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Nov 27th
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Minister of Justice Richardson representing Sint Maarten at Caribbean Financial Action Task Force Plenary and Ministerial Meetings in El Salvador.

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Minister of Justice Richardson representing Sint Maarten at Caribbean Financial Action Task Force Plenary and Ministerial Meetings in El Salvador.

GREAT BAY (DCOMM):--- Minister of Justice Hon. Dennis Richardson is currently in San Salvador, El Salvador, attending the Plenary and Ministerial of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) from November 23 to 27.

The CFATF is an organization of states and territories of the Caribbean Basin which have agreed to implement common counter-measures against money laundering and financing of terrorism.

The CFATF Plenary Meeting XL and Special Ministerial V Meeting started on Monday and will conclude on Friday.

"Country Sint Maarten is committed to the global anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism fight. We have taken a number of measures and have the legislation in place as well as pending legislation along with the necessary institutions such as the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) which plays a key role in this global effort.

"Sint Maarten has a responsibility just like other countries in the region, Latin America, Europe, Asia and the world over in protecting regional and international financial systems from transnational organized crime and those who engage in terrorism and financing that promotes illegal activities of this nature.

"With all countries working together, we will be successful in our quest to combat the aforementioned crimes because failure is not an option," Minister of Justice Hon. Dennis Richardson said on Tuesday from San Salvador.

The Task Force was established as a result of two key meetings convened in Aruba and in Jamaica in the early 1990s.

In November 1996, 21 members of the CFATF entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which now serves as the basis for the goals and the work of the CFATF.

In the MoU, CFATF members agree to adopt and implement the 1988 UN Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances; endorse and implement the FATF Forty Recommendations and the CFATF Nineteen Recommendations; fulfil the obligations expressed in the Kingston Declaration as well as, where applicable, in the Plan of Action of the Summit of the Americas; and to adopt and implement any other measures for the prevention and control of the laundering of the proceeds of all serious crimes as defined by the laws of each Member.

Sint Maarten is a member of CFATF and has been an active participant in various meetings organized by the aforementioned organization.

Based on the progress made until now, Sint Maarten's FIU has been admitted to the renowned so-called Egmont Group as well.

Head of Sint Maarten's FIU Ligia Stella is also attending the deliberations in El Salvador.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 26 November 2014 21:46 )

 

CLOSURE NOTICE FOR BUREAU OMBUDSMAN.

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CLOSURE NOTICE FOR BUREAU OMBUDSMAN.

PHILIPSBURG:--- Please be informed that the Bureau Ombudsman will be closed in connection with an out- of-office event on November 28th, 2014.

We apologize for any inconvenience caused.

Operations will resume as usual on Monday December 1st, 2014.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 26 November 2014 17:48 )

An inside look by Raphael Sorton.

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An inside look by Raphael Sorton.

PHILIPSBURG:--- Last week former commissioner of Finance Xavier Blackman presented the Philipsburg Jubilee library with a copy of the book : "An inside look ", authored by Mr. Blackman's uncle Mr. Raphael Sorton. The book is an autobiographical tale of a little boy who grew up on Saba, left his homeland to study abroad and ended up as a Minister Plenipotentiary in the Hague.

PJL Press Release

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 26 November 2014 19:23 )

Nature Foundation Pilots Project of Using Natural Alternatives to Combat Dengue and Chikungunya Carrying Mosquitoes in Communities.

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Nature Foundation Pilots Project of Using Natural Alternatives to Combat Dengue and Chikungunya Carrying Mosquitoes in Communities.

COLE BAY:--- The St. Maarten Nature Foundation has launched a small pilot project using natural predators of flying insects to combat the mosquito population on St. Maarten. For the last few weeks there has been an increase in the mosquito population, which in turn may result in increased cases of dengue fever and chikungunya, amongst the population. The Nature Foundation has therefore launched a pilot project using especially bats to see if they can help control the mosquito population. Four private residences have been given so-called "Bat Boxes" by the Nature Foundation which will hopefully attract insect eating bats. 70% of the more than 1,000 bat species are insectivores, meaning they feed solely on insects and can eat up to 1000 mosquitoes an hour. Certain bat colonies have been estimated to eat almost 10,000-30,000 pounds of insects. Bat houses have been used to eliminate mosquitoes since the early 1900s. Bats, together with other Natural Methods such as using mosquitofish to eat mosquito larvae are a more natural alternative to pesticides which can cause harm to the environment.
"Bats make up almost a quarter of all mammals, and they are the only mammals able to fly. They can be found all throughout the world and although they may not be the cutest creatures in the animal kingdom, bats are extremely helpful to humans in many ways. Many movies, television shows, and books have given bats a bad name. When many people hear the word "bat," they think of blood-thirsty creatures that spread diseases like rabies. We came up with this idea almost four years ago but we wanted to be absolutely sure that there aren't any cases of rabies or other diseases in bats on St. Maarten and once we felt we were certain we contact private home owners and asked them if they were interested. People also fear that they will be attacked if they are outdoors at night when bats are present. This is a misunderstanding of bat behavior. Bats swoop down to catch flying insects, not to scare you," read a Nature Foundation statement.

Bats are also pollinators, and plants that have white flowers are usually night pollinated by one of the few animals that fly at night...Bats! The Nature Foundation will be in contact with the volunteers of the pilot project to determine if the bats are helping with the reduction in the mosquito population.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 26 November 2014 19:25 )

Vorst Families Submitted New Proposal to Government --- Caretaker Government will not deal with the proposal.

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Vorst Families Submitted New Proposal to Government --- Caretaker Government will not deal with the proposal.

PHILIPSBURG:--- Caretaker Prime Minister Sarah Wescot Williams announced at the Council of Ministers weekly press briefing on Wednesday that the Vorst family has submitted a new proposal for the sale of their property located in Cay Hill. Wescot Williams said that the new proposal submitted to government is one million dollars less than the first proposal. The new proposal for the 11,100 m2 of land the Vorst family wants to sell is $4.5M instead of $5.5M which was signed off by caretaker Minister Maurice Lake. Wescot Williams said that while this is a new proposal, her advice to the Council of Ministers is to leave the proposal for the incoming Council of Ministers. She said that since the current Council of Ministers had taken a decision on the purchase of the property it is her belief that the incoming government should deal with it especially since the current Council of Ministers is in a caretaker status.

Emilio Wilson purchase moving forward.

Wescot Williams also announced that the Minister of VROMI is currently finalizing the purchase of the Emilio Wilson Estate as was agreed upon by the Government of St. Maarten. When asked which agreement the Government of St. Maarten is respecting and if Rainforest Adventure has anything to do with the purchase and the estate. Wescot Williams said that government will still stick to the first agreement signed off by former Minister of VROMI William Marlin which will cost government $17M. Wescot Williams said currently all she knows about the Emilio Wilson Estate purchase is that government is finalizing the purchase since the loan has been secured for it and it was also budgeted. She further stated that after the purchase she could not say if any other investor or investors will get involved.
The caretaker Prime Minister also gave an update on several issues such as the draft 2015 budget and the reaction given by the CFT. Wescot Williams said that the Government of St. Maarten has until December 15th, 2014 to finalize its draft budget.
Another issue the Prime Minister raised was a letter sent by Minister of Foreign and Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk regarding the plans of the Government of St. Maarten to implement some of the recommendations in the various integrity reports. Wescot Williams said that Minister Plasterk sent a letter to the Minister of Justice Dennis Richardson informing him that he did not take a final decision on St. Maarten's plan of approach. She said the Minister stated that his Ministry and St. Maarten's administration did not yet discuss the matter at hand. She said the letter is pending even though it was sent to the Minister of Justice about two weeks ago. "Even though this letter was sent about two weeks ago I was only made aware of it on Wednesday morning, therefore the Government of St. Maarten has to deal with it."
Wescot Williams said that St. Maarten got compliments from the European Union on the NDP (National Development Plan) she said that the EU feels that St. Maarten's proposal to obtain EU funding should be used as a model.
The Prime Minister said that the list for visas for Caribbean countries has been extended. She said that persons who need a visa to enter St. Maarten can be exempted if they have multiple visas to enter the United States and Canada. Wescot Williams said that the Department of Foreign Affairs is dealing with the matter regarding the Caribbean visas which she said states which countries and persons that are exempted from the visa requirements.
Besides the updates on government affairs, Wescot Williams issued thank you's to the various persons (departments and projects) that she worked on while being the Prime Minister of St. Maarten. She also announced that she was invited to St. Eustatius to participate in a panel discussion since that island will be holding a referendum to change its current status.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 26 November 2014 21:14 )

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