St. Martin News Network

Tuesday
Jul 29th
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  • Tiffany Reid.

    It is with deep sadness that we announce the tragic passing of Tiffany Reid, student of the St. Maarten Academy P.S.V.E.  Form 1D.


    She leaves to mourn her:

    Mother: Evelyn (Yvonne) Jarvis
    Father:  Robert Reid
    Grand Mother: Lucille Clarke
    Aunts: Sharon Clark, Sleaine Clarke and Gwendolyn Minnott (all of Jamaica)
    Uncles: Mickael Jervis, Leon Clarke and Erric Clarke (all of Jamaica)
    Cousins: Phylesia Clarke – of St. Maarten, Mervin Meggoe, Jannel Russell, Orien Russell and many more too numerous to mention.
    God Mother: Judith Ottey ( Jamaica) and Teacher Mary ( St Maarten)
    Mentors: Maureen Fortune and Zaida Vlaughn
    Friends: Chadeline Edwards, Hudiya Arrindell, Christel Parris, Madia John, Renisha  Mc Caardy, Kalisha Trotman, Maria Clarke, Charie Boy, Martin, Derrick, Algis Jack, Keisha Richards, Kimberley Johnson, Lakisha and others too numerous to mention.
    Funeral arrangements will be announced later.
    Compliments SMN News.

    May Her Soul Rest in Peace

  • Anthony C. Whyte.

    It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of

    Anthony C. Whyte

    Sunrise: 26 September 1983 ~ Sunset: 20 September 2011

    He leaves to mourn:
    Mother:  Sylvia Whyte
    Father: St.Clair Rogers
    Son: Javier Arrindell
    Daughter: Saira Stoddart
    Grandfather: Albert Rogers
    7 Brothers
    5 Sisters
    6 Aunts
    6 Uncles
    Many nieces, nephews & cousins too numerous to mention.
    God Mother: Dorette Clarke
    The funeral service for the late Anthony C. Whyte will be held on Tuesday September 27th, 2011 at the Emerald Funeral Home Chapel in Cay Hill.
    Viewing: 1:00pm to 2:00pm. Service: 2:00pm.
    Interment: Cul de Sac cemetery.
    The Management and staff of Emerald Funeral Home would like to extend our deepest sympathy to the bereaved families.

    May His Soul Rest in Eternal Peace

  • Anthony Fransisco Elisabeth.

    Senior a jama bo bini serka dje pa asina senjor  nombra bo oficialmente un angel protector
             Ku tristesa profundo nos ta anunsia fayesimentu tragiko di

    Anthony Fransisco Elisabeth
    (Miho konosi komo “Tommy” of “Chiki”)

    Na nomber di su:
    Mama:       Sra. Vda. Ilva (Elvia) Elisabeth Pieters

    Yunan:       Anchantee Elisabeth
                       Kian Stenz

    Rumannan: Alfrind i Mairzy Elisabeth-Alberto
                        Lisette Elisabeth I Remsley Vrutaal
                        Anette Elisabeth I Sharon Litecia

    Subrina/Subrinu:Johilvienne I shuremsley Elisabeth
                                Sharivienne I Shernon Elisabeth
                                Melissa I Alissa Elisabeth

    Partner:        Grace Sprott

    Tanta/Tionan:       Estrella I Jose van Blarcum-Elisabeth
                                  Johanita Kwidama Elisabeth
                                  Ernesto Elisabeth
                                  Edna Elisabeth
                                  Nelson I Ana Elisabeth-Paulina
                                  Inaro I Rosmarie Elisabeth-Navarro
                                  Julieta Pieters

    Primu(a)nan:       Errol (Joy) Felisie i rumanan
                                Gerda Ignacio i ruman
                                Audie van Blarcum i rumannan
                                Madeline Kwidama i rumannan
                                Remsey (Achi) Elisabeth i ruman
                                Angelo Elisabeth I ruman
                                i nan respektivo famia

    Tanta Grandi:       Birinia y Louisa Brigitha                               

    Na nomber di:      Fina Sprott I famia

    Madrina:       Maria Clarinda

    Iha:       Shadira York I demas ihanan

    Amigu I koleganan di Kuerpo Polisial di Sint Maarten i Korsou, muy en particular klas 98/2, RST, The Bikers Association i NAPB

    Amiga(o)nan: Shadira Gysbertha, Bufio Jacobs, Mauricia, Phelipa, Ali Strickx, Dokan, Rudsel & Janette, Thode, Ranis, Carolina, Doei Martina, Guillermo Krips, Navin I tur sobra amigo I amiganan.

    Demas faima: Elisabeth, Pieters, Brigitha, Melfor, Pietersz, Epistola, Kenepa, Litecia, Alberto, Vrutaal, Nicolaas, Sprott I Stenz.

    A Wake will be held at Fort Willem # 2 on Tuesday September 13Th, 2011 from 04:00 pm to 07:00 pm.

    The memorial service will be held on Wednesday September 14th, 2011 at the St. Martin of tour Catholic Church on Front Street, Philipsburg, St. Maarten. Viewing: 10:00am to 11:30 am. Service: 11:30am.

    The body will be laid to rest in Curacao on Thursday September 15th, 2011.

    The Management and staff of Emerald Funeral Home would like to extend our deepest sympathy to the bereaved families.

    May His Soul Rest in Eternal Peace

     

  • Victor E. Thomas.

    The Lord is My Shepherd I shall not want.

    It is with deep sadness in our hearts that we announce the passing of

    Victor E. Thomas
    Sunrise: 23 March 1932
    Sunset: 3 September 2011

    He leaves to mourn:
    Brothers:  Emile Powell & Family (French Sxm)
                        Gilbert Jones & Family (St.Thomas)
    Sister: Marcelle Flanders & Family (French Sxm)
    Nieces: Cynthia & Rufo Winklaar & Family (Aruba)
    Mrs Anna & family (Dom.Rep)
    Great Nieces: Sherlyne Winklaar (Sxm)
                              Zuleyka Lake-Winklaar & Family (Aruba)
                             Shirley & Sheila (Holland)
    Great Nephews: Omar Pom (Sxm)
                               Allan (Iceland)
    Step Brother: Gaston Richardson & Family (Sxm)
    Sister in Law: Shermina Powell-Richardson (Sxm)
    Many cousin in St. Maarten and abroad too numerous to mention
    Neighbors & Friends: Stanley & Rosenda vanPutten, Family Limish Gursahani, Margareth & Loysy, Doris Dedier, Mr & Mrs Pinas, Janchi Williams, Diana Baley, Bob the Builder Playschool, Miss Thompson, Pedro Cannegieter (Bus 14), Mr. Jason (Bus 159), Mr. Leroy (Bus 151), Gromyko Wilson, Mario James, Mr. Ray, Mrs. Senda , his friends in the Haitian community, Mr. John Hodge and Wally Havertong. He was a former employee of Food Center, Great Bay Hotel and supervisor of Public work department.
    Special Thanks to the Staff of the St. Maarten Medical Center, Dr. Jolles, All authorities on both French and Dutch side of the island and all the concern citizens who have been at our side during this difficult time.
    He was related to the van Gurp, Powell, Winklaar ,Williams, Jones, Green, Richardson, De Weever, Hodge, Roumou, Joe, Baker and many others too numerous to  mention.

    The funeral service for the late Victor E. Thomas will be held on Friday September 9th, 2011 at the Risen Christ Roman Catholic Church in South Reward. Viewing: 2:00pm to 3:00pm. Service: 3:00pm. Interment: Cul de sac cemetery.
    The Management and staff of Emerald Funeral Home would like to extend our deepest sympathy to the bereaved families.

    May His Soul Rest in Eternal Peace

     

  • Hyppolite A. Reiph.

    O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusted in him. - Ps 34:8

    It is with deep sadness in our hearts that we announce the passing of

    Mr. Hyppolite A Reiph better known as Popo or Casa

    Former owner of Saint Maarten Auto Parts & Saint Martin Cable

    Sunrise: September 10, 1930
    Sunset
    : September 24, 2011

    Left to Mourn:

    Wife
    Edna Mathews Reiph

    Daughters
    Patricia Reiph Lake
    Marie-Therese Reiph
    Marvis Reiph

    Son
     Serge Reiph (USA)

       Step-daughters
    Rosa Carmen, Glenda Augusta,
    Yvette Augusta (USA)

    Step-Sons
    Ruben Augusta, Errol Augusta, Winselsio Augusta

     Grandchildren
     Sylvia, Gilbert, Elizabeth Wilson, Cedric, Timothy, Calwyn, Carlisle, Nicolas, Sergie, Zaire, Efraim, Janine, Rosacarmen, Niva, La-Teen, Jo-Anne, Morgan, Sandia, Ricardo, Ruben, Edna, Mercedes, Francis, Gabriel, Elizabeth Augusta, Frankie, Melissa, Cristal, Christine, Chelsea

    22 Great Grand children

           1 great-great-grand child        

    Brother
    Joseph Reiph & Family (Curacao)

    Sisters
    Martha Reiph-Baly & Family, Melaine Reiph Cooks & Family

    Sisters-in law
    Constance Cooks & Mercedes

     Nieces & Nephews here and abroad including
    Henrie George & Family, Claudine Reiph  & family,  Cynthia Richardson & Family, Ralph Richardson & Family, Jane Reiph & family, Adeline Baly & Maria Blijden & family, Arsen Reiph and many more too numerous to mention 

    Great nieces
     Charlise Barrot, Alexinia Barrot

    Cousins
    Too numerous to mention

    Close Friends
    Elvasine Wescotte, Marie Peterson, Louis Hamlet, Norel Gumbs, Yvette Fleming- Hodge, Lesse Warren, Senator Louis Constant Fleming, Clement Gumbs, Brother Jim, Pastor R Webster, Nestor Durio, Philip Connor, Pastor Steven Hughes & Family and members of the Good News Baptist Church and many more too numerous to mention
     
    He was related to the
    Reiph, Barrington, Baly, George, Ricardson, Cooks, Blijden, Brooks, Flanders, Barrot, Chittick, Choisy, Lakes, Marlin, Conner, Primas, Augusta, Dixen, Dormoy, Duzant, Brill, Bute, Duinkerk, Duzanson, Emmanuel, Froston, Fortuno, Heyliger, January, Kingsale, Novels, Peterson, Parrotte, Rogers , Richards, Culingford Van Putten, Webster, Wilson and many other families too numerous to mention

    A wake will be held on Thursday September 29th from 7: 00 pm to 10:00 pm at his home in Rambaud, St.Martin
    The home going service will be held on Saturday, 1st October 2011 at the Good News Baptist Church in St. Peters. Viewing of the body: 10am-11am. Service: 11:00am.

    Continuation of the home going service will be at Good News Baptist Church in Concordia F.W.I. Viewing of the body: 1:30-2:30. Service: 2:30pm after. Burial: Sandy Ground cemetery thereafter.

    The Management and staff of Emerald Funeral Home would like to extend our deepest sympathy to the bereaved families.

    May His Soul Rest in Eternal Peace

  • MR. DUNCAN, After granting BTA permits to illegals - now defend SXM' ers.

    Dear Mr. DUNCAN,
    Minister of Justice.

    Without a doubt, your portfolio as Minister of Justice of St. Maarten is one of the most challenging and complicated of all in Government.
    That is simply the case because, you inherited an immigration situation, which is extremely complex and which touches every sector and aspect of our community.
    We also are of the opinion, that based on your very frank and professional approach, you should be capable of appreciating creative and 'out of the box' solutions to our immigration nightmare.
    Clearly, the immigration challenge is a consequence of 'globalization', a process in which the movement of people in search of employment, has become a world-wide phenomenon.
    One of the biggest challenges of the immigration issue, is that it is constituted of 'forces', which are, in and of themselves opposing in nature.
    On the one hand, there is the natural desire of the host- or native population to preserve itself and thus to resist any threats to its way of life and its existence.
    Consequently, uncontrolled levels of immigration have the potential to eventually result in xenophobia and to very undesired social confrontations.
    On the other side of the immigration-equation, immigrants have certain social and infra-structural needs, as well as the legitimate need to have their human-rights protected.
    Together, these opposing forces present any Government and community with an extremely delicate socioeconomic equilibrium.
    Walking this tight-rope requires constant fine-tuning/adjustments.
    This equilibrium can only be maintained, if any (major-)adjustment is off-set or compensated on the other side of the equation.
    Now, what have we seen on the 'Friendly island' over the years ?
    The host-population's side of the equation has systematically been ignored, eroded.
    Not only by the explosive numbers of immigrants, but also by the birth-rate of these immigrants versus that of the native population.
    Already, in that sense the 'socioeconomic scale' has gone completely 'berserk'
    To make matters even worse for the natives, the lawlessness of immigrants has been 'rewarded' in various ways and it never seems to end.
    Look at the very unfair competition of the 'gypsy' transportation versus that of the legal one.
    What about compulsory education forcing extra expenses on the people of the land and in fact serving as a 'revolving door' for more illegals to enter the island.
    Now the latest, BTA-disaster or conundrum.
    It is in fact, the umpteenth form of 'amnesty' for illegals and probably not the last one either !
    From the media and by just listening to the not so 'coded' message in your public statements, it is very clear that you will not deport those who are still illegal on the island, after all these chances.
    For the record, their stay on the island now, according to laws of the land, is simply illegal. meaning that they should be deported.
    Now, imagine, that as in the past, you once again intend to 'bend backwards' to that extent, that all those people who broke our immigration and other laws, will be rewarded by being allowed to stay here on the island.
    The consequences are clear.
    Once allowed to stay here, their 'children producing machinery' will again go into high gear, producing so many more 'born-here' children, only to hold us hostage in the future - again.
    With limited space in schools, in the workforce etc., that can only lead to a life in crime and it all again comes 'full-circle'.
    The point I am making here, Mr. Minister, is that this time, the 'scale' will not only tip too much to the disadvantage of the native St. Martin people, it might well completely break the scale, rendering our demise completely irreversible.
    I hope you get the 'picture' and realize that it is not an acceptable one for the people of this land.
    Therefore, the time has now come, to start taking care of the concerns, rights of we the native, indigenous St. Martin people.
    And please, do not use any lame excuse, because if Government can bend backwards and reward illegal immigrants by giving them the same rights as us, then there is absolutely no reason not to finally - finally take care of us.
    The consequences of not being fair to the St. Martin people whose heritage is anchored right here on this island, will come at a very high price, sooner or later.
    So, while, we do not fundamentally disagree with you 'regulating' the rights of illegal immigrants, we absolutely expect you to bring balance, by making sure that for the first time in modern history, 'Charity starts at home'. for St. Martiners.
    Nothing less will 'cut it'.

    Respect,

    Drs. Leopold JAMES

  • AMNESTY FOR ILLEGALS MUST GO HAND IN HAND WITH AFFIRMATIVE ACTIONS FOR ST. MARTINERS --- The only way to walk the socio-economic 'tight-rope'.

    Dear Minister DUNCAN,

    No-one said that being Minister of Justice of 'Country St. Maarten' is an easy job - it is not - not even by any stretch of imagination.
    After all, since 'thrash' has been 'fed into the box' for decades, indeed, the same or worse quality trash will logically be the output.

    And alas, so it is with the 'Friendly island'.
    For years, the authorities have turned a very blind eye to the biggest and most detrimental threat to the very existence of its native population - the uncontrolled, flood of immigrants and their high production of offspring.
    That process started long before your 'watch' as minister.
    However, you are now in charge of justice and immigration and it is therefore your responsibility to find a solution.
    While, keeping a very close eye on your policies, we also are of the opinion, that with all due respect for your colleagues, you are ostensibly the most experienced, competent and decisive of all ministers and members of Parliament.
    Therefore, as St. Martin's grassroots nation building and unification movement, perhaps based on wishful thinking, we still hold out some hope that you will be able to come up with a very creative, solution based.
    One based on a 'win-win' approach as it relates to the immigration situation and its enormous impact on the rights of indigenous St. Martiners to be preserved in their own land, as well.
    We are prepared to offer you our assistance is so desired towards this end.
    However, regardless of what you decide, here is our position.
    Under no circumstances, can or will we support granting yet another form of amnesty under the guise of some 'regulation' to immigrants who made it their business to be here, by breaking our immigration laws and other laws as well, without the corresponding legal compensation to indigenous St. Martiners.
    It can not be accepted, that Government can be pressured or bribed to reward illegal activities of immigrants, giving them ultimately the same rights as St. Martiners, without also rewarding St. Martiners for having being put at a very dangerous disadvantage of becoming an extinct species !
    On Sunday last, during your interview with Mr. Eddy WILLIAMS, you mentioned the idea of 'Affirmative action' as such a means of protection.
    While, we totally agree with you and admire you for mentioning this, we are of the opinion, that it should be part of a larger picture - our concept of the MARSHALL PLAN.
    Clearly, you are faced with dealing with the 'BTA nightmare' or 'conundrum', for which we wish you much strength and wisdom.
    However, again we implore you to realize that any regulation of illegal immigrant must be offset with special benefits for the St. Martin residents.
    Not doing so, is a recipe for total disaster.
    After all, we all know that, injustice breeds violence and criminality and we are very fast becoming the world's champion in those areas already.
    Hoping to have made a constructive contribution towards this very complex issue, which will determine the very existence of all native, indigenous St. Martin people.

    Leopold JAMES

  • CONGRATULATIONS TO MINISTER ROLAND DUNCAN --- Your trendsetting interview gives hope to SXM'ers.

    Dear Minister Duncan,

    This is to commend you for your interview on radio-station GBBC, with Mr. Eddy Williams, this Sunday morning, September, 19, 2011.
    Not only were you very frank and realistic as far as the issues are concerned, but you set a very high standard as a minister in presenting your ideas.
    While, I have been very critical of you in the past for ignoring our input as a grassroots St. Martin movement, it is only fair also to commend you for the very professional way you shared information with the public.
    It was indeed very educational and inspiring as well !
    Hopefully, it can serve as an example for others in Government as well.
    Pertaining to the BTA issue now.
    Indeed, you still do not have the solution to this aspect of our immigration nightmare.
    Fact of the matter is, that no matter what decision you take to still 'regulate' offenders of the law, Government can not get around the moral, if not legal obligation to compensate and reward the St. Martiners, for having been left behind compared to those who came here illegally.
    It is simply not right !
    In other words, constantly finding excuses to grant illegal immigrants whatever permits, MUST be 'offset' by granting SXM'ers special rights in order to survive.
    In that regards, thanks for the courage of finally mentioning the need for 'affirmative' action, or 'positive' discrimination.
    It is the only way to bring about balance where such is non-existent in the socio-economic development of any society.
    Respect,

    Drs. Leopold JAMES
    President SNBF/ Association L' Esprit de Concordia

  • HELP DANIELLA REVISE '1963, A LANDMARK YEAR IN ST. MARTIN'.

    Fellow St. Martiners and friends of St. Martin,

    Upon request of Daniella JEFFRY, it is my privilege to inform the public of St. Martin and all St. Martiners abroad as well of the following;

    Once more our own, great cultural-icon, historian and exemplary indigenous, St. Martin lady, Daniella JEFFRY, will be launching yet another publication-a revised version of her popular book '1963, A Landmark Year in St. Martin'.
    Needless, to emphasize the precious value of the work of Daniella as source of information and education as well as source for the restoration of pride and dignity of our St. Martin people in their history, roots, cultural-heritage and by extension in themselves as a people.
    More than ever, it is essential that Daniella can continue the work of documenting our history for posterity.
    To be able for her to illustrate the latest publication she is currently working on with pictures, I would like to recommend persons, who still have old time
    pictures in their possession, to consider sharing these with Daniella.
    In particular names and photographs of people who lived on the island during the 1960's or before, including the events and activities they were involved in, will be very appropriate for the book.
    In addition, pictures of homes, views, landscapes etc.of those days, will be very welcome in order to create a complete picture as possible of the way of life back during the Traditional Period in St. Martin.
    The names of all the people who contribute with illustrations and other information will be mentioned as well in the book.
    By involving St. Martiners in the publication of her book, the product in fact will also be a collective legacy of St.Martiners, many of whom have remained unknown, therefore unrecognized thus far.
    It is evident, that the children and other descendants of the persons to be mentioned in her book, will feel proud and empowered realizing that their fore-parents played a role in the development of this island.

    Email address; daniellajeffry@wanadoo.fr

    Thanks for your co-operation,
    Leopold JAMES

  • CLEAN SHIP ONCE AND FOR ALL.

    Dear Editor,

    I would like to express my concern about the priority of the prosecutors in handling cases. We all know that our jail is full and that we have not enough manpower to finish investigations. At least this is being told to the general public in Sint Maarten on a daily basis (and basically inviting criminals to go ahead, because the chance of being caught let alone being punished is slim to none).

    In my opinion it is our government who is the spine of our society. Yes, we determine who represent us and we determine who needs to get the hell out of Dodge, but the structure and representation lies in government's hands. Without saying that certain government officials are guilty of criminal acts, some severe accusations have been made and have to be dealt with. How can the public have faith in a government who is mixed up in all kinds of scandals like vote buying, illegal land schemes, abuse of power and self-enrichment on the backs of the people?

    In order to have a strong government and strong leadership, the public must have faith in their leaders and senior civil servants. Chaos and anarchy will take place if there is no trust in the leaders of a country. This could also result in mass demonstrations, may they be peaceful or not, demanding of government to make way for a new breed of leaders.

    Now is the time that the prosecutor's office sets its priority on clarifying all the rumors and accusations. Those who are guilty have to be (severely) punished and those who are innocent should be able to continue to function in the interest of the people. This is the only way to regain stability. If not, our so-called representatives might have something coming to them what they would not expect.

    Have a great day,

    Sjaoel "Shooz" Richardson

  • HAVE NO FEAR ST. MAARTEN PEOPLE; ID CARDS FOR NON-ST.MARTINERS MUST BE EARNED THROUGH COMMITMENT.

    A number of St. Martiners have contacted us to express a very serious concern about whom we issue our St. Martin ID-cards to.
    Many St. Martiners have been so inspired by the concept of the card, they warn us against too easily making the cards available to non-native St. Martiners, since it will eventually allow all card-holders the same benefits and opportunities.
    In principle there are two categories of candidates who can qualify for our St. Martin ID-card.
    In the first place, those who can their prove heritage on the island, North and South, going back to the Landmark Year of 1963, or before.
    Then there are those whose heritage is not related to this island, but who have made significant contributions towards the preservation of the St. Martin people, their cultural-heritage, their way of life or towards their interest as a people.
    For the record.
    Those recipients of our cards who fall in this last category, have all made contributions to our nation building movement one way or the other and they continue to do such as well.
    In other words, candidates who do not have the St.Martin heritage, must prove that they deserve this card, which is so important for St. Martiners, the nation building process and to eventually qualify for any special benefits, which eventually will be granted to the card-holders.
    That can be done for instance by them committing themselves to projects promoting St. Martin People and their cultural-heritage.

    Drs. Leopold JAMES
    President SNBF/ Association L' Esprit de Concordia

  • OPEN LETTER TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE COM.

    Dear Mr. President,

    Out of the greatest of respect for the institution of the Presidency, and in the same manner acknowledging actions above political rhetoric, please allow me to offer my congratulations on your speech and exertions in office.
    For better or worse, I believe you have striven to rise to the challenge of office. My own desire has been to see the expansion of decision making to involve the broadest base of the Collectivity.
    Together we can surely achieve more than we are currently reading in the press each week. Personal attacks and endless rhetoric, between the leaders of the various parties and to some extent shamefully the institution of the Prefecture itself.
    Perhaps you would indulge me by considering just a few proposals intended to enhance budgetary transparency. A weekly, televised programme in the weeks leading up to major fiscal and financial decisions being enacted would allow a real opportunity to win the hearts and minds, and most important the collectivity awareness and understanding of the electorate.
    In such program, your team may wish to give a detailed analysis of pre-budget considerations and issues of importance with its priority expenditures, funding and other fiscal imperative. Once presented, the electorate will better be able to evaluate important decisions in an increasing stressed and complicated economic environment, making difficult decisions more widely acceptable. Consider it bringing the Presidency closer to the people. Let us all pull together when it comes to the budget.

    Enough of this strategic voting because, it is a majority party decision. Also, don't let an opposition just oppose; all must contribute to strengthen the budget. We are too small of an island to have so many "Califes qui veulent etre Calife a la place du Calife".
    I have relocated to Singapore for business and they have recently celebrated their 46th year as a country. Take a close look at what they accomplished in that time. Spare a thought of why they did it, and we can't. Like us they had no natural resource. Let's look outside of Saint-­‐Martin and find what works.
    Immediate priorities -­‐ we need a strong fiscal agency, to strategize, enforce, and manage the backbone of our economy. Our income revenue system.
    We need a diverse economy that strengthens and develops our riches (being our island's natural beauty, our culture, our people and mostly our children's.); one that listens to its local actors – The current local companies that believed in us and mostly makes it a welcoming island to potential investors and entrepreneurs. Saint-­‐Martin needs to offer the most to all, in a protective manner, so no Saint-­‐Martiner could be left behind.
    We took the electoral route of responsibility by becoming a Collectivity; let us start to appreciate the real meaning of that word and aim to be one of the best Collectivities by balancing its expenses with its income.

    Yours truly,

    Jean-Marc Vermot de Boisrolin

  • QUESTION TO MR. DUNCAN, MINISTER OF JUSTICE --- Is LIDO Bar-Restaurant & Events Center, the combination of Crime, BTA, Noise, all for the prize of one?

    Never mind, that long before there was a Lido Bar-Restaurant & Events Center, or even a LIDO BBQ for that matter, there were native St. Martiners living in that area for many generation...peacefully.
    Never mind, that while still operating as LIDO BBQ back then, the loud music coming from that establishment, resulted in many complaints from residents at the back, to all local authorities, including to the Governor, drs. Eugene HOLIDAY.
    Never mind that, out of the 'clear blue' one day, it became public that those who had been terrorizing the neighborhood with their loud music had been 'rewarded' by the local authorities with a permit to open an even bigger business facility - the LIDO Bar-restaurant & Events Center.
    Never mind that, ever since the owner, a certain 'Vernon' of Haitian descent, has decided that he would play the music as loud, and as long as he felt fit, although having been told on several occasions of the very annoying impact on the residents living there long, many even long before there was ever anything 'LIDO' .
    Still, as bad as that all, might be, we tried hard to 'never mind'; after all we all know that 'everything goes' on the 'Friendly island'.
    But here it comes, now.
    This particular gentleman, seems to have found a 'safehaven' allowing him to disrespect those living adjacent to his establishment, as well as to circumvent the law of the land.
    According to a person overhearing him one day, he is quoted as having said something to the following effect.
    'Even when police responds to a complaint and comes to check out the loudness of his music, they tell me, that after they leave, I can just go ahead and raise the volume of the music again'.
    As if that was not bad enough, when I called him two weeks ago, informing him, that the music was so loud, that we were suffering from headache and that it was not right, his response was very simple.
    'That is your problem, because right now there are some police-officers here enjoying themselves and they have no problem'.
    I beg your pardon, Mr. Minister ?
    Am I still in St. Maarten, or am I now living in some lawless slum-area in Haiti, where the cops can be bribed to do about anything ?
    Here, is where I now start to mind and intend to draw a line in the sand !
    What was this gentlemen actually trying to tell me ?
    Was it actually something, many young people truly believe in, and which is a reason, why many do not trust 'Babylon' ?
    Could it be even remotely true, that certain individuals have certain police-officers 'in their pockets' or even elsewhere ?
    So, what does this all mean for simple, law-abiding citizens ?
    Does it really mean that, once certain individuals have a 'special relationship' with certain police-officers, that such in fact affords them in fact a 'carte blanche', or a 'protective cover' to do whatever they want ?
    Really, Mr. Minister ?
    With all the asocial behavior, lawlessness, crime, overpopulation, illegal immigration, BTA-'conundrum' etc. our community already has to grapple with, can this attitude be tolerated, let alone 'rewarded' even more ?
    If even, under these 'treacherous', social circumstances, certain immigrants feel they can still completely disregard the people of this country, how will this bode after any possible, regulation/amnesty ?
    Isn't is time, Government adds/emphasizes the possibility of REVOKING any privilege granted to immigrants ?
    Privileges, such as work- and residence permits and even naturalization papers, passports etc. etc.
    Given the very serious socioeconomic challenges the people of this country themselves are facing, others should PROVE they deserve a chance to stay in an already, way over populated, way overburdened community, whose carrying- and tolerance capacity has been over-stretched.
    Consequently, and certainly in this context, any form of disrespect/crime against a native St. Martiner, should be punished very severely, including having all privileges granted REVOKED and the perpetrators DEPORTED after having serving punishment.
    Mr. Vernon of LIDO might not have committed a crime perse, but at the same time, considering his mentality, he should be taught a very clear lesson.
    That lesson is to respect the people of the land, who were here long before him and also a lesson for having implying our police-officers, as part of his protective shield, so that he can terrorize the neighborhood with his loud music.
    In ending, Mr. DUNCAN, we look forward to you taking the appropriate measures against LIDO Bar-Restaurant & Events Center.
    Not doing so, clearly will send out the wrong message, contribute to more lawlessness in our community and discourage citizens from cooperating with Law-enforcement.

    With respect,

    Leopold JAMES

  • CONGRATULATIONS TO M.P. WIELS AND PARLIAMENT OF CURACAO --- Curacao's '80/20', clearing the way for SXM's 'Marshall Plan' ?

    On behalf of all conscious native, indigenous St. Martin People, we congratulate you for having the courage to protect your own Curacao people by passing the so-called 80/20-regulation. ( See attachment)
    We agree with you that is a monumental and historical step in securing the future for your people in their own home-land.
    Without such protection, your local population would eventually cease to exist as a people.
    In addition, by taking this very courageous and necessary step in your emancipation process, you have indeed given real content and substance to the tern country CURACAO.
    As you might know, our own grassroots St. Martin movement has been working for many years for recognition, preservation and protection of our native, indigenous people as well.
    We will not rest until such provision is legalized as well, preferably in the constitution of our country.
    Although, our political leaders have sold us out as a people, they thus far have not yet had the courage to correct their act of betrayal by recognizing and protecting their own people.
    However, we are convinced that eventually there will be no other choice, considering the options of not doing so.
    Meanwhile, we look forward establishing contact with your parliament and with others in the other former Netherlands-Antillean islands on this issue, because it can not be accepted that instead of going forward, the we the Antillean people of various island's heritage, have been betrayed and are confronting our demise on the various individual islands.
    Therefore your historical move, means an enormous and invaluable injection of inspiration to our movement as well.
    It must be possible to have our ow native, indigenous St. Martin People protected, without denying others their legitimate, realistic, 'non-trumped up' human rights.
    Our Marshall Plan concept provides for such a harmonious and dynamic, socioeconomic balance between all key-stakeholders.
    In fact, based on its very creative vision, illegal immigrants with an 'added value', would not even have to be deported off the island, nor would they be detrimental to the native population, should they be allowed to stay.
    The bottom line is, that something's gotta give, and that doing nothing, or doing the wrong thing is no option.
    At least, the Members of Parliament of Curacao and especially Mr. WIELS have shown that they really have pride in the Curacao people, their heritage and will defend their rights to come first at home.
    Bravo !

    drs. Leopold JAMES
    President of the grassroots St. Martin People's movement.

  • OPEN LETTER TO THE DISCOVERY CHANNEL.

    Dear Sir/Madam,

    I would like to point out to you a unique situation on the Caribbean island called Sint Maarten/Saint Martin. It started out as a rumor, but the many sightings and confirmations are overwhelming. Without a doubt we can now state that there is a massive development of new species on the island, mainly rats. I will give you short list out of the many new breed of rats spotted on this island:

    Concrete-Eating-Rats:
    These species make a habit of eating whole neighborhoods (streets, houses, hotels, etc).

    10%-Rats:
    Unbelievable but true, rats who are able to consume 10% of all profits on the island.

    25%-Rats:
    Rats who will eat their own and protect other rats.

    Jump-Ship-Rats:
    These are big fat rats who hardly can jump, but still manage to maneuver their selves from one ship to another.

    Windward-Road-Rats:
    An MNO species what lives in the same habitat as the Concrete-Eating-Rats and providing the latter with enormous meals.

    Parliamentarian-Rats:
    Rats which are said to be invisible.

    Speech-Rats:
    Rats who are actually giving speeches to other rats. Human beings stay far away from these species.

    Judas-Rats:
    A very dangerous species, they pretend to be nice pets, but are in fact awful monsters.

    There are many more rats, but I am inviting you to come see it for yourself. It is truly unbelievable and you will find this nowhere in the world.

    Have a great day,

    Sjaoel "Shooz" Richardson

  • TO GUN OR NOT TO GUN…THAT IS THE QUESTION.

    Dear editor,

    More and more people know the feeling of being helpless. More and more people are becoming victims of crime. What if one could have defended his or her property with a gun? What if a robbery could have been avoided by gun carrying witnesses? Not to mention all kinds of other horrible crimes that law-abiding citizens carrying a gun possibly could have prevented.

    One thing is for sure: there are a lot of pro's and con's when it comes to legalizing guns for law-abiding citizens. Unfortunately, too often we hear of a mad man or woman making amok with all kinds of weapons. Too often we see horrible pictures of innocent bystanders, sometimes children, with the most horrible gun shot wounds afflicted by stray bullets. Or what about all the accidents that happen with guns accidentally going off?

    Looking at Washington D.C., for years murder capital of the United States and where they have strict gun control, you can see that shootings don't decrease by making guns illegal. Last week in New York more than three dozen people got shot in less than forty eight hours during the Labor Day festivities. Now they also want stricter gun control in New York.

    On Sint Maarten we have an increase in crime, jail is full and our police force is understaffed. If we had a trustworthy government and a reliable justice system I think that I would feel safe and secure enough and might only have had a bat next to my bed "just in case". With the current crime situation, however, I sure would feel better with my friend Magnum around the house. If anything bad should happen, I don't have to face anybody with a potato cutter.

    I don't want more guns on the streets, but I also want to secure myself, my family and friends and my belongings. To gun or not to gun...that's the question.

    Have a great day,

    Sjaoel "Shooz" Richardson

  • Tropical Storm Warning Discontinued as TS Maria barely a storm.

    Great Bay (DCOMM):--- Overnight, Tropical Storm (TS) Maria slowed its approach to the Lesser Antilles island chain, and is barely hanging on as a tropical storm.

    According to the National Hurricane Center 11.00am advisory, TS Maria could become a Tropical Depression or Tropical Wave later today.

    TS Maria is located 25 miles North East of Antigua and is moving North West. According to the Meteorological Department of Curacao (MDC), TS Maria is forecast to pass 25 miles North of Sint Maarten as a Tropical Depression on Saturday night.

    With tropical storm conditions no longer a factor, the possibility still exist for heavy rainfall and some gusty winds during passing rain squalls. Bearing the aforementioned in mind, street flooding and flooding in low lying areas is still possible. Motorists should therefore drive with caution if they encounter street flooding.

    The Princess Juliana International Airport remains opened, however many flights were cancelled due to the anticipated deterioration in weather conditions.

    Persons should call their respective airlines or 546-7777 for flight information.

    The ferry service between the island and Anguilla has been cancelled since early Saturday morning until further notice.

    The Office of Disaster Management (ODM) would like to thank the general public for their preventative response to this threat and to continue to be vigilant for the remainder of the 2011 Atlantic Hurricane Season.

    ODM will continue to monitor TS Maria until the system has cleared our area.

  • UPESM Condemns Vandalism.

    UNION des PARENTS d'ELEVES de SAINT MARTIN (UPESM) strongly condemns the irresponsible actions and the uncivilized behavior of adults who are permanently taking our children as hostages. We say no to all types of violence and remind everyone that vandalism is violence, and that it always worsens the existing conditions ,therefore bringing no solution to our children in their education or social difficulties. We can no longer accept, or tolerate that our children are served sandwiches for meals, or that meals are delivered late .
    Parents associations have always been committed to fight against violence and for the improvement of infrastructure and working conditions in our schools.
    It is sad to see the efforts and progress in those departments, thus violated. Such behavior does not allow us to move forward, and our children are the first one to suffer the consequences of such unscrupulous behavior. We are therefore asking for these acts of vandalism to stop, as they are costly to our community. We also call on the Collectivite and the CTOS to meet promptly in order to find in-depth and lasting solutions to the recurring obstacles to a smooth operating of the canteen in our schools.

    Vernicia BROOKS

    President of the UPESM
  • Press Statement by Hon. Minister of Education, Culture, Sports & Youth Affairs, Dr. Rhoda Arrindell --- Council of Ministers Press Briefing, Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2011.

    rarrindellwithsdoc28092011Madam Prime Minister,
    Colleagues in the Council of Ministers,
    Ladies and Gentlemen of the Media,
    Residents of our beloved island.
    Good morning.

     

    Preparations for St. Martin Day have already begun. I met with members of the Organizing Committee on Monday to review the planning and discuss several aspects of what would be our first St. Martin Day celebration under our new constitutional dispensation.
    The Committee comprises the following persons: Mr. Neville York, as Chairman, Ms. Fabiana Arnell, Secretary; Ms. Cassandra Jansen, Mr. Urmain Dormoy, Ms. Lisa Coffi, Mr. Thierry Gumbs and Ms. Maria van Heyningen, the last two of the Collectivite Territorial in Marigot.
    We discussed among other things, the program of activities, decorations for the event, and protocol matters.
    St. Martin Day 2011 will be held under the theme: "One Island, One People, One Destiny." We want to give a concrete expression to the idea of unity we proclaim each year on this day, hence I have asked the Committee to come up with suggestions of how we can demonstrate our desire for cooperation between both halves of the island, not just in words, but in a tangible way.
    I have full confidence in the Committee and I am sure we will have a St. Martin Day worthy of its name.
    On a different subject, 12 high school students drawn from various schools on the island will accompany me on my trip to Monroe College, in New York, this Saturday, October 1, 2011 for a taste of college life for a week. This coincides with their mid-term break. They will be able to sit in at classes, engage in sports activities, and get a general feel of what the College offers in the hope that this would help them make up their minds about seeking admission into this college.
    Accommodation and feeding for all 12 students is being taken care of by Monroe College, while their parents are responsible for their airfares and other incidentals.
    The trip is at the invitation of Monroe College, with which, you will recall, I recently signed an MOU. I will seize the opportunity to meet with the first batch of St. Martin students who are now pursuing their studies at the New Rochelle campus of Monroe College. I will also hopefully finalize the details of the two full scholarships offered by this institution, which we are yet to make use of.
    My Policy Advisor, Mr. Calvin Mardembrough will also be accompanying me on this visit.
    The Kingdom Games Steering Committee was here recently and has asked now for St. Martin to submit a bid to host the 2013 Games. You will recall I had announced before that we had practically been granted the rights to host these Games.
    Following their visit to various sports facilities on the island, and the fact that Curacao has also argued that since it did not organize the Games in 2011 when it was its turn to do so, it should be allowed to host the 2013 Games.
    In my meeting this morning with the Sports Department to plan the way forward, we also discussed establishing a Committee that would put together the bid, which has to be submitted by the end of October, with the final decision being taken in December of this year.
    Later this afternoon, I will be joining Minister Franklin Meyers at the Philipsburg Community and Cultural Center, Backstreet, to launch the Youth Entrepreneurial Program, which is a joint SBDF/GB3 project. I guess I do not need to go into further details regarding this, other than to invite you the media to join us there at 3:00PM.
    On that note, I thank you for your attention and await whatever questions you may have for me.

  • IMPORTANT NOTICE FROM LIAT CONCERNING FLIGHTS WITHIN THE CARIBBEAN.

    ST. JOHN'S, Antigua, September 09, 2011 – LIAT wishes to advise that due to the impending passage of Tropical Storm Maria, it has been forced to cancel the following services today Friday, September 9, 2011: 
    • LI 512 – Barbados-Antigua
    • LI 770 – St. Lucia-Antigua
    • LI 368 – Antigua-Anguilla-St. Thomas
    • LI 369 – St. Thomas-St. Maarten-St. Kitts-Antigua
    • LI 510 – Antigua-Tortola-San Juan
    • LI 511 – San Juan-Antigua
    • LI 508 – St. Maarten-Tortola
    • LI 509 – Tortola-St. Maarten
    • LI 768 – Barbados-St. Lucia-Dominica
    • LI 769 – Dominica-St. Lucia-Barbados
    • LI 557 – Antigua-Dominica
    • LI 558 – Dominica-Antigua
    • LI 563 – Antigua-Dominica

    The following services for tomorrow Saturday, September 10, 2011 are now cancelled:

    • LI 771 – Antigua-St. Lucia
    • LI 504 – Antigua-St. Kitts-St. Maarten
    • LI 503 – St. Maarten-St. Kitts-Antigua
    • LI 321 – Antigua-Guadeloupe-Dominica
    • LI 320 – Dominica-Antigua
    • LI 310 – St. Lucia-St. Maarten-Tortola
    • LI 315 – Tortola-Antigua
    • LI 361 – Antigua-Dominica-Barbados
    • LI 362 – Antigua-San Juan
    • LI 521 – Tortola-St. Maarten-Antigua
    • LI 312 – Antigua-St. Maarten-St. Croix
    • LI 317 – St. Croix-St. Maarten-Antigua
    • LI 383 – San Juan-Antigua
    • LI 550 – Antigua-St. Kitts-St. Maarten-St. Thomas
    • LI 553 – St. Thomas-Anguilla-Antigua

    The Antigua Airports Authority has advised that V.C. Bird International Airport will be closed from 6:00pm today until 4:00pm tomorrow, September 10, 2011. The full resumption of LIAT's services into and out of Antigua and other areas affected by Tropical Storm Maria will be subject to the reopening of the airports.

    Passengers are asked to check the LIAT website or to call the LIAT Call Centre from Antigua –1-268-480-5582; toll free from the rest of the Caribbean – 1-888-844-5428 and from Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands – 1-866-549-5428 for information on the status of their flights.

    The LIAT Call Centre will close today, Friday September 9, 2011 at 8:00pm and will reopen at 12:00pm on Saturday September 10, 2011.

    Customers affected by the disruptions who wish to rebook will be allowed to do so without charge for a period of one week from the date of their original scheduled travel. Following the one-week grace period, passengers will be required to pay applicable fare and change fees when re-booking. Passengers who are unable to travel as planned due to the disruptions caused by this tropical storm, at their request, will be issued a full credit for future travel. Terms and conditions apply.

    When services resume, affected passengers are advised to contact LIAT Reservations to rebook before proceeding to the airport.

    LIAT also wishes to advise that passengers who decide to travel but are unable to complete their journey due to disruption caused by weather conditions, will not be provided with meals, transportation, hotel accommodation etc. Passengers with onward connections are advised to contact their respective carriers.

    LIAT regrets any inconvenience caused as a result of the passage of the storm. Passengers are advised to continue monitoring radio stations for further updates.

  • Rotary Club of St. Maarten Recognizes World Alzheimer’s Day FACES OF DEMENTIA; Wear your Rotary Alzheimer’s T-shirt.

    alzheimersawarenessposter20092011The theme for World Alzheimer's Day™ 2011 is 'Faces of dementia'.
    Alzheimer 's Disease International (ADI) is focusing on many issues surrounding the 'Faces of dementia'. All Alzheimer's Organizations, including our very own St. Maarten Alzheimer's Foundation (SMAF) are asking you to recognize the face of dementia, while paying tribute to those who represent the 'Faces of dementia' in all parts of the world as well as those who are working tirelessly to promote increased support and care for people with dementia and their carers.

    Every year on 21 September Alzheimer associations across the globe unite to recognize World Alzheimer's Day and 2011 will be no exception with events taking place internationally. The Rotary Club of St. Maarten will mark the end of their three month "Rotary Alzheimer's Awareness Campaign" with participating in recognizing the faces of dementia on Wednesday September 21st 2011. Chairperson of the Rotary Alzheimer's Awareness Committee Maria Buncamper-Molanus is reminding all who have an Alzheimer's T-shirt to wear this T-shirt tomorrow and as such show support and recognition for all whom in one way or the other are affected by and involved with this disease on St. Maarten. Many companies throughout the island helped to raise funds for the St. Maarten Alzheimer's Foundation by buying the Rotary Alzheimer's T-shirts and these funds will be presented tomorrow marking the conclusion of the Rotary Alzheimer's Awareness Campaign.

  • Donation made to the Oral Health Program by Martijn Trading.

    martijntradingdonatestoohp06092011Great Bay (DCOMM):--- The Collective Prevention Services (CPS) on Monday received a donation from Martijn Trading of oral health kits for the school dental program. The theme of the youth dental program is, "Brush after Breakfast, before bedtime, Floss and limit the times that you snack."

    The presentation took place at the offices of CPS at the Vineyard Office Park. The health representatives would like to thank Martijn Trading for their donation to the school dental program.

  • Tropical Storm Maria Moving Away from islands in the Northern Caribbean.

    Great Bay (DCOMM):--- Tropical Storm (TS) Maria is to the North of Sint Maarten – 125 miles North West as of 11:00am - and moving away from the area, however it is still causing some strong winds up to gale force during squalls. Sea conditions remain rough and according to the Meteorological Department of Curacao (MDC) a Small Craft Advisory will remain in effect until further notice.

    TS Maria has maintained its tropical storm status over the weekend and now has winds of 60 miles per hour with higher gusts and is forecast to become a hurricane in a few days.

    Periods of heavy rainfall are still expected through Monday morning. Therefore, street flooding and flooding in low lying areas is still possible. Motorists should therefore drive with caution if they encounter street flooding.

    With respect to persons traveling today, for flight information, please call your airline or 546-7777.

    Weather conditions are expected to improve according to MDC starting Sunday night going into Monday.

    The Office of Disaster Management (ODM) will continue to monitor TS Maria until the system has fully cleared our area.

  • Ombudsman Met with USONA, SONA and BAK.

    ombudsmanmeetswithusona13092011Philipsburg:--- The Ombudsman continued with the weekly Information Exchange Session with the ministries and met on Monday, September 12th 2011 with the Ministry of Finance.
    The Secretary General Mrs. Sherry Hazel gave an outline of the organization structure while the acting Island Receiver Ms. Minerva Gumbs gave an explanation of the tasks and the director of the Tax Office, Mr.Geert Bergsma gave a synopsis of the projects implemented and under review to improve the functioning of the tax department.

    On Friday the High Councils of State and the SER met with representatives of USONA, SONA (Stichting Ontwikkeling Nederlandse Antillen) and BAK (Buitenlandse Aangelegenheden en Koninkrijksrelaties) to discuss ways to improve the financing procedures of the IVB funds earmarked to assist in the establishment of the these institutions. Present at the meeting were, among others, the board member of SONA, Mr. Mike Alexander, and the director of USONA, Mr. Reginaldo Dorand.

    The Ombudsman has been experiencing delays in the execution of the projects and after the fruitful discussion, she is very hopeful that the projects will be approved and executed within short.

  • Ad Hoc Committee Rules of Order continues on Thursday.

    Philipsburg:--- The Ad Hoc Committee of the Rules of Order of Parliament met on Wednesday and the meeting is set to continue on Thursday, September 1.

    The Ad Hoc Committee Rules of Order will meet in the General Assembly Chamber at 2:00pm.

    Committee members are Members of Parliament (MPs) Hon. Dr. Lloyd Richardson, MP Hon. Patrick Illidge, MP Hon. Roy Marlin, and MP Hon. Sylvia Olivacce-Meyers.

  • Sint Maarten hosts Infrastructure Management and Disaster Risk Reduction Workshop.

    gistrainers12092011Great Bay (DCOMM):--- Eighteen persons took part in the GIS and Remote Sensing for Infrastructure Management and Disaster Risk Reduction R3I Regional Risk Reduction Initiative project workshop that was held at the Fire & Ambulance Building in Cay Hill last month. Preparations are underway for part two of the training which will take place in December.

    The workshop was organized due to the rapid growth in the use of digital spatial and temporal data in many aspects of disaster management, in such areas as preventive planning, response and recovery.

    The aim of the course was to provide both a theoretical understanding and practical hands on introduction to the use of geographic information systems and remote sensing technologies for the analysis and solution of different infrastructure and disaster management problems.

    Five of out of the 18 participants came from the Fire Department, two from the Anguilla Department of Disaster Management, one from the British Virgin Islands Department of Disaster Management and 10 from the Ministry of Public Housing, Spatial Development, Environment and Infrastructure.

    The basic GIS training course was given by Zoran Vojnovic from UNESCO-IHE in the Netherlands.

    gistrainingparticipants12092011Section Head of Disaster Management Paul Martens, said that the participants were eager to learn and were very enthusiastic.

    The R3I emphasises intra-regional learning and sharing of tools, knowledge and best practices to enhance the territories' individual and collective capacities in the British dependencies and Dutch Caribbean.

    The R3I covers the Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) of Great Britain and The Netherlands. It has been considered that the islands are highly vulnerable to various natural hazards and climate change impacts, also having fragile ecosystems and concentrations of settlements and major functions in low lying coastal areas and other hazard prone locations.

    This project seeks to address the risk and exposure of these small islands by providing a network of regional infrastructure, programmes, policies and protocols to strengthen their capacity to predict and prepare for natural hazards, thus improving resilience and reducing risk and subsequent loss.

    The R3I is being funded by the European Commission to the tune of 4.9 million Euros covering a period of three years (2009-2011). Project management is being carried out by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Barbados.

  • Reaching Lives and Saving Lives: UTS personnel upgrade their skills with Red Cross and Ericsson certification courses.

    utsemployeesredcrosstraining20092011Philipsburg:--- As part of his ongoing plan to keep UTS\CaribServe personnel up to date, interim COO Roy Richardson organized Red Cross lifesaving training sessions throughout the year with the result that almost every employee received the training. He said "it is not just enough to train our people with job-related skills, our aim is to give our staff the skills that also enriches them on a personal level, skills that will serve them wherever they go in life. We live on an island that has its share of natural calamities and challenges and we need to be prepared in every way possible."
    Red Cross manager, Marjan van der Steen, expressed her satisfaction at the number of UTS employees who had attended the training sessions and urges other enterprises to follow suit so that St. Maarten will have far more available "First-Aid Responders".
    From saving lives to reaching out to everyday life, modern day communication is something we tend to take for granted and few of us are aware of what goes on behind the scenes when we pick up a phone, "ping a friend", send a photo or an email: there is constant work at hand in order to keep up with and maintain the ever changing, fast-paced technology lifecycle. UTS\CaribServe's operation technicians recently followed a series of vendor-based, technology training sessions at the Training & Development Center (TDC) in preparation of the launch of UTS' new, island-wide 3G+ network. "The necessary skillsets needed to operate and maintain our new Ericsson-based 3G+ / 4G LTE-ready network are now in-house and I am truly proud of our staff's commitment towards realizing this important milestone", said Roy Richardson, Interim COO, UTS Eastern Caribbean.
    Ericsson is a world-leading provider of telecommunications equipment and related services to mobile and fixed network operators globally. Over 1,000 networks in more than 180 countries utilize their network equipment and 40 percent of all mobile calls are made through their systems. They are one of the few companies worldwide that can offer end-to-end solutions for all major mobile communication standards. Communication is changing the way we live and work. Ericsson plays a key role in this evolution, using innovation to empower people, business and society.
    Broadband networks are society's new communication highways: vital infrastructure that we tend to take for granted. Ericsson provides communications networks, telecom services and multimedia solutions, making it easier for people all over the globe to communicate by means of equal access to real-time information, wherever they are and whenever they want.
    These members of the operation team are part of that big story and their training will continue on throughout year and with every future innovation.
  • Tropical Storm Ophelia Forecast to pass well North of Sint Maarten as a Moderate Tropical Storm.

    Great Bay (DCOMM):--- The Office of Disaster Management (ODM) says based on forecasted projections on Friday, Tropical Storm (TS) Ophelia is expected now to pass approximately 150 miles from Sint Maarten on Sunday.

    The storm even though strengthened on Friday is still forecasted to weaken according to the National Hurricane Center.

    Impact on local weather conditions are expected to be limited according to the Meteorological Department of Curacao on Friday afternoon.

    The 15th storm of the season on Friday was located over 500 miles from the Leeward/Windward island chain. Most of the weather and tropical storm force winds is in the Northern and Eastern quadrant of the storm or 260 miles from the center out over open ocean.

    TS Ophelia is moving at approximately 15 miles per hour on a West North West track. Wind speeds on Friday afternoon were at 60 miles per hour.

    TS Ophelia poses no threat to land and up to Friday afternoon is expected to remain out over the open Atlantic Ocean.

    The ODM will continue to closely monitor the progress of Tropical Storm Ophelia until it clears our area.

  • The Alzheimer's Discussion continues.

    The Rotary Club of St. Maarten is very pleased with the feedback from the community which continues even after the Rotary Alzheimer's Campaign has come to an end. The first caregivers support group meeting held last Wednesday at the St. Maarten Home was a success with about 10 persons in attendance who were able to share their concerns and experiences and support each other. The group under the guidance of SMAF will continue to meet every first Thursday of every month. The invitations for talk-shows continue and we are pleased even after the campaign has come to an end to provide information in collaboration with the St. Maarten Alzheimer's Foundation (SMAF). This Tuesday September 27, 2011 Secretary of SMAF Mr. Raymond Jessurun and Rotarian Maria Buncamper-Molanus will be guests of Brenda Lake on SOS radio. Magnetic (Bumper) Ribbons are still available from members of the Rotary Club, SMAF and corporate sponsor NAPA Auto-parts has them available at their two locations.
  • Director of Tourism met with SHTA.

    directoroftourismandshta31082011Director of Tourism May Ling Chun met with the SHTA at its Board meeting Tuesday afternoon as part of her ongoing efforts to keep private sector updated on developments within the industry. With both parties understanding the importance of public-private partnership, the meeting was spent discussing ways in which we can work together to improve the performance of the industry. The SHTA is encouraged by the ongoing dialogue and looks forward to a healthy working relationship with the Ministry of Tourism.
  • UTS funds Grassroots multimedia platform.

    utsdonatestoleopoldjames05092011UTS presented Drs. Leopold JAMES, founder and president of the grassroots, St. Martin Nation Building movement with a check in the amount of USD. 2,500.00. The check was handed over to Drs. JAMES, by Ivy LAMBERT, Marketing and Communications Officer of UTS. The donation is the result of many months of discussions between both parties. "I would like to thank Mr. Glen Carty and Ms. Lambert for their very responsible, professional, non-partisan approach in setting conditions for any donation from UTS," says James "From of the launching of the St. Martin Nation Building Foundation, back in September 2003, UTS has been a very loyal corporate sponsor for this St. Martin grassroots movement. That cooperation was based a common interest of contributing towards people developing a love for-, and pride in the St. Maarten/St. Martin society." This most recent donation will go towards creating a specifically St. Maarten/St. Martin- dedicated multimedia platform. The foundations' goal of setting up this platform is to allow and encourage discussions geared towards creating more pride in country as well as creating more involvement and responsibility of young people for the development of the island.
  • Island now under a Tropical Storm Warning, storm conditions expected within 36 hours; Emergency Operations Center (EOC) Meets to Review Current Preparations and Issue Additional Advisories.

    GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – A mini Emergency Operations Center (EOC) meeting was held at midday on Friday to review national state of preparedness with respect to approaching Tropical Storm (TS) Maria.

    The Emergency Support Functions (ESFs) that met were the Fire Department, Police, Ministry of Public Housing, Spatial Development, Environment and Infrastructure, and the Department of Communications.

    TS Maria is expected to pass late Friday night into and throughout Saturday bringing tropical storm conditions with wind speeds of 45 miles per hour with gusts to 60 miles per hour.

    TS Maria is expected to produce total rainfall of four to eight inches with isolated maximum amounts of 10 inches.

    Weather conditions are forecast to deteriorate later tonight!

    The following advisories are being issued by the EOC with respect to TS Maria:

    Household Waste Collection

    Residents are asked to secure their garbage bins. Persons are asked not to throw out their household garbage after 3:00pm today Friday. Waste collection services will commence with emptying garbage bins from 3:00pm onward. Residents are requested not to dump-out any household garbage after 3:00pm, today Friday!!

    Concerning the Philipsburg area, households and businesses are requested not to put out any garbage after 6:00pm, today Friday. Garbage collection services will commence after 6:00pm.

    Secure Premises

    Residents and businesses are requested to secure anything that could blow away around their yards and business premises. These actions should be completed by 9.00pm tonight, Friday.

    Flooding

    Of great concern to authorities is the rainfall that is expected from TS Maria. The storm is forecast to pass throughout Saturday. Persons who live in flood prone areas should seek shelter by friends. Emergency numbers to call in the event of flooding are 911 and 919.

    The Department of Public Works has already taken or is in the process of taking the following pre-storm measures to prevent flooding:

    • Lowering the water level in the Fresh Pond to its lowest level;
    • Belair Pond, water level has already been lowered; additional lowering of current water level will take place later today;
    • Great Bay Beach channel to the sea has been prepared;
    • Culverts are in the process of being cleared along the roads;
    • Trench clearing is also being finalized;
    • Public projects are being secured today, Friday;
    • Installation of pumps in low lying areas;
    • Government buildings are being secured;
    • Landfill, is also being secured; the road to the landfill is re-enforced;
    • Floodgate to the Great Salt Pond is open
    • Pumping stations have already been lowering water levels for the past few days in anticipation of the storm.

    Coastal Communities

    Residents with beachfront properties should take measures to secure their homes. It is anticipated that sea conditions will deteriorate and high swells are anticipated along the islands south coastal areas.

    With respect to the Beacon Hill access road; pre-positioned heavy equipment will be in place to clear the road once the storm passes. A pump will also be in place to pump excess rain water from the road. In case of an emergency, the Police and Public Works will have an alternative road opened, however, this would only be used in case of an emergency.

    Construction Sites

    Contractors and sub contractors are requested to secure building sites.

    Pre-Positioning of Emergency & Heavy Equipment

    The Police are allowing heavy equipment to move around on the South side of the island during peak hours to pre-position at different locations which can be used to deal with situations that develop.

    The Fire Department is ready for any emergency situation along with Police and other emergency services. The Public Works Department will be posting spotter/removal teams at different locations that will be able to clear blocked waterways as soon as possible to prevent back-up of waterways from any heavy rainfall.

    Saturday, September 10

    Residents are asked to remain off the public roads as TS Maria passes south of the island during Saturday. It is anticipated that there will be a lot of rainfall and therefore possible flooding.

    During heavy rainfall those who do venture out to work should proceed with caution, avoid low lying areas; look out for possible street flooding; and if the rainfall is persistent, while driving along hill sides, watch out for possible rock falls.

    During high sea swells, persons should stay off the board walk and surrounding areas. The Police will assist with enforcing this measure. This is a public safety measure.

    The ODM will continue to closely monitor TS Maria as it approaches the islands of the Lesser Antilles. Additional advisories will be issued as warranted.

  • The U.S. FOL Hosts 9/11 Commemoration Event.

    usfolcommemorationevent09092011WILLEMSTAD, Curacao:--- The 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks was commemorated by a small ceremony at the U.S. Forward Operating Location (USFOL) today. In attendance were the United States Consul General Valerie Belon, Mr. Laurens Warnink representing the Governor of Curacao, and CDR Willem Groeneveld representing the Netherlands Forces in the Caribbean.
    Chaplain Bridges welcomed the guests and delivered the invocation prayer. The Chaplain said in his remembrance prayer: "On this day, we remember our neighbors, of different nations and backgrounds, who died in the attacks we simply call 9-11. Hear our prayers for their loved ones. May they know the comfort that comes from knowledge and love of you. May they be surrounded by communities that care for them, even as you continue to care for this fragile and suffering world."
    USFOL Commander Lieutenant Colonel Rick Bailey finished his comments with the following words: "Let us endeavor, from this day forward, to dedicate our efforts to making this world a better place for future generations. Let us honor the memory of the fallen by lifting up those around us, and giving opportunities to those less fortunate. Let us fight injustice and tyranny no matter where they grow, and do so with international resolve, dedication, partnership and common focus. And let those efforts be a constant reminder that those we've lost over the last ten years did not die in vain. Laga nos semper semper rekorda. Let us always always remember."
    "We are grateful for the sympathy and various acts of kindness we received from within the entire Dutch Caribbean after these tragic events occurred. Your support over the years was heartfelt and it reinforces the strong partnership between the islands of the Dutch Caribbean and the United States," Consul General Valerie Belon said.

    The Partnerships We Need
    By President Barack Obama


    On this 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001, we remember that 9/11 was not only an attack on the United States; it was an attack on the world and on the humanity and hopes that we share.
    We remember that among the nearly 3,000 innocent people lost that day were hundreds of citizens from more than 90 nations. They were men and women, young and old, of many races and faiths. On this solemn anniversary we join with their families and nations in honoring their memory.
    We remember with gratitude how ten years ago the world came together as one. Around the globe, entire cities came to a standstill for moments of silence. People offered their prayers in churches, mosques, synagogues and other places of worship. And those of us in the United States will never forget how people in every corner of the world stood with us in solidarity in candlelight vigils and among the seas of flowers placed at our embassies.
    We remember that in the weeks after 9/11, we acted as an international community. As part of a broad coalition, we drove al Qaeda from its training camps in Afghanistan, toppled the Taliban, and gave the Afghan people a chance to live free from terror. However, the years that followed were difficult and the spirit of global partnership we felt after 9/11 frayed.
    As President, I've worked to renew the global cooperation we need to meet the full breadth of global challenges that we face. Through a new era of engagement, we've forged partnerships with nations and peoples based on mutual interest and mutual respect.
    As an international community, we have shown that terrorists are no match for the strength and resilience of our citizens. I've made it clear that the United States is not and never will be at war with Islam. Rather, with allies and partners we are united against al Qaeda, which has attacked dozens of countries and killed tens of thousands of innocent men, women and children—the vast majority of them Muslims. This week, we remember all the victims of al Qaeda and the courage and resilience with which their families and fellow citizens have persevered, from the Middle East to Europe, from Africa to Asia.
    Working together, we have disrupted al Qaeda plots, eliminated Osama bin Laden and much of his leadership, and put al Qaeda on the path to defeat. Meanwhile, people across the Middle East and North Africa are showing that the surest path to justice and dignity is the moral force of nonviolence, not mindless terrorism and violence. It is clear that violent extremists are being left behind and that the future belongs to those who want to build, not destroy.
    To nations and people seeking a future of peace and prosperity—you have a partner in the United States. For even as we confront economic challenges at home, the United States will continue to play a unique leadership role in the world. As we remove the rest of our troops from Iraq and transfer responsibility in Afghanistan, we will support Iraqis and Afghans in their efforts to deliver security and opportunity for their people. In the Arab world and beyond, we will stand up for the dignity and universal rights of all human beings.
    Around the world, we will continue the hard work of pursuing peace, promoting the development that lifts people from poverty, and advancing the food security, health and good governance that unleashes the potential of citizens and societies.
    At the same time, we have recommitted ourselves to living our values at home. As a nation of immigrants, the United States welcomes people from every country and culture. These newest Americans—like all the innocent victims we lost ten years ago—remind us that despite any differences of race or ethnicity, background or belief, we are all bound together by the common hope that we can make the world a better place for this and future generations. That must be the legacy of those we have lost.
    Those who attacked us on 9/11 wanted to drive a wedge between the United States and the world. They failed. On this 10th anniversary, we are united with our friends and partners in remembering all those we have lost in this struggle. In their memory, we reaffirm the spirit of partnership and mutual respect that we need to realize a world where all people live in dignity, freedom and peace.

  • WIB Donates to the Helping Hands Foundation.

    wibdonatestohelpinghandsfoundation12092011Philipsburg:--- The Windward Islands Bank Ltd recently gave a very generous donation to the Helping Hands Foundation.
    The Donation will help the Foundation with the maintenance and upkeep of their vehicle for the year to transport of the elderly of St. Maarten. The Helping Hands Foundation is a non profit organization that aims at helping the elderly primarily through voluntary work.

    Their daily tasks are picking up the elderly from their home and taking them to the Hospital for their Dialysis treatment, to the Doctor and to the therapy clinic.

    As our elderly are the most forgotten citizens on our island this voluntary work is very much needed and HHF calls on other businesses to help support such an effort by the Helping Hands Foundation.
    WIB is proud to be a helping hand to the foundation!

    They can be reached by telephone 54-45866 during office hours.

  • DANIEL GIBBS BRINGS 33,4 MILLION EUROS TO THE SAINT-MARTINERS.

    Saint-Martin:--- « For the first time since months we can hope that the urgents means of St. Martiners will be looked after, Daniel Gibbs said today in reaction on the Prefet's statement of yesterday.» In fact, by reorienting the money of the Development Contract signed between the State and the COM, the Préfet of St. Martin has followed the ideas expressed by the First vice-president since a long time.
    « I have always favoured, Gibbs said, that public money, wheever it comes from the COM, the State or the SEMSAMAR, should help to save problems linked to services to the population and not be spended in sectors where the private investors could be involved.» By highlighting the water cleaning , the financement of the new School complex at La Savane and the waste management, the Prefet has, at least, understood what a modern State has to provide to his citizens : essentials services!
    Concerning the Prefet's decision to no longer provide money for the Waterfront project, the one promoted by the President, the Senator and the SEMSAMAR, Daniel Gibbs is totally agreeing. «This is a wise decision, added Daniel Gibbs. It puts an end to this no scale project pushed ahead by the President since Daniel Gibbs was fired from his responsablities at the Economic Development portofolio almost one year ago. It is time now , to come back to reality and to invite the private sector, nationaly and internationaly, to be welcomed in Saint-Martin. I urge the President to ,quickly, launch an international bid for the Waterfront project and for the Port of Gallisbay.»
    About the Prefet's will to implement a real cooperation with the southern side of the Island, this looks like the propositions Daniel Gibbs made last Monday in an english speaking paper.
  • Rotary Sunrise Assisted with Coastal Cleanup.

    rotaryassistswithcoastalcleanup20092011The Rotary Club Sunrise took part in the International Coastal Cleanup 2011 by organizing a cleanup of the Simpson Bay Beach on Saturday September 17th.
    Together with Rotary Mid Isle, Rotaract Sunrise, the Sr. Regina Primary School, the Leopold Bell school along with Simpson bay residents they had over 55 volunteers.
    A total of 22 trash bags weighing 196.5 kilos of trash was collected by the volunteers, each piece of trash was noted on the special Ocean Conservancy data card that will be given to local coordinator Sint Maarten PRIDE Foundation to be added to the 2011 trash index report.
    PRIDE Foundation thanks the Rotary Sunrise for helping along with the 2011 Coastal Cleanup and engaging residents and youngsters in this worthwhile initiative.
  • Guyanese Businessman hanging on to Life even though doctors at SMMC pulled the plug.

    markdeygoo22092011Cay Hill:--- Mark Anthony Deygoo, the 34 year old businessman who was shot by armed robbers on Wednesday in his Back Street store is still hanging on to life even though doctors at the St. Maarten Medical Center have given up on his survival. Deygoo was shot five times by armed bandits, two of the bullets are logged in both of Deygoo's hands, while two are logged in his neck and the fifth bullet is logged in his left temporal lobe.
    According to a CT scan of the head and cervical spine, metal fragments are high in the right parietal region and in the subcutis while there is a one centimeter opening in the skull.
    Doctors at the St. Maarten Medical Center told relatives of Deygoo that he was brain dead and it would be useless to fly him overseas for further medical treatment. Relatives, including the victim's father was insisting that his son be sent off island for further medical treatment on Thursday since the doctors at St. Maarten Medical Center said on Wednesday night that Deygoo would not make it through the night and Deygoo was still alive up to late Thursday evening.
    On Thursday, a decision was taken by the family and doctors to airlift Deygoo to Santo Domingo but the doctors at the St. Maarten Medical Center convinced the family that Deygoo would not make it to Santo Domingo and urged them to leave the patient here to spend his last hours.
    Some of Deygoo's relatives are angry at the decision taken by the St. Maarten Medical Center claiming that the hospital did not try hard enough to save the young man's life. They told the immediate family that if Deygoo survived he would be blind and he would be of no use to himself or his family. The doctors also insisted that his wife or father sign certain documents to say they have consented for him remain on St. Maarten. Up to press time, the doctors decided to remove the life support from the young man so he could die faster.
  • Public Plenary Session of Parliament Scheduled for Friday on Changes to National Ordinance on Taxes.

    Philipsburg:--- A public plenary session of parliament will take place on Friday, September 30 at 10:00am in the General Assembly Chamber of the House of Parliament.

    The meeting will deal with changes to the National Ordinance on Taxes and Business Turnover 1997.

    This meeting is open to the public and will be carried live on St. Maarten Cable TV Channel 20.

  • Rotary: Wandering persons with Alzheimer’s.

    It has been reported in the media that Mr. Victor Thomas who suffers from Alzheimer's is missing. This has prompted the Rotary Alzheimer's Awareness Committee to publish an additional article as part of the awareness campaign on the topic of wandering, says chairperson of the committee Maria Buncamper-Molanus.
    Alzheimer's patients wandering away is a symptom usually experienced in the 6th stage based on the "Seven stage Deterioration Scale" or "the Reisberg Scale" and usually lasts from 8 to 10 years, but can sometimes stretch out as long as 20 years. Stage 6 is considered Middle Dementia/Moderately Severe Alzheimer's disease. Persons in this stage of Alzheimer's show a total lack of awareness of present events and inability to accurately remember the past. People in this stage progressively lose the ability to take care of daily living activities like dressing, toileting, and eating but are still able to respond to nonverbal stimuli, and communicate pleasure and pain via behavior. Agitation and hallucinations often show up in the late afternoon or evening. Dramatic personality changes such as wandering or suspicion of family members are common. Many can't remember close family members, but know they are familiar. This stage lasts approximately 2.5 years.
    In case an Alzheimer's patient in your care does wander, it's a good idea to have a plan in place. Notify neighbors and local police about your Alzheimer's patient's tendency to wander, and ask them to call you if they see your elder wandering without supervision.
    If a police search becomes necessary, keep on hand a recent photo and some of their unwashed clothing to help search-and-rescue dogs. (To do this properly, place the clothing in a plastic bag with plastic-gloved hands, and replace this clothing monthly.) Buncamper-Molanus suggests contacting the St. Maarten Alzheimer's Foundation on hotline 9220. Where to look for a lost Alzheimer's patient: A person with dementia may not call out for help or answer your calls, and often won't leave many physical sign. He or she may get stuck in a place that they cannot get out of, leaving them at risk for dehydration and hypothermia.
    How to find a missing Alzheimer's patient:
    • Check dangerous areas near the home, such as bodies of water, dense foliage, bus stops, high balconies, and heavily traveled roads.
    • Look within a one-mile radius of where the patient was before they wandered.
    • Look within one hundred feet of a road, as most wanderers start out on roads and remain close by. Especially look carefully into bushes and ditches, as the person may have fallen or become trapped.
    • Search in the direction of the wanderer's dominant hand. People usually travel first in their dominant direction.
    • Investigate familiar places, such as former residences or favorite spots. Often, wandering has a particular destination.
    • If you suspect that the person used a car or public transportation, you'll need to consider likely places that are farther afield.
    "I would like to wish the family and caregivers of Mr. Victor Thomas much strength and emphasize that the care for persons with Alzheimer's is really one that involves the entire community," concludes chairperson of the Rotary Alzheimer's Awareness Committee Maria Buncamper-Molanus.
    The Rotary Alzheimer's Awareness committee would like to take this opportunity to remind the general public that T-shirts will be on sale, this Saturday at both Bush Road and Union Road Le Grand Marche's. The St. Maarten Alzheimer's Foundation will be on location to provide information on Alzheimer's disease. The funds raised will be donated to the St. Maarten Alzheimer Foundation.
  • Nominations now open for CPA!

    There are 73 days left until the 6th Annual SHTA Crystal Pineapple Awards Fundraiser and nominations are now welcome. Nomination forms have been digitized and can be found on www.shta.com, along with a list of category details. Nominations period will close on October 28th, 2011 or until all categories have been filled.
    The awards consist of 17 categories and this year we are only accepting four nominees per award, which means 68 individuals or organizations, will be recognized and valued for the work they have accomplished over the years. The organizing committee is calling out to the community of St. Maarten to nominate early. Individuals, who have been nominated in previous years, can be nominated again. "We ask you to please write why you would like to nominate the particular individual". "Let the person or organization shine. This, in combination with the results of the voting, is the deciding factor" says Valya Pantophlet, lead organizer of the Crystal Pineapple Awards.
    This year there are three new awards: Elementary Teacher of the Year, Secondary School Teacher of the Year and Made in St. Maarten award, which recognizes individuals or organizations who have contributed to the tourism industry by producing unique and authentic art work, jewelry, liquors, etc on St. Maarten. There are also some changes with existing awards, namely: the Outstanding Community Service Achievement Award which was divided into separate awards for individuals and organizations, will now be one category . Small and Large Hoteliers of the Year Awards have also been combined, and lastly we have opened back up the Journalism Award for nominations and voting. The award winners are chosen based on their contribution to tourism and the community, achievements described in their nomination form as well as the outcome of an online poll. SHTA will once again have the support of Price Waterhouse Coopers for auditing the nominations voting system.
    SHTA encourages the community to visit us on Facebook: "Crystal Pineapple Awards" and stay up to date on the latest updates.
    For more information, please contact the SHTA office: 542-0108, e-mail:info@shta.com.
  • Address of Minister of Education, Culture, Sports and Youth Affairs, Dr. Rhoda Arrindell at Opening of Sports Conference, USM, September 3, 2011.

    Distinguished Guests,
    Sportsmen and women,
    Sports administrators,
    Sports lovers all,

    I am very honored and pleased to welcome you to this Sports Conference. In particular, let me extend a warm St. Martin welcome to our guests from Santiago de Cuba, Cuba. They have come to be with us to share their experience in developing sports, an experience we can surely learn from, given the admirable level of international acclaim Cuba has achieved in this field. Bienvenidos a San Martin! Espero que estan disfrutando de la hospitalidad acqui en San Martin. Nuestra casa es su casa!

    We are gathered here today to put our heads together and discuss how we can raise the bar in sports, as the theme for today's conference clearly states. In other words, our collective mission, which kicks off today, is to come up with ways to take sports in St. Martin to a much higher level of achievement. To do that, we obviously need a dynamic, realistic and workable sports policy. But what use is a sports policy if it does not aim to produce champions?

    We cannot continue to compete for competing sake, as we have done for the most part until now. We must compete to win in order to get recognition on the international podium. I know you will remind me that the Olympic motto stresses participation. That is true. But may I draw your attention to the standards set by the same International Olympic Committee for that participation. You just don't wake up one morning, put on your track suit, and head for the Olympics. You have to go through a qualification process. And what is that if not a process to choose winners? The point is to be an Olympian, you have to be a winner already!

    For Sports to receive the due attention it deserves, I have made it a priority to split the current Department of Youth and Sports into two separate departments, each with its own head and accompanying staff. That process is nearing completion as I speak.

    But then, the question could be asked: What need do we have for a Sports department if it is not set up to guarantee results on the field? That is precisely the reason why we are proceeding in this manner: to guarantee results on the field. In other words, the idea of establishing a Sports department on its own, separate from any other department, is to ensure that it does nothing else but guarantee that we have sports programs whose effectiveness is measured by the performance of our athletes.

    I strongly believe that the love of sports is the beginning of a healthy nation that is competitive not only in sports alone but in all other areas of human endeavor as well. I have no doubt that all of you here today love sports. But sports is about young people, and I mean physically young people, not those of us who are young at heart but no longer in the body. To develop sports to world class level, we have to catch them young. This is why it is imperative that we have a vibrant sports program in our schools.

    When we consider the average age of many world-class athletes in various fields, we realize that they seem to peak in their mid-twenties, and thereafter begin a steady decline. By the time they reach the youthful age of 30, a lot of them are considered past their prime. Of course, some of them might still be able to continue competing at the topmost level, but usually they do so for a few more years and by 35 or so, they are forced into retirement.

    This is certainly the case with soccer. Pele was a teenager when he played his first World Cup with Brazil. Lionel Messi, Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, et al, have blossomed in late teens and early 20s. In fact, Real Madrid was reported to have signed on a 7 year-old phenomenon recently. If he grows into his potential, you can expect that he would be in the first team by the time he is 16!

    Look at the average age of world class tennis players, for example. Serena and Venus Williams burst on the world stage when they were still teenagers. Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, the top two tennis players in the world are in their mid-twenties.

    In swimming and gymnastics, you may even be considered "too old" once you are past 25. In athletics, the world's fastest man, Jamaica's Usain Bolt, turned pro at 18 and won three gold medals at the Beijing Olympics when he was just 22. Alberto Juantorena, the pride of Cuba, who was born in Santiago de Cuba, took part in his first Olympics when he was not yet 22. In 1976, at the Montreal Olympics, he won gold medals in 400 and 800 meters when he was just about 26. And just last week, Kirani James gave Grenada its first championship medal at the age of 18.

    I give these examples to show how important it is for us to nurture our athletes and sportsmen and women from an early age. Of course, I am aware that there are exceptions to this general picture I am painting. You still have boxers holding world titles in their late 40s and even in their 50s. You have baseball players in their 30s and some in their 40s and you might find some world-class cricketers in that same age bracket. Of course, we're not going to talk about golf and sailing.

    But even in these so-called exceptions, these athletes hit the international sport-lights when they were much younger. So, let me stress again that there is no alternative to catching them young. The school is a good place to start. In fact, it is the best place to lay the foundation for a sports program that will produce champions. It is an integral part of my policy to introduce sports as a mandatory subject in our elementary and secondary schools. The new curricula we are working on will reflect this.

    In fact, as I have already stated in several other fora, it is part of my goals as minister with responsibility for Sports to ensure compulsory physical education instruction in all schools and to establish school teams in all sports, with participation in an annual Sports Festival or Olympiad. This would mean creating school teams in various sports, if they do not exist already, with the aim of participating in inter-scholastic competition not only on the island, but also in the region. This should lead to national youth teams that can compete regionally and internationally.

    We cannot expect to build a sports program without trained coaches and all the other necessary amenities and incentives that are needed to make such a program successful. We will place emphasis on the training of coaches at all levels–an area in which, I am sure, we would be able to benefit from the expertise of our Cuban brothers and sisters.

    With regards to sports facilities, there are perhaps more of these per square mile here on St. Martin than in any other island in the Caribbean. In my humble view, it is not just the numbers that matter; managing and maintaining them is a serious issue, and ensuring that they meet international standards is another.

    Our main sports arena, the Raul Illidge Sports Complex is in a disgraceful state of disrepair. A structural and sustainable approach to its upgrading and upkeep is being studied. Several other facilities need repairs and proper maintenance. It is my intention to establish one entity that will be charged with the upkeep of all our sports facilities.

    However, we must make better use of the facilities we have both at our schools and in our districts. It is pure wastage to have our school gyms, for example, locked up after school hours, when our youth could make use of them, with the necessary supervision, when there is no school. I am convinced that with the number of basketball courts we now have all over the island, we should be able to produce some of the best basketball players in the region.

    Sports facilities cost money; and we must admit that the return on investment will continue to be meager if we do not make the best use of them, and certainly if we do not stamp out the acts of vandalism that destroy them faster than we can get to properly use them. In this regard, our young people must become co-responsible for the upkeep of these facilities.

    At this point, let me emphasize that no real development of sports can be possible if we do not change our mentality towards it. While I do not deny the recreational aspect of sports, we cannot continue to see sports as something we do just for fun; as a hobby, a pastime. And even at that, our support for the sportsmen and women leaves a lot to be desired in many cases.

    I am referring in particular to attendance at sports events. Although some sports have a sizeable following on the island, it is unacceptable that a table tennis tournament involving over 30 children held at the Sports Auditorium all day Saturday, attracts less than 10 people in the stands. Where are the parents, the friends, family and schoolmates of these budding table tennis, basketball, and baseball stars?

    Granted, table tennis may not be a very popular sport here, so maybe we should get more of the Chinese in our midst involved. But what I am talking about goes beyond table tennis. If the Sports Auditorium could be filled to capacity with AND-1, why can't we have it so when we have the district competition going on, even when admission to this is free? It is common knowledge that athletes perform better when they have a crowd urging them on.

    We also know that, in general, a healthy body houses a healthy mind. Obesity has been identified as a growing problem among St. Martiners of all ages. We lead a sedentary lifestyle, with as little physical activity as possible. Coupled with a diet that is fast becoming less and less balanced, it is no surprise that we are becoming prone to diseases our forefathers never knew.

    A district based sports development program, with the full and active participation of the Community Councils, will be established to engage the young and not-so-young in sporting activities. This would increase community consciousness, foster unity among neighbors, and a healthy competition that would strengthen feelings of national pride and contribute to nation-building.

    Our sports organizations need to take note and incorporate this idea into their programs. I am well aware that they too need a lot of assistance; however, this cannot be only in the area of funding. Reports reaching me indicate that there is too much bickering, too many personality clashes, too much duplication of efforts among some sports groups on the island.

    Our sports organizations need to set aside their differences and come together in a serious manner to establish an umbrella entity that would permit St. Martin to speak with one voice in approaching regional and international sporting bodies to facilitate our participation in games that these organize. They also need to improve their statistical and data collection and documentation of individual and team performances, which are often needed at the international level to determine if we are meeting the required standards.

    Adequate funding is, of course, necessary if we are to meaningfully raise the bar in sports on the island. Unfortunately, I cannot tell you that government has enough money to pour into sports development. To the contrary, we are going through a period of budgetary austerity, and for the 2012 budget which we are working on right now, my ministry has to cut Naf.18 million. Considering that sports are already under-funded, this would further tax our creativity in the allocation of funds for sports. Consequently, the new subsidy policy we are putting in place will focus very much on performance, accountability, and planning of the various sporting organizations, associations, clubs, foundations, etc. that may be seeking government financial support for their programs.

    One of the distinguishing features of sports organizations on St. Martin used to be their spirit of self-help. In other words, they very seldom wait on government to give them money so they can travel to participate in competitions outside the island. I am certain that spirit still exists and can be reinvigorated, especially during these tough financial times for government.

    A public-private partnership, where the private sector – and by this, I don't mean just a few companies who usually sponsor sporting activities – but the business sector at large, would do its part to supplement government efforts. This is not a question of charity, but a corporate duty to contribute to the development of the society in which these businesses operate.

    Let me say a few words about Sports tourism, which many organizations seem to claim is part of their goals. I'm sure some of you would remember the glory days of boxing on the island, with regular boxing matches that drew spectators from all around the neighboring islands, including Puerto Rico. In fact, I understand that the youngest world boxing champion ever, the Puerto Rican Wilfrido Benitez, had fought here on St. Martin in the early days of his career.

    St. Martin had also hosted a world boxing championship fight that was broadcast live on HBO featuring Pernel "The Sweet Pea" Whitaker. The fight was held at the Atlantis Casino shortly after Hurricane Luis, and was meant to show the world that the island was back in business.

    Several other sporting events have attracted hundreds of visitors from far and near. However, it is clear that for us to continue in this direction, we would have to do the following: ensure that we have venues that meet international standards, build up our own athletes so that they can compete favorably against their counterparts from other countries and focus on targeted marketing, especially within our region.

    We have a lot of work to do. Our sports legislation needs to be brought up to par. St. Martin has to ratify the Anti-Doping conventions that govern international sports, as well as the International Charter of Physical Education and Sport, which will enable us to host international championships and tournaments.
    We have already indicated our interest to host the 2013 Kingdom Games. We must therefore roll up our sleeves and go to work immediately.

    Before I conclude, I wish to draw attention to an area that should be of concern to all of us involved in sports, and that is the apparent decline in the active involvement of women in sports. From the heydays of Florencia Hunt, women have progressively given up competitive sports, it would appear.

    As a "former" volleyball player myself and trainer/coach of a volleyball club, I realize that more needs to be done to attract young girls to participate in sports. This is in spite of the fact that a growing number of us go to gyms to shape up. However, I am encouraged to note that women basketball is on the rebound and would like to urge all the young girls to get involved in a sport of their choice.

    In closing, I want to thank the staff of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, and Youth Affairs, in particular the department of Youth and Sports, for organizing this conference and all of you for attending. Consider my presentation to you this morning as food for thought as you break out into groups to discuss the various aspects of the Sports policy we have to fashion together. Your input will be most appreciated and all your ideas would be most welcome. I understand that you might have some questions for me. I would be most happy to answer them to the best of my ability.

    I thank you once again for your attention.

  • Island remains under a Tropical Storm Watch; TS Maria may weaken into a Tropical Depression.

    Great Bay (DCOMM):--- As of Thursday evening 8.00pm Tropical Storm Maria was less than 500 miles from the Southern Windward Islands.

    The system has weakened slightly and may become a Tropical Depression as it passes through the island chain on Friday night into Saturday.

    The Department of Disaster Management (ODM) is advising the population of the South side of the island to continue to monitor weather reports as the storm approaches the Lesser Antilles.

    The ODM also advises in the event of heavy rainfall, to avoid low lying areas; look out for possible street flooding; and if the rainfall is persistent, while driving along hill sides, watch out for possible rock falls.

    The ODM will continue to closely monitor TS Maria as it approaches the islands of the Lesser Antilles.

  • BTP DONATES DATA SERVERS TO MPC.

    Philipsburg:--- Bureau Telecommunications and Post St. Maarten donated two HP servers, a Linksys 4 Bay gig network storage system and a large server rack to the IT department of the Milton Peter College in St. Maarten.

    The data storage system and servers will form a critical part of a network that will execute a number of important functions such as: providing shared access to files, provide central email services, central data management and access control to the network.

    Milton Peter College St. Maarten was in the urgent need of additional equipment to support the growth of the organization and support its Information Communication Technology (ICT) needs. Whilst the contribution is minor the Bureau Telecommunications and Post St. Maarten trust that this contribution will aid MPC in this area.

    Representatives of the IT- Department of the Milton Peter College, Messrs. Reginald Richardson and Raoul Gomes, were delighted with this donation of the Bureau Telecommunications and Post St. Maarten. They stated that the need to expand the servers, to support a larger data storing capacity of important educational data, and to operate more efficiently, can now be fulfilled.

    BTP-SXM believes that any contribution that will stimulate ICT development on St. Maarten, irrespective of its size, is a contribution well made.

  • Arrindell congratulates Safe Haven staff.

    Philipsburg:--- Safe Haven staff recently completed a six-month course on Domestic Violence and President of Parliament Hon. drs. Gracita Arrindell extends her congratulations to the staff members.

    The six-month course covered several areas such as how to define domestic abuse; how to recognize the signs of abuse; new methods on how to work with victims; and how to support a victim of abuse.

    The course was offered by the foundation's board to upgrade staff knowledge and to improve support services to the clients.

    According to Safe Haven, domestic abuse is reaching epidemic proportions worldwide, including in Sint Maarten.

    "This week I have been busy reviewing our planning for the coming months with respect to Parliament Central Committee meetings, and Safe Haven is on our list of social-civic organizations to be invited to provide information to members of parliament with respect to the role of the organization and the state of affairs with respect to domestic violence on the island," President of Parliament Hon. Gracita Arrindell said on Tuesday.

    Arrindell added that it is important that organizations such as Safe Haven are at the forefront of offering professional assistance to victims of relational/domestic violence.

    "I again take this opportunity to extend my heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of all the victims of violence including the family, school friends and neighbours of the late Tiffany Reid (13)," President of Parliament Hon. Gracita Arrindell said on Tuesday.

  • Minister Donner meets with Prime Minister Wescot-Williams.

    pdonnerandswwilliams26092011Great Bay (DCOMM):--- Prime Minister Hon. Sarah Wescot-Williams met with Dutch Minister of Home and Kingdom Relations Hon. Piet Hein Donner on Monday afternoon. The discussions focused on progress reports related to the plans of approach covering the Ministry of General Affairs, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Public Housing, Spatial Development, Environment and Infrastructure with respect to institutional strengthening.
  • Minister Heyliger wishes Maritime Sector a Happy World Maritime Day.

    Philipsburg (COM):--- On Thursday, September 29, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) focus on the issue for World Maritime Day 2011 to be observed across the globe is, "Piracy: Orchestrating the Response."

    On this day, Vice Prime Minister and Minister responsible for Harbour Affairs Hon. Theo Heyliger, would like to congratulate the maritime sector and all those working in this particular area as well as those who have retired.

    "The maritime sector is very important to the country's economy and everybody working in this sector plays a valuable role and makes an important contribution to our economy. I would like to use this opportunity to congratulate you and say thank you for your hard work," Minister of Harbour Affairs Hon. Theo Heyliger said on Wednesday.

    Every year the IMO celebrates World Maritime day. The day is used to focus attention on the importance of shipping safety, maritime security and the marine environment and to emphasize a particular aspect of IMO's work.

    Piracy is one of the major challenges facing the maritime industry. The world piracy population is around two million. Heightened piracy activity takes place near Eastern Africa in the vicinity of Somalia.

    The IMO has been dealing with piracy for more than 30-years. According to the IMO, in the past 12-months, there have been 286 piracy-related incidents off the coast of Somalia, which have resulted in 67 hijacked ships, with 1,130 seafarers on board.

    It has been estimated that piracy cost the world economy between US$7 billion and US$12 billion, as a result of the disruption to shipping services and international trade.

  • UTS warns of International Scam using Telephone.

    Philipsburg:--- UTS informs its customers that there are individuals abroad attempting to commit fraud on the island by abusing the local telephone systems. Several customers have reported being contacted on their telephone numbers in an attempt to trick the customer into sending money abroad. The calls generally seem to originate from the United Kingdom and the customers are misled into believing that they have won large sums of money in a foreign lottery. Following this first contact, the customer is called again by a different representative and asked to send a substantial cash deposit so that they may collect their winnings. UTS advises customers to exercise caution if contacted by an unknown party soliciting funds in order to receive prize money or winnings of any kind. "This type of scam has been going on for many years using the postal system and eventually email was used as a new medium to mislead the victims. Now these con-artists have graduated to a new means of communicating with their targets and have started using the telephone system," says UTS Marketing and Communications Officer, Ivy Lambert. "Unfortunately, we have had some customers who have been contacted in an attempt to mislead them. Luckily they were aware what was going on and brought these attempts to our attention. This is a world-wide phenomenon and is not only limited to our island or our UTS phone systems. By making this announcement, we want to do what we can to create awareness of this problem to avoid anyone falling victim to this kind of trickery."
  • Office of Disaster Management places ESFs on Alert for High Surf from Hurricane Katia.

    Great Bay (DCOMM):--- The Department of Disaster Management (ODM) has placed the Emergency Support Functions (ESFs) on alert with respect to forecast high surf along coastal areas that is expected from Hurricane Katia over the weekend.

    The relevant ESFs have been requested to take the necessary actions should those be required.

    Hurricane Katia is East of the Northeastern Caribbean islands and is forecasts to pass well North of the islands over the weekend and poses no threat to the island.

    The Meteorological Department of Curacao has issued a Small Craft and High Surf Advisory for the weekend and through the beginning of the next week.

    Boaters and other marine interests should take action to safeguard their properties along the coastal areas. High surf can cause beach erosion and impact seafront properties.

  • Registration for Carnival 2012 opens on Thursday.

    The St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) announced over the weekend that registration for all events of Carnival 2012 will open as of Thursday, September 8. The opening of registration in September is in keeping with the current board's efforts to start early on preparation in every aspect of Carnival.

    As such, the SCDF also announced that the registration process will be closed on Friday, December 2, 2012, giving interested persons some three months to register with the foundation. All registration forms will be available at the security desk in the Government Administration Building as of Thursday and should be returned to the same location.

    The SCDF can also email the forms to any person or group that requests this. Email requests can be sent to sxmcarnival@hotmail.com. "After a successful Carnival 2011, the interest in Carnival 2012 is very high. We have several people already asking about participation," President of the SCDF Stuart Johnson said.

    "We are opening registration now to give all Carnival stakeholders the opportunity to plan and prepare for the season. Early planning is not only key for the SCDF but for all involved in Carnival to ensure a successful season. We urge all interested persons to register before December 2 so we can move into the New Year with momentum towards April," Johnson added.

    On Thursday registration will open for booth holders, junior and senior calypsonians, troupe leaders, bands, junior, senior and teen queens. The SCDF has already closed off the period for promoters to submit the request for an international night. The SCDF reported that 10 requests have been received.

    Carnival 2012 is scheduled to run from April 19 until May 2, 2012.

  • RBC/RBTT launches Awareness Campaign for Kids Cancer.

    Philipsburg:--- RBC/RBTT organizes a 'walk for life' in Sint Maarten on September 17th, to raise awareness on child cancer and to raise funds for the St. Maarten Cancer Foundation and the RBC/RBTT Caribbean Children's Cancer Fund (CCCF).
    The start time of the 'walk for life' is at 05:00 AM and will end at 10:00 AM; the start and finish line is at the Jose Lake Ballpark. Registration fee is 5 ANG (including a T-shirt). Along the route, stands will be placed where the public can donate by dropping money in the cans. To participate in the 'walk for life', registration format can be picked up at one of the branches of the RBC/RBTT Bank in Sint Maarten.

    Regional

    The 'walk for life' in Sint Maarten is part of a regional awareness campaign of RBC/RBTT throughout the Dutch Caribbean and Suriname. The campaign is in close cooperation with the local cancer foundations.
    Through various events during the month of September 2011, RBC/RBTT will raise funds to cover patients' needs and care in the Dutch Caribbean and Suriname, thereby supporting the battle against child cancer in these markets. The funds that are raised will be divided between the RBC/RBTT Children's Cancer Fund (CCF) and the local cancer foundations in each jurisdiction. Across the region RBC/RBTT will align the local cancer awareness campaigns and fundraising events to the generic advertising campaign that will carry the gold ribbon of hope that visualizes childhood cancer awareness. Gold symbolizes the precious children, and the ribbon is a recognizable symbol of observance for various causes.

    Patients

    RBC/RBTT finds it crucial to raise awareness on cancer in the Caribbean. Many instances of childhood cancer go undetected. There is a need to raise awareness amongst the public to validate the need for support. In the Dutch Caribbean and Suriname, local governments, through the social insurance bank (SVB) cover only the primary cancer treatment of patients. As a result, patients do not qualify for coverage of cancer treatments through the Children's Cancer Foundation (CCF). For the secondary treatment there is need for financial support, which can amount to large expenses for each individual case. Therefore the local cancer foundations consistently work at generating funds to cover patients' needs. The RBTT Bank invites everybody to walk our 'walk for life' to raise funds for children battling cancer.

  • Minister Voges attends Roermond Memorial Ceremony.

    mvogesatroermondmemorialceremony08092011Great Bay (DCOMM):--- Last weekend Minister of Plenipotentiary Hon. Mathias Voges was one of the special guests of Mayor and Councillors of Roermond in Limburg and the Foundation National Indian Monument.

    A special memorial ceremony was held in the National Memorial Park in honour of soldiers that lost their lives in combat between 1940 and 1962, mainly in Indonesia and New Guinea.

  • School Managers Meet With Cuban Delegation --- St. Dominic High Students Show Interest in Student Exchange Program with Cuba.

    cubandelegationvisitsschools09092011Great Bay:--- Public School Managers gathered together at the Oranje School Thursday morning for a meeting with the visiting Cuban delegation here on a fact-finding mission to explore possible areas of bilateral cooperation in the areas of sports, education and culture.
    Acting Head of Public Education Services of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, and Youth Affairs, Mrs. Glenderlin Davis-Holiday, welcomed the five-member, all-female
    delegation to the school after the Principal, Mrs. Kay-linda Philips, had received them.
    The school managers were very interested in how Cuba's education system is set up, particularly at the elementary level. Dr. Marlene Esther Daley Gonzalez, Vice Chancelor of Research and Post-Graduate Studies at the University of Pedagogical Sciences Santiago de Cuba, Cuba, gave an overview of the system, with her colleagues chipping in to explain specific aspects such as Physical Education which is a compulsory subject in the school curriculum and is considered as important as Mathematics or any other subject.
    The school period in Cuba goes from 8:00AM until 4:30PM with a break for lunch for those students whose parents are working, while those students whose parents do not work would go home at 12:00 for lunch and return to school at 2:00PM until 4:30PM. Education is free at all levels and is compulsory up till pre-university (18 years old).
    Parental involvement in the education of the child is fundamental and one of the key factors in the success of the Cuban system, the school managers were told, with a school for parents that seeks to ensure that parents can help their children with homework and other studies at home.
    The lively exchange of ideas was held in a very friendly atmosphere, with the Cubans impressed by the passion and dedication to excellence the school managers demonstrated and also by the fact that they were all female.
    At the St. Dominic High School, Principal Jose Verschueren-Sommers said since the delegation had been meeting all week with adults, she thought it would be interesting if they could have a face to face encounter with some of the island's students, hence the invitation to a group of her students, some of whom were of Spanish-speaking backgrounds.
    The delegation was very appreciative of this twist and answered the various questions posed primarily by the students.
    The Principal expressed interest in a student exchange program that would permit students from the school to visit Cuba and spend some time there with their counterparts. One student wanted to know if school teams could go to Cuba to compete against other schools there.
    In response, the delegation leader, Dania Mesa Valenciano replied that all of these ideas are possible within the framework of a still to be negotiated agreement between the relevant ministries in both countries.
    The delegation, which has already given a preliminary report of their visit to the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports and Youth Affairs, Dr. Rhoda Arrindell, departs Friday.
  • Prime Minister commends population and ESFs for preventive preparations for TS Maria.

    Great Bay (DCOMM):--- The Prime Minister who is also Head of the Disaster Management Organization, the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and its 10 Emergency Support Functions (ESFs), would like to commend the nation for its pre-storm preparations that took place on Friday and early Saturday for the forecasted passing of Tropical Storm (TS) Maria.

    The Prime Minister was also full of praise for the role that various ESFs played in preparing for forecasted heavy rainfall of up to 10 inches that was anticipated for Saturday along with tropical storm conditions with the passing of TS Maria.

    The Ministry of Public Housing, Spatial Development, Environment and Infrastructure took a number of measures such as lowering of water levels in the various ponds; clearing trenches and culverts; securing public sector infrastructure projects and government buildings; pre-positioning heavy and emergency equipment etc.

    "I am very pleased with the professional and efficient manner in which the various actions of the ESFs were carried out in preparation for the forecasted weather from TS Maria.

    "We must be thankful as a country that we have been spared once again from the wrath of Mother Nature. Even though it was only a storm and not a hurricane, the forecasted 10 inches of rainfall would have been a major challenge for the country.

    "It seems that just about every weekend we have to deal with the passing of a storm system.

    "Not surprising as we are in the peak of the hurricane season. The passing of these weather systems demonstrates again and again that we must continue to maintain a state of preparedness and be ready when called upon by the authorities to take action.

    "Everybody played their role and did what had to be done, demonstrating the level of our national preparedness. Let's continue to maintain a state of preparedness, because it only takes one to cause destruction and devastation," Prime Minister Hon. Sarah Wescot-Williams said on Sunday.

    The 2011 Atlantic Hurricane Season is in full swing with so far 14-named storms having formed so far for the season.

    The U.S. National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) updated forecast for the season calls for 14-19 named storms of which 7-10 could become hurricanes and of those 3-5 could become major hurricanes of Category 3, 4 or 5.

    The hurricane season runs through November 30. The remaining names for the season are Ophelia, Philippe, Rina, Sean, Tammy, Vince and Whitney.

  • Nominations have started coming in for the 6th Annual Crystal Pineapple Awards Fundraiser.

    So far, seven nominations received for several different categories.

    Eva Gumbs-Pelgrim for Manager of the Year,

    Vera Olivacci also for Manager of the Year,

    Louis Fortuno for Hotelier of the Year,

    Dr. Jay Haviser for Outstanding Environmental Achievement Award,

    Antonio Gummels also for Outstanding Achievement Award,

    Rafael Dowe for Employee of the Year Award and,

    Ivette Vermue for Secondary School Teacher of the Year Award.

    SHTA strongly encourages you to continue sending in nominations along with a picture of the nominee and state why you've nominated the individual. Keep in mind, nominations close on October 28th, so keep the nominations coming.

    To nominate, please visit our homepage, www.shta.com, and click on the Crystal Pineapple Awards tab where you can view a list of categories with descriptions and complete the digital nomination form."

  • Philipsburg Jubilee Library hosts “Know Your Role” informative session.

    Are you interested in your child's school success? Do you understand the importance of homework as it pertains to your child succeeding in school? If you answered yes to both of these questions then we at the Philipsburg Jubilee Library urge you to come out this Thursday September 15th to our informative session "Know Your Role". Know Your Role will focus on the issue of homework and how you the parents can help your child perform better in school by following a few simple guidelines. On hand will be a representative from the Know How Homework Centre, who will offer insight in how to help your child tackle the issue of homework and studying, and also be there to answer any questions you may have. This is an opportunity for you as parents to play an active role in your child's educational success, and setting them on the right path of achievement. The session is free of charge, and starts at 6:30 pm and ends at 8:00pm. Be there and get informed!
  • Minister of Finance Receives 2010 Annual Report from SOAB.

    hshigemotoreceivessoabreport14092011Philipsburg:--- Minister of Finance Hon. Hiro Shigemoto on Tuesday received a copy of the 2010 annual report of the Foundation Governments Accounting Bureau (SOAB).
  • Part 2 of Sports Conference called “very positive and productive” --- Impressive Attendance as Sports Policy Document Nears Completion.

    rarrindellgivingpresentation19092011Great Bay:--- Within short, the final draft of the Sports Policy which has been the subject of discussions in two Sports Conferences held this month, will be forwarded to all the stakeholders for their consideration before it is adopted. Part 2 of the Sports Conference was held Saturday, September 17, 2011 at the University of St. Martin with some 45 participants engaged in what has been described as "very positive and productive" break away group discussions of each policy area presented in the draft. Each of the five groups had a facilitator and a reporter who gave an account of the deliberations in their groups at the general session.
    "We will integrate the relevant proposals coming out of the discussions into the present policy document and also update the statistical data," Head of the Department of Youth and Sports, Mrs. Shermina Powell-Richardson said. This updated version of the document will be sent to the stakeholders for their final approval, she added.
    Minister of Education, Culture, Sports and Youth Affairs, Dr. Rhoda Arrindell, said she was impressed with the attendance and the level of discussions.
    "For so many people to show up for this second part of the Conference on a Saturday morning shows that they are indeed very interested in the future of sports on the island. I applaud that and judging from the content of the discussions, I feel confident that we're on the right track," Minister Arrindell said.
    The soon-to-be managing director of Sedreko, the Curacao umbrella sporting body, Mr. Cintje, was a special guest of honor at the Conference. He had delayed his return to Curacao specifically to be able to attend the Conference Saturday, having been here during the week with the Kingdom Games Steering Committee.

    In an impromptu address to the participants, Mr. Cintje said Curacao itself does not yet have a Sports policy. This, he said, will be one of his main priorities when he assumes office shortly.
    He also disclosed that Curacao and St. Martin need to collaborate more and work together in the area of sports, especially seeing that Aruba and The Netherlands cannot be counted on for support. Mr. Cintje said Curacao had received an unequivocal "No" to its bid to become a member of the International Olympic Committee, and indicated that he was pretty certain St. Martin would receive the same answer. "We are in the same boat," he said.
    Mr. Cintje was very pleased to have attended the Conference and added that he would like an official invitation to the follow up so that he could bring his board also.
    The feedback from all the other participants in the half-day Conference was very positive. "It was really well-received," said Mrs. Powell-Richardson.

  • MPs to travel to Aruba for Parlatino Meetings.

    Philipsburg:--- The Parliament of Sint Maarten will be represented at Parlatino committee meetings this week in Oranjestad, Aruba.

    Members of Parliament (MP) Romain Laville, MP William Marlin, and MP Louie Laveist, are scheduled to leave the island on Wednesday and until September 24.

    The MPs will be attending committee meetings on Gender Equity, Childhood and Youth; Economic Affairs, Social Debt and Regional Development; and Labor, Social and Legal Affairs.

    The Parliament of Sint Maarten joined the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino), a regional, permanent and unicameral organization, comprising the National Latin American Parliaments elected democratically upon popular vote. Parlatino was created on December 7, 1964.

    The purpose of Parlatino is to promote, human rights, and economic and social development; to maintain and foster relations with other geographic parliaments, as well as international organizations; and to defend against imperialism and colonialism.

  • Nature Foundation Holds First Lionfish Derby.

    lionfishwanted20092011The St. Maarten Nature Foundation announces that it will be hosting St. Maarten's First Lionfish Derby. The Lionfish Population has reached to a point where fishermen and dive operators have been capturing numerous invasive lionfish in waters surrounding St. Maarten. "We wanted to launch a small event where people in the fishing and diving communities can bring in their catch of lionfish caught on the Dutch side and receive a prize for their efforts from the Nature Foundation. In this way we wanted to reward those who have been helping St. Maarten's Marine Ecosystem by catching lionfish and helping with the controlling of the invasion" commented Tadzio Bervoets, Nature Foundation Marine Park Manager.
    There will be first, second and third place prizes for the most lionfish brought in, as well as a special prize for the largest and smallest fish caught. Prizes include a watch from Touch of Gold Jewelers, a signed painting by Lucia Trifan, a Coffee Table Book Reefs from Scubazoo International, and A case of wine donated by International Liquors and Tobacco Trading. Final weigh in for the Derby will be on Sunday the 9th of October 2011 at 10 a.m at the Nature Foundation office next to Island Water World in Cole Bay. This is the first such event planned by the Nature Foundation with subsequent Derbies to be held in the future.
    The lionfish is an invasive species which was introduced into the Caribbean through the aquarium trade. The fish is a threat to local fisheries because they have the potential to destroy local fishing grounds and the economies which depend on them. The lionfish is also a venomous species which can inflict a painful sting, therefore the Nature Foundation requests that only persons used to handling the fish such as divers and fishermen take part in the derby. For further information please contact the Nature Foundation at 5444267 or via email at manager@naturefoundationsxm.org.
  • Tropical Storm Ophelia Forecast to weaken and to pass well North of Sint Maarten on Sunday.

    Great Bay (DCOMM):--- The Office of Disaster Management (ODM) says based on forecasted projections, Tropical Storm (TS) Ophelia is expected to pass more than 200 miles from Sint Maarten on Sunday.

    The storm is also forecasted to weaken according to the National Hurricane Center on Thursday afternoon and is also disorganized.

    The 15th storm of the season on Thursday was located over 800 miles from the Leeward/Windward island chain out in the Atlantic Ocean.

    TS Ophelia is moving at approximately 13 miles per hour on a Westerly track with an expected turn to the West North West and Northwest on Friday. Wind speeds on Thursday afternoon were at 65 miles per hour.

    TS Ophelia poses no threat to land and up to Thursday afternoon is expected to remain out over the open Atlantic Ocean.

    The ODM will continue to closely monitor the progress of Tropical Storm Ophelia until it clears our area.

  • Several ministers walk for Tourism.

    ministerswalkfortourism26092011Great Bay (DCOMM):--- Several ministers took part in the successful 'Walk for Tourism' walk-a-ton on Sunday, September 25. This was the first activity to celebrate World Tourism Day – September 27. The walk-a-ton was held under the banner, "Walk for Tourism."
  • USM to launch Fall 2011 Lecture Series on October 3rd.

    Philipsburg:--- The University of St. Martin (USM) will launch its Fall 2011 Lecture Series- Millennium Development Goals and Sint Maarten: A Look at Goal 1: Eradication of Extreme Hunger and Poverty with a lecture by the Honorable Prime Minister of Sint Maarten, Mrs. Sarah Wescot Williams, on Monday October 3rd , 2011 at the USM Campus 7:00 P.M. sharp.
    The Prime Minister's lecture, entitled "Is Sint Maarten on Track to Achieve MDGs by 2015?", will explain the importance of Millennium Development goals (MDGS) in the international/regional context, the relevance of MDGs to Sint Maarten, touch on issues highlighted in Sint Maarten's MDG report , the progress Sint Maarten has made in relation to the MDGs, the challenges encountered in achieving these goals as well as a general look at goal one . By giving this broad picture of MDGs, The lecture will set the basis for the planned subsequent lectures of the series that will squarely focus on MDG goal one.
    Earlier this year, the Government of Sint Maarten reaffirmed its commitment to achieve the eight internationally-agreed goals aimed to reduce poverty, hunger, maternal and child deaths, diseases, inadequate shelter, gender inequality and environmental degradation by 2015. In February 2011, the United Nations Development Program(UNDP) presented the MDG report for Curacao and Sint Maarten to the Government of Sint Maarten with the intention of using this report as a basis for country's National Development Plan
    This is first lecture of the planned five (5) lectures of the Fall Lecture Series, and the entire general public is invited to attend and participate in this important step towards eradicating Hunger and Poverty on St. Maarten.
  • Royal Dutch Marines on annual Hurricane Exercise in Windward Islands.

    dutchmarineshurexschoolbus31082011A group of around 120 Royal Dutch Marines and the navy ship HMS Pelican, are till September 7th at the Windward Islands for their annual training, the Hurricane Exercise. During this exercise, realistic scenarios are presented to train the marines for any kind of emergency or disaster during the 2011 hurricane season. This is one of the main tasks of the Royal Dutch Navy in the Caribbean.

    On the 2nd of September the whole unit will travel on board of the Pelican from Saba and St. Eustatius to Sint Maarten for the actual Hurricane Exercise (HUREX). During this exercise, realistic scenarios are presented to train the Marines for any kind of emergency or disaster during the 2011 hurricane season.

    The Hurricane Exercise is intended to familiarize the Marines with the situation in the Windward Islands, know the locations of the hurricane shelters and know the partners in the disaster management system. This will assist the Marines to prepare themselves in the event they will have to render assistance in the event of a hurricane threat to the islands. The HUREX is prepared annually in close cooperation with the local disaster management organizations.

    dutchmarineshurexinjuredman31082011The period until the 2nd of September is being used for practical classes and to familiarize the participants with the islands. The internal communication system is tested on Saba and Sint Eustatius. On Friday afternoon (September 2nd), the actual hurricane simulation will commence. Some shelters will be manned on Sint Maarten. Members of the VKS, the Fire Department and the Red Cross will assist the Marines in the shelter. In the event of an actual hurricane situation, these entities will also cooperate together. After the passage of the simulated hurricane different scenarios will be organized on several locations on the whole island to which the marines have to respond.

  • BTA Applicants given last chance to rectify Status.

    Philipsburg:--- The BTA Advisory Committee by authority of the Honorable Roland Duncan Minister of Justice hereby wishes to notify the BTA applicants of the following;

    • Those that were approved will be contacted soon.
    • Those who don't qualify registered with a bogus company as employer will be notified and will be given 3 weeks time to rectify this, by coming in with the real employer and the required information, THIS IS WITHOUT PENALTY. However, if these persons who are registered with a bogus employer do not come in and adhere to this strict notice, they will be subject to prosecution and deportation.
  • Permanent Committee for Kingdom Affairs to Meet Thursday.

    Philipsburg:--- The Permanent Committee of Parliament for Kingdom Affairs and Inter-parliamentary Relations will meet on Thursday.

    The agenda point for discussion is visa requirements for admission into the countries of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (Rijksvisumwet) 32 415 (R1915).

    The permanent committee meeting will take place in the General Assembly Chamber on September 8 at 10:00am.

  • Minister of Finance says sovereign credit rating essential for future foreign investments.

    Philipsburg:--- A credit rating evaluates the credit worthiness of an issuer of specific types of debt, specifically, debt issued by a business enterprise such as a corporation or a government.

    It is an evaluation made by a credit rating agency of the debt issuer's likelihood of default. Credit ratings are determined by credit rating agencies.

    Minister of Finance Honourable Hiro Shigemoto says within short the Government will announce which company has been chosen to evaluate its credit worthiness.

    The credit rating represents the credit rating agency's evaluation of qualitative and quantitative information for a company or government; including non-public information obtained by the credit rating agencies analysts.

    "The credit rating is used by individuals and entities that purchase the bonds issued by companies and government to determine the likelihood that the government will pay its bond obligations.

    "A sovereign credit rating is the credit rating of a sovereign entity such as a government. A credit rating of a country is also very important for foreign investors.

    "The credit rating indicates the risk level of the investing environment of a country and is used by investors looking to invest. It takes political risk into account.

    "The selection of a rating agency is a top priority for Government with respect to attracting foreign investment which will be another stimulation of the economy besides public sector investments already taking place into infrastructure," Minister of Finance Hon. Hiro Shigemoto said on Tuesday.

    Government will have the option to preview the rating results before they are published by the rating agency.

    In July the Minister of Finance along with his policy advisor Dwayne President and President of Artemis Partners John B. Watts III, on a fact-finding working visit to the United States met with three rating agencies, namely Fitch Ratings, Moody's Investors Service and Standard & Poor.

  • Ombudsman Met with Constitutional Court Judge Bob Wit.

    ombudsmanmeetsbobwit06092011Philipsburg:--- The Ombudsman, Dr. Nilda Arduin ended her week on September 2nd 2011 with a meeting with the honorable judge Bob Wit where they discussed, the role of the Ombudsman in lawmaking and the procedures, as it pertains to the Constitutional Court and the National Ordinance Constitutional Court.

    On Monday, September 5th 2011 the Information Exchange Sessions organized with the various Ministries continued with the Ministry of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transportation and Telecommunication.

    In her closing remarks, the Ombudsman thanked the S.G. Mr. Miguel de Weever and the Department Heads for the well prepared presentations and for the fruitful information and ideas shared to foster proper work relations and corporation between the Ministry and the Bureau of the Ombudsman for the benefit of the people of Sint Maarten. Good governance is the ultimate goal.

  • Philipsburg Jubilee Library Postpones Bookstart Campaign to 24th September 2011.

    Due to the passing of tropical storm Maria, the Philipsburg Jubilee Library has made a decision to postpone the Pajama party for the babies and toddlers program dated Friday the 9th of September to Saturday the 24th September from 10 am to 12:30pm.
    All activities planned for the 9th will be scheduled on the 24th of September 2011. ENNIA insurances will be present to hand out the bags, bouncy castle, mascot from N.C. Wathey group of companies Music and dance face painting and Story by our storyteller Gini van Duivenvoorde.
  • Suspected Child Killer Fought with Wife Two Weeks Ago --- To Appear before Judge of Instruction on Friday.

    robertreid08092011Dutch Quarter:--- Robert Reid, the father of 13 year old Tiffany Reid who is suspected of killing and burning his daughter's body fought with his wife two weeks before Tuesday's killing.
    The police and prosecutor's office have remained tightlipped on the ongoing investigation even though they managed to arrest Robert Reid the same night they found the charred body of his 13 year old daughter in a ravine in South Reward. According to police and other sources, Reid suffered several burn wounds about his body.
    The suspect will be taken before the judge of instruction sometime Friday where the judge will examine the conditions of his arrest. It is also expected that the prosecutor dealing with the case will request the first eight day extension of pretrial detention for their suspect.
    SMN News has been reliably informed that the suspect and father of the deceased girl is yet to tell police how and where his daughter was killed.
    Residents and neighbors of Reid said two weeks ago he went to a mechanic shop and told his friends that he had just fought with his wife whom he claimed pulled a knife at him as she was busy packing her personal belongings to move out of the family home. The neighbors said Reid is well known in Dutch Quarter and that he owns a white van M-7980 which he uses to transport school children. One neighbor said Reid has two vehicles, one which he uses to fix the other to transport the school children. They said Reid's wife no longer lives in Dutch Quarter.
    As for the 13 year old victim, police and prosecutor did not say if they managed to identify the charred remains of the 13 year old PSVE student or if that will be done through DNA testing.
    SMN News learnt that Tiffany Reid, a former student of St. Joseph Primary School and first form student of the St. Maarten Academy (PSVE section) was also a member of the New Testament Baptist Church in Fort Willem.
  • Closing of parliamentary year slated for Monday.

    Philipsburg:--- The 2010-2011 parliamentary year will close on Monday, September 12. A special ceremony of parliament will be held for this occasion.

    President of Parliament Hon. drs. Gracita Arrindell will deliver her annual report to members of parliament for the country's first parliamentary year.

    The four faction leaders will also make addresses to the nation with respect to the closing of the 2010-2011 parliamentary year.

    The faction leaders are United Peoples party (UP) Honourable Romain Laville, Member of Parliament (MP), Democratic Party (DP) Hon. Roy Marlin (MP), Independent Hon. Patrick Illidge (MP), and National Alliance (NA) Hon. William Marlin (MP).

    The meeting will take place in the General Assembly Chamber on Monday at 10:00am. This special closing session of parliament will be carried live on St. Maarten Cable TV Channel 20.

    The President of Parliament on Thursday afternoon briefed the media in a press conference about the special opening ceremony session of parliament for the new parliamentary year 2011-2012.

    The aforementioned press conference which provides insight into the opening parliamentary ceremony will be aired on Friday, St. Maarten Cable TV Channel 15 at 7:00pm and again on Monday at 7:00pm.

  • TLH-SXMF Making Preparations for Winner of 2011 Caribbean Model & Bikini Event to Participate in USVI Fashion Show.

    yulandagentle09092011Philipsburg:--- The Tallahassee-St. Maarten Foundation Inc. under the directorship of Arthur Lugisse is busy preparing the winner of the Direct Music TV America' s 2011 Caribbean Model & Bikini Event Yulanda Gentle to participate in Virgin Islands Fashion Week.
    The Fashion Week will be held from October 4-9 in St. Thomas, U.S.V.I. at Frenchman's Reef Marriott & Morning Star Resort.
    Preparations are on the way for fashion weeks all over the world, set to take center stage in these coming months. The gorgeous models in the Caribbean are in high anticipation of getting their faces seen in as many runway shows as possible.
    Yulanda Gentle is no different; the 5'9, dark skinned beauty is now the winner of the Direct Music TV America's 2011 Caribbean Model Search held on August 27 on the quaint island of St. Maarten. As the winner, she will now represent her beautiful island at the Virgin Island Fashion Week in October. The model search competition was hosted at St. Maarten's most popular beach bar, Sunset Beach Bar and Grill where many turned out to support the eight finalists.
    The 24 year old Gentle caught the eyes of the audience and the judges alike as she excelled in the business, casual and swimsuit categories of the competition. A very poised young lady, Gentle says "It feels amazing to be the winner. The other girls did well and are winners in their own rights." But of course, there can only be one. Winning the opportunity to walk in the Virgin Island Fashion Week is a great step for the model.
    This will be her first time participating in any fashion week and like many in her shoes, Gentle will like the opportunity to walk in many more fashion weeks. "I'm excited," she said with a little laugh. "I look forward to representing St. Maarten to the fullest," she continued. As a budding designer as well, Gentle is also proud to have designed her own swimsuit that won her the competition. Looks like we may be seeing a new model turned designer from St. Maarten in years to come.
    Virgin Islands Fashion Week is one of the premiere fashion events in the Caribbean, taking place on the beautiful American Paradise of St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. The event scheduled seeks to unite established and up-and-coming local, regional and international fashion designers, accessory designers, models, photographers, stylists and media houses. Virgin Island Fashion Week a unique platform that brings fashion to the forefront in the Virgin Islands and the Caribbean on a whole.
    Virgin Islands Fashion Week reflects the unique Caribbean culture while maintaining an international appeal, like none other.
  • Tropical Storm Maria North of Puerto Rico; EOC Issues All Clear.

    Great Bay (DCOMM):--- Tropical Storm (TS) Maria at 5:00pm on Sunday was located 115 miles NNE of San Juan Puerto Rico or approximately 180 miles North West of Sint Maarten and moving further away out into the Atlantic Ocean.

    The Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is hereby issuing the "All Clear" sign as TS Maria no longer poses a threat to the country.

    TS Maria has maintained its tropical storm status over the weekend and has winds of 60 miles per hour with higher gusts.

    Periods of heavy rainfall are still expected through Monday morning. Therefore, street flooding and flooding in low lying areas is still possible. Motorists should therefore drive with caution if they encounter street flooding.

    This is the last advisory from the Office of Disaster Management (ODM) concerning TS Maria.

  • Opening of new parliamentary year starts at 9:30am; Broadcast live on radio, TV and via the internet.

    Philipsburg:--- Activities surrounding the ceremonial opening of the new parliamentary year 2011-2012 will start at 9:30am, Tuesday, September 13 when guests start to arrive at the House of Parliament.

    Between 9:30am and 9:55am, His Excellency Governor Eugene Holiday and entourage will arrive. The Governor will inspect the uniform troops comprising of the St. Maarten Police, the St. Maarten Voluntary Corps and the Marines.

    At 9:55am President of Parliament Hon. Gracita Arrindell will enter the House of Parliament followed by the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers.

    At 10:00am the President of Parliament will open the ceremonial meeting and welcome everybody in attendance. After observing a moment of silence, the President will appoint a Reception and Departure Committee. Thereafter the meeting will be adjourned.

    Members of the Reception/Departure Committee will proceed to the entrance of the House of Parliament and wait for the arrival of His Excellency Governor Eugene Holiday and his entourage.

    After the Governor and his entourage enter the House of Parliament's General Assembly Chamber, the President of Parliament welcomes His Excellency.

    Governor Eugene Holiday then proceeds to deliver the annual state of the nation address which is the Governments Governing Program for the new parliamentary year.

    After a national address of approximately 30 minutes, the President thanks His Excellency the Governor and declares the new parliamentary year 2011-2012 officially open.

    The Governor and his entourage leave the General Assembly Chamber under the escort of the Reception/Departure Committee.

    Upon the return of the Reception/Departure Committee to the General Assembly Chamber, the President of Parliament formally closes the ceremonial opening of the new parliamentary year.

    The President of Parliament and the Prime Minister join the Governor and his entourage and proceed to the Wilhelmina Straat to view the military parade along with Members of Parliament, the Council of Ministers and invited guests.

    After the parade, the invitees proceed to Sheer Restaurant for a reception party hosted by the President of Parliament on the occasion of the ceremonial opening of the new parliamentary year.

    The opening ceremony of the new parliamentary year will be carried live on St. Maarten Cable TV Channel 20 from 9:30am on Tuesday. It will also be carried live on radio and via the internet on parliament's website: www.sxmparliament.org

    The Clem Labega Square paid-parking lot will be closed early on Tuesday morning until 2:00pm. The lot will be used to provide parking for the dignitaries who will be attending the ceremonial opening of the new parliament year.

  • Prime Minister sends condolence message to the Prime Minister of Jamaica.

    Great Bay (DCOMM):--- The 91-year-old mother of the Prime Minister of Jamaica, Mrs. Enid Golding, died on Wednesday morning at the St. Joseph's Hospital in Kingston.

    The Prime Minister, the Hon. Bruce Golding, was in Trinidad & Tobago attending the CARICOM Prime Ministerial Sub Committee meeting on Cricket.

    Prime Minister Hon. Sarah Wescot-Williams would like to express her condolences to the people, Prime Minister Golding and his family, and the Government of Jamaica on behalf of the people and Government of Sint Maarten.

    Mrs. Golding was an outstanding educator and community builder. Mrs. Golding and her brother, Rupert Bent, are the co-authors of two high school text books on the geography and history of the West Indies.

    "May God grant the Hon. Prime Minister and the Golding family strength during this time of bereavement," Prime Minister Hon. Sarah Wescot-Williams said on Thursday.

    Mrs. Golding was married to the first Speaker of the House of Representatives, the late Hon. Tacius Golding. They had four children: Prime Minister Golding, Dr. Trevor Golding and former Member of Parliament and Banker, Douglas Anthony. They also had a daughter who died in infancy.

  • Prime Minister leaves Curacao for UN 66th General Assembly Meeting; Plans to discuss regional cooperation with several Caribbean islands.

    Great Bay (DCOMM):--- Prime Minister Hon. Sarah Wescot-Wiliams left Curacao on Monday afternoon for New York to attend the United Nations (UN) 66th General Assembly meeting from September 19 to 24.

    The Prime Minister will also be accompanied by Minister of Health, Social Development and Labour Hon. Cornelius De Weever along with support staff.

    The UN 66th General Assembly will include a session on Non Communicable Diseases (NCD). Countries attending the assembly will have the opportunity to dialogue with nations on matters of strategic importance.

    The UN High Level meeting on NCDs should lead to a significant improvement in advocacy and recognition of the NCD burden at the national and global levels.

    Greater attention in national planning and resource allocation is also to be given attention among modest immediate resource commitment.

    Countries are looking at a more long-term investment from donors and a greater emphasis on strengthening health systems for a more horizontal response to broader disease burdens.

    The Kingdom of the Netherlands will be represented at the assembly meeting by countries Holland, Curacao, Aruba and Sint Maarten. The Kingdom delegation will be headed by Dutch Foreign Affairs Minister Hon. U. Rosenthal and the Prime Ministers of Curacao and Aruba will also be in attendance.

    Sint Maarten as indicated its desire to discuss bilateral and regional cooperation with countries in the region, namely Dominica, Dominican Republic and the Federation of St. Kitts & Nevis.

    The Prime Minister travelled on Sunday to Curacao to meet with International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Central Bank of Curacao and Sint Maarten officials with respect to the concluding meeting regarding IMF's Article IV Consultation.

  • Minister Meyers announces Copa Airlines adds fourth flight to Sint Maarten.

    Philipsburg:--- Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport & Telecommunications Franklin Meyers, announces that Panamanian airline Copa has added a fourth weekly flight out of Panama commencing December 17, 2011.

    Copa Airlines will use an Embraer 190AR with a seating capacity of 100. Average load factor has been 68 per cent with most passengers originating in Panama followed by 18 per cent from Sao Paulo, Brazil and 18 per cent from Buenos Aires, Argentina.

    "I am very pleased that Copa Airlines has added an additional flight bringing the total to four weekly flights out of Panama. Recently I also announced that the same airline had added a third weekly flight.

    "This demonstrates the airlines confidence in the destination and the potential that our country offers to the Latin American traveller.

    "We will be marketing ourselves aggressively in the emerging markets of Latin America. Copa airlines offers great potential and we are working closely with them to develop this relationship even further," Minister of Tourism and Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunications Hon. Franklin Meyers said on Tuesday.

    Copa started servicing the destination on December 18, 2010.

  • Law firm VanEps Kunneman VanDoorne most female-friendly organization.

    lawfirmvkvwinsaward23092011WILLEMSTAD, Curacao:--- The law firm VanEps Kunneman VanDoorne won the award for the most female-friendly organization in Curaçao. Acting Governor Adèle van der Pluijm-Vrede presented the SVC Award to office director Esther Jansen.

    "Stichting Vrouwennetwerk Curaçao" (Foundation Women's Network Curaçao) initiated the most female-friendly award in 2005. The purpose is to reward organizations that grant female employees in particular the opportunity to develop optimally and as such can serve as an example for the Curaçao society. The award is presented to the most female-friendly organization in Curaçao every two years.

    Chair of the jury, Jeanette Bonet: "The law firm excelled by efficient use of modern technical tools such as video conferencing and providing the flexibility to staff – the male staff too – to work part-time and still make a career."

    According to Esther Jansen, women play a key role in the Dutch Caribbean economy. She believes that the award increases the awareness of the influence of women in organizations. "We consider this award to be our crowning glory and acknowledgment of our policy. We pursue a good work-life balance for everyone and help our associates in expressing their qualities and talents in our company."

    The law firm's new office in St. Maarten has one female lawyer at the moment. Attorney Marieke Quist graduated at the University of Amsterdam in 2009 and started her career as legal advisor to government of Saba in October 2009. She advised Saba's Island Council, Executive Council and the Lt. Governor about various legal issues in the areas of civil law and administrative law, with an emphasis on civil servant and employment law. Quist was also acting Island Secretary of the Public Entity of Saba from January 2010 until August 2011. Marouschka van Axel Dongen supports the team in St. Maarten as the office manager.

    VanEps Kunneman VanDoorne is a law firm with offices in Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, St. Maarten and a Dutch Caribbean Desk in Amsterdam. With approximately 35 specialized lawyers, the firm provides legal services to companies and governments, both regarding disputes and regarding transactions. VanEps Kunneman VanDoorne is the Dutch Caribbean market leader in legal services and is involved in almost all local, intra-insular, and international takeovers and financing. On November 25, 2011 the lawyers officially open their branch on St. Maarten. A team of dedicated lawyers is already working in St. Maarten. With the office in St. Maarten VanEps Kunneman VanDoorne can better serve the markets of St. Maarten, Saba, Statia, and the surrounding islands.

  • Draft Amendment of Penal Code on its way to Parliament --- Justice Minister Proposing Stiffer Penalties for Crimes Committed Against Tourists --- NA Warns Dead on Arrival.

    rduncan24082011Philipsburg:--- Minister of Justice Roland Duncan indicated to the Members of Parliament that he was dead serious when he indicated earlier that he would be amending article 494 of the penal code to add stiffer penalties for crimes committed against any person that is visiting St. Maarten for recreational purposes. Persons who are convicted for such crimes can face up to six years behind bars based on the amendment of article 494 sub-sections (E).

    To show how serious he was, Minister Duncan submitted a copy of the draft amendment which will be officially submitted to parliament at a later date for ratification. Minister Duncan made the statements and submitted his draft amendment on Tuesday evening during a central committee meeting requested by members of the National Alliance to discuss his intentions to amend the penal code. Minister Duncan also called on the Members of Parliament to read the draft amendment and to vote their conscience when the time comes. He also informed Parliament that he decided to amend the penal code after attending a meeting with the Deputy Prime Minister with the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) who expressed concerns about the crime situation on St. Maarten. The Minister also clarified that he did not make any promises to the FCCA but thought it was indeed a good idea to add stiffer penalties for persons who commits a crime against a tourist. The Minister also considered the statements made by some parliamentarians to be despicable when they said adding stiffer penalties for crimes committed against tourists can be considered as class justice.
    Members of the National Alliance, namely its leader William Marlin informed the Minister that amending the penal code to accommodate tourist alone would send the wrong message and that he would be opening a pandora's box. Marlin said such an ordinance would indeed create class justice on St. Maarten. He said crime is crime and if the penal code needs amending then it should be done across the board. Marlin said one of the reasons St. Maarten opted to become a country was to make changes that would accommodate the people. "We said back then that we were going to be in the driver's seat and we can no longer blame the Federal Government or the Netherlands Antilles." He said while he agrees that they have to embrace the tourists, he also wants to know why make them a priority when crime is committed every day, like the snatching of chains.

    While Member of Parliament Louie Laveist said he respected the Minister for wanting to protect the island's only source of economy. However, making such a law would be sending the island down a slippery slope. Laveist said such a law should not only be considered as class justice but is in fact discriminatory. He implored on the Minister to hold on to this thought for now. Laveist said he believes that St. Maarten's "Houdini" is behind the amending of the penal code to accommodate the FCCA and he wonders why the delegation who went to Florida did not indicate the need to increase the head tax to assist St. Maarten's Police or to finance the camera surveillance project.

    Independent Member of Parliament Frans Richardson asked the Minister to provide him with statistics that can show how much crime is committed against a tourist compared to the local citizens of St. Maarten. Richardson said in his opinion crime is crime and penalties should not depend on ones color or creed.

    Supporting the Minister's draft amendment was Member of Parliament Jules James. James said crime and tourism does not go hand in hand and since tourism is St. Maarten's only source of income then it must be protected. Member of Parliament James said he believes that stiffer penalties should also be imposed on persons who are convicted for selling drugs in and around schools as opposed to those selling drugs in bars and night clubs. Member of Parliament Johan Janchi Leonard in the first round of the meeting said that there should be no discrimination and that everyone should be treated equally under the law. Leonard later recanted after the Minister's presentation by saying he can be convinced to change his mind but the Minister would have to do that by providing the statistics to show how much crime is committed against tourists. The former cop said he knows that there is no such statistics available to the Minister.
    Minister Duncan in reacting to the statements made by the Members of Parliament said crime committed against tourists is much higher on the French side than the Dutch side but he felt that the Dutch side had to amend its penal code because they promote the island jointly, while the tourist enter St. Maarten through the Dutch side of the island. Minister Duncan also indicated to the Members of Parliament that it is up to them to either increase or decrease the amount of time and fines he added to the amended draft ordinance. Minister Duncan also explained that adding article E to article 494 is not class justice because he expanded the penal code. The Justice Minister said he went as far as holding discussions with Turning Point to accommodate youths. "I have asked Turing Point to see if they can expand their programs so that they can accommodate youths who find themselves in trouble with the law." Member of Parliament George Pantophlet said he sensed that the FCCA is behind the amending of the penal code to accommodate tourists and he wonders why the FCCA is not assisting St. Maarten's men in blue (police) that is currently understaffed. Pantophlet indicated to the Minister that his draft amendment would be dead on arrival when it reaches parliament.
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  • Minister of Finance says 2012 National Budget could be Naf.10 million less than 2011 Budget; Ministry Aiming to Present Balanced Budget Early October.

    Philipsburg:--- Minister of Finance Hon. Hiro Shigemoto says that the Ministry of Finance is working diligently to present a balanced 2012 National Budget early October.

    At this point in time, the national budget will be approximately Naf.10 million less when compared to the 2011 budget.

    The aforementioned is due to the Central Bank of Curacao and Sint Maarten (CBCS) prognosis of little or no growth in 2012.

    "The global financial economic crisis especially the uncertainty throughout Europe and the United States is placing great strain on small island nations such as Sint Maarten.

    "The global financial economic crisis is not allowing government to add new policies in the 2012 budget when we look at zero economic growth. We are still confronted with challenges coming out of the transition after 10-10-10.

    "The country is facing many challenges such as violent crime, high unemployment among youth just to mention a few. The various ministries have programs and projects that they would like to execute but they need money to execute them in 2012.

    "Unlike the larger countries in Europe and around the world, Sint Maarten is totally dependent on the outside world and has to also mitigate the external shocks suffered from this dependency and this too costs money. Small island nation states around the world are facing the same challenges.

    "Even though the coalition has many new policies, projects and programs, the financial management of the country is priority number one with respect to complying with the financial supervision regulations of having a balance budget," Minister of Finance Shigemoto said on Wednesday.

    "We will continue to look at ways and means to get us through these difficult times and we will come out on top as a country as we have always done when confronted with challenges," Minister of Finance Hiro Shigemoto concluded.

  • Minister of Finance pleased CFT to Open Office in Philipsburg.

    Philipsburg:--- From various indications, the Financial Supervisory Committee CFT will within short open an office in Philipsburg in order for it to be able to carry out its responsibilities.

    "I am happy to announce that so far it seems as if the CFT will be opening an office here. This is something that I have been pushing for since my term as Director of Resources under the Island Territory status.

    "The presence of the CFT on the island will help to foster the relationship between the CFT and Government as well as the administration. It is also more representative of the constitutional reality almost a year later since the achievement of country status where we are no longer under Curacao, and as such we deserve CFT having an office here as well," Minister of Finance Hon. Hiro Shigemoto said on Wednesday.

    On Tuesday the Ministry of Finance received a copy of the CFT report which came via the Dutch Representation Office in Philipsburg.

    "I have not had a chance to read the report of the CFT that was presented to the Kingdom Council of Ministers. We have gone through a transformation process from island territory to country and we are still not there yet.

    "There is much still to be done in building country Sint Maarten, but we are on the right track. The challenges that we are confronting we are dealing with and putting in place the necessary systematic processes with respect to financial monitoring, control, and planning.

    "Everything takes time, but we are on the right track and with the opening of a CFT Office in Philipsburg, this will further enhance the relationship and workings between the CFT and Government," Minister of Finance Hon. Hiro Shigemoto concluded.

    The report covers the period of June 2010 up to and including March 2011.

  • MP Pantophlet Loses Father due to Ill Health.

    Philipsburg:--- Member of Parliament George Pantophlet is now mourning the loss of his father who passed away on Thursday evening. Eighty one year old George Raphael Pantophlet was suffering from Alzheimer's disease said Member of Parliament George Pantophlet. The elderly Pantophlet passed away at the St. Maarten Medical Center. Further details on the burial of the late Pantophlet will be announced in a subsequent article.
  • Registration for Saturday’s Sports Conference still open --- Cuban delegation will attend to explore possible areas of cooperation.

    Great Bay:--- Participants who have yet not registered or indicated that they would be participating in the Sports Conference which will be held this Saturday, September 3, 2011, may still do so by contacting the Youth and Sports Section of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports and Youth Affairs during working hours on Friday, September 2, 2011.
    According to a press release issued by the Cabinet of the Minister, the Conference is open to the general public, especially those interested in sports. Participants simply have to show up at 8:00AM on Saturday, at the University of St. Martin, where the conference will be held.
    The Sports Conference, which is organized under the theme, "Raising the bar in sports: 2011 and beyond," is aimed at discussing the future of sports on the island and how to achieve better results through a more professional and structured approach.
    The Minister of Education, Culture, Sports and Youth Affairs, Dr. Rhoda Arrindell, will open the Conference with a presentation on an integrated Sports Policy that will be tabled for discussion.
    A delegation from Santiago de Cuba, Cuba, that includes the Dean of the University of Science, Physical Education and Sports, and the Deputy Director General of Sports of the Province of Santiago de Cuba, will also attend the Sports Conference.
    The delegation is visiting the island at the invitation of the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports and Youth Affairs. Meetings have been scheduled with different sports associations and organizations to explore the possibilities of bilateral cooperation with Cuba in the area of sports.
    The Sports Conference will end at 4:00PM with a "team building" exercise. There is no registration fee, however, all participants are asked to be punctual and come ready to have a meaningful discussion about the way forward where it concerns sports on the island.
  • Powerful line up of speakers for State of the Industry Conference.

    The Saint-Martin Tourist Office and its President Mrs Ida Zin Ka Ieu are happy to announce that there will be a powerful lineup of influential speakers for the inaugural State of the Industry conference in St. Martin this month.
    Among those who will be discussing the future of the Caribbean tourism industry are airline executives, communications experts, tourism marketers, policy makers and researchers, including Keith Williams, the CEO of British Airways, who will deliver the keynote address.
    The lineup includes: Keith Williams, CEO, British Airways Brian Challenger, CEO, Liat Ian Burns, CEO, RedJet Vijay Bathija, senior Director of Network Planning, Air CanadaChad Meyerson, Director of Global Sales, JetBlue Edmond Rose, Director Commercial & Revenue Planning, Virgin Atlantic Prof. Avinash Persaud, Executive Chairman, Intelligence Capital Limited Jacinthe Paré, Partner and Account Group Director, Virginia Tourism Corporation Coleen Deverteuil, Member, Marine Industries Association of South Florida Nigel Mayes, Vice President, ROUTESRafael Cardozo, President, Tambourine Creative Miranda Joyce, CEO, Sugarfly Marketing Ryan Manville, Vice President of Corporate Research + Insights, American Express Esther Buchsbaum, Managing Partner of energi Public Relations Dan Tisch, President, Argyle Communications.
    The conference will kick off with a no-holds-barred session that will question the very underpinnings of today's aviation industry in the Caribbean, including the cost of travelwithin the region and how to overcome the hurdles. It will be a free-form discussion, with input from the attendees and moderated by well-known Caribbean journalist, Tony Fraser.
    Other hard-biting sessions will focus on new markets, successful strategies for publicprivate sector partnerships and attracting the affluent traveller.
  • Prime Minister says maintain preparedness for busy 2011 hurricane season.

    Great Bay (DCOMM):--- The 2011 Atlantic Hurricane Season is in full swing with so far 12 named storms having formed already. Hurricane Katia is currently churning out in the North Atlantic Ocean and poses no threat to land at this point in time.

    The prime minister, head of the disaster management organization, is calling on the populace to continue to maintain a state of preparedness in order to be able to take action in an organized manner should the country be threatened by a hurricane.

    The hurricane season has moved into what is commonly referred to as the Cape Verde season, the time when there are increased numbers of tropical waves and low pressure systems coming off the coast of Western Africa near the Cape Verde islands.

    On average, the seventh named storm doesn't occur until September 16. The season so far has already seen 12 named storms. Also on average, the first hurricane of the season occurs on August 10. The accepted peak day of the hurricane season is September 10.

    There was much devastation reported in the Bahamas from Hurricane Irene which passed to the South of Sint Maarten as a Tropical Storm.

    Several southern Bahamian islands reported homeless residents, downed power lines, damage to other important infrastructure, destroyed homes and others that have been rendered uninhabitable.

    "I appeal to the nation, to check your homes and businesses, hurricane shutters, supplies of non-perishable foods and goods, and to trim trees from around your home or business. Do and maintain the necessary things that keep you prepared to take quick action when there is a storm or hurricane threat to our country.

    "Remember, it only takes one. We are fully aware of the destruction that hurricanes can cause and we must always be prepared," Prime Minister Hon. Sarah Wescot-Williams said on Tuesday.

    The U.S. National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) updated forecast for the season calls for 14-19 named storms of which 7-10 could become hurricanes and of those 3-5 could become major hurricanes of Category 3, 4 or 5.

    The hurricane season runs through November 30. The remaining names for the season are Maria, Nate, Ophelia, Philippe, Rina, Sean, Tammy, Vince and Whitney.

  • Minister of Finance ready to meet with IMF officials.

    Philipsburg:--- Minister of Finance Honourable Hiro Shigemoto says that the Ministry of Finance is ready to meet with International Monetary Fund (IMF) officials during the next two days with respect to their official visit to the country in connection with article IV Consultation.

    The IMF is mandated to oversee the international monetary system and monitor the economic and financial policies of its 187 members.

    This activity is known as surveillance. As part of this process, which takes place both at the global level and in individual countries, the IMF highlights possible risks to domestic and external stability and advises on needed policy adjustments.

    The aforementioned helps the international monetary system serve its essential purpose of facilitating the exchange of goods, services, and capital among countries, thereby sustaining sound economic growth.

    The focus of the meeting will be on financial policy matters. The IMF is interested in learning about the current fiscal framework, including rules of deficits, debt and supervision of fiscal out-turns and policy.

    Another area is a description of the current tax system, including regulations for personal income tax, corporate taxes, and indirect taxes.

    "IMF Article IV Consultation is an important part of the IMF's regular surveillance activity with all member countries and is usually conducted every year. At the conclusion of the visit, the mission issues a statement.

    "Sint Maarten as a country is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and Holland being a member of the IMF, an IMF mission will visit each country to gather the relevant information and speak with the different stakeholders. The information gathering process is very important for country Sint Maarten with respect to foreign investments and accessing loans etc.

    "The IMF is also interested in reforms of the tax system, and we will be providing them with a summary of the current process we have embarked upon to reform our countries tax system. This is the first time that Sint Maarten as a country will be presenting its information based on our new status," the Hon. Minister of Finance Hiro Shigemoto said on Tuesday.

    The Council of Ministers on Friday afternoon will be presented with the preliminary conclusions of the mission.

    The IMF delegation is headed by Daniel Kandan who will be accompanied by Sebatian Weber and Longmei Zhang. Officials from the Central Bank of Curacao and Sint Maarten (CBCS) will also be travelling with the IMF delegation, namely Deputy Director of Monetary & Economic Affairs Eric Matto, Rudy Doran and Lennie Pau, both economists at the research department.

    The IMF will also meet with other ministries and relevant government departments over the next two days besides meeting with the private sector on Friday.

  • SHTA issues statement of Growing Concern.

    The SHTA issued a statement of growing concern that flat or negative growth may be expected for the following year. These concerns mirror the position of recent Central bank predictions of 0 to -.5% growth for St. Maarten. Concerns are that many businesses have depleted capital reserves, exhausted cost cutting and efficiency measures and simply don't have resilience to last another year of poor economic performance. The SHTA has based its opinion on several factors.

    Low consumer confidence
    Consumer confidence in our source tourism markets is low. Turmoil on the global financial markets, fears of double dip recession, high unemployment, fears regarding job security, will all contribute to low consumer confidence and therefore lower discretionary spending. One of the first discretionary items to be eliminated is vacations, especially international vacations.

    Low Consumer and Industry Awareness
    Since the closure of the ERF committee, the destination has had very little presence in the market place. This has left the consumer awareness and demand for the destination at historic lows. Ultimately, this results in lower occupancy and lower rates for the industry.

    Weak investment Climate
    Excessive bureaucracy and highly cumbersome system is a strong disincentive to investment.

    While the SHTA agrees with the need for a tax system that is simpler, more transparent and more fairly distributed, the current uncertainty about the future tax system is a high barrier to stimulating increased investment from current or future investors. 6 months ago, upon request of the tax committee, the SHTA submitted a position paper for discussion to the tax committee and ministry of Finance but has yet to receive feedback or further discussion. Even though a new proposal was to be put forward to the stakeholders in June, it's now September and we've heard nothing except rumors that the temporary 2% point TOT increase will now be extended for another year.
    This lack of confidence in the economy, will result in investors adopting a wait and see attitude towards making capital improvements and other investments. This lower spending will translate into less economic activity, which will also mean less revenue for government and for the community in general.

    Traffic
    While the SHTA certainly understands and agrees with the need to upgrade infrastructure, the consequences for residents, tourists and businesses as a result of excessive delays caused by the traffic jams on the island has a major impact on the economy. Every effort to reduce the impact on traffic should be made. Some suggestions include temporary implementation of ferries/ water taxis, 24 hour or evening work schedule, increased traffic control officers to manage the traffic flow.

    Plans
    While the SHTA is confident that government is in the process of developing plans for economic growth, tax reform, labor reform, tourism development, infrastructure, most people, including key stakeholders like the SHTA, are not aware of the plans. The lack of awareness is another deterrent to stimulating investor confidence. In times of economic distress, the community needs to feel that the political leadership has a clear vision and action plan to restore economic activity.

    The SHTA feels that immediate and dramatic action is needed to turn the economy around.

  • Exploratory Meetings with Cuban Delegation to Yield Concrete Results --- Cultural workers, educators applaud opportunity to exchange ideas.

    garrindellmeetscubandelegation08092011Great Bay:--- It was yet another hectic day for the delegation from Santiago de Cuba currently visiting the island for exploratory talks with various institutions and stakeholders here concerning the possibility of establishing bilateral cooperation ties between the two countries. Following a courtesy call on the President of Parliament, Drs. Gracita Arrindell, who welcomed them to St. Martin on behalf of Parliament and wished them a very productive and pleasant stay, the delegation held what was described as a "very informative" meeting with the management team of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports and Youth Affairs.
    Acting Secretary General of the Ministry, Mrs. Claudette Forsythe-Labega welcomed the delegation to what she termed "an extraordinary management meeting" due to the presence of the Cuban guests. The two sides proceeded to explain the structures of their respective ministries and how their systems function.
    The more than two-hour meeting ended with the Cuban delegation offering token gifts from Santiago de Cuba to the Acting Secretary General, with a pledge to remain in contact to continue the dialogue in further detail.
    The delegation later met at the Cultural Center, Back Street, with a group of cultural workers that included Mrs. Elsje Wilson of the St. Martin Museum, Mr. Joslyn Arndell of Tanny and the Boys, Ras Bushman of Freedom Fighters Foundation, Clara Reyes of Imbali Dance School, and Lasana Sekou of House of Nehesi Publishers, among others.
    The Cuban delegation gave a power-point presentation on the organization of culture in their country and fielded several questions from the attendees.
    Next stop was the University of St. Martin, where the delegation exchanged ideas with members of the Board of Directors in a combined session with the President of USM and the Dean.
    Mrs. Valerie Giterson-Pantophlet, President of the Board, expressed enthusiasm at the prospects of cooperation with institutions of higher learning in Santiago de Cuba and several areas of possible exchange were muted, including an exchange of lecturers and students. The idea was also floated for USM's undergraduates specializing in the teaching of Spanish to do theirt last two years in Cuba.
    Vice Chancelor of Research and Post-Graduate Studies of the University of Pedagogical Sciences, of Santiago de Cuba, Dr. Marlene Esther Daley Gonzalez, gave a presentation about tertiary education in Cuba in general and in Santiago de Cuba in particular. She also offered assistance to USM in the area of curriculum development in teacher education.
    Head of the Cuban delegation, Dania Mesa Valenciano, while thanking the USM officials, expressed the belief that concrete results would come out of the various discussions the delegation has been having with different instances on the island. However, she stressed that all the ideas would have to be taken up in a bilateral cooperation agreement between the relevant ministries of both countries.
    The delegation will continue its mission today with visits to two schools and a final wrap up session with Minister of Education, Culture, Sports and Youth Affairs, Dr. Rhoda Arrindell, under whose auspices the current visit is being undertaken.
  • IMF and CBCS Officials Meet with the Prime Minister.

    swwilliamsmeetsimfandcbcsofficials09092011Great Bay (DCOMM):--- Prime Minister Hon. Sarah Wescot-Williams met with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Mission representatives and representatives of the Central Bank of Curacao and Sint Maarten (CBCS) briefly on Thursday.

    The IMF is on an official visit based on article IV mission whereby they assess the governmental and economic climate of the country.

    "I was provided with a preview of their assessment thus far and I was able to present them with some governmental perspectives and our challenges as a new country," Prime Minister Hon. Sarah Wescot-Williams told DCOMM.

    On Friday the Council of Ministers will be provided with preliminary conclusions from IMF mission representatives. The IMF and CBCS officials will meet with private sector stakeholders.

    The IMF mission started on Wednesday when they met with a host of public sector entities. A final report is expected within the next three weeks which will include Curacao besides Sint Maarten because of the joint monetary union that exists between both countries.

  • Arrindell pays courtesy visit to Curacao President of Parliament Ivar Asjes.

    Philipsburg:--- Recently President of Parliament Hon. drs. Gracita Arrindell met with her colleague from Curacao Hon. Ivar Asjes in Willemstad, Curacao.

    A number of issues were discussed, including the preparations for the opening of the new parliamentary year, and the challenges following the transition from the old to the new system of governance.

    Another point deliberated upon was the handling of pending draft laws from the former Netherlands Antilles as well as the Kingdom partner's parliamentary meetings.

    "It was important to personally meet with my colleague and share our experiences of the past year presiding for the first time in a Parliament as a new institution of governance on both islands since 101010.

    "I met with my Aruban and Curacao colleagues in March and again in June as well as the President of the Dutch Second Chamber of Parliament in Holland back in March. It is good to know who your colleagues are within the Kingdom, and to discuss matters of mutual concern," President of Parliament Hon. Gracita Arrindell said on Tuesday.

    Curacao's President of Parliament Hon. Ivar Asjes promised to return the courtesy visit to Sint Maarten.

  • CTO event Kicks off --- Official Opening on Thursday.

    Marigot:--- Dignitaries and representatives from several media outlets are already on St. Martin to participate in the State of the Industry Tourism Conference.
    On Wednesday several meetings, workshops, and presentations were made as the CTO State of the Industry Conference kicked off at the Le Domaine Hotel.

    Representatives from the various islands had the opportunity to give media representatives information on their destination on Wednesday afternoon. St Maarten Tourism interim Director May Lyn Chun provided media representatives with St. Maarten Tourism Bureau's plans for the upcoming season. Presentations were also made by officials from St. Eustatius, Dominica, St. Kitts, Grenada, and Martinique.

  • DFC joins with other partners to launch series of Festival Dwive in advance of 15th Annual WCMF.

    Roseau, Dominica:--- This Friday, the Dominica Festivals Committee (DFC) joins with a number of partners to launch a series of Festival Dwive's at the Krazy Koconuts in Castle Comfort, in the lead-up to this year's World Creole Music Festival.

    The series of Festival Dwive which starts off this Friday, 16th September and every Friday until October 21st, with performances from local Bouyon band, Machine Creole along with Sakis Lapo Kabwit, is a joint initiative involving the DFC and several sponsors including WCMF Headline sponsor, DIGICEL; Courts (Dominica); Kubuli Beer; Krazy Koconuts and Gator Sounds. The series will feature several well-known local musical bands and cultural groups, including Jeff Joseph, Midnight Groovers, Swinging Stars Combo section, Paix Bouche Cultural Group, Flamboyant Cultural Group, Waitukubuli Dance Theatre Company, WCK, and several Deejays (Mystic, Miguel and Wadix).

    Patrons attending these Festival Dwive's will be able to purchase festival season ticket at the special price of EC$250.00 during the three events on September 16, 23 and 30th. There will also be the opportunity to do tasting of the festival's Official Whiskey, DEWARS Whiskey; as well as the chance to win Kubuli Beer six packs and branded merchandise from Digicel.

    The festival Dwive's will be brought to the public live on kairi FM and Q 95 FM radio stations and SAT Telecommunications and live streaming by Comesee TV.

    The 15th Annual Dominica World Creole Music Festival is scheduled for Windsor Park Stadium from October 28 to 30, and will feature acts such as Jeff Joe and his Gramacks/New Generation Band, Ali Campbell, the legendary voice of UB40, Gyptian, Carimi, Midnight Groovers, Jean-Phille Marthely and Jocelyn Beroad of Kasav fame, WCK, Swinging Stars, Bunji and Fay-ann, Third World and zouk love singers, Fanny, Jocelyn Labyll and Alex Catrin.

  • Offices of Social Services and Labour to Reopen on Monday, September 19.

    Great Bay (DCOMM):--- The offices of Social Services and Labour that fall under the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, located on the Pondfill next to Carl & Sons, will reopen to the public on Monday, September 19.

    The offices won't be 100 per cent fully operational due to some issues that still need to be completed such as the completion of the Information Technology installation, however, staff will be able to offer the basic services to clients.

    Beautification work will continue to be carried out this week to complete this part of the upgrading of the department which is part of a package of measures taken to improve services to clients.

    Acting Secretary General for the aforementioned Ministry Jorien Wuite, told the Department of Communication on Sunday that she was very pleased with the enormous teamwork displayed by ICT staff, Telem and Ministry VROMI which also included working on weekends.

    "The staff have worked very hard along with many other stakeholders to reach this far. An enormous amount of work has been carried out and I have great appreciation for all who have contributed.

    "A formal opening will take place next week involving the Minister. The main thrust behind this initiative is the enhancement of client services," Acting Secretary General of the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour Jorien Wuite said on Sunday.

  • Territorial Councilors/ Board Members Request Accounts for CTO State of the Industry Conference.

    Marigot:--- Two territorial councilors and members of the board of Office du Tourism who no longer support the Union pour le Progres have sent a letter to the President of the Office du Tourism Ida Zin Ka Ieu requesting the accounts of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) state of the Industry Conference that was held on St. Martin last week.
    SMN News has been reliably informed that Miriam Herault and Annette Philips dispatched the letter on Thursday requesting the accounts of the conference. The source said the two board members of the Tourist Office were not provided with any information regarding the planning of the CTO conference.
    In an invited comment, Annette Philips confirmed that she dispatched a letter to Zin Ka Ieu asking that she provide all invoices and the cost of hosting the CTO conference here. Philips said the board members were told once that the funds to host the conference would have come from Interreg but besides that information nothing else was told to them. She said if the planning and financing was transparent the Tourist Office President would not have a problem providing them with the information they requested.
    Philips also explained that there are rumors that the Office du Tourism paid Euros 15,000.00 to use the Senator's house for the closing ceremony while they paid Euros 25,000.00 for the fireworks display. "I hope this is only a rumor and that the Senator did not get paid for the use of his house," Philips said.
    SMN News learnt that the four day CTO conference cost St. Martin Euros 250,000.00 of which Euros 50,000.00 was paid by the Caribbean Tourism Organization.
    Efforts made to reach Zin Ka Ieu and Senator Louis Constant Fleming on Sunday evening proved futile up to press time.
  • St. Martin High School Students To Have a Taste of College --- Mid-term break a perfect time to attend Monroe College for a Week.

    Great Bay:--- Following an invitation from Monroe College, New York, for Minister of Education, Culture, Sports and Youth Affairs, Dr. Rhoda Arrindell to be present at the "College for a Week" event being organized to give St. Martin High School students a taste of college life during the mid-term break, the Minister has decided to throw open the possibility for the first 10 students from the final grades of secondary school who register for the program to take advantage of this opportunity from October 3rd – 7th.
    Monroe College is putting together an entire week of activities whereby Minister Arrindell and her delegation will have a close-up view of what our students can expect if they decide to pursue their studies at that institution. The delegation members will also be able to sit in on some of the classes and discussions.
    The "College for a week" concept is nothing new to the government of St. Martin, considering that government had in the past signed agreements and MOU's with educational institutions such as PACE, New England Tech, DEAN TECH, IFAC and others, which allowed our high school students the opportunity to get a taste of college life before making their decision.
    Our presence at this first "College for a week" event organized by Monroe College will serve to further solidify the recent MOU signed between the College and St. Martin, the Minister said.
    "We will meet with the first group of St. Martin students who recently travelled to the New Rochelle campus of Monroe College to further their education, evaluate and iron out any unforeseen challenges which they may have encountered and also seize this opportunity to finalize the details of the two full scholarships offered by this institution, which we have not yet made use of," Dr. Rhoda Arrindell said.

    Seven students have been accepted to Monroe College from St. Martin for the current academic year, however, only four of them are already there, while the rest are making preparations to start in January, 2012.
    "With our sports policy now in its final stages and the splitting of the Youth and Sports Department, this may be the opportune time to also revisit discussions with coaches about scouting and try-out opportunities for our students," Minister Arrindell added.
    Monroe College will provide accommodation and meals for the week-long event while the students will have to cover their travel expenses.
    For further information, interested students and/or their parents are requested to call the Cabinet of the Minister during working hours at telephone number 5429344.
    Deadline for registration for this program is 5:00PM, Friday, September 23, 2011. Since there is only a limited amount of space available, registration will be strictly on a first come, first served basis.

  • Office of Disaster Management Recommends Monitoring Approaching Tropical Storm Ophelia.

    Great Bay (DCOMM):--- The Office of Disaster Management (ODM) is advising the population of the South side of the island to closely monitor the progress of newly formed and 15th storm of the season Tropical Storm (TS) Ophelia, which is approximately over 1300 miles from Sint Maarten in the Eastern Atlantic Ocean.

    TS Ophelia is moving at approximately 13 miles per hour on a Westerly track which would bring it in our area over the weekend.

    The ODM will closely monitor the progress of Tropical Storm Ophelia and the public will be informed in future communications and advisories on Thursday and Friday.

  • Bandits Caught Red Handed Breaking into Gas Station and The Jerk Restaurant.

    holeinconcretewall23092011Philipsburg:--- Early Friday morning police patrols caught a man who was dressed in black walking in the narrow alley between the Jerk Restaurant and the Sol Gasoline station on the Bush road reported Police Spokesman Ricardo Henson.
    The patrol also noticed that this man was carrying a wooden log and a hydraulic jack. When the patrol stopped to investigate what was going on, this man dropped both objects and took off running to the back of the Jerk restaurant. The police chased this man on foot and was successful in catching him on the roof of the restaurant. While questioning the suspect, he admitted that he and another man were planning to break into "The Jerk" restaurant. This 59 year old suspect with initials B.M.B. from Trinidad was arrested on the spot. The hydraulic jack and wooden log were confiscated for further investigation. While continuing a search in the area, the patrol noticed that the suspects had already gained access to the Sol Gas station by making a hole through the wall which lead to the office of that establishment. The second suspect with initials M.V. from Sint Maarten was later arrested by another police patrol. He also admitted to participating in the break-in. Both suspects were transported to the police headquarters in Philipsburg where they were handed over to the Detective department. Further investigation also showed that the suspect B.M.B. is the same person who last year was shot in his leg when he and another man attempted the break into a store on Front Street. He was sent back to Trinidad and returned to Sint Maarten illegally four days ago. Both suspects remain in custody pending further investigation.
  • Tourism Day Festival on Boardwalk.

    Great Bay (GIS):--- On Tuesday, September 27, the Department of Tourism will have a celebratory evening entitled World Tourism Day Festival on the board walk at the St Rose Arcade, starting at 7pm.

    There will be music provided by Ebony Steel Orchestra and Mosaic.

    On that night as well, dance will be in many forms, namely: Ponum by The Dance Theater, Salsa by Anais Dance Fusion, traditional Indian dance, and a rendition of the Chinese Dragon Dance.

    At the board walk festival, there will be a variety of foods on sale.

    There will be special guests' appearances by Mi Paben, Mighty Dow, Shadow man, and King Beau Beau.

    The Department of Tourism welcomes the community to join us on the board walk.

  • Government Seeking Funds for Facelift of Government Building --- PM.

    swwilliams28092011Philipsburg:--- The Council of Ministers is still trying to allocate funds to begin the facelift of the Government Administration Building confirmed Prime Minister Sarah Wescot Williams at Wednesday's council of ministers press briefing. The Prime Minister said that government would have liked to start the renovations immediately since time is of essence to them. The intention of government was to have the facelift done for the visit of the Royal family who is scheduled to be on St. Maarten by November 3rd 2011. The Prime Minister also explained that the Government Administration Building does need a facelift and it would be nice if it could be completed before the Royal visit. She further explained that while they managed to acquire the funds to finalize the new government building they will not be able to occupy that building by January 1 2012, since that would be simply unrealistic. Wescot Williams said the Council of Ministers is still busy discussing the extent of the facelift since they will not be conducting a full restoration of the building. She said the Council of Ministers still has to decide on where they would get the monies from to do the necessary renovations.
  • Sister Basilia Rafter Wetting.

    sisterbasiliarafterwetting29092011Great Bay (DCOMM):--- Fourth from left, Prime Minister Hon. Sarah Wescot-Williams, Vice Prime Minister Hon. Theo Heyliger and Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labour Hon. Cornelius De Weever, attended the rafter wetting ceremony for the new Sister Basilia Residence Center in St. John's Estate on Thursday. (DCOMM Photo)
  • HIV/AIDS Programme Manager to receive prestigious PANCAP Award.

    suzettemosesburton29092011In an official email communication received this afternoon from the Pan Caribbean Partnership Against HIV/AIDS (PANCAP), HIV/AIDS Programme Manager, Suzette Moses-Burton was notified that she would be one of the recipients of this year's prestigious PANCAP Award.
    The PANCAP Award is an annual award, which recognises distinguished Caribbean nationals who have contributed significantly to the work of PANCAP and to the regional response to HIV and AIDS. The PANCAP Awards were launched last year during PANCAP's tenth annual Annual General Meeting held at the Sonesta Maho Beach Resort and Casino.
    This year the award will be presented to Moses-Burton during the official Opening Ceremony of the Caribbean HIV Conference 2011 to be held in the Bahamas from November 18 – 21, 2011.
    Upon receiving the news, Moses-Burton expressed surprise and gratitude to PANCAP for the recognition of the work she has done in the field of HIV at home in St. Maarten as well as regionally and internationally. Her response to PANCAP was simply "I am honoured and humbled by this recognition".
    A message received by Moses-Burton from the Prime Minister, upon hearing the news read "Advance congratulations on a well deserved recognition. Clearly your dedication to this cause has not gone unnoticed, not within our shores or beyond."
  • St. Maarten PRIDE Foundation and Ocean Conservancy for Trash Free Seas; Saturday, September 17th, at the Mullet Bay Beach St. Maarten Dutch Caribbean.

    PRIDE Foundation volunteers join hundreds of thousands of people around the world for Trash Free Seas this September during the 26th Annual International Coastal Cleanup.

    What: St. Maarten is a part of the 26th Annual International Coast Cleanup, the world's largest volunteer effort to help protect our ocean, lakes and rivers. Each year, hundreds of thousands of volunteers from around the world spend a few hours removing trash and debris from beaches, lakes, and rivers keeping track of every piece of trash they find. Ocean Conservancy uses that information to produce an annual snapshot of the problem of marine debris. Over the past 25 years, more than eight and a half million volunteers have removed 145 million pounds of trash from nearly 300,000 miles of coastline and waterways in 152 countries and locations.

    When/Where: Saturday, September 17th from 7am to 10m, Mullet Bay Beach. Search the International Coastal Cleanup global map to find additional Cleanup sites near you and register to be a part of the next wave of volunteers: http://www.signuptocleanup.org/

    Background: Every year hundreds of locals, residents, students and tourists give a helping hand at the Annual International Coastal Cleanup on St. Maarten. This is without a doubt one of the largest volunteer events of its kind. People preventing trash from entering the ocean and killing wildlife. Our beaches and oceans surrounding our island are precious resources for our tourism and livelihood.

    Trash threatens ocean wildlife and ecosystems; and undermines tourism and economic activity. Over the last 25 years, Ocean Conservancy beach cleanup volunteers have collected enough cups, plates, forks, knives and spoons to host a picnic for 2 million people. The eight million pounds of trash collected during the 2010 Cleanup would cover about 170 football fields.
    "The problem of ocean trash is preventable, and keeping our ocean free from trash is one of the easiest ways we can make the ocean more resilient against other threats like climate change," said Vikki Spruill, President and CEO of Ocean Conservancy. "Data collected by dedicated International Coastal Cleanup volunteers inform solutions to the threat of trash in our ocean. By understanding sources of marine debris, we can work together to solve this problem. And by working together to find solutions, we will take significant steps forward in understanding and preventing ocean trash. Join me and communities around the world this September 17th to keep our 25-year effort moving forward for Trash Free Seas."

    For more information about the International Coastal Cleanup on Sint Maarten, please call Jadira Veen on 5200650 or go to the St. Maarten PRIDE Foundation Facebook page.

  • Sunrise Rotary Club Inducts New Member and Hosts Successful Open House.

    Philipsburg:--- The Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunrise welcomes Mr. Ahmed Bell to it's membership with an induction ceremony held on Tuesday, August 30th, at it's weekly breakfast meeting.

    Born and raised on Sint Maarten, Ahmed Bell, a 30 year old auditor by profession at KPMG, is not a stranger to the Rotary family. He is the Godson of Rotary District 7020 Assistant Governor Mr. Jim Ferris.

    Present at his initiation were numerous members from various Toastmasters Clubs and other guests, since Sunrise Rotary Club hosted an Open House for those interested in Rotary. During this breakfast meeting members of the Sunrise Rotary Club gave a short presentation and provided more information on Rotary in general and its objectives. Sunrise Rotary Club is hosting an Open Houses every 5th Tuesday of the month. The next Open House will therefore be held on November 29th 2011.

    Sunrise Rotary Club once again would like to welcome Ahmed Bell and his family to the Rotary Family and wants to thank him for making the Sunrise Rotary Club the service club of his choice.

    Sunrise Rotary Club meets every Tuesday at the Restaurant Air Lekkerbek (near the Prince Bernhard Bridge) at 7:00AM to 8:00AM.

  • Hans Weitenberg resigns as CFT President.

    hansweitenberg05092011Prof. drs. Hans Weitenberg has notified Minister Donner of Internal Affairs and Kingdom Relations that due to health problems, he resigns as president of the Board of Financial supervision (College Financieel Toezicht - CFT).

    Professor Weitenberg started out in 2007 as CFT president. As of 2007 CFT supervised the public finances of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba based on the General Decree of the Kingdom. In 2008 Curaçao and Sint Maarten followed. After the state reform two new Boards of financial supervision emerged; on October 10th, 2010 Professor Weitenberg assumed the presidency of both.

    Professor Weitenberg managed to build up CFT, which was controversial at its start, to an authoritative institution. Because of his material knowledge of public finances and his love for and involvement in the Caribbean part of the Kingdom, Professor Weitenberg soon became a respected and appreciated supervisor. His integrity and fairness made him an unquestioned person for all parties in the Kingdom. This eased the way for CFT to develop into a completely independent institute that stands above all parties.

    CFT Curaçao and Sint Maarten consists now of Ms. Margo Vliegenthart as member upon proposal of the Netherlands and Mr. Alberto Romero upon proposal of Curaçao. Mr. Richard Gibson has been postulated at the Queen as member for Sint Maarten. For the CFT which is responsible for Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba, Mr. Max Pandt is member upon proposal of the BES islands, alongside Ms. Vliegenthart. The Kingdom Council of Ministers shall decide shortly on a new CFT president.

  • Dutch Minister of Defence courtesy visit to PM Wescot-Williams.

    swescotwilliamsandhanshillen06092011Great Bay (DCOMM):--- Prime Minister Hon. Sarah Wescot-Williams met with Dutch Minister of Defence Hon. Hans Hillen on Monday. Hillen and his delegation were on a courtesy visit.
  • Detective Died in Motorcycle Accident.

    Airport:--- Officers of the Police Department KPSSS are mourning the loss of their colleague detective Anthony Chicky Elizabeth who died on the spot Thursday night on the Airport Road. Police Spokesman Ricardo Henson said Elizabeth hit into a bus somewhere in the vicinity of the Red Cross. The veteran detective died on impact.
  • Fun filled Friday at Imbali.

    ginagrell09092011Philipsburg:--- This Friday, September 9, will be a busy one for Imbali Center for Creative Movement, this according to Imbali Founder and Director, Clara Reyes.
    Reyes explained that there would be gymnastic trials for children ages 6-18 years old beginning at 2pm. These trials, which would be supervised by gymnastics instructor Grattiene Riom, will determine who will be eligible to attend regular classes throughout the year. Reyes said it is her intention to have Imbali students compete at highest levels in gymnastics on local, regional and international levels.
    "Just as we have wanted to upgrade our students in the areas of dance, so too do we want to ensure that they have the opportunity to do the same in gymnastics and so a specialist as brought in for this area. Also in dance these days it is important to be able to combine certain levels of artistry and athleticism in order to be a well-rounded artist, so this was also a consideration for this venture," Reyes said.
    Reyes said that there are a number of young people on the Dutch side of island who are interested in gymnastics and who have the aptitude for it, but have not been able to explore it as of yet. She explained that this class would be ideal for such youngsters, because they would be learning a number of skills including tumbling, handsprings, summersaults, hands and no-hands floor work, etc.
    "This class will be a combination of gymnastics and cheerleading and is guaranteed that the calibre is of highest level, this is why we have decided to hold try outs prior to starting the class," Reyes said.
    Reyes also explained that in the evening at 6:30-8pm a belly dancing workshop would be offered as part of the annual Imbali $1 Community Outreach and Open house Program. This workshop will be hosted by Anguilla based instructor Gina Grell.
    Grell, who has participated in workshops at the Edna Manley College of Visual & Performing Arts, in Jamaica and numerous others in New York, has a special affinity for belly dancing.
    "Belly dance speaks to the soul of a woman," Grell said, "yes, it will make your torso more flexible, build strength in your spine, legs and arms, but belly dance is also organic in nature for a woman, belly dance releases those spaces to exhale and nurtures those feelings of empowerment for women."
    Reyes encourages women to come out and experience movement through this class and promises it will be an up-tempo one.
    "We are always trying to find ways to bring new, exciting classes to our Imbali student body, whether youth or adult and these two classes are indicative of that. We urge everyone to come out and become more involved in the world of creative movement," Reyes said.
    More information about either or both events can be obtained by passing by the Imbali office at the John Larmonie Center on Longwall Road, Philipsburg or contacting Reyes by calling 554-9364 or via FaceBook or email: clara.reyes1@gmail.com.
  • Rotary Club of St. Maarten focuses on Understanding Aggression in persons with Alzheimer’s.

    alzheimersfundraising09092011Chairperson of the Rotary Alzheimer's Awareness Campaign expressed great satisfaction with the support received on Saturday last during the fundraising event. The Club was able to raise USD 2700 on Saturday making it possible to meet the commitment made to the St. Maarten Alzheimer's Foundation (SMAF).
    The campaign continues and the focus remains on care. When a person with Alzheimer's becomes aggressive, it is important to try to understand what is causing the person to become angry or upset. Aggressive behaviors may be verbal (shouting, name-calling) or physical (hitting, pushing).
    According to the US Alzheimer's Association the main cause of behavioral symptoms is the progressive deterioration of brain cells. However, environmental influences can also cause symptoms or make them worse. Aggression can be caused by many factors including physical discomfort, environmental factors and poor communication. Aggressive behaviors can occur suddenly, with no apparent reason, or can result from a frustrating situation. If the person is aggressive, consider the physical discomfort, perhaps the person is tired because of inadequate rest or sleep. Maybe medications are causing side effects. Side effects are especially likely to occur when individuals are taking multiple medications for several health conditions. It's also possible that the person is unable to let you know he or she is experiencing pain.
    There are Environmental factors, consider whether the person is over-stimulated by loud noises, an overactive environment or physical clutter or does the person feel lost.
    Poor communication could also play a role. Are you asking too may questions or making too many statements at once? Are your instructions simple and easy to understand? Is the person picking up on your own stress and irritability? Are you being negative or critical?
    Consider the following approach. Try to identify the immediate cause. Think about what happened right before the reaction that may have triggered the behavior. Focus on feelings, not the facts. Rather than focusing on specific details, consider the person's emotions. Look for the feelings behind the words. Don't get upset. Don't take the behavior personally. Be positive and reassuring. Speak slowly in a soft tone. Limit distractions. Examine the person's surroundings, and adapt them to avoid similar situations. Try a relaxing activity. Use music, massage or exercise to help soothe the problem. Shift the focus to another activity. The immediate situation or activity may have unintentionally caused the aggressive response. Try something different. Decrease level of danger. Assess the level of danger — for yourself and the person with Alzheimer's. You can often avoid harm by simply stepping back and standing away from the person. If the person is headed out of the house and onto the street, be more assertive. Avoid using restraint or force. Unless the situation is serious, avoid physically holding or restraining the person. He or she may become more frustrated and cause personal harm.

    For more information please contact the St. Maarten Alzheimer's Foundation on HOTLINE 9220 or alzheimersxm@gmail.com. To support the campaign please contact any member of the Rotary Club of St. Maarten or rotaryalzheimerscampaignsxm@gmail.com. Alzheimer's T-shirts are still available and all who have T-shirts are kindly asked to wear them on September 21st World Alzheimer's Day.

  • Little Miss St. Martin Pageant opens St. Martin Day week of celebrations.

    littlemisssxmcontestants12092011Great Bay:--- The "Little Miss St. Martin Pageant" is already in the making as an event for the St. Martin Day calendar, said organizer Nzinga Lake.
    The pageant is open to girls, ages 8 to 11. "I'm encouraging all princesses from the primary schools from both parts of the island to take part," said Lake. The pageant is scheduled for Sunday, November 6, 2011, at Celebration Palace. The annual St. Martin Day takes place on November 11.
    The main idea of the Little Miss St. Martin Pageant is twofold. "Firstly, the pageant looks to serve as a motivational and inspirational activity for young girls," said Lake.
    "Secondly, this little miss pageant honors the traditional sense of unity that St. Martin Day was founded on. That is also why we are using the traditional spelling of our island's name in identifying the pageant," said the organizer.
    The contestants will be "encouraged to excel in cultural knowledge and to value educational excellence, while being graceful ambassadors of their schools, neighborhoods, and St. Martin," said Lake.
    The competing categories are customary for junior and senior pageants on an island where beauty contests have been many and have remained a popular family show over the years.
    "But for the Little Miss St. Martin Pageant, it's the twist that we plan to require for the Introduction, Talent, Theme Wear, and Evening Wear, that will make us a bit more creative than usual. We want to challenge the little miss ladies as much as to entertain our audience," said Lake.
    No stranger to organizing successful pageants with a cultural focus, Lake is also well known as the "boss lady" of the St. Maarten Eyecandy modeling company.
    Lake's track record includes the Junior Carnival Queen shows in 2009 and 2011, which she helped to organize for the St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation.
    To register for the Little Miss St. Martin Pageant, parents, guardians, and schools can contact Nzinga Lake at (721) 522-4280 or email lakenzinga@hotmail.com. The registration deadline is Friday, September 23, 2011, said Lake.
  • St. Martin won the bid to stage the 2013 Kingdom Games.

    Press Statement
    by Hon. Minister of Education, Culture, Sports & Youth Affairs,
    Dr. Rhoda Arrindell.
    Wednesday, September 14, 2011.

     

    Madame Prime Minister
    Colleagues in the Council of Ministers
    Ladies and Gentlemen of the Media
    Residents of our beloved island.
    Good morning.

    Let me start with some good news: St. Martin has won the bid to stage the 2013 Kingdom Games. The Kingdom Steering Committee for the Games will be meeting here from today Wednesday, September 14, until Friday, September 16 and will confirm this decision.
    Of course, this means we have to begin preparing like yesterday for this important sporting event. We have to renovate, upgrade and modernize some of our sporting facilities, the main one being the Raul Illidge Sports Complex. I met with the board of the Complex this morning to discuss plans for its overhaul.
    We also need to prepare our athletes for the Games. As you are all aware of, it is my considered position that it is no longer acceptable to simply participate in sporting events just for the sake of participating. We have to adopt the mentality of winners and participate because we want to stand on the victory podium. That is the best way to represent St. Martin and fly our flag high.
    The final list of sports that participants will compete in during the Games will be drawn up this week. It is my view that the decision should be based on what the host of the Games can properly provide facilities for and offer each participant a fair and level playing field.
    The preparation of our athletes and the upgrading, renovation and modernization of our facilities formed part of discussions during Part I of our Sports Conference held at USM on Saturday, September 4. I want to thank all the representatives of the various sports clubs, associations, federations and sports lovers who attended that Conference and to remind them and all those who may not have been able to participate then that Part II of the Conference will be held this Saturday, September 17 at the University of St. Martin.
    This second part of the Sports Conference will be a half-day affair, and will focus on various aspects of the Sports Policy we are trying to establish with the input of every stakeholder. It is therefore important that everyone who has a contribution to make attend this Conference. Please consider this an open and personal invitation. Let us together design a Sports Policy that is befitting for our island.
    Those who were present at Part I of the Conference will remember the very important presentation made by the Cuban delegation that was here for the whole of last week.
    The delegation met with various sports groups, including the St. Martin Sports Federation and the National Olympic Committee, as well as officials of the Youth and Sports Department. Reports reaching me indicate that the discussions were very enlightening and productive with various areas of possible cooperation identified.
    One such area will be the training of our coaches, technical assistance in the area of training of athletes, Physical Education teachers, and sports exchange possibly even at the secondary school level.
    The Cuban delegation also met with Education officials, the board and management of University of St. Martin, Public School managers, and had face-to-face exchange with students of the St. Dominic High School. Again, all the reports I have received so far have been very positive. The delegation was very impressed with St. Martin and especially with the enthusiasm and interest that everyone they met with showed.
    The next step now is to draw up a framework of cooperation based on the findings of the delegation and the areas of need expressed by the various instances they met with on St. Martin. This will lead to negotiations between the relevant ministries of our island and Cuba to sign a cooperation agreement that would be mutually beneficial to both parties. We are following up with these matters and you will be fully briefed about the progress made.
    Finally, I am pleased to inform you that preparations have already started for the celebration of St. Martin Day this year. An Organizing Committee has begun meetings, and a program of activities has been drawn up, kicking off with the Little Miss St. Martin Pageant for children 8 to 11 years' old on November 6, 2011. This is a cultural pageant, which will focus on the island's history and culture.
    A calendar of events will be published so that the public can be well –informed. All those persons who are planning events for St. Martin Day should please contact the Culture Department so that their events could be included in the calendar.
    On that note, I want to thank you all and await whatever questions you may have for me.

  • Gendarmes Busy Investigating Murder in Concordia. (UPDATED)

    crimescenetape13022011Marigot:--- Gendarmes are busy investigating yet another murder that was committed late Friday afternoon in Rue de Concordia confirmed Commandant of the Gendarmerie Stephen Brunet. Brunet said the killer or killers are still at large.
    According to information reaching SMN News, some four youngsters were engaged in a fight by the Silver Dragon Restaurant in Concordia when the victim identified only as Kevin "Jah Lee" Jewels (31) was stabbed multiple times to death. Sources say the victim is from Dominica. One source said the victim was fighting with the other three suspects from whom he bought some items from. It is further understood that the three attackers used machetes and baseball bats when they were fighting.
    A relative of the deceased man said this is the second time "Jah Lee" was attacked by the same group of youngsters. The woman said her relative was attacked earlier this week and he was taken to the Louis Constant Fleming Hospital where he remained until Friday morning.
    The relative said the 31 year old man was attacked and beaten by the same group of young men earlier this week and he was also stabbed during the first attack. "The three young men attacked Jah Lee while he was walking on Concordia road on Friday afternoon, his attackers beat him with a baseball bat and they stabbed him multiple times. He was unable to recuperate from the head injuries he received during the second attack." The relative said Jah Lee died at the Louis Constant Fleming Hospital.
  • Customer Care should be Key Focus says British Airways CEO Keith Williams.

    ctodignitaries16092011Dawn Beach:--- The Chief Executive Officer of British Airways Keith Williams called on hoteliers to make customer service their number one priority if they want to maintain their clientele. He said the Caribbean region has to continue to work hard to maintain its ratings as one of the most popular destinations. He said when the price is right only then people are prepared to travel and everything depends on the quality of service that is handed to consumers.
    Williams said businesses today should put their customers at the heart of their business since customers are hard to get and to maintain due to the intense competition in the market in the tourism industry.
    Williams was the keynote speaker at the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) State of the Industry Conference which currently being held on St. Martin. Williams tackled four points in his address on Friday. He addressed the state of the economy, current issues within the aviation industry, British Airways action plan and other factors that are impacting the industry.
    The British Airways CEO said that the Caribbean is in fact their favorite destination but so far there is no decision as to if and when they would consider St. Maarten as their next route. Williams said predictions were that 2010 was going to be a difficult year for traveling and that was indeed the case, however, the industry began recovering in 2011.
    Representatives from Redjet, Virgin Atlantic, LIAT, Virtuoso and Jet Blue made presentations at Friday's meeting.
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  • Father of Slain 13 Year Old to Remain in Pre-trial Detention --- Prosecutors Tightlipped on Autopsy Report.

    robertreidburnwounds09092011Philipsburg:--- Robert Reid, the father of murder victim 13 year old Tiffany Reid will have to spend another eight days behind bars since the judge of instruction extended his pre-trial detention by another eight days on Friday.
    Chief Prosecutor Hans Mos also confirmed that the Prosecutors Office is now in possession of a preliminary autopsy report but the contents of that report he said will remain sealed for now.
    "We have to confront the suspect with the contents of the report and we do not want the suspect or his legal representative to read the contents of the report before we confront him. Reid will be questioned in the next few days," Mos said.
    The body of the 13 year old St. Maarten Academy (PSVE Section) student was found two Tuesday's ago in a ravine on Cherrynut Hill, South Reward. The killer or killers burnt the body which was found shortly after it was set alight by residents of the area. That same night police arrested the father of the victim who also sustained second degree burns on various parts of his body.
  • Department of Personnel and Organization have Communication Challenges.

    Great Bay (DCOMM):--- The Department of Personnel and Organization (PnO) has been confronted with technical issues related to its internet, fax, and telecommunication systems beyond its control.

    Therefore, staff is no longer reachable until further notice. The Department Head apologizes for this inconvenience and will inform the community once all communications have been restored.

  • Rotary Alzheimer's Awareness Campaign concludes successfully.

    rotaryalzheimersawarenessendofcampaign21092011The Rotary Club of St. Maarten concluded the three month Alzheimer's Awareness Campaign on World Alzheimer's Day September 21st.

    The Project done in cooperation with the SMAF (St. Maarten Alzheimer's Foundation) was able to bring the message of Alzheimer's to the community of St. Maarten with 500 posters, 1000 T-shirts, 2 newspaper ads,1 billboard, 4 TV ads, 12 press releases, 3 TV Talkshows, 3 Radio Talkshows, and 17 different radio PSA's (Public Service Announcements) on 7 radio stations which aired just under 3000 times. There are so many to thank and we will do so accordingly, however we would like to thank the SMAF who inspired us to do this project and the media without who's cooperation this would not be possible. The campaign included a fundraising component. Through the sale of the Alzheimer's T-shirts the Rotary Club of St. Maarten was able to meet its commitment made by the committee chairperson Maria Buncamper-Molanus during the launch on June 15th.

    Presenting the check of USD 5000, were members of the Rotary Alzheimer's Awareness Committee and president of the club of St. Maarten Rebecca Low.On hand to receive the donation were Patricia Krolis and Raymond Jessurun of the SMAF. The funds will be used to further enhance the understanding of the disease on the island and in particular among the general practitioners for whom a work shop will be organized. "We thank the general public for being so receptive and responsive to this project, this is what motivates community service organizations like Rotary to continue serving": concludes Committee chairperson Maria Buncamper-Molanus.

  • Angele Priest to Spend another 60 days in Pre-trial detention.

    Philipsburg:--- Angele Priest, the owner of Border Bar will have to spend another 60 days in pre-trial detention as police continues to investigate the case of human smuggling against him. Priest was arrested some three weeks ago when a team of police officers raided Border Bar. Police also questioned a number of the dancers who were operating at the club on the day of his arrest. Chief Prosecutor Hans Mos said the police had a strong indication that the businessman was involved in human trafficking which has a penalty of five years in prison if convicted.
  • Prime Minister to meet with Minister Donner Monday afternoon.

    Great Bay (DCOMM):--- Prime Minister Hon. Sarah Wescot-Williams will be meeting with Dutch Minister of Home and Kingdom Relations Hon. Piet Hein Donner on Monday afternoon.

    The meeting is scheduled for 3.30pm and is prescribed for the quarterly progress reports between Minister Donner and the Prime Minister.

    Progress related to the plans of approach will be discussed. All departments that fall under the plans of approach (Ministry of General Affairs, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Public Housing, Spatial Development, Environment and Infrastructure) have to make progress reports and these reports are then vetted by the progress committee.

    The reporting period is the second quarter of 2011. The previous meeting was held on June 21.

    Sint Maarten's representative on the progress committee is Richard Gibson Sr.

    Prior to Minister Donner meeting with the Prime Minister, the former will meet with Vice Prime Minister Hon. Theo Heyliger followed by Minister of Justice Hon. Roland Duncan.

  • Vice Minister of Plenipotentiary Panneflek goes to work in The Hague.

    rpanneflekandmvoges27092011Great Bay (DCOMM):--- On Tuesday Vice Minister of Plenipotentiary Hon. Richard Panneflek started his job at the Sint Maarten House. Panneflek was introduced to the staff of the Cabinet of the Minister Plenipotentiary and was appraised by Minister Voges of current affairs.
  • JOIN THE INTERNATIONAL CELEBRATION OF BIRD MIGRATION.

    epicbirdwalk27092011Birds: they are outside your home, they are in the pond you pass on your daily commute, and they are in the sky while you are at the beach. They are everywhere. Now is your chance to learn who they are and what they are doing.

    Local organization Environmental Protection in the Caribbean (EPIC) [1] will be celebrating International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD) [2] during the month of October starting with a free Bird Walk for the public this Saturday, in addition to school presentations and a public Bird Course. International Migratory Bird Day is celebrated throughout the Americas and aims to raise awareness of the incredible phenomenon of the migration of millions of bird representing hundreds of species, the true snowbirds, which travel between North America, the Caribbean, and South America. The Caribbean region-wide event is coordinated by the Society for the Conservation and Study of Caribbean Birds (SCSCB)[3]. This year's theme is "Go Wild, Go Birding" and encourages the public to get out and learn about our feathered neighbors.

    Approximately 350 species of birds that breed in North America migrate each year to spend the winter in Latin America and the Caribbean. As a group they are referred to as Neotropical migratory birds, and they include many species of songbirds, hawks, egrets, and ducks, among other well-known groups. Additionally a smaller number of species migrate from South America into the Caribbean to breed during the summer. The Caribbean therefore shares these species with North and South America, and many spend the greater portion of each year on our islands (up to 9 months annually) compared to the time they spend outside of the region. Because most birds migrate primarily during the night, their epic movements, though frequently spectacular in numbers, are often unnoticed by the public.

    "There have been many exciting discoveries during our decade of research on the birds of St. Maarten/St. Martin," noted Natalia Collier [4], President of EPIC, "such as observing species never before recorded on the island." However, she also remarked on the rapid destruction of habitat, particularly wetlands, that these amazing migrants depend upon for resting and feeding during their long flights. Collier continued "Birds can serve as ambassadors for these wetlands, they are beautiful, often easy to see, and can indicate if an ecosystem is healthy or not."

    In fact, the long-term survival of about a third of these migratory species is of concern because of sustained declines in their populations over recent decades. "There are just much fewer numbers of even some of the more common and well-known species now relative to their numbers a few decades ago," remarked Dr. Lisa Sorenson [5], President of the SCSCB at the launch of the festival.

    In response to these unsettling trends the United States government passed the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act in 2000. Under the Act matching grants of approximately U.S. 5 million dollars to support public-private partnerships for projects, in the North and Latin America, and the Caribbean, that promote the long-term conservation of Neotropical migratory birds and their habitats are issued annually. "Because we are dealing with birds that change the country in which they live twice a year, every year, both local, regional, and international partnerships are essential components of any conservation effort," added Sorenson.

    macstudentsatlittlebaypond27092011A Migratory Birds of the West Indies coloring book, stickers, and temporary tattoos will be distributed by EPIC during school presentations and other events and are available upon request. To schedule a school presentation contact EPIC's Environmental Education Specialist Ms. Emily Ice at (599) 545-3009.

    This Saturday October 1st, the public is encouraged to join EPIC volunteer Ronald Pieters at 8 a.m. at Salines d'Orient (Le Galion) for a free guided Bird Walk to learn more about the species which visit our island and those that stay all year-long. Thanks to a generous donation by Birder's Exchange, binoculars and spotting scopes will be available but bring your own if you have them. Long pants are suggested. Meet near the Butterfly Farm. This easy walk will be about one hour and can be extended for those wishing to see more.

    EPIC will also be offering a free birding course to help nature lovers identify birds in the field by learning the markings and calls of the varied birds that live on or visit Sint Maarten. The focus of the course is to identify the various types of birds and what type of habitat they use, such as wetlands, coastal, scrub and forest. The course will consist of two evenings of presentations on bird basics from 7-9 pm and three field trips to various habitats from 8-10 am on Saturdays.

    For more information on the Bird Walk or Bird Course contact Ronald Pieters at (599) 520-8538.

    To view reports and photos of from IMBD in the Caribbean and in North America, for downloadable IMBD resources, and for updates on ongoing and planned activities, kindly visit the website of Environmental Protection in the Caribbean: www.epicislands.org, the Society for the Conservation and Study of Caribbean Birds: www.scscb.org, and Environment for the Americas: www.birdday.org.

  • NAGICO joins the fight against Breast Cancer.

    Beside skin cancer, Breast Cancer is the most common cancer among women and it is also one of the leading causes of cancer deaths among women of all races. St. Maarten has taken a stand to fight against this disease through the Positive Foundation, who in collaboration with NAGICO Insurances will be seeking to raise awareness and educate St. Maarten about this disease throughout the entire month of October.

    To offset this campaign, NAGICO Insurances has made a handsome donation in the form of a cheque and materials to be used, all of which will go towards educating and reminding the public of early detection in the fight against Breast Cancer.

    "While there are many uncontrollable factors that affect one's risk for developing Breast Cancer like family history, personal cancer history. There are many factors which are in our control. Risk factors such as lifestyle choices- diet and exercise for example, can be modified."Shelly Alphonso; President of the Positive Foundation and a Manager at NAGICO Insurances said. "Early detection saves lives. Studies show that the five year survival rate for cancer detected in the early stages is 98.3%."

    Alphonso also pointed out that while Brest Cancer is a disease which usually afflicts women, the ripple effect affects everyone.

    "NAGICO is 100 percent behind this awareness campaign, because Breast Cancer affects us all, in one way or the other," she explained. "The women, who are diagnosed each year, are our mothers, sisters, colleagues and friends. These women mean something to us so we all have to join the fight and play our role."

    She also urged women to get tested, as early detection is key, in the fight against Breast Cancer.

  • Council of Law Enforcement Visits Sint Maarten House.

    mvogesandcounciloflawenforcementreps29092011Great Bay (DCOMM):--- Representatives of the Council for Law Enforcement visited the Cabinet of the Minister of Plenipotentiary on Thursday where the Chairman and members of the Council were introduced to the Minister. The Chairman thereafter presented Minister Voges with a copy of the Kingdom Law that governs the Council dated July 7, 2010. The Council comprises of three members who are from Curacao, Sint Maarten and Holland. The Council is in charge of inspecting all organizations within the judicial chain such as the Police, Prison system, Police Training School and the Public Prosecutors Office.
  • President of Parliament Arrindell Meets with Animal Welfare Foundation

    garrindellandanimalwelfarefoundation29092011Philipsburg:--- President of Parliament's recently met with representatives from the St. Maarten Animal Welfare Foundation. The meeting took place under the 'information gathering consultation sessions,' which the Hon. Gracita Arrindell started in her first parliamentary year.

    The Animal Welfare Foundation is a non-profit organization which promotes the better treatment of animals.

    The delegation from the Foundation comprised of its President Susan Wathey, Pamela Simms, Secretary and Heather Caputo, Treasurer.

    The Animal Welfare reps informed the President of Parliament about the two main programs of the foundation, namely their "humane education" program that has been in-going since 1992. The board members would like to see more awareness about animal welfare in the educational system, and have observed that their current program along with other stakeholder initiatives, have played a role in creating the necessary awareness on the island.

    The foundation reps added that this success can be seen from the large number of patient files that veterinary clinics on the South side of island have on file which means that pet owners are making use of the services offered and that translates into better care of animals.

    Also noticeable are the number of people who call the animal welfare emergency number to report an injured animal or other animal related matters. Animal abuse cases are also very rare these days when compared to the past.

    One concern for the Animal Welfare Foundation is the prosecution of animal abuse and neglect cases. Submitted reports merit follow-up by the pertinent authorities.

    Sterilization is another area that the foundation has been very much involved in. Their philosophy is based on the fact that it is better to prevent reproduction than to destroy offspring.

    The Animal Welfare Foundation encourages sterilization of animals and they have been active in this area since 1992 by sponsoring over 7000 sterilizations for residents of limited financial means or via four annual low cost sterilization campaigns. The foundation's adoption policy mandates spay/neuter for all adopted animals.

    The foundation has an Animal Ambulance Team whose volunteers respond to animal emergencies and offer free taxi of pets to local vets for residents without transportation. The team treats mange in the community for people unable to provide care for their pets and also collects unwanted animals for adoption.

    The South side of the island does not have an animal shelter, however three veterinary clinics makes adoption space available at no cost to the foundation therefore providing new homes for nearly 2500 animals.

    Some of the things that the foundation would like to see developed is the employment of an animal control officer; measures to deal with loose livestock; an animal registry and tag law; a sterilization law; and the introduction of a professional breeding permit. The latter would bring in income for the government and at the same time, animal breeders would have to comply with certain animal welfare standards.

    "The meeting was very informative. The foundation receives a subsidy from government on an annual basis and the public has a right to know how their money is being spent, but at the same time, what has been the successes and what else is needed in order to improve the welfare of animals on the island.

    "The next stage of this process is to invite this group along with other animal welfare stakeholders to a Central Committee meeting of parliament where everybody can share their experiences and put forward their ideas and then it would be up to parliament to move on thereafter," President of Parliament Hon. Gracita Arrindell said on Thursday.

  • Fisheries Regulations for the Territorial Waters of St. Maarten.

    In order to fish in the territorial sea of Sint Maarten, the following regulations apply:

    Visserijbesluit (PB 1991, nr. 74)

    Fishing restrictions:

    Fish pots;
    • will have a mesh size of no less than 1.5" or 38 mm;
    • must have an escape panel of at least 6" by 6" or 15 cm by 15 cm
      the escape panel must be of biodegradable material or fastened by biodegradable twine. The panel or twine has to decompose after being submerged for 20 days.

    Nets;
    The following is not allowed:

    • drift/gill nets*
    • trawled drag/bottom nets

    Further restrictions
    It is prohibited to fish with;

    • chemicals
    • explosives
    • bait consisting of meat of marine mammals

    and to catch;

    • conchs less than 18 cm in length
    • spiny lobsters with a body length less than 3.8" or 9.5 cm, carrying eggs(do not remove eggs) or molting
    • turtles
    • marine mammals

    Spearfishing with Hawaiian slings does not require a license.

    * without a license.

  • National Health Insurance Plan Back to Drawing Board --- No new projection date set by Health Minister --- PM.

    swescotwilliams31082011Philipsburg:--- The National Health Insurance Plan (NHI) that the Former Commissioner and Minister of Health Maria Buncamper Molanus said was ready for implementation since January 2010 is far from being completed.
    SMN News learnt that the technocrats that are working on the NHI took the entire draft back to the drawing board because the projections were way off. The source said the NHI has to be revised and certain areas must be reconsidered. Concerns are being expressed on the packages that will be offered as well as the premiums and the collection of those premiums. "If Government had implemented the draft NHI on 10/10/10 that would have been a major disaster for St. Maarten, because of the lack of clarification and assurance, the current Minister of Health has sent this plan back to the drawing board and has said that the NHI will only be implemented when it is fully completed and would answer to the needs of the people living on St. Maarten."
    In an invited comment, Prime Minister Sarah Wescot Williams said there is no projection date at the moment for the implementation of the NHI. She further explained that in the past a study was conducted and a timeline with different target dates were mentioned with the last one being January 1 2012.
    Wescot Williams said the current Minister of Health has been very clear on his opinion of the NHI and as such the Minister does not wish to pinpoint another date for the NHI implementation until some other steps in the plan are taken into consideration.
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  • Philipsburg Jubilee Library and the Ark Foundation Repeat Successful Storytelling Workshop with Mr. Anansi.

    wijnandstomp31082011Philipsburg:--- Under the title "It takes a story to raise a child", the Philipsburg Jubilee Library in collaboration with the Ark Foundation will be hosting a remarkable workshop about telling stories in a fun and effective manner. The workshop is designed to develop persons in our community with the capability to tell stories and to enhance those persons, who already have some experience in this field. The workshop will be conducted by Mr. Wijnand Stomp. A.K.A Mr. Anansi who is a well known Dutch Antillean theatrical story teller in Holland. The first edition of the workshop, held in August 2010 was highly successful. At the end of the workshop, the 15 participants delivered a magnificent performance.
    This year the Library and the Ark Foundation would like to repeat this success and give more talented local persons the chance to develop their storytelling skills.
    The workshop will be held on five consecutive days between Monday September 12th and Thursday September 15th. On September 16th, the students will be showing off the end result of the workshop to the general public by delivering their own storytelling performance in the Cultural Centre. The course fee is only ANG 50 for the entire workshop. After completing all sessions, the participants will be effective and entertaining story tellers, who will get the full attention and involvement of their listeners.
    Interested persons are invited to register at the circulation desk of the Philipsburg Jubilee Library.
    Please register as soon as possible since space is limited. For additional information, call the library at tel. 542 2970 or contact Mrs. Ingrid Holaman of The Ark Foundation at tel. 554 1637.
  • St. Maarten Artists unite for a worthy cause.

    Initiated by the Mother of the St. Maarten Arts- Lady Ruby Bute has rallied many visual and performing artists from both sides of the island to come together assist a follow artist - Artist Clara Reyes - Director of the Imbali Center for Creative Movement.
    On July 13th – The Imbali Center for Creative Movement which is housed at the John Larmonie Center, along with Motiance Dance School and The Senior Citizen Group Home Away from Home, was broken into and robbed of all their teaching equipment . This thoughtless act has debilitated the Imbali dance school, severely hampering the operation of the school and its ability to teach and mold our children.
    Lady Ruby Bute – considered by many to be the mother of St. Maarten artist community will be hosting a concert at her Silk Cotton Grove Art Gallery grounds in Friar's Bay to raise funds in an effort to replace equipment that was stolen from Imbali dance school. Some of the artist who have pledged their support and talents are: recently inducted into the Caribbean hall of fame - master steel pan man Mighty Dow, saxophonist Connis Vanterpool, educator and poet Roberto Arrindell, singer Lena Brown, award winning dance group H.O.T, raper and vocalist Lorenzo Gomez, poet Lysanne Charles, dancer choreographer Peggy Oulerich, drummer Julien Serguret, scene from in the company of men and women the vagina monologue, poets La Rich Audin, the band mosaic, musician Addy Pantophlet, singer Jawar Joe, singer Junior Lion and Dance company Anais- lead by Hillianthe Boasman. They have all graciously donated their gift of voice, song, and dance to help raise funds for Imbali.

    Rent A Sound Director Arthur Hunt has donated his light and sound equipment, while Walton Holiday will donate chairs for the night of the event.

    "I am very pleased and happy with the support given to this event, Imbali Center and its Director Clara Reyes and teachers are doing a great job with our children. These children are not on the block but are on a moving train. They've travelled to Guadeloupe and France where they won many prizes and will be travelling to Luxemburg in November to represent the island in international competition. They continue to strive despite the odds. We really want to encourage the wonderful people (residents and visitors) to come and support this event, Imbali needs this!!!!" Event coordinator for Lady Ruby Bute, Ms. Marian Jno-Finn says:
    The event promises to to be an exciting evening with top class performers. The entire community is encouraged to support this worthy cause. Tickets for this event are only $10 at and are available at Van Dorp Edine, Pete's Photo, Cast Members, Imbali Dance school, and Top Carrot.

  • St. Martin Trails hiking club hosting off island hike to St. Barths.

    sxmtrailshikingsxm02092011Cripple Gate:--- After the success of their last off island hike to the island of Guadeloupe in March 2011, St Martin Trails hiking club will be hosting another off island hike to neighboring St. Barthélémy on September 25th 2011. This is a great opportunity to see another side of St. Barths in all its natural beauty.

    St. Martin Trails believes there is still a very natural and beautiful side of St. Martin/St. Maarten, far away from all the traffic and developments and just waiting to welcome you. "We have a great respect and reverence for what's left of St. Martin's natural beauty. Hiking offers us some vistas that are quite breathtaking. Getting to those views just takes getting up early and a bit of climbing,'' said Gisele Jermin the Club's Public Relations Officer.

    The cost of the St. Barths outing is $200 which covers Chartered round trip Ferry from Oyster Pond, Breakfast, catered lunch, and soft drinks.

    For more information and reservations call 0690 67 83 92 (Juste) or 524 0222 (Gisèle) or email sxmtrails971@gmail.com. Spaces are limited; please sign up by September 18th.

    For our weekly hiking schedule visit www.stmartintrails.com and SXM Trails on Facebook.

  • Prime Minister Meets Constitutional Court Judge Bob Wit.

    swwilliamsmeetsbobwit04092011Great Bay (DCOMM):--- Prime Minister Hon. Sarah Wescot-Williams met with Constitutional Court (CC) President Judge Bob Wit on Friday. Judge Wit was on a courtesy visit. The prime minister was able to hear the judge's opinion on matters relating to the CC, a high council of state which is embedded in the Constitution of the country. Some other issues discussed were the workings of the CC and potential new ways the CC could assist with the strengthening of other constitutional and legal processes.
  • Bonaire Island Council lost its Majority --- PHU Member withdrew support.

    Bonaire:--- The island council of Bonaire lost its majority on Monday. The lone council member from the Pro Hustistia Union (PHU) Raphael Santana withdrew his support from the party's commissioner Michel Bijkerk.
    It is understood that Bijkerk was paying Santana an out of pocket sum of $1,500 per month so that he could work full time. A letter was sent by Santana to the Governor informing him that he has withdrawn his support from the current government.
    According to information reaching SMN News, there has been financial fallout between Santana and Bijkerk, thus leading to the breakup. Santana it is understood has been talking to UPB to form the next coalition.
  • Disputed Children to Remain at I Can Home until after Appeal Hearing.

    Philipsburg:--- A judge in the Court of First Instance decided on Monday during a meeting between the Court of Guardianship, Family Guardianship (SJIB) and the attorney representing the mother of the two children that they will remain at the I Can Home until after the appeal hearing. The mother of the two children is contesting their removal from the I Can Home to be placed in two separate homes.
    A social worker from SJIB took police officers to the I Can Home on August 26th to remove a brother and sister who were placed at the home some four years ago. The two children in question ran away through the hills in Dutch Quarter to escape from the police and a social worker. SMN News was present when the police officers and three women, (the social worker, a teacher and the care giver of another home) went to the I Can Foundation and searched for the two children in the presence of other children at the home.
    The judge decided that in the interest of the two children who are certainly traumatized by the incident should remain at the I Can Foundation until the outcome of the appeal hearing which might be heard as early as the end of September.
    It should be noted that the social worker had obtained a verdict from the court of First Instance during the last week of August to remove the two children, but the older child a 16 year old boy protested. During the first hearing, the boy was denied a hearing even though the law states that any child over 12 has right to be heard. The mother of the two children was also not heard in the first hearing.
    The young man claimed that he will not allow his sister to be placed at another home or family. The social worker's intentions were to place the little girl in another home while she places the boy at Crystal Home (MPO).
    SMN News will bring you the outcome of the case when it is finalized in the courts.
  • GEBE presents New Tariff Structure to Small Hoteliers.

    gebeexplainsnewtariffstructure06092011Philipsburg:--- By invitation of the Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce Claret Connor, GEBE's Commercial Manager Steve Duzanson and Corporate Communications Officer Cherryl Lambooy presented the new GEBE Tariff Structure to several small hoteliers and guest house owners on Friday, September 2, 2011. Topics of the presentation ranged from the need for a new tariff structure to price point comparisons as well as an overview of the process of developing the new tariff structure.
    "When comparing the old and new tariff structure for several price points, you will see a very small difference between your old and new GEBE bill. This difference was larger when the new tariff structure was being studied, as the new tariffs were modeled on a lower price of oil. This could explain the misconception that the new model would lead to some relief. However, with the increase in the price of oil, the difference between the two tariff structures turned out to be smaller than expected", Mr. Duzanson clarified.

    Mr. Duzanson concluded the presentation with several steps that small business owners and household consumers can take to lower their monthly bills, such as controlling the use of air-conditioning with key cards, use air curtains for store entry, using solar hot water systems and switching to LED lighting. He highlighted areas that GEBE was working on to keep costs low, namely running on heavy fuel oil, increasing efficiencies and researching alternative fuels, such as Liquid Natural Gas and Geothermal. "We wanted our members to leave this presentation enlightened about their bills, and empowered to take steps in electricity conservation to lower their bills, much more can be accomplished when we engage with each other and exchange ideas and possible solutions that are practical and achievable", said Claret Connor, Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce.

    The small hoteliers and guest house owners used this opportunity to ask questions about their bill and the service they received from GEBE. The goal of the Small Hotel and Guest House Group in the Chamber of Commerce is for the smaller properties to work together and where possible negotiate better rates or improved service agreements. "It is time that the small hotels and guest house owners were treated with some consideration, as together we form an important part of the local economy and the face of the island to visiting guests" said Myra Provence, General Manager of Sea Palace.

  • Island under a Tropical Storm Watch; Tropical storm conditions possible within 48 hours.

    Great Bay (DCOMM):--- As of 11:00am Sint Maarten us under a Tropical Storm Watch which means that tropical storm conditions are possible within the next 48 hours.

    The Department of Disaster Management (ODM) is advising the population of the South side of the island to continue to monitor weather reports as the storm approaches the Caribbean island chain.

    Additional advisories will be issued throughout today as more information becomes available from the National Hurricane Center and local meteorological services.

    The ODM will continue to closely monitor the progress of TS Maria as it approaches the islands.

  • JWU Alumni St. Maarten Chapter holding grand happy hour event on Friday.

    Philipsburg:--- The recently formed Johnson & Wales University Alumni St. Maarten Chapter will be holding a grand happy hour event for all JWU alumni from St. Maarten/St. Martin, Saba, St. Eustatius and Anguilla on Friday, 9 September, 2011 at the Fusion Restaurant (Paradise Mall, #71 Welfare Road).
    This event will be from 6pm to 9pm.
    According to JWU Alumni St. Maarten Chapter President Karen Cadogan, this event is designed for all the alumni to reconnect. She added that this is the reason attendants are asked to bring along old photos of themselves and friends at JWU.
    JWU alumni attending the event will also get the opportunity to meet the board of the St. Maarten chapter and also register to get involved in many activities that are being planned.
    "The list of JWU alumni on St. Maarten and the surrounding islands is over 200 strong," Cadogan said, while urging all JWU alumni to attend the event.
    "You can't afford to miss it, if you are a JWU alumni," she said.
    Drinks and snacks will be available for purchase. Members who are attending the event are also urged to spread the word. Interrested JWU alumni are asked to please RSVP to Karen Cadogan at telephone number 527-3600 or Carmen Reyes-Lake at telephone number 520-0015.
  • Angele Priest to Spend another Eight Days Behind Bars.

    Philipsburg:--- The owner of Border Bar exotic night club, Angele Priest has to spend another eight days in pre-trial detention as police continues their investigation. Priest was arrested two weeks ago after police and detectives raided the establishment. Chief Prosecutor Hans Mos said in a press release last week that at least 30 police officers conducted a house search at Border Bar and a suspect was arrested for apparent human smuggling.
    The Chief Prosecutor said the judge of instruction and the prosecutor's office was also involved in the search and raid of Border Bar on Oyster Pond Road.
    According to relatives of Priest, a disgruntled sex worker who was prevented from leaving St. Maarten with a man to Trinidad filed a report against Priest. The relative said police was called in to stop the exotic dancer who was trying to escape with a man by boat. Mos said the search and investigation was conducted because of information that came to the attention of the Police and the Public Prosecutor's Office that the "labour circumstances" in this erotic animation club were a strong indication of human trafficking (vrouwenhandel).
    "Vrouwenhandel" is a serious crime under article 260 of the Penal Code and has a maximum prison sentence of five years. On the premises one person, I.P., was arrested.
    During the search several documents and money were confiscated. Because of the scale and the interest of the investigation no further details will be given at this time," the release concluded.
  • Closing of parliamentary year now slated for Monday afternoon.

    Philipsburg:--- The 2010-2011 parliamentary year will close on Monday afternoon, September 12. A special ceremony of parliament will be held for this occasion at 2:00pm.

    The parliamentary session was planned for 10:00am on Monday, however, due to unforeseen circumstances, this had to be rescheduled.

    President of Parliament Hon. drs. Gracita Arrindell will deliver her annual report to members of parliament for the country's first parliamentary year.

    The four faction leaders will also make addresses to the nation with respect to the closing of the 2010-2011 parliamentary year.

    The faction leaders are United Peoples party (UP) Honourable Romain Laville, Member of Parliament (MP), Democratic Party (DP) Hon. Roy Marlin (MP), Independent Hon. Patrick Illidge (MP), and National Alliance (NA) Hon. William Marlin (MP).

    The meeting will take place in the General Assembly Chamber on Monday at 2:00pm. This special closing session of parliament will be carried live on St. Maarten Cable TV Channel 20.

    On Monday the final preparations for the opening ceremony of the new parliamentary year 2011-2012 will be completed. The opening ceremony will take place from 9:30am on Tuesday, September 13.

    Insight into the ceremony and preparations for September 13 can be viewed in a press briefing by President of Parliament to be aired on Monday, St. Maarten Cable TV Channel 15 at 7:00pm.

    The opening ceremony of the new parliamentary year will be carried live on St. Maarten Cable TV Channel 20 from 9:30am on Tuesday. It will also be carried live on radio and via the internet on parliament's website: www.sxmparliament.org.

  • Mother of Slain Daughter Speaks Out --- Reid botched his plans when he got burnt --- Middle Region Friends played role in her Daughter’s Murder.

    evelynjervis12092011Cul de Sac:--- The distraught and grieving mother of murder victim Tiffany Reid said her child's father botched his plans when he burnt himself last Tuesday night as he tried to dispose of his daughter's body. Evelyn Jervis in an exclusive interview with SMN News said her child's father and common law husband Robert Leroy Reid intended to kill her and his daughter before killing himself.
    Jervis said, Reid called her by phone on the day her daughter went missing and told her he went to see where the man lived that she left him for. "Leroy told me if that is the man I left him for, that man he said is driving a blue jeep and lives in Middle Region. He said someone took him where the man lived. I did not answer him because I don't know anything about any man," Jervis further explained that she later learnt that Reid's friends who lives in Middle Region told him that his daughter Tiffany Reid knows the man her mother left her father for, since they claimed that Tiffany used their phone and called the man last weekend while she was at their house. Jervis said she only learnt about this Sunday night from the neighbors in Dutch Quarter. Jervis said she is of the opinion that Robert Reid probably hit his daughter or held her too strong and she died and to cover up his actions he went to dispose of the body in South Reward since she just moved to Weymouth Hill.
    Jervis said Reid put her out two weeks ago and her boss provided her with an apartment for her and her daughter to live, but one day she went to their Dutch Quarter apartment to pick up their daughter and Reid took away the keys from her then grabbed a machete and wanted to chop her to death but their 13 year old daughter jumped between the two of them and fought her father off until he put away the machete. Jervis said just prior to her moving out Reid also hit her a blow on her nose and it bled. She said she filed a complaint with the police on the first occasion and the police reprimanded Reid. Jervis further explained that the evening when Reid tried to chop her, he apparently followed her as she drove to her new residence in Weymouth Hill.
    On the day her daughter disappeared Jervis said she dropped her daughter to school that morning and at about 3:30pm Reid called her and told her that her daughter did not attend afternoon class because she was not feeling well. She said it was not long after that call that Reid told her about the man she left him for. Later that afternoon, she said she called Reid and told him to send the child by bus to Philipsburg since she and her daughter needed to do some shopping on Back Street. Jervis said she was supposed to meet her daughter by SZB, but her daughter never showed up. Reid she said was in contact with her by phone and at one point he told her he left Dutch Quarter and was going to Cul de Sac. Jervis said she even got annoyed with Reid because their daughter went missing and instead of him going to meet her so they could look for her, he said he went to Cul de Sac and the next call she received was when he told her he got burnt with the bus radiator in Dutch Quarter.
    Jervis said she asked the neighbors who called the ambulance for Reid if they saw him repairing the bus, or if they saw the bus hood open when he made the alarm that he was burnt, but the neighbors she said told her they saw him to the side of the bus rubbing the burns and they had to insist that he go to the hospital.
    Jervis said Reid is the one who killed her daughter because police found one side of his slippers on the scene where her daughter's body was found. "I know the type of slippers he wears and when he was at the hospital I saw him with one side of his slippers and the other side was Tiffany's slippers but Reid disposed of the slippers he was wearing because he went to the police station without shoes," Jervis said Reid never told the neighbors that his daughter was missing, "the only the thing he told the neighbors that he got burnt from the radiator and the neighbors insisted that he go the hospital."
    Jervis also confirmed that Reid faked a robbery some weeks ago and stole several items belonging to her. She said Reid also stole his daughter's phone so at the time she went missing, her daughter did not have a phone. Reid she said does have a temper but prior to the recent incidents she did not think he was capable of killing anyone. Jervis said Reid wanted her to pay the electricity bills and that was one of the reasons they fought.
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  • Talent Showdown November 5 --- Winners going back to New York.

    teentimestalentshowdown13092011Philipsburg:--- Coming off a successful Prom event in June and bolstered by the growing popularity their monthly paper crew of Teen Times is now preparing to host their largest annual event on Saturday, November 5: Talent Showdown 2011. Not held in 2010 due to unforeseen circumstances, the event is back and boasting its signature prize for all winners of its four categories of completion, an all expense paid trip to New York City.

    Talent Showdown will feature young local talent in song, dance, rap and amateur DJ competitions. Registration for the show has been open for a few weeks and organizers have reported good responses thus far. The registration process will close at the end of September.

    "Last year we messed with a formula that worked well for us since 2002 and paid the consequences. This year, we've gone back to our roots so to speak and are looking forward to an exciting show come November. Adding the New York trip back into the fold just ads to the excitement," Coordinator of Teen Times Mike Granger said.

    The last time Teen Times took a group of approximately 20 students to New York was 2006, which at the time continued a proud trend for the organization. In taking youngsters from St. Maarten to New York, they became the first the island to make an appearance on Black Entertainment Television (BET). The dance groups were the first from St. Maarten to actually perform and compete against groups from the US on BET, placing second twice. They were also the first young people from St. Maarten to grace the stage of the world renowned Apollo Theater.

    The winning group of dancers also got the opportunity to visit and perform at the prestigious Alvin Ailey Dance School and visited many of New York's best educational institutes. "We are very proud of our history when it regards affording our talented youth the opportunity to meet and learn from professionals in the music and dance industry," Granger said.

    "We have so many talented performers with big dreams, but we always thought it important for young people to hear and see how much work they have to go through to get discovered in a crowded entertainment industry. It is one thing to perform in local competitions and have big dreams, it is quite another to know which steps to take to realize those dreams.

    "Talent Showdown is used as a vehicle for young people to realize those dreams. St. Maarten has exquisite singers, talented rappers, energetic and artistic dancers. Talent Showdown recognizes this talent and continues to develop into the premier event through which it can be exposed. We expect a quality, clean even as usual again in 2011," Granger said.

    Talented youth interested in competing in Talent Showdown 2011 can register with any Teen Times member, through its Facebook page (search: Teen Times) or email teentimessxm@gmail.com.

  • St. Maarten Cable TV Channel Interruption due to Required Satellite Changes.

    Madame Estate:--- Our channel providers GULFCOM/LORAC were required to revise their plans after encountering unexpected technical difficulties with the satellite changes that were originally scheduled for earlier this week. These changes affected St. Maarten Cable TV and several other cable operators in the Caribbean.

    While six of the nine channels that were affected came back on the same day of the scheduled change, NBC (7), ABC (26) and CBS (27) were off- air until September 13, 2011. Our Technical department made several unanticipated changes throughout the day yesterday to ensure that the aforementioned channels were restored.

    The switching of all their channels to a different satellite is required by our channel provider LORAC/GULFCOM. This process is scheduled to continue through Thursday, September 15, 2011. Because of these changes, there may be more outages on the following channels for the rest of this week: WGN (4) PBS(6), NBC (7), CW (10), FOX (11), ABC (26), CBS (27), WWOR (53) and CBC (68).
    St. Maarten Cable TV apologizes for the inconvenience this has caused our subscribers.

  • Arrindell congratulates the nation on International Day of Democracy.

    Philipsburg:--- Democracy is a universal value based on the freely expressed will of the people to determine their own political, economic, social and cultural systems and their full participation in all aspects of their lives.

    Thursday, September 15, 2011 is International Day of Democracy.

    The United Nations (UN) General Assembly, in resolution A/62/7 (2007) encouraged Governments to strengthen national programs devoted to the promotion and consolidation of democracy, and also decided that 15 September of each year should be observed as the International Day of Democracy.

    "Today is a day to honour democratic ideals. We as a nation believe in the fundamentals of representative democracy. Tolerance is key to a successful democracy. Political tolerance is a key principle of democracy, and parliament is a central institution of democracy.

    "Political tolerance means accepting and respecting the basic rights and civil liberties of persons and groups whose viewpoints differ from one's own.

    "Our nation has achieved country status almost year ago. We must continue to build our democratic institutions as we move forward together with nation building.

    "On September 13, where we had the opening ceremony of the new parliamentary year 2011-2012, Parliament of Sint Maarten, represents the foundation of our democracy, where 15 duly elected parliamentarians represent the people of this great island nation.

    "Democracy must be cherished. We have seen a huge popular aspiration across parts of the Middle East and North Africa for democracy. The fight for democracy is continuing today in Libya and in Syria.

    "As a nation we must be proud of our democratic heritage where changes have been brought about via the ballot box in free and fair elections. We must be proud of our democratic principles.

    "Democracy is the only system of government that can provide better advancement to people's fundamental rights and freedoms. On this day, 15 September, I congratulate the people of this democratic nation where freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law prevails," President of Parliament Hon. drs. Gracita Arrindell said on Wednesday.

  • CTOS Workers Protesting Inadequate Conditions at new School Kitchen.

    grandcaseschoolkitchen1602011Marigot:--- Workers from the Caisse Territorial des Oeuvres Scholaires (CTOS) working at the newly opened kitchen in Grand Case gathered at the Collectivity of Saint Martin early Friday morning as they silently protested against the inhumane working conditions at the newly built kitchen in Grand Case.
    The workers along with their union representative Nicole Whit said their objective on Friday was to meet with the President of the Collectivity Frantz Gumbs and the President of the CTOS Carenne Mills to iron out some of their concerns. Whit said workers working at the newly opened kitchen are putting their lives at risk since the building is giving out electric shocks through the appliances. The unionist said they already addressed the electrical problems with the Collectivity and they admitted that they are aware of the situation but has refused to fix the problem thus far.
    Whit said besides the electrical problems workers have to deal with a gas leak and improper gas connections at the kitchen. She said her workers are forced to go to work as early as 05:00 am so that the meals can be ready by 10:00 am for distribution at the various schools. Whit said the regular (domestic) cooking gas is hooked up at the kitchen while there are fittings at the kitchen for commercial gas but those fittings are not in use. "Our members should be at work at 07:00 am and meals would be ready by 10:00am if the proper gas was connected, but right now they have to get up earlier to go to work. This is abuse and we are looking for a proper solution to this problem," Whit said.
    Whit further explained that another concern for the union is the outsourcing of work that used to be done by civil servants. She said right now there are seven civil servants who are displaced while workers from an association were hired to perform their duties. Whit said the Collectivity has suppressed the posts the civil servants were holding yet they sub-contracted the same work to an association. "Right now we have teachers aids that have to clean the school toilets while that is not part of their job description."
    Whit said the union signed an agreement in October 2010 which is being not respected. She said the union requested a number of reports but to date those reports were not turned over to them.
    In the meantime, canteen worker and union member Nancy Fleming said the kitchen is not in proper order. She said her hope is that the Collectivity and the President of the CTOS would provide truthful information. She said the workers are being mistreated simply because they are part of the union. Workers she said are being manipulated and abused.
    The union representative namely Nicole Whit said they waited in the "Salle Deliberations" of the Collectivity of Saint Martin until after 01:00pm on Friday and the President of the COM and the President of CTOS did not meet with them. "The elected representatives wanted to meet with the union representatives alone but we told them they had to meet with all the workers simply because those at the COM are constantly lying to the union representatives." Whit said that the union will be taking further action on Monday as they are now working on plan B on how to deal with the elected officials.
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    Click here to see photos of the CTOS protest.
  • Minister of Finance looking forward to reviewing final draft report of IMF IV Consultation Mission to Sint Maarten.

    Philipsburg:--- Minister of Finance Honourable Hiro Shigemoto will be travelling to Curacao along with Prime Minister Hon. Sarah Wescot-Williams on Sunday to meet with International Monetary Fund (IMF) officials, the Central Bank of Curacao and Sint Maarten (CBCS) and the Private Sector.

    One of the key issues the IMF addressed according to the Minister of Finance and which has not been refuted by anyone whom they have spoken to is that there is no projected economic growth for 2012.

    Another point is that diversification of the economy is of importance but for short-term results the country should invest in marketing activities that would stimulate more visitors vacationing on the island. This would mean additional foreign exchange for the country.

    The IMF also touched on the fact that the country apparently has relatively high wages and that wages needed to be lowered.

    The Minister disclosed other issues discussed were high crime and high unemployment rates especially among the youth.

    The re-vamping of the Tax system and for example by lowering the tax rates for Income and Profit tax and introducing possibly a Value Added Tax (VAT) were also part of the recommendations of the IMF.

    "I immediately commented that while I agree revamping the tax system is of paramount importance I am already working on increasing compliance as I cannot accept that we have had an estimated Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Naf. 1.6 billion and we cannot even get Naf. 500 million, or less than a third out of this.

    "That means there is some leakage taking place and we need to work on getting those monies into the public treasury which can then go to finance the necessary investments that need to be made in education, health care, tourism, social community development, youth, senior citizens, sports development, public infrastructure and law enforcement," the Minister of Finance pointed out.

    The IMF also spoke about the two countries, Curacao and Sint Maarten, having to synchronize policies as it concerns the joint currency. While the Government definitely takes heed to the recommendation of the IMF, they need to be placed in the political reality that we live in, Minister Shigemoto emphasized.

    "We need to decide what we are going with dollarization versus a common currency. The IMF did advise that we first take care of the majority of the issues they presented before going over to dollarization. So in essence they think we can dollarize but not just yet," Minister of Finance Hon. Hiro Shigemoto explained.

    Another major concern of the IMF is the increasing current account deficit which is seemingly being caused by Curacao and hence why the IMF is advocating joint policies between the two governments.

    Both countries are basically importing more than they are producing and exporting. Revitalization of the economy is therefore essential in order to avoid the devaluation of the guilder which the IMF is not an advocate of for the short-term, and prefers that the two countries work on resolving current issues first.

    "What the IMF found encouraging and comforting is that the issues as presented were not a surprise to anyone they spoke with and each Minister and Ministry could elucidate on plans to address most of the issues. This demonstrates that the government is on the right track," the Minister added.

    The Council of Ministers through the Prime Minister informed the IMF that Government has a governing program and that this was going to be presented to the nation via the opening of the new parliamentary year. This was done and copies are to be provided to the IMF during the working visit to Curacao.

    The IMF is mandated to oversee the international monetary system and monitor the economic and financial policies of its 187 members.

    This activity is known as surveillance. As part of this process, which takes place both at the global level and in individual countries, the IMF highlights possible risks to domestic and external stability and advises on needed policy adjustments.

    IMF Article IV Consultation is an important part of the IMF's regular surveillance activity with all member countries and is usually conducted every year. At the conclusion of the visit, the mission issues a statement.

  • Report on Silvia Lynch Accident Submitted to Prosecutor’s Office --- BTA Report still not Complete.

    Philipsburg:--- The report on the road accident that occurred on May 6th 2011 on Sucker Garden Road in which Marie Genevieve De Weever student Silvia Lynch was killed has been submitted to the Prosecutor's Office for a decision to be taken.
    Chief Prosecutor Hans Mos confirmed that his office received the report and one of his colleagues is studying the report. Mos said a decision will be taken in the coming weeks on whether or not the driver or owner of the truck will face prosecution for the death of Silvia Lynch. The Dominicano driver was arrested by police moments after Lynch was killed but he was released that same night on the orders of the Prosecutor's Office even though the man does not have a driver's license for St. Maarten and he was residing on the island illegally.
    In the meantime, the detectives that are compiling the report on the Brooks Tower Accord investigation are yet to submit their report to the Prosecutor's Office. Mos said he believes that report will be submitted within short. In January 2011, detectives along with the Prosecutor's Office and Judge of Instruction raided the office of the Brooks Tower Accord on A. T. Illidge Road and arrested five people. While two others were arrested later in the investigation, those that were arrested including a senior civil servant spent weeks in pre-trial detention. Nine months later the suspects who were suspected of fraud and human smuggling are still awaiting the outcome of the high profile investigation. Police also seized a large amount of monies and documents that at one of the suspect's home.
  • Philipsburg Jubilee Library hosts Pajama Party for Babies and Toddler on September 24.

    To the babies and toddlers of St. Maarten, Tropical storm Maria stole your pajama party, but the Philipsburg Jubilee Library said the fun education must continue.
    So on Saturday 24th of September from 10 am to 12:30pm, we are having a day of fun, now the dress code is to dress as comfortable and sweet as can be. Come out and see if Dora the explorer, which was sponsored by N.C. Wathey Group is visiting the library. There will be a bouncy castle, La'Rich face painters, story hour by Gini van Duivenvoorde, music and dance.
    Babies and toddlers whose parents haven't signed them up as yet to be members of the library can still sign up.
    ENNIA Insurance who sponsored this year's program will be present handing out educational gift bags. The bags also contain Johnson and Johnson products and books, yes books that are sponsored by Manrique Capriles, and AMFO.
  • Unions Calling on Parents to Monitor Hygiene in Schools.

    Marigot:--- Nicole Whit of the UCT/UGTG issued an urgent call to all parents that have children attending schools on the French side to monitor the foods that are being distributed at school canteens. Whit made the statements in reaction to the press release sent out by the President of the Collectivity who said that meat and sausages were outside defrosting since Friday last week to be used on Monday and Tuesday. Whit who is also an employee of the Cuisine Central said they never had to take meat out that long to defrost at the old kitchen. "Defrosting meat that long can cause bacteria which would make children sick. As a union we have been trying to address the hygiene conditions at the central kitchen for some time now and those responsible are not taking us seriously."
    A press release from the President of the Collectivity states that on Monday no sandwiches were delivered to any school restaurant since the delivery vehicles that were parked in the parking lot of the building, were blocked by CTOS strikers.
    On Tuesday 20 September 2011, two vehicles were available, and the distribution of sandwiches started at 10:00am.
    This solution turned out to be the only alternative, on account of the defrosting time of the raw material, especially meat. President Gumbs said he would like to inform the general public that the strike by the CTOS turned out to be very costly.

    Last Friday at twelve (on 16 September) they deposited in the defrosting cold storage 31 cases of sausage, and 530 kg of lamb.
    The sausages had to be served on Monday, the meat had to be seasoned and allowed to marinate for cooking on Tuesday.
    The defrosting time having reached a critical level (more than 72 hours), the totality of the two services had to be destroyed. This corresponds exactly to a loss of 4 534.20 €.
    The President said they are also recording a loss of income of about 16 000 € per day, which really amounts to 32 000 € in connection with the absence of sale of canteen tickets on Monday (no meal) and Tuesday (sandwiches).
    Tuesday 20 September, more than 4 200 sandwiches were distributed for a total cost of 6 300 €.
    If those figures are added together, today this strike costs us the sum of 42 834 €.
    It is to be also noted that a new vat (or tank) was delivered on Tuesday afternoon; it will be tested if everything goes well tomorrow. Meanwhile, the kitchen is connected to 4 bottles of gas.
    Whit also said on Tuesday that the unions sent a letter to the President of the Collectivity requesting a meeting and to date the President has not responded. "So far we still don't have an appointment with the President for a meeting," Whit said.
    The union representative said the President said the CTOS lost money on Tuesday but she would like to know why there was no food on Tuesday for the schools. "We went back to work since Monday and the cooks who said they don't have a problem and wanted to work on Monday need to tell us why they did not cook and why sandwiches were served on Tuesday."

  • Guyanese Business Man Succumbed to Injuries.

    markdeygoo22092011Cay Hill:-- Mark Anthony Deygoo, the Guyanese business man who was shot multiple times on Wednesday evening in his Back Street store passed away early Friday morning at the St. Maarten Medical Center.
    An uncle of the victim told SMN News that the doctors removed the life support from Deygoo about 07:30 am on Friday morning and he passed away five minutes later.
    Deygoo was shot five times during an armed robbery of his store that left him brain dead shortly after the incident.
    The businessman leaves to mourn his wife Padmini and only daughter Kimberly along with several uncles and other close relatives on St. Maarten, Guyana and the United States.
  • Closed door Central Committee Meeting of Parliament on Crime for Wednesday.

    Philipsburg:--- The Central Committee of Parliament will be meeting on September 28 with the Minister of Justice Hon. Roland Duncan to discuss the crime situation on the island especially with reference to the spate of murders during the past nine months.

    The meeting will take place in the General Assembly Chamber in the House of Parliament on Wednesday at 2.00pm.

    The meeting will be closed due to the sensitivity of information that judicial officials could divulge to members of parliament.

    The closed session also allows for an open discussion where more in depth questions can be asked with respect to the crime situation on the island which judicial officials may not reveal in a public session due to on-going investigations.

    The Central Committee meeting was requested by the United Peoples party (UP) and the Democratic Party (DP) in a letter to the President of Parliament dated September 8, 2011.

  • UTS supports Green Energy Conference.

    utsdonatestorecc26092011Philipsburg:--- UTS lends its financial support to the Renewable Energy Caribbean Conference which is being held today at the Westin Dawn Beach Resort. UTS Marketing and Communications Officer, Ms. Ivy Lambert, presented conference organizer, Mr. Stanley Enyih with a financial contribution of ANG 1500, making the company a major contributor to the event. The theme of the conference will be 'Integrating The Renewables Sector' and will focus on the application of Green Energy in both a Residential setting as well as in a Commercial environment. Conference Coordinator and CEO of TransCaribbean Energy Control, Mr. Stanley Enyih thanked UTS for its contribution towards the new initiative and stressed the importance of alternative energy sources. "The cost of fossil fuels continues to rise and there are very viable alternatives which will save the consumer a substantial amount of money if applied correctly. In addition to that, one must of course also consider the positive impact this would have on the environment. We are inviting businesses and individuals to come out and familiarize themselves with the wide range of alternatives available." UTS Marketing and Communications Officer, Ivy Lambert stated: "We are happy to assist in bringing a conference like this to the business community and the general public as well. There is no registration fee, so attendance is absolutely free. We are excited to support an initiative that will help to bring green energy to the community and hopefully result in local investment in sustainable alternative to fossil fuels." Conference registration will be from at 8 am to 9 am, after which the conference will commence.
  • Vice Prime Minister and Prime Minister Attend Guru Event.

    theyligerandswwilliamsatguruevent27092011Great Bay (DCOMM):--- The Prime Minister Hon. Sarah Wescot-Williams and Vice Prime Minister Hon. Theo Heyliger attended the "Harmony in Humanity" lecture at the Belair Community Centre on Sunday evening by preeminent guru Baba Hardev Singh Ji Maharaj.
  • Students come out in great numbers for Readers are Leaders Relaunch.

    readersareleadersrelaunch27092011Philipsburg:--- On Sunday September 25th, a large group of about 150 students gathered at the hall of the Philipsburg Jubilee Library for the launching of Readers are Leaders season 2011/2012. The Readers are Leaders program was started by the Philipsburg Jubilee Library and the Rotary Sunrise Club in March 2010. As part of the program, the teenagers run their own book club.
    The aim of Readers are Leaders is to turn St. Maarten's teenagers into avid readers. High school students are challenged to read at least 2 books per month. As extra incentives to encourage participants to continue reading, prizes are awarded to the participants that read the most books. Last years winners, won Kindles, USB sticks and other nice prizes. The program also has an important online presence as participating students get the chance to chat about their books on Facebook and share book reviews on Goodreads. During last weeks meeting, students got more information about the program and the chance to sign up. The book clubs board members of season 2010/2011, Vincent Ramsami, Hazel Alberts and Tifiana Escallier were thanked with a standing ovation. One of last years prizewinners, Luis Hurtault told the audience about his experiences in the program. Young singer Snatra Bould entertained the youngsters with her beautiful voice. Director of the Philipsburg Jubilee Library Mrs. Monique Alberts and President of the Rotary Sunrise Club, Mr. Hendrik Jan van Ieperen stressed the importance of reading in their speeches. Mrs. Alberts urged the high school students who do not have a library card yet to become library members as soon as possible. As a special offer until the end of October teenagers only pay the ANG. 10 membership fee for an entire year. The customary deposit of ANG. 25 will be waived for high school students who sign up in the coming weeks. High school students, teachers and parents who would like to know more about Readers are Leaders can contact Karia Arnold at the library tel. 542 297, via e-mail pr@stmaartenlibrary.org or they can become fans of Readers are Leaders on Facebook.
  • PUBLIC NOTICE: CONTINUATION OF WORKS IN CONNECTION WITH THE PROJECT: Main Sewage Line: Ebenezer – A.T. Illidge Road.

    The Government of St. Maarten represented by the Ministry of VROMI, Department of New Projects Development and Planning would like to hereby make known that there will be:

    CONTINUATION OF WORKS IN CONNECTION WITH THE PROJECT:

    Main Sewage Line: Ebenezer – A.T. Illidge Road

    The Ministry of VROMI, Department of New Projects Development and Planning on behalf of The Government of St. Maarten is hereby informing the general public that:

    The INTERSECTION of L.B. Scott Road and Gladiola Road will be CLOSED from Saturday, October 1st, 2011 at 06:00 a.m. to Friday, October 7th, 2011 at 10:00 p.m. All through traffic entering and exiting the Cul-de-Sac district within this period, will be partially rerouted via the secondary roads.

    L.B. Scott Road will remain OPEN for OUTBOUND TRAFFIC from the district of Cul-de-Sac up to Gladiola Road. All through traffic headed in the direction of Philipsburg and the Airport, must utilize Gladiola Road and Coralita Road.

    INBOUND TRAFFIC to the district of Cul-de-Sac, must utilize the Coralita Road to gain access to the district. At the Coralita Road/Gladiola Road intersection, motorists must make the right turn into the district of Saunders. Utilizing Flamboyant Road, L.B. Scott Road can once again be accessed and used into the district of Cul-de-Sac.

    Additionally, in order to alleviate the congestion at the Coralita Road and Zaeger’s  Gut intersection which will result from these detours, it is advised that through traffic from Madame Estate going to Cole Bay take the left at the Cottage Roundabout (Eddie’s Auto Supply) and are advised to follow the Link 1 (Great Bay Hotel) route.

    Finally, it advised to use the intersection Bush Road/Zaeger’s Gut Road onto Coralita Road to access the Cul-de-Sac district from Philipsburg. This route also applies to through traffic originating from Welgelegen Road (Cay Hill) and A.J.C. Brouwers Road (Cole Bay/Airport).

    On Friday, October 7th, 2011 at 10.00 p.m., L. B. Scott Road will be reopened for TWO-WAY traffic.

    In ALL cases, access will be provided for emergency services and persons residing adjacent to the works and detours.

    The Ministry of VROMI, Department of New Projects Development and Planning on behalf of the Government of St. Maarten is asking all motorists to pay keen attention to the traffic signs and detour routes for the duration of the works, to ensure a smooth and safe transition while the works for Main Sewage Line Ebenezer – A.T. Illidge Road Phase 1, is completed. Furthermore, the Government of St. Maarten asks for your patience and understanding for the inconveniences that this will cause.

  • GEBE Still Not Cooperating with Government --- Plan of Action being Considered --- Heyliger.

    theyliger31082011Philipsburg:--- While the residents and businesses on St. Maarten are still trying to cope with the constant load shedding offered by GEBE and their high utility bills, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Energy Theodore Heyliger told members of the media on Wednesday that while it might sound terrible, he still does not know what is taking place at GEBE. Heyliger said that he sent numerous letters to GEBE requesting information but the company or foundation that manages GEBE is not cooperating because they felt that government did not respond to the water budget some ten years ago. Heyliger said GEBE attempted to answer one or two questions he posed on the water company but other vital information is not forthcoming. He said he does not have any information on the recruitment drive to hire a CEO and CFO and he too is left in the dark.
    Heyliger said he took note of the statements made by GEBE when they said that the residents and St. Maarten in general are lucky that they no longer have to deal with the seaweed problems. The Minister said that the seaweed issue has been going on since he was elected to office in 1995 and it is terrible for the company to be talking about seaweed 16 years later. "I consider this to be shameful for the company to say we still have seaweed problems to deal with."
    Minister Heyliger said he is currently looking at different avenues to deal with GEBE. He said GEBE has a concession with government that they do not adhere to. However, government has to be vigilant in whatever actions they take. "If we decide that we will cancel the concession then we have to then think about the effects this will have on the company and their financiers. I gave them another friendly advice which is to provide government with the answers and the tariff structure because if government acts it will be tough for the company." Heyliger said he recently learnt that GEBE management can now deviate from the management contract they have with the water company because it is 10 years old. He said the government of St. Maarten finds itself in a difficult situation when it comes to dealing with GEBE since they have to take into account the new corporate norms.
    Heyliger said the company provided two financial statements to government but it is not the recent ones. These two financial statements were sent to him within the past two weeks.
    While Prime Minister Sarah Wescot Williams said that the generator for the government administration building has arrived and it will take a week or so for it to be installed.
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  • Ombudsman kicks off a series of Information Exchange Sessions.

    ombudsmaninfoexchange31082011Philipsburg:--- On August 29th 2011, the Ombudsman kicked off a series of Information Exchange Sessions to be held with the Secretarial General and Department Heads of the various Ministries.

    The sessions are meant to exchange information with the civil service core to promote our mutual objective of Good Governance.

    The first ministry to attend was the Ministry of General Affairs. The Secretary General of Bureau Ombudsman, Ms. Patricia Philips, welcomed the participants and after explaining the format of the session, gave the floor to the Ombudsman who presented an outline of the tasks and functions of the Ombudsman.

    Her address was followed by presentations by the S.G. Mr. Julien Larmonie and the various department heads of that ministry. Ms. Philips gave an overview of the total complaints received per ministry and highlighted the most prevalent nature of complaints received throughout all the ministries.

    A fruitful discussion followed on the role of the S.G.'s and the Head of the departments in the complaint procedures, the competency of the Ombudsman and future cooperation.

    Information sessions with the other ministries are scheduled to take place in the months of September and October of this year.

  • Gracita meets with UNICEF Representative.

    garrindellandunicefrep02092011Philipsburg:--- United Nations International Children's Fund (UNICEF) Research Coordinator Cristina Bastidas, met with President of Parliament Hon. Gracita Arrindell on Thursday at the House of Parliament.

    Bastidas wanted to learn about the experiences of the countries legislative branch since achieving country status on October 10, 2010.

    Arrindell explained about the functioning of parliament, and how St. Maarten had to build its institution of parliament from scratch while Curacao had an existing assembly.

    The President of Parliament also mentioned the challenges that the St. Maarten parliament faced but that progress was being made since the birth of the countries national assembly eight months ago.

    "I informed the UNICEF rep that issues of women and children are very important as a new country and that parliament will enact initiative laws that have a positive impact to increase the quality of life of the people.

    "Some of the areas for initiative law are domestic violence, environmental laws and laws that protect the most vulnerable in society.

    "In my meeting with Bastidas, she pointed out that with St. Maarten being a country, the latter would get direct attention from international organizations such as UNICEF and others.

    "I can also agree, and I am looking forward to a productive and efficient relationship with international organizations," President of Parliament Hon. Gracita Arrindell said on Friday.

    The issue of women in the political process was also discussed where Arrindell said that women in politics were well accepted within society especially when one looks at the country having a woman prime minister, the president of parliament being a woman, two women parliamentarians, and women also playing leading roles in the high councils of state such as the Ombudsman and the Council of Advice.

  • Ad Hoc Committee and Central Committee meetings on Rules of Order for Tuesday and Wednesday.

    Philipsburg:--- The Ad Hoc Committee of the Rules of Order of Parliament will meet for the last time on Tuesday to review proposals related to changes to the rules of order made in two previous meetings from last week.

    The Ad Hoc Committee Rules of Order will meet in the General Assembly Chamber on September 6 at 2:00pm.

    The rules of order govern the orderly functioning of parliamentary sessions.

    The Central Committee of Parliament comprising of 15 members of Parliament will meet on Wednesday, September 7 at 2:00pm to review the revisions of the rules of order.

    Committee members are Members of Parliament (MPs) Hon. Dr. Lloyd Richardson, MP Hon. Patrick Illidge, MP Hon. Roy Marlin, and MP Hon. Sylvia Olivacce-Meyers.

  • A Pathetic or Rather Moving Delivery.

    In response to the question, what is certainty ? the great American statesman, Benjamin Franklin replied;
    " In this world, nothing is so sure and certain as death and taxes "
    This analogy, compares the unavoidable fate of death, to the difficulties of evading taxation.

    President Gumbs, in his sad pathetic speech last Friday has proven the contrary. In Saint Martin, people die, but don't pay taxes. So in a moving tone, he cries famine, begging and shouting almost with tears to turn the clock around. Please, he requested, be a first class citizen, pay your taxes, so that we get the money to pay, to govern , to do our job.

    President Gumbs does not realize that it is now too late. As a leader, you do not wait until the end of your governing term, to request your Citizen to comply with their legal duties, when you know before time , that there is a tax related situation, when, finally, there comes a time to pay.
    President Gumbs, it is now too late, you cannot convince the population in such a short notice, you should have started long ago.
    You agreed to govern and plan our destiny after our first elected President LCF was ordered to step down. That was the time you should have decided to discuss again the tax decrease that was done in a rush quickly after his election...That was a major mistake. You do not change a winning horse if you don't have a faster running one...Why cut down on taxes when you do not even know your needs for a smooth running of the Collectivitiy's affairs ?
    It was bad governance not to have ensured compensation, but you did not listen, you were asked to persue , and you did not.

    President Gumbs you are still suggesting, as asked by ousted President LCF, the possibilities of changing the Organic Law so as to take over from the State the handling and collection of Taxes...How could you even dream that within six months of the Territorial election, you could forsee the event, the miracle of a new settlement ? With what means ?

    These are just some of the reasons my friends why I started to distance myself from the ruling Majority. I was tired of not been heard, and not being allowed to fulfil my responsabilities, as defined by the law. Why stand there witnessing the fact that only their course was the correct vision for our country. Only what they wanted was effective...Wait wait wait....does not take you any where. Other members of the Council had the same feelings, total lack of consideration, and we realized that it was time to unite and form a working group, and so ""Union pour la Democratie " was formed....

    When our President in his speech was talking about the different Services rendered by the Collectivity to the population and their cost, he did not consider the lost opportunities, the waste and non accurate spending in these difficult times.

    President Gumbs, the true reasons of your financial collapse, and the poor situation in which you have placed our country are evident to all.
    -You have choosen to go along alone, with just a few carefully selected persons, not with the expected collegial atmosphere.
    -You have systematically refused to go to the modern and practical way : The use of Private Investments...
    -You refused to consider a professional fiscal approach towards the local Enterprises and Businesses. See how all the doors are closing and moving out to the Dutchside. Marigot has become a ghost City, and the TGCA, loosing ground because there is hardly anybody to pay.
    -We are now again dependant, budget wise, because we are turning back to Mother State for Subventions and loans to survive..
    -We were not able to profit from our new Status allowing us much autonomy and deeds with the private Sector.
    -We have didn't had positive collaboration with the dutch neighbours and partners...
    We are now totally dependent on State handouts..
    -You display an arrogant attitude towards people and partners not completely agreeing with your way and not kowtowing to you...
    - Governance, excluding democracy. You have forgotten that you were elected by the people, for the people, not just the cherished few you have choosen..
    - You neither listened to, nor heard the cries of the suffering majority, asking for jobs , work, and opportunities to make a better life for themselves and their families .
    - You have completely denied and put aside the People Representatives ( Conseil de Quartier ), providing no finances for their projects..There has been no support for the various associations dedicated to the Youths of our Island, your youths, our future, men and women of tomorrow...
    What about the Youth Territorial Council ? today, it is only a sleeping Entity ! Mr President do you have no consideration at all for the well being and future of your fellow citizens ?

    My dear President, I must confess to you my disgust when I consider your stunning determination not to have gone along with proposals offered concerning the Hotel development ( La Belle Créole , Happy Bay ) Refusing the possibility of revitalizing Marigot City and the water Front. All these projects could have been taken up with the same speed and interest you put in decreasing so blindly the Taxes. This unfortunately was not of the same interest, not of personal interest, so, of no concern to you and your friends and advisors....
    Could you imagine President Gumbs, after these five years, the imput and progress you would have brought to the Economy of Saint Martin if you only had accepted the challenge to change the destiny of your country ! The Collectivity would have profited from the new taxes and other income brought in by a reinvigorated environment.
    Yes President Gumbs sad to consider that all those projects, including the Port of Galisbay, had they been acted upon, thousands of jobs would have been created, Our French side business would have seen successes both long and short terms. Tourism, would have been, once again, our major industry. . What a lost of time and opportunities for the Island and its people !

    These are not words, President Gumbs, these are facts. You had everything in place for you to succeed, everything at hand. Nevertneless, you , your Senator and friends, refused to embrace an opportunity presented to provide for your people. Here again, this was not of personal interest, this was for the people and you bluntly refused. They were not your ideas and you could not boast, saying, " I have done this " so, in fact, you refused.
    What poor consideration for those who put you in power with confidence and hope..

    Now President Gumbs, in all your request asking the working people to pay taxes by all means, have you one second paused to think, that probably, if they are not paying it could be that they don't really have the means to do so ? How, could they if they were not offered the opportunity of a job ?

    "Mon President Gumbs ", our people, St. Martiners as a rule and those living here and working with us, are not cheating , they are concerned, don't suggest that they are not conscious of their social obligations. What is true ,is that they are daily watching you, waiting for your miraculous solutions. What and when ? The papers you have shown with the Prefet and the millions euro projects, where are they again and when?
    The people are begging and waiting for a responsible governance, one of honesty and transparency. Your time has long passed.

    Daniel Gibbs

  • Navy led operation intercepts 1300 kg of cocaine.

    dutchdrugbust08092011Under command of the Royal Netherlands Navy on Curaçao, 1300 kg of cocaine was seized on Saturday September 3rd. The drugs-seizure took place in international waters in the western part of the Caribbean Sea on board of a Colombian fishing vessel.

    Under direction of the drugs enforcement organization Task Group 4.4, which is lead by a Dutch General, a USCG Cutter performed the boarding. A special boarding team searched the fishing vessel and was able to localize the drugs quickly: the 52 bales were not hidden, but were stashed below decks and even some on the deck. The first samples tested positive on cocaine. Firearms were also found on board. Four crew members were taken into custody and the drugs was confiscated.

    The Royal Netherlands Navy plays a vital role maintaining regional security and stability in the Caribbean region. Due to the geographical location of the islands that are part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, a large portion of her work lays in combating the international drugs trade. For this the navy in the Caribbean is fully integrated in the Joint Interagency Task Force South in Key West. The Commander of the Netherlands Navy in the Caribbean, brigadier general Dick Swijgman, is also the head of one of the task groups of this organization: Task Group 4.4.

    Under this task group there is a large variety of international navy ships, helicopters and aircraft that are being deployed to counter drugs transports, weapon smuggling, human traffic and human trade. The Dutch navy ship HNLMS Johan de Witt and her Lynx helicopter are also part of this.

  • Memorial Service for Detective Chiki planned for Wednesday.

    chikielizabeth09092011Philipsburg:--- Officers of the police core were receiving physiological counseling on Friday at the Philipsburg Police Station to help them deal with the tragic loss of their colleague and friend Anthony Chiki Elizabeth. Several officers and justice workers were seen weeping openly on Friday as they continue to deal with the death of their colleague.
    Chiki was well known on St. Maarten as one of St. Maarten's veteran detectives who solved many high profile cases. Lawyers who knew of Chiki's work said on Friday that the St. Maarten Police Force lost a valuable serviceman whom they believed should have been protected. "They the police management should have made sure they ordered Chiki to stay off the motor cycle, he was too valuable and they should have cherished his work. It will be difficult for them to replace Chiki since that detective had built up a network of informants."
    Chief Commissioner of Police Peter de Witte said the memorial service for his fallen serviceman will be held on Wednesday morning while his remains will be transported to Curacao where he will be laid to rest the following day.
  • Trumane meet with various entities with focus on Humanitarian platform.

    ttrotmanandcdeweever11092011In preparation for the Miss Humanity International Pageant to be held in October in Barbados, Miss St. Maarten Carnival 2011 Trumane Trotman has been active in meeting with various entities in research of her humanitarian platform Child Sexual Abuse.

    She has met with various representatives of Safe Haven and HIV/AIDS Coordinators as well as being was part of the "Strategic 5 year Plan for HIV/AIDS" session. The goals of theses meeting were to acquire information on how St. Maarten is tackling the cause in terms of prevention and protection.

    Other individuals and entities Trumane will be meeting are the Court of Guardianship, Minister of Justice, Minister of Health and the Police Department. She will also be meeting with social workers of the various schools.

    Knowing the sensitivity of the matter Trumane and the SCDF ensures everyone that privacy will be respected so that whatever is discussed will not be exposed as to tarnish the name of anyone.

    Trumane is also looking forward to increased public support seeking votes on the Miss Humanity Facebook page. Persons can click "like" under her photo in the album of the contestants. "Or by going to www.misshumanityinternational.com website and on the St. Maarten page click on the biggest star you'll help our very own return with the People's Choice Award," President of the SCDF Stuart Johnson said.

    "Besides wishing her well, as a community we should embrace our ambassador who proudly continues to represent her country. Her reign should inspire other young women to step up and be a positive influence to others," Johnson added.

  • Frans Richardson Declared himself Independent --- Resigns as NA Deputy Leader --- Charts Future.

    frans29062009Philipsburg:--- National Alliance's number two member and deputy leader Frans Richardson declared himself an independent member of Parliament on Monday. Richardson presented a letter to leader of the National Alliance on Monday afternoon informing him that he has resigned from the position of deputy leader of the National Alliance. Richardson also presented a letter to the chairlady of parliament indicating to her that he is now an independent Member of Parliament.
    In a press release, Richardson based his decisions on the Mohandas Gandhi. "Constant development is the law of life, and a man who always tries to maintain his dogmas in order to appear consistent drives himself into a false position. Those words are credited to Mohandas Gandhi, "The Great Soul".
    Richardson said he is inspired by Gandhi's words more than ever and as a people we cannot afford to remain complacent and stagnant. "We must progress in our development, both personally and collectively."
    As a member of the National Alliance, Richardson said he has always been a staunch party supporter. He said he has towed the party's ideals and positions since joining the party in 2003. He said he supported the vision of the National Alliance.
    Richardson said "Today I want to begin charting the road ahead, a road that will pave the way for the future development of the people of St. Maarten. More often than not, the road ahead can only be followed by leaving behind what we already know," the release states.
    "Today I'm announcing my decision, after consulting with family, close supporters and advisors to relinquish my position as deputy leader of the National Alliance Party and become an Independent Member of the Parliament of St. Maarten."
    Richardson said in doing so he strongly believes that he will be in a better position to bring forth his vision, ideas and ultimately legislation, which will benefit the people of St. Maarten without trampling on the thoughts and vision of the party he once wholeheartedly supported.
    Richardson said he will support the initiatives of other members of Parliament when he feels they are in line with achieving the collective needs and goals of the people of St. Maarten. Richardson said he remains committed to using his years of experience as a contribution to the forging of the kind of St. Maarten we all want for ourselves and future generations.
    "At this juncture in our history, we the Members of Parliament need to step up and raise the bar by presenting legislation that will make the people of St. Maarten feel safe and secure once again. We must foster sustainable economic development with our environment in mind.
    We must make decisions, some of them will be tough, but in the long run they must benefit all the people of St. Maarten."
    Richardson also expressed thanks to the National Alliance Party while he pledged to continue serving all the people of St. Maarten in his capacity as an Independent Member of Parliament.
  • Public Prosecutor’s Office will not appeal Judge’s decision that Snowflake case is inadmissible --- Suspects in so called “Benz”-investigation will no longer be prosecuted --- Detective to face prosecution for phony report.

    hansmos26022011Philipsburg:--- The Sint Maarten Public Prosecutor's Office has decided not to appeal the decision of the Court of First Instance of August 24th 2011 in which the cases against the suspects in the so called "Snowflake" investigation were declared inadmissible.
    Subsequently the Prosecutor's Office on Curacao has decided they will no longer prosecute the suspects in the so called Benz-investigation.
    The Public Prosecutor's Office together with the Kingdom Detective Team (RST) found out that an official police report in the Snowflake investigation was antedated. As soon as this was established and awaiting the consequences that the judge would draw from these findings, all suspects in this investigation, who at that time were in pre-trial detention, were released. The same happened with the suspects in the "Benz-investigation". That investigation was linked to the Snowflake investigation. Subsequently a criminal investigation was ordered against the detective involved. This investigation by the Special Investigation Unit concerning the detective involved has come to its conclusion. He will be prosecuted and will have to stand trial in the Court of First Instance of Curacao by the end of September 2011.
    During the Court hearing in the Snowflake case on December 14th 2010, the prosecutor at first demanded to have the cases declared inadmissible. The Court of First Instance at that time asked the Prosecutor's Office for more information concerning the antedated report. During the March 23rd 2011 court session, the prosecutor has done just that. Although the criminal investigation by the Special Investigation Unit into the antedated report at that point was not finished yet, the Public Prosecutor's Office, based on it's own preliminary investigation results, came to the conclusion that the discovered antedating did not necessarily have to result in ceasing the prosecution. Reasons for this conclusion were the fact that the Prosecutor's Office and Police themselves had discovered the antedating in the report and subsequently reported this to those involved, the interests of none of the suspects were violated by the antedating and no investigation was started nor any investigative means were used based on the contents of this (antedated) police report.
    On August 24 2011 the judge followed the initial judgment of the Public Prosecutor's Office and declared the prosecution against all suspects inadmissible. The Judge has considered that the detective who drafted the antedated report played a crucial role in both the "Snowflake" investigation and the "Benz" investigation and that the Public Prosecutor's Office was unable to give an absolute guarantee that other reports by this detective would not contain any fraud.
    The Public Prosecutor's Office on Sint Maarten will not launch an appeal against the judge's decision. Part of the reason is the fact that any further discussion in this case will primarily focus on the police and the Prosecutor's Office, whereas criminal cases, in the opinion of this Office, should mainly focus on the suspects involved and the crimes they are prosecuted for.
    The general confidence in the justice system as a whole would not be served by launching an appeal in this case.
  • Tourist Office plans two events to mark World Tourism Day.

    GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – The Tourist Office will be organizing two activities in connection with the celebration of World Tourism Day which is observed around the world on September 27.

    The first activity is a walk-a-ton with the Chippie van leading the walk followed by music from Happen so Massive for Saturday, September 25 under the banner, "Walk for Tourism."

    Sint Maarten Superhost will be the tour guide providing tips on the true value of tourism and how to really promote your island to tourist.

    The walk-a-ton starts at 5:00am from the Emilio Wilson Park through Cay Hill, pass Radio Shack (at Illidge), turn left straight towards the Walter Nisbeth Road along the Salt Pond, turn left by the Salt Pickers Round-a-bout and head straight to the Captain Hodge Wharf.

    Free transportation will be provided back to the Emilio Wilson Park. This particular route was chosen as it relates to the cultural heritage of the nation where participants will be passing several historical landmarks.

    Breakfast will take place at the Captain Hodge Wharf and includes coffee or tea, water, crab salad, salt fish, dinner rolls, mini sandwiches and a fruit salad. Participation is free. For T-shirts, you should contact the Tourism Office at 542-2337 or 542-1122 while supplies last.

    The second activity will take place on World Tourism Day, September 27. A tourism day festival is being organized at the St. Rose Arcade starting at 7:00pm. The entire community is invited to this cultural oriented event. The international theme for this special day is 'Tourism – Linking Cultures.'

    This year's theme is a celebration of tourism's role in linking together the cultures of the world through travel. With millions of people travelling the world each year, never before has so many people been to so many places, nor been so exposed to other cultures – 940 million travelled in 2010.

    The interaction between individuals and communities, and their diverse cultures, leads to tolerance, respect and mutual understanding, which are the building blocks for a more peaceful world.

    On September 27 there will be a musical performance by the Ebony Steel Orchestra and Mosaic; a dance performance of the Ponum by the Dance Theatre; Salsa by Anais Dance Fusion, traditional Indian dance, and a Chinese rendition of the Chinese Dragon Dance.

    There will be special guest's appearance by Mi Paben, Mighty Dow, Shadowman and King Beau Beau, host and performer.

    Food vendors will be offering an international cuisine from as far as India and China, to Trinidad & Tobago, Holland and much more besides local dishes.

  • SHTA supports ICC for 6th consecutive year.

    shtadonatestoicc14092011SHTA for the 6th consecutive year made a donation of $1000 towards the yearly International Coastal Clean up organized by the St. Maarten Pride Foundation. Similar to previous years SHTA donated the funds to purchase garbage bags, gloves, rakes and other necessary equipment at Kooyman. Kooyman, upon request of the SHTA, also recognized the importance of this event and contributed with its own donation of $500.

    SHTA is proud to be part of the ICC that takes place on Saturday September 17 at Mullet Bay Beach, as it recognizes the importance to continue to educate the people of St. Maarten on the fact that littering is a huge threat to the environment and our Tourism Industry.

    This contribution could not have been possible without the SHTA's Dollar-A-Day fund. SHTA's Dollar-A-Day program was established in 2005 and has funded numerous community and environmental programs and projects. SHTA is grateful to its hotel members who have continuously supported and contributed to the program over the years. These include: Sonesta Maho, Sonesta Great Bay, Divi Little Bay, Oyster Bay Beach Resort, La Vista Resort, Turquoise Shell Inn, L'Esperance Hotel, Royal Islander Club and Princess Heights.

    SHTA calls on all on the community to come out on Saturday September 17th to join in on the International Coastal Cleanup at Mullet Bay Beach from 7AM to 10AM.

  • Three Arrested for Concordia Murder --- Reliable Sources --- Five Murders on French Side --- 11 on Dutch side for 2011.

    Marigot:--- Gendarmes have arrested three persons for the murder of Kevin "Jah Lee" a national of Dominica that was brutally murdered Friday afternoon in front of Silver Dragon Restaurant in Concordia.
    SMN News learnt that two of the suspects were arrested on Friday evening while the third was arrested on Sunday during an operation organized by the Gendarmerie. The source said the Gendarmes knew who the killers were since several persons including children witnessed the killing of the young man. Jah Lee was beaten with a baseball bat and stabbed multiple times. Friday's attack was the second for the week for Jah Lee a relative of the slain man said. The victim was released from the Louis Constant Fleming Hospital on Friday as he was admitted to the medical institution the first time he was attacked and stabbed.
    Already, the French side of the island recorded some five murders for the year 2011, three of which were committed in Sandy Ground, one in French Quarter and the latest one was committed on Friday in Concordia. So far the Gendarmes have arrested the suspects for four of the five murders while the murder of Gerald James Jr. who was shot to death in French Quarter on June 22nd 2011 remains unsolved. Reliable sources say the Gendarmes have an idea as to who might have shot and killed James but the suspect already fled the island.
    Efforts made by SMN News to reach the commandant of the Gendarmerie Stephen Brunet and Prosecutor Jacques Louvier on Sunday for confirmation on the arrests of the suspects proved futile.
    In the meantime, the Dutch side recorded 11 murders for the year, three of which are solved. Police and detectives from the TGO team are busy working on the eight unsolved murders. Chief Prosecutor Hans Mos confirmed that three of the eleven murders committed this year have been solved. Solved are the murders of Ludovic Guillevin, Fiodel Louis and the Cheetah Moon chef.
    Those that are still to be solved are, Emilio De Leon Reyes, Amador Jones, Hector Miguel Arrindell, Rodolfo Arrindell, Kevin Gumbs, Eric Lake, and Sheldon Thomas, while police have arrested the father of the 11th murder victim as a suspect of the murder of his daughter Tiffany Reid.
  • President of Parliament offers condolences on behalf of Parliament on the passing of MP Pantophlet’s Father.

    Philipsburg:--- President of Parliament Hon. drs. Gracita Arrindell, expresses her sympathy to the Pantophlet family on the passing of Member of Parliament (MP) Hon. George Pantophlet's father.

    "On behalf of the Parliament of Sint Maarten, I would like to extend our deepest condolences to National Alliance (NA) MP Hon. George Pantophlet on the passing of his father George R. Pantophlet (81).

    "Our prayers and thoughts go out to him and his family during this difficult time as they mourn the loss of their love one," Hon. President of Parliament Gracita Arrindell stated on Sunday.

  • Two Indicted for Firing Shots at Each other.

    Marigot:--- The Gendarmerie reported in a press release that two men ages 21 and 25 were sentenced for attempted murder after they both fired shots at each other in Galisbay on August 28th. The release further stated that none of the shots were fatal. The two men were arrested on September 8th; one was sentenced to eight months imprisonment, six of which were suspended, while the other man was sentenced to ten months, six of which were suspended.
    In an unrelated case, a 21 year old man was placed in pre-trial detention for an alleged attempted armed robbery which was committed in Marigot on June 11. The Gendarmerie stated that the suspect was involved in a failed armed robbery at a Change Point in Rue de Saint James. Even though the culprits fired shots inside the Change Point no one was injured. Moments later the same suspect with an accomplice robbed a Chinese Supermarket, further down the road. The suspect was arrested on September 15th in Sandy Ground.
  • Police and Immigration Demand Meeting with Justice Minister --- Says Minister wants to separate Border Control from Police --- WICSU/NAPB.

    leonardandjosepha20092011Philipsburg:--- A large group of police and immigration officers left their jobs on Tuesday afternoon and marched over to the Government Administration Building with their union representatives demanding to meet with the Prime Minister of St. Maarten. However, the Prime Minister is off island and the officers and union representatives had to meet with the Deputy Prime Minister and current leader of Government Theodore Heyliger. The police and immigration officers along with the unions will be meeting with the Minister of Justice on Wednesday morning where the Minister is expected to provide the answers the unions are looking for.
    At the Government Administration Building, Deputy Prime Minister Theodore Heyliger and Member of Parliament Johan Janchi Leonard met with the officers. WICSU Union representatives Derie Leonard and NAPB representative Officer Josepha told reporters that Minister of Justice Roland Duncan has decided to make changes to the Police Organization without consulting the stakeholders. One of those changes which the police is troubled about is the separation of Border Control (Immigration) from the police organization. The NAPB representative said they are not against change but the Minister of Justice must inform the union about the changes he intends to make and the implications this would have on police and immigration officers.
    The officers he said are now concerned about their job security since these changes that are being made by the Minister of Justice are against the agreements St. Maarten made with the Netherlands prior to the dismantling of the Netherlands Antilles on October 10th 2010. Both Leonard and Josepha said they want to know if their jobs are secured. Leonard said the union met with the Justice Minister on several occasions but they are not receiving positive answers from the Minister. Leonard said the Minister made a drastic decision to remove immigration from police even though St. Maarten has agreements that were signed which states that the justice chain has to remain as is.
    NAPB member Officer Josepha also confirmed that the changes that are being made by the Minister are against the advice given by the Chief Commissioner of Police Peter de Witte and the Marechausse Mr. O. van Putten who said that border control (Airport, Harbour and Coast Line) should remain under the police organization and not under immigration since it's a police task while immigration is an administrative process.
    The top cops further explained in their advice that Border Control helps to control criminality and terrorism. The only exception is when Border Control falls under a Kingdom Task which is when dealing with foreign territories. They further advised that Border Control does not have anything to do with admission and expulsion and as such the job must be conducted by police officers. The police heads also believe that keeping Border Control under the Police would be better when it comes to information sharing since the police and border control is under the same umbrella.
    According to sources, the Minister has decided to split the police from immigration and he will appoint Inspector Geronimo Juliet as head of immigration as of October 1 2011. NAPB member Josepha said they also heard the same rumor and that was the reason they marched over to the Government Administration Building to demand answers.
    Click here to see photos of the Police Walkout.
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  • Preparations underway for ‘Walk for Tourism’ on Sunday.

    tourismwalkprep21092011Great Bay (DCOMM):--- Preparations are well underway for 'Walk for Tourism' walk-a-ton on Sunday, September 25.

    The first activity to celebrate World Tourism Day – September 27 - is a walk-a-ton with the Chippie van leading the walk followed by music from Happen so Massive. The walk-a-ton is being held under the banner, "Walk for Tourism."

    An update will be given on Friday or Saturday whether the event will take place due to the possibility of Tropical Storm Ophelia forecasted to pass near the island over the weekend.

    Participation is free. For T-shirts, you should contact the Tourism Office at 542-2337 or 542-1122 while supplies last.

  • Governor Holiday visits Cabinet of the Minister of Plenipotentiary.

    mvogesandeholiday21092011Great Bay (DCOMM):--- His Excellency Governor Eugene Holiday on Wednesday visited the Cabinet of the Minister of Plenipotentiary in The Hague.
  • Leaked Document Caused Confusion with Immigration and Police --- Warning Letters sent to Police Officers that participated in Tuesday’s Walkout --- Police should be patrolling the streets --- Duncan.

    rolandduncan21092011Philipsburg:--- A draft document which was leaked to immigration officers is what caused the immigration and police officers along with their unions to demonstrate in front of the Government Administration Building on Tuesday said Minister of Justice Roland Duncan as well as the President of the WICSU William Reed and NAPB member Etheckooldus Josepha.
    On Wednesday, Minister of Justice Roland Duncan and Deputy Prime Minister Theodore Heyliger along with Members of Parliament Johan Janchi Leonard and Patrick Illidge met with the unions to discuss their concerns on the splitting of immigration (Border Control) from the Police Department.
    Windward Island Civil Servant Union (WICSU) President William Reed said because of the document that was sent or leaked to the immigration officers at the Princess Juliana International Airport the officers became concerned causing Tuesday's action. Reed said it was made clear to them that the Justice Minister will not be splitting the immigration from the police on October 1 2011 as perceived. The Minister said he has manager who is busy interviewing people and this person discussed the draft document which was leaked it to the immigration officers. "This person conducted interviews to see what the immigration department would need from which she produced a draft document which still has to be discussed," Duncan said.
    Minister of Justice Roland Duncan told reporters that he discussed with the unions on at least four occasions and he already told them that he was thinking of dividing immigration from the police but at no time did he make a final decision. Minister Duncan further explained that the former Minister of Justice Magali Jacoba is no longer on St. Maarten and the police and immigration should understand that if changes are made it will not hamper their jobs.
    The Minister expressed frustration at the police officers who left their jobs on Tuesday to participate in a demonstration while crime is rampant on St. Maarten. The Minister said the officers should have been patrolling the streets, someone he said got shot and killed the night before while another person was shot Tuesday night. "I have sent out warning letters to those police who abandoned their jobs on Tuesday to demonstrate here because I still need to know what police has to do with immigration." The Minister said he asked the unions to give him some time so that he can crystallize his plans. He said at the moment he has a number of disorganized ideas that need to be put into fruition.
    unionrepresentatives21092011Minister Duncan said he met the police management team on Monday and there is a follow up meeting planned for Thursday where he is discussing several matters. The Minister said the crux of his discussion regards the plans of action since they have a number of written documents in place and he wants to know if these plans are properly implemented. The Minister said while written plans are nice on paper it is not always practical and he is of the opinion that if change has to be made then he is prepared to make those changes while most people just don't like changes. "People sometimes argue and even clamp up when they hear about changes. I have told the unions that there are going to be maneuvers. These people said they have a problem with me, but they chose not to demonstrate at my office, they wrote letters and even sent it to the Governor and met with the Deputy Prime Minister and Parliamentarians were even involved." Minister Duncan said if the unions, police and immigration officers wanted to discuss or talk to him they know exactly where to find him.
    Duncan said if the unions and their members want to talk to him they can even call him on Sunday nights but they should not be pulling any power play on him by demonstrating and disrupting immigration work at the Princess Juliana International Airport. The Minister said the unions should have their members exercise patience until he can come with serious concrete plans for discussions. Minister Duncan went as far as saying that if he is the problem and the union or police wants to get rid of him they can do just that since he has already reached his pensionable age. "If getting rid of me will solve their problem they should let me know but I don't know if that will solve St. Maarten's problem," Duncan said.
    When asked about sticking to the agreements made before 10/10/10, the Minister said the persons who wrote those plans are no longer here and he is the one who is responsible for executing them. "What the union is telling me is that I should blindly follow something and I should not scrutinize or question it because they don't to want to change it. The Bible has been changed a number of times so what is wrong with changing a plan of action?" Minister Duncan said he found plans for the prison that means nothing and he wants to know if he should leave it the way it is. He also asked what disadvantage changing these plans would have towards the unions. He said he finds support for the changes he wants to make in the plan of action.
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  • Central Committee of Parliament to Discuss Crime and other matters on Monday.

    Philipsburg:--- The Central Committee of Parliament will be meeting on September 26 with the Minister of Justice Hon. Roland Duncan to discuss a number of matters that fall under the justice portfolio.

    The meeting will take place in the General Assembly Chamber in the House of Parliament on Monday at 10.00am.

    The agenda points to be discussed are the Kingdom Visa and Passenger Law; the intention of the Minster of Justice to introduce stiffer penalties for persons who commit a crime against a tourist.

    Another point is developments surrounding the BTA, including the investigation into wrong-doings, the use of false documents and the involvement of bogus companies.

    The situation on the island is the fourth agenda point to be addressed in the meeting.

    The National Alliance (NA) faction in Parliament in a letter dated August 31, 2011 requested this meeting to discuss the aforementioned.

    The meeting which is also open to the public will be carried live on St. Maarten Cable TV Channel 20.

  • Semi-Annual Bond on behalf of Government to Cover Pre-financed Projects.

    Philipsburg:--- Minister of Finance Honourable Hiro Shigemoto says that the Naf.26 million semi-annual bond offered by the Central Bank of Curacao and Sint Maarten (CBCS) will go towards paying the remaining balance for pre-financed projects carried out by Windward Roads and MNO Vervat over the years.

    The projects entailed beautification of different areas of the island as well as infrastructure improvements which are essential for the national development of the country.

    The bond covers investments made in the Simpson Bay Fish Market, Back Street Phase 1 and 2, Festival Village Phase 1 and 2, St. Peters Community Infrastructure Rehabilitation and ROB road repairs.

    The bond initiative is part of the Governments financial restructuring planning efforts. Current interest paid by the Government ranges from six to six and a half per cent and the interest on the five-year bond at the moment is one and a half per cent.

    The Financial Supervisory Commission for Curacao and Sint Maarten CFT reiterated its consent to the issuance of the bond at the end of August 2011 in a letter to the Minister of Finance.

    At the end of August the Minister of Finance sent a letter to the President of the Central Bank of Curacao and Sint Maarten authorizing the bank to issue a bond on behalf of the Government of Sint Maarten.

    "I am very pleased with the issuance of the bond on behalf of Government. This is part of the process of building a healthy financial foundation for our country.

    "It will also help to release much needed cash flow for the government as well as save on interest costs," Minister of Finance Hon. Hiro Shigemoto said on Sunday.

  • Public Plenary Session of Parliament Scheduled for Tuesday on Changes to Civil Code; Central Committee with Justice Minister on Monday.

    Philipsburg:--- A public plenary session of parliament will take place on Tuesday, September 27 at 10:00am in the General Assembly Chamber of the House of Parliament.

    There are eight agenda points with the first one related to incoming documents followed by amendments to the Civil Code having to deal with paternity; the raising of children; inheritance; purchasing of non removable property and assets; consumer protection; sole proprietorship; bankruptcy and claims.

    This meeting is open to the public and will be carried live on St. Maarten Cable TV Channel 20.

    The Central Committee of Parliament will be meeting on Monday with the Minister of Justice Hon. Roland Duncan to discuss a number of matters that fall under the justice portfolio. The meeting will take place in the General Assembly Chamber in the House of Parliament at 10:00am.

    The agenda points to be discussed are the Kingdom Visa and Passenger Law; the intention of the Minster of Justice to introduce stiffer penalties for persons who commit a crime against a tourist; the BTA; and the crime situation on the island.

    The National Alliance (NA) faction in Parliament in a letter dated August 31, 2011 requested this meeting to discuss the aforementioned. This meeting which is also open to the public will be carried live on St. Maarten Cable TV Channel 20.

  • NAGICO sponsored LICA Tournament off to great start.

    The annual NAGICO sponsored LICA Tournament kicked off on Sunday at the Charles Vlaun cricket field with St. Maarten championing Anguilla in the first match of the tournament.

    The Leeward Islands Tournament is sponsored annually by NAGICO Insurances and will run from September 25 to October 10, with most of the matches being played on St. Kitts & Nevis. Over seven teams are actively participating in the tournament which promises to be very exciting and has so far drawn much regional attention as the participating islands are in high gear with their final preparations.

    After a joyous win at home on Sunday, St. Maarten will now advance to the next round where they will travel to St. Kitts to compete against them on October 3rd.

  • Office of Disaster Management Advises Populace to Be Cautious for Possible Flooding in Low Lying Areas.

    Great Bay (DCOMM):--- The Department of Disaster Management (ODM) is advising the population of the South side of the island to be cautious for possible flooding in low lying areas as well as street flooding.

    At 5:00pm on Tuesday the National Hurricane Center (NHC) upgraded a low pressure system to Tropical Depression (TD) Ophelia just East of the Leeward Islands.

    The NHC says that TD Ophelia could become a Tropical Storm on Wednesday and is expected to produce total rainfall accumulation of two to four inches over the Northern Leeward Islands.

    TD Ophelia has regenerated and is over 100 miles East South East of the Leeward Islands; maximum sustained winds are 30 miles per hour with higher gusts; the TD is moving West North West at five miles per hour and is expected to make a gradual turn to the Northwest and North-Northwest within the next 48 hours.

    The possibility exist for shower activity along with thunder storms throughout Wednesday, therefore ODM is advising that in case of heavy rainfall, to avoid low lying areas; look out for possible street flooding; and if the rainfall is persistent, while driving along hill sides, watch out for possible rock falls.

  • Aviation conference on Safety taking place.

    aviationsafetyconference27092011Great Bay (GIS):--- The Department of Civil Aviation Sint Maarten hosted a workshop for inspectors by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) on the topic of Aviation Security.

    According to the Secretary General, a.i., of the Ministry of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Traffic and Telecommunication, Miguel de Weever, said that "the purpose of this seminar is to provide aviation security personnel with the knowledge and practical skills to enable them to plan, coordinate and conduct quality control measures."

    Instructors Mr. Arthur Tholel and Mr. Pedro Rotella ensured that the participants will be better able to:

    1. Assist in protecting the airport against acts of unlawful interference;
    2. Contribute to the safety and security of the general public and aviation workers; and
    3. Develop a future career in the field of aviation security.

    The course started on September 20th and will end on September 28th 2011. 5 Members of different departments of the Princess Juliana International Airport and 1 participant from Dept. of Civil Aviation and Shipping and Maritime St. Maarten also participated in this course.

    Additionally, Aviation personnel from around the region also attended the course they were: 4 participants from Bahamas, 1 participant from Grenada, 1 participant from Saba and 1 participant from St. Eustatius.

  • Government has Eight Weeks to Issue Telecommunications License to Corporate Innovations --- Naf. 1, 500 Fine per day for Lack of Compliance.

    Philipsburg:--- The Minister of Economic Affairs and Telecommunications has eight weeks in which to grant Corporate Innovations a Telecommunications license or pay a fine of Naf. 1,500.00 per day for failure to comply with the judge's order. The ruling was handed down on September 26th by Judge van Veen.
    Corporate Innovations through Obersi and Digicel began a court case some five years ago when the former Central Government refused to grant the license to Corporate Innovations. In December 2010, the judge ruled in favor of Corporate Innovations but government appealed the ruling.
    According to information provided to SMN News, the companies (Obersi and Digicel) that leased the license from Corporate Innovations did not show up for one of the hearings because they were advised not to follow through with the case since Digicel is now negotiating with TELEM to merge with TELEM Group of Companies.
    SMN News learnt that the owners of Corporate Innovations then picked up the case and the judge ruled in their favor simply because they filed their request to obtain a license some eight years ago.
    SMN News further learnt that that Corporate Innovations is discussing with at least three larger companies including a Member of Parliament to provide telecommunications services.

    Click here to view the Judge's Decision.
  • Central Committee of Parliament to Request Information on Doctor’s Cards, Social Aid and Labour on Monday.

    Philipsburg:--- The Central Committee of Parliament will be meeting on October 03 with the Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labour Hon. Cornelius De Weever.

    The meeting will take place in the General Assembly Chamber in the House of Parliament on Monday at 10:00am.

    The first agenda point is government's policy in regards to the issuance and renewal of doctor cards and government's policy on the granting of social aid.

    The second agenda point is the labour situation on the island.

    The National Alliance (NA) faction in Parliament in a letter dated August 31, 2011 requested this meeting to discuss the aforementioned.

    The meeting which is also open to the public will be carried live on St. Maarten Cable TV Channel 20.

  • Off to College for a Week --- 12 St. Martin High School Students leave with Minister of Education Dr. Rhoda Arrindell for Monroe College, October 1st.

    monroecollegeforaweek30092011Great Bay:--- Twelve students from various high schools on the island will be accompanying minister of Education, Culture, Sports and Youth Affairs, Dr. Rhoda Arrindell, on her visit to Monroe College, Saturday, October 1st, 2011.
    The Minister threw open the opportunity for the students to get a taste of college life during their mid-term break, in order to help them decide if they would want to further their studies at Monroe College which is organizing the "College for a Week" event.
    The twelve students were invited to a briefing at the Government Administration Building Thursday afternoon where members of the Minister's cabinet went over the travel arrangements with them, while offering them other pertinent information and fielding their questions. Many of them were accompanied by their parents.
    The students were all excited and were looking forward to the trip during which they will engage in various activities at Monroe College, including attending classes and participating in sporting events.
    The "College for a week" concept is nothing new to the government of St. Martin, considering that government had in the past signed agreements and MOU's with educational institutions such as PACE, New England Tech, DEAN TECH, IFAC and others, which allowed our high school students the opportunity to get a taste of college life before making their decision.
    "We will meet with the first group of St. Martin students who recently travelled to the New Rochelle campus of Monroe College to further their education, evaluate and iron out any unforeseen challenges which they may have encountered and also seize this opportunity to finalize the details of the two full scholarships offered by this institution, which we have not yet made use of," Minister Rhoda Arrindell, who recently signed an MOU with Monroe College, said.
  • CPS Recommends Risk Group to get Seasonal Flu Vaccine.

    Great Bay (DCOMM):--- The Collective Prevention Services (CPS) of the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, is recommending high risk groups to get their seasonal flu vaccination.

    The region is still in the post-pandemic stage of the Influenza A (H1N1) outbreak. This means that Influenza A (H1N1) virus has taken on a behaviour and intensity similar to that of regular seasonal influenza viruses.

    The H1N1 vaccine components have been worked into the seasonal flu vaccines.

    Persons who form part of the risk group are:

    • all pregnant women who are in the last six months of pregnancy or second trimester – from their fourth month onwards;
    • with pulmonary disease: asthma (when maintenance medication is given; this also holds true for children), COPD, carcinoma of the lung, anthracosilicosis, lungfibrosis , mucoviscidosis, severe kyfoscoliosis, status after resection of a lung, breathing difficulties;
    • with cardiac disease: having experienced a myocardial infarction, angina pectoris, arrhythmias, valve dysfunction, cardiac failure;
    • with diabetes mellitus, even if not on medication;
    • with chronic kidney disease/failure: dialysis, kidney transplant;
      after a recent bone marrow transplant;
    • with HIV-infection;
    • with an intellectual disability in an intramural setting;
    • with a diminished resistance to infections: livercirrosis, (functional) asplenia, auto-immune illnesses, chemotherapy, immunosuppressive medication;
    • 60 years and older.

    Front-line workers as well as health care workers who may be in contact with patients pertaining to the medical risk groups (personnel in nursing homes, senior citizen home, hospital, outpatient clinics and general practitioner/specialist practices), should also get the flu vaccination.

    Home care givers of people with a very high risk for severe illness and mortality due to the flu should also be vaccinated.

    The symptoms of influenza A (H1N1) flu virus in people are similar to the symptoms of regular human flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people have reported diarrhea and vomiting associated with the virus.

    Members of the community are advised to check with their family physician on their seasonal flu vaccine and are strongly advised to take the necessary precautions to protect themselves and their family members from infection by maintaining high standards of personal hygiene.

    Steps of personal hygiene entail covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when you sneeze or cough; washing your hands frequently with soap and water, especially after contact with respiratory secretions (e.g., after sneezing and coughing).

    Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it. Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.

    Consult your family physician in due time and do not place others at risk. Take the necessary protection when in the vicinity of any sick persons.

    Eat healthy foods, get a lot of exercise and maintain a good sleep schedule which is usually eight hours.

  • Clothing Store Owner Shot during Armed Robbery --- Victim Transported to Hospital --- Doctors Refused to Treat Victim. (UPDATED)

    markdeygoofamily21092011Philipsburg:--- Guyanese businessman Mark Deygoo (34) owner of Baby and Kids Store on Back Street was shot late Wednesday afternoon during an armed robbery confirmed Police Spokesman Ricardo Henson. Henson said the victim was transported to the St. Maarten Medical Center for treatment. Henson said two young men entered the store to commit the robbery. According to information reaching SMN News, the two bandits went towards the safe to take out cash when they suddenly shot Deygoo multiple times. Padmini Deygoo, wife of the victim told SMN News that the doctor at the St. Maarten Medical Center told her and her daughter along with other close relatives that they are not going treat or operate on her husband because he sustained too much damage to his head. Mrs. Deygoo said the doctor told her that there are five bullets in her husband's head and it would be useless for them to try to operate or to send him off island.
    Mrs. Deygoo said when the bandits entered the store they demanded all the monies that was in the cash register and they even took off with a laptop that was in the store.
    Relatives of Deygoo gathered at the St. Maarten Medical Center last night as they waited to see of the medical institution would make any effort to treat or ship the victim outside of St. Maarten for further treatment. Several friends including the former owner of Shipwreck Shops where Deygoo worked for a number of years rushed to the St. Maarten Medical Center Wednesday night to see if the young businessman would receive the medical assistance he needed.
    When SMN News showed up at the SMMC on Wednesday night the medical staff said they were given instructions not to allow reporters to visit the dying businessman. Medical Director of the St. Maarten Medical Center Dr. George Scot said the hospital's policy is not to allow reporters to visit patients even if they are related.
  • President of the Sint Maarten PRIDE Foundation Jadira Veen gave a presentation to the Chamber of Commerce on the importance of the upcoming International Coastal Cleanup.

    pridefoundationcoastalcleanuppresentation31082011The International Coastal Cleanup held around the world in over 108 countries is one of the largest volunteer events of it's kind. Pride Foundation is the local coordinator of the International Coastal Cleanup and is busy setting up all arrangements for this years grand event on Saturday September 17th at the Mullet Bay Beach from 7am-9:30am. All volunteers are welcome including students, business employees, service club members, faith based groups and others.

    Ocean Conservancy's 2011 International Coastal Cleanup report was presented to Executive Director Mr. Claret Connor and office manager Ms. Ruth Patrick.

    The report details trash collected last year at various beaches on the island. It was explained to the Chamber that based on the itemized trash categories, several directions on solving our waste problems and littering could be explored.

    A public awareness anti-litter campaign for our beaches and island in general is possible, more trash bins at our beaches, but also attracting small entrepreneurs to collect, sort and export certain trash is also feasible.

    St. Maarten volunteers collected 3,228 beverage cans and 2,581 glass bottles last year. Both trash items can be exported for recycling, glass can be crushed and used in road construction.

    The Chamber can use the data results for St. Maarten in order to attract investments in solving our solid waste problems, resulting in less trash headed for the Philipsburg landfill.

    The issue of plastic bags given out at the grocery stores was also discussed as well as the mass usage of polystyrene single use food containers given out at almost every food establishment for take away.

    According to PRIDE Foundation, these two items should be banned as both stay in the environment for decades in landfills and in our waterways, and both cause death to our wildlife like sea turtles and pelicans who mistake pieces of floating plastic and styrofoam for food. Safe and environmentally friendly alternatives are available on the island.

    The report details 1,668 plastic bags collected last year.

    Mr. Claret Connor commended PRIDE Foundation for the informed presentation and promised that the Chamber will look into organizing a special conference with stakeholders and partners in the near future to discuss the solid waste issue and educating the public at large.

    Mr. Claret Connor is no stranger to the Annual International Coastal Cleanup as he participates every year with the Rotary Sunrise.

    Ocean Conservancy says that trash threatens ocean wildlife and eco-systems; and undermines tourism and economic activities. On Sint Maarten the health of our beaches and ocean plays a vital role in our tourism product. From recreational activities like swimming, diving, and boating, to the fish we eat.

    September will also see several schools participating in the International Coastal Cleanup on Guana Bay, Point Blanche,Simpson Bay, Great Bay and Belair Beach.

    In addition the under water cleanup will be coordinated by Ocean Explorers located on Kim Sha Beach, only experienced divers will be allowed to volunteer with this eco-activity.

    For more information on how you can volunteer, please call 5200650 or visit the St. Maarten PRIDE Foundation Facebook page.

  • Inadequacies of the Court of Guardianship and SJIB --- Lack of Counseling has rippling effects.

    Philipsburg:--- Research shows that several children who were removed from the homes of their biological parents and placed into foster care by the Court of Guardianship were worse off in foster care than they were in the first place. Some children who were removed and was under the supervision of the Court of Guardianship shared experiences of being raped, sexually molested and not having access to counseling.

    SMN News did some research and spoke to a few children who are now adults about the experience they had in foster care. A mother of four told us that when she was a child, she was removed from her parent's home and taken to the home of a Court of Guardianship employee. This former employee whose name was provided took her but she suffered years of sexual abuse in her new home. "I was taken out of an abusive home and placed at someone else's home for my protection but I was the sex slave in that house. My adopted father raped me over and over and when I spoke out my concerns were not taken seriously. I made complaints even to the head of the Court of Guardianship and he did nothing for me. He just left me there to suffer. Eventually when my foster parents got their own children I was kicked out. By then I was suffering from bipolar disorder."

    The mother of four further explained that she eventually began to suffer from attachment disorder and she was unable to stay in any relationship. "The lack of care and counseling has rippling effects on foster or abused children which leaves them with life time effects. "Now I am a mother and my children also ended up in foster care because I am a wreck, while I love my children very much I am not able to be the mother I want to be, I cannot provide the love and attention they need because I myself did not get it."

    In another interview, we spoke to another mother who is now fighting to get back her children from foster care or the wings of the Court of Guardianship. That mother told us that at age 10 years she was removed from her mother's house and taken to live with a prominent family in Dutch Quarter. "The lady I was taken to was old, she was a diabetic and I was an introverted child, I was not talking much especially since I was not able to understand why my mother would abuse me." The young woman who has five children said it came to a point where the elderly woman decided that she must get help since she was not able to get to me, she said I was not talking enough for so instead of the Court of Guardianship seeking that help for me they removed me from the home and took me back to my mother's house where the abuse got worse by the day. "You see back then the Court of Guardianship would take you away from your parent's house today and the next day they are the one who would go to your parents and say they are going to help them be a good parent. At that time, there was no Family Guardianship with professionals that could provide after care for foster children and families.

    "I ended up marrying someone who abused me and I ended up on the streets. My children and I was practically knocking about and I went to the Court of Guardianship and asked them to place my children in foster care because we were on the streets and they told me that they heard I was on drugs and offered no assistance. Eventually I had to send my children with their father the same man who abused me for years, and he abandoned them. My children ended up at someone's house and their father was nowhere to be found and when the person could not support my children they dropped them off at the police station who then placed them in foster care. Ever then since my children have been in foster care, they have not received any counseling, they have not gotten any support from SJIB or Family Guardianship who is supposed to watching over them, instead they are being harassed by a social worker who does not visit or counsel children, instead she seems to be doing business with foster children by moving them from one place to another."

    In another interview we spoke to 16 year old girl whose mother is dead and she is now under protective custody and was placed in foster care. The 16 year old admitted that she was having some issues with relatives and that is why she was placed in foster care. She said in that home they are not fed. The home is supposed to be monitored by SJIB but they don't check to see what type of life the teenagers in the home are living. The caretaker of the home only cooks on Wednesday's while the home of the elderly would donate food to them two days per week and Domino Pizza another two days. The only day the stove is lit in the home is on Wednesday's. While the home gets monies from government and the Court of Guardianship for children that are placed there, the owner of the home does not provide them with basic hygiene products. Some of the children have to beg people for soap power to wash their clothes. The teenager further explained earlier this year she got pregnant and she ended up in the hospital and the baby was gone. She said she pleaded with the social worker and relatives to allow her to go back to her relatives but they refused to let her go. "It's all about the money it's not about if I am happy or not."

    It should be noted that GEBE had disconnected the electricity and water from the home for non-payment of utility bills. The home was without water and electricity for almost two weeks.

    This teenager eventually ran away and is living with friends. She is also pregnant for the second time. When asked if the Social Worker and SJIB (Family Guardianship) provided counseling for her when she got pregnant the first time, and if they placed her on birth control pills the teenager said none of that was done. "The only time I see the social worker is when the owner of the home takes complaints to her about me. She would call me and my relatives and insult us. I had enough and so I left that place, had they done what they were supposed to do which was to counsel me and put me on birth control I would not have been pregnant. Most importantly if I was getting what I needed from the foster home and SJIB I would not have to sleep with anyone.

    In another instance, we are told about a twin who was separated and taken out of their parental home but was later sent back to his parents where he was sexually assaulted by a close relative.

    Clearly, there is a lack of supervision from the Court of Guardianship and the board of SJIB and somebody seems to be covering up for the inadequacies of the social worker whom we are told is not qualified for the job she holds. While it is essential for social workers to be qualified persons with proper skills and attitude towards children and delinquent families that cannot provide proper care.

    SJIB or Family Guardianship has over the years being passing the buck by not providing the services they are paid to give. Instead, the cycle of abuse and dysfunctional families continue for the lack of supervision and care from SJIB. It is clear that society would have to deal and pay for after care for a larger amount of delinquent families since the cycle does not seem to have an end.

    Therefore, the current Government mainly the Minister of Justice under who these departments fall should conduct an investigation to remedy the sores they have within the two departments.

    Children with attachment disorders or other attachment problems have difficulties connecting to others and managing their own emotions. This results in a lack of trust and self-worth, a fear of getting close to anyone, anger, and a need to be in control. A child with an attachment disorder feels unsafe and alone.

    So why do some children develop attachment disorders while others don't? The answer has to do with the attachment process, which relies on the interaction of both parent and child.

    Attachment disorders are the result of negative experiences in this early relationship. If young children feel repeatedly abandoned, isolated, powerless, or uncared for—for whatever reason—they will learn that they can't depend on others and the world is a dangerous and frightening place.

  • Angele Priest to Spend another Eight Day in Pre-Trial Detention.

    Philipsburg:--- The judge of instruction has extended the detention of Angele Priest the owner of Border Bar who was arrested early Wednesday morning when some 30 police officers along with the prosecutor and judge conducted a raid at Border Bar.
    Police also removed about 20 dancers from the club as witnesses. Sources close to the investigation say some of the dancers filed official complaints with the police claiming they were sexually abused by their employer.
    The source said Priest was allegedly in the habit of demanding unprotected and kinky sex from the dancers, while having them work under deplorable and unacceptable conditions. A press release from Chief Prosecutor Hans Mos on Wednesday stated that at least 30 police officers conducted a house search at Border Bar and a suspect was arrested for apparent human smuggling. The Chief Prosecutor said the judge of instruction and the prosecutor's office was also involved in the search and raid of Border Bar on Oyster Pond Road.
    This search and further investigation was executed because of information that came to the attention of the Police and the Public Prosecutor's Office that the "labour circumstances" in this erotic animation club were a strong indication of human trafficking (vrouwenhandel).
    "Vrouwenhandel" is a serious crime under article 260 of the Penal Code and has a maximum prison sentence of five years. On the premises, one person, I.P., was arrested. During the search several documents and money were confiscated.
    While the businessman remains behind bars and the investigation is ongoing, police remains tightlipped on the case.

    In 2008, the owner of Players Club Sweet Leroy was convicted for the same type of crimes. Sweet Leroy spent over two years at the Pointe Blanche Prison after he was convicted.

  • JAMES UPDATES ON DEMAND FOR SXM ID-CARD.

    Clearly, there is a growing amount of interest from the public to know more about the cultural ID-card, issued by the grassroots nation building & unification movement.

    Because of this, members of the movement were invited to be guests on two radio talk shows on the island.

    On Thursday, September 2, Leopold James, president of the movement and member, Albert Adams, aka 'Jesse', were guests of 'Diamond Kath' on La Voix F.M. 101.5.

    The day after, upon invitation , Leopold was guest on PJD 2, 1300 of host, Wendell MOORE.

    Obviously, the very professional and unbiased manner in which both 'Diamond Kath' and Wendell MOORE, questioned their guests, the value and far-reaching implications of this new initiative, became very clear to the listeners.

    It is without any doubt, that the concept, purpose as well as the implied potentials of this card for its holders can be considered significant 'game-changers' in terms of allowing for St. Martiners to reclaim their country of heritage and respect a host as never before.

    Already, the potential impact of this ID-card, is resulting in many St. Martiners feeling a powerful sense of pride, dignity and attachment to their land of heritage and with fellow St. Martiners of heritage, or native, indigenous St. Martiners.

    We will not even mention the fact that many non-St. Martiners are already realizing, that in order to really become part of the St. Martin nation, their best chance is to qualify for an 'honorary' St. Martin ID-card.

    To qualify for such however, they will have to demonstrate that they are of an 'added value' to the St. Martin people and their cultural-heritage and this certainly is a 'paradigm shift'

    After both interviews on 101.5 F.M. and PJD2, 1300, there were so many calls and emails coming from listeners on the island as well as from abroad.

    Many of these callers were eager to collect their cards and made many interesting suggestions to benefit the card-holders.

    Some for instance, cautioned against issuing this coveted card to non-St. Martiners, without placing certain demands or conditions on those requests.

    All in all, since the interest for the card is already is bypassing our expectation, we have decided to allow for input form others as well.

    In particular, as it pertains to the issuing of the honorary St. Martin ID-cards to non-St. Martiners, a committee will be sett up.

    This committee, will be charged with the selection, screening and proposing of potential candidates for an honorary St. Martin ID-card to the board.
    In addition, the members of this committee will also be tasked with organizing the ceremonies during which these honorary ID-cards will be given out.

    For more information, contact Leopold JAMES

    Tel.; 54 43512 / 05 90 272401

    Cel. 5204325 / 5875207

    Emails; info@stmartinnation.org, infoesprit@yahoo.fr, ljames@caribserve.net

  • NAGICO reflects on the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Luis.

    Today marks 16 years since the devastating passage of Hurricane Luis, which claimed lives, left US$3.5 billion in estimated damages and displaced hundreds of residents in the Leeward Islands. NAGICO while reflecting on this is reminding the community to continue to be prepared, as Hurricane Luis went down in history as one of the worst hurricanes to make landfall in the region.

    As a result of the massive financial loss, several insurance companies were unable to pay claims and subsequently left the island, leaving hundreds of unpaid claims and clients in crisis. Not only did NAGICO pay all their claims, but did so in a fair and speedy manner.

    "Looking at the damage that was left behind after Luis, you can only feel secure knowing that you have excellent insurance coverage with NAGICO, the most reliable insurance provider in the Caribbean," Paul Dijkhoffz, the Marketing Manager of NAGICO said. "We are no doubt in a very active hurricane season, with systems currently developing so anything is possible right now and the last thing you want to have to deal with is loss a from a natural disaster coupled with losing your insurance provider."

    NAGICO is cognizant of the fact that times are hard and with this in mind NAGICO has tailored policies and developed payment plans with reasonable installment options to ensure that clients can get quality coverage and affordable premiums.

    "Depending on your overall premium and bound to certain conditions, there are payment plans available for clients who have a high premium and cannot afford a lump sum payment," Dijkhoffz said.

    He also reminds residents who still need to get their insurance in order, to visit their office or a NAGICO agent to get more information on how they can do so. "Whether you are a homeowner, renter or tenant, you still have valuable items and at NAGICO we can provide you with coverage for that," he said.

  • UTS Employees Complete Advanced Microsoft Excel course.

    utstrainsemployees08092011Philipsburg:--- 9 UTS employees received their certificates for the Microsoft Advanced Excel Training that was held over the period of 2 weeks at the company's TDC training facility in Philipsburg. The course was given by Microsoft Master Trainer Ms.Sharon Daillant who has many years of experience as a Microsoft instructor. This is one of many courses recently taken by UTS employees to improve their proficiency with various software programs and other skills. UTS Chief Operations Officer, Mr. Roy Richardson states: "As a company we will of course be able to benefit from the newly acquired skills and increased proficiency our employees after completing the course, but even more important, each person has acquired skills that they will be able to take with them, no matter where they are employed in the future. Investing in the career path development of our employees is an important point on our agenda as a company. After all, a skilled workforce will be able to contribute more greatly towards the further economic development of our island." Trainer, Ms. Sharon Daillant thanked all the participants who took the Excel course. "I was very impressed by the work-ethic and professionalism the participants displayed during the 2 weeks of the course. It was definitely a pleasant group to work with."
  • Media Barred from Taking photos of Murder Suspect --- Suspect has burns on his face and hands.

    robertreidleavingcourthouse09092011Philipsburg:--- Several members of the Zero Tolerance Team, mainly Giovanni Sprott chased all photo journalists that were waiting outside the Court of First Instance on Friday to take photo shots of murder suspect Robert Reid. Officer Lexus went as far as ordering the owners of Kangaroo Court to close their doors while the suspect was being transported to the Court House. Kangaroo Court lost over two hours of business as the officers outside of the Court House prevented the business owner from reopening her doors.
    Reporters and photo journalists that were standing on private property across from the Court House were ordered to get off the property as the police officers who were on the scene did not want reporters to take shots of Reid whose face and hands are burnt.
    While St. Maarten has recorded its 11th murder for the year, with only three of them solved so far, the police seems to be more interested in protecting a man who is suspected of killing and burning his 13 year old daughter, rather than finding the persons responsible for the brutal murders. The actions of the police on Friday led members of the public to believe that the suspect has friends in high places who would go to any length to protect him. Some say the police are not sure if they have the right man behind bars even though Reid sustained burn wounds the same night his daughter's burnt body was found.
    While on the scene, SMN News contacted Chief of Police Peter de Witte asking that he explain to us why his officers or the police management team took the measures they took with the murder supect. De Witte said he was not aware of the measures and promised to give orders to his subordinates to allow the media to exercise their duty. An SMN News reporter was told that as long as she is on private property the police cannot remove her neither stop her from performing her duties. Shortly after the first phone conversation, De Witte informed SMN News that we could go back where we were and to make sure we stay a safe distance away from the police.
    The officers on the scene then removed the barriers they placed at on Front Street and Back Street, but when the suspect was about to leave the Court House, the media workers and members of the public who gathered at the Court House to get a glimpse of the suspect were all chased away despite the orders given by De Witte.
    When contacted later in the afternoon De Witte maintained that he did not know why his officers took the measures they took against the media. De Witte said that the police always cooperates with media workers but they were obliged to close the road for the protection of the suspect and the people in the immediate vicinity since there were school children on the road at the time.
    What is even more suspicious about the police's actions on Friday is that an officer tipped off media workers that one of their colleague's son's was inside of the Court House as a robbery suspect and that the reporters should take their shots. At the time, the officers were escorting local businessman Angele Priest and the officer's son before the judge of instruction to request an extension in their pre-trial detention.
    Members of the community that gathered to see the suspect express outrage as they all believed that the police were over exaggerating. Some of them booed the suspect when he exited the Court House to enter the police vehicle that was transporting him back to the Philipsburg Police Station.

    Click here to view photos of the Robert Reid as he was transported to the Court of First Instance.

  • Robert Reid Denies Involvement in his Daughter’s Death.

    robertreidburnwounds09092011Philipsburg:--- The father of 13-year old Tiffany Bianca Reid, who was killed and burnt on Tuesday night has denied any involvement in his daughter's murder said Chief Prosecutor Hans Mos. Robert Reid appeared before the judge of instruction on Friday where his pre-trial detention was extended for a period of eight days. Mos said the suspect will be interrogated again in the coming days.
    Robert Reid was arrested late Tuesday night after he filed a missing person's report with the police. His body, mainly his face and hands had fresh burns at the time of the arrest. SMN News learnt that the suspect told police that he was burnt by a car radiator that he claimed exploded. However, it must be noted that residents of South Reward claimed they saw Robert Reid escaping from the scene where his daughter's body was set alight. Those residents even managed to take note of the number plate of the getaway car Robert Reid used.
    Attorney at law Zylena Bary confirmed that her client denied any involvement in his daughter's death. She said her client claimed he was injured during an accident but that will be determined during the investigations.
    Bary said the judge extended the pre-trial detention based on the nature of the case, he felt that police followed proper procedures when they arrested Robert Reid.
  • Former CFT President Hans Weitenberg passed away.

    hansweitenberg11092011Former president of the Board of financial supervision (College Financieel Toezicht - CFT), prof. drs. Hans Weitenberg passed away Friday September 9th, 2011, after a short period of illness. He died peacefully, surrounded by his dear ones. One week earlier Weitenberg resigned as president. Friday September 16th, 2011 Weitenberg will be buried in his home town Noordwijk aan Zee.

    Professor Weitenberg, born in 1939 in Workum, Friesland, was an authoritative expert of public finance. After having finished his study of general economics at the University of Tilburg, he worked amongst others for twenty years at the Central Planning Bureau. In the entire Kingdom he was respected and appreciated, predominantly because of his strong involvement with the islands. His first visit to the six islands of the former Netherlands Antilles took place in the late seventies, as member of a team which was established by the former Dutch Finance Minister Fons van der Stee, in order to record the problems in the relationship between the Netherlands and the Antilles. Later, he was also member of a Kingdom Committee in charge of the preparations for the status apart of Aruba. The late Boelie van Leeuwen even praised Weitenberg in his book "Geniale Anarchie" for his matter-of-fact way of presenting financial facts.

    In 2007, based on a Temporary Decree of the Kingdom Weitenberg took upon himself the function of president of the Board of financial supervision for Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba, and in 2008 Curaçao and Sint Maarten followed. As of October 2010 there are two new Boards of financial supervision, and Weitenberg became president of both. Professor Weitenberg managed to build up CFT as an authoritative institution. Weitenberg had a natural predominance and an amiable personality, which always brought tranquility, especially in the occasional tense situation, or when delicate matters had to be dealt with. His integrity and fairness made him an unquestioned person for all parties in the Kingdom. This eased the way for CFT to develop into a completely independent institute that stands above all parties.

    CFT Curaçao and Sint Maarten consists now of Ms. Margo Vliegenthart as member upon proposal of the Netherlands and Mr. Alberto Romero upon proposal of Curaçao. Mr. Richard Gibson has been postulated at the Queen as member for Sint Maarten. For the CFT which is responsible for Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba, Mr. Max Pandt is member upon proposal of the BES islands, alongside Ms. Vliegenthart. The Kingdom Council of Ministers shall decide shortly on a new CFT president.

  • National Alliance Calls for Central Committee Meeting to Discuss Crime, BTA and Labour.

    Philipsburg:--- Three members of the National Alliance namely its leader William Marlin, George Pantophlet and Dr. Lloyd Richardson submitted a request to the chairlady of Parliament requesting a central committee meeting to discuss several issues of concern.
    The National Alliance in their letter states that they want to discuss at least five topics. The National Alliance wants to know intention of the Minister of Justice who plans to introduce stiffer penalties for persons who commit crimes against a tourist.

    The National Alliance also wants to discuss the developments surrounding the BTA (Brooks Tower Accord) including the investigation into wrong doings, the use of false documents and the involvement of bogus companies.
    Another issue of concern to the National Alliance is the crime situation on the island and the policy of government with regards to the issuance and renewal of doctor cards and government's policy on the granting of Social Aid, as well as the labour situation on St. Maarten.
    For agenda points 1, 2 and 3 the presence of the Minister of Justice is requested, in order for him to answer questions from the Members of Parliament and to give account on recent developments and concerns of Members of Parliament.
    For agenda points 4 and 5 the presence of the Minister of Labour is requested in order for him to answer to questions and concerns raised by members of Parliament.

  • Parliamentary Year 2011 --- 2012 Officially Opened.

    eugeneholiday13092011Philipsburg:--- Several dignitaries including the members of the Constitutional Court, Ombudsman, Council of Ministers, Chamber of Commerce and senior civil servants were part of the crowd that attended the official opening of Parliament for the year 2011 - 2012. The Governor of St. Maarten Drs. Eugene Holiday delivered the Governors address shortly before the opening of the second year of Parliament. Governor Holiday also inspected the uniform troops which comprised of the St. Maarten Police, the St. Maarten Voluntary Corps and the Marines. Shortly after the official opening of Parliament, the dignitaries moved to Front Street to view the parade of the uniform troops after which they went to the Sheer restaurant for lunch. Below is the full address delivered by the Governor of St. Maarten Drs. Eugene Holiday.

    THE GOVERNOR'S ADDRESS
    DELIVERED BY HIS EXCELLENCY GOVERNOR EUGENE B. HOLIDAY
    ON THE OCASSION OF THE OPENING OF THE PARLIAMENTARY YEAR
    TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 13,

    Madam Chairlady, Members of Parliament,
    Congratulations with the opening of the new parliamentary year.
    Today marks the start of the second and first full, parliamentary year of Sint Maarten since becoming a country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands on October 10, 2010. As of that date, you have been entrusted with the significant responsibility to serve the general interest of the people of Sint Maarten. In the eleven months since my installation as Governor, I have had the privilege of meeting with people from all walks of life, committed to doing their part, dedicated to carrying their stone, towards helping build a stronger and better Sint Maarten.
    My conversations with these persons have revalidated my conviction of the potential of this small and remarkable country of ours.
    Through my discussions with these persons I have learned that, regardless of age or affiliation, people are looking to parliament and government to create an environment of opportunity, where everyone can receive an education, work, contribute and succeed in Sint Maarten. Madame Chairlady, Members of Parliament, this is the basic reason for this gathering and the coming sessions of Parliament.
    As we gather here today for the opening of the new parliamentary year I shall, in my capacity as Governor of Sint Maarten, present you with an outline of the policy plans of the government for the coming year. Policy plans placed within the context of the prevailing domestic constitutional and socio-economic setting and the global financial and economic climate.
    Madam Chairlady, Members of Parliament,
    The course for Sint Maarten has been set with the accomplishment of country status on October 10, 2010. This is a course towards more self-reliance, more responsibilities and a broader mindset for our country.
    Following a long quest to achieve and having some 11 months of experience with country status, it is clear that the road ahead is not an easy one.
    In preparation for Country Sint Maarten, much attention was paid to the democratic foundation which is so necessary for our young nation. The price tag that comes with these democratic guarantees is high, but without them our country would be standing on shaky grounds. In preparation for country Sint Maarten our resources were pushed to their limits, but it did provide us the blueprint for a government organization worthy of our country.
    Filing of all positions necessary to man this organization is now upon us, and it is clear that for the coming 12-18 months and maybe longer, all the additional human resources needed, will not be available to us. And if they are, it will be at a higher cost than if the pressure of time was not upon us.
    The challenges associated with the price tag and financial framework, have been apparent with the balancing of the 2011 budget, which was approved less than two months ago. Given the limited available financial means the budget for 2012 will be the next challenge as government move to comply with its obligations to meet the needs and aspirations of the people of Sint Maarten. As such the coming year shall be a tough year, but by no means impossible!
    Needless to say, that the much anticipated constitutional change has come at a time of major international financial and economic instability, as reflected in sluggish global economic performances and more recently in the downgrade of the US credit rating by Standard and Poors, one of the three reputable rating agencies, and as reflected in the ongoing debt crises in Europe. Sint Maarten has not been immune to these developments and continues to experience the impact of the protracted fragile global financial and economic conditions.
    Madam Chairlady, Members of Parliament,
    Many of government's policy plans will be tempered because of the domestic and global economic and financial realities of the day. None of the above however, will dampen the spirit of Moving Ahead as a country, responsible for our own destiny and that of our children.
    Convinced that the constitutional change on October 10, 2010, is for the betterment of the people of this nation, government is determined despite the many challenges, to present and fulfill its vision of creating a foundation built on strength, compassion and decisiveness for Sint Maarten.
    Country status has come at a time and a cost that calls for the old adage all hands on deck to become the clarion call to action for all who call Sint Maarten home.
    As such Government invites you to be a participant in its considerations, dilemmas and solutions for Sint Maarten. Given that Sint Maarten has many challenges and a limited budget, making the correct choices will take courage. Choices as presented in government's policy plan called "A Foundation of Hope for our Country". Choices guided by the following focal points: social cohesion, sustainable economy, quality of life and a knowledge based society.
    Appreciation for the little things that make us who we are is paramount, as we seek to bear out our culture for others to see and experience. It is the collective bearing out of that culture, day in, day out, that strengthens us and provides the social cohesion, so necessary for Moving Ahead as a country.
    Government's plan therefore is to promote cultural development aimed at continuously strengthening Sint Maarten as "A nation of proud people, cognizant of our past and confident of our future, where communities work together to build the country Sint Maarten".
    Thus as the government of country Sint Maarten takes definite shape, it is clear that the governance cycle must be one of delegated authority and accountability. Processes must be transparent internally and externally to the clients that government serves; namely the people of Sint Maarten.
    Accountability and checks and balances are the bedrock of our democracy and anchored in our constitution and institutions. The Constitutional Court, the High Councils of State and the human rights catalog are guarantees of our democratic system.
    Government in the building of these institutions and the respective ministries will make use of local expertise and manpower. In addition government shall where necessary to secure vital services, enter into service level agreements and use expatriate expertise as a means to build local and sustainable cadre.
    Essential in that regard, is that the integrity program as developed, along with the legislation that supports it will continue. In doing so, government will place the emphasis on empowering workers, with the knowledge that an open, transparent, fair, and accountable government operation benefits all.
    The success of government's governance approach will depend on the development and quality of the labor force. Education is paramount in that regard. The vision for education on Sint Maarten is predicated on the firm belief, that all citizens will acquire the necessary knowledge, skills, competencies and attitudes that will enable them to reach their highest human potential. Education will empower all citizens to participate and as a result promote and sustain a socio-economic climate that will move the island forward; Education will thus expand our island's competitive capacity within the context of its regional and global socio-economic position.
    Government intends to create a new design for Education, which fully makes our citizens responsible for developing a new mentality, new attitudes, new levels of achievement and success within our education system. This means that the new system should fit our citizenry. The new system also is to promote a shared vision that includes best practices, national standards, community consciousness, curriculum changes, 21st century skills priorities and relevance. The new Education Plan shall emphasize the building of human capital through education. On the one hand, it must emphasize human resource development and national development and, on the other hand, it must foster individual and personal development anchored in pillars of trust, reciprocity and commitment.
    Madam Chairlady, Members of Parliament,
    Together with the new design for Education, it is the vision of government that national long term planning can no longer be postponed. A National Development Plan, a successor of the Multi Annual Policy Plan (MAPP) will therefore be undertaken post haste. This is no small undertaking as it will require broad private sector input and support.
    Through the National Development Plan government shall continue to promote economic growth through investments in public programs and by creating an enabling environment for business development.
    In that regard, government sees a market which promotes competition; a market where market forces compete fairly; a market in which clear rules and incentives for good corporate citizenship apply; and a market guided by government through dialogue and enabling legislation.
    In developing the National Development Plan consideration will be given to the fact that our traditional stay-over tourism product, as the prime engine of growth, is a mature one; One where the need to encourage property owners to upgrade their properties is ever present. Moreover, more attention is warranted for the market of condominium development. Noteworthy in this context is that the cruise product continues to hold its own and has bridged the rather sluggish global economic conditions and its effects on the region. Additionally, other areas such as the marine trade industry continue to hold their own and demonstrate further growth potential.
    To support its socio-economic development, it is essential that Sint Maarten invests in the maintenance of a durable, weather proven economic infrastructure comprised of adequate housing, a good road network, modern sea- and airports, adequate lighting, proper drainage and efficient waste disposal. Government has therefore embarked on the implementation of a road and drainage maintenance program. Notwithstanding the budgetary challenges, neighborhood development is a priority of government for this governing term. Several road infrastructure projects are currently under construction in the neighborhoods, which not only include improvements in the road network and street lighting, but also water drainage and sewerage lines. Moreover, garbage waste disposal improvement and furtherance of a modern waste disposal plant on Sint Maarten are under consideration.
    The government has recently commissioned the project "Sint Maarten Housing Vision 2012-2017". The goal is to develop a 5-year policy plan for housing on Sint Maarten, with specific attention for lower and middle income categories. The project shall also address the legislation governing housing and the goal is to improve the overall quality of housing on Sint Maarten. This plan falls under the Social chapter of the Social Economic Initiative of the country.
    In addition, government intends to pursue the creation of a development bank for Sint Maarten or have an institution serve as such by tapping into the available revenue streams. This becomes even more pressing, as traditional development aid from the Netherlands is being phased out. Associated with this idea is the creation of a financing agency for social programs, as a successor for Reda Social on Sint Maarten.
    Madam Chairlady, Members of Parliament,
    As government invests in the economic infrastructure, it is cognizant that the environmental health of our country is a delicate one. A "green" vision of government for sustainability is therefore one of careful balancing. Actions on different fronts support this endeavor. The zoning of the island has taken on renewed impetus, and the management of waste water and refuse is a top priority. With SLAC's commitment to an improved management of the Simpson bay Lagoon and the imminent clean-up of the Great Salt Pond, these two vital water areas will be given new breath. Moreover government supports and encourages the use of alternative energy sources!
    Community Development encompasses a broad area of operation with the overarching aim to facilitate developments that will enhance the lives of the people and the communities by means of social empowerment and district improvement. As such, government plans to achieve Community Development using an integrated neighborhood development approach (INDP) by working in close collaboration with relevant stakeholders. Stakeholders include, but is not limited to Community Councils, NGOs, representation of various groups, (such as the Elderly and Disabled) and the socially deprived (such as the homeless and addicts). This holistic approach not only improves the physical environment but also enhances the position of the people living in the communities.
    As government pursues enhancing the position of people living in the communities, special attention will be given to eliminating gender inequalities through the empowerment of women. In that regard, empowerment of women is not only about combating violence against women, but also addressing the more subtle forms of inequality and discrimination in areas such as wages and governmental representation.
    With the borrowed phrase: "A community is strongest when the care for its weakest is constant and deliberate" in mind, the government of Sint Maarten is cognizant of its work in the areas as outlined in the "Millennium Development Goals" as adopted in 2000. The first report regarding attainment of these goals as presented in 2011 serves as a basis for strategic policy objectives in the coming 4 years.
    With respect to youth unemployment, which in government's view must be reduced drastically, training and schooling is paramount. The secondary vocational education (SBO) programs are already bearing fruit and thus the construction of a school for this type of education, is part of government's 2011 year program. Together with training programs, incentives can contribute to government's goal of reducing unemployment to between 5 and 7 %.
    Further, it is essential to have established and to maintain adequate sport facilities. However, in addition to this action, there is the need to promote awareness and guidance in regards to regular physical activity and education, to ensure a healthy and vibrant community. Physical activity must in that regard become a "national sport". Thus as Sint Maarten looks forward to hosting the 2013 Kingdom games, a renewed impetus is being given to sport facilities' upgrades. Slowly, but surely, Sint Maarten athletes are beginning to make a name for themselves abroad, a development that Government is keen on nurturing through a close working relationship with sports organizations. This will be evident in the Sports Policy, currently a topic for discussion in sports circles.
    Madam Chairlady, Members of Parliament,
    While we emphasize the importance of education in creating an environment of opportunity for all, where people can be self-reliant we must be mindful of the need to provide an adequate social safety net.
    It should come as no surprise that the social infrastructure of Sint Maarten lags behind the social needs. In as far as we do have (basic) social infrastructures, the level needs serious improvement. The general old age pension and sickness insurances and benefits are services that need to be adjusted to the demands of our developing society.
    Therefore government is pursuing the establishment of social systems, which over time will offer a basic level of social security to all citizens. Sustainability, solidarity and affordability are key components of this vision. Revision of the systems and addressing parties' responsibilities within the system to promote better cost control and savings is crucial for the sustainability of the systems.
    The transformation of the present old age pension system into a comprehensive and sustainable pension system will be studied and prepared during this and the coming year.
    The government is, in addition pursuing the introduction of a new national health insurance program.
    Consistent with the aim of a sustainable safety net system, additional measures are warranted for collective health care and prevention. Programs for promotion of healthy lifestyles will be continued. And social services shall be reviewed with the aim to make them more accessible, transparent and fair.
    In conjunction, the government is committed to make combating of poverty a structural program, by combining different elements and reaching across ministries. In this regard, closer collaboration with NGO's is a conditio sine qua non to reach government's goal of a measurable reduction in poverty.
    Hence the social financial aid system will be reviewed and revised. These social safety nets need to be accessible to those who do not have other resources or means. More emphasis will be on the prevention of poverty; self-empowerment and the importance of individual and social responsibility in society.
    Madam Chairlady, Members of Parliament,
    As we invest in the education of and in a more healthy population, towards the realization of our full potential as a country, a sense of peace and safety for residents and visitors is critical. Government's objective is to fight for a crime-free Sint Maarten, where law enforcement exudes confidence and citizens consider it their social duty to do their part in fighting crime. Crime against any resident or visitor is a crime against Sint Maarten. In accordance with the "Plan of Approach of the Police of Force Sint Maarten", the police force will focus on recruitment and training of officers. Several new approaches have been undertaken to urgently boost the recruitment of police officers. In addition, given the target for the ultimate strength of 390 officers, the police force will be held to the commitment to reach the minimum strength as defined in the Kingdom Resolution.
    To support the fight against crime and to promote the feeling of safety amongst the residents of Sint Maarten, the government shall promote second-chance education, foster care, youth facilities development and re-socialization efforts.
    In accordance with the "Plan of Approach of the New Immigration Organization", the set-up of this entity is in progress. The process of setting up the new entity includes the recruitment and training of personnel, to strengthen the organization. Important factors in the process will be the creation of (new) policies in regard to admittance.
    With the authority for work permits and immigration in the hands of the government of Sint Maarten, synchronization of policies is a must. This means, amongst others, that the government will take measures to deal with the consequences of the implementation of the Brooks Tower Accord.
    Additionally, the government believes that there are possibilities for new investment niches on Sint Maarten. As a result, certain policies in the area of the establishment of businesses and persons must be reviewed to tap into hitherto un-researched areas of growth.
    A new labor policy will focus on regulating the labor market with better control on compliance with labor laws, especially where labor conditions, premium and tax payments and wages are concerned.
    Further the current work permit policy is under review; this based on the need to streamline processes and re-institute tripartite dialogue regarding reform of labor laws.
    As government pursues its policy plans it shall broaden its scope as made possible by the constitutional change. Sint Maarten can now diligently pursue regional cooperation and has undertaken several steps to this effect. New relationships and engagements have and are taking place with UNDP, UNESCO, CFATF, CIAT, COTA and CARICOM, while functional cooperation in tax information exchanges and mutual assistance in tax matters is ongoing. Sint Maarten needs to expand its horizons in terms of assistance, as we set about to build a strong foundation for our country. With due consideration for the Dutch Kingdom's coordinating role for foreign relations, Sint Maarten needs the space to develop its own foreign policy. As an Overseas Country of the European Union, Sint Maarten's participation in agencies such as OCTA is desirable and necessary, this also in light of the approaching new development agreement with the EU.
    In furthering the dialogue on the future of the Dutch Kingdom, the focus for Sint Maarten will be on the economic and financial relationships within the Kingdom, on a relationship based on respect and free will. Recent times have been dominated by political discussions that have muddled the political realities of the Kingdom comprised of 4 countries forming a voluntary association.
    Staying in the Kingdom, it is noteworthy that the organization of the Central Bank of Curacao and Sint Maarten has suffered some serious setbacks. For Sint Maarten, this meant that the envisaged full-fledged Central Bank branch on Sint Maarten has not materialized to date and that no further joint action on a joint currency has been undertaken. Given the rocky start of this joint institution, the government of Sint Maarten is of the belief that a separate monetary agency for Sint Maarten must be given serious consideration. The scope and form of this agency (central bank) will be dependent on the ultimate choice by Sint Maarten for its currency. In the meantime, arrangements will be made with Curacao for the continued use of the Netherlands Antillean currency, pegged to the US dollar as is presently the case. It is recommended that this arrangement be upheld for the year 2012, to allow for the Sint Maarten branch of the Central Bank to take root and for a careful analysis of the available choices of currency.
    Madam Chairlady, members of Parliament
    The implementation of these policy plans will come at a cost, costs which will have to be managed efficiently. St. Maarten is currently working on obtaining a sovereign rating to facilitate lowering some of these costs if borrowing is done in Capital markets. The extent and speed of implementation of these policy measures depends in large part on the available financial resources. Getting the right financial fit for country Sint Maarten, after decades of co-management with the Netherlands Antilles will take time, creativity and crafting and re-crafting. The neglect of the past needs to be undone and new challenges will have to be met head-on. The redrafted 2011 budget has gotten closer to this ideal, however there is still much more work to be done. This work continues to be done within the framework of the financial agreements of the constitutional reforms.
    The tax system will be overhauled within the next 18 months. Non-disputable elements of this overhaul are: simplification, fairness, efficiency, stability and feasibility. Upgrading the tax administration however, is an ongoing project. The first results will be the inclusion of all tax payers in the tax system. To achieve this, data bases of for example the Chamber of Commerce and that of the Civil Registry should be synchronized or at least accessible for the tax office, and ultimately should result in one general registration number/code for residents and businesses. The project "Improvement Data Management By Government Agencies" has been launched with this objective in mind. It is the intention of government to extend this data management process to other government departments as well. This alone will considerably improve government's income and will provide better insight for the bases of tax reforms. Serious consideration will be given to the current turn-over-tax in this review. While the TOT is good for government's coffers, its effects on the economy need to be analyzed. But mostly, our tax system needs to have those elements built-in that provides a low threshold, both in terms of the complexity as well as in competiveness; Thus improving the tax payers' attitude towards taxes in general.
    Madam Chairlady, Members of Parliament,
    With the outlined vision and policy measures the government plans to create hope and opportunity for all residents of Sint Maarten based on a sound national, social and economic foundation. Cognizant that it cannot accomplish this alone, the government invites all to participate in the execution and pursuit of its vision for a better and stronger Sint Maarten.
    Madam Chairlady, Members of Parliament,
    The government looks to you as political representatives of the people of Sint Maarten for your participation and your support in achieving this vision for the coming period in the interest of the people of Sint Maarten. I wish you much wisdom, strength, and God's speed.
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    Click here to view more photos of the Official Opening of Parliament.

  • Candlelit March for Slain Academy Student slated for Thursday.

    tiffanyreid07092011Philipsburg:--- The autopsy on the latest murder victim Tiffany Bianca Reid was conducted on Tuesday confirmed Chief Prosecutor Hans Mos. Mos also confirmed that the body will soon be released to Reid's family.

    The St. Maarten Academy PSVE through its CARE Department is organizing a Wake Night and Candle Light march/vigil, tonight (Thursday September 15, 2011) for the Late Tiffany Reid, a student who was gruesomely murdered last Tuesday night.

    The wake will be held at the Rupert Maynard Community Center in St. Peters from 6pm to 8pm. Arrangements are being made for buses to transport persons from the Rupert Maynard Community Center to the St. Dominic Highschool's parking lot. The candle light march will begin from the foot of the hill at 7pm up to the spot where Tiffany's body was discovered.

    The entire community of St. Maarten is encouraged to come out in support of this demonstration of voicing our disgust against crime.

    Bring a candle and let us unite in taking St. Maarten back and restoring it to the loving and safe place it once was. So far, no other organization such as Peridot Foundation, Safe Heaven or the Women's Desk has condemned the brutal murder of Tiffany Reid. It is also not yet known if these organizations are coming together to create more awareness against violent crimes.

  • Fundraiser for Imbali moves to Belair Community Center.

    rbuteandimbalistudents14092011Philipsburg:--- The fundraiser for Imbali Center for Creative Movement, which is spearheaded by Lady Ruby Bute, has been moved to the Belair Community Center.
    The production entitled "St. Martin for Thee I Weep..." was organized in efforts to replace instruments and materials stolen from Imbali Center for Creative Movement in two recent robberies and is now scheduled for Saturday, September 17 at 7pm, this according to Imbali Founder and Director Clara Reyes.
    Reyes explained that the event had initially been scheduled for September 10th at the Silk Cotton Grove Gallery in Friars Bay, but due to the passing of Tropical Storm Maria had been postponed. She said that after the postponement Lorraine Lopez, Director of the Belair Community Center had stepped in and made the new venue available for use.
    "After they heard about the robberies and then the delay of the production they decided to allow us to use their space free of charge. This is a beautiful gesture and I we are deeply appreciative of this," Reyes said.
    Reyes said that while the venue and date had changed, all else remained the same; including the list of artists scheduled to perform. Artists on the line-up are Lady Ruby Bute, Isidore "The Mighty Dow" York, Fred York and Alex Jack of Mosaic, Rita Bourne, Jacky Nicholson, Stacy Roberts, Stacy-Ann Taylor, Thierry Gombs, Romeric Benjamin, Brandon Davis, Tyrone Phelipa, Aparna Samaga, Lena Browne, Mansoura, Motiance Dance School, HOT Dancers, Lucinda "La Rich" Audain, Lysanne Charles, Stephan "Stretch" Rodney and many, many other singers, dancers, poets and artists. The show will also start with a fashion show by local entrepreneur Marilyna Boston.
    Reyes said that the support of the St. Maarten artist community had been tremendous and that those attending could expect a dynamic, entertaining, jam-packed two hours of activity.
    Tickets are $10 for both adults and children and are available at the venue (Belair Community Center) an hour before start time and also at Pete's Photos, Candy Man, Van Dorp-Simpson Bay and Madame Estate, Imbali Center for Creative Movement and from cast members.
    "This production is special, because it really illustrates how local artists can come together for a cause. The break in and robberies at the John Larmonie Center were really shocking to us, because we feel like our youth and our elderly were targeted and we feel like something real is being lost on our island. The arts is one way to speak to this and sort of pull everyone together in this vein. So we are encouraging everyone to come out and support this endeavour so that we can replace our materials and also send a strong message to those hell bent on destroying our sense of community," Reyes said.
  • Cultural Presentation left lasting Impression on Visitors at CTO Conference.

    ctosoiconference15092011Marigot:--- Despite the late start and the intense heat at the opening ceremony of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) first State of the Industry Conference on Thursday night, the performers of the cultural presentation left an unforgettable impression on the many dignitaries and visitors that attended the ceremony.
    Members from the Imbali dance group, the bottle necks and the Soualiga Capoeria team made sure St. Martin's Culture and the people's friendliness stayed with those that are here to showcase the twin island as the best Caribbean destination.
    The night's activities started off with a display of the flags of the 33 CTO member countries of the Caribbean, after which St. Martin's anthem was sung by Malaika Maxwell and Fabian Charbonier.
    Attending the official ceremony were dignitaries from the Council of Ministers led by its Prime Minister Sarah Wescot Williams, along with some members of Parliament. Several members of the Territorial Council including Senator Louis Constant Fleming were also present.
    Delivering the opening address from the French side was President of the Tourist Office Ida Zin Ka Ieu while Minister Franklin Meyers spoke on behalf of the Dutch Tourist Office. The keynote address was delivered by Honorable Richard Skerrit from the CTO. Skerrit warned that the Caribbean nations do not have to give up on tourism now that the economy is low.
    The President of the Collectivity of St. Martin Frantz Gumbs delivered the closing remarks. The nights ceremony ended with a cocktail while the many journalist and television producers were seen getting interviews from St. Martin's dignitaries.
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    Click here to view the photos of the CTO Opening Ceremony.

  • Suspect Arrested at Airport and Released.

    Airport:--- Police arrested a male passenger at the Princess Juliana International Airport on September 20th. Police Spokesman Ricardo Henson said the suspect was at the Airport to board a flight to leave St. Maarten when he was arrested as a suspect in an ongoing murder investigation.
    Henson said police arrested the man after they received information that the man was a possible suspect in the murder of Sheldon Thomas whose body was found on Alexis G. Arnel Road. Police also received information that stated that the suspect was also using false documentation.
    The Police Spokesman said when the suspect was interrogated they quickly realized that the person they arrested was not the suspect they were looking for. Police immediately released the man and transported him back to the airport so he could have boarded his flight.
  • EPIC Continues its Annual Enviromental Education program.

    epicenviromentaleducationprogram22092011Environmental Protection in the Caribbean (EPIC) will be continuing its annual environmental education program by offering free educational presentations for schools, clubs, and community groups from September 28th to November 10th, 2011 as part of the Love the Lagoon program. Participants may choose from presentations on ocean pollution or marine debris, the environmental challenges St. Maarten faces and presentations on the wildlife and ecology of St. Maarten's wetlands.

    Visiting environmental education specialist Emily Ice will provide hands-on, interactive learning experiences for audiences of all ages. Classroom presentations may be complemented by field trips to nearby wetlands or to conduct marine debris clean-ups. To schedule presentations, email the foundation at rjthompson@epicislands.org.

  • Prince's Day in Holland.

    mvogesonprincedayinholland25092011Great Bay (DCOMM):--- Last week Tuesday Sint Maarten's Minister of Plenipotentiary Hon. Mathias Voges was one of the special guests along with his colleagues from Aruba and Curacao to attend Prince's Day, the state opening of Parliament.

    Every year on the third Tuesday of September the Dutch Government presents its plans for the next budget year. Her Majesty the Queen delivers the so-called Queen's Speech and the Minister of Finance presents the Budget Memorandum to the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament.

  • Minister Meyers says hotels can contribute to climate change mitigation.

    Philipsburg:--- Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport & Telecommunications Franklin Meyers, says based on developments in the European Union (EU), hotels will be able to contribute to climate change mitigation while also increasing their profits under a new United Nations (UN)-backed 'green' scheme offering an online toolkit to evaluate energy consumption, find renewable sources and improve energy management, thus cutting costs.

    Testing of the toolkit, launched by the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and its partners, was finalized recently in more than 100 European properties in four different pilot destinations – Haute-Savoie in France, Palma de Mallorca in Spain, Bonn in Germany, and Strandja in Bulgaria – with positive feedback from hotel owners and managers.

    Although hotels and other types of accommodation account for only two per cent of the world's global-warming carbon dioxide emissions, UNWTO says addressing this comparatively small yet important footprint is a priority for the tourism sector. Of the world's 5.9 million hotel rooms, over half are located in Europe, where the project has been launched initially.

    The Hotel Energy Solutions (HES) e-toolkit, the main output of the Hotel Energy Solutions project, provides hoteliers with a report which shows their current energy use and recommends appropriate renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies and actions. It further sets out what kind of savings on operational expenses hotels can expect from their green investments through a calculator measuring returns on investment.

    While Hotel Energy Solutions is a UNWTO-initiated project supported by the European Agency for Competitiveness and Innovation under the Intelligent Energy Europe programme, it is expected to be rolled out globally over the coming years. Once adapted for non-EU Member States, the project will benefit hotels worldwide.

    "I would encourage our hotel sector to look into this development as it could have benefits for them as well as for our country especially when we look at making a positive contribution to improving the local and global environment by reducing our footprint.

    "This is something for the Sint Maarten Hospitality & Trade Association to look into if they haven't already," Minister of Tourism and Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunications Hon. Franklin Meyers said on Tuesday.

    The project has been implemented in partnership with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the International Hotel & Restaurant Association (IH&RA), the European Renewable Energy Council (EREC), and the French Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME).

  • Guyanese Businessman Laid to Rest.

    markdeygoofuneral29092011Philipsburg:--- Guyanese businessman Mark Anthony Deygoo (34) who was shot five times during what appeared to be an armed robbery last week Wednesday was laid to rest on Thursday. The Thanksgiving Ceremony was held at the New Testament Church of God on Back Street.
    The late businessman was described by family, friends and co-workers to be quiet, friendly and one that was always willing to give assistance. His former boss from Shipwreck Shops said that Mark was someone he loved as his own son; he was always willing and kind to others.
    Prime Minister Sarah Wescot Williams, Deputy Prime Minister Theodore Heyliger, Minister of Education Rhoda Arrindell and Minister of Labor Cornelius De Weever were among those who paid their last respects to the late Deygoo and his family.
    Co-workers wept throughout the thanksgiving service since they saw Mark the day before he was shot multiple times in his store on Back Street.
    The late Mark Deygoo leaves to mourn his wife Padmini, only daughter Kimberly, his father Edward, two brothers Chris and Navin and his only sister Sharon.

    Click here to view photos of the Home Going Ceremony 1
    Click here to view photos of the Home Going Ceremony 2
    Click here to view photos of the Home Going Ceremony 3
  • Head of Aviation hands out Safety Inspector certificate.

    aviationworkshop30092011Great Bay (GIS):--- A group of aviation workers completed their week long training workshop (September 20-28) on Airport Security by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)

    The first of its kind seminar by ICAO on St. Maarten, the Head of the Department of Aviation Louis Halley was pleased to have the training, which was provided by instructors Mr. Arthur Tholel and Mr. Pedro Rotella.

    The end result was to have the participants increase their knowledge in: protecting the airport against acts of unlawful interference; contributing to the safety and security of the general public and aviation workers; and developing a future career in the field of aviation security.

    There were five members of different departments from the Princess Juliana International Airport and one participant from the Department of Civil Aviation & Maritime St. Maarten.

    Personnel from around the region also attended the Aviation safety course, namely: 4 participants from Bahamas, 1 participant from Grenada, 1 participant from Saba and 1 participant from St. Eustatius.

    There will be more aviation workshops in the near future, Halley said.

  • Philipsburg Jubilee Library continues "Power of Knowledge" lecture series.

    Philipsburg:--- "Know Your Health" an informative session, part of the Philipsburg Jubilee Library's "Power of Knowledge" series will be taking place September 29th at 6:30pm until 8:00pm at the library. "Know Your Health" will focus on various aspects of living a healthy lifestyle i.e. nutritional, physical, and sexual health. Adults are encouraged to come out and get informed! The event is free of charge.
  • President of Parliament Arrindell Meets with Agriculturist Ras Bushman.

    garrindellandrbushman25092011Philipsburg:--- As part of the President of Parliament's 'information gathering consultation sessions,' last week, the Hon. Gracita Arrindell met with Agriculturist Roland Joe better known as Ras Bushman.

    Bushman's philosophy is 'we are what we eat.' 'When we talk about farming we look at agriculture.' He has been involved in agriculture since 1985 and has farms above his Ital Shack on Bush Road, St. Peters and Marigot Hill. At one time he also cultivated land at the Emilio Wilson Park.

    Bushman says that more use should be made of hilltop areas where persons can't build due to the hillside policy. Land is scarce on the island. He added that planting in that area could be done in an environmental sustainable manner.

    Job creation is an area that agriculture could make a positive contribution. It's also an area where persons convicted for small crimes and have to do community service can get involved in - agriculture.

    Bushman believes agriculture should be more highlighted in the nation's schools with respect to its importance for food security adding that we need to go back to basics.

    Everything grows on Sint Maarten, herbs, fruit trees and vegetables. The cultivationists says that aquaponics is good and he likes to see technological advancement but stresses to keep the culture of planting alive by using the soil of mother earth.

    Bushman along with his wife and son operates their own restaurant on the Bush Road, Ital Shack. The fresh produce reaped from his farms is sold to a handful of restaurants and grocers and are served in Ital Shack.

    President of Parliament Hon. drs. Gracita Arrindell says that agriculture is an area that needs more attention, adding that a healthy diet will go a long way in preventing Non Communicable Diseases (NCD) such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke, chronic respiratory disease and cancer.

    "I am very pleased that last week the United Nations (UN) General Assembly adopted a political declaration on the prevention and control of NCDs where approximately 36 million people die each year.

    "A healthy nation has to do with the type of foods we consume and it all resorts back to home-grown fresh foods when compared to processed foods. I know many residents from all walks of life who go to Ital Shack and other like-minded establishments to have a healthy lunch. We also need to promote eating healthy food in our educational system.

    "It is now up to the representatives of the people to develop policies and thereafter backed by legislation that would promote the development of sustainable agriculture on the island," President of Parliament Hon. Gracita Arrindell said on Sunday.

  • USM IMPORTANT BILLBOARD NOTICE.

    The University of St. Martin (USM) would like to inform all faculty and students that classes on Saturday, September 10, 2011 are cancelled due to the inclement weather. Faculty and students also are urged to listen to the various radio stations for notices for Monday, September 12, 2011.
  • 34 year old St. Maartener to be Prosecuted for 2001 Murder on St. Maarten and 2011 Murder in Rotterdam.

    Philipsburg:--- A 34 year old man from St. Maarten identified as H.N. has been arrested in Rotterdam as the main suspect of a murder that took place in April 2011 in Rotterdam. The suspect was also wanted for the murder of L. Carruthers who was shot to death on January 30th 2001 in St. Maarten.
    Chief Prosecutor Hans Mos said H.N. will also be prosecuted for the murder committed on St. Maarten in 2001. He said the co-suspect was sentenced to 13 years imprisonment for his role in the 2001 murder but H.N. could not be found and as such his name was placed on the Interpol list as a wanted person on St. Maarten. Mos also indicated that the co-suspect was shot to death last year after he was released from the Pointe Blanche Prison.
    Mos said the prosecutor's office in Rotterdam requested the files of the 2001 murder case and it was safely handed over to them. Rotterdam's prosecutor already decided that they will prosecute H.N. for both murder cases. The one committed on St. Maarten in 2001 and the one committed in Rotterdam in April 2011.
    The 34 year old suspect (H.N.) mentioned in the Dutch press release, who was arrested fled the island back in 2001 and police were never able to arrest him.
    "The prosecutor in Rotterdam found out that H.N. was on an Interpol signaling list on behalf of Sint Maarten, in order to have him extradited to Sint Maarten. After H.N. was arrested in Rotterdam, the Rotterdam prosecutor contacted the Sint Maarten Prosecutor's Office and asked for the murder case of 2001. After having established that the suspect in both cases was one and the same, the original Police file was taken from Police archives and through the Prosecutor's Office formally handed over to the Rotterdam Prosecutor. They now have decided to prosecute H.N. for the 2001 murder case too," the release states.
    Mos expressed gratitude to the Interpol and the fact that the Dutch police checked for all relevant information on the suspect they have in custody. He said the relatives of the deceased L. Carruthers have been informed about the recent developments.
  • Mother of the Arts Ruby Bute is hosting and organizing a fundraising concert on the grounds of the “The Silk Cotton Grove” in Friar’s Bay.

    St. Maarten:--- For Thee I Cry is the name of the concert held on Saturday 10th September 2011 from 7pm. Fellow Artists have all donated their talent to help a fellow artist. The Imbali Center for Creative Movement was robbed of all its teaching equipment.
    Funds raised will be used to replace stolen equipment. Lady Ruby Bute is encouraging the general public to come out and support this worthy cause for our children. Price for ticket is only $10.
    Tickets are available at Van Dorp Eddine, Top Carrot, Imbali Center for Creative and from Cast Members.
  • Woman Arrested and Released for the Murder of Sheldon Thomas --- Judge released suspect for lack of evidence.

    Philipsburg:--- Detectives arrested one person on Thursday as the main suspect in the murder of Sheldon Thomas. Chief Prosecutor Hans Mos confirmed a suspect was arrested on Thursday and the suspect was taken before the judge of instruction on Friday.
    Mos did not release any details on the suspect they arrested for the 11th murder for the year 2011. Sheldon Thomas's body was found during the early morning hours of August 19th on G. Alexis Arnell Road in Cay Hill.
    SMN News learnt that the female suspect that police arrested on Thursday was released by the judge of instruction on Friday for the lack of evidence. Attorney at Law Hartman said the suspect was released by the judge because police did not have sufficient evidence to even label her a suspect in the murder of Sheldon Thomas.
  • Drama classes added at Imbali.

    ashedamaccow04092011Philipsburg:--- Imbali Center for Creative Movement is adding drama classes for children to its 2011-2012 schedule starting this Wednesday, September 7, from 2:15-3:00pm.
    The classes will be taught by St. Maarten's own Asheda Maccow, who is an avid lover of the arts. Maccow attended Milton Peters College, before leaving the island to study Humanities and Elementary Education at the University of the Virgin Islands. Maccow, who graduated in 2011, recently returned to the island and is employed as a Creative Artistic Formation instructor at one of the island's high schools.
    While at UVI she worked with and took part in several of the university's plays, musicals and chorale readings that were produced by Douglas Larche. Some of the productions she was involved with include; In the Beginning, A Song for Coretta, and South Pacific. In South Pacific she played a 1960's navy nurse and in the chorale reading "A Song for Coretta" she played the role of Keisha. In her most recent play "Old Story Time" by Trevor D. Rhone she was directed by David Edgecombe and played the role of Miss Margaret.
    "Asheda is very knowledgeable about dramatic reading and because of that we asked her to come and join the staff at Imbali. Our aim is to expose our island's youth to as much of the arts as possible and this venture provides us with yet another opportunity to fulfil this goal," Clara Reyes said.
    Reyes, who is the founder and director of Imbali Center for Creative Movement said that the classes are open to students 5-12 years old. More information about this class and the full Imbali curriculum can be obtained by visiting the school's office at the John Larmonie Center on the Longwall Road, in Philipsburg. Interested persons can also call Reyes at 554-9364 or contact her via FaceBook or email: clara.reyes1@gmail.com.
  • No More Arrests yet in Murder Investigations --- Release of first suspect throws police and prosecutor off guard.

    hansmos12062011Philipsburg:--- While the TGO team is busy working on six cases, including three of the recent murder investigations, Chief Prosecutor Hans Mos said that there is nothing new he can release to the media on the investigations. The team he said is working on five murder investigations and one attempted murder. The TGO team he said is busy working, they are sifting through information they gathered so far Mos said. Mos has said in the past that it appears to investigators that the recent killings is the grinding of axe among those that are ending up dead through execution style murders.
    Sources within the community feel that the persons who are ending up dead are part of a so called hit list created due to some sort of drug deal that went sour. Many have linked the arrest and subsequent release of the late Hector Miguel Arrindell to the slaying of Amador Jones and others. Among those dead are Miguel Arrindell, Amador Jones, Rodolfo Arrindell, Aric Lake, Emilio De Leon Reyes and Kevin Gumbs. One source said that the late Jones and Arrindell concocted a robbery related to a large amount of drugs. They further suggested that the killings on St. Maarten and St. Kitts are related, as the drug lords seem to be settling the accounts among themselves. When asked if the investigating team and the Prosecutor's Office share the same sentiments on the killings on the two islands. Mos said the police and prosecutors do not exclude any option and that the police and prosecutors are working with every police and persons who might help to shed light on the murders they are trying to solve.
    When asked if St. Maarten is working with St. Kitts on the killings that have taken place here and on St. Kitts, Mos said that St. Maarten is working with everyone who might be involved or linked to these murders. "If we have to work with China we will work with them to solve the murder cases we have before us and so most certainly do not exclude the Caribbean islands," Mos said.
    It should be noted that the attempted murder that is being investigated by the TGO team involves the brother of the late Amador Jones. Omar Jones was arrested for attempting to kill a man identified only as "K" on April 16th in Dutch Quarter. Police was on the hunt for Jones who later surrendered to police. "K" who was shot in his leg was arrested by police when he was released from the hospital. He was later released and deported to St. Kitts where some killings have also taken place.
    The Chief Prosecutor also admits that they are somewhat disappointed with the release of the person the police arrested as a suspect in the Sheldon Thomas murder investigation. "We are disappointed about this because we thought we had a suspect whom we could have further interrogated to solve the most recent murder," Mos said.
    It should be noted that St. Maarten has recorded some 11 murders for the year 2011. Three of those murders have been solved. Three young men from Dominica admitted to the killings of Ludovic Guillevin, Fiodel Louis, and Edwardo Nova Valdez. The three victims were beaten violently and shot while being picked up by so called gypsy taxis. The Prosecutor's office announced earlier this year that they managed to solve three of the murder cases all of which they said were committed by the same group of people who were robbing innocent people at night.
    Those killed for the year 2011 through gun violence are Ludovic Guillevin, Fiodel Louis, Edwardo Nova Valdez, Emilio De Leon Reyes, Amador Jones, Hector Miguel Arrindell, Rodolfo Arrindell, Kevin Gumbs, Aric Lake, and Sheldon Thomas.
  • Murder Suspect Known to Police --- Reputed wife made reports to police about his behavior and Aggression --- Suspect burnt on both feet, hands and face.

    robertreidleavingcourthouse09092011Dutch Quarter:--- The police and detective department have a large amount of information on murder suspect Robert "Leroy" Reid who is currently in pretrial detention for the murder of his 13 year old daughter.
    Sources close to the child's mother Evelyn Jarvis told SMN News that the woman had filed a police report against Reid who once hit her. The source further explained that Jarvis and Reid were living together for a very long time but the relationship was bumpy. They said the woman once moved out and left Reid but she returned to him after he pleaded with her and friends that he would change his attitude. The close friends said Reid would constantly chase the woman and his child away when they argue. "On one occasion the man even faked a robbery of his Dutch Quarter apartment. He claimed thieves went inside his apartment and only tumbled Jarvis's belongings and stole her jewelry, while his belongings and those of his daughter remained untouched." The friends of the grieving mother said the so-called robbery was also reported and detectives went to the home to process the scene but nothing came out of it.
    The relationship they said got extremely rocky and Jarvis moved out about two weeks ago with her daughter but she allowed the child to remain in close contact with her father.
    Robert Reid then accused Jarvis of having an affair, he even went as far as blaming some of her friends saying they knew the woman was having an affair and they encouraged her to move out. "He would pick up Tiffany everyday from school and take her to his apartment in Dutch Quarter and later in the evening he would drop her at various meeting points so her mother could take her home. The mother would make arrangements to meet him at Le Grand Marche's parking lot or anywhere in Philipsburg where there are lots of people. Last week Tuesday, Evelyn Jarvis made several phone calls to Robert Reid asking him to bring her daughter to her and at one point he invited her to come for the child. "Robert and Evelyn argued on the phone and she finally told him to give the child $1.00 so she could take a bus to come home to her mother." The friends who asked to remain anonymous said that Reid claims he gave the child the bus fare and she left his Dutch Quarter apartment at 05:50pm but up to 8:00pm that night her mother was calling him to find out where the child was since she did not go home.
    According to another friend, just after 8pm the mother went to the Philipsburg Police Station to file a missing person report and the police informed her of the 24 hour law, they also told her that Robert Reid was transported by ambulance to the St. Maarten Medical Center from Dutch Quarter as he claimed that he was burnt by his bus radiator. They said the man even called Jarvis and told her he was on his way to the hospital. A neighbor also called Jarvis and told her that Robert Reid had gotten burnt and they are in possession of the apartment key and his phone.
    The friends said the police then advised Evelyn Jarvis to go to the St. Maarten Medical Center to meet Reid and to see what he would tell her about the child. "Robert Reid had fresh burns on his hands, his face and both feet which were all wrapped up. The doctor's told Jarvis that Reid must remain in hospital because he received second degree burns which must be treated, but Reid signed a discharge form claiming that he was going to look for his missing child." What kind of father would go fixing bus when he knew from early on that his daughter was missing asked one of the frustrated friends.
    "When Evelyn Jarvis reached the hospital she met some of Reid's friends from Middle Region there and she went to ask him about their child and it was then he decided that he will take his own discharge to go and look for his missing child. "That man wanted to kill the mother, because when he came out of the hospital he wanted to go in the same vehicle as Jarvis but Jarvis asked him where he was going and then he turned back and went with his friends who went with him to the Philipsburg Police Station where he also filed a missing person's report. "Later that night police called Jarvis and requested that she bring a photograph of her daughter who is missing. "When Evelyn reached the police station the police told her that they found a burnt body of a female in South Reward but they do not know who the person was. When Jarvis went back to the police station sometime during Wednesday Jarvis and her boss were taken to the Emerald Funeral Home where she positively identified the body police found in the South Reward ravine as that of Tiffany Reid." Chief Prosecutor Hans Mos confirmed that the body they found in South Reward has been positively identified as Tiffany Reid.
    Speaking about Tiffany Reid they said the young lady was always close to her father who would take her to and from school daily. "Tiffy was always on the bus with her father and we are so shocked and devastated at what happened to her. That was a sweet child she was always pleasant and friendly." Tiffany Reid was her mother's only child while her father has other children in Jamaica. Tiffany Reid was a former student of the St. Joseph Primary School and a first form student of the St. Maarten Academy (PSVE Section).
  • National Alliance Leader wants to know where is the Coalition’s Governing Program --- GEBE and Crime has Parliament’s Attention.

    membersofparliament12092011Philipsburg:--- The leader of the National Alliance William Marlin took a swing at the coalition government who still has not presented Parliament with their governing program. Marlin made the statements on Monday during the special ceremony held for the closing of the first year of parliament. Marlin said eleven years ago the people voted for St. Maarten to become a country within the Kingdom which would have brought about changes for the people. Marlin said the people thought that becoming a country within the Kingdom would have cut out the bureaucracy between Curacao and St. Maarten. Marlin also reminded the chairlady of Parliament Gracita Arrindell about her days in the Island Council when she called on Government to stop using government owned companies as their personal "piggy bank" to execute their pet projects. Marlin said when they negotiated the change of status agreements were made for St. Maarten to have good corporate governance and it is sad to see members of parliament and members of government criticizing the institutions that has to take stock on St. Maarten and to ensure they maintain good corporate governance.
    These institutions are not given the tools to execute their duties and this is not what the people expect from country St. Maarten. He said politicians can talk and make promises but their actions speak louder than their voices. He said right now it's business as usual and St. Maarten is back to the politics of yesteryear. Marlin said it is almost a year now since the first government of country St. Maarten was sworn in. He said the coalition government made several promises to the people and to date that coalition has not presented their governing program. Marlin said there has been a drastic increase in turn over tax and cost of living has increased tremendously on St. Maarten. Marlin said that the oil prices are dropping worldwide but on St. Maarten gasoline and cooking gas prices are skyrocketing and is continuing to rise while electricity bills are also skyrocketing. He reminded the Members of Parliament of the motion they all cosigned to force GEBE to sit with government and to reduce the fuel clause by 50%. Marlin said the Members of Parliament chose not to represent the people of St. Maarten but they chose to follow instructions from those who said that the motion was not in their political interest. Marlin said crime has been on the increase with several murders, while there is a newspaper advertisement saying Cash for GOLD. He said since then gold snatching has increased and government has done nothing. People he said are being targeted even when they are in their vehicles. The people he said has lost confidence and are no longer reporting these crimes. He said two weeks ago his faction requested a central committee meeting where they want to hear from the Minister of Justice and Minister of Labour and Social Affairs. He said the public needs to know what government is doing concerning the spate of crime on St. Maarten. Marlin called on government to move from the politics of yesteryear and to begin moving St. Maarten forward.
    Raising some of the same concerns about crime was Independent Member of Parliament Patrick Illidge and faction leader of the United People's Party Romain La Ville.
    La Ville in his presentation said St. Maarten did not have the opportunity to start off on the right foot and that the coalition government started with the cards they were dealt and that Members of Parliament should be more concerned about what is taking place on St. Maarten. La Ville said the 15 MP's were charged to represent the people a year ago and they should now wonder if the people are rejoicing or if they are mourning. La Ville said crime has gone through the roof and people are now fearful of walking the public roads.
    During the short ceremony, the President of Parliament also presented copies of the first year report which she said has to be amended to add the addendum. The President of Parliament said today they are much stronger and wiser to accomplish the tasks ahead of them. She said she was criticized but managed to rise above it and execute her duties as a strong black woman.
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  • International Coastal Cleanup planned for September 17th at Mullet Bay Beach.

    Philipsburg:--- The 2011 International Coastal Cleanup will take place on Saturday September 17th at the Mullet Bay Beach from 7am-10am.
    The local coordinator for the event is local environmental awareness group Sint Maarten PRIDE Foundation.
    All volunteers from all walks of life are welcome. Last year over 650 volunteers took part and we are looking forward to increasing our volunteer participation this year.
    The International Coastal Cleanup is a world-wide volunteer event organized by the Ocean Conservancy in over 108 countries. Volunteers will be collecting trash and also making an inventory of all trash collected on a special data card.
    The data is then compiled into the Ocean Conservancy world-wide trash report. For more information and to see the trash items breakdown by country: go to www.oceanconservancy.org
    Saturday September 17th will see three cleanup events: Mullet Bay beach for the General Public from 7am-10am.
    ROTARY SUNRISE will be helping the Simpson Bay Community by cleaning up the Simpson Bay Beach, all resident from the neighborhood are welcome to join. Meeting place is at the Sr. Regina Primary School at 7am.
    Our underwater diving cleanup is open only for experienced divers. This takes place at Ocean Explorers Dive Center on Kim Sha Beach. Registration for the dive is at 9am.
    Dive volunteers will be going beneath the surface to remove trash from the ocean floor.
    The International Coastal Cleanup engages people to remove trash and debris from the world's beaches and waterways, identify the sources of trash, and change the behaviors that cause ocean trash in the first place.
    Our beaches and clean oceans are economically valuable indicators for our tourism destination to thrive and continue attracting millions of annual visitors to our shores.
    During the month of September, local schools have signed up to conduct the Coastal Cleanup at other beach locations.
    The Grand sponsors this year are the Sint Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association and the Sint Maarten Chamber of Commerce.
  • Detective Anthony Chiki Elizabeth Received Hero’s Home Going Ceremony --- Considered as St. Maarten’s Top Cop --- De Witte.

    chikismemorialservice14092011Philipsburg:--- The St. Maarten Police Force and the entire justice chain lost a top cop, when detective Anthony Chiki Elizabeth passed away last week, said St. Maarten's Judge of Instruction Wally Haverthong. Haverthong made the statements during the home going ceremony on Wednesday. He said he worked on a number of high profile cases with the late Chiki and he was one of those officers who was always thorough and to the point with his reports.
    Chief Commissioner of Police Peter de Witte said he knew Chiki long before he took office on St. Maarten. Chiki, he said, was a dedicated worker and one who was always willing to serve. De Witte said Chiki has worked on several high profile cases, and he has even worked with the RST. Chiki began his career as a rookie officer but he quickly moved up the ladder as a Major. De Witte said anyone in the police force could have called on Chiki and he was one of those officers that was always willing to assist. "He showed interest in every case, even if he was not assigned to certain cases," De Witte said. De Witte said since the passing of Chiki who died in a road accident last week, his colleagues are still struggling to cope with their loss. The top cop said when the officers responded to the scene of the accident on September 8th and they saw it was one of their own it created a very sad atmosphere.
    Chiki's sudden passing brought tears to the eyes of his colleagues, even those at the Prosecutor's Office that worked with him cried openly on Wednesday.
    His mentor and colleague Carlyle Rogers described him, as a swift young man who did his best to excel, Rogers said Chiki came straight to St. Maarten when he finished the Police Academy in Curacao and ever since then he took all the courses that was available to him to become one of St. Maarten's best police officers. Chiki he said showed dedication from the very first day he arrived on St. Maarten. Despite being small in size, he was a man of courage with a huge heart.
    Minister of Justice Roland Duncan said some 20 years ago Chiki almost arrested him and it was only when he reached the police station things were arranged. At the time Duncan was a young lawyer. He said Chiki showed courage when exercising his duties as an officer of the law.
    Minister Duncan said he is extremely hurt at the passing of Chiki because he was an officer that had potential, one who chose to remain on St. Maarten when the Netherlands Antilles dismantled.
    The Memorial Service organized by the KPSM was one for a hero. Chiki, a spotless officer of the law had the police pall bearers marching behind the Emerald Funeral Home hearse through Front Street as they prepare for the Memorial Service. The KPSM made sure they gave Chiki a hero's funeral on Wednesday since the fallen officer served St. Maarten to best of his ability. The blue casket bearing his body was draped in St. Maarten's flag since Chiki made St. Maarten his home from 1989. His colleagues and friends stood guard as his body was taken in and out of the Catholic Church.
    Many of his colleagues could hardly hold themselves up when they saw the flag draped casket arriving and leaving the St. Maarten Tours of Roman Catholic Church. Some of them wept, while others were seen consoling each other. His companion and two children wept openly throughout the service.
    Attending the Memorial Service were the Council of Ministers, namely Prime Minister Sarah Wescot Williams, Deputy Prime Minister Theodore Heyliger, Minister Roland Duncan, Minister Franklin Meyers, Minister Cornelius De Weever and Minister Rhoda Arrindell. Representing the Parliament of St. Maarten was the President of Parliament Gracita Arrindell, Johan Janchi Leonard also a former colleague of Chiki, Sylvia Meyers, and George Pantophlet. Among the mourners were several prison guards and ambulance personnel.
    Representatives from the French side of the island include the Commandant of the Gendarmerie Stephen Brunet and the Director of the Police Territorial Flavien Basile.
    Representing the Justice chain were Chief Prosecutor Hans Mos, Ludmilla Hodge, Manon Ridderbecks, Barth den Hartigh and several judges and staff from the Court of First Instance. After the Memorial Service, the body of Chiki Elizabeth was taken to the Philipsburg Police Station. His photograph was presented to his brother who then hanged it on the wall of the fallen servicemen of the law, all of which was done in the presence of the Council of Ministers and Chief of Police Peter de Witte. Photographs of Chiki were also presented to his two minor children. Also paying tribute to Chiki were bikers and several residents and friends of fallen officer. Several persons were seen throughout Front Street and around the Philipsburg Police Station when the body was taken there.
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    Click here to view photos of the Memorial Ceremony of the late Anthony Chiki Elizabeth 1.
    Click here to view photos of the Memorial Ceremony of the late Anthony Chiki Elizabeth 2.
    Click here to view photos of the Memorial Ceremony of the late Anthony Chiki Elizabeth 3.
  • His Excellency Governor Holiday Visits Ambulance Department.

    eholidayvisitsambulancedept15092011Great Bay (DCOMM):--- His Excellency (HE) Governor Eugene Holiday recently visited the Ambulance Department at their headquarters in Cay Hill.

    Governor Holiday met with Head of the Ambulance Department drs. Cylred Richardson and was later given a tour of the facility including that of the Mass Casualty Incident trailers.

    The tour also entailed a mock demonstration where paramedics were engaged in advance cardiac life support (ACLS) to a training mannequin.

  • Newly Opened State of the Art Central Kitchen blocked by Angry Workers on Monday --- Over 5000 students left hungry --- President Refused to meet with workers.

    ctosroadblock19092011Marigot:--- Workers of the newly opened state of the art kitchen (Cuisine Central) blocked the entrance of the building early Monday morning as they continued their protest action. The kitchen workers claim they are protesting against the deplorable working conditions at the new state of the art kitchen which was opened in August 2011.
    A truck, and several other vehicles were parked at the immediate entrance while garbage bins were also placed in the middle of the road as the workers stood guard at the main entrance of their job site.
    The workers left their jobs on Friday and went to the Collectivity of Saint Martin where they were seeking to meet with President Frantz Gumbs and Caisse Territorial des Oeuvres Scolaires (CTOS) President Carenne Mills but both elected officials refused to meet with the workers on Friday which sparked Monday's blockage leaving over 5000 students without lunch. Parents were called during the midday hours on Monday to pick up their children since there was no food at the schools to feed them.
    Nicole Whit of the UCT/UGTG union said the union representatives have been discussing with the Collectivity since June this year and their requests are not being honored. She explained that was the reason the workers and members of the union decided that they wanted to be part of the next meeting.
    President Frantz Gumbs who was interviewed by Air Supply on Radio St. Martin on Monday morning said he refused to meet with the workers but was prepared to meet with the Union representatives as was planned earlier. President Gumbs said he had scheduled a meeting with the technical staff and the CTOS President but at no time he was prepared to meet with 30 to 40 workers.
    When asked if he was willing to meet with the workers on Monday President Gumbs said unless the workers clear the entrance and call off their actions he will not meet with them. The President also said Monday's action taken by the union and its members was illegal since the Union did not send in a "pre-avis de greve" to the Collectivity notifying them that they were going to begin industrial action.
    The President also acknowledged that the Cuisine Central might be state of the art with new equipments but the kitchen he said was functional but not in optimal condition. Gumbs said that he is fully aware of the difficulties that the workers are facing and the CTOS was dealing with the issues. According to Nicole Whit and other staff members of the Cuisine Central, the appliances were giving out electrical shocks. President Gumbs said that the electrical shocks only occurred once and it was immediately dealt with. On Friday, President Gumbs told SMN News that the shocking came from the air conditioning system which takes as much as three days to build up. President Gumbs said that the electrical problem was immediately fixed when they were made aware of it. The President said on Radio St. Martin that there was no gas leak at the Cuisine Central instead he said the gas pressure was too low and that was shutting down everything since it's on an automated system. President Gumbs made clear that while the kitchen was not fully optimal the workers could have cooked for the students.
    During the actions on Monday a truck was seen at the location transporting cooking gas to the Cuisine Central. The workers said had they not protested authorities would not have seen to it to deliver the right type of gas for commercial cooking.
    Nicole Whit said besides the working conditions the unions wanted to address the discrimination against workers. She claimed when school reopened this year several cooks who were cooking at the Cuisine Central for years were removed from their post simply because they are unionized. "Can you imagine they have cooks peeling garlic now and people who were not cooks are now cooking because they are not part of the Unions. We have seven workers whose posts have been outsourced and this is the type of discrimination we are talking about that has to be addressed by the President of the COM," Whit further explained that the equipments at the new kitchen are different to those they are accustomed to working with at the old kitchen. She said the union asked the CTOS to provide adequate training for the workers but only some of them were trained during a one week period.
    At the scene on Monday, some of the cooks said the kitchen was no longer shocking anyone and they were willing to work but could not since the entrance of the Cuisine Central was blocked. They also made clear that they were not in support of the actions taken on Monday.
    In the meantime, the workers said the Gendarmes were sent just after midday Monday to the scene to issue fines to the drivers of vehicles that bore Dutch number plates. The workers said that President Gumbs and CTOS President Carenne Mills did not meet with them since they maintained that they were on go slow and not full industrial action. The workers and unions said they held their actions for four hours after which the workers returned to their post to continue working.
    SMN News further learnt that the Unions heads in Guadeloupe will be handling the issue as of Tuesday. SMN News further learnt that the Gendarmes are now investigating Monday's action.
    Click here to view photos of the industrial action at the Cuisine Central on Monday.
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  • St. Maarten Records Another Murder --- Gunmen Entered victim’s house and began firing shots --- Neighbors warned victim about his activities.

    anthonywhytehouse20092011Dutch Quarter:--- Detectives on St. Maarten are busy investigating yet another murder which was committed early Tuesday morning on Madrid Drive. According to neighbors, unknown gunmen entered the home of 28 year old Anthony Whyte of St. Kitts and began shooting.
    The victim managed to run through someone else's apartment and escaped from the shooters after he was shot at least once on his right side. Neighbors said they heard the dogs in the area barking around 02:00 am and shortly after that they heard some banging before gunshots were fired. They said when the gunmen left they all ventured outside and called out to their neighbor whom they found not far away bleeding profusely. "Anthony told us he was shot on his right side as he was bleeding; he also told us that the bullet went through his body. Shortly after he collapsed we took him on the step and rested his head on a pillow until the police and ambulance reached the scene." The victim also had a cut under his chin said another neighbor.
    "The police reached here in no time but the ambulance personnel could not come to the house because of the deplorable condition of the road. Neighbors had to assist the ambulance personnel to take the victim to the ambulance which had to park down the road." Anthony Whyte succumbed to his injuries at the St. Maarten Medical Center confirmed Chief Prosecutor Hans Mos.
    It was clear that the gunmen smashed open the door where Whyte is living to enter the house where they shot the victim. Blood stains were still at the spot where the neighbors took the victim when they found him outside.
    The distraught neighbors said the young man was peaceful and helpful to those around him but they could not say if he was involved in illicit activities. One neighbor said some two weeks ago a set of detectives were in the area looking for Anthony but no one told them where he was living. "Anthony moved in here about a year ago and while he was a friendly person we do not know much about him. All we can tell you is that this incident has left a five year old girl without parents. St. Maarten now has another orphan to take care of because the child's mother passed away recently and she was living with her father who with the assistance of friends was taking care of her."
    Another neighbor said he knew the young man was involved in "things" and he spoke to him a number of times. That man did not want to say what kind of "things" the victim was involved in.
    When asked where the victim was working the neighbors said he was a construction worker who was performing odd jobs. A close female friend of the victim said her friend had a 5 year old daughter whose mother recently died. She said she has no idea as to who killed Anthony since according to her he had no enemies.
    Tuesday's killing has brought the number of murders on the Dutch side of the island to 12, with only three of them solved thus far.
  • NAGICO sponsors youngster for baseball try-outs.

    nagicodonatestojovanrobinson20092011Saba:--- NAGICO has sponsored, upcoming international prospect, Jovan Robinson to travel to the United States on Wednesday, to participate in several try-outs to further his blossoming dream of becoming a Major League baseball star.

    This 20-year-old will be participating in private work outs with five Major League Baseball teams. So far he has already trained in Florida, the Dominican Republic and under the leadership of his agent; Skillz Management Group, participated in the World Power High School Showcase in Arizona.

    Reggie Plaisir, his Play Agent Advisor speaking on Robinson's behalf said that, "Jovan is very talented, Jovan is a well-known prospect and was extremely grateful for the assistance he received from NAGICO, which has enabled him to make this experience possible."

    In a press statement issued by NAGICO, the insurance company said that "At NAGICO we recognize and contribute towards the development of exceptional local talent. Therefore, we made this contribution to Jovan towards the cost of his trip for the try-outs."

    Jovan Robinson hails from Saba is a local talent known to be fast on the bases. He runs the 60-yard dash in 6.3 seconds and began playing baseball locally with the Pony League and most recently commuted from Saba to St. Maarten regularly to play.

  • Man Shot in Cole Bay --- Investigation Ongoing.

    henson17112010Cole Bay:--- Several detectives and officers from the forensic department responded to a shooting incident that took place at Marianna Estate in Cole Bay. Police Spokesman Ricardo Henson said the shooting took place around 8:40pm and the shooters he said fired about seven shots. The two suspects then escaped on a scooter.
    On the scene, the investigating officers encountered a male victim with initials M.M. (Michael Montero) lying in his yard bleeding from a possible gunshot wound to his back. The victim told police that he was attacked from behind by an unknown man and shot in his back. The suspect then jumped on a scooter with another man and sped away. The victim at the time could not give any statement as to who the suspect is and why this incident took place. The victim was treated on the scene and then transported to the Sint Maarten Medical Center where he remains in the Intensive Care Unit for observation. The investigation is still ongoing said the Police Spokesman.
  • PUBLIC NOTICE: BOOK PARTY Saturday, October 1.

    "Lydia – From Heterosexual to Bisexual to Lesbian to God" by Lydia G. Henderson
    A new adult autobiography.
    8 pm, The Alley Lounge (next to Pineapple Pete).
    Welfare Road 53 (on the way to PJI Airport).
    Contact: (721) 527.1112 or nehesi@sintmaarten.net.
    Organized by House of Nehesi Publishers
  • Council of Ministers Plans to Spend Naf.600, 000 on Renovating Government Administration Building for Queen's Visit --- MP Marlin Disagrees says Monies should be spent on Finishing New Government Building.

    Philipsburg:--- SMN News learnt from reliable sources that the Council of Ministers has decided to spend at least Naf. 600, 000.00 on renovating parts of the old Government Administration Building for the Queen's visit which is scheduled for November 3rd 2011.
    The source said the renovation plans includes the re-tiling of the front court of the Government Administration Building on Clem Labega Square, the renovating of the Prime Minister's Office and the A. C. Wathey Legislative Hall. SMN News further learnt that the Prime Minister and her staff will re-locate their offices to the old Parliament Building while the renovation is taking place.
    In an invited comment, Member of Parliament and leader of the National Alliance William Marlin said he also heard that Government plans to spend over half a million guilders renovating the Government Administration Building. The National Alliance leader said he is of the opinion that government should spend their resources on completing the new government building so that they can begin using the building for which they have been paying a huge rent for the past two years now. Furthermore, he said government has a problem with balancing its budget for 2012 and spending that amount of monies on renovating an old building is uncalled for. Marlin said the current Administration Building is indeed in deplorable condition but for now repainting the building on the outside should suffice for the Queen's visit.
  • Crime Discussion ended up as a Political Warfare in Parliament --- Duncan Criticized for not Providing Tools and Manpower to Police.

    rduncan12082011Philipsburg:--- The discussion on the crime rate on St. Maarten that took place in a central committee meeting on Tuesday turned out to be more of a political warfare rather than finding solutions for the island's predicament. At the continuation of the meeting on Tuesday, National Alliance leader and Member of Parliament William Marlin lashed out at Minister of Justice Roland Duncan who made several excuses to Parliament on the crime situation rather than providing answers and solutions to the questions posed to him. Marlin said the coalition government provided a governing program almost one year after they took office which they called "A Foundation of Hope" but the current trend and cries of the people and police is far from providing hope. Marlin said the police indicated to parliament that serious crimes are on the rise and he felt that the police pleaded with their Minister on the floor of parliament to provide them with the necessary manpower and tools so that they can execute their duties. Marlin said the former Minister of Constitutional Affairs and now Minister of Justice is saying now that nothing was in place for justice and had he known beforehand that he was going to hold the Justice Ministry then he would have done more prior to 10/10/10.
    He further explained that the MOT is not functioning, however, he wants the Minister to inform parliament on exactly what the MOT is doing since the Minister said they were functioning. He asked the Minister to provide parliament with the amount of unusual transactions that was reported to the prosecutor's office by the MOT. He also asked for more information on the new police law that is not so friendly. After making his statements and condemning the current government and their governing program, Member of Parliament and member of the Democratic Party Roy Marlin lashed out at the National Alliance leader indicating to him that the Minister of Justice and former Minister of Constitutional Affairs was appointed by the National Alliance. Marlin chided the National Alliance for their attendance rate to the Parliament of the Netherlands Antilles compared to their attendance rate on St. Maarten. Marlin said the foundation of hope did not begin two weeks ago but it started when they all made promises to the people of St. Maarten including the police.
    Marlin also pleaded with the Minister of Justice to make some sort of agreement with the unions regarding the rent allowances for the police, as well as for their salary increases. He said what is done to the police is unfair since they all convinced the police to stay and work on St. Maarten. He asked the Minister to provide Parliament with the figures on how many requests was submitted in 2010 and 2011 for rent allowances and how many of the requests were honored before and after 10/10/10.
    Member of Parliament Louie Laveist chided his colleague for playing politics and grandstanding in parliament. Laveist said some of his colleagues seem to be suffering from selective amnesia. He reminded the Democratic Party faction that they are the ones who said St. Maarten was ready for its new status while the National Alliance leader said that St. Maarten was far from being ready. Laveist said he is of the opinion that government should put off its large projects and pump money into the police department which is understaffed and lacks tools. Laveist said that the harbor is busy trying to invest in Tempo so that they can attract more people to St. Maarten yet they are not able to guarantee protection for their visitors. He cautions the Minister not to treat its police like a bunch of toy soldiers.

    Member of Parliament Hyacinth Richardson said it was clear that the Minister of Justice was having a hard time getting the monies he wanted for his Ministry. He called on the Minister Duncan to do the honorable thing since he is an honorable man. "If your colleagues in the Council of Ministers do not want to give you the necessary funding to take care of the police I urge you to do the honorable thing and resign."
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  • Mother Convicted for Abusing 6 year old Son.

    Marigot:--- A judge in Guadeloupe sentenced a mother to four months suspended sentence for constantly mistreating her six year old son.
    The mother who lives in Agrement was reported to authorities by her neighbours on September 24th while she was mistreating her son. Gendarmes quickly responded to the scene and took charge of the child whose body bore evidence of abuse. The mother was immediately arrested for child abuse.
    The mother admitted to authorities that she was in the habit of beating the child with a belt and other objects. She also told authorities that she would go as far as slapping her son but at no time did she know that such disciplinary measures were against the law since she herself received those types of disciplinary measures as a form of education.

    In an unrelated case, on Monday September 26th Gendarmes launched a major anti-drug control in Grand Case between 8:00pm and 9:00pm. Several persons were controlled but only one was found to be in possession of cocaine and cannabis. He received a court summons.

  • PUBLIC NOTICE: The Rotary Club of St. Maarten will be holding a fundraising activity for Alzheimer's this Saturday.

    "The Rotary Club of St. Maarten" will be holding a fundraising activity for Alzheimer's this Saturday September 3rd at Le Grand Marche Bush Road and Union Road. T-shirts will be on sale for USD 10 and the St. Maarten Alzheimer's Foundation will be on location to provide information.
  • Dolphin Casino License Granted to Millennium Star NV --- License not yet issued --- Meyers.

    franklinmeyers01122010Philipsburg:--- SMN News learnt that the government of St. Maarten has granted the Dolphin Casino license to Millennium Star NV, owned by Obencio Fleming. The source said the license was approved by the Heyliger/ National Alliance Government in 2010 but a letter was turned down by the five day executive council when they took office in October last year.
    Dolphin casino was housed in the Sunset Building owned by Member of Parliament Frans Richardson. However, the National Alliance/Heyliger government could not have granted the license to Millennium Star since there was an ongoing court case.
    Constant rumors within the community claim that the United People's Party Minister of Economic Affairs Franklyn Meyers is using the license as a bargaining chip to get Richardson to jump ship from the National Alliance to Independent especially since the Minister's brother Etienne Meyers has invested in the future Dolphin Casino.
    Minister Meyers in an invited comment said the Dolphin Casino license has not yet been issued because the process is not yet finalized. The Minister has promised to give a complete elucidation on the processing of the Dolphin Casino license on Wednesday during the Council of Ministers press briefing.
    Even though the owner of Millennium Star, Obencio Fleming has not received all the necessary documents for Dolphin Casino, there are at least two investors from overseas and one locally that have already invested in the new casino. The source said cash transactions were made between the investors one from Trinidad and the other from the United States at the RBBT bank, thus allowing the renovations to take place.
    The rumor of Richardson wanting to leave the National Alliance has been the hottest topic within recent weeks. When asked about this, Richardson has said openly that he was reconsidering his political future, none of which he said on the record. When contacted most recently Richardson said he has no statements to make and he is letting the people of St. Maarten say as much as they want, he went as far as saying that the reporters who wrote articles on his switching sides would have a lot of explaining to do when Parliament reopens on September 13.
  • U.S. Consulate General Announces New Appointment System.

    WILLEMSTAD, Curacao:--- The U.S. Consulate General is pleased to announce an appointment system for American Citizen Services (ACS) and a changed pickup schedule for passports which will improve its service to the public.

    Opening Hours

    ACS window hours are 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
    We are closed on Tuesday, and Thursday except for passport pickup and emergency situations. Applicants for a Non-Immigrant Visa must pick up their passport with visa during these hours.

    Passports

    Most passport applications must be made in person at the ACS office of the Consulate. New passports are generally issued within one to two weeks and must be picked up during regularly scheduled ACS hours. Limited validity emergency passports may be issued in special circumstances.

    Appointment System

    To better serve customers and reduce waiting times, all routine services in ACS are by appointment only.

    • Passports for minors and adults - renewal, lost/stolen, first issuance.
    • To add visa pages to a U.S. passport.
    • To apply for a Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA) and first U.S. passport for children.
    • To return to submit additional documents for a pending CRBA application.
    • Notarial service.
    • Other services not already specified.

    We recommend you make an appointment by e-mail at ACSCuracao@state.gov. You may also call for an appointment at 011-5999-461-3066 and ask to speak to the Consular section. Please arrive at least 15 minutes before your appointment time to allow sufficient time to clear security and enter the waiting room. Please be aware that mobile phones and weapons are not permitted to enter the Consulate compound. We ask that these items be left outside to speed entry to the Consulate. All bags must be searched. Scheduled appointments will be automatically canceled for applicants who arrive after their scheduled time. Applicants who arrive late must make a new appointment. Emergency cases will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
  • Moving Forward - MP George Pantophlet.

    george21082009Member of Parliament George Pantophlet says it is time to move forward with reminding the Minister of Economic Affairs Franklyn Meyers of some 10 questions posed to him in the letter of August 17, 2011. The questions were with regards to the control on gas stations, the issuing of fines, the weight of the gas cylinders, supermarkets, how many persons are employed to carry out controls, when did those controls take place and so on. Moving forward on what government is doing with regards to alleviating the high electricity bills. Moving forward with why government rejected the National Alliance proposal of 50% reduction on the fuel clause for 6 months. But has not come up with a solution to this problem. Moving forward with why government rejected the subsidizing of school fees for secondary schools. And how can we forget that the Prime Minister who during a press briefing said that we will see change. Yes a change in the upward movement of our electricity bills. Moving forward with why government rejected the Re-bounce Program. Incidentally is it true that the UP/DP government is planning to increase the turnover tax? People are going through a very difficult time financially. And if this is what government plans to do then they are really looking to increase business closure and perpetuate poverty. Some people can't even put food on the table and are sending their children to school hungry. On the matter of electricity, he understood that the multi millionaire Minister of Everything said that he also pays GEBE. The Member of Parliament says he wonders what the Minister was referring to with such a statement. The Member of Parliament wonders who benefits from the importing of fuel. Moving forward, why is it that our small local contractors are out of work with all the major road repairs taking place? Why is Telem being allowed to stutter? Can't find a partner as yet? What has happened to the ECC license? The Member of Parliament says he is also preparing some questions for the Minister of Finance one of which has to do with whether he has put together the committee to look into preparing the law on dividends, amendments to the casino and lottery ordinances. Moving forward.
  • Police Arrest Brothers as Accomplice in Chucky’s Kidnapping Investigation.

    Philipsburg:--- Police and detectives arrested two brothers from Dutch Quarter on Tuesday as they continue the investigation surrounding a kidnapping. The main suspect in the kidnapping has been identified as Omar Nelson better known as Chucky. Police Spokesman Ricardo Henson confirmed the arrest of two brothers both identified as R.B.
  • Trident Jewelers held at Gunpoint.

    Philipsburg:--- Two armed gunmen entered Trident Jewelers on Front Street around 3:30pm on Wednesday afternoon and robbed the establishment of a large amount of gold jewellery.
    According to information reaching SMN News, two masked men armed with a gun entered the establishment and demanded gold. The two employees inside the store decided to cooperate with the gunmen and told them to take whatever they wanted. The bandits then rushed to one of the showcases that had lots of gold chains. The bandits opened the showcase and removed the chains before escaping.
    Police Spokesman Ricardo Henson could not be reached by phone for comment up to press time on Wednesday.
  • Prime Minister briefed about Telem developments.

    swwilliamsandtelemboard15092011Great Bay (DCOMM):--- Prime Minister Hon. Sarah Wescot-Williams was appraised on Wednesday by Telem Management and Board of Supervisors about the current state of affairs regarding the telecommunication company.

    The prime minister was updated about the restructuring of the company and the process to select a strategic partner for Telem.

    "Both are progressing well, with the focus on employee consultation and restructuring of the corporate culture. The partner selection is approaching the final stages, namely determination of the most suitable partner and an advice to the shareholder.

    "I was also pleased to hear from the company representatives about initiatives that the company has embarked upon to stay in and even get ahead of the game," Prime Minister Hon. Sarah Wescot-Williams said on Thursday.

    All members of the management team and the complete supervisory board were present.

    A general shareholder's meeting will be called shortly to handle the annual accounts 2008-2010.

  • Murder Victim Tiffany Bianca Reed Laid to Rest --- Emotions run high during Ecumenical Service.

    tiffanyriedfuneral19092011Philipsburg:--- Mourners, students, teachers and mentors of the late Tiffany Bianca Reid who was brutally murdered two weeks ago broke down during the Home Going Ceremony on Monday at the New Testament Baptist Church.
    Several friends, teachers and students of the St. Maarten Academy broke down as they paid tribute to their fallen classmate, one of the students of the St. Maarten Academy even fainted while on the pulpit paying her tribute.
    Tiffany Reid was described as joyful, bold and an active child. Members of the New Testament Baptist Church where she worshiped said she was full of life and joy, a child they said that was pleasant and always willing to participate in church activities. Her teacher at the St. Joseph Primary School described her as being very creative and always willing to assist in any project.
    The 13 year old PSVE student was also a member of the Strong Women Connections which was launched in March. She served as a mentee. Young Reid was also a member of the Victorious Living Foundation.
    Several elected officials including Deputy Prime Minister Theodore Heyliger, Senator George Pantophlet, Minister of Education Rhoda Arrindell, President of Parliament Gracita Arrindell, and Senator Romain La Ville paid their last respects to the 13 year old while they sympathized with the mother who could not hold herself together.
    Several detectives who are working on one of St. Maarten's most gruesome murder cases were also at the NTBC where they too paid their last respects to the victim as they also tried to console the grieving mother Evelyn Jervis.
    Jervis reactions to her daughter's death brought tears to everyone's eyes. The distraught and broken mother banged on her daughter's casket telling her to wake up and to get out of the casket. Evelyn was also heard telling her daughter to come back for her as she was ready to leave with her.
    Tiffany Reid was her mother's only child who had very few relatives on St. Maarten. According to Jervis in an earlier interview with SMN News, the 13 year old was close to both her parents. Police arrested her father Robert Reid as the main suspect in Tiffany's murder. The young woman was killed and the killer also burnt her body which was found the same evening she went missing in a ravine on Cherrynut Hill South Reward.
    Click here to view photos of Tiffany Bianca Reid's Home Going Ceremony.
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  • Back Office Officially opens at PJIAE Immigration Dept.

    backofficeopeningpjiae21092011Airport:--- On Wednesday September 21st 2011, the "Back Office" at the Immigration Department at the Princess Juliana International Airport was officially opened. This office is where all suspicious travel documents used by travelers to get into or leave Sint Maarten illegally will be investigated. It is also where the investigation will commence in regard to where illegal documents are obtained and identifying the persons that are responsible for the issuing of false documents.

    In a short and simple ceremony held in this office Chief Commissioner of Police Peter de Witte gave a small speech stating that this office is a beautiful co-production of the colleagues of the local Immigration Department and members of the Royal Marechausee. The planning of this "Back Office" was finalized with a presentation to the police management team and after a positive decision taken the "Back Office" was quickly realized and put into operation.

    A "Back Office" is very instrumental and fits international requirements to intercept travelers with fraudulent documents at the borders. "Safety is our core business and it starts at the borders". The knowledge and quality remains mostly at the front-office and that is mainly to be able to detect fraudulent documents. Expertise and capability have been put together in this "Back Office" to properly carry out these investigations.

    The existence of the "Back Office" and the good cooperation between the "Front and Back Office" has already shown positive results in the first investigations that were done.

    Special thanks go out to the management of PJIAE and the Customs Department for providing the necessary space to set-up this office. Also to the "Workgroup", colleagues at the Immigration Department and the Royal Marechausee.

    Also present during the ceremony were, Commissioner Denise Jacobs, Chief Inspectors Geronimo Juliet, Humphrey Giterson, Inspector Ricardo Henson, Public prosecutor G. van de Wulp, Commissioner of Royal Marechassee (Caribisch Nederland) W. Mennen, J. Ploegstra, E. Ruijter and other members of the Royal Marechaussee and Immigration Department.

  • No Arrests Made in Recent Murders --- Nine Murder Investigations Ongoing.

    hansmos26022011Philipsburg:--- Members of the TGO team and several detectives that are working on at least nine unsolved murder cases on St. Maarten are still busy trying to find the culprits involved in these cases confirmed Chief Prosecutor Hans Mos. Mos said so far St. Maarten has recorded 13 murders for the year 2011. Three of which are solved, while police arrested Robert Reid for the murder of his 13 year old daughter Tiffany Reid. The judge of instruction has authorized the police to keep Reid in pre-trail detention for another eight days confirmed the Chief Prosecutor.
    Detectives are busy investigating the murder of Anthony Whyte who was shot in his Dutch Quarter home early last week, and Mark Anthony Deygoo, the Guyanese businessman who was shot five times in his Back Street store.
    So far, the detectives have been hearing a number of witnesses but no arrests have been made for nine unsolved murder cases. The Police Department is also calling on the general public especially those who might have information on these killings to contact them so that they can solve these cases. Persons with information are asked to call the police tip line 9300.
    The investigating officers are seeking information on the following murders that are still to be solved: Emilio De Leon Reyes, Amador Jones, Hector Miguel Arrindell, Rodolfo Arrindell, Kevin Gumbs, Eric Lake, Sheldon Thomas, Anthony Whyte and Mark Deygoo.
  • BTA Committee Submits Report --- Two Cases of Fraud Identified after Investigation Launched --- Category 3 Applicants should be denied --- Advised that BTA Process be Extended to 2012.

    Philipsburg:--- The committee that was established by the Minister of Justice to vet the applications that were submitted by illegal immigrants for a Brooks Tower Residency Permit has submitted their report and advice to the Minister. That report is now in the hands of the Members of Parliament who will be questioning the Minister of Justice on the BTA procedures on Tuesday evening.
    Based on the report the committee detected at least two cases of fraud that were committed by a staff member who was handling the files even though the police were conducting an investigation. In one instance, a staff member modified the applications from category 3 to two. These modifications were made when the police returned the files to the BTA team after the January 2011 investigation into the BTA procedure was launched. The committee also found out that the staff member had over 150 applications in her possession. The report states that sometime in July 2011 a worker attempted to infiltrate documents into a file and that the worker also engaged in illicit contact with the BTA applicant. The same worker turned over the 150 BTA files and several boxes containing copies of passports of the BTA applicants and guarantors. The report further states that the person was relieved of her duties.
    The committee advised the Minister to reject 46.6% of the applications that were submitted under category one. Some 683 persons applied under category one, of that amount the committee believes that 207 of the applicants met the requirements and they could be granted a category one permit.
    Of the 565 persons who applied under category two the committee has advised the Minister to reject 69.5% of those applications meaning that a mere 67 persons qualified for a BTA permit under category 2.
    The committee in its advice made clear that all persons who applied under category 3 must be rejected. Some 891 persons applied for a category 3 permit late last year and even though they paid the processing and other fees, the committee advised that 100% of the applications must be rejected.
    The committee also submitted a breakdown on the persons whom they suspect of submitting fraudulent documents to obtain a BTA permit. Of the 683 persons who applied under category one some 38.1% of them it is believed submitted fraudulent documents. While 52.9% of the 565 persons who submitted applications under category two are suspected of submitting fraudulent documents to obtain a BTA permit. As for category three, even though the committee has advised that all 891 of the applications be rejected, they said 58.7% of the applicants submitted fraudulent documents to obtain a BTA permit.
    The committee also advised the Minister of Justice to extend the BTA process to 2012 since the permits that will be issued now will expire on November 3 2011.

    Click here to view the BTA Advisory Committee's Report
  • SMMC, Positive Foundation and Elektralyets Foundation team up to provide free mammograms.

    smmcbreastcancerawareness28092011Cay Hill:--- During the month of October 100 free mammograms will be given to patients who need one and are not insured for it. St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC), Positive Foundation and Elektralyets Foundation have reinforced their efforts this year to include the provision of these free mammograms.

    "An important part of the breast cancer awareness campaign is to encourage persons to get checked. Mammography is a screening method to detect breast cancer. Early detection is the best prevention and by providing free mammograms we make this essential diagnostic tool more accessible", dr. George Scot chairman of the Board of Directors at SMMC states.

    SMMC will sponsor 50% of the mammogram costs and Positive Foundation together with Elektralyets Foundation takes care of the other 50% via sponsorship. The mammograms will be offered via participating physicians.

    "This year again, a large group of family physicians are participating in providing free clinical screenings during the month of October. If the physician determines that a mammogram is necessary and the patient is not insured for it, the physician can provide a voucher in order for the patient to receive the mammogram at SMMC," Shelly Alphonso of the Positive Foundation states.

    The patient will have to call the SMMC to make an appointment at the radiology department and bring the reference letter of the physician together with the voucher at the day of the appointment.

    "We fully support the initiative of the Positive Foundation and Elektralyets Foundation to reduce the stigma surrounding breast cancer." Juliëtte Hassell HR/Communications Manager of SMMC says. "To help educate the general public we are also organizing an Open House at the Hospital on October 19, 2011 from 11:00am till 3:00pm. During the open house we will provide information about the symptoms of breast cancer, the general treatments options and the treatment options at SMMC. There will be fun stuff too."

    "Shifting the stage at which the breast cancer tumor is detected to an earlier moment can be the difference between the disease being treatable or not. We are encouraging the general public to really use the opportunity that is being offered and go for a free clinical screening by one of the participating clinics" Elektra of the Elektralyets Foundation says.

    The participating clinics are:

    freemammograms28092011

  • Nominate your favorite teacher for Crystal Pineapple Awards!

    Nominations are steadily coming in for the 6th Annual Crystal Pineapple Awards Fundraiser. As mentioned before we have introduced a few new categories, one of the most significant: the Teacher of the Year Awards. Teachers are instrumental in the development of our community. In the words of John F. Kennedy, "Let us think of education as the means of developing our greatest abilities, because in each of us there is a private hope and dream which, fulfilled, can be translated into benefit for everyone and greater strength of the nation."

    "I am sure that there is one teacher who stands out in each of your minds. A mentor, a role model, and in some cases a second parent who guided and motivated you to become the person you are today. Now is your opportunity to show your gratitude. Nominate this person for a Crystal Pineapple Award!" - Valya Pantophlet

    Send in your nomination with a picture and motivation as to why this person should win Teacher of the Year award. The winner, as with all categories, will be chosen based on a combination of number of votes casted and the motivation provided by the nominator. Keep in mind we are only accepting 8 nominations for this category; 4 for Elementary School Teacher of the Year, and 4 for Secondary School Teacher of the Year. Nominations close on October 28th.

    To nominate, please visit our homepage, www.shta.com, and click on the Crystal Pineapple Awards tab where you can view a list of categories with descriptions and complete the digital nomination form.

  • Cuban delegation exchange ideas with island’s sports organizations --- Fact-finding mission will identify areas of bilateral cooperation.

    rarrindellandcubandelegation07092011Great Bay:--- The exchange of ideas with a delegation from Santiago de Cuba currently on a fact-finding mission here is already yielding positive results, according to remarks made by President of the National Olympic Committee of St. Martin, Mr. Bobby Ottley, and vice-president of the Sports Federation, Mr. Edsel Hooker. The two of them led their respective delegations to a meeting with the Cuban delegation held under the auspices of the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports and Youth Affairs, Dr. Rhoda Arrindell Monday afternoon.
    Chairing the meeting was Acting Head of Youth and Sports, Mrs. Shermina Powell-Richardson, who was accompanied by Head of the Sports Section, Mr. Les Brown, and other senior officials, Mr. Elton Jones, and Mr. James Busby. In an earlier session with the Sports Section, the Cubans explained how sports is organized in their country, and how their sports policy is a derivative of the Olympic Charter.
    The all-female Cuban delegation gave a graphic illustration of the pyramidal structure of sports in Cuba, starting with the schools and rising up through provincial/municipal bodies to the national selections and the Olympic Committee, a non-governmental organization which works closely with the government agency, INDER.
    This bottoms-up structure is not new, nor alien to St. Martin, according to Mr. Hooker, however, the emphasis on education, discipline and values of the Cuban system with its focus on the youth, are aspects St. Martin could learn from.
    The Cuban delegation offered to assist the St. Martin organizations in whatever areas these may require. The meeting ended with the Cubans offering token gifts to the St. Martin sports officials who were in attendance.
    On Tuesday, their packed agenda included meetings with Physical Education teachers at the Dr. A. C. Wathey Legislative Hall, and also with representatives of sports associations.
    On Wednesday, the delegation will pay a courtesy call on the President of Parliament, Drs. Gracita Arrindell, and meet with the Board and President of USM. The delegation is also scheduled to meet with the island's cultural workers at 2:00 PM at the Cultural Center on Backstreet. The fact-finding mission continues Thursday with visits to some schools, and a final wrap up session with Minister Dr. Rhoda Arrindell.
  • Constitutional Court Judge Bob Wit visits Gracita.

    garrindellandbobwit07092011Philipsburg:--- St. Maarten Constitutional Court Judge Bob Wit paid a courtesy call on President of Parliament Hon. Gracita Arrindell last Friday.

    Wit and Arrindell discussed a number of issues related to the functioning of the constitutional court.

    The court meets twice a year and was established on October 10, 2010.

    Judge Wit was very impressed with the House of Parliament congratulating the president with respect to the modern facility along with state of art technology that was put in place to house the first parliament of country St. Maarten.

    "It was a pleasure to meet again Judge Bob Wit to discuss the Constitutional Court since its establishment as an independent entity. Judge Wit was also extended an invitation to attend the opening of the new parliamentary year on September 13.

    "I briefly informed Judge Wit about the legal position of civil servants who come to work for Parliament from Government and some of the challenges we have faced and still confronted with as we progress to strengthen the institution of Parliament as a new institution of government and governance.

    "Another area discussed is using video conferencing technology which would keep down costs when delivering constitutional court judgements. This has to be explored further as amendments would have to be made in order for this to be possible," President of Parliament Hon. Gracita Arrindell said on Tuesday.

  • CIBC FirstCaribbean – Research critical if region to grow its economies.

    firstcaribbeandonatestouwi08092011Bridgetown, BARBADOS:--- Research which helps the Caribbean find innovative solutions to grow its economies, as it deals with protracted declines in world markets, is needed now more than ever.

    This from Patricia Rowe-Seale, Audit Portfolio Director, CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank as she addressed the 2011 Research Grants launch at the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI) recently.

    Rowe-Seale noted that the current economic climate meant that, "Private sector companies, including the financial services sector, will need to be even more proactive in developing and tailoring products and services that best suit the evolving needs of their clients. It also means that we all have a vested interest in maintaining the buoyancy of our economies and that we must all work together to achieve this."

    CIBC FirstCaribbean has provided US$62,500.00 to fund research over the next year, which is being undertaken by six academics across each of UWI's three campuses. The research spans a diverse range of topics including: A Cross-border Comparison of the Use and Application of Marketing Research Capabilities within the Caribbean Banking Sector.

    At the launch, CIBC FirstCaribbean presented Barbadian, Dr. Jonathan Lashley, Research Fellow, Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies with US $25,000.00 to fund his year-long study - Joining the Second Revolution: From Microcredit to Micro-financial Services in the Caribbean. The research will take an exploratory look at whether the implementation of micro-financial services to the poor is a viable option both commercially and as a tool in the eradication of poverty.

    Dr. Lashley thanked the Bank as well as UWI for their support of the study. He noted that there were high levels of 'bankarisation' in the region, with, for example, some 66% of persons involved in the credit union movement in Barbados. However, lower-income earners, tended to use their savings as insurance rather than for productive purposes such as education and investment due to traditional insurance being perceived as bureaucratic, expensive and not able to accommodate the high-risk nature of the poor.

    Dr. Lashley expressed the hope that through the project, the commercial needs of both financial institutions and the economically vulnerable would be addressed. The project will take place in two phases with a Demand Study followed by a Commercial Feasibility study. Some 300 persons will be targeted through a household survey. The findings will be disseminated regionally and will be widely accessible to all, he added.

    The research initiative stems from the Memorandum of University between the Bank and UWI and signals, noted Rowe-Seale, "Our mutual recognition that an important contribution can be made to Caribbean development if a research culture can be fostered that brings together the interests of academia and practitioners in the banking sector."

    Dr. George Belle, Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences in thanking CIBC FirstCaribbean noted that UWI's partnering with the private sector demonstrated national engagement as well as advanced research and innovation.

  • NAGICO introduces regional marketing manager.

    nagicohirespauldijkhoffz08092011Philipsburg:--- NAGICO has recently welcomed to their team of seasoned professionals, Paul Dijkhoffz who has assumed the position of Marketing Manager for the region.

    Before joining NAGICO, Paul Dijkhoffz was responsible for Marketing at Heineken St. Maarten and WINAIR and will now lead NAGICO's Marketing & Communications Department which will be going through the process of centralizing the Marketing efforts for all territories where NAGICO is present.

    NAGICO operates from their head office on St. Maarten from where currently 13 other territories are overseen. These are Tortola, St. Martin, Anguilla, Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Kitts, Nevis, Antigua, Montserrat, Dominica, Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao. St. Lucia will be added to the list shortly followed by other territories as NAGICO pursues its vision of regional growth.

    For all Marketing inquiries, please contact the Marketing & Communications Department at: +(599)-542-2739 ext. 191, or email: lisa.brown@nagico.com.

  • Justice Minister Wants More time to Properly Establish Justice Ministry and Departments --- Prosecutor says he did not take a decision on Anselm Murder case.

    rduncan12082011Philipsburg:--- Chief Prosecutor Hans Mos clarified for the Members of Parliament on Monday evening that his office did not take a decision on the Anselm murder investigation as was disclosed by the head of detective department Denise Jacob. Mos said the suspect in question has a strong case of self defense but his office is yet to receive the police report on the case. He also informed parliament that if and when he gets the report he will proceed to the court of first instance for the judge to decide whether or not the suspect is guilty of murder or if he in fact acted in self defense.
    On the questions posed by the Members of Parliament to Minister of Justice Roland Duncan regarding the murder cases committed this year. The Minister promised parliament that he will share more information on the ongoing investigations in a closed door central committee meeting scheduled for Wednesday. The Minister said in the interest of the investigation, he does not want to divulge too much information in a public meeting. However, he admitted that the police and prosecution believes that there are people who come from the neighboring islands to commit heinous crimes on St. Maarten and leave the island shortly after. The Minister said St. Maarten will soon apply to become a member of Interpol which would enable them to get access to information from Interpol, while there is a need for St. Maarten to work on treaties with some of their Caribbean neighbors.
    On matters related to the under staffing, the Minister said St. Maarten inherited most of its problems such as under staffing and the lack of materials and tools from the former Netherlands Antilles and as such he needs more time to properly establish the justice ministry on St. Maarten. The Minister said that he does not think that the crime situation is that bad that it would warrant a curfew as is the case in Trinidad and Tobago. He said the police on St. Maarten are doing the best they can with the resources and materials they have at the moment. On the questions posed by Member of Parliament Roy Marlin on the limiting of overtime for police officers. The Minister said that a law was published unknowingly to him that stipulated that a police officer can only work a maximum of 30 hours overtime per month, but that law he said is not yet in effect. The Minister said he plans to come with an amendment to the law when he establishes the decree for the implementation of the police law.
    Responding to questions posed by Member of Parliament Louie Laveist on the free flow of guns, the Minister said they are aware of the amount of illegal and or stolen items that are being sent to and from St. Maarten but the under staffing at the customs department is hindering proper controls. The customs he said does have the right to perform controls but they can only become more efficient when they receive more manpower.
    As for the Security Cameras (ICT) the Minister said St. Maarten does not have monies in its budget for this project for the year 2012. However, he said he held some meetings with the Ministers of Finance and VROMI who are discussing the installation of cameras for the port and airport and government will look at the possibility of having the same company install cameras in other locations. The Chamber of Commerce they said wanted to contribute towards this project and the possibility for them to do so still remains open.
    The Minister also lashed out at the community for the crime situation saying that members of the community participates in the crime situation since they are the ones who are buying stolen items from criminals.
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  • Government Hires Ravi Daryanani as Head of Finance.

    Philipsburg:--- The Ministry of Finance has hired Ravi Daryanani to take up the position as the Head of Finance Department. Daryanani met with the staff of the Finance Department on Monday and Tuesday where he introduced himself as the new head of the department.
    Daryanani is expected to take up his post as of November 1 2011 as the Head of Finance. Sources say Daryanani is a Dutch national who was born on St. Maarten to Indian parents. He studied on the island of Curacao where he also worked for the government of Curacao as the head of finance. Currently, Daryanani is working as the Director of Universal Time Curacao BV.
    The new head of finance was also a financial controller for SAE at (Stichting Overheids Accountants Buro) SOAB as well as the financial controller at Visser Holding and DIGICEL Aruba. He has broad experience in all aspects of accounting, auditing and financial management.
    Ravi Daryanani is the son of a well known Indian businessman who used to operate a store on St. Maarten.
  • Minister of Finance says SGs told to go back to drawing board.

    Philipsburg:--- Secretary Generals (SGs) of the seven Government ministries have been asked to elucidate on the budgets they submitted to the Council of Ministers (COM).

    The SGs have one week to review their submitted budgets collectively and come up with proposals to bring the expenses in line with the income of the country.

    This is the course of action being taken after a two hour session between COM, SGs and the Financial Controllers of each Ministry on Tuesday.

    The SGs and financial controllers must also take the following into consideration, established deadlines for submitting the budget, and the recent report released by the President of the Central Bank of Curacao and Sint Maarten with respect to economic growth.

    COM also needs to have key strategic discussions regarding several issues affecting the budget which could have consequences for the overall financial health of the Country. These issues are tabled for discussion within the Council and include but are not limited to the core tasks of government, prioritizing of policies for 2012, and steering the country's economy in the right direction.

    The Minister of Finance has called in the top management of the New Tax Organization to give an executive order to draw up a plan of action to go after revenues out there from those businesses and/or individuals not paying any taxes or not paying their fair share.

    "As a country, we need everybody to contribute towards the national development of the nation. Every business and individual has to pay their fair share and we are diligently working on this.

    "Emphasis will also be placed on collecting existing outstanding taxes and government fees. Revamping of the tax system must also be taken into consideration as well which Government is diligently working on that would lead to an improved economic and fiscal climate for the country.

    "The SGs have been advised to present realistic and executable policies based on the current income of the country.

    "We are working to conclude the drafting of the national 2012 country within the shortest time possible and have it submitted to the relevant entities for review," Minister of Finance Hon. Hiro Shigemoto said on Wednesday.

    The Minister is also working on a plan to work off all existing backlogs in appeals submitted to the tax office in order that the receiver can go over to collection.

    Management is expected to submit its plan by the end of next week. The plan is expected to consist of short term, middle term and long term actions which should lead to increased revenues for government coffers in 2012 and beyond.

    It is part of the Minister's plan to tackle the informal economy as well as bring the so-called free-riders in to pay their fair share. In other words increase compliance.

    "We all know those businesses which refuse to give consumers receipts but offer a piece of paper from a calculator. We all have to pay our fair share in order for government to be able to execute the tasks it has to on behalf of the entire community," Minister of Finance Hon. Hiro Shigemoto pointed out.

    Discussions with the Project leader of the new tax system has also been held in order to get the process of coming to a new tax system as a top priority and giving some considerations for research as well as guidance as to how important a simplified and user friendly system which is attractive for investors.

    "The new tax system must also not be a strain on the economy, but contribute to the overall growth of the aforementioned. Due to global economic challenges in the United States and Europe, our national economy is currently basically at a standstill at best. A reformed tax system which this Government is avidly promoting to develop is a major policy initiative that is taking shape and will be a plus for our Country.

    "I must add that the revision of the tax system is top priority and is being treated as such, there are also other factors which affect our economy and which also need to be addressed.

    "It should not be expected that a revised tax system on its own is the only fix-it-all solution to our economic stagnation. Fostering a favourable investment climate, investments in infrastructural development and managing our crime situation are to name a few of the things that need to be tackled which Government is working on, but it can only be done with all stakeholders collectively involved," Minister of Finance Hon. Hiro Shigemoto concluded.

  • Book presentation to Minister Voges.

    mvogesreceivesbookfromfpvanbeetz07092011Great Bay (DCOMM):--- On Tuesday, Drs. F.P. van Beetz, a former Government advisor and co-author of the book, "The last Cabinet and Chronicle of the Dismantling of the Netherlands Antilles 10-10-10," presented a copy to Minister of Plenipotentiary Hon. Mathias Voges in The Hague.
  • 3 year old Hospitalized after being injured at Play School.

    shaniquagumbs20092011Cay Hill:--- A three year old girl identified as Shaniqua Gumbs is now a patient at the St. Maarten Medical Center as doctors at the institution are trying to determine exactly how the little girl was injured on September 8th 2011 at Barney's Play School on Back Street.
    Shinelka Gumbs, mother of the child told SMN News that on September 8th the teacher at the playschool told her child's father that the child had fallen off a chair while looking at television. The teacher she said also placed a note in the child's bag stating that she fell off a chair that day. Gumbs said when her daughter reached home she had a bump on her head next to her temple. The mother said the next morning she took her daughter to the doctor because when the child woke up that morning her eyes and face had also swollen. She said the doctor gave her eye drops and he also gave her a report to take to the Police Station. "Ever since September 8th my daughter face and eyes are swollen and now the pediatrician at the St. Maarten Medical Center admitted her to run more tests. Already, the doctors are saying that a vain broke in the child head and she suffered internal bleeding due to the blow she received." They also said that the internal bleeding stopped but the swelling is from the clotted blood that remains in her head.
    Gumbs said she visited Barney Play School two days after the incident because the teacher at the school had placed a note in the child's bag stating that the child fell, while she also told the father. However, the mother said she wanted to know from where her child fell because they were no bruises or marks on the head or face. She said when she reached the school the teacher told her that the child fell off one of the small plastic chairs. Gumbs said it is impossible for her child to have such swelling if she had fallen from such a low chair. She further explained that her daughter had been attending Barney's for over two years and while the child had minor injuries before this one is the worst. She said she wanted the teachers to tell her exactly what happened to her daughter so the child could receive adequate treatment. "If another child hit her they should tell me because the teacher said she fell from the chair but she also told me she did not see my daughter fall down. She said the only thing she heard was when my daughter screamed and when she went to check on her she saw her on the ground." Gumbs said she already filed an official report with the police and law enforcement promised to get back to her.
    Efforts made to reach the teachers of the playschool on Tuesday proved futile.
  • Police Tells Parliament that they lack Human Resource and Funds to Combat Crime --- 14 Murders Committed Already for the year 2011.

    justiceministrydelegation26092011Philipsburg:--- The Police Department urged Parliament on Monday to provide them with more human resources and funds to execute their plans of approach to combating crime. Chief Commissioner of Police Peter de Witte told Members of Parliament during a Central Committee meeting on Monday that the police officers (detectives) are working overtime time to solve crimes, especially the spate of brutal murders that were committed on the island during the past months. De Witte said in general crime has decreased but there has been an increase in brutal crimes which has their concerns. The top cop said that with the limited resource and equipment a lot is being asked of the police force. However, he wants the opportunity to execute the plans of approach which would enable them to build a professional police force. De Witte said due to the limited manpower, should there be another violent crime there will be no officers available to investigate it and the only way the police could do so is if they work overtime, as well as on their days off. The top cop said the officers of the force are still willing to work overtime, because of their loyalty and passion for the job.
    St. Maarten he said already recorded 14 murders, four of which have been solved and he is convinced that the other cases that are currently being investigated will be solved since this type of violence in a democratic state is unacceptable. He stressed that all departments need to work together to form an integral plan of approach to promote crime prevention, while there must be a strong governmental approach to achieve the desired connection.
    In the meantime, head of detectives Denise Jacob said of the 14 murder cases that were committed this year, four of them have been solved. Jacob said a decision was taken not to prosecute the person that is responsible for the April 30th killing.
    St. Maarten's Police Force she said recorded some 208 violent crimes thus far for the year 2011, of which 121 are armed robberies, 10 rapes with extreme violence, while the others involved serious ill-treatment with a weapon.
    The cases that are solved are the French crew member of Cheetah Moon (Guillevin), Haitian national Fiodel Louis, and Valdez. These persons were tortured and killed between February 26th 2011 to March 4th 2011. The top cop also considered solved the case of Tiffany Reid whose father has been arrested for her murder.
    The detectives are still busy investigating the murder of De Leon Reyes who was shot dead in his Dutch Quarter home, the murder of Amador Jones, the Arrindell brothers (Miguel and Rodolfo), Eric Lake, Kevin Gumbs, Sheldon Thomas, Anthony Whyte and Mark Deygoo. The head of the detective department said they investigated the De Leon Reyes case but they were not able to pinpoint the suspect responsible for the shooting. While the cases of Jones, Arrindell brothers, Lake, Gumbs, Anthony Whyte and Deygoo are still ongoing. Police also already determined who killed Sheldon Thomas but the culprit she said fled St. Maarten.
    Jacob further explained that the police conducted their investigation based on the confines of the law. She said it is often said everyone knows who the criminals are except the police. Jacob said the police also knows who might be responsible for the killings but the suspicion they have is not enough to detain these people.
    She emphasized that the police needs to continue their trainings as they do need theoretical foundation and materials to perform their duties. The head of the detective department said each murder investigation takes as much as ten detectives to properly investigate within a three month time span. Jacobs said there were no more officers available to conduct the most recent murder investigation for the murder that was committed during an armed robbery on Back Street since her officers have been stretching themselves thin. Of the ten unsolved murder investigations, the TGO team is conducting five of them while another five are being conducted by the local police department. Jacob said when she took office and heard some of her officers did not get to sleep some nights because of their workload. She said she wanted to stop the abuse but she soon realized that she could not do that because of the shortage of manpower.
    As compared to 2010 the police arrested some 20% more people in 2011 due to better management. From January 1st to June 30th 2010 the police arrested some 221 persons while they arrested 266 persons during the same period in 2011.
    During the first half of 2010 there were 345 home invasions (burglaries) while there has been a decrease of 20% in 2011 where 275 cases have been reported. Jacobs said this decrease was due to the implementation of the home invasion and burglary team that was implemented in December last year.
    Robberies she said increased by 14% compared to the same period last year even though they arrested more suspects this year.
    The police believes that the rise in gold prices and the demand for more gold by jewelers and pawn shops are the primary reasons for the increases in robberies. Besides that, Jacobs said businesses are not following the law on closing time and they are not investing in preventative measures.
    membersofparliament26092011Member of Parliament Louie Laviest chided the Minister of Justice Roland Duncan for not providing enough funds and human resource to the police department. Laveist said calling the Minister of Justice to Parliament to address the crime increase does not mean they have a gripe with him. He asked the Minister of Justice if he had any point of departure to address the free flow of guns on St. Maarten. Laveist said he as well as the police knows that the criminals are better armed than the police officers. "These criminals have weapons that scare the living daylight out of the people and sometimes we wonder and ask ourselves how these criminals are able to access these weapons." Laveist said he wants to know if the justice ministry has this matter under control because the current situation is frightening. He lamented that St. Maarten has to somehow control its borders to combat the free flow of weapons. He said in the past the blame was pointed to Curacao because the Justice Minister was always sitting in Curacao. "Today, when I hear these professionals sitting here and pleading with you for more manpower and tools I have a problem hearing that the professionals are bending over backwards to perform their duties yet they are in short of funds."
    Laviest said he was victim of crime on several occasions and he knows how it feels. He said if government can find as much as 50 million to execute beautification and other projects such as finishing the government building and building of a bridge across troubled waters then the Minister should not have a problem finding a measly 20 million guilders to invest in the police force so they can do their job. He stressed that he has a problem with how government is setting their priorities while the police force is out manned and out gunned.
    The National Alliance Member of Parliament said he wants to know if government thinks the new government building or the bridge is more important than protecting its people and the economy of St. Maarten. He also called on the Justice Minister to finalize the camera project for Philipsburg. "I do not want to hear about no more multi-million projects unless the Philipsburg Security Camera Project is completed," Laveist said.
    In the meantime, Member of Parliament Roy Marlin called on the Minister to explain why he cut back on the amount of overtime a police officer can work. Marlin said he heard that the Minister has in the new police law that a police officer could only work up to 30 hours overtime, which would earn them Naf. 1000.00 while the police force is still understaffed. The Democratic Party Member of Parliament said he also heard that the local police officers are having problems obtaining their rent allowances while their colleagues coming in from the Netherlands are getting those benefits easily.
    The central committee meeting called to discuss crime and other matters related to justice will continue at 6pm on Monday.
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    Click here to view the Crime Statistics presented to Parliament on Monday morning.
  • Six New Cops Added to TGO Team --- To Assist in Investigating Brutal Murders.

    Philipsburg:--- The Minister of Justice sworn in six new criminal investigative officers (CID) on Tuesday who will be assisting the Police Force with the 9 unsolved murders they are currently investigating.
    The officers took the oath at the Parliament Building on Tuesday afternoon. Police Spokesman Ricardo Henson said the officers came from Curacao, Bonaire and Aruba. Henson said the new set of officers will be part of the TGO team that are busy investigating the brutal murders committed thus far for the year 2011.
  • Dolphin Casino License Signed Off --- Millennium Star NV Granted License --- The License was not used as Bargaining Chip --- Meyers.

    Philipsburg:--- The Ministry of Economic Affairs has granted the Dolphin Casino License to Millennium Star NV owned by Obenncio Fleming, the campaign manager of Member of Parliament Frans Richardson. Minister of Economic Affairs Franklin Meyers confirmed that the license has been signed off and it was sent to General Affairs for further processing. Minister Meyers said the owner of Millennium Star NV applied for the Dolphin Casino License in September 2010 but government had to wait for the court proceedings to finalize before they could have granted it to Millennium Star NV.
    Meyers said the request was submitted after Golden Palm NV (Dolphin Casino) filed for bankruptcy. The Minister said when the company filed for its bankruptcy government had the authority to pull back the license but the owner of Golden Palm had contested government's decision in court and the judge he said ruled in government's favor since the company was in breach of their contract, the judge also granted the businessman the opportunity to appeal. Minister Meyers said on July 28th 2011 government was given legal advice that the businessman did not appeal the judgment and as such they can proceed with the request submitted by Millennium Star NV. Minister Meyers said that since this falls under the (10) casinos on St. Maarten, Golden Palm will now be replaced by Millennium Star NV Casino.
    Minister Meyers also addressed what he called insinuations by people who feel that Government held Member of Parliament Frans Richardson hostage with the granting of the license for him to change sides in government. Minister Meyers said Richardson is a Member of Parliament and if that was so, he Richardson could have called his Ministry to Parliament to question them on how they handle business licenses. Minister Meyers flatly denied ever holding Richardson hostage or using the advice as a whipping tool against Member of Parliament Richardson. However, he made clear that Millennium Star NV is in the name of Obencio Fleming (a close friend of the Member of Parliament) while the building belongs to Frans Richardson and his partner. The Minister said he is somewhat irritated with the fact that there is a selected few people who believes that each time government takes a decision in favor of a local (St. Maartener) then a back door a deal or something went down under the table.
    Meyers further explained that when he first took office a year ago he was asked if the United Peoples Party had discussed with Dr. Lloyd Richardson and if Dr. Lloyd Richardson was promised the garbage contract for his brother. Minister Meyers said the only reason he raised this point is to show the course or trend the island is taking when decisions are taken.
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  • Police Department Announces New Trend in Robberies.

    henson17112010Philipsburg:--- The Police Department announced via its Police Spokesman on Tuesday that the Police has noticed a new trend in robberies being committed recently. Police Spokesman Ricardo Henson said for the past few months the police department has noticed an increase in the pulling off of chains or necklaces by bandits within the community. These items Henson said are snatched from people's necks.
    These robberies would happen any time during the day or night. Anyone wearing jewelry could be robbed. The suspects would then flee the scene either by running away or with a waiting scooter rider or an awaiting vehicle. The Police department in the meantime has been working on these cases and a total of five persons have been arrested and put into custody as suspects in these cases. However, these types of robberies continue to take place. This is a trend that is presently going on and everyone should be aware that they may become of victim to this type of criminal activity and they should pay very close attention to their surroundings.
    The Police Department has also announced that their tip line (9300) is operational again. This line is for the general public to give information to the police regarding any ongoing criminal activities or crimes that have taken place. When using this number there will be no caller-I.D. registration. All calls are completely confidential and untraceable. During working hours the phone will be answered by an officer and during the night hours, your information will be recorded and later erased. Be part of fighting crime and make use of this, Henson said.
  • Radio DJ Lydia Henderson new book party on Saturday at The Alley Lounge.

    lydia26092011Cole Bay:--- Lydia – From Heterosexual to Bisexual to Lesbian to God by Lydia G. Henderson will launch here at The Alley Lounge on Saturday, October 1, at 8 pm, said House of Nehesi Publishers (HNP).
    "This is my true life story and it's not all pretty," said St. Martin's newest author about her autobiographical book.
    The guest speaker at the book party will be Dr. Judith Arndell, a leading clinical psychologist on the island and herself an author.
    "Lydia is a captivating look at sexual addiction, pleasure, deceit, betrayal, 'demonic attacks,' and the power of God to transform life," said Dr. Arndell.
    In Lydia, the author's memories of childhood, including working on a family farm as a teenager; and of her early sexual escapades, follow her as a young adult from South America to encounter even more "unbelievable" experiences in St. Martin, the USA, and the Netherlands.
    In the tell-all book of 216 pages, conflicts loom between the author's faith as a Jehovah's Witness, her sexual identity and turbulent search for love and happiness, and at times instances of extreme violence and glimpses of the sexual underbelly of places where she has lived in South America, St. Martin, the USA, and the Netherlands.
    Henderson is a radio personality at Island 92 FM, where she hosts the "Island Delight" music show from Monday to Friday. She has worked in radio for nearly 20 years as a news reporter and DJ.
    "I am inviting my friends and family, radio fans, and book lovers to The Alley Lounge, next to Pineapple Pete Restaurant on the road to the airport, to my book party this Saturday," said Henderson.
    Lydia is HNP's second autobiographical book in two years and hopefully both will encourage more people to write about various social, cultural, political, and educational subjects and experiences in St. Martin and in the Caribbean, said HNP president Jacqueline Sample.
    The book is also HNP's tenth title dealing specifically with biographical, lifestyle, faith, and motivational issues but unlike the others, "We have to repeat that Lydia is really an adult book," said Sample.
    "Parents, guardians, and young adults with minors in the home should take note of some of the explicit content that is not suitable for children to read," said Sample.
    Lydia – From Heterosexual to Bisexual to Lesbian to God by Lydia G. Henderson is available at Van Dorp, Arnia's, and Shipwreck bookstores, as well as Family Bookstore and Fresh Market. Copies of Lydia will be available at the book party on Saturday.
  • Government Ready to Introduce its Own Tariff Structure at GEBE --- Tariff will be based on International Norms --- Meyers.

    fmeyers07092011Philipsburg:--- The Minister of Economic Affairs Franklin Meyers announced on Wednesday that the Government of St. Maarten is ready to introduce its own tariff structure at GEBE, a measure he believes will force GEBE to the negotiating table with government.
    The Minister of Economic Affairs said he sent numerous letters to GEBE requesting the unprotected report but GEBE did not respond to his letters. Minister Meyers said government allowed GEBE to introduce its new tariff structure based on the KEMA report if their pricing could have been substantiated. Meyers said government wants GEBE to provide them with the unprotected figures of their cost and tariff structures so they could determine whether or not the true cost is passed on to the consumer and not the company's in-efficiencies. "I am basically forced to implement the international norms per kilowatt at GEBE, hoping that this would bring the company to the negotiating table." The Minister further explained that international consumers are charged 0.25cts per kilowatt while GEBE charges its consumers 0.29cents per kilowatt. Meyers said he will be sending a letter to GEBE before the end of this week which would indicate to them what tariff structure they have to implement.
    The Minister further explained that his Ministry can no longer wait on GEBE and since GEBE is not responding to government he has to do what is necessary to make them comply. He said GEBE has over Naf. 70 million in their accounts and he believes that they will survive the next four months. When asked if government conducted any study on the tariff structure, the Minister said that government did not conduct any studies and the only report they have is the KEMA report.
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  • SCDF calls on schools to participate in Carnival --- School tours to commence again.

    scdfschooltour07092011The St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) is encouraging all schools to take the initiative in preparing a group of its students to participate in the Junior Carnival Parade for Carnival 2012. Additionally, the SCDF also announced that it will resume its school tours within short, to speak to students and educators about the importance of Carnival and stressing the inclusive learning experience for all children that Carnival provides.

    With early preparations, the SCDF believes that the schools and parents have ample time to swing into action and involve their student body in the country's largest cultural manifestation. The SCDF said that more school will be included in the school tours in an effort to relay that Carnival is more than just children dressing in costumes.

    For some children, the SCDF explained, learning about carnival in schools will strengthen their connection with important aspects of their cultural heritages and with their homes and community. The SCDF is of the opinion that Carnival gives children of all ages the chance to express their ideas, thoughts and feelings through a variety of media. The imitative creative and communicative processes that create culture are central to children's learning.

    The SCDF explained that regional and international studies pint out that Carnival is important in developing children's confidence as learners. Taking risks and trying out new ways of doing things is central to the carnival experience. It has been demonstrated that creative and cultural education can help raise educational standards. Children are certainly enthusiastic about Carnival and this excitement motivates them to learn and to discover new ways of learning.

    "Think about how involved you can get the children in costume making and the arts," said SCDF President Stuart Johnson who is an educator by profession. "This doesn't have to be an expensive affair. It's not about who has the most elaborate costumes, but about our children participating in the name of culture and the experiences they will take away from this participation. So we are looking forward to teachers and school administrations promoting this form of our culture and as SCDF we will support them and re-enforce their efforts through the school tours," Johnson said.

    Johnson said letters to all schools regarding the aforementioned is en route and the SCDF will be meeting with the institutions soon.

  • REMINDER NEW DIALING CODE COUNTRY ST. MAARTEN.

    Bureau Telecommunications and Post St. Maarten would like to remind the general public of St. Maarten about the upcoming change to dialing code 1-721 for country St. Maarten on September 30th 2011.

    The introduction of dialing code 1-721 starts with the Permissive Dialing Period from September 30th 2011 till September 30th 2012. During this period calls to St. Maarten using either 599 or 1-721 shall be processed regularly be it that callers using 599 shall be advised that the dialing code has changed and the new code should be used.

    September 30th 2012 the Mandatory Dialing Period will commence; calls to St. Maarten using 599 shall not be processed and until March 31st 2013 callers will be advised to dial 1-721. The use of country code 599 will be discontinued for St. Maarten but dialing code 599 will remain in effect for Curacao, Sint Eustatius, Saba and Bonaire.

    Local dialing remains the same and persons and businesses can be reached through dialing of the 7-digit local numbers. International dialing will change by September 30th 2012 as the dialing pattern to make overseas calls from St. Maarten will change. BTP shall undertake an educational program to duly inform the public on dialing during the permissive dialing period.

    Countries participating in the North American Numbering Plan are the United States, Canada and most of the Caribbean region: "Anguilla, Antigua, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia and Trinidad & Tobago". Dialing to these destinations will be easier as all these destinations share the country code 1 with St. Maarten.

    St. Maarten's participation in the NANP also marks its integration in the Eastern Caribbean, a region in which it is located, with which it interacts and serves.

    Throughout the permissive dialing period the BTP shall undertake instruction and educational campaigns to aid the transition and to ensure understanding, preparedness of the entire community of St. Maarten, so the community may embrace the changes and enjoy the benefits that this transition will bring.

    Bureau Telecommunication and Post St. Maarten requests all residents and businesses to get informed and to take serious note of this important development for country St. Maarten. Everyone is urged to make the necessary preparations and inform all their personal contacts and business relations timely of this upcoming change.

  • Beautification at the Departments of Social Services and Labour.

    Great Bay (DCOMM):--- The departments of Social Services and Labour are improving their services to the general public. It all begins with a face lift on the inside of the building. Walls and doors are painted, new furniture are put in place, rearranging of offices, and conveniences for a better service to the public are put in place.

    All this started since Saturday, September 3 and will continue until Tuesday, September 15, 2011. All through the week, workers of VROMI are working hard to get everything in place. But some things cannot be done while serving the public at the same time.

    Therefore, the office of the Departments of Social Services and Labour would like to announce that Friday, September 9 and Monday, September 12, the office will be close for the public. This is to ensure the workers space to do the work that has to be done and complete the last minute things. The department will be open to the public again Tuesday, September 13 at 8:00am.

     

  • PSVE Student Murdered and Burnt by Father --- Father in Police Custody --- House Searched --- Vehicles Seized. (UPDATED)

    tiffanyreid07092011South Reward:--- Police arrested a school bus driver identified by sources as Robert Reid for the brutal murder of his 13 year old daughter whose body was found burnt in a ravine in South Reward. The source said the victim is a first form student of the St. Maarten Academy (PSVE) who recently graduated from the St. Joseph Primary School. The 13 year old girl has been identified as Tiffany Reid who was born on St. Maarten to Jamaican parents.
    Police conducted a search of the father's home Tuesday night in Nazareth Dutch Quarter when they discovered the body and arrested the father of the victim. Police also seized two vehicles when they conducted the house search.
    Sources say the child's mother and father separated some months ago and the child is living with her mother but is transported to and from school by her father. SMN News further learnt that Tiffany's mother showed up at the St. Maarten Academy (PSVE Section) on Wednesday inquiring if her daughter had gone to school on Wednesday since police did not inform her of the incident and their gruesome discovery Tuesday night. The mother they said heard of her daughter's brutal murder on the road. Police later briefed the mother at the Philipsburg Police Station on Wednesday afternoon but up to late Wednesday she was not taken to see the burnt body of the teenager they found in the ravine.
    The body of the child was found in a ravine on Pumpkin Road, South Reward, while it is understood that the family lives in Dutch Quarter. What is still to be determined is if the father killed the child elsewhere and then took her body to South Reward to burn it.
    The source said some residents on Pumpkin Road heard an explosion and they saw fire, and they also saw a man running away from the scene. One source said the neighbors managed to take the vehicle number that the man escaped with. They said the man was severely burnt and he went to the St. Maarten Medical Center for treatment but left claiming he was going to look for his missing child. The source said the man was told that he had to be admitted to the St. Maarten Medical Center since the burn wounds he sustained were severe, but he walked out of the medical institution.
    One of the neighbors they said even confronted the man when he was running away and asked him what he was burning in the ravine. SMN News learnt that the father probably made a homemade bomb to burn the body in the thick bushes in South Reward.
    The source further stated that the mother of the child is a teacher and works in Philipsburg and her daughter would normally meet her in town after school and when she did not show up the mother contacted the child's father at least twice Tuesday afternoon to inquire about her daughter which led both of them to file a missing person report Tuesday night at the Philipsburg Police Station.
    In a lengthy press release, Police Spokesman Ricardo Henson said that at approximately 8:20pm Tuesday night several police patrols, detectives, officers of the Forensic Department and several firemen were directed to South Reward Road in the vicinity of Pumpkin Road where the severely burnt body of a person was found in a ravine.
    Henson said the body was located deep in the ravine and with the assistance of the fire department the body was removed and brought up to the South Reward Road. The body turned out to be that of a young female, but because of the state of the body her identity and age could not be established.
    Henson said while police and detectives were still at the scene investigating the gruesome discovery, the detectives received a call from the Central Dispatch informing them that a couple (two people) with the initials E.J. and R.R. both born in Jamaica had been at the police station and had filed a report that their 13 year old daughter with the initials T. R. was missing. After filing this report, the couple left the police station. According to the officer in charge at the police station, the father who filed the "missing person report" had severe burns on several parts of his body. This information was shared with the detectives who were conducting the investigation. Subsequently orders to locate and apprehend this person was immediately given to the other patrols on the streets. At approximately 11:00pm Tuesday night this suspect (father of the child) was arrested in the Middle Region area by a police patrol and taken to the Philipsburg police station where he is being held in custody. The body of the victim has been confiscated for further investigation.
    The Police Spokesman said the investigation is still in its preliminary stages and the identity of victim still has to be established.
    The Police Department is also asking anyone who may have any information that could help in this investigation to contact the police department.
  • Parliamentarians Took Oath to Uphold Country’s Constitution --- Self Enrichment by Parliamentarians is punishable based on article 56 of Constitution --- Jumping for Casino License can be Detrimental.

    frans29062009Philipsburg:--- With the constant rumors and photo shots of Member of Parliament Frans Richardson wanting to go independent and to support the current coalition SMN News felt it is necessary for us to remind the good gentleman that making deals of self enrichment can be detrimental. Already we know that the Member of Parliament has been trying to get the casino license for his campaign manager and good friend Obencio Fleming. It is also clear that when the license is issued, the Member of Parliament will stand to benefit financially since Dolphin Casino will be in his property, the former Sunset Building in Simpson Bay.
    Therefore, we decided to research the Constitution of St. Maarten which is the only legal basis for keeping politicians in line. While doing the research we stumbled on Article 56 of the constitution of St. Maarten which reads as follows.

    "The members of the Parliament shall make the following oath (declaration and promise) to the Governor before accepting their appointments:
    "I swear (declare) that I have neither given nor promised anything, nor shall I give or promise anything, howsoever described and under any pretext, to anyone whomsoever, either directly or indirectly, in connection with my election as a member of the Parliament.
    I swear (promise) that I shall not accept any promise or gift, from anyone at all, either directly or indirectly, in order to do or refrain from doing anything in the course of this appointment.
    I swear (promise) allegiance to the King and the Constitution of the Kingdom, that I shall always help to uphold the Constitution of Sint Maarten and that I shall champion the interests of Sint Maarten to the best of my ability.
    So help me Almighty God. (And I hereby make this declaration and promise)


    Member of Parliament Frans Richardson took this oath when he took office as a Member of Parliament a year ago. Any semblance of self interest, promise or gift of any kind will breach the oath the good gentleman took.
    Already, the Prosecutor's office indicated that they will be conducting an investigation into the so-called fraud at the tourist office where the Member of Parliament is allegedly implicated.
    That investigation has not yet begun but the move Member of Parliament Frans Richardson is trying to make may surely place in him in a vulnerable position which he would have to explain to law enforcement and the over 600 voters who placed their confidence in him when they voted last September.
    It should also be noted that Richardson is not the only Member of Parliament who decided to switch sides since the election. However, the other one who declared himself independent and claimed to have a faction in parliament is yet to submit an official letter of resignation to the National Alliance Faction.