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Minister Lee Visits St. Lucia Hospital.

stluciavisit26042017PHILIPSBURG:--- Over the weekend a small group consisting of Minister Emil Lee and one representative each from INSO, Royal Haskoning, St. Maarten Medical Center, and KPMG, visited the Owen King E. U. Hospital in St. Lucia. During their tour of the hospital built by INSO this group met with the Honorable Minister of Health and Wellness, Minister Mary Isaac. Discussions were had with Minister Isaac on possible areas of cooperation and why the hospital was not yet in use. The Owen King E.U. Hospital, funded by the European Union, was completed approximately two (2) years ago and has all necessary medical equipment in place, however, it is [sadly] still not being used.

The completed hospital experienced issues with the financial resources needed to make it operational and the training required to use the available high-tech equipment. Much of the equipment in the Owen King E.U. Hospital is from Siemens and there is a training gap in the skills of the personnel in terms of how to operate the modern equipment. For these reasons, the completed hospital remains non-operational.

Visiting the hospital provided insight into what was done well which could be incorporated into the design of the new St. Maarten General Hospital and what mistakes to avoid. “The hospital is just a building. If we don’t ensure that our staff is up-to-speed and that we have proper protocols and procedures in place, in the end, it is just a building”, said Minister Lee. While in the construction process, it is important to ensure that the entire healthcare chain, healthcare system, staff knowledge & training and more are all up-to-speed to safeguard that the new General Hospital meets the needs of its population.

Dishonoring women and youths will not be tolerated --- Minister of EYS Silveria Jacobs.

sjacobs26042017Youth Extravaganza DJ’s disrespected Minister, while producer should be held accountable, parents must assume their roles.

PHILIPSBURG:--- The Minister of Education, Youth and Sports Silveria Jacobs did not leave any stone unturned on Wednesday at the Council of Minister's press briefing when she addressed the saga surrounding the Youth Extravaganza Show that was held on Monday night and had to be stopped by police due to vulgarity.
Minister Jacobs said that the organizer of the show Andrew Dick ought to be held responsible as well as the St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation who outsourced the shows. Minister Jacobs explained that she was at the Carnival Village when inappropriate songs were being played as well as the comments made by the DJ’s. She said before the show was stopped by police the organizers were warned about the lyrics and statements that were being made, however, those that organized the show called her out as the one protesting. She said later DJ “Duty Sham” called her ‘sexy’ Silveria.
The Minister said clearly the Government of St. Maarten was disrespected with the statements and while the two print media on the Dutch side have twisted their stories the fact of the matter is that the organizer of the show is a media personnel and he should have known better. The Minister went on to repeat some of the words in at least one song which was indeed inappropriate towards women and youths in general. She said based on what took place at the show some parents left early with their children, while there were youths that were dropped off there and their parents leave them there alone.
The warned that an indepth investigation into all that transpired Monday night at the Festival Village is ongoing and that she will deal with the matter when the investigation is completed and she gets a report.
As for parents the Minister repeated that parents have a major role to play in the lives of their children, she said that children under the age of 15 should not be at the Festival Village and certainly they are not allowed to participate in the Jump Up and also not allowed to consume alcoholic beverages and or smoke.
The Minister called on parents once again to take up their responsibility and ensure that their underage children are under supervision when attending the carnival activities and also make sure they are at home at the time the law stipulates.
The Minister further stated that she personally witnessed where adults are buying alcoholic beverages for youths and at one point she had to intervene.
She called on adults to be more responsible, while she cautioned booth holders that they could lose their permits if they are caught selling alcoholic beverages to youths. She even called on the booth holders and other adults to report adults or booth holders that are breaking the law.

Minister of Health blames Inspectorate of Health for interfering with the audit of SMMC, says he prefers amicable solution.

emillee26042017Visited  St. Lucia to see unused Hospital that was constructed by INSO.

PHILIPSBURG:--- Minister of Health Emil Lee announced on Wednesday that he recently returned from St. Lucia where he went to see the hospital INSO constructed over there two years ago and is still not operational.
The team that accompanied the Minister to St. Lucia were representatives from SMMC, KPMG, Royal Haskonning, and INSO. Minister Lee said that the problem St. Lucia is facing is the lack of financing to train its staff to operate the equipment at the New Hospital. He said that St. Maarten will be cooperating with St. Lucia on issues where they could.
He said a hospital is just a building, a statement SMN News made several times to the Minister while imploring him to not interfere in matters that relates to SMMC and the Inspectorate since the main objective is to ensure the people of St. Maarten receives proper quality and safety of healthcare. It’s only after his visit to St. Lucia the Minister seems to realize that a new building is not a hospital.
Based on the statements made by the Minister of Health SMN News asked the Minister what he intends to do in order to bring SMMC up to par since SMMC lacks qualified specialists and instead of them working with the Inspectorate they are busy taking the Inspectorate to court because they do not want to comply with the law, refuse to follow the norms and to cooperate with the scheduled audit by the Inspectorate for 2017.
On Monday the SMMC took the Inspectorate to court citing they needed clarity on what the Inspectorate could do and what norms could be used. The Minister in response said that he tried to get parties to work out their problems instead of going to court but they chose the court instead of sitting around the table. He did say that going to court is a last resort, the Minister said that if parties had the country at heart they would have sat around the table and find a workable solution. However, the Minister said he supports the court case because at some point the court will give a ruling and parties could then move on since the objective is to improve the entire healthcare chain.
Based on the documents submitted to the Court of First Instance on Monday afternoon, the Inspectorate was taken to court by SMMC. In its defense the Inspectorate showed the court all the efforts they made to get SMMC to comply, one being sending the norms the Inspectorate uses, which are based on common Netherlands and international norms, however, the board and management of SMMC chose not to discuss but to drag the Inspectorate again to court. One of the most disturbing factors is that the Minister of Health Emil Lee chose to make agreements with SMMC and tried his best to bind the Inspectorate to his agreements while the Inspectorate is an independent enforcement entity within the Ministry of Public Health. One may wonder what all the court cases the SMMC initiated against the Inspectorate cost an institution in an already financially poor situation. Money which could be better spent on the education of staff, replacing a deficient generator and other highly needed investments.
The Minister went as far as issuing a gag order to the Inspectorate stating they should not communicate with third parties, this is based on SMMC constant complaint that they do not want reports or releases published in the media. The gag order almost landed the Minister in court. In the gag-order, the Minister accused the Inspectorate of breaching patient’s privacy to SMN News. Surprising indeed because the Minister himself chose to release a certain patient information when he was asked why he over ruled SZV for a particular patient. The Minister who boasts of integrity chose to compromise the privacy of the patient when SMN News informed the Minister that SMN News have information that his hotel was tested positive for E-coli and legionella.
Complaints at the Ombudsman.
SMN News asked the Minister how many complaints of interference and or integrity breaches were filed against him. The Minister said the Inspectorate filed a complaint with the Ombudsman against him and he just recently received a letter from the Ombudsman where her first question was if he is willing to settle the issues he has with the Inspectorate. Minister Lee said he is busy preparing his response to the Ombudsman and he intends to tell the Ombudsman that she could either mediate or hire a mediator in order for him and the Inspector General Dr. Earl Best to work out their differences. He said that he is not someone that likes fighting and that he tried to avoid court cases and confrontation with anyone, but in his view the Inspectorate is the one interfering with the audit he called for on February 8th 2017. Again the Minister who prides himself as the person of integrity and transparency chose to lie to the media and confuse the community on Wednesday about the interference and his role as Minister supporting SMMC with their refusal to comply with the law and cooperate with the Inspectorate. The Minister did call for an independent audit which he announced on February 8th 2017 to be executed by the Inspectorate VSA and the Inspectorate from the Netherlands but ever since SMMC was informed that IVSA and IGZ will be conducting that audit which the SMMC initially publicly supported in a press release and an internal memo, the Minister began shifting gears by hiring a consultant paid for by the Ministry VSA to conduct a baseline study of the SMMC with regard to the implementation of a quality management system, it should be noted that the consultant has no knowledge of healthcare and he is a potential candidate SMMC will hire to assist in getting JCI accreditation. Besides that a baseline study is not comparable to an audit by the Inspectorate.
The Minister at no point blamed SMMC for their lack of compliance or for hiring under qualified specialists and or doctors even though a number of patients either loss their lives or severely affected due to malpractice. He however stated that a no point did he stop the Inspectorate from entering the SMMC to conduct their task.
He also did not admonish SMMC for labor abuse since they have nursing staff working very long hours, being demoted and under fear.
SMN News further asked the Minister if he got the report from the consultant he hired to conduct the baseline study. The Minister said he did not get that report as yet but he is expecting it very soon. He said he did get indications that SMMC management and its staff cooperated very well with the consultant/ potential employee of SMMC. The Minister said that the staff felt that the baseline study was more constructive and not destructive.
It should be noted that the consultant only met with SMMC board and management team, the Inspectorate and the Public Health department while the Minister told reporters and parliament that the consultant the Ministry is paying will conduct a baseline study of the entire healthcare chain.
Besides interference and constant “deal making” by the Minister of Health and Labor, the Minister does not have any knowledge on healthcare and he also did not familiarize himself with the laws on healthcare.
Clearly, on Wednesday when Minister Lee was questioned he sounded more like the spokesperson for SMMC instead as a Minister who has to assume responsibility for quality of care and ensure health care institutions comply with the law, it is evident that the Minister does not even support the Inspectorate that falls under him. He did say he is the Minister of Health who has to ensure that quality health care is provided to the people on St. Maarten but his actions proved otherwise.

Central Committee reconvenes on the decision by the Kingdom Council of Ministers on Integrity Chamber

PHILIPSBURG:--- The Central Committee will meet in a session on April 26, 2017.

The Central Committee meeting which was adjourned on Tuesday, April 18, 2017, will be reconvened on Wednesday, April 26, 2017, at 14.00 hrs in the General Assembly Chamber of the House at Wilhelminastraat #1 in Philipsburg. The Minister of General Affairs will be present.

The agenda point is:
Decision by the Kingdom Council of Ministers to impose an Integrity Chamber via General Kingdom Measure.

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

The House of Parliament is located across from the Court House in Philipsburg.
The parliamentary session will be carried live on St. Maarten Cable TV Channel 120, via Pearl Radio FM 98.1, the audio via the Internet and via

Former Miss Mature Hands over Portfolio

missmature25042017PHILIPSBURG:--- Miss Mature Carnival Queen 2017-2018; Ms. Michelline Hunte, extended an invitation to, and a request of Miss Mature Carnival Queen 2016; Ms. Norrisa Anatol, to be a part of her reign. This gathering took place on Sunday 23rd April 2017 at Holland House Resort. Ms. Hunte’s objective behind this invitation was described with this quote, “If it’s not broke, don’t try to fix it.” Ms. Hunte’s congratulated Ms. Anatol on her reign and setting the bar high for all queens to follow. In addition to requesting Ms. Anatol to be a part of her reign, Ms. Hunte requested that she build on the legacy in which Ms. Anatol started as the 2016-2017 Miss Mature Queen. Both ladies sat together, discussed and began establishing other projects in which Ms. Hunte can execute in addition to what is in Anatol’s portfolio.
At the end of the gathering, Ms. Anatol presented Ms. Hunte with a copy of her portfolio and made a verbal agreement to be a part of her team. Ms. Hunte is eager to commence her reign and look forward to the full support from the St. Maarten community.

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