St. Martin News Network

Sep 21st
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Tourist Bureau calls on businesses to observe WTD.

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PHILIPSBURG:--- The St. Maarten Tourist Bureau which falls under the Ministry of Tourism and Economic Affairs, Transportation and Telecommunications (Ministry TEATT) is calling on the business community to recognize World Tourism Day (WTD) which is observed globally every September 27.

The theme for 2014 WTD is "Tourism & Community Development." The theme selected is for the tourism sectors around the globe to place emphasis and focus on the ability of tourism to empower people and provide them with the skills to achieve change in their local communities.

Tourism plays a key role in social, cultural, political and economic value.

International tourist arrivals grew by 4.6 per cent in the first half of 2014 according to the latest United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Barometer.

Destinations worldwide received some 517 million international tourists between January and June 2014, 22 million more than in the same period of 2013.
Growth was strongest in the Americas (+6%) followed by Asia and the Pacific and Europe (both at +5%).

So far, results are in line with the UNWTO forecast issued at the beginning of 2014.

For the full year 2014, international tourist arrivals are expected to increase by four per cent to 4.5 per cent worldwide, above UNWTO's long-term forecast of 3.8 per cent per year for the period 2010 to 2020.

Last Updated ( Sunday, 21 September 2014 20:43 )


Port St. Maarten to receive new enhanced pilot boat.

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Port St. Maarten to receive new enhanced pilot boat.

POINT BLANCHE:--- Port St. Maarten has acquired a new pilot boat to be used for line handling and for embarking and disembarking the pilot to and from visiting ships.

The new aluminum vessel was built by ABCO Industries of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, Canada. Since 1947, ABCO Industries has been providing the shipping industry with quality work, expert service and products designed to exceed expectations.

ABCO Industries was selected after a team from Port St. Maarten visited several boat yards in the United States and Canada. ABCO is specialized in the design, engineering, fabrication and service of equipment and systems for the industrial sector, food machinery, environmental equipment, and marine vessels.

The company has built several Canadian Coast Guard vessels engaged in fisheries research and patrol.

Due to the growth in the ship building industry, Port St. Maarten has to be able to meet the demands of shipping and cruising of the 21st century. Port management and board decided to purchase a second pilot boat in order to meet the demands of current port operations and also be able to accommodate and handle anticipated growth in port operations.

A second pilot boat is also necessary where it concerns carrying out preventative and routine maintenance on the current vessel. The current pilot boat is 10-years old.

Prior to the purchase of the second pilot boat, Port St. Maarten staff such as pilots, boat captains, and deckhands, was asked to give their input since they are the ones who work daily on the vessel. Based on their work experience, their input was very important in order to have a tailored-made vessel that would meet the specifications of operations at Port St. Maarten.

A Port St. Maarten delegation of three pilot boat captains along with Maritime Manager/Chief Pilot and Human Resource Manager, traveled to Lunenburg in the latter part of August to be part of the inspection process before the official handing over of the vessel. The delegation was able to witness systems demonstrations and sea trials and the overall conclusion was that everything is in order for the vessel to be shipped to the country.

Port St. Maarten Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mark Mingo says the port continuously is looking inward to make sure that every aspect of the company is up to a high standard in order to perform efficiently and effectively.

Some of the features that have been added is a wheel house with extra visibility for safety; the vessel will have a walk-around cabin with a man overboard retrieval crane; there are twin diesel engines with more horsepower than the existing pilot boat along with water jets for maneuverability, dependability and enhanced safety; as well as a hydraulic fire pump.

"One of the main things in a port is having resources that are modern and can do the job and meet the requirements of clients who depend on those services that are rendered. Whether it's a crane or pilot boat, they must be able to handle the workload and meet safety and quality standards," CEO Mark Mingo said on Sunday.

The connection between Lunenburg, Canada and St. Maarten goes back in history when salt was transported from the island to Nova Scotia for the fish industry in the early 1900s via schooners built in Lunenburg. One of the most famous schooners was the Mona Marie owned and operated in the Caribbean by Capt. W.L. Hassell from Barbados of Saban descent.



Last Updated ( Sunday, 21 September 2014 19:36 )

Minister Lake to prepare for legal battle regarding Vorst property.

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PHILIPSBURG:--- Minister of Public Housing, Environment, Spatial Planning and Infrastructure (Ministry VROMI) Hon. Maurice Lake says he is preparing for a legal battle regarding the Vorst property based on the outcome of the Central Committee meeting on Friday, September 19.

"I am going to prepare myself legally for this case because some Parliamentarians are making this issue a personal one. This is not about politics anymore. I have to defend myself now with the slandering of my name. I don't have any butter on my head. I have listened, and I took a lot during the election campaign, and the latter is politics. When elections are over, we move on as a people together.

"I understand politics but some parliamentarians are crossing the line and creating confusion in the community. As Minister of VROMI, I made a decision in the best interest of the people to purchase the Vorst Estate rather than leasing the property in which was going to cost much more, several million dollars more, and you don't own the property at the end of the lease.

"If Government wants to overrule and go back to lease so be it. I have not done anything wrong and I don't fear man but God. I will continue to be strong in all what I am doing for the people no matter despite some parliamentarians and some of those in Government who are trying everything to hold me liable.

"As the old people say when you dig a hole, you have to dig two. I would like to know from the same parliamentarians who have made the Vorst issue a personal vendetta, who we should hold liable for the Government Building that sat empty for years; for increasing the price of the Emilio Wilson Estate without Council of Ministers approval; the asphalt and sand deal; the St. Peters Hill illegal construction without having a deed; building an illegal Co2 gas tank on a Good Friday in Dutch Quarter while the Dutch Quarter Council and residents protest?

"Imagine the last meetings of Parliament are just spent talking about Maurice Lake who is working for the people rather than passing laws and legislation for the people. On two occasions, a Member of Parliament held a meeting at his home with respect to firing Maurice Lake because he was working too hard for the people.

"Discuss the safety and security concerns of the people where armed robberies have seemingly become a daily way of life for the people of this country. Six armed robberies in the past week alone with the latest one being an armed robbery in a tourist area down Cupecoy on Sunday morning. This is an issue where the people and tourists are feeling unsafe and action is needed.

"With a couple of weeks left in Government, we are not going to accomplish things in the interests of the country by still having that mind-set of the Executive Council and Island Council way of doing things. Each Minister has a budget and makes their own decision on how those funds are to be spent, but still consults with his colleagues in the Council if or when necessary. We need to start working together and stop trying to bring down each other. What message are we sending to young professionals?

"We are only embarrassing ourselves and making Government very unstable. We got to focus on preparing our people for the hard times ahead and empowering them to become and continue to be leaders within their own Country.
"We need to have people in Government who are going to be creative to move this country forward. Right now the new Government in waiting is just creating mass confusion and putting people against each other with a tunnel vision mentality for the country prior to being sworn in.

"In closing, I am looking forward to represent my people in Parliament to move this Country forward. I am also going to prepare myself and defend myself while some parliamentarians plan for me.

"I can foresee already the level of mass confusion, passing the buck and blame games, and this is why certain political parties can't perform in Government.

"I hope and pray they follow the white line while in Government because I am going to raise the bar in Parliament and continue to be open and transparent with the people's business, and they better be prepared to do the same," Minister Hon. Maurice Lake concluded.

Last Updated ( Sunday, 21 September 2014 19:37 )

Conflict Resolution workshop this Saturday.

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PHILIPSBURG:--- Members of civil society, professionals and local churches will meet this weekend to discuss the often elusive topic of conflict resolution. Via a workshop organized by Step Out Promotions, the event will be held under the theme Conflict Resolution: The Attitude, Skills and Strategies for a Peaceful Environment.
"Conflict Resolution otherwise known as reconciliation is the method or processes involved in facilitating the peaceful end of conflict and retribution. By learning these skills for conflict resolution we can keep our personal and professional relations productive, strong and growing," workshop coordinator Donna Morrison-Wilson explained.
The general public is being invited to attend this important seminar on Saturday, September 27, 2014 from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon in the conference room of the COME Center at Longwall Road #18, Philipsburg.
"When conflict is mismanaged, it can cause great harm to a relationship, but when handled in a respectful, positive way, conflict provides an opportunity to strengthen the bonds between people, groups and organization. Learn how to resolve conflict in the workplace, home, marriage and ministry. Apply proven strategies and methods and be a valuable member of the peace making and peace keeping process," a press release from the organizers stated.
This unique workshop will be facilitated by Mr. Rolande Tobias, an accomplished Toastmaster with close to 20 years of experience in the Toastmasters organization.Tobias has distinguished himself as an expert presenter, trainer and educator, conducting presentations and training sessions in 16 of the 20 territories in which Toastmaster District 81 has clubs. He is also a business communication lecturer at the University of St. Martin, banker by profession, community leader and media personality.
Workshop topics will include communication, arbitration, political resolutions, personal conflict, counseling, dispute management, international relations, turning an angry customer into a repeat customer and much more.
A registration fee of US$20.00 or Naf. 36.00 inclusive of refreshments, workshop materials and a course certificate is being charged. Registration can be done by visiting the office of Step Out Promotions at the COME Center, by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by calling telephone numbers 523-0901/523-9553.

Last Updated ( Sunday, 21 September 2014 20:41 )

Scooter Accident Leaves One Injured.

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Scooter Accident Leaves One Injured.

COLE BAY:--- A scooter rider was injured after being involved in an accident not far away from the Causeway round-a-bout near Port de Plaisance. An eyewitness told SMN News that KPSM and the ambulance from the Dutch side were at the scene. The eyewitness said that at the border there was a French ambulance and French Gendarmes who did not step-foot on the Dutch side to assist the victim who was laying on the road. The eyewitness said one of the Dutch police officers had to walk up to the Gendarmes to probably inform them that they were going to handle the case.
Police Spokesman Ricardo Henson confirmed that a young man who was riding a scooter lost control because he was riding at very high speed. Henson said the scooter rider was leaving the Dutch side going to the French side when he lost control and hit the divider on the road next to the round a-bout. As per the condition of the rider, Henson said the rider recieved a fractured skull and a few broken ribs. The police spokesman said that after x-rays were done the victim was transported to the Louis Constant Fleming Hospital for treatment since he is a French citizen.

Last Updated ( Sunday, 21 September 2014 19:55 )

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