European commission suggests redirecting monies to disaster fund
GREAT BAY:--- St. Maarten is among Caribbean overseas countries and territories attending the 11th EDF (European Development Fund) Caribbean OCTs (Overseas Countries and Territories) Regional meeting and workshop, this week. The OCTs are 25 countries and territories, which have special links with Denmark, France, the Netherlands or the United Kingdom. The meeting is presided over by a representative of St. Maarten, who has been selected Regional Authorizing Officer, and takes place in Bonaire on November 23 and 24.
Earlier discussions between the OCTs and the European Commission concluded to concentrate the allocation of funds towards sustainable energy and marine biodiversity. This with the objective of building resilience to withstand the effects of climate change and to ensure sustainable economic development in Caribbean OCTs. The Bonaire meeting comes in the wake of significant progress being made with the 11th EDF Caribbean Regional Programme. The goal of this week’s meeting is to partially complete the programming process and to agree on a draft Action Document.
As a result of the damages and losses sustained with the passing of hurricanes Irma and Maria, the meeting is additionally expected to address the possible redirecting of a portion of the funds of the 11th EDF toward a resilience component. The funds would be redirected from the 40 million euros, previously earmarked for sustainable energy and marine biodiversity solely.
The main challenges facing Caribbean OCTs include increased vulnerability and risk to natural disasters, unstable energy consumption patterns, food security, poorly planned coastal development and weak governance capacity. These, in turn, lead to challenges to effectively manage marine biodiversity as a tool for climate change revision and mitigation. Caribbean OCTs depend on the tropical climate for tourism, agriculture, and fisheries. Creating island communities that are more competitive and resilient is thus essential for their survival with a healthy ecosystem considered key to this resilience. The small size of OCTs and their relative isolation directly affects the price of commodities and goods, waste and wastewater management as well as transportation within the region.
PORT ST. MAARTEN:--- Representatives from the Ministry of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transportation and Telecommunications (Ministry TEATT), Ministry of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure Management (Ministry VROMI), SXM Airport, Taxi Association DSTA, St. Maarten Tourist Bureau (STB), and Port St. Maarten, took a bus tour recently around the country along the route that taxis and tour busses will be taking passengers when the first commercial cruise ship calls start early December. The objective of the bus tour was to see the country through the eyes of the visitor while driving along the designated routes. The tour allowed key stakeholders to evaluate and assess the current state of affairs along the identified tourism corridor and take additional measures where the clean-up of the destination is concerned in preparation for cruise ship destination calls. An action list has been compiled of things that still need to be done. Cruise lines continue to send to the island assessment teams to review destination recovery efforts in preparation for cruise ship calls, and therefore, it is extremely important for clean-up/beautification efforts to continue full speed ahead. Part of the assessment action list includes the following: cleaning of beaches with a refined finish; refined finish of temporary garbage depots in Cole Bay and at Kim Sha Beach area; removal of boats/containers on Great Bay Beach; beach promenade street lights to be repaired; clean-up of popular beaches; placement of temporary restrooms at popular beaches. “There are a number of critical things that still need to be done as the clock ticks down to December cruise ship calls, a less than two weeks away. We cannot wait until the last couple of days before the vessels arrive to randomly remove debris, decorate, prune and polish up. “We are appealing to the general public to assist with the clean-up around your area. We call on businesses to do the same. During the tour we noticed some debris still in front of some business establishments, and have observed some unsightly areas along the airport strip. “Clean-up should be done in a timely manner and done correctly thereby ensuring the cruise industry that we are open and ready. This is a crucial period in the cruise sector history of the country, and all hands are needed on deck to make sure we are ready for the first and subsequent cruise ship calls,” Port St. Maarten Management said on Thursday. Port St. Maarten is working closely with Ministry TEATT, the STB, the St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce & Industry to get the message out to the business community about being ready for the upcoming cruise ship calls. The bus tour also included Mico Cascais, a 30 year veteran of the Cruise Industry both in Ship Board Management and Corporate Management. Mico is currently the Principal of Mico Cascais, Inc. a company focused on reshaping the story and experiences cruise guests will enjoy when sailing in the Caribbean. The first cruise passenger experience will be one of discovery for the guests to return on another cruise to the destination in the future, and therefore, it is extremely important that the destination showcases itself in a manner that will shape future calls for the remainder of 2017 and going into 2018 and beyond.
~ Claims Dennoui attacked him first while refusing to respond to his letters ~
PHILIPSBURG:--- Father of Baby Pilanco Oliver Vincent Arrindell told SMN News in an exclusive interview on Thursday that he has had enough with SZV and its employees whom he said is refusing to grant his disabled infant proper care. Arrindell has been in this predicament since the birth of his son in April 2015. He said that his child is supposed to be undergoing therapy in order for him to live a normal life but since November 2016 his son has not gotten one therapy treatment. Arrindell said that he was sent to the Netherlands earlier this year and his son did not receive any treatment. He said SZV left him with his wife and son in a hotel room for two long months without proper food for his infant son. “I had to walk very long distances to obtain food for me and my sick son. SZV refused to put me in an apartment, they wanted me to sign out of St. Maarten so the Dutch government would have to shoulder the medical expenses for my son. I am a civil servant working for the Government of St. Maarten and SZV including the Minister of VSA wanted me to sign out here I could lose my job. Can you imagine Minister Lee promised to send my son back to the Netherlands if I sign out of St. Maarten, the Minister told me he would ensure that I am paid two years of my salary and when I told the Minister to send the proposal to my lawyer Shaira Bommel he refused. When I contacted SMN News while in the Netherlands SZV put me in an apartment for one month after that I was brought back to St. Maarten since SZV claimed the child could receive the therapy on St. Maarten.” Arrindell said that ever since he returned to St. Maarten SZV did not make arrangements for his child to obtain proper care, he explained that he went to every therapeutic clinic on the island and they all told him that they do not provide such care for infants or toddlers under the age of 5. The doctor at SMMC he said told him that SZV wants him to help them destroy the life of a young child by placing the child in the care of the White and Yellow Cross, but the doctor he said told him he will not do that to a young child who could live a normal life if given proper care. Arrindell further explained that his lawyer and doctors wrote several letters to SZV and to date he has not gotten a response from the Social Insurance Bank. Arrindell further explained that he has letters from the Netherlands, Colombia and the Dominican Republic, where they are calling for his child to be seen by the doctors there but SZV chose to ignore him and his child. When asked about Thursday morning, Arrindell said he saw his child suffering and he decided to go to SZV since they are not responding to his lawyers, he said upon reaching SZV with his child the security guard told him that SZV will open their office at 10:30, Arrindell said he jumped over a counter at SZV and sat on a chair waiting for SZV personnel and it was while sitting there he heard Dennoui screaming and asking what he is doing inside SZV and who he was, he further claimed that when Dennoui approached him he did not hit him but instead tore his clothing up. He admitted that another SZV personnel was choking him and he hit that person who also chose to kick him several times while he was pinned to the ground by a security guard. Arrindell further explained that the insurance company for SMMC “Bezoekadres” has been in contact with him and they were supposed to compensate him for the damages caused to his son while his wife was giving birth at SMMC but the insurance company he said was supposed to get back to his lawyer in August 2017, he said they asked for an extra month and to date his lawyer and him did not hear from SMMC insurance company. Arrindell made clear that the only thing he wants is for his son to receive proper care so he could live a normal life like every other child.
PHILIPSBURG:--- Social & Health Insurances SZV had to close its doors to the public today (Thursday, November 23rd) due to an unforeseen incident wh, re SZV staff and security were physically attacked by a visiting customer. For privacy and legal reasons, it is not customary for SZV to disclose the details of incidents to the media or public but we see it important at this time to inform that these actions are never tolerated. All incidents where security has been breached are followed by an official police report and when required pursued further by legal action. It is our duty to serve the community, adhering to the laws of the social and health insurances of which we manage. We aim to do so by offering the best possible service to each customer, at all times. Violence of any form towards or staff or endangering our staff and visitors is never condoned. Legal action will be pursued in relation to the events of today and for this reason and to maintain the privacy of our staff we will not issue any more details as to not interfere with the ongoing proceedings. The offices of SZV will re-open again on Friday November 24th during regular business hours; 7:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Man loses cool at SZV Office.
PHILIPSBURG:--- Police was called Thursday morning on November 23rd at the SZV office, to intervene in a problem between a client and the staff that office. Police spoke to the suspect identified with initials O. A. who stated that for some time now he has been given the “run around” by management and staff of the SZV regarding medical attention and treatment for his physically impaired child. This morning at the SZV-office the situation got of hand according to the suspect as again he was given the runaround. The situation got heated and broke out into a fight involving the security guard and at least two other employees. The suspect had his child with him during the incident. The employees along with security-officer that were involved in the incident went to the Detective department and filed official complaints against the suspect for destruction and ill-treatment. Witnesses to the incident also gave statements to the investigating officers. The suspect has not turned himself in or been arrested as yet. The case is under investigation and no other details are available at this time.
WILLEMSTAD, Curacao:--- On the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the Dutch Red Cross, the Central Bank of Curacao and Sint Maarten has minted a silver commemorative coin of 5 guilders. In 1859, a battle between the French army under Napoleon III and the Austrian army was fought at the Italian town of Solferino. The Swiss banker Henry Dunant was witness to the fight and 40,000 people were killed. He went to help the wounded. On his own, however, this was impossible work. That was why he called for the help of the women in the village. He set up aid stations with them for the wounded of both parties. Back in Geneva, the battle involved him. He writes a book about what he has seen: 'A memory of Solferino'. In the book, he makes 3 proposals:
Each country must establish volunteer aid associations that are equipped and trained to take care of wounded people on the battlefield.
Wounds on the battlefield, medical personnel, and their equipment must be considered neutral and must be protected by a license plate.
These proposals must be ratified by an international treaty, and the protection of the wounded and medical staff who take care of them must be guaranteed.
At a meeting in 1863 of 16 European states, representatives approved Dunant's proposal to set up voluntary volunteer associations. They agree to use a red cross on a white surface as an emblem. The birth of the International Red Cross is a fact. The agreements are recorded in 1864 in the first Geneva Convention. This laid the foundation for Humanitarian War Law. Jean Henry Dunant received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1901. In the following years, National Red Cross societies are established in many countries. The Dutch Red Cross was founded in 1867. The Curaçao and St. Maarten countries also have a section of the Red Cross. The Department on Curaçao was founded in 1931 and that of Sint Maarten in 1976. Both departments fall under the Dutch Red Cross. The Red Cross is central in the design. The text DUTCH RED CROSS and 150 YEAR is placed above and below the logo. On the reflection (represented by the lines around the logo) of the cross are the 7 basic principles of the organization, namely Humanity, Impartiality, Neutrality, Independence, Voluntary, Unity, and Generalness. Other specifications: Metal: silver 925/1000 Weight: 11.9 gr Diameter: 29 mm Quality: proof Nominal value: 5 guilders Number of beaten specimens: 400 The silver coins are available at the cash department of the Central Bank of Curaçao and Sint Maarten and cost NAf 107.50. For more information about previously minted commemorative coins, please consult our website: http://www.centralbank.cw/commemorative-coins
Translated Press Release from the Central Bank of Curacao and St. Maarten
PHILIPSBURG:--- The Chief of Police Carl John and the Commander of the VKS Antonio Rogers met on Wednesday, November 22nd for talks regarding the safety of the community of Sint Maarten and the working cooperation between both entities. The VKS has been working under the supervision of the police department for quite a number of years with positive results.
Both the Chief of Police and the Commander of the VKS are doing their utmost to improve this working cooperation. The main topic of discussion was the upcoming tourist and Christmas season where the decision was taken that KPSM, the VKS and the officers of the National Police Force of the Netherlands who will jointly provide safety and security to the business community and the community at large during this season as together we focus on getting the economy back on track. The Commander of the VKS promised to support this effort with no less than 10 VKS- members on a daily basis. The police chief gladly accepted this offer.
During the meeting, the Police Chief stated that he is very proud of the local police officers who have been working prior, during and in the aftermath of hurricanes Irma and Maria and continue to do so up to today to guarantee the safety and security of the community.