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Dec 20th
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The ugly truth about the Harbor.

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Dear Editor,

This week the harbor's financials and an excerpt from a Panamanian financing company were published. Both look factual and there is no reason to doubt their accuracy. A "financial expert" has said his piece and all is there for anyone interested to read.

From the financial statements, it is clear that the harbor management has embarked on projects that are definitely not their core business which is managing the port (Cruise, Cargo) and therefore has put a tremendous strain on their cash flow. Furthermore, the financials are not conclusive enough and lack substantial information. One wonders if the accounting firm that signed off, which is the same firm the harbor's current Chief Financial Offers was previously employed (how convenient), has met all legal accounting requirements.

In a nutshell, the financials show a "harbor" taking on all types of ventures from real estate to selling fuel and building bridges and creatively financing, at the same time they are not paying Turn Over Tax (TOT) and are increasing the cost of goods in St. Maarten's stores due to increases in import fees at the port (e.g. Container Throughput Fee, Container Charge and Container Tax etc).

Fact is the harbor is owned by the government (read the people) of SXM. Fact is the harbor is there to make sure that St. Maarten is accessible for goods and services as efficiently as possible to benefit of the people of St Maarten.

Fact is the harbor is not there to sell fuel to mega-yachts as cheaply as possible, not there to make sure containers transit to neighboring islands cheaper, not there to build roads and bridges, not there to prevent people from developing their property. Not there to figure out ways to pay as little tax as possible.

Fact is the harbor is not there to compete with entities that pay taxes like TOT and Profit tax. They are not there to come up with Panamanian fiscal constructions to provide loans while not taxing profits from those interest payments, like local banks would have been taxed!

Fact is the harbor has a board and a shareholder representative to MAKE SURE that the interest of the share holder (read the people of SXM) is secured. This means making sure that cargo and cruise passengers can arrive safely and cheaply and nothing else. It means making sure the throughput to GEBE can be reduced so that everybody's electricity bill and grocery bill is a little less. It is not to make sure that the newest Mega Yacht saves a couple of bucks on the way to dropping of well to-do guests in St. Barths. It should not be, that in order for that wealthy guy to save some bucks, you and me pay more in the local grocery store.

Why are there shops operating at the harbor that don't pay TOT? How come we, mere shareholders, can't just go and shop in those same stores without paying TOT. How come the harbor is trying to prevent Dock Maarten from developing when they can't develop that unsightly sandbox next to it? Why aren't the people or Parliament consulted when the harbor takes out $ 150 million loans for bridges and expansions? Loans that, we the people, have to guarantee. Imagine that: your neighbor goes to the bank - for a mortgage that you have to guarantee - gets the loan and then to add insult to injury, you aren't allowed near the property! Then when you want to build additions on to your own house, the neighbor tries to stop you, because it doesn't fit in their 'master plan'.

What the harbor needs to do is come clean and re-focus on its core tasks. Parliament (which has been surprisingly quiet up to this point regarding this issue) needs to make sure that the Minister of TEATT keeps the management of the harbor to that. Everything else is fluff.

It's time for Parliament to do its job and protect the interests of citizens of St. Maarten, instead of appeasing certain individuals.

Christopher James

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 17 December 2014 21:31 )

 

Belvedere fed up NOW with Lynch‏.

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On February 22, 2012 an article appeared in the front pages of the Daily Herald newspaper that SMHDF employees wanted Dictator Lynch out. All the employees behind this letter are healthy ex- employees. Lynch went to the extreme to find out who they were. All were send home with pay until their contract was UP. One is still at home with pay for the last three going into 4 years. St Maarten we talking about the SMHDF who did not built one social home since 2002. But employees who can work are send home with pay. In the early years of the SMHDF the employees knew ever tenant/client by their first name. Tenants were treated like best friends.
With only 14 employees the SMHDF managed and dismantled the container village. The hand full of staff also supervised the placement and infrastructure of the 200 emergency homes. After that Belvedere came and the few employees rented all 474 apartments. Also rights after Louis close to 375 homes were repaired. The self-building program with only 2 employees of the SMHDF helped many land owners on minimum wage with their first home. In this program 198 landowners now have a home. Employees worked as a team and were happy employees.
A handful of employees would also go on the road to collect monies from the ones that were not able to visit the office. We made it work. The same projects are today paying for the high salaries of the dictator and his family and friends. Some friends are employed by SMHDF and can be seen with SMHDF vehicles working at his project in Dutch Quarter every day during work hours. An architect working at the office made the drawings of this project and forgot it in the SMHDF kitchen. I can publish it for St Maarten to see if you do not stop. You never worked for the SMHDF, you were too busy making money for yourself. Leona sister CM and your wife who of course are defending you, should correct you of your wrongs. If you and your friends and family that you employed did nothing wrong why are you afraid of a forensic audit. Leona sister works at the SMHDF and is defending you on SMN news. Whatathing.
Maurice Lake informed us before elections about the KPMG report and that he will call in SOAB. Maurice even called off the Ebenezer ground breaking as he could not applaud the wrongs from the dictator. What happened to our Minister now. Whatating, he is caught lying again?
Belvedere, Hope, DQ voted massively for UP because they wanted the Dictator out. UP promised to do just that and told us he had one more year to go, give us some time. Janchi when you crashed Theo party at Trevor house in Belvedere and took the microphone what did the Belvedere people tell you in chorus.
We are not blind; we pass by DQ every day and see SMHDF employees with SMHDF stickers working for Lynch private project instead of fixing our homes. You did a small job in Anna Hoop but is that all. The people painting were not employees who understand us. They were contractors because employees work at your DQ project. When you do bad it will follow you. You received so many chances but think that you have the Government in your hand. You know it all, you know everything better mmmm. You said you will throw down the Government again and the liars in UP and USp will get each 2 votes. Brother Frankie where are you, you were with Belvedere. Theo how come you so silent we trusted you.
Let the dictator who became a millionaire during his 4 years at the SMHDF run his DQ business, why does he need the SMHDF job if he has his own kingdom? Give the job to some honest St Maarten Intellectual who is serious and needs an honest job. You built 24 SMHDF homes in 4 years whatating. With land given by Theo. For the 24 homes you hired two times the amount of employees, including your sister in law who is Leona sister. Did the employees build the homes? Nooooooo. Now he wants to go after the rest of the employees saying the board wants them out. But what happened to your family and friends working on your projects, they can stay right?
You and your SMHDF dawgs campaigned for Leona again during office hours; nobody could find you around that time. You had all your friends at the office put USp stickers. SMHDF had more looked like an USp head office. If and when you showed up at the office during election times it was to hold USp meetings in the SMHDF meeting room. You even went as far as to use the company car and gas with USp stickers to run your political campaign.
You made many proposals but where are the projects. Rumor has it that the ship is sinking and millions in depth. What happened with the moneys USp Carnival Queens sponsored?
You are not suspended as what you did to others. You are on leave with pay, but do not have access to the SMHDF tools and materials you need for your project. I still see some employees at your DQ project with the company pick up, showing disregard for proper procedures as you claim you can make the Government fall anytime.
If you are so powerful and mighty why fight for a job. What are you afraid off? No one accused you. The only thing employees and tenants see are the SMHDF employees at your DQ project instead of doing work at Belvedere. But they can lie and say "it was not me". But remember the truth always reveals it self in the same way you appointed yourself employee of the year. It looks like you knew something was boiling. The Spanish station was asking how it was possible as no one voted for you. Cheewee I forgot your sister in law and friends that are working at your DQ project.

Signed Belvedere Residents

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 16 December 2014 00:38 )

THE SOLUTION IS THERE. LETS WORK ON IT.

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The honorable Minister of Public Health Mr. Cornelius de Weever
The honorable Minister of Justice Mr. Dennis Richardson
The Solicitor General Mr. Taco Stein
The Commissioner of Police Mr. P. De Site

More and more we are experiencing the problems of drug addicts roaming  our streets. One case that is of particular concern to me is Bobo who now have taken up residence Over The Pond. He has created his own little place of stay next to the Chinese supermarket on Illidge Road just behind the GEBE transformer house. We see him everyday jumping in front of cars, dancing and prancing in the street, exposing his private parts to pedestrians and drivers. Intimidating female drivers that traverse the Illidge Road. Just imagine the trauma a child goes through sitting in the car with his mother and Bobo jumps out unto the road naked. This happens everyday. We all see it, experience it and no one does nothing about it. Is this normal?Is this the type of society we are slowly becoming? We're no one cares, because it is not in my backyard ? Were those that are challenged with psychiatric problems due to substance abuse are left to fend for themselves ? I have had to deal with Bobo on umpteen occasions when he comes down to my Gasstation. I have called the police who dealt with him. Even our law enforcement officers tell you they are tired of being called to deal with Bobo. I have brought this matter to the attention of the honorable Minister of Public Health Mr. Cornelius de Weever in the past, looking for a solution for this individual. A couple of months ago Bobo beat a drug addict ( now a former addict) so bad that he had to be hospitalized. Bobo was held for a couple of days and then released back on to the streets to do more damage. What prompted me now to come publicly with this issue after bringing this matter to the Minister of Public Health some months ago, is on December 8th while driving with my wife on the Illidge Road, Bobo jumped across my car, but me knowing Bobo and Bobo knowing me he pulled aside right away. Imagine if my wife or any other female driver is confronted with an individual behaving the way he does. They could have panicked pressed gas and what would be the consequence for the individual who panicked.

A couple of weeks ago Bobo jumped in front of another female driver and destroyed the sun roof of her car. What is this poor woman to do but replace it herself with no form of compensation. We desperately need a meeting of minds of those in authority, the Minister and the sector director of Public Health, the Minister and the sector director of Justice, the Solicitor General, the Mental Health foundation and the Turning Point Foundation together with the Chief Commissioner of police and the SZV. The solution is there. All they have to do is contact any family member of Bobo and prepare all documentation and have them submit this to the judge in first instance who will have to hear Bobo and make a decision to place Bobo under guardianship of one of his family members. In fact Bobo's case is so known on St. Maarten I doubt if this matter is brought up by the family member assisted by those in authority and based on the numerous complaints against Bobo that's he will have to be present for the hearing at the court of first instance. After this is done room can be created for treatment of Bobo with the blessings of his family member who now holds the legal guardian, under the guidance of professionals either at the Mental Health Foundation or at the Turning Point Foundation. And if these facilities are not adequate enough to house Bobo for a long term, so he can be treated adequately, then the other option is the Dr. Ricardo Capriles Clinic in Curacao. Who will pay for it will be the question? Every month employers and employees set aside funding that is paid to the Receiver of St. Maarten, which is the AVBZ fund. This fund was created sometime in 1996 specifically to assist persons with among others physical and psychiatric disabilities. This fund has sufficient means to pay for the long term care of Bobo. Bobo can remain under guardianship of his family member as long as it takes for Bobo to recuperate from his state of mind.
 All those in authority needs to do is get all noses pointed in the same direction to help Bobo and help St. Maarten, before Bobo once more viciously attacks someone whose family members may not take it so lightly this time around. The solution is there. Let's see who in authority will, or direct someone working under them to pick up the ball and run with it to save Bobo or save the next driver on the Illidge Road who may not take it so lightly when Bobo jumps up on his car.

Roy Marlin

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 09 December 2014 21:54 )