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The pending dispute regulation is a must for improved relationships within the Dutch Kingdom." (Reaction On The Appointment Of A Quarter Master).

sarahwescotwilliams10072016PHILIPSBURG:--- An agreement is exactly that, an agreement! and is never unilaterally executable. As someone who pushed for the Integrity Chamber to be established by national ordinance, I also am adamant about our institutions that are part of the system of checks and balances, such as the Ombudsman and the Constitutional Court.
The Constitutional Court ruled that the ordinance passed by the Parliament of St. Maarten did not sufficiently protect the citizens, who could be subjected to the reach of the Integrity Chamber. The government has to respect this ruling.
To now "suddenly" and without consultation appoint a quarter master for the non-existing Integrity Chamber is provocative to say the least. And this is a decision by the Dutch government? Was the agreement (protocol) not between St. Maarten and the Minister, acting on behalf of the Kingdom Council of Ministers? These 2 ( The Netherlands and The Kingdom) are being conveniently switched around. An agreement between the Netherlands and St. Maarten, which is also possible is a country-to-country agreement. The Kingdom is another matter altogether.
This is the same protocol that stipulated assistance from the Kingdom in the Justice area. However, this assistance seems to be going where the Kingdom government wants it to go, not where the plans of approach, agreed to by the same Kingdom government, recommend that the priorities within justice lie for St. Maarten.
And then to learn that the "Dutch is still hesitant on aiding with de-risking", is even more aggravating. Do they understand the implications of this threat for the people of St. Maarten, for every citizen of this country?
Matters like this, e.g, de-risking by international banks and the threat this poses, should never be subjected to or become embroiled in the more political issues, such as the authorities and competencies of the Kingdom government vis-a-vis the government of St. Maarten.
The Government of St. Maarten can not adopt a wait-and-see attitude in this matter. A strong effort should be made to engage ourselves with the regional partners. Pick back up the talks with the OECS and others.
Our parliament must pursue the dispute regulation with diligence and urgency and stay on top of this along with Aruba and Curaçao.


Armed robbery/home invasion.

robberysuspect15012017PHILIPSBURG:--- The Special Unit Robbery is presently investigation a very violent armed robbery/ invasion which took place on the evening of December 7th, 2016 at a home in the area of Pelican Keys. Four masked and armed men forced their way into this home and assaulted the occupant of this house and stole items such as the victim’s bank and credit cards.
Attached to this press release are four picture of one of the suspects who is using the stolen bank/credits at the automated bank machines at different locations on the island.
The Detectives are asking anyone who identifies the man in the photo or may have relevant information pertaining to this robbery/home invasion to immediately get in contact with the police department by calling 54-22222 ext. 203,204 or 205. Leave a message on the Police Facebook page or call the police anonymous tip line #9300.
Together as a community we can unveil and combat many dark areas within the line of crime and criminal activities.

KPSM Press Release

 

Kippy Gilders: Meet EPIC’s New Wetland Outreach Coordinator.

kippyepic15012017PHILIPSBURG:--- Kippy Gilders is the newest intern for the foundation Environmental Protection in the Caribbean (EPIC) and will coordinate a three-month Wetland Outreach Campaign. She has been a sailor her whole life and, from June 2013 to July 2015, circumnavigated the globe. Having grown up on St. Maarten and being environmentally active throughout the years, she went on to complete a Master’s degree in Environment and Resource Management at the VU Amsterdam. With high season in full swing, this internship is the perfect opportunity to put her environmental knowledge and sustainable boating experience to use as our waters are bustling with tourists and marine traffic.

Tell us about yourself
Since the age of two I grew up on St. Maarten attending the MAC and St. Dominic High School. My parents met while my mom was living and working in South Africa. My father was sailing around the Indian Ocean at the time and they decided to sail away together. They got married in Seychelles and sailed as far as Thailand before going back across the Indian Ocean to Mayotte, where I was born. They continued around Africa, along the coast of South America and up the Caribbean chain. When we came across St. Maarten we decided to settle down. Until I was nine years old we lived on our boat in the lagoon before eventually moving to land and throughout the years I continued to sail and participate in regattas on the island.

I completed my Bachelor of Science at the University College Utrecht (UCU) with majors in Life and Environmental Sciences. While back on the island I came across the incredible opportunity to circumnavigate the globe with Ready. Set. Sail!. As this had always been on my bucket list I decided to take a break from academics and commit myself fully to this endeavor. With just two years scheduled to sail around the world, I was aware that approximately half of this time would be spent at sea with little or no connection to the rest of the world. When we were on land we did our best to organize clothing and food donation drives, beach cleanups and participate in reef research. After this life- changing experience I was very excited to move to Amsterdam to complete a Master’s degree.

What did you study for your Master’s degree?
I studied Environment and Resource Management at the VU Amsterdam. This programme is very internationally oriented and open to students from all disciplines. This creates a fascinating multidisciplinary atmosphere to train the next generation of environmental decision-makers to find solutions for societal problems related to natural resource depletion and environmental change. Essentially, this degree outlines how to consider all aspects when designing a management scheme - a sustainable future is one where the economy, society and environment are equally important.

What topic was your thesis on?
I was accepted to complete my thesis research in Micronesia through The Nature Conservancy. Small island communities in this part of the world are highly threatened by the impacts of climate change, especially sea level rise as many of the islands are only a few meters above sea level. Therefore, these communities must either adapt to their changing environment or migrate to higher grounds. The research for my thesis evaluated how the community could harness the environment to adapt to climate change.

For example, rather than investing money into constructing seawalls to reduce the effects of sea level rise the community could invest their time to plant and restore mangroves along the coast. Constructing a seawall would require an initial investment, maintenance, eventual replacement, and often makes the situation much worse if not properly executed. However, healthy mangroves would prevent coastal erosion, reduce storm waves, and replenish fisheries along with a multitude of other benefits. Methods such as mangrove restoration are referred to as ecosystem-based adaptation and are gaining popularity due to the significant amount of co-benefits to the environment and society.

How did you come across this intern position?
With the last few years being a whirlwind of sailing and studying, I decided to return home to St. Maarten after my Master’s degree. I would like to do what I can for this island before looking for work internationally so when I heard about this position I was very interested because it combines my two greatest passions - sailing and the environment. This campaign, running from January to March 2017, is funded through the Be the Change Foundation (http://bethechangesxm.com) and mobilized by the EPIC Foundation.

Why should we care about wetlands like the Lagoon?
Sustainable practices are necessary as the lagoon is essentially a closed ecosystem. With limited recharge from the open sea, whatever is placed in our lagoon is likely to stay there and build up over the years. With the rapid development of the island, we have concentrated large numbers of people around our wetlands without providing proper infrastructure like sewage lines to keep waste out of the water. Therefore, businesses and homeowners should be aware that their wastewater flows into our ponds and lagoons.

I believe that people who live on boats are some of the more environmentally conscious as they can directly observe the repercussion of their actions and a single boat on its own has very little impact on the environment. However, a group of boats such as a fleet of regatta competitors or a full marina will have a much more dramatic effect and should be particularly conscious of their actions. Thus, it is especially important to promote sustainable practices this time of the year when our waters see the most marine traffic.

In short, how can we be more environmentally friendly?
Businesses and homeowners should have proper functioning septic systems or other disposal methods which should be pumped out when full. In a similar fashion to houses, most boats also have tanks to contain wastewater and perhaps the most significant way for boats in the Lagoon to be more environmentally friendly is by using Slurpy, the sewage pumpout boat. This service is provided by the EPIC Foundation through The Business Point after a survey in 2008 demonstrated that there was a demand for such a facility. In areas where boat communities are dense and there is a lot of urban development, high concentrations of sewage causes algae growth. This algae growth and decay consumes oxygen and causes the death of marine life, leaving algae as the dominant life form. Certain corners of the Lagoon (i.e. Cole Bay corner) already exhibit these conditions.

How will you be spreading the word of environmentally friendly practices?
For the most part I’ll be assessing and raising awareness for Slurpy the pumpout boat by conducting a short survey and being present at cruising and racing venues around the island. I will also be promoting the Blue Flag for Boat Owners campaign. This allows individual boat owners to participate in the Blue Flag programme by signing a pledge stating that they comply with the Blue Flag for Boat Owner's Environmental Code of Conduct. This has a number of commitments such as “Not throwing litter into the sea or along the coast”, “Not releasing toilet water into fresh waters, coastal waters and sensitive areas” and “Usepicwetland15012017ing the most environmentally friendly products that are available and work efficiently”. Lastly, I will be organizing events to raise funds in support of conservation and education related to the Simpson Bay Lagoon and reaching out to businesses and citizens to increase awareness of practices which help to protect our precious remaining wetlands.

Establishments who are interested in partnering with EPIC to become more environmentally conscious and boat owners who want to commit to the Blue Flag pledge can contact Kippy at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. To schedule an appointment with Slurpy call on VHF Channel 10, phone on +1 (721) 544-315, or email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. For more information surf to www.epicislands.org.

With the high season in full swing, our surrounding waters and the Lagoon are bustling with marine traffic. This is fantastic for our economy but let’s not forget our precious environment. With the aim to raise awareness of sustainable practices to maintain and improve the state of our remaining wetlands and especially the lagoon, Environmental Protection in the Caribbean (EPIC) is launching the Wetland Outreach campaign. Running until March 2017, the campaign is funded through the Be the Change Foundation (http://bethechangesxm.com) and mobilized by the EPIC Foundation.

Kippy Gilders has been elected by EPIC to coordinate this campaign. Having sailed around the world and completed a Master’s degree in Environment and Resource Management, this internship is the perfect opportunity to put her environmental knowledge and sustainable boating experience to use as our waters are bustling with tourists and marine traffic.

Sustainable practices are necessary for a wetland like the lagoon because it is essentially a closed ecosystem. With limited recharge from the open sea, whatever is placed in the lagoon is likely to stay there and build up over the years. With the rapid development of the island, large numbers of people are concentrated around our wetlands without providing proper infrastructure like sewage lines to keep waste out of the water.

One of the main tasks of this initiative is to raise awareness of Slurpy the sewage pumpout boat. Disposal of wastewater in the Caribbean can be a serious issue, especially in St. Maarten, a major yachting destination of the region. This service is provided by the EPIC Foundation through The Business Point after a survey in 2008 demonstrated that there was a demand for such a facility.

This campaign will also be promoting the Blue Flag for Boat Owners campaign which allows individual boat owners to participate in the Blue Flag programme by signing a pledge stating that they comply with the Blue Flag for Boat Owner's Environmental Code of Conduct. Also, Kippy will be organizing events to raise funds in support of conservation and education related to the Simpson Bay Lagoon and reaching out to businesses and citizens to increase awareness of practices which help to protect our precious remaining wetlands.

Establishments who are interested in partnering with EPIC to become more environmentally conscious and boat owners who want to commit to the Blue Flag pledge can contact Kippy at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. To schedule an appointment with Slurpy call on VHF Channel 10, phone on +1 (721) 544-315, or email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. For more information surf to www.epicislands.org.

Boasman: Meetings in Aruba fruitful.

raphaelboasman08 12016PHILIPSBURG:--- Minister of Justice Rafael Boasman returned to the island on Wednesday, January 11th, from Aruba where he participated in Justitiele Vierpartij Overleg (JVO) Judicial Four-Party Consultations.
The Minister deemed the meeting to be very positive. Prior to the meeting, Minister Boasman used the opportunity to meet the ministers of Justice of Aruba and Curacao separately to discuss some of the agenda points and matters of mutual interest.
The minister said that he indicated to them that, in his opinion, the most important issue is “that we stop fighting and accusing each other of all kinds of wrong doings.” He indicated that the feeling exists that the Dutch treat St. Maarten “as if we are all crooks, and that has to stop.”
A sentiment that he conveyed to the Dutch Minister of Security and Justice Ard van der Steur who indicated that he was of the impression that St. Maarten was not taking the issues serious enough. Minister Boasman assured the minister that the current government has placed law enforcement as its highest priority and will be taking this very serious.
Minister Boasman had some very fruitful and positive discussions with Chief Public Prosecutor Ton Maan and the Solicitor General (PG) regarding the crime situation on the island in general and specifically the situation at the prison. The assurance was given by the minister that the issues at the prison will be given the highest priority. “We agreed to move forward with mutual respect for each other,” the Minister said.
The minister praised the members of his delegation for the preparations made prior to the meeting in Aruba. He commended the chair for accepting his request for the postponement for one month on the discussion of the evaluation of the consensus (Kingdom) law as he did not have the opportunity to discuss this with the Council of Ministers of St. Maarten.
The next meeting of the Judicial Four-Party Consultations will be held in June on Curacao, while St. Maarten has to prepare top host the meeting in January of 2018.

Minister Boasman meets with Council On Law Enforcement.

boasmancouncillaw15012017PHILIPSBURG:--- Minister of Justice Rafael Boasman says part of his approach to address the crime situation on St. Maarten is to use “every bit of expertise” we have on the island, not ignoring recommendations that could make a difference.

The Minister met with the Council On Law Enforcement last week and was informed that a report from the Minister on how government plans on handling the various recommendation the council outlines in its reports, hasn’t been presented to Parliament since 2014.

The Minister said many of the topics addressed in the reports of the council, such as the prison situation, “are extremely important to us. In fact, the motion that was passed in Parliament giving me 60 days to come up with a report on how the crime situation will be tackled, ties directly into the reports from the Council On Law Enforcement,” Minister Boasman said.

Boasman said the council wanted to establish the responsibility the Minister has in dealing with its reports and offer its cooperation. The council also presented the Minister with hard copies of its reports. “We have a lot of expertise in house and if nothing happens with recommendations, then it’s a waste of opportunity.

“We have already started looking at the reports and I assured the council I will stay in contact and, where possible, if they can offer advice it would be welcomed. We will be discussing the reports with the necessary department heads as well,” the Minister said.


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Radio from voiceofthecaribbean.net

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