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IPKO members get firsthand view of Mary Fancy’s Plantation restoration project.

PHILIPSBURG:--- Philipsburg, Sint Maarten, 22 January 2019 - On Thursday, January 10, Algemeen Pensioenfonds Sint Maarten (APS) hosted an engaging showcase event of the heritage site, the Mary’s Fancy Plantation. Invited guests consisted of IPKO members of the Netherlands, Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten, the Minister of Finance, Minister of Education, Culture, Youth & Sports, the Department of Culture secretary general and several government officials and support staff. Guests were treated to a relaxed afternoon of presentations, demonstrations and entertainment. Several speakers gave insightful details of the project, elaborating on its inception, defined cultural heritage and restoration progress. Speakers included APS Supervisory Board chair Mr. Franklyn Richards, Mr. Alfonso Blijden, Dr. Jay Haviser, Architect duo Cees den Heijer and Michael Newton and APS Director Nadya Croes – van Putten.

The restoration of the Mary’s Fancy Plantation by the APS is one of the development projects of the pension fund. The property was purchased by APS in 2014 and upon completion will offer visitors the experience of an eco-hotel, art gallery /cultural auditorium and botanical garden. The key heritage features of the location are the plantation house, an 18th-century grave, sugar factory and servant's quarter /kitchen. Serious concerns for APS right now are e.g.; the lack of a functioning monument council which can lead to delays as well as the long wait for permits that have led to delays in the past with other projects. APS Director Mrs Nadya Croes van Putten stated: “These matters need to be addressed! Nonetheless, once this project is on stream, the returns will remain in Sint Maarten, providing the country with the opportunity to in time, reduce its dependency on overseas investments. The Mary’s Fancy Plantation, one of St. Maarten’s cultural heritage sites is one of several investment projects that by definition ‘gives back’ to St. Maarten.”

The ambiance of the event was designed to trigger tranquility and amplify the natural beauty of the grounds. MC for the event, King Vers invited guests to relax and enjoy, to which APS Supervisory Board Chair Franklyn Richards complimented the request by reminding guests to ensure that they acknowledge their surroundings and envision ‘what once was’ as well as the prospect of the property upon completion. In his speech, Mr. Richard’s touched on the historical background, interest of APS and restoration progress of the project. “A cultural heritage site, this is how we affectionately and consciously refer to the Mary’s Fancy Plantation. Affectionately and consciously because we, APS, St. Maarten, have made a decision to commit ourselves to do our collective best to preserve our history for generations to come.”

Mr. Alfonso Blijden reiterated the value of cultural preservation while taking guests down memory lane with historical background information. “Monuments possess historical values resulting from their beautiful architecture and their correlation with important events that occurred in the heritage area such as religious, social and political events. With time Monuments are subjected to processes of degradation, which leads to a situation in which they became not able to fulfil the purpose for which they were built. And that is where institutions such as the APS comes in. With their input, monuments such as the Mary’s Fancy Plantation can be restored back to its former glory.”

Simarc, contracted by APS, executed the archaeological digs and provided consultation and was represented at the event by Dr. Jay Haviser. The collaboration with Simarc grants young locals the opportunity to be actively involved in the project, highlighting the importance of community engagement in such a project. The Mary’s Fancy Plantation project is referenced to be a model example of how local monument restoration projects should be executed. “Artefacts and heritage pieces that were found during the digs will be considered for incorporation in the design. Trees are also part of the heritage of our island. Over 160 trees are marked for preservation and in the designs for future restoration /development, they will be preserved. APS is busy with the preservation of this in a respectful manner.”- Dr. Jay Haviser – Simarc Director.

Architect duo Cees den Heijer and Michael Newton presented the master plan for the future use of the property: eco-hotel, art gallery /cultural auditorium and botanical garden. Challenges in the restoration process were presented, those being; changing the structures /properties so they can handle the new function (eco-hotel etc.), dealing with the damage caused by the termites and improving the hurricane resistance of the structure.

In closing, Mrs. Croes- van Putten stated; it is important for the APS that our Government and Kingdom relations be informed on the role of APS and the impact the pension fund can make towards the development of St. Maarten within the coming years. Our commitment is evident e.g. in our participation in the financing of the new general hospital for St. Maarten and our affordable housing project Oryx Hills in which by August 2019 we will be adding 62 homes to the housing inventory of Sint Maarten.

Nature Foundation Encourages Boat Owners to Observe Marine Traffic Laws to Protect Wildlife.

seaturtle21012019PHILIPSBURG:---The St. Maarten Nature Foundation is encouraging boaters in the waters surrounding St. Maarten to observe the rules and regulations regarding marine traffic speeds. “Over the past few weeks, we have been seeing issues pertaining to boats speeding in zones where they should not causing damage to wildlife. Last week a turtle washed ashore after a boat hit its shell and it was killed. The speed limits in the Simpson Bay Lagoon and in nearshore areas are in place to also protect wildlife,” commented Bervoets.
In the bridge channel, fairways and in the Lagoon a five mile per hour speed limit is in force for all vessels. Anchorage zones and marinas fall under “no wake zones.”

No anchorage is allowed in the fare ways. The access fare way from sea to the bridge channel should always stay open. The inbound traffic should position their vessels alongside the fare way so the outbound traffic has free passage to the sea. East of the Princess Juliana International Airport, in the extension of the runway in the lagoon, is a no anchorage area.

Little Bay Pond Cleanup a Success.

epiclittlebaypond21012019PHILIPSBURG:---This past Sunday, over 80 volunteers joined Environmental Protection in the Caribbean (EPIC) for a litter cleanup at Little Bay Pond and beach. Participants filled 30 large garbage bags with litter. The trash poses a threat to the many aquatic and bird species found there as they can get entangled in or accidentally consume litter. EPIC would like to thank CC1 and Heavenly Water for sponsoring the beverages, Learning Unlimited for providing parking, VROMI for waste management, and all the volunteers who helped the community and local wildlife.


T. A. P.S. Program deemed a success.

tapskpsm21012019PHILIPSBURG:--- On Thursday 17th January 2019, the Sint Maarten Police Force in cooperation with the St.Maarten Academy P.S.V.E section successfully concluded their Teens and Police service academy program (T.A.P.S). This eleven-week program, which was headed by Community police officer Josepha with assistance from various other officers within the department, commenced back in October 2018 with the goal to help bridge the gap between KPSM officers and at-risk youths on the island. It provided a better understanding of what it means to be a police officer through scenarios and specific topic areas associated with children and youth safety.
Among some of the topics discussed with the students were conflict resolution, what to do when stopped by police, drug use and sales, what happens when you are caught stealing, school fights, how to conduct yourself on social media and loitering. Each theory was followed up by a practical scenario. The students were given the opportunity to play the role of an officer at the scene of a crime while the officers took on the role of the suspect.
At the end of the program, each student got a chance to express their initial feeling about becoming an officer verse how they felt after completing the program. After doing the scenarios of role reversal the students now understand that being an officer is not as easy as it may appear to be and it takes a lot of discipline. The T.A.P.S program was deemed a success and will be followed up with Cops and Kids which is aimed towards the primary school level. The Cops and Kids program is sleighed to begin in February 2019 with the participation of five different primary schools on the Dutch side of the island.
The Sint Maarten Police force would like to thank the St.Maarten Academy P.S.V.E. students and teachers as well as all officers who took the time out to ensure the 2018-2019 T.A.P.S. program was a success.

KPSM Press Release.

Central Committee meeting of Parliament about discussion on the amending of two National Ordinances.

PHILIPSBURG The House of Parliament will sit in a Central Committee meeting on Wednesday, January 23, 2019. 

The Central Committee meeting is scheduled for 10.00 hrs. in the General Assembly Chamber of the House at Wilhelminastraat #1 in Philipsburg. The Minister of Justice will be present.
The agenda points are:

1. Ontwerp van Landsverordening tot wijziging van de Landsverordening op het notarisambt ten behoeve van de uitoefening van notariële bevoegdheden op Saba en Sint Eustatius door het notariaat van Sint Maarten (IS/002/2018-2019 d.d. 11 september 2018) (ZJ 2018-2019-119)
National Ordinance amending the National Ordinance on the Notary office for the exercising of notarial competencies on Saba and Sint Eustatius by the notary of Sint Maarten (IS/002/2018-2019 dated September 11, 2018) (Parliamentary Year 2018-2019-119)
2. Ontwerp van Landsverordening tot wijziging van de Landsverordenlng aanmeldingsplicht van grensoverschrijdende geldtransporten naar aanleiding van de aanbevelingen 32 en 33 van de Financial Action Task Force (IS/142/2018-2019 d.d. 4 oktober 2018) (ZJ 2018-2019-120)
National Ordinance amending the National Ordinance on the obligation to notify cross-border money transfers in response to recommendations 32 and 33 of the Financial Action Task Force (IS/142/2018-2019 dated October 4, 2018) (Parliamentary Year 2018-2019-120)

3. Approval composition delegation and provision for Members of Parliament to participate in the Tripartite and Work visit in Suriname from February 10-15, 2019.

Members of the public are invited to the House of Parliament to attend parliamentary deliberations.

The House of Parliament is located across from the Court House in Philipsburg.

The parliamentary session will be carried live on St. Maarten Cable TV Channel 115, via SXM GOV radio FM 107.9, via Pearl Radio FM 98.1, the audio via the Internet, and Parliament’s Facebook page: Parliament of Sint Maarten.


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