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Jose Lake presented "Pen on Paper" to Minister of Justice.

boasmanpenonpaper23062017PHILIPSBURG:--- On Friday, June 23rd author Joseph Lake Jr presented Minister of Justice Rafael Boasman with his recently launched book: Pen on Paper (St. Martin 1970 to 2001) along with his other book "Six 4 Nine".
Mr. Lake said that the presentation is well in place as the Minister has long been involved in labor and is well aware of the labor struggles and developments of the island.
Pen on Paper serves as the highlights of journalism on St. Maarten during the 21st century.
It contains a wealth of documented information in regards to the challenges journalists faced and endured from the 1970's to 2001.
The information is backed up by articles, photos, and other literature. The book serves as a great tool to pass on St. Maarten's history in regards to journalism.
The minister thanked Mr. Lake for the contribution, which he said will surely be placed among his "next to read" literature.

Stakeholders and AVE Board met to discuss issues and way forward.

PHILIPSBURG:--- The stakeholders, represented on the board of The Advancement for Vocational Education (AVE) Foundation, namely SVOBE, FAVE, Windward Island Chamber of Labour Unions, St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Ministry of VSA (absent) and Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth & Sport met with the board of directors of The AVE Foundation on June 16th 2017.

Stakeholders were given the opportunity to address published reports and therein outlined supposed issues at NIPA. Candid discussions were undertaken, detailed and well-substantiated responses were provided on questions posted by the stakeholders. Full clarity was obtained by the Stakeholders and with a proper understanding of matters the portrayed issues in published reports could be placed in proper context and verified on validity.

In addition, thereto the AVE board provided full and unfiltered insight into the realities, the strengths and the weaknesses which the NIPA faces as a learning institution. The AVE Board in a well-structured manner outlined the way forward as they continue to put first the study opportunities for students and means for students to obtain excellence.

Planned and impending initiatives, including:
1] an extensive marketing campaign to be launched within short, through which the general public, future students -locally and internationally-, will be provided with more information on the type of institution NIPA is, the current programs offered, as well as future programs to be offered at the institution);
2] NIPA partnering with other internationally known institutions, to offer students an opportunity to pursue their studies at higher levels in their field of study;
3] Collaborations with Secondary school boards FAVE and SVOBE as NIPA offers further programs for graduates from schools presided over by these entities;

The Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Ms. Silveria Jacobs, who requested the Inspectorate to investigate the issues published in reports, received from the Inspectorate a report with recommendations, which recommendations have immediately been adopted and included in the action plans of the AVE board.

The Stakeholders, having verified that principles of good governance are being applied, and tasks are executed in accordance with the Articles of Incorporation of the AVE Foundation, are content with the functioning of the current board of directors.
Stakeholders, being kept abreast of their representatives of the strives made and the developments at the NIPA Institute, are pleased and satisfy with their representation
on the board and have pledged their continued support to the Institute. Stakeholders, Boards of FAVE-SVOBE and COCI have confirmed that incorporate actions within their respective planning to attain and safeguard study and career opportunities for NIPA graduates.

The Windward Island Chamber of Labour Unions expressed its satisfaction with the functioning of the AVE board, having a full understanding and a complete picture of the institution and the undertakings of the AVE board.

As stakeholders, with the board of AVE Foundation, management and staff of NIPA one joint goal is served and that is the continued development of the institution and its offerings to students including adults attending the evening programs; all with the ultimate aim to offer to the workforce in St. Maarten well-rounded, knowledgeable, practically trained and experienced workers.

The Stakeholders collectively reaffirmed their support of the AVE Board and pledged to move forward, to ensure that current- and future programs will continue to be offered at the institution, so its students may attain excellence in study and career, and in doing so fundamentally contribute towards the further socio-economic development of our people and country.

COCI Press Release

Marco London brings St. Maarten's Pro Muay Thai Kickboxers to Aruba.

kickboxing23062017COLE BAY:--- Sityodtong St Maarten Foundation head Sensei Marco London will be traveling to Aruba with two of St Maarten's best Muay Thai Kickboxing fighters, Akeem Lewis and Charlie "Ohmz" Marsham.
Both fighters will compete in pro (A-class) bouts sanctioned under the WKA (World Kickboxing Association) for the SCKBS Federation. The fights will take place at Centro Deportivo Betico Croes in Aruba on Saturday, July 1st, 2017. Akeem Lewis will face Oscar Sosa at 85 kg and Ohmz Marsham will face Joshua Krasters at 83 kg.
Marco London is a veteran fighter and coach who has been teaching Muay Thai Kickboxing in St Maarten for two decades. He was recognized by the Sports Department Brown Pelican Awards as 'Sports Icon' of 2016. Fighter Akeem Lewis is the head Muay Thai Instructor at Renzo Gracie St Maarten (SXM BJJ) in Cole Bay. For more information on kids, teens and adults Muay Thai Kickboxing program in Cole Bay contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Departing Chairman Age Bakker: "Aruba faces the challenge to meet the legal deficit standard this year as well".

bakkereman23062017Oranjestad:--- The first progress report of this year shows that the deficit in the collective sector on Aruba in the first quarter amounts to 1.1% of GDP, which is higher than the 0.5% GDP deficit standard for the full year. Both the tax revenues over the first quarter and the revenues resulting from the reorganization measures are insufficient, while the expected effects of the re-opening of the refinery are also lagging behind due to delay. Aruba faces the challenge to comply with the legal deficit standard this year as well. The Board of financial supervision Aruba (CAft) proposes to consider announcing in this stage already an overall commitment stop and vacancy stop.

Unsatisfactory results over the first quarter
The CAft indicates that, in particular, the wage tax and corporate turnover tax (BBO) revenues are below budget. The measures implemented by the government at the tax authorities in order to increase tax compliance have not resulted in the intended effect. In addition, because of the delay in the work activities with regard to the oil refinery, a great deal of the investments will have their effect only later in this year, slowing down the income from tax revenues. At the expense side the government's reorganization measures that are necessary for sustainable public finances seem to be withering. The Board emphasizes how important it is that the budgeted income of AWG 67 million, comprising the settlement sum of Valero (AWG 27 million) and the sale of Fuels Marketing & Supply Aruba (AWG 40 million), be realized this year.

Work to be done
The financial results over the first quarter are at such level that the Board advises to implement a vacancy stop and a commitment stop. The CAft chairman: "Personnel costs amount to about one-third of the total government spending this year and this amount should be reduced. There is work to be done." At the beginning of this year, more people have entered public service, which is not in line with government's intention to save 5% on government staff annually. In order to further reduce public spending, the frequency and level of fees for predictable over time should be better anticipated in the budgetary process. In addition, the establishment of a functioning house for government officials can help to counter the autonomous growth in staff expenditure. As far as taxes are concerned, further tax reform is needed and the country's liquidity position has to be structurally strengthened. The Minister of Finance, together with other government departments, takes the necessary steps to obtain an auditor’s report. The next step in this process is to formulate a concrete and realistic time path to that end.

Last visit current chairman
In addition to discussing the results for the first quarter, this visit was also related to the forthcoming farewell by the current chairman, Age Bakker, as of July 1, 2017, and making acquaintance with the upcoming chairman Raymond Gravus. The departing chairman looks back with a satisfied feeling of a fruitful cooperation with Aruba. Age Bakker on his period at the CAft: "It was not always easy, but together, each working on his own role, we contributed to the fact that Aruba has met the legal deficit standard over the past two years. With this achievement, important steps have been taken to reduce the untenable debt position". As usual, during the visits of the Board to Aruba, meetings were held with the Governor, the Minister of Finance, the Council of Ministers, and the Parliamentary Committee on Finance, Economic Affairs, and Government Organization. The CAft also visited the Central Bank of Aruba. The conversation included amongst others the delayed work activities of the refinery.

CEO of A. C Wathey Cruise Facility Mark Mingo remains in pretrial detention.

markmingo14052017PHILIPSBURG:--- The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the A. C Wathey Cruise Facilities Mark Mingo who was arrested on June 7th, 2017 at the Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIAE) has to spend another eight days behind bars as the Judge of Instruction agreed with the Prosecutor’s Office to extend the pretrial detention of Mingo for another eight days. The judge gave its decision on Friday afternoon.
Mingo was arrested by the TBO and RST in the Emerald Investigation, the detectives also searched the home of Mingo. A press release from the Prosecutor’s Office on June 7th, 2017 stated that the Emerald-investigation began in April 2016. The investigation started when the owner of a security company on Sint Maarten was suspected of falsity in writing, money laundering, and tax evasion. In November 2016 O.A. has arrested already in this case and property of him was seized.
The investigation is part of a larger investigation into fraud and corruption, also called undermining. This is a serious threat to the security and economy of the countries of the Dutch Carribean. TBO, RST, the national detectives of Curacao and Sint Maarten and the Public Prosecutors Office are all partners in the combating of undermining.

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