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Prosecutor’s Office Sint Maarten on the alert for vote fraud.

PHILIPSBURG:--- On Monday, February 26, 2018, the citizens of St. Maarten will go to the polls to elect a new parliament. The different political parties contesting the elections will try to obtain as many votes as possible to be represented in the new parliament.

Participating in the elections is an important acquired right that in some parts of the world does not come automatically. Free and fair elections where the vote is cast anonymously, form the basis of the democratic rule of law. The importance of this is anchored in the Constitution and in international treaties. A voter has the right to cast his vote without being influenced and to keep this decision to himself.

An example that elections do not always proceed in a fair manner is the buying or selling of votes, be it for cash or other personal favors/promises. Contrary to electoral promises to the population as a whole, promises to individual citizens are not allowed.

Bribery in suffrage is punishable under Article 2:44 of the Penal Code of Sint Maarten (previously article 132 of the Penal Code of the Netherlands Antilles). Recently the penalization has been increased to imprisonment of two years. It is also possible that a person convicted of bribery can be deprived of certain rights. This may include that a convicted person may no longer vote or that he may not stand for election.

To proof this offense it is sufficient that parties agree on not voting or voting in a particular way by accepting a gift or a promise. It is as if people (verbally) reach an agreement. Both the person making the gift or promise as the one who accepts the offer are punishable. That afterward the gift or promise is not redeemed or that the actual voting occurs differently than agreed upon, does not matter.

An attempted bribe is also punishable by the law of Sint Maarten. This is the case when a gift or promise is offered, but the other party does not wish to cooperate.

Both the completed offense as the attempt thereto must be based on an individual 'favoring' of the voter or his representative. It is needless to say that “campaign material” such as pens, buttons, t-shirts etc. with the logo of a political party are not considered as commitments to any individuals.

Around every election, however, the Prosecutor’s Office of Sint Maarten receives indications that voters are bribed to cast their vote for a particular party or person. This affects the free and fair conduct of the elections. The Prosecutor’s Office(OM) Sint Maarten and the National Police of Sint Maarten (Landsrecherche Sint Maarten) will, therefore, be extra vigilant during the period until the elections for indications of bribery and the buying of votes and will investigate these in accordance with the law.

Prosecutor's Office Press Release

Clothes 4 St.Maarten organization donates to the Charlotte Brookson Academy of the Performance Arts.

cbaclothes18022018PHILIPSBURG:--- This past Friday February 16th 2018 , the Clothes 4 St.Maarten organization in partnership with Franky Meyers donated boxes of clothing, shoes, cases of bottled water and non- perishable items to the students of Charlotte Brookson Academy of the Performance Arts (CBA)and their families who were affected by the passing of Hurricane Irma.
Clothes 4 St.Maarten started in the Netherlands with the intention to support persons and families who lost everything due to the passing of Hurricane Irma. We would like to take this opportunity to thank the Clothes4StMaarten team Claret Connor, and Mr.Lacroes for their kind generosity towards our students and their families.

Young Entrepreneurs Encouraged to Apply for the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative.

Residents from Curacao, Aruba, and Sint Maarten are eligible to participate in the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) and are encouraged to apply. In 2016 and 2017, a total of four young entrepreneurs from Curacao, three from Aruba, and one from Sint Maarten participated in the program that empowers entrepreneurs and innovative civil society leaders to strengthen their capacity to launch and advance entrepreneurial ideas and effectively contribute to social and economic development.
Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and implemented by Meridian International Center, the initiative will bring 250 young business and social entrepreneurs from Latin America and the Caribbean to the U.S. in September and October 2018 for a five-week fellowship which will include an opening program; an individualized Fellowship program with counterpart companies or organizations throughout the U.S.; and a closing forum in Washington, D.C.
This professional fellowship will take place at universities, incubators, and non-governmental organizations across the U.S., while follow-on exchanges will send Americans to Latin America and the Caribbean to continue the collaboration. Participants will benefit from interaction with entrepreneurship experts, participation in skill-building workshops, and ongoing support through networking, mentorship, and investment opportunities.
This fully-funded fellowship is open to entrepreneurs between the ages of 25 and 35 with at least two years of experience as an entrepreneur in their own business or social venture as well as citizenship and residency in Aruba, Curacao, or Sint Maarten. They should be proficient.

Toastmasters organized Distinguished Night.

Marigot, Concordia:---On Saturday, February 03rd 2018, St Martin Evolution Toastmasters Club organized The Distinguished Night, a formal event recognizing their new and first French side Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM): Ms. Vernicia Brooks.

Ms. Brooks joined St Martin Evolution Toastmasters Club in 2011. She became President of that same club in 2013, Secretary in 2014, Vice-President of Education in 2015, a position that she still holds now since 2017. She is a chartered member and mentor for the Cupercoy Sunset Toastmasters Club and has been mentoring many Toastmasters Members.
In 2016, she served on the district level as Area Director for Area 29 and was the liaison between the three clubs within her division and the District.
In 2017, during the French side Local Election, she organized one of the campaigns main event: Get to Know Your Candidate at the CCI in Concordia.
Toastmaster Vernicia passion for the opportunities offered by Toastmaster and its development program which is self-paced has resulted in a loyal and dedicated advocate for their programs. Her favorite quote is:”If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way”- Napoleon Hill.

St Martin Evolution Toastmasters Club also recognized Ms. Kathia Magdeleine from St Maarten Achievers Toastmasters Club and Mr. Elroy Hughes from Philipsburg Toastmasters club as DTM. The Distinguished Toastmaster award represents the highest of educational achievement in Toastmasters. This year three new DTMs joined the rank of locally known Toastmasters personalities such as Rolando Tobias, Valerie Brazier, Amanda Vital-Bedminister and Priscilla Bell.
Commitment, Consistency, Being Humble, Achievements, Accomplishments, Pride, Service and Mentorship were the key Toastmasters qualities brought forward by those three new DTMs that evening.

As it was an event of recognition organized by the French side Toastmasters Evolution Club some of the French side associations and service clubs were also present. St Martin Sante, the Red Cross, Lions Club Oualichi, Rotary Nord and Secours Catholique all received a token of appreciation for all the work done since September 06th 2017.

Sponsors for the evening were: Le trophée guadeloupéen, Grape Wine, Exquisite Designs & Decorations, Casa Pepone.

The best law firms and lawyers in the Dutch Caribbean.

Five Dutch Caribbean law firms have been ranked as the best law firms in the Dutch Caribbean by Chambers & Partners in Chambers Global 2018.
VanEps Kunneman VanDoorne has the desired Band 1 status again, the highest rating by Chambers.
Other ranked firms are HBN Law and Spigt Dutch Caribbean, both Band 2, and Soliana Bonapart & Aardenburg and STvB, both with the Band 3 status.

On VanEps Kunneman VanDoorne Chambers says " The skilled team is regularly engaged in major M&A, financing and project development mandates both domestically and internationally, most notably acting for clients in the banking, tourism and telecoms sectors.”
HBN Law is described as: "A well-established firm that maintains its strong standing in the Dutch Caribbean, with expertise in banking and finance and real estate, as well as a notable strength in dispute resolution.”
On Spigt Dutch Caribbean Chambers says that the firm "continues to be well regarded in the market, particularly when it comes to dispute resolution, finance and corporate/M&A.”
Soliana Bonapart & Aardenburg: "The firm is noted for its strong dispute resolution practice, representing clients internationally in commercial litigation and insolvency cases.”
STvB: "This firm is best known for its work on behalf of major financial institutions and insurance companies in matters such as loan financing and M&A.”

Next to these law firms also individual lawyers are ranked.
This year fifteen lawyers receive this honorable praise (last year twelve lawyers). Six of this elite group of lawyers come from Band 1 firm VanEps Kunneman VanDoorne and two from HBN Law. All other firms have one named lawyer; Spigt Dutch Caribbean has two with the special mention of Maike Bergervoet as up-and-coming individual.

The five individuals ranked in Band 1 (the highest qualification) are Randolph van Eps (VanEps Kunneman VanDoorne), Karel Frielink (BZSE Attorneys at Law), Frank Kunneman (VanEps Kunneman VanDoorne), Eric de Vries (HBN Law) and Martijn Welten (Spigt Dutch Caribbean).

With Chris de Bres of HBN Law (in Band 2) Bonaire has one ranked lawyer. With Patrick Brown of Brown Advocaten (Band 3) and Johan Paul Sjiem Fat of Sjiem Fat & Co in Aruba and Michiel Gorsira of VanEps Kunneman VanDoorne (Band 2) and Kamla Besançon of VanEps Kunneman VanDoorne in Sint Maarten both Aruba and St. Maarten have two ranked lawyer.s

New in the ranking in Band 3 are Sabine Altena of OX & WOLF, Kamla Besançon of VanEps Kunneman VanDoorne and Johan Paul Sjiem Fat of Sjiem Fat & Co.

More information on these individuals and law firms or the rankings Can be found on the legal website Dutch Caribbean Legal Portal,

Source: Dutch Caribbean Legal Portal

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