervisory Boards are also responsible for the internal supervision of the quality of care provided by hospitals. It is the Supervisory Board's responsibility to act when the Board of Directors dysfunctions, in providing quality care. In the rest of the world, e.g. in Holland it is quite common nowadays for external supervisory bodies, like the Inspectorates of Health to audit a hospital on health governance matters. Since 2010 the Dutch Association of Hospitals has developed a governance code for all its members to explain this new policy. SMMC however refuses to subject itself to this external supervision on governance matters by the Inspectorate. While the hospital is still under intensified supervision, the Inspectorate discovered the existence of a contract signed on September 17th, 2008, between AnG Consulting N.V. and SMMC, for supplying services to the hospital i.c. the daily board of directors / CEO for the hospital during the next 5 years.
    AnG Consulting N.V. is established at the home address of Dr. G. Scot who appears to also be one of the owners of AnG Consulting N.V. and in any case the CEO of this company. The contract was signed by Dr. G. Scot on behalf of AnG consulting N.V. with SMMC as the other contracting party, represented by the chairman of the Supervisory Board of SMMC at that time. Meanwhile, the Director of the Chamber of Commerce on St. Maarten has declared that the service provider AnG Consulting N.V. is not registered in the Registry with the Chamber of Commerce on St. Maarten. Research of the Inspectorate in Curacao, Aruba, the BES Islands and even in the Netherlands shows furthermore that AnG Consulting N.V. is also not registered in any of these other countries. The Department of Tourism, Economy, Transportation and Telecommunication on St. Maarten moreover confirmed to the Inspectorate that no business-license was issued to a company with the corporate name AnG Consulting N.V.
    Dr. G.A. Scot is not only the CEO of AnG Consulting N.V., but for all intent and purposes appears to also have a financial stake in this company, that is registered at his home address on St. Maarten and seems to have been incorporated by his wife, Mrs. A. Scot. Effective April 25th, 2008, Dr. G.A. Scot has also been appointed as the only member of the Board of Directors of SMMC and functions as the director of SMMC. Dr. G.A. Scot in reality thus holds two (2) different positions related to SMMC. On the one hand he is the Director of SMMC and on the other hand he is the CEO of the "independent" service provider AnG Consulting N.V., a company wherein again he appears to also have a financial interest.
    Article 15 paragraphs 3 of the National Ordinance on Health Care Institutions clearly states that it is prohibited for a.o. members of the Board of Directors of a hospital, to have a stake in any other company that does business with the hospital. The reason behind this law is to prevent abuse in hospitals by persons holding key positions and/or who have decisive power. The quality of care can be seriously hampered if such abuse could materialize within hospitals, as a consequence of conflict of interests. Dr. G.A. Scot is wearing two different hats, one as the director of SMMC and the other one as the CEO or representative of the "independent" service provider AnG Consulting N.V. This is clearly a violation of the Law. This conflict of interest enables abuse by a person/company who is holding a key position within SMMC, with decisive powers. Consequently, financial interests can potentially prevail over conditions to enforce a responsible quality of care.
    The Inspectorate establishes that the service agreement between SMMC and ANG Consulting N.V., managed by dr. G.A. Scot:

    1. allows ANG Consulting N.V. (read Dr. G.A. Scot) to also render services to SMMC from abroad;
    2. does not regulate how many hours ANG Consulting N.V.(read Dr. G.A. Scot) must render services to earn a fixed monthly fee;
    3. does not, at least not directly, contain any performance standards and/or norms;
    4. stipulates that the performance of ANG Consulting N.V. will be evaluated by SMMC and thus in principle by the Director of SMMC, namely Dr. G.A. Scot. The service agreement itself does in any case not contain any provision to deal with this obvious conflict of interest;
    5. grants ANG Consulting N.V. the right to a yearly bonus and in case of premature termination a fixed termination compensation, if ANG Consulting N.V. receives a positive evaluation for its performance. Under the terms of the service agreement this evaluation can be performed by -the Director of- SMMC;

    Article 5 paragraph 5 of the bylaws of SMMC state that the Board of Directors of SMMC is comprised of one (1) or maximum two (2) natural persons. The "founding fathers" of SMMC clearly intended for only natural persons of flesh and blood and not companies, to be able to manage SMMC. The Inspectorate understands that the reason for this limitation is to at all times ensure clarity and transparency pertaining to the person who actually manages SMMC, the only hospital on St. Maarten. Ang Consulting N.V. can therefore as a company never substitute the natural person who must render the managerial services as per the bylaws of SMMC.
    The investigation conducted by the Inspectorate however shows that AnG Consulting N.V. is in essence functioning as the director/manager of SMMC. This constitutes yet another potential violation of the bylaws of SMMC.
    Several requests from the Inspectorate to get clarification on these matters from the Board of Directors have been rejected on behalf of Dr. G.A. Scot by the attorney of SMMC. Dr. G.A. Scot has also regretfully refused to attend a meeting called by the Inspectorate to give reason and account, stating simply again that he does not acknowledge any authority of the Inspectorate to exercise external supervision on what he calls Governance Matters.
    gscotabsenteeism201114112012Contrary to what SMMC wants to stubbornly believe, the Inspectorate is bound to ensure that the St. Maarten citizens can enjoy proper basic medical services by SMMC, as per internationally accepted standards. Exercising supervision on also the "governance" of SMMC is not only legally codified in the Law, it is the only way to ensure good quality of care for the St. Maarten citizens, who do not have the powers vested unto the Inspectorate, and are as such not able to act against for example the established conflict of interest and other violations by SMMC of its own bylaws. Where the health care professionals on Sint Maarten haven't defined norms a/o standards, the Inspectorate moreover has the authority, not to say the legal obligation, to apply internationally accepted minimum medical standards, in consultation with the field. These internationally accepted norms and/or minimum standards have been applied by the Inspectorate to SMMC. An example hereof is how many professionals must work in the ER Department of SMMC to continuously (24/7) provide efficient and good quality of care, considering the approximately 60.000 citizens residing on St. Maarten.
    The Inspectorate has observed that the one and only member of the board of directors, namely Dr. G.A. Scot, is approximately 50-60 % of the time off island on a monthly basis, for the past 2 years and maybe even longer. The data given is from the stay of Dr. G.A. Scot in the Netherlands alone. The Inspectorate has no data of the directors stay elsewhere, e.g. in the USA. The chart hereunder outlines this absenteeism.
    Meanwhile very important matters that determine quality of care and patient safety such as: (i) a necessary quality management system in the hospital, (ii) performance and production by the medical specialists, (iii) medical treatment protocols, (iv) conducting period meetings with the Medical Staff and (v) preventive maintenance, haven't gotten the attention they require over the past years.
    gscotabsenteeism201214112012The continued lack of proper governance for the past years has led to deficiencies in critical areas, impacting the services provided by the SMMC.
    The tremendous understaffing amongst medical specialists for the past years is causing an enormous strain on the performance of those specialists, nurses and other staff members who do their utmost to provide care that complies with internationally accepted standards. Given the conditions under which they have to work they try to prevent that suboptimal care is given.
    A enthusiastic majority of the nursing staff has done a good job in keeping the wards and other department's operational, applying proper nursing standards.
    The actual presence in SMMC and commitment of these persons stands out in dire contracts to the structural 50-60% on average absenteeism of the one and only member of the Board of Directors, Dr. G.A. Scot.
    It is high time for SMMC to instead of continuously fight against the Supervision exercised by the Inspectorate and to that extent having already initiated 4 court cases (2 main and 2 injunction cases) and having its attorneys write countless letters, devote its scarce resources and energy to ensuring that demands of the Inspectorate, the body exercising supervision on behalf of the St. Maarten citizens, to enable good basic quality of medical care are properly and timely met. The sooner SMMC can understand that it is (i) subject to the external supervision by the Inspectorate and (ii) must abide to the imposed demands to improve the level of care, the sooner the quality of care on St. Maarten can be brought to what the St. Maarten citizens can and should within reason expect.
    The Inspectorate in closing continues striving to ensure that an adequate level of medical care is rendered to the St. Maarten Community.

    Press Release from Inspectorate of Health

  • SXM Trails Walkathon set for November 25th, 2012.

    sxmtrailshikers13112012Great Bay/Marigot:--- The second annual SXM Trails walkathon is scheduled for Sunday, November 25, and will begin 5:30 am, according to Manuel Juste president of the club.
    The St. Martin hiking group has been on a fundraising campaign to raise funds to help maintain and enhance the various hiking sites on the island.
    The route for the walk will begin at the Festival Village, Pondfill road, Prince Bernard Bridge, Bush Road, Grand Marché round-a-bout, Cole Bay Hill Road, Cole Bay roundabout, Union Road, until Caribbean Auto Sales where participants will engage in short mountain hike to Bellevue, and exiting under the big tamarind tree next to the entrance of the Fleming's property about 200M from the finish line at the Home N Tool parking lot where refreshments and breakfast will be served.
    SXM Trails is a non-governmental organization that has been on the forefront of coastal beach clean-ups with St. Maarten Pride Foundation, cleaning the trails passing through the hills of St. Martin/St. Maarten. "We are committed to keeping the existing trails open and accessible to all," said Manuel.

    Tickets are €10/12 Dollars and include a t-shirt and breakfast. Tickets can be purchased from members of SXM Trails and from the following businesses :
    Blue Point Gas Station in Galisbay, General Tire Center in St. James, Change Caraibes in Bellevue, and Tri-Sport Rue de Hollande Marigot (former Velo Caraibes ) for the French side as well as tri-Sport in Simpson Bay and Napa Auto Parts in Cole Bay.

    Walkers will have the opportunity to win prizes through a raffle at the end of the walk. For more information and tickets call 0690678392 or email sxmtrails971@gmail.com .

  • Vesuvius Suspect Bitten 14 times by Police Dog --- Tear Gas Used --- Riot broke out with other prisoners --- Mos.

    Philipsburg:--- Relatives of Andrew Davis, a Vesuvius suspect that was held at the Simpson Bay Outpost, told SMN News in an exclusive interview that Davis was beaten and bitten at least 14 times by a police dog on Saturday afternoon when the Zero Tolerance Team showed up at the Simpson Bay Outpost to remove him from the location.

    The two relatives who asked to remain anonymous said one of them received a phone call on Saturday afternoon from a prisoner informing them that a set of police were at the Simpson Bay Outpost to take Davis to an unknown location. According to the relatives, Davis told them later by phone that the police did not tell him where they were taking him and the only thing they told him is that they are moving him for his own safety. The women said that Davis refused to cooperate with the request of the police because he is in possession of a letter from the prosecutor's office which states that he is to be kept at the Simpson Bay Outpost until after the trial. The relatives said in February 2011 Davis was taken to the Netherlands while the investigation was ongoing and he was brought back to St. Maarten in August 2012. "When the police took Davis to the Netherlands they also told him it was for his own safety."

    They said that Davis is the suspect that police dressed in an RST uniform and took to Omar Jones' house when they were conducting the search and Davis is one of the suspects who cooperated with the police throughout the investigation. "We believe that the police and prosecution are angry because Davis told the judge that the RST investigators dressed him up in an RST uniform and took him to search Omar Jones' house (another Vesuvius suspect's home)."

    The relatives said that the police allowed Davis to call his attorney Cor Merx but the suspect could not reach Merx and that was one of the reasons he made contact with them so that they could find Merx and inform him of the situation. The relatives said several other prisoners told them that after a long discussion Davis decided to cooperate with the police but the police officers who were on the scene opened tear gas on him and began beating him. "Can you imagine when he was already on the ground that is when the police began kicking him and they let the dog on him, the police dog bit Davis on his leg at least 14 times. He was badly beaten and treated worse than an animal. We want to know why the police chose to remove Davis from the location just a few days before the judge renders his verdict." The Court of First Instance is supposed to render its verdict on November 15th, 2012. The relatives said Davis was seen by a doctor and he is now being kept at the Philipsburg Police Station after his lawyer Cor Merx intervened. The relatives said that Saturday was the second time the police tried to remove Davis from the Simpson Bay Police Outpost and holding center.

    SMN News learnt that the orders to remove Davis from Simpson Bay Police Outpost came from the prison director Edward Rohan and the Prosecutor's office. The source said that in the beginning Davis was cooperating with the police but then he changed his mind and even threatened to kill the police officers because the other prisoners in the Simpson Bay lockups will help him to take out some lawmen. "Davis called the police himself and told them to come for him and when they come people will be killed."

    Chief Prosecutor Hans Mos admitted that Davis was bitten a number of times by the police dog and he was indeed beaten by police because Davis resisted heavily when the police went to remove him from Simpson Bay on Saturday afternoon. Mos said that he was not aware that tear gas was used, but he is aware of the incident because the police already submitted their report to his office. Mos further explained that a large number of prisoners joined Davis causing a huge mess and they destroyed the Simpson Bay police outpost severely. Mos further indicated that if Davis had cooperated with the police he would not have been injured to the extent he is injured now and the Simpson Bay police outpost would not have been damaged to the extent it is. The island's Chief Prosecutor said that this is the second time in recent months prisoners that are held at the Simpson Bay police outpost and holding center chose to damage the facility.

  • SMMC Specialist plans to Quit by May 2013 --- Radiologist Terminated After One Week at SMMC.

    smmc23082012Philipsburg:--- Dr. Theo Jollis has informed the St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) and the Inspectorate of Health that he will be leaving SMMC as early as May 2013. SMN News learnt that Jollis is tired of the unprofessional way the current Managing Director of the SMMC, Dr. George Scot is managing the hospital and he has requested on numerous occasions that the St. Maarten Medical Center find him a permanent assistant. It should be noted that Dr. Theo Jollis is the only internal specialist at SMMC and he is also the one heading the dialysis center at SMMC. Dr. Jollis has been working at the SMMC since 1981. SMN News also learnt that several other doctors have threatened to leave the SMMC because of the deplorable state of the medical institution.

    According to well placed sources, the Medical Director of SMMC has not yet responded to Dr. Jollis' letter which he delivered to the institution last week.

    SMN News further learnt that the Inspectorate of Health is currently conducting an investigation to determine why the replacement radiologist at the institution left after working at SMMC for one week. SMN News was reliably informed that the in-house radiologist is currently on sick leave and a replacement was brought in and he was allegedly fired after one week of service by the Managing Director of SMMC, Dr. George Scot. Sources at the SMMC say that SMMC has already submitted a request at the Department of Health to obtain a permission from country St. Maarten to bring in another temporary radiologist.

  • Gas and Diesel Prices Decrease on November 15, 2012.

    gasanddieselpricesdecrease13112012

  • Minister of Tourism Romeo Pantophlet presents FCCA Cheques to Essay Winners.

    romeopantophletpresentsfccachequestocompetitionwinners13112012Philipsburg:--- Fleur Hendrickx, student of the Caribbean International Academy (CIA) won herself $3000.00 for her participation in the Florida Caribbean Cruise International Junior Essay Competition. Fleur Hendrickx was the overall winner in the annual competition. The CIA also was given $3000.00 for the school. Minister Pantophlet in his brief remarks said his Ministry and St. Maarten is proud of Fleur's achievements. Hendrickx and the Vice Principal of the School Michelle Minthorn picked up the cheques on Tuesday at the office of the Minister of Tourism and Economic Affairs, Romeo Pantophlet.

    Ricardo Arnell, student of the Milton Peters College VWO5 also received a cheque from the FCCA as the island's overall winner in the annual poster competition. Arnell was selected as the island's finalists in the competition.

    Minister Pantophlet handed over the cheque of $200.00 to Arnell. The Minister said he collected the cheques while in Curacao attending the FCCA annual conference.

  • UP Leader Theo Heyliger distributes Pencil Cases to Primary School Students --- 6000 cases per year given to students.

    theyligerdistributespencilcases13112012Philipsburg:--- Leader of the United People's Party Theodore Heyliger and his former executive assistant Maurice Lake distributed purple pencil cases to the students of various primary schools on the island on Tuesday. Heyliger told reporters that every year he distributes some 6000 pencil cases to students attending primary schools on the Dutch side of the island. The UP leader said that he started this project some seven years ago after several students contacted him to either buy them a pen or book. The former Deputy Prime Minister said it takes up to four months to get the pencil cases on St. Maarten and this year the pencil cases are purple in color with the slogan "Never Give Up".

    The pencil case distribution started at the St. Dominic Primary School, the former Hillside Primary School, and Prins Willem Alexander School. The project will continue on Wednesday, said Heyliger.

    Click here to view more photos of the pencil case distribution by UP leader Theo Heyliger.

  • Conscious Lyrics Celebrates 20th Anniversary.

    clf20thanniversary13112012Great Bay/Marigot:--- Friends, well-wishers, and fans of Conscious Lyrics gathered at the SOS Radio studio last Saturday to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the radio magazine with host/producer Shujah Reiph.
    Reiph answered questions posed to him by his guests and the manager of SOS Radio "Billy D" Hamlet – from how the program started, its objectives, to lessons learned since the program started in 1992.
    In-studio guests that were invited or just dropped by included poet/author Lasana M. Sekou, educator and former minister of education and culture Dr. Rhoda Arrindell, political scientist Joseph Lake, Jr., author Taymer Masson, and author and host of Culture Time radio program Fabian Badejo.
    "I'm thankful to all of the radio stations that I worked with over the last 20 years, Radio St. Maarten, Radio Soualiga, and SOS Radio," said Shujah Reiph.
    The first broadcast of the radio magazine was on July 12, 1992, and the program "has been very consistent and punctual. Hosting the program is a labor of love," said Reiph.
    Over the years Conscious Lyrics, as a foundation, has also been involved with organizing lectures, writing newspaper columns, and revealing and promoting historical and cultural realities of St Martin and the Caribbean.
    Conscious Lyrics has featured artists, authors, historians, and cultural activists from St Martin and throughout the Caribbean, Canada, the USA, South America, Africa, Europe, and Asia.

  • Interactors preside over Rotaract Sunrise General Meeting.

    interactchairsrotaractmeeting12112012Philipsburg:--- In recognition of Interact week celebrated in November, the Interact Clubs of St. Maarten Academy and St. Dominic High School chaired the Rotaract Club of St. Maarten Sunrise general meeting on Saturday 10th, 2012 at the University of St. Martin. Among the Presidents of the two Interact Clubs also present were many Rotaract members and prospective members, Interact members, Interact Club of St. Dominic Advisor Jon Hart and Rotary Sunrise President Marcelia Henry.

  • Oil Leak at GEBE’s Power Plant on Friday.

    Cay Bay:--- On Friday, November 9, 2012 at approximately 12:11 pm, there was an oil leak at the GEBE Power Plant in Cay Hill. The cause of the leak was waste oil, which normally goes to the waste oil treatment installation at the plant. However, a small amount of oil ran over the drainage pit and leaked into Cay Bay.

    GEBE personnel took immediate action to remedy the situation. The oil damage was limited to outgoing currents of the sea going into the Caribbean sea; the coast line was not affected.

    GEBE has taken measures to assure that a similar leak does not happen again. GEBE is aware of the importance of our island environment and apologizes for this incident.

  • Rotaract Sunrise extends gratitude to Supermarkets.

    rotaractsunrisehamatcostyouless12112012Philipsburg:--- The Rotaract Club of St. Maarten Sunrise held a very vigorous food and clothing drive during the Hurricane season for 2012 from July-November. The Club last H.A.M event was held on Saturday 10th November 2012 and it was a success. For the past months, Rotaract Sunrise Hurricane Awareness Mission attracted many customers at the various supermarkets as the members campaigned hard to make sure that the island was well stocked with non perishable items and clothing incase a Hurricane or natural disaster strike the island. Rotaract's Hurricane Awareness Mission is a project whereby the club members collect non-perishable items and clothing from customers shopping at the supermarket. The items collected are then given to the local Red Cross in the event of a hurricane or natural disaster. If there are no natural disasters, The Red Cross distributes the items to persons in the community that are in need.

    All H.A.M events would not have been possible if the various Supermarkets did not allow the members of the Rotaract Club to set up a station outside their business. The Rotaract Club of St. Maarten Sunrise would like to take this opportunity to publicly extend sincere gratitude to the management and staff of Cost U Less, Sunny Foods Supermarket and Le Grande Marche for granting the club permission to carry out this important drive. The members of the Rotaract Club would also like to extend its appreciation and gratitude towards members of the community that made contributions to the H.A.M events.

    The Hurricane Awareness Mission does not stop here; any day we can be affected by a natural disaster, therefore, we have to continue preparing our island with the necessary items that we will need to survive. Donations of clothing or non perishable items can be given to the Red Cross throughout the year. The Rotaract Club will be commencing its annual H.A.M events on July 6th 2013. For more information about the club you can visit our facebook page:"RotaractSunrise St Maarten" or send an email to rotaractclubsunrise@hotmail.com.

  • WIMA Expresses Concerns About Medical Tourism Hospital to be Built in Simpson Bay.

    Philipsburg:--- The Windward Islands Medical Association (WIMA) dispatched a letter to the Minister of Health Dr. Cornelius de Weever expressing their concerns about having a Medical Tourism Hospital built on St. Maarten. The WIMA in their letter dated November 7th, 2012 said that after many verbal and media announcements about the plans of setting up an American Medical Tourism Clinic on St. Maarten they were given a detailed picture of the plans by Dr. Hess on Thursday October 18th, 2012. President of the WIMA, Dr. Dekkette said in his letter that while there are several positive arguments for the Medical Tourism Clinic, the WIMA doctors still have some serious concerns.

    Local and regional patients can be referred to medical specialists and have diagnostic tests done we currently do not have on the island of SXM would be of great benefit to the local patients and potentially save money in travel expenses.

    On the other hand, the medical specialists coming to St Maarten are coming from the USA. This means that they do also bring their 'defensive' medicine of litigation- prone- USA with them, which leads to over-diagnostics and potentially to enormous health care costs. This is in sharp contrast with the European conservative approach and therefore much more economic health care practices. Even without the litigation pressure while working in St Maarten, it is not to be expected that these US medical specialists will suddenly change their habits after working for decades in the very expensive US system.

    Dr. Hess stated that the planned American clinic will not only cater exclusively to American Medical tourists but that they also plan to deliver emergency medical care! St Maarten has about a total of 3 million visiting tourists by air and by sea on a yearly basis. Some of these 3 million will seek some kind of medical attention thereby forming a substantial part of income for the SMMC and GP practices. Also other private patients and AUC students will consider going to the new clinic as well. Opening a second emergency department St. Maarten for these patient groups will result in direct and serious competition for the local health care providers and this is in violation to the promises made by Dr. Hess et al. that the basis should on NON-COMPETITIVE GROUNDS!. The WIMA will only agree with the construction of such a clinic on the condition that only elective patients go to their elective outpatient appointments and undergo elective surgeries unless local patients should be referred by the local medical specialists at SMMC.

    WIMA said to keep the costs manageable they also believe that the SMMC should not be by-passed when referring patients to the new clinic. Local specialists and not the family doctors should decide for the necessity of such referrals. In doing so, the SMMC will not have a negative effect of a competitive situation. Also it keeps the door open for locals to be trained as medical specialist abroad and have the opportunity to come back to St Maarten and serve the local population. This way continuity of care is better secured while safeguarding the future of our SMMC.

    WIMA said in their letter that they understand that a lot of the American specialists will rotate their duties between the USA and St. Maarten, thereby not delivering on a very important aspect of good quality health care: continuity of care. To illustrate potential problems of this issue: If a newly diagnosed epileptic has to be stabilized on anti-epileptic medications, it does not help if there is another Neurologist attending to him/her every time he/she goes to the new out- patients clinic. Other example: if you get complications from some kind of surgery, it is desirable that the surgeon who operated on the patient is still on the island and available.

    To have a good basis of medical specialists at SMMC is of utmost importance for SXM with or without such a new medical facility.

    The situation of hiring local nursing staff should be avoided as there is a shortage already at local health care facilities. Competition for medical staff is undesirable.

    WIMA said they were told during the presentation by Dr. Hess that they will attend to the local population charging SZV rates. But if the SMMC will go down financially, because of the competition with the American Clinic, they suddenly have a monopoly. You know what companies do when they have a monopoly.

    In conclusion: opening such an American medical tourism facility could be of benefit for the population of St. Maarten but should be done under strict conditions and with transparent written agreements, safeguarding the position of SMMC, the GP Practices and ultimately the population of St. Maarten.

    SMN News learnt that Dr. Hess already replied to WIMA where he addressed their concerns, However, the chairman of WIMA Dr. Dekkette could not be reached on Monday as he is currently off island. SMN News also understands that while the letter was sent to the Minister of Health Labour and Social Welfare Cornelius de Weever, he is yet to send an official response to the WIMA on their concerns.

    Click here to view the letter sent by WIMA to Minister de Weever.

  • Joseph H. Lake, Jr. receives press freedom award on St. Martin Day 2012 --- Nine persons honored by Collectivity of St. Martin.

    josephlakejrreceivespressfreedomaward12112012FRENCH QUARTER:--- Senior media man and political scientist, Joseph H. Lake, Jr., was honored here during the St. Martin Day ceremonies on November 11, said Jacqueline Sample, president of House of Nehesi Publishers (HNP).

    Lake, Jr., received the 'St. Martin Culture and Heritage Award' for his 'Outstanding Dedication to Mass Media Development, Press Freedom and Significant Contribution to Political Thought,' according to the award text.

    "HNP would like to extend its heartfelt congratulations to Joseph H. Lake, Jr.," said Sample. "Junior has been a strong and tireless advocate for advancing media independence. He has been deeply involved with the St. Martin media as a redoubtable journalist, editor, publisher, and political commentator for 39 years," said Sample.

    Lake is the author of two books published by HNP, Friendly Anger - The Rise of the Labor Movement in St. Martin and The Republic of St. Martin. His essay "Slavery and Independence" appeared in The Independence Papers – Readings on a New Political Status for St. Maarten/St. Martin, Vol. 1.

    Nine people received St. Martin Day awards from the Collectivity of St. Martin (COM), for their dedication and service specifically to their village or to the island nation as a whole, said Minerva Dormory, head of the COM Department of Culture.

    "We are happy for all of the awardees," said Sample. Chester York and Clara Reyes, both previously profiled in HNP publications, also received a St. Martin Culture and Heritage Award on November 11 – for their respective roles in developing pan music and dance in St. Martin, said Sample.

    York is the subject of the junior scholastic booklet, Chester York - Making of A Panman, and Reyes is featured as one of the nation's top 20 artists in St. Martin Massive! A Snapshot of Popular Artists.

    The St. Martin Culture and Heritage Award honorees included Evelyne Fleming, choreographer/teacher, Josette Plaisant, teacher, and Cindy Choisy, painter. The French Quarter recipients of the St. Martin Day community awards were Georgina Rohan, Mildred Carty, and Laurent Flanders, said Dormoy.

    "The Department of Culture is very thankful for the confidence shown by Commissioner Rollande Questel and President Alain Richardson in the part played by the department and all of the people and departments that made the awards presentation and the whole St. Martin Day program a success," said Dormoy.

    "As far as our culture and heritage go, what we do on St. Martin Day is also what the people of St. Martin inspire us to do," said Dormoy.

  • Cupe Coy Murder Suspects will not Make it to Court before January --- Motive so far indicates Robbery.

    cupecoymurdersuspects12112012Philipsburg:--- The three suspects that were arrested in September 2012 for the brutal murders of Michael and Thelma King will be taken before the court for trial sometime in January 2013 confirmed Chief Prosecutor Hans Mos on Monday.
    Mos said court sessions for this year close on December 12th and the file on the investigation is somewhat big, it is quite unlikely that the prosecution will finish the dossier before that date. The island's Chief Prosecutor also indicated that the police investigated all scenarios surrounding the case and they have concluded that the three suspects in custody are the only ones responsible for the murder of the Kings. Mos said so far police believe that the motive for the killing which took place before September 21st (when the bodies were found) was robbery. When asked by SMN News if the Kings were killed the day the bodies were found or if there are indications based on the preliminary autopsy report that the Kings were murdered before, Mos said that the Kings were killed before September 21st. The island's Chief Prosecutor did not give a timeline in which the murders took place but sources close to the investigation say that the Kings were slaughtered on September 19th, 2012, the same night the Happy Star Chinese Restaurant was robbed.

    According to Chief Prosecutor Hans Mos, one of the suspects (Meyshane Kemar Johnson) confessed to being involved in the murder of the Kings while the other two suspects admitted to being at the scene of the crime when the brutal murders took place. Mos did not divulge much details on the ongoing investigation as he said he is not the one handling the investigation.

    On September 23rd, 2012, police arrested Jamaican national Meyshane Kemar Johnson after they shot at a vehicle Johnson was driving which was used in the armed robbery at the Happy Star Chinese Restaurant on September 19th 2012. On Friday September 21st, 2012, the bodies of Micheal and Thelma King were found in their Cupe Coy condominium with several stab wounds, both victims were tied up when they were attacked and killed. According to information provided to SMN News, police found in the car that was used by Johnson a cellphone belonging to the Kings and their credit cards, thus leading them to Johnson when the two American investors bodies were found.

    Shortly after, police arrested Johnson's first cousin Jeremiah Chevon Mills (17) as the second suspect in the armed robbery and double homicide. Mills was born on St. Maarten to a Jamaican national who is now a naturalized Dutch citizen. The third suspect Guyanese national Jamal Jefferson Woolford (20) was arrested by the FBI in St. Thomas two weeks after the killing. Woolford fled from St. Maarten when news broke in the media that Johnson had confessed to being involved in the brutal murder of the Kings. Mills and Woolford were close friends that lived in the Cape Bay area and they both attended the St. Maarten Academy (PSVE). Mills was expelled from the school when he beat another student with baseball bat, he was also convicted for the armed robbery of the Global Wealth Trade Store located in the Yogesh Building while Woolford was an employee of Eagle Tours which is located at the Bobby's Marina.

    Mos said on Monday that the prosecution already got indication from one of the attorney's representing one of the three suspects that (he/she) would not be on the island when the case is taken to court for the first time. Therefore, the case will be postponed when it is taken to court in January 2013.

  • Blue walk and bike-a-thon planned in observance of World Diabetes Day.

    GREAT BAY (DCOMM):--- To commemorate World Diabetes Day (WDD) 2012, a number of activities has been organized including a planned blue walk and bike-a-thon for Saturday, November 17.

    The Minister of Public Health and his overall prevention program 'Get Checked' along with the Collective Prevention Services (CPS) in the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, is working in collaboration with the Diabetes Foundation and Rotary Club St. Martin Sunrise, are working together to organize various activities to create awareness surrounding diabetes.

    WDD will be observed around the world on Wednesday, 14 November.

    Residents and interested persons are asked to come and join the organizers for the Walk and Bike-a-thon that will kick-off from the Le Grand Marche Supermarket on the Bush Road at 6:00am under the banner, 'Walk for Health.'

    The Diabetes Foundation of St. Maarten has tickets on sale for US$10 which includes a T-shirt, a healthy sandwich and orange/bush tea.

    The walking route is: A.J.C. Brouwers road, Welgelegen road, over Link One, Front Street, past RBC Bank, left onto J. Yrausquin Blvd., Pondfill road to the stop lights, turn right onto A.Th. Illidge road, at the round-a-bout turn left onto Zaegersgut road towards Bush road, and back to Le Grande Marche Supermarket.

    The bike-a-thon route is: Le Grand Marche Supermarket Bush Road starting 6:00pm, Prince Bernhard Bridge, Longwall road, Front Street right on Pompsteeg (by Sea Palace), Boardwalk (rest for water and fruits), Kaneelsteeg, Emmaplein, Suckergarden, Arch road, A.T. Illidge road, Coralita road, L.B. Scott road, ending at Le Grand Marche Supermarket Bush road.

    The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that more than 346 million people worldwide have diabetes. This number is likely to more than double by 2030 without intervention. Almost 80 per cent of diabetes deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.

    The walk and bike-a-thon are efforts towards a healthier and more sustainable country for all.

  • Body Found in Bush Fire Yet to be Identified --- French Quarter Resident Reported Missing.

    Philipsburg:--- The body that was found on Saturday night by firefighters in Hope Estate is yet to be identified, confirmed Chief Prosecutor Hans Mos. Mos said he cannot say at this time if there will be any type of criminal investigation into the death of the unidentified male and the bush fire. The island's Chief Prosecutor said that the body that was found is badly burnt and he cannot say how the person died while the pathologist that has to examine the body and conduct an autopsy is not on St. Maarten.

    Mos further explained that by the end of this week police would have more information on the horrific discovery by the firemen who were busy putting out the late night fire in the vicinity of the Marie Genevieve de Weever School.

    On Sunday Police Spokesman Ricardo Henson said a report was filed with the police about a missing person but he could not say if the body that was found is the man that is reported missing.

    According to well placed sources, a young man who is well known in the French Quarter community has been reported missing. A female relative of the missing man told SMN News yesterday that their relative is missing but he is not the one that was found dead in the fire in Hope Estate.

  • French and Dutch Side Sign Declaration of Intent on the Renewal of Dutch Driver's Licenses for French Residents --- Holders of Dutch Licenses have six months to Exchange their Dutch License for a French License.

    arichardsonandswescotwilliamssigndeclarationofintent11112012Belle Plaine:--- The President of the Collectivity of St. Martin Alain Richardson and Prime Minister of St. Maarten Sarah Wescot Williams signed the official declaration of intent on the renewal of the Dutch driver's licenses for residents of the French side of the island. The renewal of the Dutch licenses will last until March 31st, 2013 while holders of the licenses have six months in which they must request that their Dutch license be exchanged for a French driver's license.

    The declaration of intent is considered a matter of cooperation between the two sides of the island. Currently, there are more that 2000 persons that are being affected since the Dutch side amended its traffic ordinance which states that in order for someone to renew their driver's license they must be registered at the Census Office and they also need to provide proof of residence on the island.

    On several occasions those affected held manifestations and called on elected officials to intervene and find a long term solution to the problem. Based on the resolution of November 15th, 2007 No 1078 of the Island Territory of St. Maarten expresses willingness of the government to establish an exemption for the category for French residents as outlined in the resolution.

  • PUBLIC NOTICE: JFE Annual Fundraising Gala Dinner on November 24, 2012.

    The Journey for Education Foundation will be having its annual gala dinner:

    Date: Saturday November 24th, 2012
    Venue: Sonesta Great Bay Hotel
    Time: 7.00pm to 11.00pm
    Contribution: U$ 100.00

    Tickets are available from the following JFE members:
    Rolando Tobias at the Windward Islands Bank Ltd.
    Paula Fleming at RBC Bank Simpsonbay
    Margarette Williams at RBC Emmaplein, Philipsburg
    Valerie Brazier at Government Administration Building
    Rosie Richardson at 5555545

  • Governor Eugene Holiday's St. Maarten Day Address.

    Good Afternoon,

    Happy Saint Martin/Sint Maarten Day to you.
    It is good to be here with you and I am as always honored to address the people of Saint Martin/Sint Maarten. Today's theme: "One People, Respecting The Past Investing In The Future" holds within it a call to action. A call to secure our future in honor of the work of our forefathers. A call in the face of a challenging world amidst major climate change and financial economic woes.
    In concluding his sermon on the mountain Jesus said:
    "Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock". (Mathews, 7:24-25)
    Called to action our forefathers took up the challenge and build us a solid house which we can be proud of today. As a people we are blessed to live in and share this island, our house, our home, build by the individual and collective actions of our grandparents and parents. A house build on the rock of the enduring principles of self-respect, self-reliance, responsibility, kindness, and hard work. Today you and I are the beneficiaries of the hard work of past generations.
    As residents sharing this house, residing be it in French quarter or Dutch Quarter, Philipsburg or Marigot, Grand Case or Simpson Bay, French Cul-de-Sac or Cul-de-Sac, it is our obligation to past generations and our responsibility to future generations to invest in preserving and perfecting our St. Martin, our home against the threats we face.
    On this St. Martin's day let us therefore, like our forefathers, renew and direct our commitment to the cause of securing our island, our home, against the rains and winds which we face today and which we will face tomorrow.
    Let us renew our commitment by investing in the strengthening of the foundation of our house, Saint Martin/Sint Maarten. Let us do so by investing to transform our island in a center of excellence. Let us do so by investing in excellence in education. By investing in excellence in health care. By investing in critical infrastructure. And by investing in the promotion of the enduring principles self-respect, self-reliance, responsibility, kindness, and hard work.
    Investments necessary to facilitate the further socio economic growth and development of our people and at the same time prepare our island for the challenges of the future.
    As Dutch and French citizens, we can choose to make these investment separately or we can choose where possible to carry out these investment together as one people, as St. Martiners. A survey of our history, of the history of our people learns that the people of our island have always lived as one people. It is thus my hope that ongoing initiatives to foster greater governmental cooperation will catch up with the oneness of the people of Sint Maarten. For as the world around us become more complex and the magnitude of the challenges we face increase, I am convinced that joint investments and coordination of policies and programs is the only effective way forward.
    I therefore conclude with the conviction that we, like the wise man in Jesus Sermon, will take up the call of the theme of this St Martin day, as one people respecting the past investing in the future; and in doing so identify the actions necessary to preserve and perfect our house, our island against rising waters and strong winds, when and how ever they come.
    It is with this belief in the wisdom of our people that I hereby, on behalf of my wife Marie-Louise and I, wish the people of Sint Maarten/Saint Martin a most happy and safe St. Martin's Day.

    Thank you and God Bless you.

  • Minister of Culture Silveria Jacobs' St. Maarten Day Address 2012.

    silveriajacobs02102012GREAT BAY (DCOMM):--- St. Maarten Day Address

    Minister of Education, Culture, Youth Sports Silveria Jacobs.

    What is the meaning of St. Maarten Day? What does it symbolize for us as St. Maarteners?

    St. Maarten Day is a very personal day for many St. Maarteners including me because apart from any other day in the year, it symbolizes the socio- cultural unification of a strong and resilient people.

    The obelisk–shaped monument at the frontier in Cole Bay is the symbol of unity that has been reminding us for the past 64 years of our cultural unity. The gale does not stop at the border nor does our culture.

    St. Maarten Day is the one day in the year when the people consciously tend not to emphasize the official political division, rather the socio – cultural unification is amplified and reverberated from Pic Paradis to Century Hill, to Fort William Hill to Naked Boy Hill and Rice Hill.

    The monument at the frontier, as simple as it may look makes a very clear statement not in French, Dutch or English, but in a subtle symbolic way that stands erect and in a proud upright position that exuberates the friendly and warm hospitality of the native St. Maarten people.

    I am reminded of the keynote address given on the second Anniversary of the Southern side on October 10, 2012 after becoming a country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands by Pastor Young at the Saint Simon and Jude Anglican church entitled:

    "Remove not the Ancient Landmarks"

    The importance of landmarks should not be underestimated. I respect, honor and esteem the invaluable values and wisdom our ancestors have left behind which we so proudly called our heritage. This property that we are standing on this morning is very symbolic for many reasons. One aspect of this plantation I would like to highlight with your permission is the intense labor that went into the construction of the slave walls.

    I am quoting from an article written by the head of the Department of Culture Mr. Neville York five years ago about this same subject. The slave walls that you see around the outskirts of this plantation "is symbolic to the interlocking of the humblest of man to the most sophisticated man is a small knitted community of St. Maarten. Despite being ravished by many hurricanes and earthquakes for centuries, today the slave walls are still rooted in the soil from which they sprung and speak volumes in their indivisible solitude. They conceal symbolic mysteries of a people, proclaiming triumph and victory in the face of adversity."

    Obscure to the naked eye are the individual rocks in the center and behind the slave walls. They remind us of the intricate nature of the cultural fabric of current day St. Maarten. To the casual observer it may not be clear who and how everything is related to each other, but like the rocks, the St. Maarten Culture exists! It lives! It needs to be understood and it must be brought to the forefront of national development.

    The rocks can become unraveled, and when they do, the walls weaken. They may work at cross-purposes and, as result, the walls may become fragile. The small knitted community of St. Maarten (French Quarter) can also be unraveled, especially when segments within the community work at cross–purposes. This must be avoided by all means. Like the closely webbed rocks, the St. Maarten community must foster and encourage close civic interaction between the communities.

    The green hill tops, turquoise waters and sandy beaches are part of our natural and cultural heritage. For this reason, these natural assets "Ancient Land Marks" must be guarded like a mother guards and nurtures her child. By protecting the slave walls we are in essence shielding our hills from erosion, our lagoons and ocean from runoff water and maintaining clearly defined land boundaries. Spiritually and physically the slave walls are catalytic in the restoration and preservation of our patrimony".

    Don't dismiss the older person's ideas because you went to College;

    Don't dismiss your grandmother's teachings because she's from a different generation;

    Don't dismiss the idea of jollification;

    Don't dismiss the importance of hard work;

    Don't dismiss the notion of giving, particularly in times when you have the least;

    Don't dismiss the idea of greeting someone when you pass them;

    Don't dismiss the idea of being your brother and sister's keeper; and most of all

    Don't dismiss the idea of fearing and loving God.

    Let this be the beginning of revitalizing our forefather's core cultural values.

    Let us strive to get to the level when you and I can honestly look each other in the eye and say I am your rock, I got your back.

    Happy St. Maarten Day.

  • Journalism is being Compromised by The Daily Herald's Political Reporter --- Affiliated with UP Party and is paid $6000.00 by Harbor Group of Companies.

    Philipsburg:--- It has been years now that the people of St. Maarten have been complaining about a particular reporter who works for The Daily Herald while working for a particular politician and a government owned institution. The reporter in question was seen sporting the UP Party colors when the United Peoples Party signed the political agreement with the National Alliance in 2009 at the Emilio Wilson Park and she was also very active in the launching of the UP political party prior to the September 2010 elections and ever since then she has been writing for the candidates and those that were elected on the UP list.

    The Daily Herald's political writer Alita Singh has been writing all press releases that were issued during the past months. SMN News will prove to our readers that the island's main newspaper has lost its objectivity while other media houses on St. Maarten are being used by this particular reporter to gain mileage for the UP party. SMN News learnt that Alita Singh even worked on the manifesto of the UP Party. Some political pundits have said that what Singh is doing is not illegal but certainly it is not ethical and it is clear that the articles written by her that are published by The Daily Herald are not objective. An activist on St. Maarten said to SMN News that corruption on St. Maarten is so widespread that what Singh is doing right now might seem normal but there is a huge conflict of interest since she is the one that holds the political portfolio at the Daily Herald.

    Just recently SMN News learned that Alita Singh is on the payroll of the Harbour Group of Companies and she is earning a whopping $6000.00 per month salary. A source close to the United People Party leader Theo Heyliger told SMN News that Heyliger made the arrangements since 2009 when he was a commissioner for Singh to be paid through the Harbour Group of Companies. The source said that Singh has to write all articles relating to the Harbour Group of Companies for the newspaper she works for while she also writes for various magazines on behalf of the harbor. Alita Singh works as the public relations officer for the Harbor Group of Companies.

    A source within the UP Party said that Singh travels at the expense of the harbor whenever there is a new cruise line coming to St. Maarten while other media houses were being left out on purpose. According to a member of the United Peoples Party, "Singh recently bought several apartments while she also bought the home at which she resides in Pointe Blanche, while there are professional writers who are St. Maarteners and are not able to pay their rent at the end of the month." SMN News learnt that the Minister and shareholder representative Romeo Pantophlet and Member of Parliament Frans Richardson have been trying to get their hands on the contract Singh has with the Harbour Group of Companies but to date it has not surfaced. Member of Parliament Frans Richardson said in an invited comment that the CEO of Harbour Group of Companies confirmed to him that Singh does get paid from the Harbour for each story she writes for them whether it was printed locally or abroad. Richardson said that the CEO told him that he is not aware of any contract between Singh and the Harbour Holding Company, the CEO did not disclose the salary Singh has been receiving from the Harbor Group of Companies.

    Shareholder representative, Minister of Economic Affairs and Transportation Romeo Pantophlet confirmed to SMN News on three occasions the latest being Sunday November 11th, 2012 that Singh is indeed on the Harbour payroll. The Minister said he informed the CEO of the Harbor Group of Companies Mark Mingo that it is not ethical for a reporter to be on a government owned company payroll and this person should be dismissed. SMN News made several phone calls to the Daily Herald on Sunday evening to obtain a comment from the Publisher Paul de Windt and Managing Editor Gordon Snow but they could not be reached by phone.

    Click here to view the press releases written by Daily Herald reporter Alita Singh for the Leader of the UP Party and UP MPs currently in Parliament.

  • Corporate Governance Council Installed by Island Resolution --- No Landsbesluit was issued by Governor after 10/10/10.

    Philipsburg:--- The Council of Ministers comprised of members of the National Alliance, the Democratic Party, and persons appointed by the three Independent Members of Parliament found themselves in a predicament when they learnt that the Corporate Governance Council (CGC) headed by Louis Duzanzon was never legalized through a Landsbesluit. According to information provided to SMN News, on May 11th, 2009 the Island Council of St. Maarten established an Island Resolution no: 930 which established the Corporate Governance Council. Article 4 of that Island Resolution states that the members of the Corporate Governance Council will last for a period of four years, meaning they will be in office until 2013. Information provided to SMN News states that  the new constellation which was established after 10/10/10 did not verify if the Island Resolution that was established in May 2009 was still valid and neither did they issue a Landsbesluit to ensure that the CGC is fully established in accordance with the law.

    SMN News learnt that while the members of the Corporate Governance Council received a letter on December 3rd, 2009 from the former Lt. Governor of St. Maarten Franklyn Richards informing them that they were the selected members for the Council, the Lt. Governor St. Maarten at the time never signed off on the official Landsbesluit that would make the council a legal body on St. Maarten. Former Lt. Governor Franklyn Richards told SMN News on Sunday evening that the island resolution was in place which established the council and therefore there was no need for a Landsbesluit, since he did not have the power to issue Landsbesluits. Richards said that he left office in June 2010 on vacation and his tenure ended on October 10th, 2010 when St. Maarten became a country within the Kingdom.

    In an invited comment, Chairman of the Corporate Governance Council Louis Duzanzon confirmed to SMN News that the members of the Corporate Governance Council received a letter on December 3rd, 2009 informing them of their nomination while on February 4th, 2010 they were called in by the former Executive Council where they were appointed, but to date they have not received any Landsbesluit from the Governor's office indicating that the Corporate Governance Council is a legal body.

    While the Corporate Governance Council has been operating as one of the High Councils of State that has a lifespan of four years, they were never given an office space and monies to operate for the government of St. Maarten. The coalition formed by the United Peoples Party and Democratic Party used their services on several occasions, yet those in office never sought to ensure that the CGC got the finances and material they needed to function optimally. SMN News has been reliably informed that the current government just recently found out that the Corporate Governance Council has no Landsbesluit when they began the process to re-appoint the High Councils of State such as the Council of Advice and the General Audit Chamber. Duzanson told SMN News on Sunday that to date he neither the other members of the council have been paid for the services they rendered to Country St. Maarten.

    The other High Councils of State have to be reappointed since their two year lifespan ended some months ago.

    SMN News contacted the Governor of St. Maarten drs. Holiday to inquire whether or not a Landsbesluit was issued for the Corporate Governance Council, Governor Holiday said he will not comment on any matter to the media.


    Click here to view the letters sent to members of the CGC by the Former Lt. Governor.

  • MPs to receive presentation on Tuesday about Dutch Council of State.

    PHILIPSBURG:--- The Central Committee of Parliament will meet in public session on November 13.

    The meeting is scheduled for Tuesday morning at 10:00am in the General Assembly Chamber of the House of Parliament at Wilhelmina Straat #1 in Philipsburg.

    A presentation will be made to Members of Parliament (MPs) regarding the working relationship between the Council of Advice and Parliament by a delegation of the Council of State of the Netherlands.

    The delegation will comprise of Marten Oosting, Arnoldus Weggeman and Ron van der Veer.

    Members of the public are always welcome to be present in the General Assembly Chamber during public meetings to follow the parliamentary session.

    The House of Parliament is located across from the Court House.

    The central committee session will be carried live on St. Maarten Cable TV Channel 120, via Pearl Radio FM 98.1, the audio via the Internet www.pearlfmradio.com, and also via www.sxmparliament.org.

  • Body of Man Found in Late Night Bush Fire.

    Philipsburg:--- The body of an unidentified man was found by firefighters late Saturday evening while the firemen were busy putting out a bush fire in Hope Estate.

    Police Spokesman Ricardo Henson confirmed on Sunday that firemen found the body when they were almost finished putting out the fire. Henson said the body that was found is a male but he was burnt beyond recognition.

    Henson further explained that someone already contacted the police and indicated that their relative has been missing, but the detectives were unable to follow up to see if the body that was burnt in the bush fire Saturday night is that of the missing person.

    Several calls to Chief Prosecutor Hans Mos went unanswered on Sunday as SMN News was trying to find out if there are indications that a homicide has been committed.

  • St. Martin Day Hosted by the French Side Celebrated in Grand Style --- 11 troupes Participated in the Parade.

    eholidayandpchopinlayingsxmdaywreaths11112012French Quarter:--- The celebration of the 53rd annual St. Maarten/St. Martin's Day took place in grand style on Sunday. The French side of the island was this year's host. The day commenced with an ecumenical service at the Methodist Church in French Quarter followed by a wreath laying ceremony at the French Quarter/Dutch Quarter border. Shortly after the wreath laying ceremony, the police conducted a short march while 11 troupes from both sides of the island participated in the parade for the dignitaries and those that attended the official ceremony.

    The official speeches and luncheon was done at the Chick Chick Pasture in Belle Plaine where a number of tents were set up for the day's activity. The four speakers President Alain Richardson, Prime Minister Sarah Wescot Williams, Governor Eugene Holiday, and Prefet Delegue Philippe Chopin all focused on the selected theme "One People Respecting the Past, Investing in Future".

    Prefet Chopin used quotes from the former Prefet of St. Martin Dominque LaCroix who called on the elected officials to enforce stronger cooperation between the two sides of the island in the interest of the people living on the island. Chopin said having the speeches done on St. Martin's Day is one thing but implementing them is another thing "right now St. Martin/St. Maarten is on the pathway of making cooperation a reality, even though the two sides of the island is governed by different people it is possible to live as one family while respecting each other."

    President of the Collectivity of St. Martin Alain Richardson told the gathering which included dignitaries from Anguilla that since he took office he made every effort to strengthen the cooperation on the two sides of the island. Richardson said the Collectivity is working on obtaining funds from the Interreg to assist with the drainage of rainwater in the Belvedere area while they also worked on the having proper potable water for the residents of Oyster Pond. The President of the Collectivity said that the signing of the declaration of intent to have the Dutch side renew the driver's licenses for those residents living on the French side is a living proof of the work the governments from both sides have been doing through cooperation. He further explained that the Collectivity did its best to become a shareholder of the Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIAE) when they heard of the sale of bonds, but that project did not yield fruition.

    Prime Minister Sarah Wescot Williams in her address said that the people of St. Maarten/St. Martin expect to hear from their people on St. Maarten Day and while many might say that the St. Maarten Day celebration is just about speeches she is of the opinion that it is the duty of the elected officials to preserve and respect the past while investing in the future. The Prime Minister said St. Maarten has made great strides in terms of cooperation between the two sides. Wescot Williams said in the past they did not recognize the importance of having the French State involved in the cooperation that has to take place so that the people of St. Maarten could live in harmony.

    The Governor of St. Maarten Eugene Holiday quoted a verse from the bible that says that every man that hears the word of God and puts them into practice is like a wise man who build his house on a rock and it could withstand any storm. Governor Holiday in his address said the theme chosen for this year's festivities for him is a call for action in this challenging world. He said the forefathers of St. Maarten built a solid house which they are all proud of today. He said St. Maarten is blessed to share their house/home that was built by the island's parents and grandparents.
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    Click here to view more photos of St. Martin/St. Maarten Day Celebration 2012.

  • Divers of the Royal Netherlands Navy add to St Martin’s safety.

    royalnetherlandsnavydiver09112012Simpson Bay:--- At last week Thursday's 'visitors day' at the Coast Guard Substation, Dutch navy divers and experts from St. Martin's emergency services deliberated on disaster relief and the added value of having diving professionals from the Dutch defense forces ready at hand.

    "More than welcome", said Paul Martens, head of the disaster relief section of St. Martin. "These navy divers have special equipment that enable us to create an underwater picture we need after a hurricane strike." Edmond Johnson, manager maritime services responsible for St. Martin's lagoon and inner waters, acknowledges and adds "I am sure we will need these divers in the future. I remember Hurricane Luis and the invisible damage done to St. Martin under water. We definitely could have used these divers then."

    Divers from the Royal Netherlands Forces Dive Group have been on exercise in St Martin since October 29, concentrating on disaster relief. Divers surveyed the Simpsons Bay Lagoon under water and were able to map out the shallow ends using 'acoustical hand camera'. A wreck in the approach to the Lagoon was also thoroughly examined.

    Royal Netherlands Navy Press Release

  • Soualiga Corporate Toastmasters Club holds dynamic table topic workshop.

    toastmastersdynamictabletopicworkshop09112012Philipsburg:--– The Soualiga Corporate Toastmasters Club held a dynamic table topic workshop, on Wednesday November 7th. It was the first of its kind for the club for civil servants. This added a nice addition to the string of"firsts" for the Soualiga club. Since the opening of this club year, the Soualiga Corporate Toastmasters club in an effort to keep the club vibrant, co-organized and hosted the island's first interclub debate, participated in area workshops on evaluation and judging, attended the district conference that was held in Grenada for the first time and held the first club meeting on the beach.
    Toastmasters is the world leader in communication and leadership development. In meetings Toastmasters and guests are encouraged to speak; opportunities for this are presented in the prepared speeches segment, the evaluation segment or in the table topics segment. Table Topics provides the speaker with a chance to practice careful listening, quick preparation of a relevant response, and expressing fluent, clear, and organized thoughts in a limited time. To improve on these skills, Soualiga's specialist in table topics and contest preparation ACB Catherine Connor-Arrindell delivered a presentation on the dynamics of the table topics segment and gave the audience tips on how to improve. To immediately put these tips into practice, there were two table topics contests. The first one was won by Tamara Groeneveldt, with Denise Vijber as first runner up, the second table topic contest was won by Steven Carty and Shawn Crispulo coming in second.
    Soualiga Corporate Toastmasters is on a roll and more exciting and innovative meetings can be expected. If you want to attend a meeting or find out more about Soualiga Corporate Toastmasters, please send an email to vpesoualiga@gmail.com.

  • President of Parliament Rodolphe Samuel's St. Maarten Day Address 2012.

    rodolphesamuel27082012{saudioplayer}rsamuelsxmdayspeech09112012.mp3{/saudioplayer}

  • PJL receives SSF report on St. Maarten Students Studying in The Netherands.

    pjlreceivesssfreportonsxmstudentsinnl09112012Philipsburg: Mr. Perry Geerlings, Policy Advisor of the Minister Plenipotentiary of Country St. Maarten in The Hague offered the report : "Factors of Influence: The Academic Performance of Sint Maarten students in the Netherlands and Repatriation" to the Philipsburg Jubilee library on October 31, 2012.
    Author of the report: Stichting Soualiga Foundation
    Content: Results on a research among St Maarten students studying in the Netherlands about which problems they experience during their study.

  • Nature Foundation Responds to Large Oil Spill in Cay Bay.

    caybayoilspill09112012Cay Bay:--- On Friday the 9th of November 2012 staff of the Nature Foundation St. Maarten responded with their vessel Yellow Tail to reports of a significant oil spill approximately 500 yards from shore of the Cay Bay/ Pelican area. Once on scene the situation was assessed and the environmental impacts of the spill on the marine environment were determined. Initial assessment found that a large quantity of oil was entered into the sea from an unknown source. There was no oil present in the coastal area by Cay Bay and no activity was observed regarding oil entering the water from industrial sources on Cay Bay. During the assessment it was found that the spill stretched for approximately two kilometres in a west south westerly direction, which roughly 800 gallons of oil was leaked. Contact was immediately established with the various island entities informing them of the situation. Contact was initially established with Inspector Carty of Maritime Affairs, the St. Maarten Harbour Master and the Coastguard who responded quickly to the reports. Communication and coordination between the St. Maarten Port Authority, the Nature Foundation and the Coastguard was swift and effective in responding to this spill.

    The Nature Foundation determined that the oil slick covered a significant section of the water column on offshore coral reefs, both of which have a significant ecological and tourism value to the island. Contact was immediately made with all stakeholders informing them of a large amount of oil in the water and swimming in Cay Bay and certain areas of Pelican should also be avoided. Dive Centres had to look for alternate dive sites. Fishermen were also informed that they should avoid fishing along the south-western shore of the island until the oil has been dissipated offshore, as the consumption of petroleum contaminated fish could cause significant health problems.

    During the response to the oil slick three Hawksbill Sea Turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata) were found surfacing in the slick and were covered by oil. Nature Foundation staff were unsuccessful in tracking the animals to remove the contaminants after numerous attempts.

    The Nature Foundation will continue to conduct follow up patrols and dives to determine the impact the spills is having on Marine Flora and Fauna. The prevailing wind and currents should push the oil offshore, however the Nature Foundation will continue to monitor the direction of the slick and notify authorities if coastal areas are under threat.

  • Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams' St. Maarten Day Address 2012.

    sarahwescotwilliams09112012Dear fellow St. Martiners,

    It is again with great pleasure and honor that I take this opportunity to commemorate the day in which we celebrate Our Nation, Our home "Sweet St. Martin Land". Although this year's main activities will occur on St. Martin, or as the older heads used to call it, "The North", we are collectively celebrating one of the most unique and diverse islands in the Caribbean, as we have done officially since 1968.


    It is in this spirit, exemplified by the unity between those who are born here and those who belong here, that today we celebrate our lovely home in the Caribbean Sea.
    This year's events are centered on the theme of "One People Respecting the Past, Investing in the Future". Indeed this is a theme that is and should be at the center of what drives the development of our island. In my role as Prime Minister of St. Maarten, I can affirm that we are taking significant steps in making this theme a reality. We are Respecting the Past by researching and teaching about our history, by investing in our culture and through the protection of our heritage. As we do this we are simultaneously Investing in our Future by educating our children, protecting our resources and developing our infrastructure to ensure that the St. Maarten of the future is one in which all of the needs of our people are met. And we do this increasingly in cooperation and consultation with our brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, cousins and grandchildren living in the North. St. Martin embodies the idea of unity; two halves that make a whole. Two parts that together define the island we lovingly call home.


    Since last year we have a formal relationship in place between Country St. Maarten and the Representative of the French State the Prefet. This was lacking in the past as the French State is responsible for several areas, areas that since our constitutional change are autonomous responsibilities of St. Martin (South). During the months of November and December, follow ups will be given and the Ministerial Committees in charge of continuing and structuring this formal relationship will have to report on
    their progress.

    Notwithstanding these formalities, the relationship between the two sides of our one island continues to be strong. They continue to be strong in the area of culture, in the cooperation between NGOs, and in celebrating our common history and ancestry. Any challenges are discussed frankly between the two sides as it is a shared belief that there is one "St. Martin people". Both governments are committed to do all in their power to maintain the togetherness of the St. Martin people, as we are committed to
    seeking solutions that take into account the differences that exist due to two diverse political systems.
    So on behalf of the People and Government of St. Maarten, I wish you a very Happy St. Martin's Day, a day in which we should all feel blessed, privileged and fortunate to call an island as beautiful, as unique and as magical as St. Martin, our home.

    The Prime Minister of St. Maarten, Hon. Sarah Wescot-Williams

    {saudioplayer}swescotwilliamssxmdayaddress09112012.mp3{/saudioplayer}

  • Ministry of Finance Discussing FACTA Implementation with Banks --- St. Maarten's Rating is a Positive Indication for Businesses.

    rtuitt09112012Philipsburg:--- Minister of Finance Roland Tuitt told reporters on Friday that his Ministry is busy with the banks on St. Maarten to see how they would implement the FACTA Disposal Rules which were supposed to take effect on June 1. Minister Tuitt said just recently the US Department of Treasury issued a press release which states that they are engaged with more than 50 countries around the world to improve the international tax compliance. Tuitt said the FACTA law was approved in 2010 by Congress and it is mainly to target US citizens that do not pay their taxes by using foreign accounts.

    Tuitt further explained that St. Maarten will be working closely with the Netherlands who is currently negotiating with the US treasury regarding the implementation of the FACTA. Tuitt said the US treasury expects to conclude their discussions with the Netherlands by the end of this year.

    In unrelated news, the Finance Minister said that St. Maarten just recently received a positive rating with Moody's. Tuitt said that St. Maarten got a BAA1 rating even though it's the first time country St. Maarten was rated while the Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIAE) also received a very good rating. He said this means that the economy on St. Maarten is considered to be stable.

    Tuitt said having the CFT in place to monitor St. Maarten's finances and its budget process contributed to the positive rating the island received from Moody's. Moody's also assigned an A1 currency rating for St. Maarten; this Tuitt said is the maximum rating any country could receive, while they assigned an A2 foreign currency rating for the island. The Finance Minister said based on the ratings the island received, the island is in the same category as Trinidad and Mexico and higher than Barbados. He said even though this is good for the island the ratings next year should be even better because the government has quite a few projects they are working on while they are also working on improving institutions within the country.
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  • Prison Brawl leaves one Hospitalized --- Vesuvius Suspects Involved --- Suspects refused to file Complaint. (UPDATED)

    Pointe Blanche:--- An argument that led to a fight has left one prisoner hospitalized with major injuries to his face. SMN News has been reliably informed that two of the Vesuvius suspects who are also cousins, Omar Jones and Erno Labega Jr. were involved in the fight. Labega Jr. was stabbed twice, once to his shoulder and once in his neck, while Christopher Carty lost some of his teeth and also suffered a broken jaw. Carty is currently receiving treatment at the St. Maarten Medical Center.

    Chief Prosecutor Hans Mos confirmed on Friday afternoon that there was an argument between the prisoners and one was seriously injured in the face. "The prisoner in question lost some of his teeth and his jaw is also broken in two places, while Labega Jr. was treated at the St. Maarten Medical Center for the stab wounds and taken back to the Pointe Blanche Prison." Mos further explained that Omar Jones was also hit in the face but he did not receive any major injuries therefore he was not transported to the St. Maarten Medical Center for treatment. When asked by SMN News if the police and prosecutor's office is conducting an investigation into the prison brawl, Mos said that all of the suspects even those that witnessed what happened have refused to talk to the police. "At this point it is difficult to do an investigation when no one wants to talk to the police."

    Christopher Carty applied for early release (VE) and it was denied and now he got himself involved in a fight and is seriously injured yet he refused to say exactly what happened and how he got injured.

  • PUBLIC NOTICE: Traffic Diversion for St. Martin/St. Maarten Day.

    The police department is informing the general public, that in connection with the Sint Maarten's day celebration which will take place on Sunday November 11th, 2012 of the following:

    • The main part of this ceremony will take place in French Quarter between the monument at the border and the Methodist Church in French Quarter. The border to French Quarter will be closed from the round-a-bout in Belvedere.
    • All traffic coming from the Dutch side going to French Quarter via Mount William Hill will be diverted through Bishophill, Oysterpond Road and Coralita to get to French Quarter and beyond.
    • The road closure will be from 08:30am until 1:00pm.

    The general public should take good notice of this traffic diversion to avoid any unnecessary inconvenience.

  • Rotaract Sunrise last H.A.M this Saturday.

    rotaryham08112012Philipsburg:--- The Rotaract Club of St. Maarten Sunrise, a community service based organization will be conducting their last Hurricane Awareness Mission at Cost U Less on Saturday November 10th 2012 from 11am-2pm. The members of the Rotaract Club is asking the general public to come on out to Cost U Less on Saturday and donate non-perishable food items to assist our fellow citizens incase a natural disaster strikes.

    Rotaract's Hurricane Awareness Mission is a project whereby the club members collect non-perishable items from customers shopping at the supermarket. The items collected are then given to the local Red Cross in the event of a hurricane or natural disaster. If there are no natural disasters, The Red Cross distributes the items to persons in the community that are in need.

    The members of the Rotaract Club of St. Maarten Sunrise would like to extend its appreciation and gratitude towards members of the community that made and will continue to make contributions to Rotaract's H.A.M project. Other than non perishable food items; persons can also donate clothing at the club's H.A.M event on Saturday. The Rotaract Club of St. Maarten Sunrise encourages the general public to continue supporting the Club with their efforts to maintaining service above self which is the club's motto.

  • The United States and the Caribbean: Seizing the Opportunities Ahead.

    By Roberta S. Jacobson, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs.

    In 2011, St. Kitts and Nevis faced spiraling crime and one of the world's highest per capita homicide rates. Working with U.S. government-sponsored legal advisors, the Kittitian government, police, and prosecutors put in place new policies and practices that led to a double-digit drop in the rate of violent crime, making communities safer. This is one example of the strong U.S. commitment to working hand in hand with the nations of the Caribbean to address shared challenges. I am in Barbados today to focus on our cooperation and to meet with all the U.S. ambassadors who serve in the Caribbean. The United States and the Caribbean enjoy extensive political, economic, cultural, and family ties. We share a commitment to human rights and democratic values, reflected in the free and fair elections in the United States and across the Caribbean. We share as well a commitment to fighting corruption and diversifying our economies to share more widely the benefits of economic growth.
    High-level engagement is essential to our partnership. At each of the past two Summits of the Americas, President Obama met with Caribbean leaders to discuss how to strengthen the vital U.S.-Caribbean friendship. Secretary Clinton has made 10 trips to five Caribbean countries, and other Cabinet-level officials including Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and Attorney General Eric Holder visited the region. U.S. officials from across the government work closely with Caribbean counterparts every day to advance our shared agenda.
    The hallmark of our engagement is the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI), through which we have committed $203 million toward improving citizen security, reducing violence, and combating illicit trafficking. CBSI is creating lasting partnerships through a focused, whole-of-government approach, with shared responsibility. We are seeing results: for instance, illicit drug seizures are at record levels, and homicide rates in several countries are down substantially.
    Our engagement also has a strong economic dimension. Trade and investment remain robust, with Caribbean companies benefiting from U.S. trade preferences to bring jobs and development to the region. With the Inter-American Development Bank and the private sector, we are selecting finalists for the Caribbean Idea Marketplace, enabling Diaspora and host country entrepreneurs to launch new ventures. We are increasing women's economic
    NEWS
    participation through initiatives like the Women's Entrepreneurship Network. We are committed to improving educational opportunities through USAID programs as well as 100,000 Strong in the Americas, President Obama's goal to boost educational exchanges between the United States and Latin America and the Caribbean to 100,000 in each direction. We are especially focused on increasing education and work opportunities for youth. Under CBSI, we established initiatives throughout the region to help at-risk youth, the most recent a $20 million, five-year program that benefits 100,000 young people in the Dominican Republic.
    On energy and the environment, we are improving technical capacity and laying the groundwork for investment under the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas (ECPA) and the Connect 2022 initiative. ECPA has enabled Suriname to use sustainable power generation and to protect its vast ecological wealth. We are strengthening health systems in 14 countries through the President's Emergency Plan for HIV/AIDS Relief. In Guyana, where we have invested $175 million over the past 10 years, the HIV prevalence rate has dropped by more than half.
    These examples illustrate our collaboration with leaders and citizens of the Caribbean in shaping communities, improving livelihoods, and integrating our nations. The United States will continue to partner with the governments, private sector, and civil society of the region to achieve even greater success.

  • Another Shark Illegally Caught on St. Maarten --- Nature Foundation to Launch research and Education Project on the Importance of Sharks.

    deadshark08112012Simpson Bay:--- The Nature Foundation responded to a report of a dead shark which was left in a vegetable bag in Simpson Bay. Staff of the Nature Foundation responded to the alert and upon further investigation was able to issue a report to the authorities as to the level of penalty for the responsible party. The Foundation will follow up on this and all incidents of shark poaching on St. Maarten. In this case the shark was a four foot Caribbean Reef shark, the most important species found in local waters.
    The practice of intentionally fishing for sharks has been forbidden since October 12th 2011, when the Ministry TEATT temporarily banned the practice of intentionally poaching sharks in the territorial waters of St. Maarten. The act of trying to catch by tracking, stalking, baiting, chasing, trapping, hooking, netting, shooting or otherwise hunting - sharks, rays and skates is prohibited and therefore the animals may not be wounded or killed. Violators may be punished with jail and a considerable fine may be issued. If Sharks are accidentally caught all steps should be taken to release the animal with as little harm as possible.
    Sharks have a very high value to the ecology of the island and the island coral reef ecosystem and they also are a major attraction to visiting dive tourists. The majority of divers who visit the island hope to see a shark while diving. The Nature Foundation and local dive operators have also been using sharks as a control method for the present lionfish invasion. Less and less sharks are being seen and populations have been going from approximately twenty individuals to now only two or three being seen in the locations where they are known to frequent.
    Sharks are an apex predator and are essential to the health of local coral reefs. "If we do not have sharks we will lose our coral reef ecosystem. Sharks keep the reefs clean of unhealthy fish which keeps the ecosystem in balance. Also the majority of visiting divers come to see local coral reefs as well as sharks. A system collapse will occur if we lose these species and this very important tourism product will be lost, that is why this step taken by government is a true milestone in Marine Conservation, allowing the shark population to return to numbers needed to sustain a healthy population" commented Nature Foundation Marine Park Manager Tadzio Bervoets.
    The Nature Foundation will also be launching a wide scale shark research project which goes hand in hand with an education campaign educating the public on the importance of sharks. To launch the campaign the Foundation urges everyone to look at the YouTube video YouTube/ Fin- Help End the Horror or visit the Nature Foundation Facebook page to see the disastrous results of shark fishing and finning.

  • UP Party Leader Theo Heyliger's Sint Maarten/St. Martin’s Day Message.

    theyliger04032012Our national day November 11, we celebrate both North and South together. It is a time when we come together to celebrate our extraordinary nation, and where we appreciate, and be thankful that we are Sint Maarteners/St. Martiners.
    We have much to be grateful for. As a people we have much respect for our ancestors who built our island nation. They have transcended our island into a beacon of the Caribbean making it one of the most desirable nations in which to live. We would not live in the great island nation that we know today if not for the sacrifices of the men and women on both sides who have built what we know as Sint Maarten/St. Martin.
    Let us pause for a moment, and say thank you to all those who have contributed to our national development.
    As we look towards the future, as a people we will encounter may new challenges and opportunities. We have to ask ourselves, what future do we see for our island nation? What kind of home do we want for our children?
    As a developing nation, we must always offer hope for our people. Each generation of Sint Maarteners must improve on what was inherited from past generations. This is the way forward for the North and South sides of this nation.
    As the theme for this year's celebration says, "One People respecting the past, investing in the future."
    Sint Maarten/St. Martin, is our shared home. What our nation becomes depends on what we make of it. With our determination and resolve as a people, our nation is well placed to take advantage of the opportunities and overcome the challenges of the 21st century.
    This vision has been a reality all along based on the sacrifices made in the past. On this national day as we forge ahead, may we as a people remember the power within each one of us, and that we continue to contribute in building a nation based on the principles of compassion and equality for all.
    Wishing you, your family, friends, our people abroad, and our visitors, a happy, safe and joyful Sint Maarten/St. Martin's Day.
    May God bless our native land.


    Theo Heyliger
    United Peoples (UP) Party Leader
    Former Vice Prime Minister

  • MP Gracita Arrindell's Sint Maarten Day Message 2012 “Our Youth, our Future”.

    gracitaarrindell08112012Fellow Citizens, Visitors and Friends of Sint Maarten/ Sint Martin,

    Prior to the date of the transition from Island territory to the new Constitutional status of 'Country' Sint Maarten on 10-10-10, elected officials from North and South of the border decided to install a joint technical committee to deal with the increasing youth delinquency which started to plague our island.
    November 11th 2012 we once again gather jointly to commemorate the signing of the treaty of Concordia. An agreement that basically paves the way for officials from Dutch and the French side to work together to ensure peace full living together or co-existence between the people of our island. The architects of the Treaty must be credited for their foresight three hundred and sixty four years ago.
    Both local governments, with more autonomy (Collectivité, and 'Country' Sint Maarten) should have more freedom to tackle issues that are a threat to the peace full co-existence of the people of our island. This change should allow for a more efficient handling of issues that are a threat to our way of life as we knew it on our beautiful island.
    I am convinced that the majority of our Youth are law abiding, family respecting, loving and supportive, caring, creative, athletic and school attending young men and women.
    However, I share the concern of many that we must find a solution to prevent or bring on board those that fall between the cracks of society. U and I see them every day, everywhere on both sides of our island.
    Hopefully, this November 11th 2012 will serve to revisit not only the actions the technical committee carried out since its installation. Hopefully, the Treaty of Concordia will serve to rekindle the spirit of both governments and the private sector to refocus its attention to making our island a kinder and gentler place to live and to raise our children. Leave no stones unturned to invest and support our Youth.
    After All, our Youth is our Future.
    Please enjoy a safe and happy St. Maarten's Day 2012.

    Hon. Gracita Arrindell
    Member of Parliament
    United Peoples (UP) Party

  • St. Martin Day (1959-2012) by Lasana M. Sekou.

    mdormoylsekouandiyork08112012The following synopsis by Lasana M. Sekou was written for the 53rd anniversary of St. Martin Day, November 11, 2012, at the invitation of the Department of Culture and Heritage (Service Culture), Collectivity of St. Martin. Lasana M. Sekou is a poet, historian, author, and publisher.

     

    St. Martin Day, on November 11, celebrates the culture, unity, and industry of St. Martin, a nation that constitutes all of the people from the North and South of the island.

    The annual St. Martin Day is the principal "nation" day, and the only St. Martin holiday that could be said to "officially" join together the people that tenant the French territory (North) and the Dutch territory (South) to celebrate this Caribbean island as their one homeland.

    The emphasis on the unity of the St. Martin people began to manifest more strongly as the basis for St. Martin Day in the late 1980s. That emphasis has been sustained with an increasing determination since the early 1990s, in both the official speeches and programs and in the ever-expanding popular culture activities.

    However, a founding principal that launched the first St. Martin Day celebration in 1959, had as a stated aim the celebration of "the anniversary of the discovery of the island by Christopher Columbus." This thematic aim was a benchmark throughout the 1960s and 1970s, and held some directional sway up to the early 1980s for organizers of St. Martin Day in Philipsburg (Great Bay) and Marigot. Also, "This coming together of the population of both sides of the island was not based on the Treaty of Concordia as many think." The competing idea of the Concordia accord remains in staunch pockets of the popular imagination and in some official statements, well into the first decade of the new century, as the basis for celebrating St. Martin Day. The Columbus "reason" has all but disappeared.

    Then there is the Oral Tradition account, that sometime between 1958 and 1959, two young political leaders, Commissioner Claude Wathey from the South and Mayor Dr. Hubert Petit from the North, got together to discuss the nascent tourism industry. Both were already totally committed to it. Pastoral and postwissel St. Martin was about to be thrust into modernity in an unprecedented way. Somehow the idea came up for a holiday unique to the St. Martin people, to remind them of and to celebrate their long, shared, and active history and traditions of family, friendship, labor, succession lands, trade, and culture that crisscrossed the frontier for centuries.

    What is in need of more research, is that November 11 was agreed upon by these gentlemen but less for the supposed, yet unproven, sighting of the island by the Admiral of the Sea – on the birthday of the noble soldier/monk/saint, Martin of Tours. November 1 is thought to have been chosen more so because of the difficulty the administration in Marigot would have had, or suspected it would have had, to convince state authorities, at a politically sensitive period for colonial regimes, that "their" 21-square-mile colony deserved its own day to "join together" with a contiguous Dutch territory of 16 square miles, to celebrate the people's oneness, their living in harmony and mostly by their own ways and wills, certainly since 1848.

    The North was already bound to the Republic's Armistice Day on November 11 – a French holiday since 1922, to honor the heroic "Ancien Combattant" (St. Martin sons included). The distant Netherlands might as well have thought that the day had more to do with Columbus, Saint Martin of Tours, and its own Martinstag or Martinmas, which is the Feast of St. Martin of Tours, or Martin le Miséricordieux, also on November 11. A perfect storm of "days" converged to allow both territories on the 37-square-mile island to bypass the likely long, drawn-out obstacles that would be posed by distant governments, and "mek a local" decision in record time, to realize one day for the "specificity" of the People of Sweet St. Martin Land? Perhaps.

    According to Jocelyn Arndell, treasurer of the "Committee of 11th November, 1963,"3 "The idea of the border celebration" came from Dr. Petit, Felix Choisy, and Clem Labega. One of the earliest well circulated photographs of the ceremony at the "Monument of Friendship" was taken in 1964. As a postcard it shows Lt. Governor Jan Beaujon delivering his St. Martin Day address before dignitaries, French troops, gendarmes, police (KPNA), scouts, and throngs of St. Martin people standing on the road and the rockwall – all well dressed. The national flags of France and the Netherlands are in the foreground. A short distance away flies the flag of the Territory of the Netherlands Antilles.

    It should be noted that the Antillean or Central Government decision or legislation (Landsbesluit) in Willemstad, equating November 11 "with Sunday," thus a holiday, "voor wat betreft het eilandgebeid Sint Maarten" (for what regards the island territory of St. Maarten) was signed into law on December 10, 1984, and published on December 11, 1984.

    From the very beginning, the responsibility for St. Martin Day was alternated between the governments in both capitals. The committee appointed by the host administration organized the official program, e.g.: Church services (Four church services in 1963. The "Programme des festivites du 11 novembre 1980" chaired by Sous-Prefet Guy Maillard, indicated one church service); official speeches, wreath laying, official toast and lunch, parades with marching bands and costumed floats, cultural shows, games for children and adults, boat races, a North-South sports match, and a public dance.

    The unwritten tug-of-war as to whether the elected officials or the state representatives should be the main speakers at the border ceremony is also not new. Reputedly, in 1959, Mayor Petit, thought by some as radical or progressive for his time, was the main speaker for the North while the Lt. Governor spoke on behalf of the South (We are still working on the research to confirm this). To their credit, or to the confident and disarming hospitality born of the Traditional St. Martin way of life, the state representatives that tended to express or actually have some affinity or filialty with the St. Martin people, generally spoke in terms of the "unity," "friendship," and "harmony" of the people as opposed to the French and Dutch nationality or authority in either territory.

    One example of this expression would be the theme of the St. Martin Day address in 2011, by Gov. drs. Eugene Holiday, emphasizing, "one island, one people, one destiny." At a time when both territories are plunging ahead, each with a newly obtained and separate autonomous status. In an earlier example, Sous-Prefect S. Thirioux asked permission of his audience at the Frontier, to "break with this tradition" of speaking about "what has been done that year, ... and the year to come." It was November 11, 1963, at the very dawn of Modern St. Martin. The speech was published in English in the Windward Islands Opinion. The French state official called directly on "All St. Martiners," to be vigilant "in front of progress. We have to get up out of our rockingchairs and look at our doors finding again the ardour of our fathers" to develop the island, "chasing away the harmful who may it be."

    "We have to make ourselves the labourers of this progress and promote it in order to remain master. From passive we become active. From being in debt we become ambitious[,] from being discovered people we become explorers. All St. Martiners possess these virtues so why not exhibit them? Progress solicits the pride, the courage and the vigilance. ... Right here, swear before your ancestors to remain worthy of them. ..."

    "Keep high heart St. Martiners, the task is new and immense. It is up to you."

  • Expert carrying out assessment of palm trees; To visit neighborhoods over the weekend.

    GREAT BAY (DCOMM):--- A consultant from Jamaica Dr. Wayne Myrie is currently on the island carrying out an assessment on behalf of the Inspection Department TEZVT - Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries (LVV) which is part of the Ministry of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunications with respect to palm trees.

    He has been meeting with various groups and will carry out some neighborhood visits this weekend.

    One of the palm tree diseases common in the Caribbean is Lethal Yellowing. This is caused by a phyto-plasma, a bacteria-like organism, and spread by an insect, the plant hopper (Myndus crudus).

    The LVV invited Dr. Myrie to look at the iconic palm trees that dot different areas on the island especially hotel properties and along some of the main roads.

    Dr. Myrie who is on a one week visit to the country will be meeting with different groups concerning and taking samples which will be tested in a lab to determine the type of pest.

    Preliminary onsite advice can also be given with respect to recommended treatments.

    The Inspection Department TEZVT- Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries (LVV) office is located at Zoutsteeg nr. 3, Philipsburg, in the building that houses the Department of Economic Licenses. The office can be reached by calling 543-7820 ext. 148 for further information.

  • PUBLIC NOTICE: Information meeting about OASIS Game in Dutch Quarter.

    Dutch Quarter:--- On Thursday, 15th of November 2012, an information meeting will be held for the upcoming Oasis game, which will take place during two weekends, 24-25 November, and 1-2 December. Dutch Quarter Community Member, Participating Volunteers, NGO representatives, Government representatives, business representatives or anyone else related to Dutch Quarter in any way are invited to attend this information meeting. The information meeting will start at 7.30 pm until 9.30 pm. Venue: Dutch Quarter Community Center.
    An Oasis game is an event for community members to make their dreams come true. By realizing their dreams, they also raise their capacity to help themselves in a better way and to connect them with their fellow community members.
    The Oasis game originates from the favelas in Rio de Janeiro. Earlier this year, Oasis games have been organized as well on Curacao and Bonaire.
    An Oasis game is filled with games, dance and surprising activities. During the first weekend, community members are encouraged to express their dreams for their community. The second weekend, the community members start working together to realize one of their dreams. The Oasis game will be finished with a celebration party.
    The European Development Fund is funding this initiative through USONA.

    For more information or for registration to participate as a volunteer facilitator, contact:
    Mr. Bernard Serrant (580 3027), local Oasis team coordinator
    or Mr. Ron Oei (+5999 510 5335, e-mail: gtroei@gmail.com), EU project team member.

  • Interim UP Faction Leader Sylvia Meyers speaks about Abrupt Closure of Thursday's Central Committee Meeting.

    smeyersolivacce12072012The Central Committee meeting scheduled for today Thursday was postponed, and the UP Faction protests the manner in which the President of Parliament handled the procedures. The Chairman of the meeting spoke with the DP Faction prior to the opening of the meeting.

    We were informed by sources that the President was going to open and close the meeting in order to postpone the session until further notice.

    The UP faction signed in for the meeting. The DP faction did the same. The NA faction did not show up for the meeting. Independent Member of Parliament Patrick Illidge showed up and signed in and a quorum was therefore formed.

    The Chairman rudely interrupted MP Janchie Leonard while he was explaining the core of his second announcement. To add insult to injury, before going over to the agenda, the Chairman briefly stated he has new information pertaining to the agenda point and decided to adjourn the meeting, hastily hitting the gavel and closing the session, leaving the House bewildered as to the true motives of this latest action of the chairman. This meeting was already postponed on October 11, and today November 9th, clarity is still being sought?

    The UP faction protest the fact that we were not granted the same courtesy and respect as was given to the other faction. The Chairman of the meeting is not conducting the meeting in a proper manner.
    Parliament did not even get the opportunity to ask if its members can receive a copy of the document or information that would lead to a delay if this has been sent to the Chairman in writing. When did the Chairman gain knowledge of this new information and from whom? Was it from the Minister of General Affairs, from a third party, from who?

    This is yet another secretive action of the Chairman of Parliament who hasn't been transparent at all since taking his seat in the House. The Parliament and the people deserve better.

    This is making a mockery of the people and our parliamentary democracy. The actions by the Chairman are setting a trend of a banana republic.

    The current President and the coalition have no respect for this House of Parliament.

    Member of Parliament (MP) Hon. Sylvia Meyers
    Interim Faction Leader United Peoples (UP) party

  • PUBLIC NOTICE: Traffic Measures in connection with Pre- St. Martin’s Day Jump-up.

    The "Hartatak Foundation" has been granted a permit to have a Pre-Sint Maarten's Day jump-up on Saturday November 10th, 2012 starting 10:00pm on the Long wall road. The parade will then take the following route: Kerkhof Steeg- Front Street – Emmaplein – Welvaart Brug – W.G. Buncamper Road – Freedom round-a-bout – W.J.A. Nisbeth Road – Salt Pickers Round-a-bout – Soualiga Road and ends in front of the Festival Village.

    In connection with this parade the police department is informing the general public and in particular those persons living or temporarily staying on Front Street that the following traffic measures will be taken:

    As of 08:00pm all alleys leading from Back Street to Front Street including Front Street from Town Houses to Emmaplein will be closed to vehicular traffic.

    As of 09:00pm Long wall road at the Prins Bernard Brug and W. Longwall road at the Prins Bernard Brug and W. Percy Labega Street. Little Bay road/Fort Willem road and Back Street/Kerkhofstraat.

    As of 11:00pm Voges Street in the vicinity of Emma Plein.

    As of 12:00 midnight Buncamper road in the vicinity of Emmaplein to the Freemdom Fighters round-a-bout / Sucker Garden road/ Nisbeth road/ Saltpickers round-a-bout/ Soualiga Blv. to Rocksalt drive.

    After the parade has passed all streets and alleys that have been closed for this purpose will be re-opened to all traffic. All residents living on the Front Street should take keen notice of this message and take all precautions to avoid any inconveniences and have their vehicles parked safely elsewhere until the parade has passed.

    KPSM Press Release

  • CPTED Training Organized by Police Department.

    Philipsburg:--- The coordinator of the Community Policing Project Commissioner of Police Carl John (KPSM), has planned a CPTED training for the Community Police Officers and those who are willing to view the world by the way of crime prevention. Those who are responsible for safety and security within the community of Sint Maarten; for example: government, (community) police, town planners, planners of infrastructure, architects, and public health workers should get this training. CPTED stand for Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design.

    The CPTED training is organized by the National Institute of Crime Prevention (NICP, Inc.) and will be held on Sint Maarten from November 26th to November 30th, 2012 at the Sonesta Great Bay Hotel. Invitations will be sent to all stakeholders on Sint Maarten and the police departments in Aruba, Curacao, Anguilla, the BES-islands.

    Some of the topics that will be covered in this five day agenda are:

    • Introduction to CPTED
    • CPTED Definitions and Strategies
    • Examples of CPTED Strategies
    • CPTED & the Design Process
    • Applying the Design Out Crime Program

    KPSM Press Release

  • Eight Inspectors from the Inspectorate of Public Health, Social Development, and Labor (Inspectorate VSA) receive their badge as “extraordinary police” (BAVPOL).

    eightinspectorsgetextraordinarypolicebadge08112012Philipsburg:--- On October 2010 the end of the Netherlands Antilles became a fact. The "new country" Sint Maarten took up the responsibility for its legislation and enforcement of the law. To be able to do this Sint Maarten had to establish its own supervision and enforcement institutions in several areas. These include healthcare, pharmaceuticals, food safety, daycare centers, labor and labor safety and environmental hygiene. The Inspectorate VSA is headed by the Inspector General Dr. Best. The Inspectorate is authorized to demand all information necessary, to demand inspection of books, documents, records and authorized to copy those or temporary take them along. The Inspectorate is authorized to enter any place, if needed with the help of the police. Private homes are an exception, permission must be granted by the tenant. To accomplish its task, the Inspectorate has several means to enforce the law, a simple warning, confiscation, a fine or closure. If necessary a case can be handed over to the public prosecutor's office or a disciplinary juridical entity.

  • PUBLIC NOTICE: PEACE IS Paradise 6 Breakfast Fundraiser Postponed.

    The PEACE IS Foundation would like to inform the general public of the postponement of its 6th annual PEACE IS Paradise Breakfast Fundraiser originally scheduled for Sunday November 11th, 2012 at the Taloula Mangos restaurant. This postponement is due to unforeseen circumstances and we do apologize for any inconvenience cause. The new date for the breakfast is Saturday November 24th, 2012. Patrons already in possession of tickets are advised that they will be valid for the new date.

    The public is asked to be reminded that the beneficiaries for this year's breakfast are the Milton Peters College and Sundial School. Both schools are jointly working on 'Peace Keeping' projects which they hope will continue to raise the level of awareness of non-violence among students in their respective schools.

    The time for the breakfast remains the same from 8:00am-10:00am and tickets are available for only $10. We urge our patrons to purchase and wear our Specially-designed "PEACE IS Stop The Violence" t-shirts, which will also be on sale for $10 each.

    Tickets and T-Shirts can be obtained at Milton Peters College, Sundial School or from any PEACE IS member.

    For further information or queries, please feel free to contact Peta-Gaye Harriott at Tel: 542-2739 ext.232.

  • Two Central Committee Parliamentary Sessions for Friday to be rescheduled.

    PHILIPSBURG:--- The two Central Committee of Parliament sessions for November 09 are to be rescheduled due to the funeral of the mother of Hon. Minister of Education, Culture, Youth & Sports Silveria Jacobs that will be taking place on Friday.

    The two meetings scheduled were with Hon. Minister of Finance Roland Tuitt and the Hon. Minister of Public Housing, Spatial Development, and Environment & Infrastructure (VROMI) William Marlin.

    The public meeting requested by the Minister of Finance Hon. Roland Tuitt was to inform Members of Parliament (MPs) with respect to the current financial state of affairs of the country.

    The meeting with Minister Hon. William Marlin was to answer questions of MPs related to Zoning and Development Plans. This meeting was to be a closed door session as a continuation of the first meeting held several weeks ago.

  • WITU President says Government Outsourcing cleaning jobs to Placement Agencies --- Plans to Approach Head of Labour Department on the issue.

    celshot08112012Philipsburg:--- President of the Windward Islands Teachers Union (WITU) Claire Elshot told reporters at the Windward Islands Chamber of Labour Unions' weekly press briefing on Thursday that she intends to meet with the head of the Department of Labour Peggy Ann Dros- Richardson to discuss a situation at some of the government schools. Elshot said recently she learned that the government of St. Maarten (Facility Services) has been outsourcing jobs to a particular employment agency. Elshot said that the company that government has chosen to use to outsource permanent jobs does not pay its workers neither their social benefits. Elshot further explained that just recently she was apprised of the situation that is having a ripple effect on teachers and the other cleaners.

    "Two months now these people that were brought in to replace workers that went on pension have not been paid. Some of them have decided to stop working because they are not being paid. When this happen then the teachers have to clean up their classrooms after their regular school day and there are cases where the other cleaners have to do double work by cleaning the classrooms that were not cleaned." Elshot said that there is a draft law on the Employment Agencies and government would have a consultation with these agencies however the unions have expressed their concerns regarding these agencies.

    The Employment Agencies on St. Maarten have become the employers even though their workers work for various companies. The WITU President said that the companies where these workers work does not take any type of social responsibility for their workers. She said government has to take a number of ILO conventions into account regarding workers rights. Elshot said one of the main problems is that these workers are not unionized. She said she was told that government already made two to three payments to the employment agency but the workers were not paid. However, just last Monday the owner of the company gave each of the workers Naf. 200 and told them they should take leave. Elshot said all of the workers are owed up to three months salaries. The WITU leader said government has to lead by example. She further explained that cleaning the school is just as important as teaching because the students have to be in a clean and hygienic surrounding, this is a part of the health and safety regulation that states that schools must be cleaned on a daily basis. "I need to make clear that the workers that were sent by the employment agencies were working to the best of their abilities. They were cleaning the classrooms spic and span but in most cases when issues arise the employment agencies blame the workers. Another predicament these workers are faced with is that when they approach the labour department the only information they can give the labour department is the name of the person that hired them and not the name of a company. It is clear that government has chosen to place their responsibilities in the hands of one person." Elshot explained that the same thing that is now happening to these workers happened at the Simpson Bay Resort Management Company (SBRMC). The permanent workers of that company were thrown out of a job and replaced by workers that were outsourced through employment agencies. Elshot said that based on the information she received, some of the workers are working for one lady whose name she said is a "Joseph" and the workers who were not being paid did some research and they were informed that the person in question was paid three times already by government.
    {saudioplayer}celshotonschoolcleaners08112012.mp3{/saudioplayer}

  • Think blue wear blue in observance of World Diabetes Day next week.

    cdeweever19082012GREAT BAY (DCOMM):--- The Minister of Public Health and his overall prevention program 'Get Checked' along with the Collective Prevention Services (CPS) in the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, is working in collaboration with the Diabetes Foundation and Rotary Club St. Martin Sunrise, to commemorate World Diabetes Day (WDD).

    WDD will be observed around the world next week Wednesday, 14 November.

    The aforementioned entities are appealing to the community as well as the business sector to "think blue wear blue" starting Monday, November 12 for one week to show ones solidarity with individuals in the Sint Maarten community who live with diabetes every day.

    Individuals and businesses are also asked to research diabetes using the internet and be informed about the disease and about how combined efforts within the community can alter the progression of diabetes within the Sint Maarten society.

    This is an opportunity to raise public awareness of diabetes and related complications, as well as its prevention, care, and always consult your physician.

    The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that more than 346 million people worldwide have diabetes. This number is likely to more than double by 2030 without intervention. Almost 80 per cent of diabetes deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.

  • Minister of Justice and Police Chief attend Interpol Conference.

    rduncanandpdewitteatinterpolconference08112012Rome, Italy:--- Minister of Justice Roland Duncan and Chief Commissioner of Police Peter de Witte are presently attending the 81st General Assembly (GA) of Interpol in Rome (Italy) from November 5th through November 9th, 2012.

    Rome attracted a record number of participants. 100 ministers and 176 countries are participating in the 81st GA, including St. Maarten, Aruba, Curacao, and the Netherlands. There were also a number of NGO's and organizations such as EUROPOL as part of the audience;

    The daily programs are full from early morning until late in the evening. The first conference day was a ministerial meeting. Human trafficking, urban violence, youth violence, organized crime, terrorist violence were the main topics for that first day and in particular what the role of the police is in these subjects.
    Countries such as Mexico, Japan, Uganda, Italy, Spain and India, South Africa, Vatican City State, Singapore, Colombia, Pakistan gave introductions on various topics.

    The Ministers endorsed a declaration at the end of evening on the Conclusion of the Ministerial meeting on the challenges facing the police on violent crime:

    • Condemning all acts of criminal violence;
    • Upholding the right and responsibility of each state to maintain there security or its borders;
    • Strive to strengthen national and transnational police cooperation, in particular through the efficient sharing or Crucial crime related information;
    • Call upon all stakeholders to consider the development and delivery of relevant training and technical assistance for law enforcement;
    • Fully support the Interpol Ministerial meetings.

    On the second day of the conference the Minister of Justice and the Chief of Police had a personal interview with the Secretary General Ronald Noble.

    The second day and the days that followed were regarding the official 81st GA conference.
    The opening and closing are typically associated with many protocols.
    At the opening of the conference tribute was paid to all colleagues who lost their lives in the line of duty and which are unfortunately far too many worldwide.

    Naturally, the domestic issues such as, approval of the auditors' statements, annual and strategic foresight 2013, election of representatives of the countries in the executive committee fixed issues.
    Figures from last year speak for themselves. To give an example;
    There are a daily average of 2.8 million queries on the system of Interpol. Daily there are approximately 27 persons who are arrested on "red notice", 170 stolen passports retrieved and perpetrators arrested.

    The topics that were previously scheduled on the ministerial meeting were discussed in a more specified and detailed manner!
    In addition the following topics were discussed;

    • Combating drug-and arms crime;
    • Technology and Innovation:
    • Combating trafficking in illicit goods, including illegal drugs.
    • International telecommunication-related to Combating international crime; Money-laundering and international cooperation and forging alliances

    The conference will conclude with a visit to the Vatican and the Pope.

    The conference can be regarded both organizationally and to its content as highly successful.

    KPSM Press Release

  • United States Consulate General Holds Election Night Event.

    usfolelectionnightevent07112012United States Consul General Valerie Belon welcomed the people of the Dutch Caribbean and dignitaries, including acting Governor Adele van der Pluijm-Vrede and former Prime Minister Emily de Jongh-Elhage into Roosevelt House to celebrate the United States general election.
    While keeping an eye on the election returns on a big screen, guests enjoyed typical American-style food, played election themed games, including energetic rounds of trivia, and participated in a live broadcast by TeleCuracao.
    Everyone concurred that the party was a great success, even though it ended before President Obama was declared the winner very late that night. Mr. Rudy Dovale, a longtime American expatriate in Curacao, said, in particular, that it was such a great party that he did not want to leave. We thank and recognize all of the candidates who answered the call to serve their country, and the many Americans here who voted.

  • Nature Foundation Conducts Water Quality Testing at Various Locations.

    greatbaybeach07112012Great Bay Beach Water Quality Shows Concerning Levels.

    The Nature Foundation carried out water quality tests on the 1st and 2nd of November 2012 at seven sites surrounding St. Maarten. These tests, which are conducted bi-annually, are carried out in order to determine the levels of pollutants and other factors affecting wetlands and beaches on St. Maarten. Tests were carried out in order to determine Nitrates (which shows that the water is polluted), Phosphates (which shows the presence of Sewage), Nitrogen, Dissolved Oxygen, and the acidity of the water. Tests were carried out on seven sites; Cole Bay Lagoon, Simpson Bay Lagoon, Mullet Pond, Kim Sha Beach, Great Bay Beach, Belair Pond, Fresh Pond, and the Great Salt Pond. The sites of Great Bay Beach and Kim Sha Beach were particularly chosen to test the swimming quality of the beaches.

    The most concerning results during this round of testing came from the Great Bay area. For numerous weeks the Foundation has noticed green discolored water and decided to increase testing at the Great Bay site. Increased levels of Nitrates, Phosphates and Coliform Bacteria were tested at that site which shows low water quality at the eastern side of the beach that may be unsuitable for swimming. The Nature Foundation has sent a report to the authorities explaining its findings including recommendations on management actions to be taken in Great Bay. Particularly water quality close to inlet of the Rolandus Canal showed very poor water quality.

    All of the other sites including the Cole Bay Lagoon, Kim-Sha Beach, and Mullet Pond areas had medium levels of both phosphates and nitrates in samples tested. Elevated levels of nitrates and phosphates show that there is a presence of various types of pollutants and sewage which can cause toxic algal blooms and mortality events (large scale dying of fish, turtle and crabs) in wetlands and coastal areas. The highest level was recorded in the Great Salt Pond and indicates the presence numerous pollutants and sewage in the tested water. This may cause fish die offs and algal blooms. Taking this into consideration levels will continuously be monitored by the Nature Foundation.

    Similarly the sites Cole Bay Lagoon, Kim-Sha Beach, and Mullet Pond had low levels of Nitrogen in samples tested. Elevated levels of Nitrogen, caused by pollutants, can cause massive fish die-offs in wetlands and coastal areas. The highest level was recorded in the Great Salt Pond at .6 ppm, which is a relatively high number and indicates the presence of elevated nitrogen levels which can pose a threat to aquatic organisms and which may cause fish die-offs between now and the end of the year. The Nature Foundation will continuously monitor Nitrogen Levels at this site in order to give an approximation when fish die offs may be expected.

    Almost all levels of oxygen recorded were at sufficient levels to maintain healthy life. The lowest level was recorded in the Great Salt Pond. The Foundation will closely monitor the Salt Pond for a further drop in oxygen levels which may result in fish kills and breeding of airborne insects (i.e. Midges).

  • St. Maarten Youth Parliament Art, Poetry & Essay Competition: Celebrating the Rights of the Child 2012.

    St. Peters:--- The St. Maarten Youth Parliament will be commemorating the Rights of the Child with an Art, Poetry & Essay Competition. The competition is open to students of the various elementary and secondary schools. The contest is divided into four categories: the Art Contest for Grades 1 – 3; Poetry Contest for Grades 4 & 5; Essay Contest for Grade 6; and an Essay Contest for Secondary School Students. The competition is based on the theme, "My Country St. Maarten."

    The young artists would draw or paint a picture depicting life as a child growing up on St. Maarten. The poets will write a poem, in English, on the theme, with a maximum of twenty lines. The Grade Six essay should be no more than 300 words, while the Secondary School Essay should be 500 words.

    Each entry will receive a certificate of participation. Entries (essay or poems) may be emailed to sxmyouthcouncil@hotmail.com or delivered to the office of the St Maarten Youth Council Association at the Rupert I Maynard Youth Community Center. Deadline for submission is Monday November 19, 2012. Prizes will be awarded to the top three contestants in each category. A special exhibition will be held at 7 pm on Friday November 30, 2012, to showcase the work produced by the participants, and present the awards. The exhibition and prize giving ceremony will take place at the Rupert I Maynard Youth Community Center.

  • St. Maarten Nature Foundation and Reserve Naturelle de Saint Martin to benefit from the St. Maarten - St. Martin Classic Yacht Club.

    The St. Maarten-St.Martin Classic Yacht Club announced today that the Nature Foundations from both the Dutch and French side will receive part of the membership fees of the yacht club all year round as donations to their organization.
    5% of each membership fee paid to the St.Maarten-St.Martin Classic Yacht Club foundation will go to the St.Maarten Nature Foundation and 5% will be donated to the French side Reserve Naturel de Saint Martin.
    Manager Romain Renoux (Reserve Naturelle) and Tadzio Bervoets (Nature Foundation) expressed their gratitude to the Classic Yacht Club for their willingness to help the foundations.
    Both managers will also take a seat in the advisory board of the Classic Regatta organization so that eventual issues with courses and anchoring can be discussed in advance of the upcoming St.Maarten-St.Martin Classic Yacht Regatta the last week-end of March 2013.
    The Classic Yacht Club has helped both foundations once a year with money that was collected at auctions and other events during the past Classic Regattas but will now contribute all the time with donating part of the membership fees.

    Additional and updated information is available in the web site www.ClassicYachtClub.com and in www.ClassicRegatta.com.

  • PJL Hosted Integrated Systems Workshop.

    pjlintegratedsystemsworkshop07112012Philipsburg:--- Staff members of the Queen Wilhelmina Library Saba and Gertrude Johnson Library St. Eustatius participated in a workshop about Library automation at the Philipsburg Jubilee Library.
    The libraries from Saba and Statia received funds from the Dutch Ministry of OCW to upgrade their libraries. Philipsburg Jubilee Library was asked to provide technical assistance. The workshop was an initiative from the recently established DCLA (Dutch Caribbean Library Association) of which Philipsburg Jubilee Library Director, Monique Alberts is the President.
    Trainers were Ans Koolen (PJ Library), Margo Groenewould (Library Manager University of the NA – Curacao). School librarians from the St Maarten Academy, St. Dominic High School and Seventh Day Adventist School also participating in the workshop as well was a representative from USM.

  • TELEM Donates $10,000 to Be Able Foundation.

    telemdonatestobeablefoundation07112012Philipsburg:--- Commercial manager of TELEM Group of Companies Brian Mingo donated two cheques to the tune of $10,000 to Be Able Foundation President Henri Brookson on Wednesday.

    Prime Minister of St. Maarten Sarah Wescot Williams was also present during the presentation of the cheques at the A.C. Wathey Legislative Hall on Wednesday. The Prime Minister called on the businesses and other persons on the island to donate to the Be Able Foundation because they have a huge budget. Wescot Williams said that the Be Able Foundation has quite an ambitious plan for the first week of December 2012 where the disabled on St. Maarten will be able to participate in several activities and get the necessary media coverage.

    The Be Able Foundation has organized a tennis tournament for the disabled people on St. Maarten. The Prime Minister said that the Be Able did several fundraisers and they also contacted several businesses for donations to make the planned project a success.

    Chairman of the Be Able Foundation Henri Brookson told reporters that the foundation has organized a number of sporting activities for the disabled. Some of which he said will take place at the Kim Sha Beach. Brookson said that he also invited several well known athletes to be present on the island during the week of events which will start at the end of November to the beginning of December 2012.

    Brookson said that the foundation already contacted a Dutch Television company to air the week of events while they are still busy working on getting ESPN to the island.

    Brookson also called on persons within the community to make themselves available to the Be Able Foundation who urgently need help during the week of activities.
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  • MP Ruth Douglass speaks about $100 Million Justice Park.

    ruthdouglass23092012As a Member of Parliament, I'm often amazed at what we get handed to deal with in Parliament. The priorities of the current Ministries sometimes amaze me. The Airport cost $100 Million, but it can pay for itself by generating income averaging $400,000+ departure fee paying by passengers annually.

    The public gets to fly out of a state of the art modern Airport. The Harbor cost $300Million overall but it can pay for itself by generating its own revenue, as we have averaged over 1.5 Million Cruise visitors annually over the last few years. Needless to say I'm amazed that a new "Justice Park" will also costs $100Million, but it will not generate its own revenue. It will be paid for on the backs of the poor people who will have a mortgage for 30 years to house mostly criminals. So society has to pay that ridiculous amount to lockup the people who have caused the most problems in our society.

    So why not have a $200Million Hospital, we need one with MRI machines and state of the art equipment to save lives. I'm just saying since we are creating $100Million projects, why not start with the needs of the people who need it the most, the sick, the dis-abled in this community will have better service because the dedicated professionals in the medical field will have the tools and the facility we need to best do the job possible for our sick residents.

    I guess as a doctor, serving this community is my priorities, and I see things differently. I see us having a need and I feel that we are making it more and more difficult by having the wrong priorities. I'm not saying we don't need to have an expanded Prison system. As criminal activities have grown by leaps and bounds. But let's do the math what will the community get in return for housing criminals to the tune of $100,000,000. You guessed it the bill to pay for it.

    Hon. Dr. Ruth Douglass
    United Peoples (UP) Party Parliamentarian

  • PJIAE gets Moody’s Baa2 rating with stable outlook.

    pjiaemeetswithmoodys06112012SIMPSON BAY:--- Moody's Investors Service, Inc. has assigned an initial Baa2 rating to the Princess Juliana International Airport Operating Company NV's (PJIAE) senior secured bonds.

    "The outlook is stable." Thus began the press release datelined New York, November 5, 2012, announcing the rating. It is the first time that St. Maarten or any company on the island would be assigned such a rating.

    Moody's, one of the world's leading provider of credit ratings, research and risk analysis, stated in its press release that, "PJIAE is a private limited liability corporation with regulated rate setting ability and operates the Princess Juliana International Airport in the country of Sint Maarten (Baa1/stable outlook)." The firm had simultaneously assigned a sovereign rating of Baa1, stable outlook to the government of St. Maarten.

    "The sole owner of all capital stock is Princess Juliana International Airport Holding Company, N.V. (PJIAH), which is in turn wholly-owned by the Government of Sint Maarten," Moody's further noted in its release, which can be found at www.Moody's.com.

    It added: "The bonds are being issued under an exchange offer of outstanding bonds and will also include new funds for use in advancing the airport's capital plan. Major projects contained in the plan include upgrades to the general aviation/fixed based operation facilities, runway resurfacing, and improvements to taxiways."

    Moody's ratings provide investors with what the firm calls "a simple system of gradation by which future relative creditworthiness of securities may be gauged."

    Moody's ratings therefore reflect the opinion of Moody's Investors Service regarding the relative creditworthiness of securities.

    A Baa2 rating means the obligations are deemed to "be medium-grade and subject to moderate credit risk and as such may possess certain speculative characteristics," Moody's explains, while the numerical modifier "2" indicates "a mid-range ranking" within the generic rating category.

    "This is definitely great news for PJIAE and for St. Maarten," Managing Director of PJIAE Regina LaBega commented. "It opens the way for the further development of the airport and gives our creditors a very comfortable feeling."

    "It is certainly an achievement the Supervisory Board Of Directors of the Operating Company, Management team, the Shareholder and the whole island can be proud of, especially since PJIAE is the first government-owned company to achieve such rating by a world-renowned firm like Moody's," LaBega added.

    Moody's ratings and analysis "track debt covering more than 110 countries, 11,000 corporate issuers, 22,000 public finance issuers, and 94,000 structured finance obligations," according to the firm's website.

    In its "Ratings Rationale", the firm said: "Moody's rates PJIAE under the Government Related Issuer (GRI) rating methodology which incorporates a Baseline Credit Assessment (BCA) representing the authority's stand-alone credit quality as well as Moody's assessment of the correlation of default dependence and the likelihood of potential extraordinary support from the Government of Sint Maarten."

    "The Baa2 reflects a high default dependence and strong likelihood of extraordinary support in relation to the Government of Sint Maarten given the direct ownership linkage and the airport's role in delivering tourists to the island."

    It further added: "The rating incorporates a BCA of baa3. The BCA of baa3 incorporates the airport's resilient enplanement trends through severe economic volatility, the diversification of air service providers, and the airport's role as a hub for connecting passengers to nearby tourist destinations in Anguilla and Saint Barthelemy."

    "Enplanement levels have increased annually since 2009 and were minimally impacted by the global economic recession."

    "Additional credit strength comes from the relatively stable economy and institutional framework in Sint Maarten," Moody's continued in its press release.

    "The rating also considers the fact that PJIAE is the only large scale airport on the island of Sint Maarten/Saint Martin, and that it plays a critical role in the island's predominantly tourism-based economy. Major tourism draws are Sint Maarten/Saint Martin's dual culture (Dutch and French, respectively), large timeshare property stock, and close proximity to high end tourist destinations, such as St. Barths, that lack sufficient airport facilities to service commercial airline service on their own."

    "Additionally, the naturally formed bay in Sint Maarten provides an attractive docking spot for mega-yachts. The owners of the yachts access the island through general aviation facilities at PJIA," Moody's noted.

    "Also factored in the BCA are the favorable legal covenants and investor protections in the bond indenture. These include ... cash funded debt service reserve funds that cover three months debt service, and a closed loop of funds that does not allow dividends to be paid to the holding company, retaining all excess cash flow for airport purposes," Moody's stated.

  • Holders of Dutch Driver's License Living on French Side get more time to renew their Licenses --- Wescot Williams.

    sarahwescotwilliams07112012Philipsburg:--- The Prime Minister who is also Minister of General Affairs Sarah Wescot Williams announced during the Council of Ministers' weekly press briefing on Wednesday that the Government from the Collectivity of French St. Martin made a second request to the Government of St. Maarten to once again extend the period in which holders of Dutch drivers license who are living on the French side can have the opportunity to renew their licenses. Wescot Williams said that an agreement will be signed on St. Maarten's Day to this effect and the Government of St. Maarten has decided to extend the renewal period to March 2013. Wescot-Williams said when the licenses are renewed it will give the holders the opportunity to either exchange or have the Dutch licenses accepted on the French side. She said already the French side has decided that the licenses that were issued to drivers of heavy equipments will be accepted by the French side.

    The Prime Minister also explained that the traffic ordinance will be amended sometime soon and there are certain articles in the current traffic ordinance that will be removed.
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  • Nature Foundation records Moderately Successful Sea Turtle Nesting Season --- Thanks community for widely supporting endangered sea turtles on St. Maarten.

    seaturtleshatch06112012The St. Maarten Nature Foundation has recorded a moderately successful Sea Turtle Nesting Season for the 2012 period. From March to May three species of Sea Turtles come to lay their eggs on local beaches, one of the few places on earth were this actually occurs.

    "This year we have had a total of 14 nests, with a total of 365 confirmed hatchlings of all three species (Hawksbill, Leatherback and Green) so far. Our first recorded nest was from a leatherback sea turtle on Guana Bay beach in early April and our last nest was laid on Gibbs Bay by a Hawksbill some three weeks ago," read a statement from the Nature Foundation.

    The Nature Foundation also commended various agencies and individuals in the community and from abroad in helping the organization broaden out its sea turtle management program. "This year more than other years we have received a lot of support from the community with regards to the sea turtle work that we are doing. We received great help from the Fire Department in controlling the amount of beach bonfires which are lit on the beaches that are very harmful to turtles. Similarly many beachside businesses and restaurant voluntarily shaded their beach lights off during nesting season. Also Divi Hotel took excellent care of the Sea Turtle Nest which was on the beach in front of the hotel. During high waves they protected the nests and gave their staff and guests great explanation as to the importance of nesting sea turtles."

    The RBC Bank also greatly contributed to the success of sea turtle nests, particularly on Guana Bay, where the bank initiated two very large scale cleanups and managed to keep the beach clean enough for both nesting turtles and hatchlings to survive. "RBC greatly contributed this year to the success of our most important turtle nesting beach Guana Bay. Because of their efforts we were able to record successful hatchings at most of the nests along that beach."

    This year the Nature Foundation in cooperation with local veterinarians, the Sea Turtle Conservation of Bonaire and with help of the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance launched an in-water monitoring program for sea turtles. Numerous turtles were tagged and measured and health assessments were carried out in order to determine the health of Sea Turtles surrounding the island. Although the population was relatively stable, there are numerous threats to the sea turtle population of St. Maarten which could cause the animals to become increasingly locally endangered if protection is not supported and broadened.

    Sea turtle population numbers have plummeted to dangerously low numbers throughout the past century due to human impacts, bringing many species close to extinction and causing them to be listed as critically endangered. In order to reverse this trend, all sea turtle species are now protected by international laws and treaties as well as local laws. Based on ARTICLE 16 and 17 of the Nature Conservation Ordinance St. Maarten it is illegal to kill, wound, capture, pick-up, have animals that belong to a protected animal species, to directly or indirectly disturb their environment resulting in a physical threat or damage to the fauna or to commit other acts which result in disturbance of the animal. It is also forbidden to upset an animal belonging to a protected species, to disturb damage or destroy its nest, lair, or breeding place, as well as to take the nest of such an animal. Also, it is forbidden to pick-up or to destroy the eggs of animals belonging to a protected species.

  • VROMI Minister says more Housing on its Way --- Elaborated on some of the projects his Ministry is working on for St. Maarten.

    williammarlin07112012Philipsburg:--- Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of VROMI William Marlin gave an outline of some of the projects his Ministry is busy working on since he took office some six months ago. The Minister of VROMI did not divulge any information on the issue of the filling in of the salt pond to accommodate a race track and the stadium. Marlin said that he will be giving that information to the Members of Parliament on Monday.

    Marlin said that the government of St. Maarten plans to take a loan from the Central Bank to build at least two tunnels which would alleviate the back-up of traffic in several areas of the island after the construction of the causeway. The VROMI Minister also explained that he is busy working on building all the links that are in the comprehensive road network plan which was approved by the former island council some 15 or 16 years ago. Marlin released this information on Sunday during a radio programme where he said he is also working on repairing the streetlights throughout the island.

    The Minister of VROMI announced during the Council of Ministers' weekly press briefing that shortly there will be some 18 homes in the Belvedere area for sale. Marlin said the homes were constructed by the St. Maarten Housing Development Foundation (SHDF) and they are nearing completion. "Right now the SHDF is busy screening potential buyers and he is of the opinion that by the end of the year there will be 18 new homeowners. Marlin said he signed off on the building permits for another six homes which will be constructed in the Ebenezer area through the SHDF, the additional homes are part of the sales package that SHDF embarked on. Marlin said the profit that is generated from the sales of these homes will then be invested in the construction of homes for the elderly and those that cannot afford to pay the full and regular rent because of their social circumstances and income. Marlin said the intention of government is to provide homes for the elderly for Naf. 50.00 per month. Marlin said he also signed off on the FOGA project which is in the vicinity of the Melford Hazel Sports Auditorium. Marlin said when the area is fully upgraded the SHDF will begin construction of another 32 homes in the area. These homes would be made available to young professionals such as the BAVPOLERS and other persons that joined the police force. Another project the Minister said he approved is the construction of 99 vaults in the Cul de Sac Cemetery which will also be upgraded. The Minister said that plans are in place to upgrade the cemetery by building paved roads that would take people to where the vaults are built.
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  • Central Committee of Parliament with Minister of Finance now scheduled for Friday.

    PHILIPSBURG:--- The Central Committee of Parliament that was scheduled for Wednesday with the Minister of Finance will now take place on Friday.

    The meeting is scheduled for November 09 in the afternoon at 2:00pm in the General Assembly Chamber in the House of Parliament.

    This public meeting has been requested by the Minister of Finance Hon. Roland Tuitt who will inform Members of Parliament (MPs) with respect to the current financial state of affairs of the country, and this is the first agenda point.

    An additional agenda point has been added with respect to an official trip by the President of Parliament to St. Eustatius with respect to the 236th anniversary of Statia saluting the United States of America when it became an independent country. This will take place on Statia Day, November 16.

    The central committee session will be carried live on St. Maarten Cable TV Channel 120, via Pearl Radio FM 98.1, the audio via the Internet www.pearlfmradio.com, and also via www.sxmparliament.org.

  • Central Committee meets on National Security Service.

    PHILIPSBURG:--- The Central Committee of Parliament will meet on November 08.

    The public meeting is scheduled for Thursday morning at 10:00am in the General Assembly Chamber of the House of Parliament at Wilhelmina Straat #1 in Philipsburg.

    The agenda point for this meeting is a change to the National Ordinance Security Service with respect to a commission of supervision.

    The first meeting that was scheduled October 11 concerning this agenda point was postponed.

    Members of the public are always welcome to be present in the General Assembly Chamber during public meetings to follow the parliamentary session.

    The House of Parliament is located across from the Court House.

    The central committee session will be carried live on St. Maarten Cable TV Channel 120, via Pearl Radio FM 98.1, the audio via the Internet www.pearlfmradio.com, and also via www.sxmparliament.org.

  • Bus Inspection calls for suspension of school bus driver until judicial investigation completed.

    GREAT BAY (DCOMM):--- The School Bus Inspection Section says the alleged incident on a bus as noted in a media report on Tuesday is totally unacceptable.

    The department was not informed formally by the parent in question whose seven-year-old son was allegedly struck by a bus driver.

    Based on information received the department has contacted the owner of the school bus in question, and has requested that the driver of the bus be suspended until the relevant investigation by judicial authorities has been completed.

    The current investigation is a criminal one because the incident is an act of child abuse.

    The Inspection Department says the investigation will present both sides of the story after receiving information from the bus driver, the parent of the victim and witnesses.

    Head of the Inspection Department Martha Thewet says that school bus drivers are providing a service on behalf of government, and they are expected to perform to their best ability while carrying out this service.

    School bus drivers must report incidents that occur on or near the bus, and also to the respective school that the child attends.

    Thewet added that behavior starts at home and not on a school bus. "There have been incidents in the past due to the behavior of the child and we have appealed to parents to speak with their children about their behavior.

    "I once again appeal to parents to talk to their kids. Everyone has their responsibility to play in a society. It takes a village to raise a child, and when all stakeholders come together to address issues of concern, we are then able to overcome the challenges," Thewet said on Tuesday.

    The Inspection Department's mission is to provide safe, reliable and comfortable transportation for the school children of the country.

    Persons with complaints can do so in writing by sending a letter to the School Bus Inspection Department. This letter needs to be booked in at the Government Administration Building. You can also send an email to inspections@sintmaartengov.org.

  • Prime Minister Working on New Projects to Increase Maternity Leave for Civil Servants --- Planning to give Civil Servants one day per month for them to participate in their children’s education.

    Philipsburg:--- The Prime Minister of St. Maarten Sarah Wescot Williams announced on Wednesday during the Council of Ministers' weekly press briefing that she has been working on three projects which she is hoping to implement by 2013. Wescot Williams said she has been trying to find ways to increase maternity leave for civil servants.

    Wescot Williams explained that while she would have liked to do this for all persons on the island that would mean involving the Parliament of St. Maarten so that the civil code could be amended. Another project the Prime Minister said she is working on is to grant all civil servants at least one day per month so that they can visit their children's school or spend time in the classroom with their children. She said that a final decision is not yet taken on how much days the civil servants will get for this purpose, she further explained that collaboration with the school must be established before the project is implemented. The Prime Minister said the aim of this project is to give civil servants (parents) the opportunity to be more involved with their children. Wescot Williams said that government has a large number of employees and therefore they ought to lead by example.

  • TEMPO OFFERS FREE ANNIVERSARY TRIPS --- Caribbean network teams up with LIAT - The Caribbean Airline.

    ST. MAARTEN:--- The pan-Caribbean media and entertainment network, TEMPO, is teaming up with regional airline LIAT to offer selected Caribbean travelers free trips to St. Maarten for the network's seventh anniversary celebrations from November 25 to December 1, 2012.

    Until November 14, 2012, lucky travelers will have a chance to "Win a TEMPO Trip" along with a guest of their choice to participate in the "TEMPO Turns 7" week long anniversary celebrations, featuring top local, regional and international entertainers.

    "We are announcing the artist line-up shortly and as usual it will assure a memorable celebration with some of the top stars in the music business," said Frederick A. Morton, Jr., Founder, Chairman and CEO of TEMPO Networks.

    "And we are pleased to deepen our extraordinary partnership with LIAT to offer Caribbean travelers a chance to come celebrate with us," he added.

    To enter, visitors can log onto www.gottempo.com/tt7, click on the "Win a Trip" banner and answer three simple questions about their island home, TEMPO Networks, and how they heard about the promotion.

    Two winners and their guests will receive a three-day, two night stay, including airline tickets, hotel accommodations, meals and concert admission. They will also be featured on television for the reality series "My TEMPO Trip". A third winner and guest from St. Maarten will receive a free vacation to any Caribbean island within the LIAT network.

    "It is our duty to facilitate affordable, convenient and hassle-free travel throughout the Caribbean," asserted Captain Ian Brunton, LIAT's chief executive officer.

    Captain Brunton averred LIAT's partnership with TEMPO helped promote its aims of easier travel throughout the Caribbean: "We congratulate TEMPO on seven years of Caribbean programming and look forward to strengthening our partnership into the future."

    The anniversary celebrations revolve around destination St. Maarten, and include a number of cultural activities and concerts from November 25 to December 1, 2012.

    For more information, stay tuned to TEMPO or visit www.gotTEMPO.com.

  • SAINT-MARTIN’S DAY 2012 PROGRAM --- One People, respecting the past, investing in the future.

    SUNDAY NOVEMBER 04, 2012

    4:00 pm Little Miss Saint Martin pageant, Celebration Palace, Philipsburg

    NOVEMBER 5th – 10th

    All day The Merchants Association of Marigot celebrate Saint-Martin's Day
    Live entertainment and activities in the streets of Marigot

    THURSDAY NOVEMBER 08, 2012

    8:00 pm Heritage Debate, MSR Cable TV set, Agre'ment
    Broadcasted live on major local radios

    FRIDAY NOVEMBER 09, 2012

    7:30 pm OFFICIAL OPENING OF SAINT MARTIN'S DAY CELEBRATION, Belle Plaine Village

    8:00 pm – 11:30 pm SM YOUTHS
    " Honoring the Past and Building the future" through local talent, musical entertainment and performing arts

    SATURDAY NOVEMBER 10, 2012

    11:00 am World War I Wreath Laying Ceremony, Memorial Monument,
    Collectivité Park

    12:00 pm SAINT MARTIN LOCAL FOOD EXTRAVAGANZA, Belle Plaine Village
    Local food on sale and live entertainment on podium

    1:00 pm Domino and "Bellote" competition (all day)
    Local music

    8:00 pm – 11:30 pm CALYPSO SHOW
    Performances by Saint-Martin/Sint Maarten Calypsonians
    featuring a medley of old and new Calypso songs

    MC: RICKY D PHOX and FERNANDO CLARK
    Featuring: Kaiso Brat, King Tmo, Ricky Boys, King Beaubeau,
    The Mighty Dow, Kind Fish The Boss and much more

    SUNDAY NOVEMBER 11, 2012

    9:00 pm Ecumenical Church Service, Methodist Church of French Quarter

    10:45 am Wreath Laying Ceremony, French Quarter Border Monument

    11:15 am Official St. Martin's Day Parade, route nationale 7

    12:00 pm Official Addresses and Luncheon, Belle Plaine Village

    BELLE PLAINE VILLAGE

    12:00pm SAINT MARTIN'S DAY FOOD FEST
    "Come Eat, Drink & Celebrate until Fete Over!"
    Entertainment by "The Gun Slingers"

    1:30pm CULTURAL PRESENTATION
    Entitled: "I gah tell ayo the story"
    Ponum Dance by Romaric Benjamin & Christiane Lovagne

    HONORING CEREMONY

    2:00pm SAINT-MARTIN'S CYCLING RACE
    Island Tour Departure/Arrival: French Quarter Cultural Center
    CULTURAL PARADE
    Dept: French Quarter Cultural Center
    Arrival: Belle Plain Village

    3:00 pm PRESENTATION OF CULTURAL GROUPS ON PODIUM

    North and South Basketball and Volleyball Competition

    3:00 pm TRADITIONAL GAMES for Children and Adults

    ROLLER COMPETITION

    3:30 pm FINALE DU TROPHÉ DES CHAMPIONS (Football), Thelbert Carti Stadium
    FC Concordia vs. Young Stars de Saint-Barth
    Juniors Stars vs. FC Marigot

    4:00 pm PHOX & HIS DANCERS, Podium, Belle Plaine

    6:30 pm PROJECTION OF DOCUMENTARY "Respecting the Past, Investing in the Future"

    8:00 pm – 11:30pm SAINT-MARTIN'S DAY CONCERT by Ruff Sand Production
    presenting Saint-Martin renowned local artists from different generations:
    MC: Dutty Sham, Bunfire Band, Percy Rankin, 4M Band, Velly, DJ Stiky Banton,
    Modeling by Sugary Treasures Girls, SXM DHQ Dance Group

    11:30 pm CLOSING OF VILLAGE

    HAPPY SAINT-MARTIN'S DAY!

  • Minister Jacobs Cabinet Closed Until Further Notice.

    GREAT BAY (DCOMM):--- The Cabinet of the Minister of Education, Culture, Youth Affairs and Sports Hon. Silveria Jacobs, hereby announces that it is closed until further notice.

    Scheduled appointments for the week with the Minister have been cancelled and will be rescheduled for another date.

    The closure is in connection with the passing of the Minister's mother Mrs. Nadia Bryson-Willemsberg. Funeral arrangements will be announced at a later date by the Jacobs and Willemsberg family.

    The staff of the Minister's Cabinet and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports offers their deep condolences to the Jacobs and Willemsberg families, adding that this is a sad loss shared by all who knew Mrs. Nadia Bryson-Willemsberg.

    May her soul be in perfect peace by God granting her eternal rest.

  • More Blend In Security Workers Complaining about their Salaries --- Workers Claim Derrick Holiday needs help for his addictions.

    rodlettesaul06112012Philipsburg:--- A few more security guards that are working for Blend In Security which is owned and operated by the former Chief Commissioner of Police Derrick Holiday have decided to come forward to plea with the Governor of St. Maarten as well as with the Government of St. Maarten to end their plight.

    Rodlette Saul, a security guard who is working at Bobby's Marina, told SMN News that he began working for Blend In Security about a year ago. He said he is one of the victims of the Pelican layoff and since working for Blend In Security Company he has been receiving his salary late each month. Saul said last month he was paid on the 17th and company short paid him by $180.00 while they also deducted $125 for a theft that took place while he was not on duty. Saul said that on Monday six security guards were told that they cannot be paid on Monday as promised by the company because the company accountant (Clayton Holiday) did not make up their pay-slips and he is currently off island. "The boss said the cheques are ready but the pay-slips are not ready therefore we cannot get our salaries. Last month I got a cheque but when I went to the bank there was not any monies on the account."

    Saul said that he has bills including his rent to pay and while there are six security guards at Bobby's Marina who are in the same predicament, the others are afraid to speak up because each time a worker of Blend In Security spoke out against the labour abuse they endure that person is fired by Derrick Holiday.

    Saul said he is becoming frustrated with the situation because he worked for 12 years for the Pelican Resort and he still cannot get his payout for the 12 years he worked as a permanent worker.

    anthonygodetandhisson06112012Anthony Godet who was dismissed and is a pioneer for the workers explained that since he is not being paid by Blend In Security he is not able to support his children. Godet said he is now charged with babysitting his three small children because he can no longer give his ex wife the child support she is due to pay for daycare. He said his smallest son is dropped off at his house at 7am and he is being picked up at 5pm while his other two children join him at 1:30pm because he cannot afford to pay for his children's afternoon school. Godet said he also received notification from his landlord on Monday to vacate her property because he cannot pay the rent.

    When asked by SMN News if he is not one of Derrick Holiday's best friends and drinking partners, Godet said that Holiday is indeed his friend and while he used to be drinking with Mr. Derrick Holiday he also used speak with Holiday about how he was treating his workers. Godet said he was also an adviser to Holiday since he once owned a security company. Godet said Holiday is not bad person, but in his opinion Holiday is in need of psychological assistance for his drinking and gambling addictions.

    Another worker who contacted SMN News on the condition of anonymity said she too is not being paid on time and she also having trouble paying her bills and taking care of her minor children. The worker said that she is fearful of speaking on the record because whenever someone speaks out they are being victimized and fired. "We are not speaking about an Indian or a foreign investor, we are talking about the Governor's brother and a Holiday." SMN News was told that while Mr. Holiday is not paying his workers he is now driving around the island undercover in a rental vehicle.

    Listen to the interview with Blend in security workers:
    {saudioplayer}interviewwithblendinsecurityworkers06112012.mp3{/saudioplayer}

  • Individual Education Plans, a useful tool in improving educational performance.

    sssdinfosession05112012Philipsburg (DCOMM):--- The Department of Student Support Services Division (SSSD) of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports Affairs held an information evening on Thursday past at the UTS Training and Development Center (TDC) to inform parents, parents association(s), and generally interested persons about the tasks of the SSSD and about a special workshop entitled, "Individual Education Plans – How to partner with your child's school."

    The newly formed SSS Division (established September 2011) objectives are: to provide care (counseling, advising) and support services to students for the effective continuation of the developmental process; to monitor the social and emotional development of students/pupils in collaboration with schools; to test school age children in connection with special education, and; to provide support for the primary education processes, taking into consideration the social and emotional development of students.

    In addition, the Student Support Services Division, with the motto: "If every child must learn, then every parent, family and community must be a part of the process", is the referral point for the public and subsidized schools.

    Olga Mussington, of the division of SSS, at the introduction of the meeting said that we are here to help parents and students in providing assistance in improving developmental performance, to bridge any gap in learning, whether psychological or behavioral, and to help wherever we can. So please, ask questions.

    Leading the meeting with the introductory workshop was Dori Cook, an educational consultant, who focused on the Individual Educational Plan (IEP), one of the tools used to increase student performance.

    The central part of the IEP is determining a strategy—based on individualized goals with measurable objectives, adaptations and/or modifications—on how the interaction should be among the parents, students, and teachers, and what type of communication, the level of involvement, and the amount of assistance, including any special issues that should be addressed.

    "There are no turn downs," the educational official said. "Parents should contact their students' teachers, who will contact school managers who will then contact the Student Support Services Division."

  • Dutch Navy divers map out underwater Simpsons Bay.

    royalnetherlandsnavydiversmapoutsimpsonbay05112012Divers of the Royal Netherlands Navy on exercise in St Maarten since October 29 have mapped out Simpson Bay using advanced sonar. The results will benefit St Maarten's emergency services in the hurricane season.

    The main focus of the diving exercise in St Maarten is disaster relief. Referring to the exercise scenario, Master Chief Petty Officer Klaas van der Heide elaborates on the results. "We now have a complete view of the Simpson Bay lagoon under water. This will help us to find people lost at sea after a hurricane strike."

    Precision
    The Dutch Navy divers can cover an area of 10000 square miles per minute using advanced sonar equipment. Even shallow waters can be mapped out in great precision. Using 'acoustical cameras' divers were able to scan through the muddy waters of the shallow areas of the Simpson Bay, providing a clear picture of the entire lagoon. Divers also investigated and mapped out a wreck in the Simpson Bay approach.

    Specialists
    The Dutch Navy divers are part of the Royal Netherlands Defense Forces Dive Group, specialized in safety and security under water. Next to expeditionary deployments around the world, divers assist Dutch emergency services on a regular basis. Providing a highly specialized underwater search and rescue capability, their national tasks range from recovering evidence used in criminal proceedings to the recovery of people lost underwater. To maintain their skill set, divers train and exercise worldwide under diverse climatic conditions.

    In total 11 divers participate in the exercise in St Maarten. The exercise takes place under the auspices of the Commander Netherlands Forces in the Caribbean and is supported by the Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard.

    Royal Netherlands Navy Press Release

  • Collectivite Released St. Martin’s Day Programme.

    MARIGOT:--- The Territorial Councillor in charge of Cultural Affairs Rollande Questel announced on Monday during a press conference the details of the St. Martin/ St. Maarten Day programme scheduled to take place on the French side of the island on Sunday November 11. Director of the Arts and Culture Service Minerva Dormoy, Director of the Human Development Department Thierry Gombs, Territorial Councillor Nadine Paines and for the first time representatives from the Merchants Association of Marigot (ACM), President René Mathon and Treasurer Philippe Morel were all present for the official announcement of the St. Martin's Day program.

    This festivities this year will be starting on Friday November 9 under the theme "One people, respecting the past, investing in the future." Dauphin Telecom has already got into the spirit of St. Martin Day by hanging a giant cultural poster depicting salt pickers on the facade of its building.

    The main activities and speeches on Sunday will be organized in a field close to the border monument in Belle Plaine, French Quarter, where a tent village will be erected including a stage and stands for booth holders.

    The official opening is on Friday evening at 8:00pm in Belle Plaine that will include remarks from elected officials and President Alain Richardson. Musical entertainment follows with a Youth Extravaganza Show.

    Saturday November 10 begins with a wreath-laying at 11:00am in the garden of Hotel de La Collectivité to commemorate Armistice Day. Back in French Quarter at Belle Plaine from 12:00pm onwards local food and traditional dishes will be on sale in the village from the booths. A Belotte and Dominoes competition has also been organized from 1:00pm.

    The Merchants Association is playing its part by putting on entertainment in the streets of Marigot, Marina Royale, and West Indies Mall with bands and street performers on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings.

    That evening a Calypso Show will feature calypso stars from both sides of the island on stage in Belle Plaine.

    Sunday November 11 will begin with an Ecumenical Service at the Methodist Church in French Quarter at 9:00am followed by a wreath-laying at the border monument at 10:45am. The official St. Martin Day uniformed parade starts at 11:15am from the Cultural Center in French Quarter and finishes in Belle Plaine. Speeches from elected officials and invited dignitaries, and lunch, will follow in the village at 12:00pm.

    President Alain Richardson will honor three persons from French Quarter who have contributed to nation building. The identities of the recipients are being closely guarded until the day.

    Imbali Productions plans to give a song and dance cultural presentation with Clara Reyes performing the Ponum Dance.

    A cycling race with a course going around the island begins at 2:00pm in French Quarter. Following that several associations from both sides of the island will take part in a cultural parade reflecting the rich tapestry of cultures and nationalities living together on the island.

    Sports events and traditional games have also been organized for the afternoon at various locations and include a basketball, football, beach volleyball tournaments.

    At 6:30pm a video documentary of St. Martin past and present including archive footage and participation of well persons in the community will be shown. Entertainment continues on stage from 8:00pm until 11:00pm with various performing artists such as Percy Rankin and Mr. Ruffy.

  • Judge to Rule in SMMC Litigation against Inspectorate on November 13th.

    earlbestandjairobloem05112012Philipsburg:--- Attorney at Law Maarten Le Poole and Medical Director of the St. Maarten Medical Center Dr. George Scot spent almost two hours trying to convince Judge Van Veen that the court should suspend the fines the Inspectorate levied against the St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) for the non compliance of the demands the Inspectorate placed on the St. Maarten Medical Center. Le Poole contested the first six of thirteen demands that were placed on the St. Maarten Medical Center which had to be met by October 25th, 2012. Failing to comply with the demands on higher supervision the Inspectorate said the SMMC would have to pay $500 per day for each demand. According to a letter the SMMC sent to the Inspectorate on October 25th, 2012, Le Poole claimed that SMMC has complied with the first six demands. This was contested by the Inspectorate who said that the SMMC only complied with fourth demand by providing a phone number on which he (Dr. Scot) could be reached when he is not on St. Maarten. Le Poole also told the court that the Inspectorate is not authorized to supervise or impose fines on any medical institution. He said such cannot be found in the law.

    Attorney at Law Jairo Bloem in his defense on behalf of the Inspectorate cited the several ordinances that gives the Inspector General the power to supervise all medical institutions, to levy fines, and to even close institutions that are not up to par with the health care standards that are laid down in the law. The two most important laws Bloem showed the court were the laws on Health Care Institutions and the law governing the Inspectorate.

    During the hearing the lawyers representing the Supervisory Council attended and monitored the procedures. Judge van Veen will issue his decision on November 13th, 2012.

    In the meantime, SMN News learnt that Dr. George Scot was supposed to meet with the Inspectorate at 4pm Monday afternoon to discuss the various positions he is holding at the St. Maarten Medical Center. A source close to SMMC said that Scot refused to attend the meeting, instead he had his lawyer send the Inspectorate a letter advising them to refer to the Supervisory Council for the information they need on Scot's positions at the SMMC.

    Click here to read the defense presented by Attorney at Law Jairo Bloem 1.

    Click here to read the defense presented by Attorney at Law Jairo Bloem 2.

  • Central Committee with Minister Jacobs to be rescheduled.

    PHILIPSBURG:--- The Central Committee of Parliament that was scheduled for Tuesday 6 November at 3:00pm will be rescheduled.

    A new date has not yet been established.

    This public meeting was the continuation of the October 22 session with the Minister of Education which was adjourned to be reconvened.

    The agenda points are the present Education Policy followed by the present Youth and Sports Policy. This meeting was requested by the United Peoples (UP) party faction.

  • Ministry of Public Health and Diabetes Foundation to Observe World Diabetes Day next week.

    GREAT BAY (DCOMM):--- World Diabetes Day (WDD) will be observed around the world next week Wednesday, 14 November.

    The Collective Prevention Services (CPS) in the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, is working in collaboration with the Diabetes Foundation to commemorate the day with a number of activities spread out over a four week period.

    One of the activities planned is a presentation on the results of a pilot project about diabetic foot care for November 15 for health care providers and professionals.

    A walk-a-thon under the banner, 'Walk for Health,' is planned for November 17. On November 25 there will be a training session for health care providers on how to take care of a diabetic foot.

    A workshop is planned for beauty salons and spas in particular for their owners and employees about identifying diabetic feet on November 26.

    Additional information about the aforementioned will be released within short.

    WDD is used to create awareness of diabetes. It's escalating around the world and the global community needs to be informed including the community of Sint Maarten how to prevent the illness in most cases.

    The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that more than 346 million people worldwide have diabetes. This number is likely to more than double by 2030 without intervention. Almost 80 per cent of diabetes deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.

    The Minister of Public Health's 'Get Checked' campaign is also in line with creating awareness about diabetes and what can be done to prevent it in certain cases.

  • St. Maarten Resident Exceeds Expectations at 29th Annual FATUM Loop in Curacao.

    omarcorobinson05112012Omarco Robinson, a Jamaican national residing on the island of St. Maarten was sponsored by Fatum Insurances to represent its St. Maarten Office at the 29th Annual FATUM Loop in Curacao. The runner got this opportunity after winning the 10k run at the local Fatum Loop on the 21st of October last. Robinson did not only win the 10k run in Curacao – which was held one week later on the 29th of October – but exceeded expectations by setting a new whopping record of 34.08 minutes.
    Robinson commented: "Last year I placed third in the race and thought to myself this year I had to try harder. I stayed focus, knowing that there was enough competition out there. The results show the determination to win and I am pleased with the new record set."
    FATUM Country Manager for the Windward Islands, Mr Olivier Van der Gevel was also very pleased with the results: "Having a St. Maarten resident win the FATUM Loop in Curacao is a win-win situation for us all. The FATUM Loop helps to keep up the pace on nation building, encouraging our residents to not only represent our country abroad but to excel as well. We will continue to host the event, as the rewards of organizing and the participation in Sports activities are high for any young country like St. Maarten.

  • National Alliance extends condolences to Minister Silveria Jacobs on the passing of her Mother.

    sjacobsandhermom05112012Leader of the National Alliance and Deputy Prime Minister William Marlin, on Monday extended condolences to Minister Silveria Jacobs and her brothers Ronnie and Raymond, on the passing of their beloved mother, Nadia Bryson-Willemsberg, who passed away on Monday morning at the St. Maarten Medical Center.

    William Marlin extended heartfelt condolences to the Minister, Ronnie and Raymond and their respective families and to the rest of the Jacobs/Willemsberg families on the passing of Nadia on behalf of himself and family and the entire National Alliance family, in the Council of Ministers, the Parliament, members and supporters.

    Marlin said that he had personally known Nadia for many years, going back to the 1970's when he was Principal of the Lionel Conner School and Silveria, Ronnie, and Raymond attended school there. Nadia was a loving mother who loved and cared for her children and was one of those parents you could always rely and depend on. She attended every parents/teachers meeting and was very involved in the education of her three children.

    Marlin expressed the hope that the many fond memories Silveria, Ronnie, and Raymond and their families have of Nadia would comfort them in these days of sorrow and bereavement.

  • Minister Jacobs Opens Cricket Tournament.

    sjacobsopenscrickettournament04112012GREAT BAY (DCOMM):--- Minister of Education, Culture, Youth Affairs and Sports Hon. Silveria Jacobs officially opened the 50 over's tournament games of Leeward Island Cricket Association (LICA) and addressed the small gathering.

  • SCDF Releases Carnival 2013 Schedule --- 22 Days of Activities.

    PHILIPSBURG:--- The St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) released its schedule for Carnival 2013 over the weekend, a schedule that features 22 days of Carnival activities. There will be 17 days of "fettin" from the official opening of Carnival Village on Thursday, April 18 until the close on Friday May 3, 2013. Prior to that however, there will also be five Carnival events held at locations outside of Carnival Village.

    The schedule is the longest it has been in a few years and features seven locally themed nights, six international nights and eight road events (jump-ups and parades). The international nights will cover almost every music genre, Soca, Reagge, Zouk/Compas, Latin, Antillean and R&B.

    The 2013 schedule also features a US $2 Family Fun & Culture Night. "With this night we wanted to let families come out to Carnival Village to simply enjoy the ambiance and for the kids to have some fun. There will be bouncers on village grounds, cultural entertainment on stage, it will be a fun, inexpensive night," President of the SCDF Mike Granger said.

    He continued: "We think Carnival lovers, supporters, or corporate sponsors, will be very happy with this schedule. We've scheduled a little something for everyone, the best that Carnival has to offer. From our Calypso shows to our pageants and highlighted by our parades, Carnival 2013 will be spectacle that nobody, at home or abroad, will want to miss."

    As for which artists will be featured on the international nights, Granger said as soon as the respective promoters conclude their negotiations and inform SCDF definitively who the artists are, the public will be informed accordingly. "There will be so much more announcements coming for Carnival 2013 about the various initiatives that will be put in place. Stay tuned for those," Granger said.

    The 2013 Carnival schedule:

    Saturday, January 26 Unity Jump Up

    Saturday, April 6 Senior Calypso Eliminations

    Sunday, April 7 Jr. Queen Show & Jr. Road March & Calypso

    Friday, April 12 Fete to Fitness Jump Up

    Saturday, April 13 Teen & Senior Queen Cultural & Speech Competition

    Thursday, April 18 Opening Carnival Village

    Friday, April 19 International Night - Antillean

    Saturday, April 20 International Night - Zouk

    Sunday, April 21 Junior Carnival Parade

    Monday, April 22 Miss Mature Pageant

    Tuesday, April 23 $2 Family Fun & Cultural Night

    Wednesday, April 24 Teen & Senior Pageant

    Thursday, April 25 Youth Extravaganza

    Friday, April 26 International Night – Soca/Dancehall Blend

    Saturday, April 27 International Night - Soca

    Sunday, April 28 Senior Calypso Finals & Carnival Honors

    Monday, April 29 (4am) Jouvert Morning Jump-Up

    Monday, April 29 (8pm) International Night - Reggae

    Tuesday, April 30 Grand Carnival Parade

    Wednesday, May 1 Second Day Parade

    Thursday, May 2 International Night - Latin

    Friday, May 3 Closing Jump Up/ Burning King Momo

    SCDF Press Release

  • Genesis Meyers Crowned Little Miss St. Martin --- Six contestants showed extra-ordinary talents.

    lilmisssxmgenesismeyers04112012Philipsburg:--- The second annual Lil Miss St. Martin Queen Show organized by Nzinga Lake gathered a large number of people from both sides of the island who came out to support the six contestants that participated in the show.

    The contestants were asked to select their national hero and gather information on the person they chose. Those chosen as national heroes were Daniella Jeffry from  St. Martin, former first lady Angela Richards, Bernadette Davis, Prime Minister Sarah Wescot Williams, Ruby Bute, and Clara Reyes.

    All six contestants were given an award for their participation which was sponsored by Big D photo studio, they all also received a bouquet of flowers for their hard work and dedication. Nzinga Lake who is always emotional during these shows also received an award from last year's Lil Miss St. Maarten Queen and Big D for making the show a reality.

    Cheyenne Nunes was awarded best introduction with 36 points, best speech went to Genesis Meyers with 145 points, best creative wear went to Nilka Richardson with 112 points, and Genesis Meyers captured the best princess wear with 76 points. Nilka Richardson got the miss amity award, miss photogenic went to Cheyenne Nunes, and miss popularity was captured by Genesis Meyers.

    The overall winners for the 2012 Lil Miss St. Maarten broke down to Sapphire Elisa crowned 3rd runner up with 279 points, Cheyenne Nunes 2nd runner up with 329 points, Nilka Richardson captured the first runner up spot, and Genesis Meyers was crowned Lil St. Maarten 2012 with 363 points.

    Minister of Education, Youth, and Sports Silveria Jacobs and head of the Culture department Minerva Dangleben assisted with the crowning of the queens.

    Click here to view more photos of the Lil Miss St. Martin Show 2012.

  • Department of Statistics (STAT) to conduct second Business Cycle Survey for 2012.

    The Department of Statistics (STAT) will conduct the second Business Cycle Survey for the year 2012, starting on Monday November 5th 2012 until December 14th 2012. This survey is conducted twice per year with a purpose to collect up-to-date information on business and economic developments for industries and the business sector as a whole.

    Additionally, STAT hopes to capture the current opinions and expectations of entrepreneurs in the areas of economic development and the investment climate on St. Maarten.

    The survey will be conducted among all businesses with more than ten employees, and a sample is drawn for those businesses with three to ten employees.

    STAT interviewers will approach and distribute the questionnaires to the businesses. Should the business require any additional assistance, a STAT interviewer will gladly provide such.

    Businesses can expect questions on the level of their turnover, investments made, their competitive status and the company's personnel situation over the year 2012. Additionally, a few questions relate to the entrepreneur's perception on a number of indicators and his/her confidence in the St. Maarten economy during the coming period.

    With this information available, government and entrepreneurs can take better, quicker and well-founded decisions. The input of the private sector in this survey will be highly appreciated and is essential for its success.

    STAT therefore appeals to all businesses approached to cooperate, only then can STAT timely analyze and publish the survey results for the benefit of the government and the private sector.

  • SHTA laments negative impact of Sandy.

    PHILIPSBURG:--- The SHTA expressed great sadness in the wake of Hurricane Sandy which dealt severe damage to the communities of the North East; New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut among others. This area is the base of our tourism product, many of our vacation homes and timeshare owners are from this area and undoubtedly they will have difficult times ahead. We here in St. Maarten know only too well what Hurricane damage can do to the spirit of individuals, and damaged property it leaves behind. With this in mind we pray for swift recovery for those areas affected by Hurricane Sandy.

    With a large percent of St. Maarten's business generated by individuals and families coming from the affected areas that include Boston, New York, Washington and Philadelphia, St. Maarten Hospitality & Trade Association SHTA has expressed its concern that the 2012 tourism season could be met with lack of demand and a surge in cancellations. To this end the SHTA is again calling for the swift implementation of the St. Maarten Tourist Authority STA which would be able to more nimbly react to worldwide developments and execute marketing strategies without the extended bureaucracy that currently delays any real action.

    Now with our primary market in disarray caused by Hurricane Sandy, we are concerned about the effect on discretionary spending of these individuals which will ultimately have a trickledown effect on our economy. Already analysts in Jamaica have predicted that Hurricane Sandy's effects on the Northeast United States could have a devastating effect on Jamaica's tourism industry, because the Northeast is Jamaica's largest source market and a disruption of amenities in that part of the world would automatically have an impact on the fortunes of Jamaica.

    This hurdle is by itself a major concern, but compounded by the lack of a proper marketing plan for St. Maarten and the fact that the competition for vacation spending in general is very fierce; especially amongst our neighboring island whose target is the same source market; and as a rule is far better organized than we are, the depth of the impact on St. Maarten economy could be significant.

    SHTA Press Release

  • Minister of Health administers his first oath taking ceremony.

    cdeweeverfirstoathtakingceremony04112012Great Bay:--- On Friday November 2, 2012, history was made at the A.C. Wathey Legislative Hall where Minister of Public Health Social Development & Labor, Cornelius De Weever administered the oath to two medical professionals. Minister De Weever was given this mandate by Governor Eugene Holiday.

    The two medical professionals are physical therapists, and they are Joseph Arrindell and Martijn Steffens. Assisting Minister De Weever during the ceremony was Yolaine Bruney of the Department of Public Health.

  • Minister Jacobs attends Seven Seas Spelling Bee.

    sjacobswithsevenseasspellingbeewinners04112012GREAT BAY (DCOMM):--- Minister of Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, and Sports Hon. Silveria Jacobs, attended and spoke at the Seven Seas Spelling Bee on Saturday November 3rd, 2012.

    Representatives of the primary schools on St. Maarten participated in the spelling bee. The winners of the spelling bee are Rakisha Ramchandani and Disha of the MAC Browlia, respectively placing in the 1st and 2nd place.

    The 3rd place was awarded to young Fleming of Learning Unlimited. The top three finalists received gold cups and the most supportive school received a multi printer.

    In addition many educators were awarded prizes throughout the day for their participation in a mini spelling and St. Maarten trivia competitions.

    Minister Jacobs commended the participants, teachers, schools and parents who supported this effort by the community minded Rotary Mid Isle, Rotaract Sunrise and corporate sponsors. This was an excellent example of cooperation to benefit our youth and education.

  • MP Gracita Arrindell speaks about Turn over Tax and Additional Revenue Measures.

    garrindell23122011United Peoples (UP) Party Member of Parliament Hon. Gracita Arrindell says she is concerned about Government placing too much pressure on the business community during the global recession where it concerns collecting taxes and should go after the unregistered companies that are making money and not paying what is due to the community.

    The UP faction is also very concerned with the notion that the National Alliance (NA) led Government has plans to increase the Turn over Tax (TOT) which will only further exacerbate the fragile economic situation of the country.

    An increase in the TOT will also have a negative influence on other sectors of the community. The purchasing power of citizens including our senior citizen, and those least vulnerable among us will further decline. The middle and working class people will also lose out as prices increase overall.

    Government's focus should be on creating opportunities for businesses to establish themselves and this in turn creates employment and brings in more income for the Government and shortening significantly the bureaucratic red tape, especially in terms of introducing more efficient turnaround response to request-time of business licenses and building permits. Encouraging direct foreign investment, stimulating more public-private partnerships will also provide much needed funds for government.

    The current track the country is on is not good. Government has its priorities wrong, wrong direction, the country is on the wrong track.

    Government has a balanced 2013 budget of Naf.443 million. Talks by the Minister of Finance of revenue increasing measures should not burden those who already pay their taxes, and make their fair share contribution.

    The people and business community want relief at this time. The Government for the people have not brought any relief since it took office six months ago.

    The Minister of Finance talks about if every company pays at least some of the taxes they have to pay government that the latter will have more than enough money. You can't squeeze blood out of a stone. The working people of this country pay their dues and so do the thousands of businesses who contribute monthly in taxes to the coffers of the country.

    Government is heading in the direction of taxing the people and business community to death. The United Peoples party had a strategy to go after those businesses and others that weren't paying at all. Expanding the tax base will bring in additional revenues for government thereby covering new policies and programs that need to be implemented.

    Hon. Gracita Arrindell
    Member of Parliament
    United Peoples (UP) Party

  • Minister Jacobs addresses St. Maarten Academy Class of 2013.

    GREAT BAY (DCOMM):--- Minister of Education, Culture, Youth Affairs and Sports Hon. Silveria Jacobs, addressed the St. Maarten Academy Class of 2013, on Friday November 2nd, in a session at the Carl and Sons Conference Room.

    The eager and attentive students were encouraged to surround themselves with positive people who would help to build them up. Form Five students were told to Dream Big, Plan meticulously and Act diligently on their plans.

    Students were urged to believe in themselves and their responsibility for their success by "Evaluating every step of the way and re-adjusting your plan if necessary while always believing in yourself."

    In her inspirational message Minister Jacobs reminded the Form Five students that they should find time for fun and do the things they loved each day so as to enjoy the process towards achieving their goals.

    In closing students were advised to take heed and to expect and accept the pitfalls, and to use them as lessons to become even stronger.

    "When you fall down, get up, dust off and figure out what went wrong. Then make sure to take the steps to never repeat that same mistake again."

  • Sint Maarten Numbering Plan.

    PHILIPSBURG:--- The Numbering Plan for Sint Maarten is the first ever and addresses the allocation and management of numbering resources, including but not limited to numbers, carrier codes, short codes, 1-800 numbers etc.

    The Government if Sint Maarten duly obtained a country and dialling code for Sint Maarten within the North American Numbering Plan (NANP), with the assignment of 1-721.

    Minister of Tourism & Economic Affairs, Transportation and Telecommunications (TEATT) Hon. Romeo Pantophlet, is very pleased with the transition to the new numbering plan.

    The NANP is a standardized system of numbering plan areas that has evolved over the years into a code consisting of a three-digit area code (NPA) and a seven-digit subscriber number.

    The system was developed in the 1940s and first implemented by AT&T in 1951. Currently the NANP encompasses 24 countries and territories, and these nations share the country code 1 under the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

    In the further execution of its authorities and tasks in this area, the Government of Sint Maarten realized that implementation of the new country and dialling code required the introduction of a new numbering plan for the country.

    The existing numbering plan came to an end after the country went through a transitory phase after the dismantling of the Netherlands Antilles.

    It was in November 2010 that a mandate issued by the Council of Ministers of Sint Maarten allowed for the official transition of Sint Maarten into the NANP on September 11, 2011. A one-year permissive dialling period was instituted to facilitate the transition from the (599) country code of the former Netherlands Antilles to the country code (1) and area code (721).

    The Government of Sint Maarten initiated the phased introduction of the new country code and dialling code in close cooperation and consultation with the participants within the telecommunications industry on the island.

    During the aforementioned phase, telecommunication service providers worked towards a due implementation and seamless transition into the NANP, the Government of Sint Maarten worked on its numbering plan to create the basis that would support the use of numbering resources in compliance with rules and regulations set by the North American Numbering Association.

    Prior to October 10, 2010, Sint Maarten was part of the Netherlands Antilles and the numbering resources used by the country were governed by the National Numbering Plan Netherlands Antilles.

    In April 2008, the then Executive Council of the Island Territory of Sint Maarten (Netherlands Antilles) requested the admittance of the country into the NANP.

    The North American Numbering Plan Administration approved Sint Maarten's request in September 2009 and assigned 721 as the area code.

  • National Alliance and IND denounce Rumors on Fall of Government --- IND Frans Richardson assured he will deal with those who started the “Makaveli Show.”

    independentmpsduringcalypsofinals28042012Philipsburg:--- The leader of the National Alliance, William Marlin, and the three Independent Members of Parliament Patrick Illidge, Frans Richardson, and Romaine La Ville denounced the week long rumor which states that the Government of St. Maarten will fall because constant discussions have been taking place with the Leader of the United Peoples Party.

    Marlin who was the main guest on the "Lloyd Richardson Show" assured the people of St. Maarten and especially the IND Members with whom he signed a working agreement in May 2012 that his party has not been involved in any type of political discussion. Marlin said he was called by a particular reporter who first reported the possible fall government and he told that reporter that his party (National Alliance) was not involved in any type of political discussions.
    Independent Member of Parliament Patrick Illidge in his statements said that when the NA, DP, and IND took over the government some six months ago they found a complete mess. Illidge said while the former government was engaged in building a bridge to nowhere he personally went to Curacao on his own expense to secure sewing program for young women who did not complete school on St. Maarten. Illidge further explained that while they are in government they are confronted by people everyday who are in need of jobs and he is working feverishly to create more employment for locals and to keep the people's monies at home. Illidge said when the rumor started most of them were off island working in the interest of St. Maarten. "We are not interested in creating more instability for the community of St. Maarten."

    Independent Member of Parliament Frans Richardson showed up on the early morning show to assure the leader of the National Alliance that the three Members of Parliament are not engaged in any type of political talks. Richardson said those that started their "Makaveli Show" will be dealt with. Richardson said the current government is working very hard to create stability on St. Maarten.

    Romaine La Ville who is also an Independent Member of Parliament sounded the same sentiments. La Ville said while his name is called most of the time in the rumors or scandals he also wanted to assure the people of St. Maarten that they are not engaged in any type of political discussions.

    Leader of the National Alliance and Deputy Prime Minister William Marlin said he had no intention of reacting to the rumors but a calypsonian and friend convinced him that he needed to put the matter to rest. Marlin said if he or any of those in government were interested in rumors they could go out there and start a rumor by stating that Members of Parliament representing the United Peoples Party were going to join the current coalition. Marlin further stated that his government including all the other Ministers of his cabinet are working hard for the people of St. Maarten. Marlin also agreed that there are certain discussions that take place within the present coalition because the pressure is on everyone.

    While the leader of the National Alliance and the three Independents have put the rumor to rest the community of St. Maarten is yet to hear from the Leader of the Democratic Party Faction in Parliament and the Leader of the United Peoples Party.

     

    Marlin working on Street lights and Tunnels to Alleviate Traffic --- Says Tolling Stations will be in place for tunnel users.

    Deputy Prime Minister William Marlin who is also Minister of VROMI said the causeway which he once described as the "bridge to nowhere" will have to two tunnels which would help alleviate traffic on St. Maarten. Marlin said that his Ministry has been working very hard on the road network plan which was established through the former island council. This road network plan includes the link 1, phase 1 and 2 which was conducted but that comprehensive plan had phase three which has link 9 (the causeway which is now under construction) and link 3 which was the ring road. He said the sand was dumped around in the salt pond since the year 2009 and there was no further activity since then. Marlin said his government sought financing to expedite several road links which will not take place at the same time but within a short time span. Marlin said if phase three is not done then there will be a bottle neck within the road network. Marlin explained that link 9 is the causeway (the bridge to nowhere)  and if it is not upgraded then the project when completed will take the traffic from Simpson Bay and drop it off in Cole Bay which would create a bigger bottle neck. Marlin said his government has a projection to build two tunnels. The first one he said will take drivers from Cole Bay (end of the causeway) to St. Peters and the other one will take drivers to the end of link 2 (in front of Cake House on L.B. Scot Road). The Minister of VROMI said that his Ministry is also busy with link 6 which is part of the east to west connection. He said traffic leaving the French Quarter and Dutch Quarter area will go through the Bethlehem (Francis family) which will take them to the other side of Weymouth Hill. He said the intention is to upgrade the Weymouth Road which will take drivers to the St. Dominic School in St. Peters. Marlin said when these tunnels and other links are completed drivers will reach their destination in no time. Drivers will have to pay a small toll fee which can be done via the easy pass or some other technological way to eliminate a back up at the toll stations.

    Marlin also announced that he is has been working feverishly to repair the street lights around the island. Marlin said when he took office he met a "stalemate" between GEBE and Government. He said in the new concession government gave GEBE they indicated that GEBE will be responsible for the maintenance of the street lights. This he said sparked an endless discussion between GEBE and the maintenance department of Public Works. Marlin said GEBE asked questions regarding who would be responsible for posts and other materials that are damaged due to accidents. Marlin said this discussion escalated because GEBE wanted more information regarding the maintenance of the street lights and their concern was who is going to purchase the materials for the maintenance. Marlin said he submitted a proposal to Maduro from GEBE and they accepted it but they did not carry out the project. Marlin said only two weeks ago he along with a team from VROMI and his cabinet adviser met the management of GEBE where they agreed to find a solution that will be beneficial to all. The Minister of VROMI said when GEBE was given the maintenance responsibility they did not have the data on where and how many street lights there were on the island, neither did they know where some of the switches were for these lights. Marlin further explained that an inventory was conducted and government and GEBE now have a database and map with all the streetlights in each area. Marlin said the assessment and data collection was done by Public Works. Marlin said currently the department is conducting further assessment on the streetlights because some of them are on 24/7 and they would have to be replaced or upgraded with an electric censor. GEBE he said already calculated a unit price for the repairs. The work  will be offered to several contractors via a bidding and those persons will execute the work of repairing the streetlights on St. Maarten. Marlin said there are hundreds of streetlights that are not functioning on St. Maarten, this he said is very unsafe for traffic and for the people of St. Maarten especially women who can be mugged or raped. Marlin further explained that the idea is to replace the lights with LED lights which would eliminate the large consumption of heavy fuel which destroys the environment and is also very costly for GEBE. Marlin said his government also signed off on the solar panel project. Right now solar panels will be placed on the roof of the Sundial School. Marlin said GEBE is also part of this project because they too know that the same way electricity could generate hot water, sunlight could do the same thing. He said right now the department is working on finalizing the terms of reference so that the project can be placed on bidding.

    Marlin said his Ministry is also working on a waste energy plant for St. Maarten. He said that project is not far away from getting off the ground and one of the objectives is to clean up the "dump" which now stands at 24 meters high and is an environmental eyesore. Marlin said the bidding for this project will soon take place and when the waste management plant is built the garbage situation will become something of the past and through the burning of the garbage electricity will be generated. Marlin said an agreement is also already in place for the purchase of that electricity which GEBE is obliged to purchase from the plant and this will compensate for the investment in the waste management plant.



  • St. Martin of Tours plans to unveil statue on St. Maarten Day.

    On November 11th , 2012, to be precise on the Feast Day of the Patron Saint of Sint Maarten, St. Martin of Tours, the unveiling and blessing of the newly commissioned statue will take place in the courtyard of St. Martin of Tours Roman Catholic Church on Front Street, Philipsburg.

    The Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Nicola Girasoli, the Ambassador of the Pope for the Caribbean Region, has been invited to preside at the 8:30 am Sunday Mass and to bless the statue of St. Martin of Tours afterwards. The Bishop of the Diocese of Willemstad, Bishop Luis Secco, SDB will also be present to participate in the Mass along with the unveiling and blessing.

    The new statue of St. Martin of tours was commissioned by the parish over a year and a half ago and sculpted by David and Jordan Wanner of Wanner Studios based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA.

    Where St. Martin of Tours is often depicted when he was a Roman soldier offering his cloak to a beggar, this statue is unique in the sense that it is when St. Martin became a bishop, and he is offering the cloak to all of Sint Maarten/Saint-Martin, and to those who visit our island.

  • Telecommunication services restored in Simpson Bay after major outage.

    Simpson Bay:--- Telecommunication services in the Simpson Bay area were restored at approximately 12:30 pm Friday following a major outage in the area.
    Outside Plant technicians responded quickly to re-route traffic via an alternative underground fiber cable operated by TelEm Group.
    The technicians will continue to assess and begin repairs on the damaged section of cable without delay.
    The cable was reportedly damaged at approximately 10:30 am Friday morning by workmen operating heavy equipment in the Simpson Bay area.
    This affected telecommunication services from the Simpson Bay Bridge to the Lowlands area.
    Project Manager, Jed Carty, said the main priority for Friday morning was getting customers reconnected as soon as possible after the damage was reported.
    "It's unfortunate that this is the second time equipment has been damaged in the Simpon Bay area through no fault of TelEm Group," said Mr. Carty.
    Last week a motorist collided with a telephone cabinet opposite the Burger King restaurant in Simpson Bay, causing interruptions in landline and internet service in the area.

    TelEm Group has in the meantime apologized to all customers and businesses affected by Friday morning's interruption in service, including the Princess Juliana International Airport and banking institutions.

  • GB Group Acquires Chevron Caribbean in Sint Maarten, Jamaica, and the Dominican Republic.

    gilsonribeiroandgilbertbigio02112012Sint Maarten, November 2, 2012:--- The GB Group Energy division, through its subsidiary Gulfstream Petroleum, announced today that it has completed the acquisition of Chevron's fuels marketing and aviation businesses in St. Maarten, Jamaica, and the Dominican Republic.
    This transaction includes a network of over 220 retail service stations operating under the Texaco Brand, fuels terminals and airport refueling operations across the three markets.
    Following this transaction, the GB group becomes the first Haitian multinational and a regional petroleum marketer with more than 360 service stations.
    "This day marks an important milestone in our long-term development plans and this transaction is perfectly aligned with our intentions to pursue growth internationally as well as in our home market", commented GB Group Chairman, Mr. Gilbert Bigio.
    The GBG Energy division, headed by CEO Pablo Portes, is formed by a team of executives with many years of experience in the petroleum industry and deep knowledge of the fuel business in the Caribbean area.
    Mr. Bigio further comments, " This is a long awaited moment for our team as we have been mobilized and pursuing expansion efforts for some time".
    Based in Haiti since 1896, the GB Group is a diversified holding of private enterprises operating in five main industries, which are Energy, Building Materials, Consumer goods, Telecom and Infrastructure.

  • PEACE IS Foundation inviting general public to come out and support their 6th annual Paradise fundraiser breakfast.

    The PEACE IS Foundation is inviting the general public to come out and support their 6th annual PEACE IS Paradise fundraiser breakfast on St. Maarten's Day, which is hosted in an effort to generate funds to foster and assist with violence prevention in our local schools.

    President of PEACE IS; Glenville Blake announced that the beneficiaries of this year's proceeds will be the Milton Peters College and Sundial School. Both schools are jointly working on 'Peace Keeping' projects which they hope will continue to raise the level of awareness of non-violence among students in their respective schools.

    As in previous years, the patrons can enjoy a traditional local breakfast at Taloula Mangos Restaurant on the Boardwalk from 8:00-11:00am and tickets are available for only $10. We urge our patrons to purchase and wear our Specially-designed "PEACE IS Stop The Violence" t-shirts, which will also be on sale for $10 each.

    Tickets can be obtained at Milton Peters College, Sundial School or from any PEACE IS member.

    For further information or queries, please feel free to contact Peta-Gaye Harriott at Tel: 542-2739 ext.232.

  • Two Central Committee and One Plenary Session of Parliament in Weeks November 12 and 19.

    PHILIPSBURG:--- The Central Committee of Parliament will meet in two central committee sessions and one plenary session in the weeks of November 12 and 19.

    A Central Committee meeting is scheduled for Tuesday morning 13 November at 10:00am in the General Assembly Chamber of the House of Parliament at Wilhelmina Straat #1 in Philipsburg.

    A presentation will be made to Members of Parliament (MPs) regarding the working relationship between the Council of Advice and Parliament by a delegation of the Council of State of the Netherlands.

    The delegation will comprise of Marten Oosting, Arnoldus Weggeman and Ron van der Veer.

    Another Central Committee meeting is scheduled for Monday 19 November in the morning at 10:00am in the General Assembly Chamber.

    The Minister with responsibility for Public Housing, Spatial Development, Environment and Infrastructure (VROMI) Hon. William Marlin, has been invited to parliament to provide information about maintenance and zoning.

    This meeting was requested by the United Peoples (UP) party faction.

    A plenary public meeting is scheduled for Wednesday 21 November in the afternoon at 2:00pm in the General Assembly Chamber.

    This session has a three point agenda, the first one dealing with incoming documents followed by a draft ordinance with changes to the National Ordinance of the Voluntary Corps 1997.

    The third agenda point is the National Ordinance related to changes of the Stamp Ordinance 1994 for the introduction of a new national identification card and driver's license.

    The Minister of General Affairs, Hon. Sarah Wescot-Williams and the Minister of Finance Hon. Roland Tuitt are expected to be present for the session.

    The central committee and plenary sessions will be carried live on St. Maarten Cable TV Channel 120, via Pearl Radio FM 98.1, the audio via the Internet www.pearlfmradio.com, and also via www.sxmparliament.org.

  • SHTA submit Ten Point Position Paper to Government.

    PHILIPSBURG:--- A large cross-section of Private Sector Organizations have come together to support a Ten Point Position Paper which was presented to Prime Minister of St. Maarten Sarah Wescot-Williams this week jointly addressing ten topics of concern affecting Business and Social Development In St. Maarten.
    A Press release issued by SHTA stated that the ten concerns mentioned in the position paper are Fiscal policy and compliance, The STA and Destination Marketing, Labor, Finding the Balance between the size of the Economy and the size of Government, Education and a Hospitality School, Improved Cooperation with French St. Martin, Renewable Energy and Stimulating Business in Philipsburg.
    The SHTA has submitted the Ten Point Position Paper with an attached letter to the Council of Ministers and copied to His Excellency Governor Eugene Holiday and President of Parliament Dr. Rodolphe Samuel.
    In its letter the SHTA stated, "This Position Paper brings together in unison the opinions and suggestions of the Private Sector organizations in St. Maarten, in a bid to create meaningful discussions with all stakeholders on the way forward for Country St. Maarten."
    The paper was endorsed by Myra Provance President of the St. Maarten Timeshare Association, Eveline Henriquez-Dijkhoffz Director of Wholesalers Division SHTA, Keith Graham Director of St. Maarten Large Hotels SHTA, Kenrick Housen Director of Small Hotels SHTA, Danny Ramchandani President of the Indian Merchants Association, Brian Deher President of the St. Maarten Marine Trades Association, Arun Jagtani President of the Real Estate Association of St. Maarten, E. Valentine Davis Director of St. Maarten Restaurant Division SHTA, Andy Caballero Director of St. Maarten Green Environment SHTA, and Rueben Thompson Director of St. Maarten Grey Environment SHTA,
    According to the release the SHTA has made clear to government "Our aim is to, with Government's support; develop innovative measures that address in a structured, efficient and effective manner, what we believe to be ten (10) of the most pressing social and economic ills that affect us all. We remain confident in the Private Sector's ability to contribute to positive and effective change, and we stand fast by our obligation to support pertinent values in human rights, labor standards, sustainable economic development as well as environmental protection and preservation programs."
    The paper was submitted to Prime Minister Wescot-Williams by Executive Director for SHTA Alfred Harley on Wednesday October 31 at her Office. During the presentation Harley told Prime Minister Wescot-Williams "the primary purpose of the Ten Point Position Paper is to, in nuisance as Private Sector representatives, bring to government the growing concerns of many of many businesses and organizations within the community, in a bid to start meaningful discussions on action that can be taken to improve the social and economic climate on St. Maarten. "
    He said the contents of the Ten Point Position Paper demonstrates the vast collective knowledge of these Private Sector organizations and justifiably makes them ideal candidates to advocate the need for serious attention to be paid to the concerns expressed.

    Click here to view SHTA Ten Point Position Paper.

  • Four Parliament meetings planned for next week.

    PHILIPSBURG:--- The Central Committee of Parliament will meet in public session three times next week, and one closed door session.

    Parliamentarians will be meeting with the following members of the Council of Ministers, Hon. Minister of Education, Culture, Youth & Sports Silveria Jacobs, Hon. Minister of Finance Roland Tuitt and the Hon. Minister of Public Housing, Spatial Development, and Environment & Infrastructure (VROMI) William Marlin.

    The first Central Committee meeting is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon at 3:00pm in the General Assembly Chamber of the House of Parliament at Wilhelmina Straat #1 in Philipsburg.

    This public meeting is a continuation of the October 22 session with the Minister of Education which was adjourned to be reconvened. The agenda points are the present Education Policy followed by the present Youth and Sports Policy. This meeting was requested by the United Peoples (UP) party faction.

    The next Central Committee meeting is scheduled for Wednesday afternoon at 2:00pm in the General Assembly Chamber.

    This public meeting has been requested by the Minister of Finance Hon. Roland Tuitt who will inform Members of Parliament (MPs) with respect to the current financial state of affairs of the country.

    The third Central Committee public meeting is scheduled for Thursday morning at 10:00am in the General Assembly Chamber.

    The agenda point for this meeting is a change to the National Ordinance Security Service.

    The fourth Central Committee meeting is scheduled for Friday morning at 10:00am in the General Assembly Chamber, and this session is a closed door meeting.

    The Minister with responsibility for VROMI Hon. William Marlin will answer questions of MPs related to Zoning and Development Plans. The first meeting was requested by MP Hon. Louie Laveist of the National Alliance (NA) faction and this closed door session is a continuation of that meeting.

    The central committee sessions with the exception of the closed door meeting will be carried live on St. Maarten Cable TV Channel 120, via Pearl Radio FM 98.1, the audio via the Internet www.pearlfmradio.com, and also via www.sxmparliament.org.

  • PJIAE strengthens ties with St. Barths --- Agreements reached to facilitate transfer passengers.

    pjiaerepsinstbarths01112012SIMPSON BAY:--- St. Barths is committed to strengthening its partnership with the Princess Juliana International Airport operating company (PJIAE) and recognizes PJIA as its international airport. This was disclosed by President Bruno Magras of the Collectivite of St. Barths at a meeting Monday with a delegation of PJIAE led by its managing director, Regina LaBega.

    The two parties agreed to work together more closely to develop a smoother, better, and more convenient service for St. Barths (Transfer) passengers. To achieve this, PJIAE will research the possibility of allowing airlines to retrieve their St. Barths-bound passengers and VIP bags with the aim of making their transfer faster and easier.

    In connection with this, President Magras would like that during the afternoon hours, the Air Traffic Control (ATC) at Princess Juliana International Airport considers the closing time of St. Barths airport. Attending first to flights destined for St. Barths would improve service, and avoid the passengers having to overnight and therefore lose one day of their vacation.

    Both parties also agreed to share information in order to ensure better cohesion between the two islands.

    "We agreed to meet as often as possible in order to build on our relationship and work closely together to jointly develop new markets," Regina LaBega said.

    In this regard, both parties agreed to a coordinated approach to COPA airlines.

    President Magras and the Director of the St. Barths Tourism Committee, Inès Bouchaut-Choisy, pledged marketing support to ensure that the COPA flights are sustainable. Surveys have shown on both islands that South American visitors, particularly the Brazilians, are among the tourists who spend the most on shopping. Brazilians also love to hop over to St. Barths when they visit St. Maarten.

    Consequently, it was agreed also that St. Barths Director of Tourism will travel with the St. Maarten delegation tomorrow to persuade COPA to maintain or rather increase its service to PJIA.

    "As a hub, PJIA is committed to intensifying its relationship with St. Barths, and indeed, with all the other hub destinations it serves," LaBega said.

  • CPS advises visitors to Mecca to consult family physician if become ill upon return.

    GREAT BAY (DCOMM):--- Persons who travelled to participate in the Haji pilgrimage to Mecca from October 24-29 in Saudi Arabia, and returned to the island this week, the Collective Prevention Services (CPS) in the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, says if persons are feeling ill upon or after their return, they should visit their family physician.

    The annual Haij is considered as one of the greatest assemblies of humankind. Each year, three million Muslims attend the Haij in Mecca. Of these, 1.8 million non-Saudi Arabians usually come from overseas countries, and 89 per cent or 1.6 million of them arrive by air. Pilgrims come from more than 180 countries worldwide.

    The World Health Organization (WHO) recommended the practice of good hand hygiene and cough etiquette and protective behaviors to further decrease the occurrence of respiratory diseases.

    The Minister of Public Health's 'Get Checked' campaign is also in line with the promotion of proper hand and cough hygiene practices.

  • Dolphin Defenders St. Maarten Concerned About On Island Promotion of Captive Dolphin Facility in Anguilla.

    anguilladolphinarium01112012Dolphin Defenders St. Maarten has become increasingly concerned regarding the amount of businesses that are promoting the Captive Dolphin Facility on Anguilla on St. Maarten. Due to the efforts of Dolphin Defenders previous plans to establish a Captive Dolphin Facility on St. Maarten have ceased, however with the reopening of Captive Dolphin Facility in Anguilla many businesses are promoting an activity which both organizations feel should be banned.

    "We cannot endorse or support local businesses which actively promote what amounts to the enslavement and exploitation of an animal that is self-aware and sentient. Dolphins are not made to be in an enclosed pen for the rest of their lives; these are animals that travel up to hundreds of miles a day. Dolphins which are kept in Captivity are done so in very bad conditions, with many of the animals showing horrific injuries and living a fraction of what they would in the wild. Dolphins living in captivity often also show social problems and neurotic behavior which results in aggression to both fellow dolphins and to the humans that train them and the humans that pay money in order to swim with them," read a Dolphin Defender statement.

    The organization further states that they were disappointed to see how many companies actively promote the Captive Dolphin Program in Anguilla on St. Maarten; "having a Captive Dolphin Facility on St. Maarten and promoting one on Anguilla is essentially the same thing; it is based on the exploitation of a majestic creature for the economic benefit of greedy individuals and we urge the companies that do promote these programs to reconsider. The tourist high season coincides with the time of year where many dolphins and whales are passing through our waters, and we encourage businesses to invest in whale and dolphin watching trips where you can meet the animals on their own terms instead of in an artificial pool or pen which is essentially a prison environment," stated Dolphin Defenders.

    According to the Humane Society International new research is constantly being published that shows that dolphins suffer from captivity, "Results often confirm what our common sense tells us is true—dolphins are unsuited to confinement in concrete tanks or in small sea pens. We must reach the people who visit these dolphinariums, who want to swim with dolphins, we must convince them to step back and consider the situation from the dolphins' point of view. The dolphins don't want to interact with us as much as we want to interact with them. If you ever find yourself swimming with a dolphin in the wide, blue ocean be grateful for the gift and don't ruin it by trying to capture this gift in a tank or a pen and paying $150 for it," read a Humane Society International comment on Captive Dolphin Facilities in the Caribbean.

  • PUBLIC NOTICE: PJL Closes for Staff Retreat 2012.

    The Philipsburg Jubilee Library (PJL) wishes to inform the general public that the library will be closed for their annual staff retreat on Friday November 2, Saturday November 3, and Monday November 5, 2012. All due books have been extended.
    The management and staff of PJL apologizes for any inconvenience the closure will cause. Regular opening hours will resume on Tuesday November 6, 2012.

  • SCDF and Motorworld team up to offer cars for Senior and Mature Carnival queens --- Pageant registration closes December 1.

    motorworldandscdftooffercarstoqueenshowwinners01112012PHILIPSBURG:--- The St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) and Motorworld took their annual partnership to another level on Thursday with the announcement that the winner of the 2013 Carnival Senior and Mature Pageants will win a vehicle from Motorworld.
    President of the SCDF Mike Granger said the SCDF is "extremely happy" to be able to offer such terrific grand prizes to the eventual queens of the two pageants, stressing that the cars should not only attract a large amount of registrants, but will also enhance the level of two shows that are already impressive.
    He said the relationship between the SCDF and Motorworld has always been very open, professional and accommodating and "working from that premise made this new venture easily attainable." Present at the presentation on Thursday from Motorworld were Rena Amjad - CEO, Tariq Amjad - Managing Director and Manisha Sukhram - Sales Manager. Vice President of the SCDF Edwardo Radjouki and board member of the SCDF Roland Rommy were also on hand.
    Some aspects of the partnership include but are not limited to: The two shows will be branded the Motorworld Senior and Mature Carnival Queen Pageants, the cars will be on display in Carnival Village, Motorworld will have a presence in the Grand Carnival parade, Motorworld will also provide vehicles for the annual motorcade around the island for all Carnival pageant contestants.
    "Motorworld is an excellent, dedicated corporate sponsor that the SCDF values. We are in the process of enhancing several areas of Carnival and our two biggest pageants will only benefit in attendance and quality with this latest development in our partnership with Motorworld. We are grateful to the entire Motorworld family for jumping on board with Carnival again this year and even more so this time around," Granger said.
    "Motorworld is proud to sponsor the St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) for the upcoming Carnival season. Motorworld has been dedicated sponsors throughout the past years with the Carnival Foundation and we will continue for many more years to come. For Carnival 2013 Motorworld will be donating a brand new 2013 Hyundai i10 and brand new 2013 Hyundai i20 for the winner of the Senior Carnival Queen Pageant (18-25) and the winner of the Miss Mature Carnival Queen Pageant (aged 26 and up). We wish all the contestants the very best of luck and hope the people of St. Maarten comes out to support this great event in large numbers," Sukhram said.
    Granger reminded interested young ladies that they have until December 1 to register for the pageants. The number of registrants for each pageant will be capped at 10 so interested young women is urged to register early. Registration forms can be collected at the Government Administration Building in Philipsburg or they can be emailed once a request is sent to sxmcarnival@hotmail.com.

  • PUBLIC NOTICE: L.B. Scott Road Closed November 3rd.

    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 of the upcoming road closure in connection with the ongoing project Sewage Line "Ebenezer- A. T. Illidge Road." On Saturday November 3rd, 2012 from 6:00 am up until 6:00 pm, the L .B. Scott Road will be closed form the entrance of the St. Peters Road up until Messapple Road entrance for through traffic. The works will be carried out during the day hours between the period of 6:00am thru 6:00pm by the main contractor Windward Roads N.V. A temporary detour will be in place from St. Peters Road via Apricot Road towards Messapple road via St. Peters in both directions for motorist using this road.
    The works which will be carried out are in conjunction with the ongoing project, Sewage Line "Ebenezer- A. T. Illidge Road" Infrastructure upgrading works for the area, the first phase and second phase of the project has already been executed whereas a main sewer line has been installed alongside the L.B. Scott road connecting to the newly upgraded Sewage Plant located on the A.T. Illidge road.
    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 extra attention to the traffic signs and detour route for a smooth and safe transition as the works are being carried out.

  • UP Leader Theo Heyliger speaks about the Impact of Hurricane Sandy.

    theyliger04032012Our thoughts and prayers of the nation firstly are with the people of the Eastern Seaboard who have experienced Hurricane Sandy which made landfall on Monday night impacting a large area of the US East coast affecting approximately 50+ million people.

    As each day goes by the death toll in the US continues to climb as rescue crews make their way through various neighbourhoods that have been inundated by this super storm. Our prayers are with the family and friends who have lost love ones, and with those who have lost so much and are now trying to sort themselves and make a comeback. Here on Sint Maarten we can identify with the experiences that these people have gone through after having gone through Hurricane Luis in 1995 ourselves.

    Sandy reportedly killed approximately 69 people in the Caribbean, with the highest death toll in Haiti (52). Persons also died in Cuba (11), Jamaica (1), Bahamas (2), Dominican Republic (2), Puerto Rico (1) and Canada (2). Our prayers are with those who have lost love ones. The death toll on Thursday for the US stood at 88+.

    The full extent of the damage in the US is still being assessed. Close to eight million people at one point were without electricity and Airlines cancelled more than 15,000 flights around the world after US travel hubs which include New York, Washington, New Jersey and Boston were impacted by the severe weather.

    The cancellation of thousands of flights has already had a knock-on effect for our destination. The Minister of Tourism and Economic Affairs needs to provide a report to the community and business sector with respect to what is the forecast impact for our economy and what measures will be taken to mitigate the possible business loss. Stakeholders expect to receive some information with respect to what wholesalers are experiencing and such reviews should take place over at least a four-month period.

    The storm could costs the US US$50 billion according to some forecasts, but this number could climb.
    A significant number of our visitors come from the Tri-state area in the US and we can expect to see a decline in air arrivals over the next few days and weeks due to the cancelled airlift, and other challenges that families will be confronted with.

    Theo Heyliger
    Leader of the UP Party and former Vice Prime Minister

  • WITU monitoring SZV Coverage for its Clients --- Insurance Company working with Two Eye Specialists Only.

    celshot01112012Philipsburg:--- President of the Windward Island Teachers Union (WITU) Claire Elshot told reporters on Thursday during WICLU's weekly press briefing that the union will begin to monitor the kind of coverage SZV is giving to their clients. Elshot said since the merging from SVB, BZV, and SZV there are several changes in the coverage and packages that are given to persons that are registered at SZV.

    The WITU President said just recently she learned from one of her members that SZV only provides coverage for two eye specialists on the island and not all eye specialists that are working on St. Maarten. Elshot said that it takes months to get an appointment from these doctors and even though she is a member of the GOA she was not aware of all the changes that were made when BZV handed over to SZV.

    Elshot also announced that the Caribbean Union of Teachers (CUT) will be holding their 5th Regional Educational Conference in Grenada. Elshot said Grenada Teachers Union will be hosting the conference. The conference will be held from December 3rd to the 5th with the theme "The Future of the Teaching Profession in the Caribbean."

  • WICLU has no problem with Rafael Boasman being Extraordinary Mediator --- Pelican Workers Still in Crisis --- Thompson.

    theophilusthompson01112012Philipsburg:--- The President and Vice President of the Windward Islands Chamber of Labour Unions (WICLU) made clear that they have no problem with the Minister appointing Rafael Boasman as an extra-ordinary mediator.

    President of the WICLU, Theophilus Thompson said that during the time the former Chief of Police was in the position as the labour mediator the department was not functioning optimally. Thompson said that there were several cases that had to be dealt with and Holiday did not do what was necessary. He said while the mediator has to be an independent body from the Department of Labour and Social Affairs it should be clear that anyone that is in that position must know the island labour laws. Thompson said as it is now the persons that are appointed to certain positions have no knowledge or is not qualified for the positions they are given. He said appointments are done now depending on the political parties the candidate supports or is aligned with. Thompson said Derrick Holiday had no knowledge of the labour laws, he was an officer of the law, therefore he is of the opinion that Holiday could not function optimally. Thompson said that in the past Kenneth Lopes was the head of the Federal Labour Department and he was also the mediator on St. Maarten. During those years he said that the labour stakeholders were getting more services and most importantly when there was an impasse locally St. Maarten was able to get extra-ordinary mediators from Curacao to intervene. Thompson said the situation changed but he assured that the union will continue to monitor the situation and to see who the Minster will appoint to the position.

    Vice President of the WICLU and President of the WITU Claire Elshot also told reporters that the WICLU and WITU were contacted prior to the appointment of Boasman. Elshot said that the union was told Boasman will only act as a mediator when there is a referendum that has to be conducted. Elshot said she was told by certain members of the media that there is a conflict of interest now that Boasman has been appointed. However, Elshot said Boasman will not be in the position permanently and they are looking forward to see when the Ministry will publish the vacancy so that competent persons on St. Maarten could apply. Both the President and Vice President said they want to be part of the negotiations and the selection of the person to fill the position.

  • SHTA demands swift action to tackle crime.

    PHILIPSBURG:--- In the wake of several violent armed robberies that took place in St. Maarten recently, the St. Maarten Hospitality & Trade Association (SHTA) is demanding Government's immediate attention to growing security concerns on the island.
    The SHTA is demanding that Government resolve the issue of who should manage street lights on St. Maarten immediately as this lack of clarity, resulting in no replacement of bulbs and maintenance of street lights puts everyone on the island at risk. There must also be emphasis on preventative policing in planning and executing patrols during the daytime and at nights in the various commercial districts, especially when businesses are closing considering many businesses close at similar times. We also recommend that businesses take extra security measures, including ensuring that the outside of their businesses are properly lit.
    Though violent crimes appear to be on the rise throughout the island; especially residents and visitors to the Philipsburg area – our treasured capital and main economic center - find themselves increasingly the target of violent criminals without even the concern for human life. From the Board Walk to the Walter Nisbeth Road there are literally hundreds of businesses that make St. Maarten a prime destination for shopping and leisure activities. Too many street lights are not working in Philipsburg and police presence on Front Street, Back Street and the Board Walk is lacking especially at night, which presence is critical to the safety of our residents and visitors.
    The SHTA has stated that it does not consider the cause of crime to be lack of street lights, but says that the failure to ensure adequate lighting on the island in general gives rise to criminal activity.
    SHTA President Emil Lee stated: ""My sympathy and best wishes go out to Joel Morand and other recent victims of violent crimes. Many businesses are already severely challenged by the combination of increasing cost of doing business; decreasing demand, heavily bureaucratic and expensive administrative processes, unlevel playing field, decreasing quality of life and now add on top of that, people need to fear for their lives. I believe that we are fast approaching a point where businesses will develop and execute exit strategies."
    While he insists that Government needs to act, Lee said some businesses are already being proactive and others should follow their example and not wait for Government's action to come. He said, "We must all be proactive in developing preventative measures to protect ourselves."
    Sunny Khatnani, representing the Indian Merchants Association (IMA) on the SHTA Board of Directors stated, "The fact that there are only 58 lights on Front Street and 98 lights on Back Street, many of which do not work, the alleys connecting themain streets mostly remain in the dark without any proper lighting, is a clear indication of the lack of a proactive approach." He said, "We need to have additional lights installed on Front Street and in all the alleys immediately and we must see increased police presence during the daytime and night especially considering that November and December are not only busy business months but criminal activity has historically increased during this period in Philipsburg."
    The SHTA demands for all defective street lights in every neighborhood to be repaired immediately and for the proper maintenance of these lights to be taken up moving forward in order to maintain safety. SHTA is also demanding police and VKS patrols to be stepped up in Philipsburg, especially on the Board Walk and Front/Back Street areas; without sacrificing the other districts.
    According to SHTA, the present economic climate for local businesses to operate in is already extremely challenging. Increasing cost of doing business and Government bureaucracy compound the problem, resulting in many existing businesses struggling for survival. In an increasingly competitive international marketplace, the ability of St. Maarten to successfully promote tourism and attract new investments is tantamount to its ability to guarantee personal safety and security.
    It is no secret that during the months of November and December people from neighboring islands come to St. Maarten in large numbers, whereas also the number of tourists visiting the island increases as hotels, timeshare properties, villa rental companies and marinas get ready for the upcoming high season. Therefore, we must act now to ensure that visitors and residents are protected. SHTA calls for a concerted and coordinated effort towards Government, business associations, community councils and other stakeholders working together on improving the present situation while focusing on ways and means to enhance prevention first. SHTA has requested a meeting with Minister of Justice Duncan to discuss and address the present situation.
    The SHTA is also requesting that Government act now to seek temporary assistance from law enforcement agencies in Holland. In the past Government has received assistance from Police and Marechaussee and with the urgent need to increase the presence of officers in the Philipsburg, Simpson Bay and Mullet Bay area as well to guarantee enough manpower for regular vehicular patrols in all the residential areas on the island, it is imperative that we act now. We are also aware that during this time of year the Coast Guard is confronted with increased Criminal activity and as such consideration should also be given to requesting Marine support for our local Coast Guard.

  • Importers of Agricultural, Animal, and Seafood Products Required to Meet Import Conditions.

    GREAT BAY (DCOMM):--- Part of the responsibilities of the Inspection Department TEZVT - Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries (LVV) which is part of the Ministry of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunications, includes the issue of pre-entry application forms and the inspection of agricultural, animal and seafood products when they arrive in the country. Sint Maarten as part of the Caribbean community is obligated to comply with international laws, rules and regulations.

    The Inspection Department TEZVT - LVV informs importers of agricultural, animal and seafood products that approved import rules and guidelines have to be followed. These conditions have been implemented to protect human, animal and plant health. The process and forms have been approved by the Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transportation and Telecommunications.

    Businesses and individuals desirous of importing agricultural, animal or seafood products must fill out and submit an import application form. This must be done at least five (5) working days prior to the arrival of the produce and will give adequate time for the preparation of the import permit.

    It is the duty of the importer to secure his/her permits prior to the arrival of their produce and to ensure that their products are accompanied by necessary Sanitary or Phytosanitary certificates. Products or produce not listed on the application but which appear on the aircraft or ship manifest will be subject to additional control measures.

    Importers must request the necessary forms in order to comply with the import conditions. The forms must be filled completely as they address food safety and environmental protection issues.

    Businesses and individuals importing agricultural products from within the region also have to comply with enhanced import protocols that have been put into place at our port border control points.

    Prior to any produce leaving an inter-island vessel, TEZVT inspectors will first check if all paperwork is in order; an inspection of the produce will be carried out; and once everything is in order, only then will the importer/distributor will be allowed to approach the vessel and take away the products for sale.

    The measures are to identify and mitigate potential risks to the country; contribute to global food security by meeting our international obligations; and ensure community well-being.

    The Inspection Department TEZVT- Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries (LVV) office is located at Zoutsteeg nr. 3, Philipsburg, in the building that houses the Department of Economic Licenses. The office can be reached by calling 543-7820 ext. 148 for further information.

  • Dollar-A-Day participating hotels get marketing material for guests.

    carlsuniqueinnreceivingmarketingmaterialfordadprogram01112012PHILIPSBURG:--- St. Maarten Hospitality & Trade Association (SHTA) has started distribution of Marketing Material for its Dollar-A-Day program, as part of plans to "re-energize" the program with a concerted effort on marketing to increase awareness.
    Several hotels have received an electronic display screen that showcases the many activities funded by the Dollar-A-Day program along with training material and informational flyers and handouts for hotel guests. The Dollar-A-Day program or DAD which started in 2000, is a community development program started from the SHTA through which the association identifies social, and educational projects which they can contribute to using funds raised by hotels whose guests give a voluntary donation of a dollar for each night stay at their property.
    The twelve participating hotels are Carl's Unique Inn, Coral Beach Club, Divi Little Bay Beach Resort, L'Esperance Hotel Suites, La Vista Resort, Oyster Bay Beach Resort, Princess Heights, Royal Islander Club (La Plage and La Terrace), Sonesta Great Bay Resort, Sonesta Maho Beach Resort, the Horney Toad Guest House and Turquoise Shell Inn. Executive Director for the SHTA Alfred Harley said the program's success depends entirely on the hotels whose Front Desk staff and Management are the ones explaining to guests what the DAD program does and why they should contribute.
    He said the program also has a direct benefit for the hotel employees. In the past twelve months over 180 of hotel staff received specialized training following the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI) professional certification curriculum. The DAD is also used to assist the unemployed on the island through the DIRPIE program which is an initiative by St. Maarten Government to assist unemployed persons within the community with job training programs and paid part time work.
    "We see how excited the many people who received training are, and how their confidence level increases drastically and so we want to be able to have more training done, and perhaps expand it to include restaurants as well," said Harley. While much of the funds are budgeted strictly for Educational and Social Development programs, a portion is also used to encourage airlifts to St. Maarten which is necessary for the continued growth and development of the island's economy and job creation.

  • Public Invited to IND Organizing Open House on November 02.

    GREAT BAY (DCOMM):--- The Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND) will be having an Open House on Friday, 02 November, and the public is invited to attend.

    Persons interested in learning more about the services of the IND can visit the Open House at its offices on the A.T. Illidge Road #8 (next to NAPA) between 8:00am straight through lunch-time right on to 3:00pm.

    Immigration staff will be available to answer questions in English, French and Spanish. Brochures will be on display and available to take-away as well.

    Questions and concerns about residency, visa requirements, extensions, police records, and the BTA will be answered. "You have Questions, We have the Answers"!

    IND staff from Pointe Blanche Port of Entry, Simpson Bay and the Airport along with Border Control staff will also be available to provide information to members of the public.

  • Calypsonians in support of De King Arrow.

    insupportofdekingarrowconcertflyer01112012In support of De King Arrow is the title of a concert set for this Saturday November 3rd at the Celebration Palace. Close to 20 artists will get together to help raise funds for the island's icon in music and radio. The concert will feature calypsos, comedy and dancing.

    De King Arrow suffers a heart attack some months ago and has been since recovering. As a musical giant, not only on St Maarten, but throughout the Caribbean, he has written calypsos for many of the island's artists. As a Calypsonian and radio personality for many years, De King Arrow has a loyal following of fans, friends and supporters. It goes without saying that everyone is rallying behind this larger than life icon who has always been so humble and helpful.

    The concert will feature calypsonians such as the Mighty Dow, Kaiso Brat, King Stunky, Genius, King Barrow, Magic, Mighty Kirk, Jacko, Fish de Megaboss, Calypso Barbara, Hammer, D'Monitor, King Timo, Dando, Chipman, King Repeater, Da Phox, Lady Upsetter, Princess Aquilla, and Singing Su-Ann. De King Arrow has written songs for several of these artists. His son Ashandi (Shaun Hodge) will also be performing. There will be comedy by Dorothy Rosa Richardson and our Philosopher of Humor Fernando Clarke who will also serve as MC for the evening. Rudy Davis will perform two dancing. Special performances for the evening will feature the high flying Swallow out of Antigua and the Control band. The public will receive a special treat of video performances on St Maarten and St Kitts of De King Arrow. "There are so many friends and supporters of De King Arrow who want to come out and contribute that the evening plans to a real celebration" stated Rolando Tobias President of De King Arrow Foundation.

    De King Arrow Foundation has been set up to realize fundraising activities in support of De KinG Arrow. The President is Rolando Tobias, Vice President Marvin "King Stunky" Dollison and Treasurer Fernando William. The Foundation hopes to also assist different areas in the community as well. The family of De King Arrow has endorsed the foundation and its efforts to assist in this challenging time.

    The concert starts at 8.00pm at the Celebration palace this Saturday November 3rd. Admission is just U$ 10.00 dollars and tickets are available at the local radio stations, Van Dorp Eddine and BBW. At the door, the admission is U$ 15.00
    The general public is encouraged to show their support for De King Arrow by coming out in numbers and enjoying a great concert.

  • MHF “Pieces of Life” Art Exhibition was a Success.

    mhfpolartexhibition01112012In view of October World's Mental Health Month 2012, the Mental Health Foundation hosted an art exhibition called "Pieces of Life" last Friday October 26, 2012. From 5:30 PM until 10:00 PM, MHF clients, their families and the general public were invited to restaurant Taloula Mangoes on the boardwalk in Philipsburg. The artwork and candles that were exposed have been created by the MHF Faraja clients, guided by one of St. Maarten's most famous artists Ruby Bute.
    Ruby Bute has volunteered for the past 2 months at MHF, guiding the clients in the arts and crafts room. Faraja Staff Member Gladice Labady had successfully organized the exhibition, and the highlight of the evening was definitely the Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams' presence. Our Prime Minister even bought 2 wonderful paintings of the artwork collection. The Prime Minister mingled with the MHF clients and their families who attended the exhibition.
    More than half of the paintings and candles exposed were sold on Friday evening, and the clients will receive their percentages as well as a percentage will be allocated to this year's Christmas Dinner for the clients.

  • Nature Foundation Conducts Wide Scale Research into St. Maarten Sea Turtle Population --- Sea Turtles Technically Extinct in the Simpson Bay Lagoon, face threats elsewhere.

    hawksbillseaturtle01112012Over the past week the St. Maarten Nature Foundation, in cooperation with the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance and Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire, have been conducting extensive and Intensive research into St. Maarten's Sea Turtle Population. Three members of Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire visited St. Maarten for a week's worth of intensive training and surveying in which staff, trained veterinarians and volunteers of the St. Maarten Nature Foundation were given the capacity to conduct in water surveying, health assessments, tagging and measuring of the local resident sea turtle population.

    "This work has been different for us due to the fact that previously on St. Maarten only turtles that came up the beach to lay their eggs were counted and measured. This time around we were thought firstly how to record sea-turtles in their environment in the wild, but also how to tag and capture sea turtles that might be in distress. This is the first time an in depth and wide-scale study in the islands turtle populations was conducted," read a Nature Foundation Statement.

    Various hawksbills and green sea turtles were counted, tagged and measured while conducting diving surveys in all of the waters surrounding St. Maarten. Initial reports show that there is a reasonably stable population of sea turtles offshore with various species being checked for health. Several turtles were also given identifying tags so that their progress can be continuously recorded.

    Unfortunately, surveys on the sea turtle population in the Simpson Bay Lagoon were also carried out with the aim to establish if turtles were regularly visiting the area. During diving surveys conducted in the Lagoon very little evidence of a resident sea turtle population was established. "We were disappointed although not surprised to sea that the sea turtle population in the Simpson Bay Lagoon was almost non-existent considering the level of pollution, development and lack of food to be found in the area. We will be communicating this fact to decision makers with the hope that conservation efforts will be increased in the lagoon and that in the near future some areas will once again see sea turtles return. We are cautiously optimistic of this due to turtles having historically made their home in the Lagoon."

    Another issue investigated was the impact experienced by local sea turtles from fishing pressure; "We have noticed that many turtles have horrible scars and wounds from fish hooks and lines. We will be again working with Decision Makers and Stakeholders in developing means in which to reduce the number of fishhooks and fishing lines drifting in the sea. Although we regularly do underwater cleanups we need to add to our efforts to reduce fishing lines and hooks in the ocean."

    St. Maarten is home to two sea turtle species the Hawksbill and Green Sea Turtles, with a third species the Leatherback visiting each March to October to lay eggs on the Beaches. Sea Turtles are critically endangered and worldwide conservation efforts are being initiated to save the species from extinction. The St. Maarten Nature Foundation Manages the St. Maarten Sea Turtle Conservation Program.

  • Minister Jacobs addresses JCI Speech Competition.

    sjacobsatjcievent01112012GREAT BAY (DCOMM):--- Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports Hon. Silveria Jacobs proudly addressed the participants, parents and school representatives at the JCI Speech competition held on Sunday at the USM.

    The students representing several high schools across the island were assigned the tasks to deliver a speech with conviction on either for or against this statement: Cultural Diversity is a strength rather than a weakness.

    The Minister was elated with the choice of topic as it lends itself to a very healthy forum to hear the youths' opinion.

    Minister Jacobs was asked to address the attendees on this topic, and chose to focus on her own diverse heritage, and the uniqueness of the St. Maarten people who now have to reciprocate in welcoming strangers to our country, when just a short while ago our ancestors emigrated to find a better life.

    Embracing other cultures while educating our citizens and visitors about our own culture can only strengthen our country.
    The Minister encouraged the students to continue to forge ahead no matter the outcome of the competition. They were commended for their courage in taking part as well as for being representatives of their respective schools and therefore winners in their own right.

    The speeches were dynamic, well thought through and delivered at a high level, and the competition proved to be fierce. The competitors themselves represented a cross section of our diverse society.

    In the end, the top three students were exceptional, however, Shaquille Ortega (L.U.) emerged victorious. 2nd place was awarded to Shandani Fleming (L.U) and 3rd to Mannar Mohamed (St. Maarten Academy).

    All students were awarded certificates of participation, and the top three also received plaques and prizes. Ortega also won the champion's cup and will represent St. Maarten in Curacao in the upcoming Dutch Caribbean JCI Speech Competition.

  • MHF moves part of treatment to Turning Point.

    Since February, 2010 the Mental Health Foundation has been encouraging active involvement of caregivers in the developments of Mental Health Care on St. Maarten.
    In 2011 Posters were placed at all GP offices, and mailings were sent out inviting care givers to information sessions about the illnesses and care needs of their loved ones.

    MHF promotes Holistic care, meaning that as much as possible all aspects of the patients life is taken into consideration. To provide for Holistic care continuity of care must be made available to the patients and clients. MHF since the opening in October 2011 was finally able to provide for all aspects of psychiatric care.

    Since October 2011, patients in a crisis no longer needed to be treated in a Police cell and the brought to the prison after which flown to Curaçao. In Curaçao the patient was treated without the involvement of the family and then returned to St. Maarten. Since October 2011 no patient has been sent to Curaçao.

    On Monday October 29, 2012 the Caregivers are now informed by the foundation of the Ministers intention to move part of the treatment to the Turning Point. Crisis intervention and Admission is likely to take place in Turning Point in the near future. Consideration for continuity of care and the opinion of the caregivers seems to be lacking in the entire process.

    Family members have now formed a committee, who will approach the minister on this matter.

  • NJSA Hosts Second Round of Auditions on November 3rd.

    Cay Hill:--- On Saturday October 27th, 2012, the National Judo Sport Academy conducted a very successful round of auditions. However there were many students who had initially registered to participate but for one reason or the other were unable to attend.

    It has been therefore decided by the NJSA Board that a second round of auditions should be conducted to ensure that all students who registered would get that fair chance to participate in the auditions.

    Therefore a new audition date has been scheduled as follows;
    Date: Saturday November 3rd, 2012
    Time: 7:00AM (sharp)
    Place: Raoul Illidge Sport Complex (Cay Hill next to the Hospital)

    The audition fee is $25,00 this should be paid on the day of the auditions.

    Should you have any further questions please feel free to contact us by phone

    • Ms. Kemmelie Paula (Public Relation Officer 5805579) or
    • Shuresca Genaro (Ass-Coordinator 5534875) or
    • via email: sxm.judo.academy@hotmail.com.

    Thank you kindly in advance for your participation, as we look forward to seeing you soon.

  • Final Preparations being made for Annual Career & Study Fair.

    careerandstudyfairposter08102012PHILIPSBURG:--- The St. Maarten Career & Study Fair Committee is making final preparations for the annual Career & Study Fair, scheduled for Wednesday, November 7, 2012 at the Bel-Air Community Center.
    College and university representatives from St. Maarten, Curaçao, Aruba, the United States and Holland will be on hand to share information about their academic institutions. In addition to local educational institutions such as the University of St. Martin, SBO-St. Maarten and SIFMA, representatives from S4, the Study Financing Department and Student Support Services will be present in providing information to the public regarding their services.
    Under the theme "A Better Future Through Better Education," the fair will be open to the pre-exam students from all secondary schools from 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. The Career & Study Fair will be open to the general public from 3:00 pm – 7:00 pm.
    "The students we are focusing on are those who have chosen or are now deciding whether to attend college or enter the workforce. Every individual needs to know what choice is best for him or her. The Career & Study Fair provides an opportunity for students to gather the information necessary to make the right choice as they prepare to graduate from high school. We also recognize that parents play a major role in the decision making and so does the financial aspects of investing in a college education. Therefore, we are encouraging more parents to visit the fair during the 3:00 – 7:00 pm time slot", committee officials pointed out.
    A variety of local businesses and organizations have already confirmed their participation this year including Nagico, PJIAE, Telem N.V., Coast Guard, Korps Politie St. Maarten, Winair, Customs, St. Maarten Medical Center, the Prison, Mental Health Foundation, the Harbor Group of Companies and the Tourist Bureau. Several other organizations are still in the process of confirming their participation, and are asked to do so with a committee member before this weekend.
    "We are very grateful for the financial institutions, companies and colleges participating in this event. The information they provide is going to help our youth decide what their next step will be. Some youngsters will also use this opportunity to obtain more information on a particular career they have been thinking of", committee officials said.
    This annual event promises to be very informative and supportive in the planning and decision making involved in furthering one's education. The general public is invited to come out and benefit from the information and advice that will be made available. The fair will be open from 9:00 am – 9:15 pm.
    As a means of encouraging students and parents to begin preparing for college early, there will be a sponsored raffle starting at 3:30 pm for various college electronic essentials. In order to win the raffle persons must be present at drawing. Radio X104.3 fm will be broadcasting live from the fair in the afternoon.

  • St. Maarten Academy PSVE School graduates 99 students; Minister Jacobs tells graduates the country needs them to develop further.

    sjacobsatsxmacademypsvegraduation31102012GREAT BAY (DCOMM):--- On Saturday evening the Honorable Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports, Silveria Jacobs attended the graduation ceremony of the St. Maarten Academy PSVE School where a total of 99 students graduated.

    The theme of the graduation was 'The past your heritage, the present your responsibility and the future your challenge'. During her speech, Minister Jacobs stressed on the importance of furthering your education and congratulated those graduates who had already enrolled in the academic division of the St. Maarten Academy institution and encouraged the others who had not done so to enroll in any of the subsequent studies currently available to students on the island.

    During her address to the gathering, Minister Jacobs mentioned that she was extra proud to be present at the graduation as she able to witness several of her former students graduate. The minister further told the graduates that the country was not only in dire need of doctors and lawyers, but also needed professionals of non-academic professions to help assist with further developing the country.

    The minister also took time out to congratulate the many parents who were present to witness their child(ren) graduate. The minister told the parents that the mere fact that their children had made it this far in their education career clearly showed that they, the parents, had been committed to their child's education and made the necessary sacrifices as parents in order for their children to be successful.

  • Préfecture and health authority re-organizes pharmacy supply circuit.

    MARIGOT:--- The Préfecture in conjunction with the health authority of Guadeloupe, St. Martin, and St. Barths are currently in the process of re-organizing the supply circuit for the eleven pharmacies in St. Martin and three in St. Barths in accordance with actions developed by Agence Nationale de Sécurité du Medicaments (ANSM).
    The changes are expected to provide better availability and attention to rules pertaining to public health while also recognizing local pharmacies that sell in bulk.
    The re-organization will not affect the supply of medicines anticipated by the population.

  • Little Miss St. Martin Pageant 2012: Introducing Contestants 3 and 4.

    ennapeterson31102012Introducing Contestant #3 in the upcoming Little Miss St. Martin Pageant, described by her fellow contestants as "Miss Busy Bee" is Princess Enna Peterson. "Enna loves to talk a lot, at first she is very shy but when she gets comfortable, that's it she talks your ear off," laughs Kiara Meyers, Little Miss St. Martin Queen 2011.

    She is 9 years old and she attends the Leonard Connor School. Her favorite subject is Mathematics and color is Pink. In her spare time she loves to read and swim. "I am very nervous, but I will do my best to make my school and friends proud of me," said Enna .

    "I would like to thank my mother and my teacher Mrs. Shemaiah Daflaar for helping me especially with my speech," said Enna

    "We have a few days left and the girls are eager to showcase their talents and of course they can't wait to model their Princess wear," stated Ms. Nzinga Lake, Pageant Director.

    "I would like to take this opportunity once more to thank all the sponsors, media, parents, chaperones and the business community for their support and encouragement and please come out to support the girls this coming Sunday."

    Contestant #4 is Princess Genesis Meyers. "This is my first time in a Pageant and I feel confident that I will represent my island, family, and friends in a positive way," stated Genesis. She is 11 years old and she attends the St. Dominic Primary School. Her hobbies are singing and dancing. "My dream is to be very involved in the Performing Arts," stated Genesis. Her favorite singer is Celine Dion and subject is Mathematics.

    genesismeyers31102012With a huge smile on her face, Genesis said "I come from a very big family representing both sides of the island, my family alone can fill Celebration Palace."

    Last year, Kiara Meyers of the Methodist Agogic Center was crowned Little Miss St. Martin 2011 on November 6th, 2011. First runner up was Tsjaniqua Jeffrey of the St. Joseph School and second runner up was Shendrica Daal of the Sister Marie Lawrence School. The Pageant will be taking place this coming Sunday November 4th, 2012 at the Celebration Palace, 4-7pm. Tickets can be purchased at Pete's Photo Studio at the Grand Marche Bush Road, Van Dorp in Madame Estate, and LAMA Guest house on E.C. Richardson Street Philipsburg.

  • GREAT PRIZE FOR PARTICIPANT IN KOOYMAN CUSTOMER SATISFACTION SURVEY.

    kooymangivesprizetosurveyparticipant31102012Philipsburg:--- Every year Kooyman does several customer satisfaction surveys to stay well informed about her customer needs. From July till September Kooyman performed her annual online satisfaction survey. Customers where contacted by e-mail with an online questionnaire. The aim of this survey is testing the customer needs from the customers point of view. For Kooyman this brings important input to realize improvement and optimization of services and products for her customers. As gratitude for the participation in the survey Kooyman rewarded a prize of 10000 Fun Miles to 1 of the participants.

    On the 17th of October, 2012 Kooyman drew a winner and the Lucky winner "Mr. Stroop" received his prize at the MegaStore in Cay Hill.
    Kooyman desires to continuously stay well informed about her customers needs and expectations. More of these kind of surveys can therefore be expected from Kooyman in the near future of course every time with the chance to win a great prize.

    Press Release from Kooyman

  • Minister Jacobs Opens PJIA Sports Event.

    sjacobsopenspjiasportsevent31102012GREAT BAY (DCOMM):--- Minister of Education, Culture, Youth Affairs and Sports Hon. Silveria Jacobs last week Friday was present to open the Slam Sports Competition hosted by the Princess Juliana International Airport.

    The visiting team was from the Aruba Reina Beatrix International Airport. Local teams were also fielded from GEBE, Windward Islands Bank and the Fire Department.

    The kick-off was at the L.B.M. Scott Sports Auditorium where a few words of welcome were delivered by President of the Organizing Committee Evans Marsham.

    Minister congratulated the committee and commended the members for the initiative they took to foster ties with Kingdom partners in friendly competition. Minister Jacobs mentioned the strong familial and cultural ties many of us share with Aruba.

    Minister Jacobs wished the team's best of luck, but expressed her confidence in Sint Maarten's victory. The games were officially opened by a serve from the Minister to the visiting team. The Slam Games continued on Saturday and Sunday on the Jose Lake/John Cooper Ball Park with Softball.

  • 67 Million to be spent on the BOX --- BBW Building will become Justice Park.

    thebox14042011Philipsburg:--- Minister of Justice Roland Duncan will be presenting his project for the BOX to the Council of Ministers on Thursday while he will present the entire project to Parliament on Friday.

    SMN News learnt the BOX will cost the government of St. Maarten 67 million guilders to build a second prison and other judicial facilities. The Justice Minister will also be turning the BBW Building into a justice park. The justice park will be the official shooting range for police officers and other law enforcement that are in training.

    According to well placed sources, the Minister intends to have the Ministry of VROMI change the zoning of the Cay Hill area where the BOX is located to a public area and not a private or commercial area as it is currently listed. Sources close to the Ministry said that since the BOX will be used by the government of St. Maarten as a prison facility there will be no need to breakdown the third floor of the building which was constructed without the necessary building permits.

    When SMN News contacted the Minister of Justice on Wednesday for information regarding his project and the justice park, the Minister said that it is not ethical for him to release the information to the media prior to making it available to the Council of Ministers. However, he did say the entire project will be presented to Parliament on Friday where the people of St. Maarten and those that have political power can see and approve the project.

  • Prime Minister defuses rumors on impending fall of Coalition Government.

    sarahwescotwilliams31102012Philipsburg:--- Prime Minister of St. Maarten Sarah Wescot Williams defused the rumors that claim the current coalition government is in trouble and sooner or later the government of St. Maarten will fall. Wescot Williams said that she is part of the coalition and she has no knowledge of what is the media and what is rumored in the community.

    "At this stage I know the dynamics of politics." When asked by reporters during the Council of Ministers' weekly press briefing if she was secure in her position as Prime Minister, Wescot Williams made clear that being Prime Minister of St. Maarten is not about her security instead it's about the people of St. Maarten and that she said is much more than "lip service, it is what is shown and done for the people."

    Wescot Williams said the last time the coalition met was in September, she further explained that most of the time these meetings are called they have to be cancelled because some of the parties that make up the coalition are not on the island.

    When asked by SMN News should the government of St. Maarten fall if she (Democratic Party) would entertain forming another coalition or if she as Prime Minister of St. Maarten would decide to call for a new election. Prime Minister Wescot Williams said that it is too premature to answer such question regarding the calling of a new election for St. Maarten.