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William: Timing of Frans detention should not be seen as coincidence.

williammarlin03052017PHILIPSBURG:--- National Alliance #23 candidate William Marlin said in a press release on Monday that the timing of the detention of United St. Maarten party leader Member of Parliament Frans Richardson is strange and seems to be intended to influence the outcome of the February 26, snap parliamentary elections.

“It should not be seen as any coincidence”, Marlin said. He alluded to a similar untimely detention of Member of Parliament Silvio Matser in March 2016, in the middle of a crucial debate of the country’s draft budget. At the time of his arrest Matser had been a member of an eight-member coalition, which supported the National Alliance-led government and his arrest at the time stalled an important budget debate as the governing coalition was unable to muster the minimum 8 signatures needed for the meeting to proceed to the second round, when the budget was to have been voted upon.

“I don’t want to create any controversy and I don’t want to make it appear as if I am interfering in the legal due process, but his arrest comes as a bit strange to the general public particularly for an investigation that has been ongoing for some time now”, Marlin said.

“This isn’t something where someone was robbed last week and you now found the robber. It is a case that has been ongoing for some time and in the heat of a campaign, just days before an election, you pick up the leader of one of the key political parties in the race. It tends to influence the outcome of the election and that we should never have. Because what happens, if tomorrow lets say, when the dust is settled, what will you do - issue an apology and say actually there is nothing we have on the person. No, let the election be fair and free. Let the people vote their conscience for who they may want and then for my part, you can move in the next day after the election”.

Marlin said he empathized with the Richardson family and wished them much strength at this time.

Minister of Tourism De Weever calls on interested persons to apply for CTO Scholarships and Study Grants.

corneliusdeweever19022018POND ISLAND:--- Acting Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transportation and Telecommunications (Ministry TEATT) Cornelius de Weever, is encouraging interested persons and young people to apply for the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) Scholarship Foundation for study grants and scholarships.
The scholarship foundation is accepting applications for the aforementioned from Caribbean nationals in CTO member countries. Sint Maarten is a member of the CTO.
The main aim of the CTO Foundation is to provide opportunities for Caribbean nationals to pursue studies in the areas of tourism, hospitality and language training.
The Foundation selects individuals who demonstrate high levels of achievement and leadership both within and outside the classroom and who express a strong interest in making a positive contribution to Caribbean tourism.
The Foundation offers the following types of assistance and the various forms are downloadable from the Caribbean Tourism Organization website

• Scholarships of up to US$12,000 to individuals wanting to study tourism or hospitality at the Master’s (postgraduate) level. Download 2018 Scholarship Application Form
• Study grants of up to US$2,500 to individuals pursuing tourism/hospitality studies at the certificate, diploma, associate degree or first-degree level, and to industry personnel who want to gain proficiency in a second language to assist them in their job. Download 2018 Study Grant Application Form
• A scholarship of up to US$2,500 is offered in the name of CTO’s former Director of Research and Information Management, Mr. Arley Sobers, for persons working in local tourism organizations such as the Ministry of Tourism or the Board of Tourism, who wish to strengthen their skills in the areas of research and statistics. Download 2018 Arley Sobers Scholarship Application Form
Studies can be pursued both within and outside the region.

Interested persons must fill out the forms, supply all of the necessary information and return them directly to the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s headquarters, 7th Floor, Barbados Tower, Warrens, St. Michael, Barbados, Tel: 246-427-5242; Fax: 246-429-3065 by the deadline date of April 15, 2018.

Stakeholder Meeting on Tuesday aims to build a stronger, smarter and collaborative approach for mosquito elimination.

GREAT BAY(DCOMM):--- Everything is set for Tuesday’s evening information exchange session regarding the prevention of mosquito-borne diseases. The aim is to build a stronger, smarter and more collaborative approach to eliminate mosquitos.

Interested persons, business owners, community councils/leaders, institutions, and organizations, are invited to attend the “Community Stakeholders Meeting for Health, Recovery & Development,” on February 20 about the elimination of mosquito-borne diseases such as Zika, Chikungunya, and Dengue.

The community stakeholders meeting will take place in the Conference Room at the Government Administration Building from 7.00PM to 8.30PM.

The outcome of stakeholder sessions would contribute to the initiative designed to provide various vector control, education, community engagement, and mosquito monitoring efforts to Sint Maarten.

CPS (Collective Prevention Services) is proud to have played a role in this initiative, which represents a positive, proactive, and cohesive effort to include residents, civil societies, experts, businesses, and policymakers to help rebuild and strengthen normal vector control operations and preventing current and future public health challenges.

In this spirit, CPS has already consulted with the relevant bodies relating to the techniques, technologies, and chemical usage currently deployed on Sint Maarten and/or proposed by initiative partners during this initial deployment.

The opportunity is being provided for community stakeholders to share their views regarding a concerted community effort to eliminate mosquito breeding sites in the country.

The meeting is also relevant for healthcare providers, agriculturists/farmers, contractors, travel agencies, tourism, and hospitality sector businesses, the media, garbage contractors/collectors, pest exterminators, and tire repair shops and garages.

The stakeholders meeting is a collaborative effort of the Vector Control Program of the Section General Health Care within the Collective Prevention Services (CPS), a department within the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour (Ministry VSA), the Netherlands National Institute for Public Health (RIVM) from the Dutch Ministry of Public Health, Welfare and Sport, and the emergency vector-response network VectorStars.

For additional information, you can call: 542-1122, 542-1222, 542-1322 or 542-1570.

William: Europe trip waste of taxpayers monies, 50 mil loan brokered by NA-led Govt.

williammarlin02012017PHILIPSBURG:--- Former Prime Minister William Marlin says the recent trip to Europe by Minister of Finance Michael Ferrier and Interim Prime Minister Leona Marlin Romeo was a total waste of taxpayers’ monies as the 50 million guilders loan agreement signed days ago between St. Maarten and the Netherlands, was already brokered by the National Alliance-led government, while it had been in office.

“It was nothing but a pleasure trip for public relations purposes, wasting taxpayers monies while taking credit for the hard work put in by the National Alliance-led government”, Marlin said in a press release on Monday.

Marlin said the 50 million guilder loan agreement that Minister of Finance Michael Ferrier and State Secretary Raymond Knops signed off on had been brokered by former National Alliance Minister of Finance Richard Gibson Sr.

“The trip was not necessary as Finance Minister Richard Gibson was the one who negotiated for that loan for St. Maarten, but nowhere is this being mentioned”, Marlin said. “The government ministers are making PR trips to make it appear as if they are working on getting things done. Interim Prime Minister Romeo-Marlin is calling from the Netherlands to say that they have accomplished something, while it was already in place waiting for them to just finalize the process”.

Marlin said the Parliament of St. Maarten just needed to approve an amended budget before the loan agreement could have been signed off on, but before this could have occurred, the former government left office.

"The current government had no hand in this. The meeting was held while our government was still in office”.

He urged government to stop the PR stunts just because its an election season.

Prime Minister Leona Romeo-Marlin attends 1st day of meetings before the 16th OCTA–EU Forum

trilateralmeeting19022018BRUSSELS:--- On February 23rd the 16th OCTA – EU Forum will be held in Brussels, leading up to the forum there will be political and technical meetings with the European Commission and other Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) of the EU. The Sint Maarten delegation headed by Prime Minister Leona Romeo-Marlin attended 2 meetings on Monday. The first meeting was held at the EU Directorate of Development Cooperation and consisted of a trilateral discussion on the ongoing progress of EU funded programmes. The second meeting consisted of discussions among the Kingdom Partners on the relationship between the EU and the other Dutch OCTs after 2020 and was held at the office of the Permanent Representative of the Netherlands in Brussels.

During the trilateral meeting, Prime Minister Romeo Marlin had the opportunity to present four points. The 10th EDF Territorial Project, which confirms the finalization of the programming of a Dutch Quarter sewerage and public infrastructure project. The contract for the works will be signed on Wednesday, February 20th to the tune of 4.7 million Euro. This signing ensures that the execution phase will begin in 2018.

Second on the agenda was the 11th EDF Territorial Cooperation Project that consists of three joint projects between the Governments of Sint Maarten and St. Martin. These 3 projects include a wastewater treatment plant to be established on the Dutch Side with wastewater pipes running from both sides of the island to the plant. The second project will entail a cleanup and economic development of the Simpson Bay Lagoon. The third project will cover the connecting of a drainage system runoff to the French Belle Plaine area to avoid possible flooding in those low lying areas.

Agenda point three addressed 11th EDF – B Envelope which is a request by the Government of Sint Maarten in relation to the recovery after hurricanes Irma and Maria. A request for 10 million euro to build adequate, affordable and sustainable housing is pending and was further explained to the European Commission. Beneficiaries of this housing will include vulnerable groups such as the elderly, single-parent families and low-income earners that may have been displaced after the passing of Hurricane Irma. Locally, the Council of Ministers has signed off on the Housing Project which will lead to the project being prepared and ultimately proposed to the European Union. This housing project will aid in the reconstruction efforts.

The final and fourth agenda targeted unused funds of the 10th EDF Regional Programme. An amount of 2-3 million euros has not been used and the European Commission is looking into the possibility to reactivate this sum for a sub-regional project to aid Small & Medium Enterprises. These are considered the backbone of the economic prosperity in most islands, and it is intended to use the funds for building resilience across the small business sector. The project will be a shared effort by the OCTs that are suffering damages from the 2017 hurricane season.

The meeting at the Permanent Representation of the Netherlands highlighted the debate on the relationship of the Dutch OCTs with the EU after the end of the current financial framework of the EU. The discussion centered around how The Netherlands can include the OCTs in the negotiations on the future financial cooperation between the Kingdom Partners and the EU. Important was the issue of Brexit and how this affects the position of the Dutch OCTs in the post-2020 negotiations. Politically, the Prime Minister of Curacao, Eugene Ruggenaath, spoke on behalf of the Dutch OCT’s by presenting a unified position among the Caribbean part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in looking for a mutually beneficial partnership between the latter and the EU.

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