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Are there criteria for the Dutch Funding, or is it to take care of the Boy's Club?

Dear Mrs. Hodge-Shaw,
Can you imagine my astonishment when I read this article in The Daily Herald? But the following day I was even more surprised that you did not champion the people and integrity for the abuse of using government funds to build a home for these fraudsters. Glenda Dollison lives on a house on property left to her by her father Carlos Dollison. She lives in a concrete house, so her house was not destroyed as they claim in this article. Furthermore, Glenda Dollison rents out parcels of land to people allowing them to construct from a shack to a brick house and the person is charged depending on the size of the lot.
Judging from the size of the Dollison property a low estimate would be $14.000 monthly that she collects in rent. How does the SMHDF justify building, not repairing, a house for this person? While there are literally thousands of other people who genuinely cannot help themselves and are still roofless more than a year after the hurricane, they select her and her brother to build a house for.
Right there on the property there are people who can’t repair the shacks they are living in, and they select these people to give them aid. Are there any criteria for getting help? Do they investigate who they are helping? There’s mention of two people who were supposed to be representing The Netherlands Ministry of internal affairs, but they were most likely representing Holland at El Capitan Nightclub than looking into the background of those selected.
Ms Hodge, you have always exposed abuse and defended the people. You have always sought justice and fairness for the people of SXM. I’m asking you to expose these fraudsters and make them pay back that money. Let that help go to people who really need it. Expose what criteria Franca uses to pass over people in need to build houses for people who can afford their own repairs and construction.

Concerned Citizen of St. Maarten


St. Maarten Needs to Ban Single Use Plastics. Now!

Dear Editor,

St. Maarten’s Day is my favorite Holiday. It is a day on which I reflect on what it means to be a St. Maartener and how I can be a better citizen of my amazing country. It is also a day where I am on a singular mission to gorge myself on the food and drink that makes our island unique. But, unfortunately, I can’t do so in good conscience without using my own plate and cup and knife and fork. For Sint Maarten, our Pearl in the Caribbean Sea has a major plastic problem: everything our food is served in is made out of single-use plastics.

We have significantly lagged behind in taking concrete steps to ban single-use plastics. As an island nation, we must go the way other Caribbean countries and territories have, including Jamaica, Dominica, and soon Anguilla, in banning single-use plastic products. Whilst I can appreciate the steps taken in the right direction by Parliament, it might already be too little too late. If we don’t act urgently, St. Maarten will again lag behind the region in terms of addressing a sustainability issue, much like we are lagging behind in moving towards renewable energy.

But it is also up to us to force change, which, I’m afraid, is easier said than done. This despite us trying to push our society in that direction with the Reduce Reuse Program. A clear example of this is when I posted on social media my disappointment in the St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation for them still allowing a balloon jump-up anno 2019. I was met with condemnation and criticism, berating me for not “approaching the SCDF with alternatives instead of criticizing,” as if the SCDF has been living under a rock instead of on top of one, ignorant to the global and regional response to the damages that single-use plastics, especially balloons, cause to the ecosystems and wildlife that makes St. Maarten unique. The balloon industry is the only one that encourages consumers to litter with its product. The Ocean Conservancy, the well-respected global ocean conservation organization, ranks balloons as the third deadliest form of marine litter after ghost-nets and single-use plastic bags. However, the SCDF is not the only organization to blame; everywhere on our still beautiful island we clean up balloons that were released during parties or events littering our coasts and wetlands, plastic bags choking wild flora and fauna, and cigarette butts and straws competing with the very sand our beaches are famous for. This goes to show that the mindset of our people needs to change; we need to hold ourselves and our actions accountable just as much as we need to hold government and businesses accountable. As the cliché goes, we have to ‘be the change we want to see in the world’. But that does not mean that our Government and Parliament shouldn’t take the lead, as they should, in enacting the change our country so desperately needs. And after what we have been through and are still going through, not only needs but deserves.

It is curious to see how the use of plastics is so ingrained in our community. When I go for takeout I take my reusable containers with me. The reactions I get range from disbelief, incomprehension, humor, and resignation. I am often met with blank, vacant looks when I mention that the same styrofoam container that we discarded is fuel to the continuously blazing fire at the landfill. Plastic is, after all, a petroleum product, much like the gas in your car. It is also curious, given our societal and cultural norms, that BPA, or Bisphenol A, the dominant chemical in single-use plastics such as styrofoam food containers and plastic bottles, can have negative reproductive health effects, especially in men. BPAs are endocrine disruptors that can cause impotency and prostate cancer in men and reproductive hormone issues in women. This chemical is now being found in the fish we eat, transferred into our bodies through ingested microplastics.

Recycling, unfortunately, is not the solution, especially for a Small Island Developing State such as St. Maarten. A state that is already struggling with solid waste management issues and the way we approach our garbage problem. Sint Maarten, per capita, produces nine times more garbage than any other country in the Caribbean. Given our susceptibility to climate change events (read Irma) and our limited land space, given the personal interests often involved in the garbage management industry, and given our track record in managing solid waste, a ban is the only solution to curb the impact of plastics. Although in lieu of a ban, recycling can make a small difference, and the work being done by businesses and organizations that encourage recycling should certainly be recognized and highlighted, recycling is just a band-aid. It is the grownup version of squeezing one’s eyes shut and covering one’s ears and screaming lalalalalala so as to ignore reality. It is an “easy cop-out for cowardly governments,” according to an article from the independant.co.uk. 80% of all plastic can’t be recycled and 100% can’t be recycled indefinitely. Eventually plastic will remain in our environment, causing the human and environmental health effects I mentioned earlier. Recycling itself depends heavily on global markets and global environmental policy, markets and policies that are susceptible to the volatile nature of global politics and the global market. Politics that go way beyond our Sweet St. Maarten Land’s ability to navigate successfully. That is why governments in fellow Caribbean countries and territories are putting the future of their islands and their people above a temporary convenience. We should not have a Sint Maarten’s Day where our crab-backs, chicken-leg and johnny-cakes, pigtail soups and guavaberry punches are served in single-use plastic containers; celebrating our sweet country while simultaneously defiling her. We need to ban single-use plastics. Now!

TADZIO BERVOETS
Tadzio Bervoets is the Manager of the Sint Maarten Nature Foundation, a conservation NGO on Sint Maarten. He is also the Vice-chair of the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance and the winner of the 2016 McFarlane Award for Conservation Leadership in the Insular Caribbean

Statia in Peril: The case against “Public Entity”.

Political Analyst, Julio R, Romney

The Court of First Instance in Philipsburg is scheduled (on Tuesday, November 20, 2018) to hear open arguments from the dissolved insular Government of Sint Eustatius which was taken into receivership on February 7, 2018 by its Central Government – The Government of the Netherlands. The dissolved Government officials are of the opinion that the Government of the Netherlands infringed on Statia’s “right to a full measure of self-government” as established by the United Nations and further concluded that the action of the Netherlands is in violation of international law as indicated by the Vienna Convention on the law of Treaties and now seeks the Court of First Instance ruling to reverse the receivership action of the Government of the Netherlands.
To put this into perspective, with the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles, on October 10, 2010, Sint Eustatius became a Public Entity/Body of the constituent state of the Netherlands. In other words, integrated into the Netherlands as a municipality and as such properly governed under the Constitution of the Netherlands. With the Central Government of the Netherlands having the statutory authority to “exercise supervision” or to oversee the local administration of Sint Eustatius, as provided for under Article 132 of the Constitution of the Netherlands.
Based on media reports, out of concern in which the Government was being administered, the Government of the Netherlands established a committee to investigate the operation and functioning of the Government of Statia. The Committee reported back that the Government of Statia was in a state of “lawlessness and financial mismanagement, threats and insults and the pursuit of personal power”. To this end, the Government of the Netherlands, invoked Article 132 of the Constitution through an Act of Parliament (namely the Temporary Act on Neglect of Duty in Sint Eustatius) and thereby dissolved the local elected government and appointed a “Government Commission” to oversee the governing of the Island.
In defense or to support the claim that with the dissolution of the local elected Government of Sint Eustatius, Statia’s right to a full measure of self-government is infringed upon - the dissolved local elected Government of Sint Eustatius cited Article 73 of the United Nations Charter and insofar as the dissolution action of the Netherlands being in violation of international law Articles 26 and 27 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties is cited. In addition, there is also much talk about the use of Article 2 and 103 of the United Nations Charter to further solidify the case. An abundance of caution should be exercise here and the identified Articles should be closely examined with respect to the audience, intent, and jurisdiction of the articles.

First and foremost, it is highly questionable whether or not, more likely not, Article 2 of the United Nations Charter can be used to further solidify the case against the receivership action taken by the Netherlands. Clearly, Article 2 establishes the United Nations as membership base on the principle of sovereign equality. In other words, the content of the Charter speaks to an agreement for adherence between members with the notion that Members are equally sovereign. Respectfully, Sint Eustatius is not sovereign and as such not a member of the United Nations, but only a lower administrative body (municipality of the Netherlands) of a sovereign member of the United Nations - the Kingdom of the Netherlands. This is addressed in the 7th part of Article 2 which states that “nothing contained in the Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state or shall require the Members to submit such matter to settlement under the Charter”.
As for article 103, this Article addresses a conflict between Members, where their obligations under the Charter shall prevail. Again, Sint Eustatius is not a member of the United Nations and the conflict is of a domestic nature between the local government and its Central government, so there is nothing to prevail within the realm of the United Nations Charter.
With that said and in regard to the view that the dissolution of the local elected government, Statia is deprived of “a full measure of self-government” which is recognized in Article 73 of the United Nations Charter as paramount and encourages all its members to promote self-government in its administration of territories. Operationally, the basis of self-government warrants that administrative governed bodies to have self-rule and control of their internal affairs, free from external government control or outside political authority. Where self-rule does not extend to the right to unilaterally do as pleases within the Constellation, but expect to govern or follow the established rules and regulations of the Constellation.
Given the factors laid out in Article 73 to determine whether a full measure of self-government is being attained i.e., assurance the people social, political and educational advancement, just treatment and protection against abuse; take the political aspiration of the people and assist them in progressive development and; promote constructive measures of development none of these appeared to be violated. There is no question that there is hindrance with the receivership of the local government.
Second, without prejudice to Articles 26 and 27 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, they have no binding force on the lawfulness of the Government of the Netherlands dissolving the local elected Government of Sint Eustatius. Specifically the Temporary Act on Neglect of Duty in Sint Eustatius that was for the dissolution of the local elected Government of Sint Eustatius. In general, the Vienna Convention on Law of Treaties applies to agreements between states. While the Temporary Act on Neglect of Duty in Sint Eustatius is presumably an agreement between the Government of the Netherlands and the local elected Government of Sint Eustatius it is not a treaty. What is a treaty? A treaty is an agreement entered into by two or more states, mainly of sovereign powers. Again, these Articles do not apply to the circumstances of Sint Eustatius.
The governing principle to which the Statia peril/ crises points to a political discourse rather than a legal case. The crises are integrated into its (Statia’s) political statutory status as a Public Entity (of the Netherlands), the creation of conditions that the polity of Statia is not preparing to live under and appeared not to have understood from the inception. All parties must take care to determine the needs and welfare of the people of the Territory of Statia and place these before politics. The suggestive crises impasse here is through political dialogue in institutional-building and likewise comprehension.

Union requests meeting to discuss the eradication of poverty.

To: The Council of Ministers of Sint Maarten
C/o The Honorable Prime Minister Mrs. Leona Romeo-Marlin
Government Administration Building
Pond Island, Philipsburg
Sint Maarten
Philipsburg, November 1st, 2018

Re: Repeat request for meeting to address: “Poverty Eradication, Equality and the Right to Development for the people of Sint Maarten.”

Honorable Ministers,

We hereby repeat our request dated August 18th, 2018 for a meeting with the Council of Ministers to dialogue with the Ministers on how we can realize “the eradication of poverty, equal rights and the right to development of the people of Sint Maarten”, as development priority in the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

The Governing Program 2018-2022 “Building a Sustainable Sint Maarten, The National Recovery and Resilience Plan-Government of Sint Maarten, The Financial Recovery Plan 2018-2022- Government of Sint Maarten have not been discussed with the Sint Maarten Anti-Poverty Platform. We would therefore like to dialogue with your Council of Ministers, how the poverty eradication, equal rights and the right to development of the people of Sint Maarten in the Kingdom of the Netherlands can still be implemented in the aforementioned programs.

We would like to quote from the Governing Program that was signed by all Ministers and the Parliamentarians of the coalition: “Through consistent dialogue and improved public services, the government will strive to realize a socially and economically sound Sint Maarten.”

Awaiting your invitation for this meeting on behalf of the Sint Maarten Anti-Poverty Platform, we remain

Respectfully yours,
The co-coordinators

________________________ _______________________
Mrs. Claire Elshot-Aventurin Mr. Raymond Jessurun
President of WICLU Vice President SMSPA

To: The Parliament of Sint Maarten
c/o President of Parliament Mrs. Sarah Wescot-Williams
Philipsburg, Sint Maarten

Philipsburg, November 1st, 2018

Re: Repeat Request for meeting to address: “Poverty Eradication, Equality and the Right to Development for the people of Sint Maarten.”

Honorable Members of Parliament,

We hereby repeat our request dated August 18th, 2018 for a meeting with members of Parliament to dialogue on how we can realize “the eradication of poverty, equal rights and the right to development of the people of Sint Maarten”, as development priority in the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

The Governing Program 2018-2022 “Building a Sustainable Sint Maarten, The National Recovery and Resilience Plan-Government of Sint Maarten, The Financial Recovery Plan 2018-2022- Government of Sint Maarten have not been discussed with the Sint Maarten Anti-Poverty Platform. We would therefore like to dialogue with our members of Parliament, how the poverty eradication, equal rights and the right to development of the people of Sint Maarten in the Kingdom of the Netherlands can still be implemented in the aforementioned programs.

We would like to quote from the Governing Program that was signed by all Ministers and the Parliamentarians of the coalition: “Through consistent dialogue and improved public services, the government will strive to realize a socially and economically sound Sint Maarten.”

Awaiting your invitation for this meeting on behalf of the Sint Maarten Anti-Poverty Platform, we remain

Respectfully yours,
The co-coordinators

________________________ _______________________
Mrs. Claire Elshot-Aventurin Mr. Raymond Jessurun
President of WICLU Vice President SMSPA

 

Open Letter to Our legal Minds.

Dear Editor,
Sometimes, things happen in politics that triggers me to question. The media brought the issue regarding the island of St. Eustatius taking Holland to court. As a result, St. Eustatius decided to start legal proceedings against the Dutch government, after the Netherlands removed the legally elected Members of the Island and Executive Councils of Statia from office.
Based on their argument for their decision, I had expected Holland to take legal action against one or more of these government officials in St. Eustatius. And charge them with wrongdoing or neglect of duties; however, this did not happen.
So I would like to know if Members of the Island Councils who were duly elected by the people of St. Eustatius can be taken to court for wrongdoing or neglect of duty.
When the Lt. Governor and the Commissioners were put out of office, the salaries for those functions were also stopped, and according to information, those persons are not receiving a salary.
The Kingdom of the Netherlands consists of four (4) countries, namely Aruba, Curacao, Holland, and St. Maarten. Saba, St. Eustatius and Bonaire have been embedded in Holland, and even though this has happened, it was always the case that the six (6) islands of the former Netherlands Antilles would always have the right to determine their constitutional future.
Recent news reminds us that Holland cannot pull out of this relationship and leave the other islands by themselves. In other words, Holland cannot put any of the islands out of the Kingdom without the permission of other countries.
In the past, the Kingdom government and or Holland would levy higher supervision on an island. This would happen together with a plan of action, which would contain a budget and a timeframe.
Can we say that Members of the Island Council are hired and or elected by the people?
Can Members of the Island Council be put aside and be replaced by persons who were not elected by the people?
Now that this has happened on St. Eustatius, can it also be repeated on another island?
Can this be done on Aruba, Curacao or St. Maarten? Is this article 43 at work?
Those questions I can ask Members of Parliament, but. I would like to hear the opinion of our legal minds, as it pertains to this issue. St. Maarten consists of so many law firms and or lawyers, and I am sure, there must have been someone thinking of this while paying close attention to the situation.
Do we have to wait until a professor emerges from across the Atlantic and he/she writes an opinion, after which, we comment or do we have enough legal minds of our own to have a healthy exchange?
Your input /opinion is important...

drs. Rodolphe Samuel


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