Psalm 121:1-2  I will lift up my eyes to the hills, from whence comes my help? My help comes from the LORD who made heaven and earth.

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

Lucina Melsadie Hughes better known as Lou

Sunrise: 08 of June, 1946
Sunset: 30 of April, 2013

 

Left to mourn her home going:

Children: Norma Williams- Hughes in the U.S.A.
                 Anderson Hughes and family
                Jacqueline Hughes and family in Holland
                Marvis Hughes
                Ryan Hughes

Daughter in-laws: Judy Hughes, Fay Austin

Son in-law: Gregory Williams in the U.S.A.
                     Eric Verhagen in Holland

Grandchildren: Nahaila, Rusjeika, Jolita, Sergio, Serfinio, Ryanna, Dilan, Delano, Jude, Axson, Neovaun,and         Judisha

Grandson in law: William Mitchel in the U.S.A.

Sisters: Everette Richardson
              Veronica Hughes & Family
              Raphaela Hughes & Family (in Curacao)
              Amelie Gumbs & Family
             Rita Hughes & family
             Patricia Schmidt-Hughes & Family (in Aruba)
             Bernadette Carty & Family

Brothers: Daniel Hughes & Family (a.k.a.) Danny
                  Russell Hughes & Family
                  Franklin Richardson & Family
                  Leonard Hughes & Family 
                  George Hughes & Family (in Holland)
                  James Hughes
                 Wendell Hughes & Family

Sister in laws: Paulette Hughes, Rosie Hughes

Ex-sister in law: Imelda Carty & family,Delphine Lake & Family (in Holland)

Uncle: Claudius Richardson
Aunt : Francis Boddie in St. Kitts

Children of the late: Elwaldo Richardson, Aurora Arrindell, Justin Hughes, Helena Maria and Atlie Illis-Brown. The Hughes, Hodge, Webster families in Anguilla.

Godchild: Angelo Duinkerk

Special nieces and nephews: Dientje Muller and Jacintha Hughes, Lugene and Earlison Hughes.

Nieces & Nephews to numerous to mention.
         
Close friends: Edith Geraud in Curaçao

Many other families and friends to numerous to mention.

She was related to: Hughes, Richardson, Brown, Arrondell, Webster, Muller, Hamlets, Fleming, Carty, James, Gumbs, Duinkerk, Rogers, Hodge, Roumou, Cannegieter, Ellis, Frank, Clarks, Boddie, Pantophlet, Maria, Casseres, Kemper, Richies, Williams family.

A wake will be held on Thursday 09th of May 2013 at: Grapefruit rd.# 28 in St. Peters from: 8:00pm until 11:00pm.

The family wishes to retire quietly after the funeral service and kindly request no calls of condolences or visitors at home.

In lieu of flowers a donation to the church will be highly appreciated.

The Service of thanksgiving for the late Lucina Melsadie Hughes better known as Lou will be held on Friday May 10th, 2013 at the Cole Bay Methodist Church, Union rd Cole Bay. Viewing: 1:30pm -2:30pm. Service: 2:30pm. Interment: Cay Bay cemetery.

May her soul rest in Eternal Peace

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

It is with deep sadness that we announce the sudden passing of

William Romney-Warno a.k.a Willy
6 October 1957 ~ 23 Apr 2013

Left to mourn is:
Children: Erwin Lake
                 Julaika Lake (Holland)
                Sharjentelly Martina (Curacao)
               Crystal Groeneveldt (Holland)
               Xannae Gumbs
7 Grandchildren
Brothers: Charles Brown, Romel Romney, Fernando Romney-Warno
Sister: Leotine Romney
           Patricia Illis-Romney
           Elanita Romney
           Juliana Romney – Warno
           Marina Warno
Nieces, nephews & Cousins too numerous to mention.
Aunt: Ephrem Romney, Julia Romney, Olive Fleming, Drew Warno
Uncle: John Warno, Alfonso Richardson
Close Friend: Torchie Meyers, dan Webster, Leo Maynard, Donald Cannegieter, Sylvine Flanders, Detective Rombley, Manfred Cannegieter, Robelto Flanders, Kadet Gumbs, Tony Cheff, Ermin & Austin Richardson, Russell Cocks, Charlie Arrindell, Boys from G.E.B.E, the cockfight crew.
Special Thanks to Mangement and staff of Emerald Funeral home, the Doctors & Nurses at the S.M.M.C, Illse Carter, Dionne Trusull, Janice Flanders, Annette Martin
He was related to the Romney Warno, Fleming, Therwil, Illidge, Vanterpool, Cocks, Lake, Jermin, Richardson, Flanders, Groeneveldt, Mathew, Illis, York, Martin, Brooks, Reed, Arrindell, Gumbs & Martina Families.
In our time of grief if we have forgotten to mention anyone we do apologize as it was not intentional.

A wake will be held on Monday May 6th, 2013 at the Cockpit in Oyster Pond from 6:30pm to 10:00pm.
The funeral service for the late William Romney-Warno a.k.a Willy will be held on Wednesday May 8, 2013 at the Philipsburg Methodist Church on Front Street. Viewing: 1:30pm to 2:30pm. Service 2:30pm. Interment: Cul de Sac cemetery.

The family kindly requests no visitors after the funeral service.

May his soul rest in Eternal Peace

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

Constitutional legal minds are shaking their heads at Sarah's revelation that she sought advice on whether she should table the motion to dissolve Parliament. They find this lack of understanding of our constitution by our Prime Minister both shocking and frightening. If she is so ignorant of basic constitutional principles, it is thought, what is she doing leading a country?

First of all they point out, the constitution is the highest law in the land. Parliament can make no laws that conflict with the constitution. So highly is our constitution held in esteem that St. Maarten is the only country in the Kingdom with a constitutional court to ensure that laws that are in conflict with it can be legally challenged.

By way of example they point to Parliament's right to dismiss government by a vote of no confidence. This right is guaranteed to Parliament by the constitution. No legal advise can tell them when or when not to use it. That would be putting legal advisers above our Constitution. Similarly government cannot be bound by any legal advise about how and when to use the right to dissolve Parliament. The constitutional thinkers point out that only the voters have the right to decide whether government was right to dissolve to Parliament. This they can do this by either voting the party that dissolved government out of power or keeping them in office.

Furthermore they point out, the right to dissolve Parliament after a vote of no confidence is such a well established doctrine in constitutional law, that they fail to understand what the fuss is about or why advise is even needed., It is nothing new or unusual. The argument therefore that the Prime Minister advances for not tabling the motion to dissolve Parliament do not hold water. The right to dissolved Parliament is granted by the constitution, the very same constitution that gives Parliament to right to dismiss government. Constitutional rights are therefore "holy" and should not be tampered it.

Name withheld upon author's request.

In this entire saga that has transpired in the last few weeks it is revealing to see how some people can read the same document and come up with completely different conclusions. I felt it is necessary to try to explain some issues here for the clarification purposes.
On a radio program Mr. Michael Ferrier indicated that the Council of Ministers (COM) can only dissolve Parliament if there is no majority willing to form a new Government. He was not the only one with this opinion; MP Roy Marlin and others also shared this opinion. Mr. Ferrier said that this was clear in the 'Memorie van Toelichting' (Explanation of the Articles) but I have the document and I wasn't able to find this. If anyone out there can find it, I will gladly admit to being wrong.
There was also an article from Mr. Jeffery Richardson, who is the leader of a political party. He said that the letter submitted by the 3 MP's and the letter submitted that same Sunday was an official notice. AS a politician that wants to represent us in Government and Parliament, he should have more knowledge of our Constitution. In article 33 sub 1 it clearly states 'The Prime Minister and other Ministers shall be appointed and dismissed by national ordinance.' A letter written to the Prime Minister is NOT a National Ordinance. Again, I challenge anyone to prove me wrong.
Even worse than the above, the Prime Minister on a radio program insinuated that article 33 to dismiss the Ministers held more weight than article 59 because it came first. Now the PM is a gifted orator and she was careful not to say this but only insinuate it. However the message was clear. All articles carry the same weight, there is no article more important, less important and there is no such thing as a technical article.
The fact is that the correspondence from the Governor was clear and to the point. The actions by the PM were equal to the subversion of democracy. No matter how we try to sugarcoat this, it is an embarrassing and uncomfortable situation we find ourselves in as a country. It now leaves to be seen what steps the Governor, Dutch Minister and Kingdom Government and the population of St. Maarten will do. If nothing is done, this will not only have an impact on St. Maarten but on the entire Kingdom.
This has nothing to do with a personal attack on anyone, but the overall view of the country to the outside world. One person cannot make a decision for an entire country, especially seeing that the decision is not theirs to make. Will the people, the Governor and the Kingdom stand by and watch this travesty occur? Remember the Kingdom is responsible for good governance, if this is not corrected, God helps us all!!!

Kendall Dupersoy

Sarah's letter of May 27th in which she bluntly refused to put on the agenda the majority in the council of ministers request to dissolve Parliament places the Governor in an awkward position. Her refusal is an open rebellion against his explicit advice on this matter. We will recall that the governor in his letter of May 16th, gave three pieces of advice to the Prime Minister.
The first was that the right to dissolve Parliament was a constitutional and autonomous right of government. The second piece of advice was that she should give space to the demand of five ministers in the council of ministers that government be dissolved. But the most crucial was the third. Not allowing the vote on dissolving Parliament would not do justice to our constitutional process.
In a breath taking display of hubris and overreach, The Prime Minister issued her letter to the Council of Ministers informing them that she had decided that there would be no meeting to discuss the dissolving of Parliament. This has placed the governor before an enormous decision. He cannot ignore the PM's intransigence and uphold the constitution at the same time. He must choose and we know how desperately he has tried to avoid being backed into a corner. But the PM 's decision, a fool hardy one for sure, has placed him and the young country before a momentous choice. At the same time it is an easy choice. No one, especially not the Prime Minister can violate our constitution. Government's right to dissolve Parliament is one such right guaranteed by our Constitution. The governor must now choose between article 59 of the constitution and Sarah.
The governor must decide quickly to restore constitutional order and discipline. Rarely does a governor get the opportunity to actively determine the direction of major issues. After all, his role is largely ceremonial, as Van Rijn described it, the right to heard, to advise and to encourage. But in this case he wields some important powers. For example he appoints the formateur. One of the first things he can therefore do is recall his appointment of the PM as formateur until article 59 is complied with. The majority in the council of ministers have made it abundantly clear that they wish to exercise this right. Until this right has been exercised the governor is fully within his right, to refuse to appoint a formateur or proceed with any steps towards the formation of a new government. He is aided in his decision by article 20 of the Rules of Order of the Council of Ministers which state that decisions are made by the majority.
The governor must choose between anarchy and the rule of law. He cannot proceed with the formation of a government in violation of the constitution. Such a government would be unconstitutional. Any laws it passes would be therefore unconstitutional as well as invalid. Citizens may then ignore such laws because the government that passed them does not have the moral nor constitutional authority to do so. This is the quickest way to chaos and higher supervision. And all because the PM desperately wants to cling to her position, even when the constitution tells her she must go.
The PM has drawn a line in the sand and challenged the governor to cross it.

Name withheld upon author's request.

An important issue for country Sint Maarten is climate change. It is an issue that needs to be addressed at the Executive and Legislative levels of Government, and plans of actions developed. The United Nations (UN) climate change body is warning that a stepped-up coordinated response is needed to fend off the impacts of climate change after the world's carbon-dioxide concentrations recently surpassed their highest level in four million years.

According to the Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Christiana Figueres, "The world must wake up and take note of what this means for human security, human welfare and economic development."

Sint Maarten must also wake up. C. Figures also adds, "In the face of clear and present danger, we need a policy response which truly rises to the challenge," she continued urging a "greatly stepped-up response across all three central pillars of action: action by the international community, by government at all levels, and by business and finance."

The latest info says that global concentrations of heat-trapped carbon dioxide in the atmosphere recently passed the 400 parts per million mark, which impacts efforts to limit global warming to two (2) degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) from pre- industrial levels.

The new measurement came from Mauna Loa, a volcano on the big island of Hawaii that has been monitoring the worldwide trend on carbon dioxide.

Governments will meet for two-weeks starting on 3 June in Bonn, Germany, for the next round of climate change talks under the umbrella of the UNFCCC. A central focus of the talks will be negotiations to build a new global climate agreement and to drive greater immediate climate action.

A report entitled, "The Caribbean and Climate Change – The Costs of Inaction," from May 2008 by Stockholm Environment Institute – US Center Global Development and Environment Institute, Tufts University, points out that two dozen island nations of the Caribbean, and 40 million people who live here in the region, are in the front lines of vulnerability to climate change.

Facing Caribbean nations including country Sint Maarten are hotter temperatures, sea-level rise and increased hurricane intensity, which would threaten lives, property and livelihoods. The report continues, as ocean levels rise, the smallest, low-lying islands may disappear under the waves. As temperatures rise and storms become more severe, tourism-the life-blood of many Caribbean economies- will shrink and with it both private incomes and the public tax revenues that support education, social services, and infrastructure.

And these devastating impacts will occur regardless of the fact that Caribbean nations including Sint Maarten have contributed little to the release of the greenhouse gases that drive climate change.

The report offers a preliminary examination of the potential costs to island nations of the Caribbean if greenhouse gas emissions continued unchecked. The report offers two scenario's, an optimistic (entails rapid action to stabilize the impact of climate change or low-impact) and pessimistic scenario (entails business-as-usual or high-impact where greenhouse gasses continue to rise unabated).

The cost of inaction, or the difference between these two scenarios's, may be seen as the potential savings from acting in time to prevent the worst economic consequences of climate change.

The projections presented in the report are by no means a comprehensive picture of all climate change damages. They are based on three categories of effects: hurricane damages, tourism losses, and infrastructure damages.

The Caribbean's annual cost of inaction is projected to total US$ 22 billion annually by 2050 and US$ 46 billion by 2100. As each year goes by, the costs continues to increase, hence why it is so important to prepare from now by developing a plan of action for the next 30 to 50 years – because it is a long-term investment – to mitigate and adapt as a country.

The investment is made for the long-term, and for the sustainability of future generations of Sint Maarteners. It is an investment into our children and their children's children, by maintaining a secure sustainable living environment.

The costs of inaction mentioned in the report for the former Netherlands Antilles back in 2008 which Sint Maarten formed a part of, for 2025 up to 2100 would be US$ 2.7 billion of Gross Domestic Product based on (low/high impact).

What is country Sint Maarten's policy response in rising to the challenge of climate change?

Roddy Heyliger

Dear Editor,

I am responding to the opinion article in The Daily Herald on Tuesday May 28, 2013 entitled "Burning money or garbage" written by an unnamed concerned citizen.

Toward the end of July 2011 I contacted a company here in the US to inquire if they would have an interest in doing a wind energy project on St. Maarten. During the course of the conversation I was told, yes, they could do wind, but they also had a company that could provide a waste to energy plant. I asked for and received additional information about their system. After some study of their system I had some questions and once I received answers to them I put together an email to then Minister of VROMI Theo Heyliger outlining how I felt this company could be of benefit to St. Maarten.

Since what was being outlined would require No capital investment on the part of St. Maarten Minister Heyliger was initially somewhat skeptical stating what was being proposed as sounding like "The Holy Grail". He did however say he was willing to and eventually did meet with representatives of the company.

It seems anything in St. Maarten no matter how beneficial to the island can be and usually is, turned into a political football by the various parties. This was something I wanted to avoid because of the huge upside potential this project could have for St. Maarten. So around the same time I contacted Minister Heyliger, I also shared with William Marlin who was then the leader of the opposition as well as Kendall Dupersoy, the information being proposed to Minister Heyliger for his consideration.

When the first government fell last year William Marlin replaced Theo Heyliger as the Minister of VROMI, in effect becoming the new point man on the WTE plant. Based on the announcement of last week it seems things have moved forward to the point where the solution to a long standing problem is in sight. The company I initially contacted is one of the finalists along with three other companies. Who has the best proposal? That remains to be seen and decided upon by whoever ends up in charge of VROMI once the current political situation is finally settled.

However I must take exception to the spin this "concerned citizen" wrote, throwing out figures of $120 million being spent for a $40 million dollar plant and asking where the other $80 million was going. Why would he ask this? I'm guessing in order to create some sort of melee in the court of public opinion. I'm also at a loss as to where he is getting his figures. I would however urge him to re-read the article paying attention to where it was stated the WTE plant will have no financial impact on the people of St. Maarten. The people are not being asked to foot the bill! The initial costs for the plant are the responsibility of whatever company is selected. They in turn will recover their investment through the sale of the power produced by the plant to GEBE.

Far from being "the straw that broke the camel's back" this project is a "gift horse" that no one needs to look in the mouth. Solving the landfill problem and reducing the cost of electricity to the people of St. Maarten is a win, win in anyone's book.

Andy Croxall

I usually do not read blogs as I feel that anonymous journalist are not due my time. However, my Mom is an avid reader of the blog and upon her request I read a few and noticed a certain trend. The trend being that persons out there (probably 3 or 4 making multiple post under different names) are claiming that William Marlin and the other 3 Ministers are power hungry for not resigning right away. Hearing this I thought back and wondered if these people really know what power hungry means.
Let's start with Mr. Heyliger, you almost never hear how power hungry this gentleman is. In a recent article Theo claimed that William was holding on to power even though he lost his majority. This made me laugh because I can remember Theo openly campaigning against Sarah even though they were in the very same party as she and him publicly attacked each other fighting for the leadership of the party.
Theo even went as far as breaking with the DP on not one but two occasions in order to maintain his seat as a Commissioner only to run back home or in the second case to form the UP. Both these occasions were not about the people but to maintain his power. As in the second case, he left office to campaign for the 2010 elections months before the election.
Theo is also accused of trying to buy support on several occasions in the past, though none have ever been proven. Recently, MP Laville accused him trying to bribe him with first $250,000 and then he raised the price to $350,000. The Bada Bing tape was also allegedly created in order to blackmail Patrick Illidge into breaking the Government. I wonder why the bloggers ignore these facts and are blind to his hunger of power.
The Prime Minister also has a similar history, first she publicly fought with her candidate on her list and she has continuously made decisions with the sole purpose of maintaining her power. She even sacrificed Maria Buncamper in order to stay in power.
First the PM refused to execute a legal vote to dissolve parliament and call new elections. The PM also refused to allow the Constitutional Court to mediate a broad based solution with all three parties. Even the church got involved calling all 3 leaders together but not even that worked. So even the most biased observer must admit that this is about power and not about the people as they so want to us to believe.
Recently, a letter from the Governor was published clearly indicating that the actions taken by the Council of Ministers were correct and within their right, yet she totally ignored the letter in an attempt to remain Prime Minister. Now if this isn't power hungry I don't know what is.
In the last election, her party got just over 2000 votes most of them her personal votes. A party that used to claim as much as 6000 votes a few elections ago, yet for some strange reason she was appointed Prime Minister. That Government lost its majority in Parliament and she maintained her request to remain Prime Minister which was granted. Now again her Government has fallen and yet again it is said she will remain Prime Minister, again no doubt a request from the DP.
In all the years I have followed politics I have never heard of William Marlin as much as asking a DP or UP member to cross the aisle, no mention of offering them money, bribing them or sacrificing his party member to remain or gain power. Yet on the blogs, you see many comments about his lust for power.
Again this week, William tendered his resignation in the best interest of St. Maarten but not one media house carried the story as positive. The NA leader in the past has also lost the majority and has always walked away, even sometimes being criticized for not fighting harder. Now as he has decided to dissolve a Parliament which anyone who is paying attention can see is not functioning, he and the others are accused of holding on to power.
Seeing the above facts (check them if you think I lie), you must admit that if anyone is power hungry it is most definitely not William Marlin but more likely Theo Heyliger and Sarah Wescot William. I challenge anyone to come to a different conclusion.

Kendall Dupersoy

There are many similarities with respect to what transpired in Curacao in the latter part of 2012 and what transpired here within the past three weeks with the National Alliance led Government seeing its parliamentary support withdrawn. Of particular importance is what transpired at the parliamentary level of Government.

Back in July 2012 the Schotte-led coalition government lost its parliamentary support. This prompted former Prime Minister Schotte to dissolve parliament and call for snap elections (October 19, 2012) and for a new parliament to be installed by November 2, 2012. Governor Frits Goedgedrag had no choice but to sign the decree to dissolve the legislature after the Schotte cabinet resigned.

The New Curacao Majority in the Parliament of Curacao had 12 seats of the 21-seat legislature. With respect to Curacao, the New Curacao 12-seat Majority was not able to pass a motion of no confidence prior to the Schotte Cabinet resigning, and hence why the process headed towards snap elections in October 2012.

Even though the Schotte led Government tendered its resignation, the 12-seat New Parliamentary Majority was able to pass its motions of no confidence and also appoint an interim Cabinet. It all started back in September 2012, where a meeting of the Central Committee of Curacao's Parliament was cancelled because the opposition members did not show up. The 12-seat majority opposition members were of the opinion that the Chairman of Parliament of Curacao should convene a public meeting where they could adopt motions of no-confidence against the individual ministers of the Schotte Cabinet caretaker government. The President of Parliament refused to call any public meetings.

In the case of Sint Maarten, public meetings of Parliament were convened, but the Members of Parliament were not given the word and the President adjourned the meeting until another date.

One Curacao opposition Member of Parliament (MP) stated public meetings were requested on very important issues, but these were not convened, and that parliament is currently being held hostage. He added, we are being prevented from performing our duty to control government and making laws.

The MP further added, the President of the Curacao Parliament determined that the Parliament can only meet to discuss current matters and urgent issues, but he's the only one who determines what is urgent or not, and it is obvious that the rules of the legislature are being contravened. "We aren't even allowed to take the floor during meetings. The chairman determines when this is possible by sticking to his interpretation of the Rules of Order."

Curacao Governor Frits Goedgedrag asked advice from legal experts Carl Gruning and Roque Koeyers on the request by the majority of 12 of the 21 members of Parliament to install a "business cabinet" of professionals that will replace the already caretaker Schotte-led Government. The Governor received his legal advice, which concluded that it usually makes little sense to send home a government that already has caretaker status, it can be done in extraordinary cases if a majority sees the need.

The urgent need put forward by the 12-seat parliamentary majority for installing an interim cabinet is to prevent Higher Supervision by the Netherlands because it appears the Schotte-led caretaker Government has not complied with the budgetary instruction from the Kingdom Council of Ministers and that would be the next step.

On May 13, 2013, the eight seat majority of the Parliament of Sint Maarten met under the chairmanship of 1st Vice Chairman of Parliament Hon. MP Romain Laville, and a motion of no confidence was passed against five Ministers of the National Alliance-led Government Cabinet. There was some confusion as to whether the meeting was legal as well as the legitimacy of the motion. The Prime Minister Hon. Sarah Wescot Williams provided a legal advice document prepared by the Department of Legal Affairs to the President of Parliament Hon. Rodolphe Samuel at that time, stating that the May 13, 2013 meeting was legal.

We can recall that the President of Parliament Hon. Rodolphe Samuel at that time stated that the May 13 meeting was not an official meeting of parliament and was only a gathering.

In the case of Curacao, the parliamentary majority of 12 held a meeting of their own and replace the Curacao President of Parliament and Acting Chairman with representatives from among their own. The Secretariat of Parliament was not involved in this public meeting and it was held in the conference room of the Parliament faction offices at the former Central Bank Building in Punda, rather than the House of Parliament in the legislative hall.

During the meeting an attempt was made to get the General Secretary to attend, but he refused because he considered the situation unclear. Instead, the meeting was recorded by the Notary and an unidentified employee of the secretariat.

During the parliamentary meeting, the MPs pointed out to article 120 of the Rules of Order which states that in all cases where these rules or other lawful regulations don't suffice, the majority decides.

Members of the Dutch Second Chamber of Parliament in The Hague were pleased that a majority of the Parliament of Curacao took matters into its own hands and convened a meeting, because the President of Parliament was refusing to do so.

The Governor received 10 motions that were passed by the 12-seat parliamentary majority calling for the immediate dismissal of ministers of the Schotte caretaker Cabinet. One of those motions adopted by the new majority specifically asked Governor Frits Goedgedrag to appoint a person charged with forming an interim cabinet to stay on until a new government is installed after the elections.

In mid-September 2012, Curacao's Governor Goedgedrag started a round of orientation talks on forming an interim cabinet to run the country until a new Parliament to be elected October 19 takes over, based on the aforementioned motion. The Governor asked Eduardo "Dito" Mendes de Gouveia to explore the short-term formation of an interim cabinet with a small team of ministers and supported by a majority of Parliament members.

Just before the end of September 2012, after the new 12-seat parliamentary majority confirm they supported an interim cabinet in conformity with the formation order from the Governor, the Governor ordered De Gouveia to form a cabinet who can count on the support of the majority.

Dutch caretaker Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Hon. Liesbeth Spies, stated that the Governor of Curacao acted within his authority as national representative when he appointed Eduardo Mendes de Gouveia to form an interim cabinet in Curacao.

On October 1, 2012, the embattled former Curacao Prime Minister G. Schotte occupied the Council of Ministers office in Fort Amsterdam refusing to relinquish power to the new interim cabinet. Schotte remained at the offices of the Council of Ministers for a 24-hour period before vacating the premises.

Dutch Minister of Kingdom Relations Spies at that time supported the appointment of an interim cabinet in Curacao, adding that the new temporary cabinet is in compliance with the country's Constitution and the rules in a democratic state of law. Spies pointed out that the dismissal of the Schotte cabinet and the appointment of an interim cabinet was in accordance with the wish of the majority in Curacao's Parliament.

Roddy Heyliger

Dear Editor,

I am completely baffled by the press release from the political leader of the United People's Party Theodore HEYLIGER. How can the leader of the United People's Party have the audacity to issue such a press release? A politician, who's, name, over the last two and a half year has surfaced in different scandals. There are many words in the press release of the leader of the United People's Party that in my opinion should not be part of his vocabulary. In his press release the leader of the United People's Party made mention of the following expressions: -do the right thing-let democracy prevail-tyrannical behavior-no respect for the rule of law-lost credibility to function-look at the message he is sending to young people-what example is being set-sabotaging democratic process-do the honorable thing. Now people let us be realistic and ask ourselves the simple question. Do you believe that a politician, who is involved/embroiled in three different investigations/scandals since the election for parliament in 2010, should use the above mentioned expressions in a press release to cry down another politician? This is a clear example of "the pot calling the kettle black". His boldness is beyond my comprehension. Let us take a look at the incidents/scandals in which it has been alleged that the leader of the United People's Party is involved. It has been alleged that the United People's Party was involved in the buying of votes during the election for parliament in 2010. The act of buying votes for an election of parliament is punishable by article 132 of the Penal Code. The Bada Bing Affair: Most of the world has seen this incident through the internet. The involvement of the leader of the United People's Party in this affair was made known by the suspect Jaap van de HEUVEL in a statement given by him to a local daily newspaper. And last but not least the alleged bribing of parliamentarian Romain LAVILLE, who filed a complaint by the authorities. Bribing a parliamentarian is a breach of article 183 of the Penal Code. As long as the prosecutor's office has not stated the contrary, these investigations in my opinion are still ongoing. Buying votes, bribing a parliamentarian and destroying your political opponent in a sleazy manner are considered to be very serious breaches of the law and are considered to go against the core principles of a democracy. Any politician, who uses these methods to achieve power in politics, is according to my opinion a person without credibility and is not worthy of taking part in the electoral process. Before closing this article I want to make mention of a despicable remark made by parliamentarian Jules JAMES in which in my opinion he questioned the neutrality of the Governor of Country St. Maarten. Parliamentarian James remarked in a very aggressive manner during the political upheaval in the parliament building that the Governor was appointed by the National Alliance. Any person with some common sense, based on the moment and occasion of the remark, will conclude that Jules JAMES was trying to insinuate that the Governor will side with the National Alliance in the ongoing political standoff. There was no other reason for him to make that remark. Because of the function of the Governor I know that the Governor will not react to Jules JAMES, but I as a citizen of this country can. Jules JAMES should be ashamed of himself. The Governor of Country St. Maarten is a man of integrity and Jules JAMES is not. Jules JAMES performance in parliament portrays someone, who is full of hate and vengeance. It is said that he is a preacher, but that quality surely does not show up in his actions in parliament.

Todd PETERSON

Dear Maurice,

After reading your article in the Daily Herald, I could not resist replying to it.
All of a sudden you are claiming that the President of Parliament shows arrogance and abuse of power, really? Also that he is influenced by WM. You only saw arrogance in the President? What about the members of Parliament of the UP/DP/Ind Laville what were they showing?. They were rude, disrespectful and shouting and pounding their fists on the desks, what behavior is that? The President was calm and collective, not once did he shout or pounded on the desk as if he was irritated. Your own Parliamentarians had to be restrained by Janchi, who indicated to them that detectives and plain clothes police officers were in the building. I think all of the Parliamentarians of UP/DP/Ind Laville should step down immediately and allow NEW ELECTIONS. There are those of you, who are convinced that the NA cannot win any election, as no one would vote for them. What is the problem then, let's have EARLY ELECTIONS. You claim that the President made a Fish Market and a mockery out of our system. What exactly did he do? Was he the one shouting? I was there and I did not see that. Jules James was shouting the name of our Deputy Prime Minister, and treating him with disrespect. They indicated that they wanted WM to be the Prime Minister, not Sarah Wescot-Williams, with her 2 seats, her party was rejected by the voters last election. If you are saying that William is making a "Papi show" out of the President, and that William wants to stay in power, really? What does Theo want, not to get back into power at ALL COSTS, do you recall the Bada Bing Saga??? Whose names were called???You criticized the persons marching and counted 60 persons, do not let that fool you. What about the signature drive with thousands of persons signing in, even UP/DP supporters? I guess that is irrelevant? Those signatures represent the voice of the public.
You are claiming that Theo has a vision, because all the projects that are being worked on now, were his idea. Please explain to the people which ones. The Causeway? If that is the case, then the NA has the right idea, continuation of Government, not stagnation.
Let me jog your memory about vision and projects: Which administration negotiated the Harbour? Who built the Emergency Homes, also Belvedere after Luis? Who repaired and prepared the Jose Lake/ John Cooper Lake Ball Park, so that the Kingdom Games could be held here? And do you remember who got the credit? Who built the Public Schools on the Island beside the Oranje School? The PM implemented Compulsory Education and did not see to it that the Infrastructure was in place, and who made sure that it was carried out? Every time the NA is in Government they are never given a full term. The N.A. always has to clean up the mess left behind. But for the past 50 years DP has been in Govt. by themselves many times and what do they have to show for the average person on St. Maarten? Be honest with yourself and the people of St. Maarten.
I can understand your frustration. You were promised a lucrative position and seemingly that is in jeopardy now. Now I understand your motivation to keep writing nonsensical articles, trying to mislead the people, who know better. If you are a good Advisor to Theo and he listens to you, let him settle for "Early Elections". Why is the Prime Minister afraid to resign? Do you know why? She does not trust your leader, remember she put HIM out of Govt. by joining the NA and Vengeance is the name of the game. He also put HER out of Govt. So you see there is a battle going on, everyone is protecting their own interest and to hell with the people. It is about ME not WE.
You are being used and one of these days you will be dumped, after those using you have achieved their ultimate goals. This is a motherly advice to you.

Theresa Illis

Dear editor,

When a Prime Minister speaks that Prime Minister should speak with authority. A prime Minister should speak about big things/plans for a country and have a long term vision. There is also a certain cachet that should be part of a Prime Ministers functioning. Unfortunately the Prime Minister of Country St. Maarten does not always portray the above in her speeches and actions. The Prime Minister of Country St. Maarten often times comes across as week and spends too much time on little things. Even though the Prime Minister of Country St. Maarten is the political Leader of the Democratic Party it appears that the Prime Minister has very little to say in the decision making of the party and that the two parliamentarians of the Democratic Party Leroy de Weever and Roy Marlin are calling the shots and is dictating to the Prime Minister their course of action, which makes the Prime Minister look extremely week.

The Prime Minister should realize that MP De Weever and MP Marlin are big business boys in this community and that there is where their allegiance lies. The action of these two parliamentarians in the budget meeting of Parliament speaks for itself.

For the Prime Minister to maintain credibility, the Prime Minister has to stand up to the DP parliamentarians in this ongoing political showdown and tell them enough is enough with their irresponsible behavior. The Prime Minister should have never accepted her DP MPS's course of action which is detrimental to country St. Maarten and its people. If the Prime Minister does not stand up to her DP MPS in this political showdown, history will not treat her kindly. Both of her cabinets will go down in history as failures and the Prime Minister would have no others to blame but her two DP parliamentarians.

This whole ongoing political showdown is solely to be blame by the actions of the two DP parliamentarians and independent parliamentarian Romain Laville. Power and greed are the cause of this whole affair.

Todd Peterson

First I want to thank you for taking the time to answer my article, a discussion with different opinions is always a healthy one. Now for my opinions on your comments.
In the first case, there is no need to change the words 'national ordinance' to 'Majority of the Council of Ministers'. Article 40 indicates 'National Ordinances and National Decrees shall be signed by the Governor and by one or more ministers'. Please note that the Article does not indicate 'Prime Minister' but 'one or more ministers'. So your conclusion is not correct.
Article 59 allows Council of Ministers to dissolve Parliament, even though you may not like it, that is part of the Constitution as well. We know that a vote in COM was taken to dissolve Parliament on the 7th of May. A vote that the Prime Minister is refusing to execute. She is refusing to do her job, which is also against the constitution.
A man is ultimately judged by his actions. My honor is very important to me. Since you are a Johnny Come Lately, you can ask around. I have publicly disagreed with positions of the National Alliance. The leadership of the party allows us to voice our opinion to full extent. I never quite understood why he was called a dictator as this label is truly underserved.
A few years ago, I had an exchange in the media with a good friend of mine when he had just returned from Holland. I used the term Johnny Come Lately with him as well, in the meantime he has been on the island for years now and has acclimatized to the island. You need some time to do the same. Now don't get me wrong, your heritage is not in question here.
As an experienced man in the area of Parliamentary procedures you should have been aware that the meeting held was not official and yet you let yourself be used as a pawn. Why would a man with your experience allow that. As I mentioned before, your actions seemed built on self-interest and not the needs of the people. Now I don't know you very well so I might be wrong.
The fact is, that the confusion caused right now is not William's fault, yet some people blaming him. He is called power hungry but has never offered money or blackmailed anyone to get in to Government, nor has he refused to do his job to stay as well. The real culprits are the 3 members of parliament and those in the background that for personal reasons broke the Government. Had there been a valid reason to show no confidence in the Ministers, I am sure it would be revealed by now. Not enough cohesion, and knocking on doors does not a valid reason make. De Weever even mentioned that he had no problem with the Government but yet he strangely supports sending them home.
In conclusion, if 3 members of parliament that represent less than 600 votes can throw down a government for absolutely no reason. I think it is good and valid for government to dissolve parliament. William on his own represents twice as much support than the 3. If you ask me, if the signature drive gets 1000 signatures, that's enough to call new elections since 600 can throw down government, 1000 can call early elections.

Kendall Dupersoy

It is clear to everyone that a majority of the population wants new elections, and this majority is not supportive of only one political party but of several. I personally has seen UP supporters sign the petition with the claim that if new elections are called they will be voting UP again. This is not a party politics issue. This begs to question why some members of Parliament and the Prime Minister are against new elections.
The facts are, just like Parliament has a right to vote Ministers out with non-confidence, the Council of Ministers have the right to dissolve Parliament. Both options are available in our Constitution, neither is more technical than the other. If the writers of the Constitution wanted members of Parliament to sit for 4 years no matter what, they would have written it that way. The fact that there is no such article means that Parliament can legally be sent home before such a 4 year period. Our system is based on the trias politica, with each branch having the same authority and power. So claims that the Parliament has more power than Government is actually not true.
The Prime Minister claims that the act of dissolving Parliament should only be taken when the Members of Parliament cannot form a government. She also mentioned in her press briefing that this is normal in the law but I have to respectfully disagree with her. There have been 7 times that Parliament of the Netherlands Antilles had been dissolved in the past, as recently as last year Curacao did the exact same thing that is being proposed now. Even in surrounding Caribbean islands there are currently calls for early elections. In St. Kitts and Trinidad they are currently discussing suspending parliament and in the past several Caribbean islands have done so.
In her comments, the PM says that only she is allowed to send letters to the Governor but according to the constitution this is not completely true. The PM is indeed the one to send letters to the Governor but she does this on the request of a majority of the Council of Ministers, not on her own. Article 40 is clear in this aspect. If the PM is instructed to send a letter to the Governor by the Council of Ministers, she has no choice but to comply.
If it is indeed true that the PM has the right of refusal to submit decisions of the COM, how is it then possible for 8 MP's to have a meeting that was not convened in the correct manner and yet that meeting is being honored. There are some opinions out there that once the letter was sent to the Prime Minister by the 3 MP's that the Ministers should have resigned immediately but again this is not supported in the constitution. Article 33 says that the Prime Ministers and other Ministers are appointed and dismissed by National Ordinance. A letter to the PM does not constitute a National Ordinance. This is why we need new elections, there are a few MP's that feel they can do whatever they like and not suffer any consequences. It is time to take the decision back to the people.
MP Gracita Arrindell is all of a sudden concerned about our credit rating. However, she was not concerned in the 2010 and 2011 when the island was tainted with comments of Mr. 10% and mass corruption, mafia den and not to mention the suffering of the masses with high unemployment among the youth and much more. That was the word on the street.
Mr. Theo Heyliger, who hardly ever makes public statements made a long public statement on the issue, which indicates the importance of this issue to him. He mentions that after a year of lack of progress in making our lives better, the new coalition was formed. Well I for one will be paying keen attention to the actions of the new Ministers cause with only a year to go before scheduled elections, there isn't any time to reverse course and start over. This cabinet will be better served in continuing the progress started by this current Government and improving on it if they can.
In the end, I support new elections because I feel that Parliament has failed the people. We now have three guys with less than 700 votes deciding that Government was not cohesive, government was not answering his knocks on their doors, government was withholding information and government was not working in the interest of the people. However, unlike in April 2012, there is currently no uproar in the public. We must all remember, in 2012 the public was calling for the resignation of the Government, the movement started with the common man and woman on the street. The 3 MP's at that time were heeding the call of the people. Now I am not ignorant to think that the move then was 100% about the people but I must say that if we look at the signature drive it seems like this move now is about 100% self-interest.
If you asked me, the UP should join the call for new elections after all how will this Government function looking at the instability of a 8 member coalition. It seems to me that this coalition will be at the beck and call of the 8 member Parliament. Don't expect to get anything done for the next year for the people as this new Government will only be concerned with serving the personal interest of Parliament. In a situation like this, anyone and everyone that really has St. Maarten best interest at heart would want new elections to weed out the bad eggs.
Well Mr. Heyliger, what do you say.

Kendall Dupersoy

Since the political crisis hit a week ago, Mr.Edwin Gumbs has been doing everything he can to convince us that calling for new elections is the wrong thing to do. He went as far as saying that article 59 sub 2 is not a real article but a technical one that should only be used to dissolve parliament every four years when elections are due.
The question is, why is article 59 technical but article 33 is not. Now don't get me wrong, everyone has a right to their opinion but your opinion should not be stated as fact. On a news website there is an opinion from Dr. A. B. Rijn a Professor of Administration and Constitutional law contradictory to Mr. Gumbs. Dr. Rijn feels that if Parliament decides to give Ministers a vote of no confidence that the Ministers are in their right to dissolve Parliament.
So here we have two different opinions on the same issue one from a local gentlemen with experience in the field and one from a doctor of constitutional law. There are arguments on both sides. The most important thing from my side is what the will of the people is right now. All arguments for not dissolving Parliament don't seem to take the will of the people into consideration.
Why is it okay for 8 citizens to make a decision for the rest of us but when the Ministers decide to send the decision back to 19000 citizens it is seen as not democracy or wrong. This has nothing to do with politics, in a fresh election anything can happen. Isn't taking the decision back to the people the ultimate form of democracy?
What is also important is the way we seem to be tossing laws aside, having illegal meetings and making decisions that are not in accordance with the law. It has been discussed for several years that our system needs to be adjusted to better represent the will of the people and not the will of individual politicians and in some cases politicians that did not get many votes. If we look at the political crisis right now, we have three members of Parliament that among them don't even represent 700 votes.
In the end, no matter which party you support, we must admit that what is going on now is not good for country. How do you think investors are looking at this fiasco internationally? How about tourist planning a vacation, with all this negative press about failing governments we have to be careful that we don't lose a percentage of our visitors.
All this from 3 gentlemen that among them do not constitute even 700 votes in a 19000 vote constituent. So when you take a closer look at it, they represent a meager 3.7% of the possible electorate and if you include the entire population of an estimated 70000 this percentage drops to 1%. How is it possible that these gentlemen can even mention the word democracy when discussing their actions. It is clear to see even for a blind man this has nothing to do with the sitting government but it has to do with certain individuals that will do anything and I mean anything to be in government.
Leaving this government in office for the next 18 months was very scary for them. How would they win the next election if the people notice a move to indirect taxation and a broadening of the tax base, or the implementation of free schooling for high school students, the multiple road network improvements, better price control and I can go on. Now bear in mind every single thing I mentioned above could have been done years ago but wasn't done by the same people that now want you to believe that they have our best interest at heart.
Yes we need to take a look at our political system and fix it but for now, find a petition and sign it. It doesn't matter whether you support DP, UP, NA or whomever. We need to call new elections and let the people decide the way forward. For those of you who claim it will all remain the same so you won't vote, that's your good right. However, bear in mind that by not voting you are allowing the same people to make a decision that you do not agree with. Maybe if you voted, the decision may be different.

Kendall Dupersoy

Listening to the politicians in office and reading about the latest political chaos I often wonder if they are aware how much confusion that they have caused in the minds of the electorate. Elections are called every four years to choose representatives to govern our country and those persons that are elected are expected to lead the country in a way that the people of this country understand where the elected representatives are taking them.
In this case on St. Maarten I ask myself the question if our representatives are truly serious about handling the people's business or are they more caught up in concentrating on their own personal interest which the people who elected them are not responsible for. They should first spend tax payers monies properly and in a responsible manner and above all they should ensure that the people's interest are given priority and the politicians personal agenda is not placed before the people's business.
I am not so concerned about the fact that Government fell more than I'm concerned about what the impact of the falling does to our country which in my opinion by law and morals are the following.

  • It confuses the people when they are not aware why Government fell and politicians keep telling them it's for their benefit which the people can't see.
  • It takes the focus off of important issues that concerns the people.
  • The budget expenses increases because of the law that is in place to continue allowing Ministers who must resign to collect the exorbitant salary they set for themselves until the next elections.
  • It creates an unstable Government which in turn does not attract investors to come to our country to make investments in our economy because of fear in not being able to make a decent return on their investment.
  • The electorate begins losing confidence in the elected representatives which makes it more difficult for new politicians that are sincere in providing proper representation to the people who are in need of assistance from Government. This leads to many people not wanting to cast their votes for the next elections.
  • It also result in many students not wanting to return home after they complete their studies because of them not being able to trust politicians in creating jobs for them. This leads to a brain drain in our country.

As the leader of the Concordia Political Alliance aka CPA we want to make it abundantly clear to the electorate of our great country St. Maarten not to become discouraged or despondent but to let you know that if you put your confidence in a group of people we have selected that cares about your well being we will restore confidence in our people with the vision we will present to the people of St. Maarten.
With God's help and His divine guidance we are prepared to serve you, listen to you and ensure that not just a few but that all will benefit from this vision we are creating.
We have started to put a list of competent, innovative, intelligent and dedicated people in place who are prepared to do whatever it takes to put this country back on its feet where people will come first as opposed to personal agendas of politicians. I have been hearing that there are a lot of political parties that are mushrooming for the next election which I welcome wholeheartedly but I want to sound a word of caution to all of them including the old parties that the time has come to take care of the people of this country. When I listened to the last Budget meeting and hearing that 29% of our youth are unemployed it makes me wonder who is this Government working for. Is it for our children or for others because we were always taught that charity begins at home. When our children return from studying abroad and hear that there are no jobs for them because they are over-qualified then I ask myself the question why the Government entitled their Governing Program "working for the people" when in principle they are working for themselves. This is very clear to see when we look at the wasteful spending of tax payer's money in having a new Government building not occupied since 2008 but yet having to pay US$ 214,000.00 per quarter to RGM who are the actual owners of the Building for the 16 years of the BOOT Agreement before it's transferred back to Government. Yet Government still has to pay friends and family to the tune of Naf. 3 million annually to rent Government office space for the various Ministries which results in Government paying double rent. Then I ask myself which people they are referring to that they are working for. I am therefore appealing to the citizens to demand that the next Government inform the public which people they are referring to when they say that they have the best interest of the people at heart.
As politicians and that includes myself we should not promise anything that we can't deliver especially to our young people because it sends the wrong message and gives us as politicians a bad image. Let us be serious about the running of this country and whoever is elected should at all times make sure that the laws are made not for the politicians but to empower and protect all the people of this country. CPA will ensure that this will be the order of the day. With the CPA there is light at the end of the tunnel so we are encouraging our people to have no fear but on Election Day make a change and vote us in Government, which I'm sure that you will not regret. Government is a serious business so let's treat it as such. Let's turn this chaos into order but it can only be done when you the people see it fit to restore order back into our government by electing people that cares about your affairs.

C. Jeffrey Richardson
Leader
Concordia Political Alliance aka CPA

Sint Maarten is about to get its 3rd government, based on the election results of less than three years ago. This does not feel right or "democratic." Core of the problem is that, on the one hand, none of the three political parties on the island can be blamed for having developed a political ideology that their members can relate to (opportunistic motives seem to be more predominant than anything else...), and that on the other hand, and even more important, in practice too much power lies with political "swingers".
Political swingers are parliamentarians who decide from one day to the next that they no longer support the party that gained them their seat, call themselves "independent", and suddenly decide to support other political parties or coalitions. Political ideology does not form an obstacle in doing so, as it is lacking, while it seems quite obvious that the urge to jump ship is primarily based on opportunistic motives of these political swingers. Again, this does not feel very democratic, righteous, or proper.
To enhance the possibility that parties will develop a well thought through ideology, laws should be put in place to bring a halt to these political swingers. It would be good, if the laws would be changed and forbid political swinging. If a parliamentarian decides to no longer support his "own" party, he should be obligated to give up his seat and make place for the person of that party who, based on the election results, is next in line.
In other words: if a parliamentarian of the NA, DP, or UP elects to no longer support "his" party, he should not have the right to call himself an independent parliamentarian and support another party or coalition. As said, such a parliamentarian should instead make place for the next in line of respectively the NA, DP, or UP party. The only exception that could be considered is for those persons who got sufficient personal votes to gain a seat by themselves.
Changing the law in this direction would definitely feel more democratic and just. After all, no one in his right mind can honestly state and defend that what is and has been transpiring in our political arena still represents the outcome of the elections that were held in September 2010, and thus is mandated by the electorate that voted back then. To that respect, it is incomprehensible that the present discussion about whether or not the Council of Ministers can dissolve Parliament is even being held, as any self-respecting parliamentarian and minister should at this point want to hear the opinion of the electorate in new elections.

Roeland Zwanikken and Joeri Essed
Partners at BZSE Attorneys at Law/Tax Lawyers

Dear Editor,

There is no way that MP Romain Laville can pass the screening to be appointed as minister of Country St. Maarten.

MP Laville is a suspect in a criminal investigation of which the verdict has not yet been given.

MP Laville allegedly threatened to shoot and kill his fellow MP Jules James, who according to his own statement filed an official complaint to that extent with the local authorities.

Seemingly this investigation is still ongoing. I dare the Prime Minister to send on a positive screening result for MP Laville knowing that the above mentioned investigation is hanging over his head.

I am positive that the Governor of Country St. Maarten, a man of integrity, will not go along with a positive screening result for MP Laville and as such will not allow the appointment of MP Laville as a Minister of Country St. Maarten.

I also believe that it is necessary for the Attorney General of Country Curacao and St. Maarten to have the local investigative agencies take a hard look at the circumstances surrounding the fall of the government. No stone should be left un turned to safeguard the name of country St. Maarten.

This country needs people who are upright, sincere and honest to govern. The days of the dynasty must come to an end. No longer shall the priorities of government be self enrichment, nepotism and cronyism.

How in the world is it possible that persons, who were known to be normal middle class citizens in a comunity, join politics, earning salaries as commissioners and council members, which appearantly were nothing to talk about, became millionaires and multi millionaires in a relatively short period of time.

St. Maarten we can do better.

Todd PETERSON

Behind you is Infinite power, before you is endless Possibilities
and around you are Boundless Opportunities

I do not know who to direct this letter to or to which supervisory body, but I am hopeful that someone will listen and that this does not continue to happen to others.
On Monday, May 06, 2013, I took my son to Dr. Angelica Arrindell's office to get his monthly asthma medication and to complete a medical recommendation form to clear him for camp this summer. There were no patients and the doctor was sitting in the waiting area, so she saw us immediately. I gave the doctor my son's medical file and she began to write the prescription for his medication. While she was writing, I also explained to her that I needed the camp medical form to be completed as well. Before I could retrieve the document from my bag, Dr. A. Arrindell stopped writing the prescription, sat back in her chair and began her tirade. She raised her voice and said she is not filling out any forms because they take too much time. I was immediately taken aback, but my reply was simple: "The same amount of time it would take you to listen to my son's lungs and take his blood pressure, which you don't do, you could fill out the form."
She attempted to concede by saying that all she is going to do is write on a sheet of paper that my son is in good health. Granted my son's asthma is under control, but I immediately thought, he is going to show up to camp in the woods of Minnesota with a bag of three different asthma medications and two allergy medications and the Health Office is going to accept a paper without any supporting documentation that my son is in good health? Dr. Arrindell then went on to say how people will not pay her $5.00 for the paper that she has to write the prescriptions on and that she has a business. Several months ago when I went to her office and commented about the different prescription pad she had, she seethed about this $5.00 fee she wanted to charge and that she received a hit to her mouth from a patient when she asked him or her to pay. Granted a doctor's practice is a business which she so clearly shouted, but if the doctor cannot meet the needs of her patients and starts ranting and raving about money, then Dr. Arrindell will have no patients; thus, no business. Dr. Arrindell never indicated that there is an additional fee to complete medical forms for camp and there is no sign in her waiting room either. The only thing she made clear was that it takes too much time for her to fill out.
I attempted to show her the form and said that I at least need her signature on it. She replied by saying how is she going to sign it if she does not know what is on it and she should charge a fee to fill out forms. If Dr. A. Arrindell had taken the opportunity to look at the form she would have seen that it was only one page that required the following information:

  1. Her name, address, telephone number and the date it was completed
  2. The reason the child is under the physicians care
  3. The treatment(s) the child must continue at camp
  4. The list of medication(s) the child should take to camp and a medical order for administration (a prescription)
  5. List any allergies and method of treatment
  6. List any limitations that may impact the child's participation in the program.

If I were asking for a service that was beyond the expected fee for a consultation, then Dr. Arrindell should have indicated that to me right away and I would have gladly paid. I stood up, took the prescription for my son's asthma medication, told her that since it is too much trouble for her to complete the form then forget it. As I was walking out the office, she had the temerity to yell out the following: "Go to the states and have a doctor there fill it out and see if they don't charge you." At which point, I stopped in the middle of the waiting room where another patient was sitting, turned around and threw back these words: "No, I'll just go to the French side and pay for it."
So Dr. Arrindell is concerned about time. Well I hope she considers this - she will have more time to sit in her own waiting room looking for two more patients to replace the ones she just lost today. Somehow this doctor has lost her way and forgotten her mission. I do not know what oath she took upon graduation from medical school but she has surely forgotten a part of the Physician's Oath : "I will practice my profession with conscience and dignity". Neither was present in her office that afternoon.

Sincerely,

Marie Richardson

Climate change has been described as one of the crisis of our day. Latin American and the Caribbean are predicted to be one of the regions most affected by a temperature spike that has been forecasts to take place during this century. Adapting to changes today will increase the Caribbean's resilience to future disasters.

For Latin America and the Caribbean, if global temperatures were to rise four (4) degrees Celsius by 2100, according to the study, "Turning down the Heat," the possible consequences would be increased high-intensity storms, reduced arable land and the loss of low-lying regions.

Today, the global climate is changing, and regions around the globe must adapt to in order to maximize their resilience to the changes. This resilience means ensuring Caribbean infrastructure can withstand the new climatic extremes that have been forecasted; growing a wider variety of crops, which perform well in droughts, floods and heat, as well as guaranteeing future crops through seed-banks.

Prioritizing land use to preserve and manage multiple threats; implementing emergency response plans and early-warning alert systems; developing social safety nets and insurance to protect the region's most vulnerable groups; sharing best practices and information systems between countries; monitoring the region's weather and climate.

In April the National Meteorological Services of North, Central American and the Caribbean met in Curacao to discuss matters of common interest, including preparations for the upcoming hurricane season.

The Kingdom of the Netherlands has changed since 10-10-10 where Sint Maarten has its own Meteorological Department. A significant development happened in April when the four directors of the Met services in the Kingdom seized the opportunity to have their first joint meeting, to explore opportunities for mutual support and capacity building. These include common training of staff, regional modelling for weather forecasting and joint research on climate change.

I hope the St. Maarten Meteorological Department will develop a paper to present to the Council of Ministers and the Parliament of Sint Maarten in order to bring forth the climate change issue to the top of the country's national agenda as one of the "crisis of our day." No attention or very little has been given to this topic. It is a national issue for more than 130 countries around the globe.

Dealing with climate change will have consequences for the National Development Plan (NDP) that is currently being developed as well as for future national budgets. Planning for climate change needs to be started today, and not tomorrow.

The 2007 Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change identified this global phenomenon as the most serious threat to the long-term socio-economic development of Small Island Developing States (SIDS), and Country Sint Maarten is one of those islands.

Barbados as a Caribbean country is placing emphasis on further developing its early warning systems to address climate extremes, as concerns surrounding climate change continue to grow. Barbados is doing so as it relates to atmospheric and ocean climate, to support economic and social considerations for the island.

Among the measures being sought are practical solutions for farmers in watersheds who are experiencing negative impacts related to drought, and those affected by floods. Barbados has to find practical solutions for farmers in watersheds by understanding drainage and precipitation issues, retain excess rainwater where feasible, and augment supply consistently during drought conditions.

Barbados Coastal Risk Assessment and Management Unit were designed to develop credible models for coastal erosion, storm surges, inundation and cliff stability for extreme events.

The Caribbean island of Jamaica has been examining the idea of concepts for Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action (NAMA) projects in Jamaica's energy sector that have climate change mitigation potential.

Various Caribbean island nations are in different stages in addressing climate change that is expected to impact future generations. Country Sint Maarten's current generation has a moral responsibility to also address this issue described by others as the "crisis of our day." We should move post haste in addressing this issue at the executive and legislative branches of government. Starting the adaptation process today will increase our country's resilience.

Roddy Heyliger

fishingconference30052013Le Comité régional des pêches maritimes et des élevages marins (CRPMEM) de Guadeloupe, a tenu une conférence le 15 mai dernier à la Maison des entreprises, dans le cadre d'une visite technique à Saint-Martin.

Lors de cette conférence, à laquelle étaient présents le vice-président du Conseil territorial, Wendel Cocks, le président du CRPMEM Jean-Claude Yoyotte et ses collaborateurs, mais également une dizaine de pêcheurs saint-martinois et les représentants de la Réserve naturelle, il a été abordé les thèmes de la menace du poisson-lion, ainsi que la représentativité de Saint-Martin au sein du CRPMEM. La représentativité des pêcheurs de Saint-Martin est effective notamment au niveau de la FEDMER, et le vice-président Cocks souhaite que tous les pêcheurs saint-martinois s'entendent pour que cette entité soit officiellement leur référence, et les encourage à la rejoindre. Il est essentiel que les pêcheurs se dotent d'un seul interlocuteur qui puisse être leur porte-parole d'une part, et les épauler pour l'ensemble des démarches administratives inhérentes à leur profession.
Pour ce qui est du poisson-lion, il conviendra l'adoptée une stratégie coordonnée de prévention et de lutte par la pêche professionnelle, contre l'espèce invasive Pterois volitans (poisson-lion), en Guadeloupe et dans les collectivités de Saint-Martin et de Saint-Barthélemy. Ce véritable fléau, originaire de l'océan indo-pacifique, a envahi les Caraïbes et représente une menace réelle pour la pêche et la biodiversité.
Les scientifiques du CRPMEM ont remis aux pêcheurs présents à la conférence, un kit de sécurité comprenant des gants armés, des ciseaux à poissonnerie, une foëne, et une notice expliquant la conduite à tenir en cas de piqûre. Le poisson-lion possède en effet de longues épines venimeuses, et la femelle peut pondre jusqu'à 30 000 œufs tous les quatre jours. Sa prolifération doit non seulement être surveillée mais surtout contrée, puisque cette espèce peut être responsable de 80% de la disparition des poissons dans les zones qu'elle envahi. En outre, sa piqûre, douloureuse mais mortelle, pourrait faire fuir les touristes dans un scénario certes catastrophique, mais qui ne doit pas être écarté.
Cette première prise de contact entre la Collectivité et le CRPMEM a été fructueuse en termes d'échanges d'information pour les deux parties, qui ont pu entamer une coopération régionale durable.
Le vice-président Wendel Cocks envisage de rencontrer les pêcheurs le mois prochain, en se rendant dans les différents Conseils de quartier, afin de les sensibiliser sur l'importance et l'intérêt de l'enrôlement.

Mme la Présidente,
Mesdames et Messieurs les Conseillers territoriaux,
Mesdames, Messieurs,

C'est un ordre du jour particulièrement « dense » qui attend ce matin les conseillers territoriaux que nous sommes. Nous, les membres de l'opposition UD/TDG, réserverons nos commentaires et nos analyses pendant les débats qui nous occuperont aujourd'hui, mais je m'autorise d'ores et déjà, au nom du groupe que j'ai l'honneur de représenter, quelques remarques préliminaires...
Un ordre du jour dense donc, pour une séance qui s'ouvre par les observations définitives de la Chambre Territoriale des Comptes sur la gestion de la Collectivité depuis le 15 juillet 2007.
Encore une fois, nous formulerons nos commentaires pendant les débats, mais ce rapport appelle toutefois quelques réflexions préalables.
Ces observations définitives - peu étoffées par rapport aux synthèses d'étapes - ne nous apprennent rien de plus que nous ne sachions déjà : recouvrement, charges de transfert de compétence, octroi de mer, fiscalité hasardeuse autant que bancale, impréparation de la COM à son nouveau statut, absences de fichiers clé... La CTC dresse un listing douloureux mais connu des « causes » qui expliquent notre situation actuelle.
Je regrette cependant que le poids des responsabilités entre la COM et l'Etat ne semble pas peser de manière identique pour la Chambre, qui se contente pieusement de faire remarquer que Saint-Martin doit pouvoir bénéficier –je cite- d'un « nécessaire accompagnement de l'Etat ». Alors je vais me répéter, mais il me semble que les torts sont largement partagés dans ce qui fait notre situation actuelle :
Bercy était visiblement aussi mal préparé que la COM à ce changement de statut !
Bercy a traîné des pieds jusqu'en 2010 pour accorder à la COM la compétence fiscale de source !
Plus globalement, je pose la question : l'Etat donne-t-il pleinement les moyens à une Collectivité qui a fait le choix de son autonomie, quand il la contraint à continuer à dépendre de la Guadeloupe en matière de justice, de sécurité, d'éducation, d'administration... ?
En matière de préconisations ensuite, si je partage un grand nombre des propositions avancées par la Chambre Territoriale des Comptes, je regrette toutefois « l'angélisme » de certaines. Oui, il faut, par exemple, une coopération fiscale digne de ce nom avec la partie hollandaise. C'est d'ailleurs une proposition que j'ai faite devant ce Conseil territorial il y a quelques mois de cela.

Mais nous devons - Saint-Martin/Sint Maarten - être les seuls acteurs de cette coopération : nous n'avons pas besoin d'un « ménage à trois » avec l'Etat (d'ailleurs la partie hollandaise a toujours été exaspérée de ce chaperonnage perpétuel) en la matière. De plus, tant que nous ne nous donnerons pas les moyens de notre propre redressement économique et social, il sera difficile d'amener la partie hollandaise à coopérer sur un autre plan que celui relevant du protocole pur ! Je le redis : Sint Maarten n'a aujourd'hui aucun intérêt ni aucune envie de coopérer avec nous : si nous pratiquons le même sport, nous ne jouons pas dans la même catégorie...
Je m'arrête à ce seul exemple, nous reviendrons sur ces différents aspects au fil des débats...

Je fais court, Madame la Présidente, mes chers collègues, pour conclure mon intervention préliminaire sur un point qui me préoccupe tout particulièrement.

Il s'agit du deuxième point inscrit à notre ordre du jour, relatif aux délégations d'attributions du Conseil territorial au Conseil exécutif.
Ce projet de délibération numéro 2 propose en effet de déléguer au Conseil exécutif, de très nombreuses attributions, sur le plan de l'exécution du budget, de la gestion comme des procédures administratives, jusqu'ici dévolues à notre seul Conseil territorial.
Alors, peut-être que sur le plan administratif, vous aurez des arguments tels que celui d'une « gestion plus appropriée du quotidien » ou que sais-je, mais notre groupe voit d'un très mauvais œil ces « tours de passe-passe » qui risquent de dénaturer l'essence même de notre Assemblée.
Oui, notre gouvernance comme notre administration sont imparfaites et doivent être revues. Je pensais que nous étions d'accord sur le fait qu'il va nécessairement falloir décloisonner le législatif de l'exécutif. Il me semble d'ailleurs que c'est ce que le leader de votre groupe préconisait dès 2003 – cette séparation des deux Assemblées...
Pour rappel, nous, les élus de l'UD, nous proposions symboliquement au président Richardson de faire adopter comme première délibération du premier conseil territorial de cette nouvelle mandature une période de « stand-by » d'un semestre, justement pour revoir la copie de notre gouvernance et pour travailler à la séparation des pouvoirs.
Une main tendue à un auditeur acquis à notre cause, croyions-nous naïvement encore ce 1er avril 2012. En passant du siège de chef de l'opposition au fauteuil de Président du Conseil territorial, Alain Richardson avait invité votre majorité à décliner ce projet de délibération, qui aurait pourtant été le signe d'une volonté de changement et le reflet d'une cohérence dans son « combat » pour une mandature assainie. Echaudés par une année de renoncements tous azimuts de la part de votre majorité, les élus de l'UD ne soutiendront donc pas ce nouveau tour de passe-passe dont ils n'osent comprendre la finalité.

Apprenez que sur le plan juridique, cette délibération devra faire l'objet d'un contrôle de légalité, nous nous en assurerons : nous vous déconseillons formellement de jouer aux apprentis sorciers avec ces transferts de pouvoir et de compétences.
L'équipe sortante a bien tenté de le faire en jonglant avec ces compétences pour me priver, en novembre 2010, de mes portefeuilles de premier vice-président en charge du Pôle économique. Le revers de bâton est sévère, puisque le recours que j'ai déposé immédiatement auprès du tribunal administratif de Basse-Terre a rendu un délibéré en ma faveur, le 7 mai dernier, condamnant la Collectivité pour les libertés prises alors par l'exécutif avec la législation.
Chat échaudé craint l'eau froide : l'opposition sera plus que jamais vigilante et intransigeante sur ce point que vous soumettez à l'ordre du jour et sur lequel nous attendons un exposé précis.
Je vous remercie.

ahansonandstephaneartano22052013Le 17 mai dernier, la Présidente du Conseil territorial, Aline Hanson, a reçu Stéphane Artano, Président du Conseil territorial de Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon, dans le cadre d'une visite protocolaire que ce dernier a effectué dans les Iles du Nord.

La Présidente Hanson et le vice-président Arnell ont accueilli ce jeune Président de 40 ans, élu en 2006 à la tête du Conseil territorial de Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon, et réélu en mars 2012. Cette rencontre fut l'occasion d'échanger sur les thèmes récurrents des territoires d'outre-mer français, notamment la fiscalité, l'Etat, les infrastructures, et le statut européen. Même si les situations géopolitiques semblent différentes à première vue, les difficultés rencontrées et les solutions envisageables sont souvent similaires. Il faut rappeler que Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon est un archipel français d'Amérique du Nord, situé dans l'Atlantique nord, à 25 kilomètres au sud de l'île canadienne de Terre-Neuve. Collectivité d'outre-mer régie par l'article 74 de la Constitution, Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon est un Pays et territoires d'outre-mer (PTOM) qui compte 6.000 habitants pour une superficie de 242 km2.
Cette entrevue aura permis aux deux parties de mieux saisir les enjeux de ces deux Collectivités d'Outre-mer, et d'échanger de manière fructueuse et chaleureuse, des informations utiles liées à leur situation respective.

La Présidente et les membres du Conseil territorial de Saint-Martin ont appris avec une profonde tristesse le décès de Monsieur William Ostend Arnell, père du vice-président Guillaume Arnell, survenu dans la journée du 21 mai dernier.

La Présidente et les membres du Conseil territorial de Saint-Martin garderont le souvenir d'un homme dévoué à sa famille et son pays, attaché aux principes culturels saint-martinois pour lesquels ses enfants continuent d'en perpétrer la tradition.
Nous tenons à saluer le parcours d'un homme qui durant toute sa vie, a choisi de se tourner vers les autres, notamment à travers ses engagements politiques, traduisant ainsi sa volonté de servir son pays et incarnant les valeurs humaines qu'il a su transmettre à celles et ceux qui ont eu la chance de le côtoyer.

Je présente en mon nom personnel, au nom du Conseil territorial de Saint-Martin et des employés territoriaux, l'expression de mes très sincères condoléances à son épouse, à ses enfants, à ses petits enfants, à sa famille ainsi qu'à ses proches et amis.

Aline Hanson
Présidente du Conseil territorial de Saint-Martin

ejrodriguez19052013ST. MARTIN:--- House of Nehesi Publishers (HNP, www.houseofnehesipublish.com) vient de publier la traduction en français du livre Haití y la transcaribeñidad literaria, de Emilio Jorge Rodríguez.

Haïti et l'identité littéraire trans-caribéenne est disponible en version papier et sous forme d'e-book sur Amazon.com, Arnia's, Le Salon du Livre de San Martin (30 mai – 1 juin 2013), et dans d'autres librairies.

D'après Maximilien Laroche, renommé auteur haïtien de l'université Laval au Canada, la nouvelle traduction est « un remarquable essai de littérature comparée ».

« La collection d'essais de Rodríguez est d'une importance capitale, dévoilant des échanges clés entre écrivains..., échanges dialogiques traversant des différences linguistiques et historiques pour tisser un lien essentiel de compréhension », a déclaré l'écrivain lauréat Myriam J.A. Chancy, Ph.D.

L'essayiste dominicain et professeur de la Syracuse University, Silvio Torres-Saillant, a exprimé : « Cette œuvre du collègue cubain Emilio Jorge Rodríguez devrait absolument faire partie des rares livres qui favorisent la compréhension du sujet abordé. »

Parmi les sujets traités, citons le roman haïtien du XXe siècle et la recherche de la genèse amérindienne et africaine dans l'œuvre de Alejo Carpentier.

Le sujet de la « transgression du créole » en Haïti et en République dominicaine, analysé en profondeur, fera certainement ouvrir grands les yeux, voire causer de l'inquiétude chez certains. Or, cette œuvre révèle de nouvelles adresses, a remarqué Lasana M. Sekou, directeur des projets à HNP.

D'autre part, le livre évoque une polémique absolument inconnue et fascinante, engagée lors de la visite à Haïti du grand poète cubain Nicolás Guillén, à propos du débat concernant la race et la culture au sein de l'élite haïtienne.

« Les sujets essentiels de Haïti et l'identité littéraire trans-caribéenne apportent une interprétation particulière. J'oserais affirmer que ce texte est, pour la plupart d'entre nous, un chaînon manquant dans nos connaissances et expériences sur la littérature et la culture caribéennes, sur notre manière de penser et de vivre dans cette région », a affirmé Sekou.

Faisant référence à l'auteur, le professeur Douglas Uzcátegui a avancé que Rodríguez était « l'une des voix les plus autorisées dans les Caraïbes et sur les Caraïbes. En tant que chercheur, son œuvre, riche et régulière, reflète un examen soigné de l'oralité et de l'écriture de la féconde et complexe culture des Caraïbes ».

Rodríguez, dont l'œuvre a fait l'objet de nombreuses publications, a donné des cours et conférences dans des universités de l'Amérique latine, des Caraïbes et des États‑Unis d'Amérique.

La traduction en français de Haïti et l'identité littéraire trans-caribéenne a été prise en charge par Aurelio Fernández et Mayla Reyes. La couverture est illustrée par la magnifique aquarelle « Soul's Flight », du célèbre artiste états-unien Keith Mallet.

Haïti et l'identité littéraire trans-caribéenne est aussi disponible en version papier bilingue (espagnol-anglais) et sous forme d'e-book sur Amazon.com, spdbooks.org, Van Dorp, Arnia's, et dans d'autres librairies.

Le 14 mai 2013 à 10 heures 30, une patrouille de la brigade motorisée de la gendarmerie de Saint-Martin procédait au contrôle d'une camionnette transportant une citerne rectangulaire dont émanait une très forte odeur d'essence.
700 litres de carburant étaient ainsi transportés, sans que le chauffeur soit détenteur de la licence nécessaire et sans qu'aucune signalisation soit apposée. Une fuite a par ailleurs été constatée sur la citerne, construite de façon artisanale.
Pas moins de 9 infractions ont au total été relevées à l'encontre du transporteur, qui a été entendu sur les faits et a été convoqué devant le tribunal de Saint-Martin.

Suite au tragique événement qui s'est déroulé, dimanche 5 mai 2013 en marge du "Fish-Day", et pour faire face à la recrudescence des violences avec armes, le Préfet délégué auprès de la Représentante de l'Etat dans les collectivités de Saint-Barthélemy et de Saint-Martin et le Vice-Procureur de la République, ont souhaité prendre une initiative forte afin de lutter contre la détention illégale et la circulation des armes.
Ainsi, et à l'instar de la campagne médiatique menée récemment en Guadeloupe, qui a permis de récupérer 63 armes illégalement détenues, une campagne de sensibilisation de la population va être conduite dans les prochaines semaines.
Une conférence de presse sera organisée très prochainement afin de lancer officiellement la campagne médiatique et de présenter les conditions de la procédure d'abandon d'armes et de munitions auprès de la gendarmerie nationale en vue de leur destruction.

Pour faire suite aux évènements du « Fish Day », des services destinés à accroître la sécurisation du lycée des îles du Nord et de ses abords sont actuellement mis en oeuvre par la gendarmerie nationale, conjointement avec la police territoriale de la Collectivité de Saint-Martin.
Ainsi, le 13 mai 2013, une opération de contrôle des identités accompagnée de la recherche d'objets dangereux a été réalisée aux entrées de cet établissement et de son annexe. Cette opération qui s'est tenue de 06h30 à 07h30 a mobilisé 35 gendarmes et 4 policiers territoriaux. Le dispositif mis en place a abouti à la découverte 13 peignes afro, de 3 ciseaux pointus, de 2 canifs et d'un rayon de vélo rigide. 5 grammes d'herbe de cannabis ont également été découverts.
Une surveillance spécifique et accrue et d'autres opérations de contrôle aux abords des établissements scolaires sont d'ores et déjà programmées par la compagnie de gendarmerie de Saint-Martin.

Le Député de Saint-Barthélemy et de Saint-Martin a interpellé le Premier ministre ce mardi dans l'hémicycle sur la situation de Saint-Martin en matière d'insécurité, après le drame survenu lors de la dernière édition du « Fish Day » qui a fait un mort et sept blessés. Le Ministre de l'Intérieur a tenu à répondre à M. Gibbs, l'assurant que « Saint-Martin a été trop longtemps abandonnée » et pouvait « compter sur la détermination du gouvernement ».

« J'étais présent au moment de ce nouveau drame qui a bouleversé tous les Saint-Martinois » a ainsi rappelé Daniel GIBBS, soulignant que Saint-Martin « a atteint un niveau de violence et de délinquance sans précédent ». Lors de cette séance de questions d'actualités dans l'hémicycle de l'Assemblée nationale, le Député de Saint-Barthélemy et de Saint-Martin a déploré que « dix jours après cette tragédie, le Gouvernement n'ait envoyé aucun signe à Saint-Martin, n'ait fait aucune déclaration qui condamne cet acte ». « Quand vous vous montrez prompts à condamner les meurtres de Marseille ou de Corse, les tragédies des lointaines outre-mer, elles, semblent avoir bien moins de résonnances...Nos drames, qui trouvent leur source dans un malaise social endémique, dans des économies en désespérance, ne sont pas moins tragiques parce qu'à 8000 kilomètres de Paris » a notamment déclaré M. GIBBS. « L'égalité, ce n'est pas QUE le mariage pour tous, Monsieur le Premier ministre! C'est aussi et avant tout, l'éducation pour tous, quand nos écoles croulent sous le poids de la surpopulation scolaire... Et c'est aussi la justice pour tous, quand nous réclamons depuis des années la création d'un TGI ou d'une chambre de justice détachée... Justice pour tous également, quand les détenus de Saint-Martin représentent plus de la moitié des détenus de la prison de Basse-Terre mais que l'on enterre le dossier de la construction d'une prison sur l'île, qui permettrait pourtant, sans nul doute, de mettre un frein au sentiment d'impunité qui y règne et jouerait un rôle précieux en matière de réinsertion... Et c'est aussi la sécurité pour tous, quand un dispositif de sécurité rural ne parvient plus à répondre à une délinquance urbaine... » a insisté le parlementaire de Saint-Martin, qui a conclu : « Ma question est la suivante, Monsieur le Premier Ministre : Saint-Martin doit-elle attendre le prochain carnage pour que votre Gouvernement s'intéresse enfin à elle ? ».
C'est le Ministre de l'Intérieur qui a tenu à répondre à M. Gibbs, et qui a eu « une pensée pour la victime de cette fusillade » et les blessés. M. Valls qui entend « la vive émotion qu'a provoqué cet événement » localement, a rappelé qu'une information judiciaire a été ouverte à Saint-Martin sur « cet acte odieux », qui « s'inscrit dans une montée générale des violences entre des bandes issues de différents quartiers ». « L'économie illégale et le trafic d'armes qui découlent de cette violence, contre laquelle les forces de l'ordre sont mobilisées, sont des fléaux sur tous les territoires de la République et sur celui-ci en particulier » a reconnu M. VALLS, qui comprend « le sentiment d'abandon qu'ont pu éprouver depuis longtemps les habitants de l'île ». Le Ministre de l'Intérieur a assuré au Député de Saint-Barthélemy et de Saint-Martin que l'île pouvait « compter sur la détermination du gouvernement et notamment de Victorin Lurel pour répondre à cette situation. Saint-Martin a été trop longtemps abandonnée, le gouvernement veut répondre à ce défi ».

Le mercredi 08 mai 2013 à 20h50, un vol avec arme est commis par plusieurs individus dans une épicerie chinoise située rue Nana Clark dans le quartier d'Agrément. Les auteurs du vol ont pris la fuite à pieds à l'issue des faits. Toute personne susceptible d'apporter un témoignage utile aux investigations est priée de prendre contact avec la brigade de recherches de la gendarmerie de St. Martin, chargée de l'enquête:

  • en téléphonant au "17"ou au "05 90 52 30 13"
  • ou en se présentant à la caserne de gendarmerie de la Savane.

Nous avons tous appris avec une profonde et réelle émotion mais aussi avec une certaine consternation la terrible tragédie qui a eu lieu dimanche soir 5 mai à Cul- de-Sac, à l'occasion de la célébration de la onzième édition du Fish-Day.
Pour ma part, j'ai été profondément bouleversé et choqué par ce nouvel acte de violence désormais récurrent mais absolument intolérable, qui a encore une fois, enlevé la vie à l'un de nos jeunes et blessé gravement quelques 7 autres personnes. Je veux en cette occasion, assurer aux familles et aux proches des victimes, mon indéfectible soutien mais aussi, toute ma solidarité envers eux dans cette douloureuse épreuve. À la famille du jeune Jonathan Fredon (à peine âgé de 20 ans !), j'adresse mes plus sincères condoléances.
Nonobstant ma tristesse, je suis surtout indigné devant cette violence caractérisée. Je suis révolté par ce nouveau drame qui touche dans sa chair et qui inquiète de plus en plus, toute la société saint-martinoise. Je souhaite que toute la lumière soit faite, afin d'établir la responsabilité de chacun dans le cadre de cette affaire et dans les plus brefs délais possibles. Je propose que notre collectivité prenne l'initiative de la convocation des Assises de la Jeunesse avant la fin de l'année courante . Cela permettrait de réunir tous les acteurs publics( Etat, collectivités, forces de sécurité, acteurs sociaux et éducatifs ) afin de prendre ensemble toute la mesure de ce phénomène , pour mieux le combattre et tenter de l'enrayer chacun au niveau de responsabilité qui est le sien.
Il faut sortir de la déploration et commencer à agir, parce que là réside notre propre responsabilité .

Jules Charville
Conseiller Territorial

Le Député et Conseiller territorial Daniel Gibbs, Président du mouvement Union pour la Démocratie, tient à faire part de son émotion face au drame que nous avons vécu dimanche soir à Cul de Sac.
Étant lui-même présent sur les lieux au moment des faits, il a pu mesurer l'ampleur de l'onde de choc qui a secoué les familles qui fêtaient le Fish Day.

Il présente ses plus sincères condoléances à la famille et aux proches de la jeune victime, et il apporte tout son soutien aux blessés et à leur entourage.
L'Union pour la Démocratie et les élus TDG2012 partagent la douleur des familles frappées par cette tragédie.

Le Député de Saint-Barthélemy et Saint-Martin et les membres de l'Union pour la Démocratie dénoncent la progression d'une grande violence que nous subissons tous et qui dégrade considérablement notre image.

C'est la raison pour laquelle Daniel Gibbs demande aux pouvoirs publics mais aussi aux parents des jeunes qui basculent dans la violence de prendre pleinement la mesure du désarroi dans lequel se trouve la jeunesse de Saint-Martin.

Notre groupe souhaite que tout soit mis en oeuvre afin d'analyser les failles de l'organisation qui ont pu permettre qu'un tel drame se produise. Une réflexion générale devra également être menée pour corriger à l'avenir tous les dysfonctionnements ayant pu ralentir l'intervention des secours.

Il est plus qu'urgent de réagir et de déployer enfin les dispositions concrètes qui feront renaître l'espoir tant attendu dans notre société et qui éviteront d'autres catastrophes.

Suite au tragique événement qui s'est déroulé, dimanche 5 mai 2013 en marge du "Fish-Day", et afin de répondre à l'urgence du traumatisme psychologique subi par certaines victimes, familles ou témoins des faits, la direction de l'hôpital Louis-Constant Fleming en lien avec la Préfecture, a mis en place, avec l'appui des médecins, une cellule d'accompagnement psychologique, immédiatement après les faits.
Pour autant, et au regard de la situation et de l'événement traumatique, l'Etat, soucieux de répondre aux attentes légitimes de l'ensemble des victimes, vient d'activer une cellule d'urgence médico-psychologique dont le but est d'accompagner et de prodiguer des soins à tous les blessés psychiques qui ont été confrontés à cette situation d'urgence collective et qui en expriment le besoin.
Dans ce cadre, toute personne désireuse d'être prise en charge par cette structure devra contacter le standard de l'hôpital au 05.90.52.25.25 qui réorientera les demandes vers les praticiens désignés.
La Préfète de la région Guadeloupe, le Préfet délégué auprès de la Représentante de l'Etat dans les collectivités de Saint-Barthélemy et de Saint-Martin et la Directrice Générale de l'Agence de Santé assurent les victimes de leur soutien.
D'autres initiatives suivront pour répondre à cet événement tragique.

C'est avec beaucoup de tristesse, d'inquiétude et de colère que j'ai pris connaissance des faits qui se sont déroulés hier soir à Cul-de-Sac.
Il est fortement regrettable que des initiatives positives et réussies, organisées au profit du territoire soient ainsi entachées par l'incivisme de quelques-uns.
Il est intolérable que la liberté de mouvement et la sécurité de familles et de travailleurs soit mises en péril par des individus sans foi ni loi.
Il est inenvisageable que Saint-Martin devienne un territoire où règne la terreur, où les armes sont en libre circulation de fait.
Il est insupportable que Saint-Martin fasse encore la une des journaux pour des motifs criminels, plutôt que pour sa créativité et sa volonté de porter haut son statut d'autonomie.
Nous devons bien entendu attendre les conclusions de l'enquête qui identifieront les responsabilités, mais il est évident que des mesures globales devront être mises en oeuvre dans les plus courts délais.
Pour l'heure, je m'associe à la douleur et au traumatisme des familles impactées par ce drame, de part et d'autre. C'est aussi vers elles que vont mes pensées aujourd'hui et plus largement encore à toute la population de Saint-Martin qui, je le sais, malgré sa capacité de résilience, est profondément touchée par cette tragédie.

Senateur Louis Constant Fleming

L'édition 2013 du Fish Day est désormais ternie par un grave incident ayant fait un mort et plusieurs blessés. Je souhaite, au nom des élus du Conseil territorial, m'incliner devant la douleur des familles touchées par cette tragédie. Il est extrêmement regrettable que de ce type de comportement puisse se produire sur notre territoire, et nous condamnons fermement la violence inqualifiable de ce drame.

Je lance un appel aux parents, dont le rôle dans l'Education de leurs enfants est déterminant.

La Collectivité prend pleinement conscience de la gravité de la situation, et prendra les mesures de sécurité qui s'imposent, en collaboration avec l'Etat, afin que ce drame ne puisse se réitérer. Le Fish Day qui aura lieu l'an prochain devra donc se dérouler dans l'esprit familial de cette manifestation, et qu'ainsi, cette journée retrouve la convivialité et la chaleur qui la caractérise.

Je souhaite également témoigner, aux nombreuses personnes se trouvant sur place le jour du drame, et qui ont été choquées, voire traumatisées par la violence des scènes qui se sont imposées à eux, toute notre sympathie en ces moments délicats.

Je voudrais enfin renouveler mon soutien aux familles et aux proches des victimes dans cette épreuve douloureuse, et leur faire part, au nom du Conseil territorial, de notre compassion et de notre solidarité.

Dimanche 05 mai 2013, vers 19h45, plusieurs coups de feu ont été tirés simultanément au cours de la manifestation festive "Fish-Day" organisée à Cul-de-Sac. Un homme de vingt ans a été tué et 7 autres personnes ont été blessées par balles dont deux grièvement mais dont le pronostic vital n'est pas engagé.
L'une d'elles a fait l'objet d'une évacuation sanitaire, ce matin, vers l'hôpital de la Guadeloupe et trois personnes sont encore hospitalisées à l'hôpital Louis-Constant Fleming de Marigot.
Quatre autres personnes, présentes sur les lieux au moment des faits, ont été blessées plus légèrement.
La Préfète de la région Guadeloupe et le Préfet délégué auprès de la Représentante de l'Etat dans les collectivités de Saint-Barthélemy et de Saint-Martin expriment leur profonde émotion suite à cet événement tragique et assurent les familles des victimes de leur soutien.
Enfin, il convient de saluer le professionnalisme et la réactivité de l'ensemble des services de secours et de sécurité qui ont su répondre à cette situation d'urgence exceptionnelle.

Le 5 mai 2013 à 19h45, plusieurs coups de feu sont tirés sur le site du « fish day » à Cul de Sac. Un homme de vingt ans a été tué. 7 personnes ont été blessées par balle à des degrés divers. Le pronostic vital n'est pas engagé pour ces 7 personnes. Les motivations de ces coups de feu demeurent à déterminer dans le cadre de l'enquête ouverte par la gendarmerie. Toute personne susceptible d'apporter un témoignage utile aux investigations est priée de prendre contact avec la brigade de recherches de la gendarmerie de St Martin, chargée de l'enquête:

  • en téléphonant au « 17 » ou au « 05 90 52 30 10 »
  • ou en se présentant à la caserne de gendarmerie de la Savane.

L'identité des témoins souhaitant conserver l'anonymat sera préservée.

Le service des sports de la Collectivité de Saint-Martin informe le public que les inscriptions au ticket sport 2013 se feront du lundi 03 au vendredi 28 juin 2013 de 8h30-12h30 13h30-15h00.
Les activités sportives proposées aux enfants de 7 à 14 ans se dérouleront du lundi 08 au vendredi 26 juillet 2013.
Les frais d'inscription aux sorties est de l'ordre de cinquante euros (50€) pour les enfants de 7 à 10 ans (40€ pour l'inscription de 2 ou plusieurs enfants) et de soixante euros (60 €) pour les enfants de 11 à 14 ans (50€ pour l'inscription de 2 ou plusieurs enfants).

Pièces à fournir:
1 Photocopie de la pièce d'identité
1 Certificat médical de moins 3 mois
1 Photo d'identité
1 Attestation d'assurance responsabilité civile pour couvrir les risques pouvant survenir durant les activités extra scolaires durant le mois de juillet 2013.

La pré-plainte en ligne est un dispositif destiné à améliorer l'accueil des victimes d'infractions.
Il permet un signalement immédiat des faits commis, tout en réduisant, par la prise de rendez-vous, le délai d'attente lors du dépôt de plainte dans les locaux de la gendarmerie.
Pour des raisons d'efficacité et des impératifs d'enquête, ce dispositif est réservé aux atteintes contre les biens dont la victime ne connaît pas le ou les auteurs des faits (vols, dégradations, escroqueries...).
La pré-plainte en ligne, une démarche simple et innovante:

  • Se connecter au site Internet : www.pre-plainte-en-ligne.gouv.fr ;
  • Choisir sur une carte la brigade de gendarmerie où la plainte sera déposée ;
  • Renseigner un formulaire guidé comportant des rubriques obligatoires ;

La victime sera rapidement contactée par les services de gendarmerie pour convenir d'un rendez-vous et être informée des pièces à fournir.
La pré-plainte en ligne ne dispense pas de venir dans une brigade de gendarmerie. Le dépôt de plainte devient juridiquement valable après contact avec un officier ou un agent de police judiciaire et signature du procès-verbal.
En toutes circonstances, les victimes doivent veiller à la préservation des traces et indices afin qu'ils demeurent exploitables par les enquêteurs, en évitant tout contact ou déplacement.
Permettant de réduire les délais d'attente lors du dépôt de plainte par un système de rendez-vous, la pré-plainte en ligne représente une avancée dans la simplification des démarches administratives, aussi bien pour les usagers que pour les personnels de la gendarmerie.
Si l'auteur de la pré-plainte ne vient pas au rendez-vous qu'il a choisi ou qui lui est proposé, les données nominatives sont automatiquement effacées 30 jours après la réception de la déclaration.
Les situations d'urgence qui nécessitent une intervention immédiate des services de police ou de gendarmerie ne doivent pas passer par la pré-plainte en ligne. Sont également exclues de ce dispositif les plaintes contre personnes connues ou dénommées, car elles peuvent justifier un traitement immédiat et une interpellation rapide de l'auteur.
Il convient dans ces cas de téléphoner au « 17 » ou de se présenter directement dans un des 3 points d'accueil de la gendarmerie à Saint-Martin ou à la brigade de gendarmerie de Saint-Barthélemy.
Une brochure explicative est disponible en première page du site Internet de la préfecture: http://www.saint-barth-saint-martin.pref.gouv.fr/Dossiers/Actualites/Pre-plainte-en-ligne

La Maternité Active organise la 1ère Journée de Sexologie Clinique de St-Martin au Beach Plaza le 10 mai 2013, dans le cadre du Women Health Symposium II.

Cette rencontre, une première dans les Antilles Françaises, sera l'occasion de sensibiliser les professionnels de santé et le grand public à la plainte en sexologie afin d'améliorer la prise en charge des dysfonctions sexuelles masculines ou féminines souvent inexprimées.

Nous bénéficierons de l'expertise de Sexologues de St-Martin, de la Guadeloupe et de la France en la personne du Professeur Gérard RIBES, sexologue de renom, Directeur de l'enseignement de sexologie à la faculté de Lyon.

Tout le public est convié, avec un programme dédié aux professionnels de santé de 8h à 17h et une conférence Grand Public le soir à 19h sur le thème « le couple, quelle aventure ! » animée par le Professeur RIBES.

Le Dr Louis JEFFRY et le Dr Charles VANGEENDERHUYSEN, organisateurs de cette journée, souhaitent vivement remercier la MIAG, BAYER, la C. G. R. R., l'Hôtel le Beach Plaza et le Centre Hospitalier « Louis Constant Fleming » sans qui cette manifestation n'aurait pu voir le jour.

Pour toute inscription, prière de contacter notre secrétariat au 0590 52 26 21.

La Présidente de la Collectivité, Aline Hanson, vous avise qu'à partir du 02 mai 2013, les travaux VRD relatifs à la Rue de Hollande et Doigt de Gant inclus, vont continuer jusqu'à la hauteur de City Snack Restaurant.
Délai des travaux: 6 mois.
Nous vous remercions pour votre compréhension.

positive31052013Philipsburg:--- The momentous three day event, SXM Weekend of P.O.W.E.R. hosted by G.I.F.T.E.D. Foundation kicks off this Friday, May 31st and continues through to June 2nd at locations across Sint Maarten. The POWER cast has several local and overseas gospel ministers, including God's Chosen, Piper Laundry, Bless, Omalie of Dominica, Curtis Jordan, Keron Ramsey and Positive of Trinidad, and Kevin Smith and Prodigal Son of Jamaica.

Already, things have started with NRG Youth Praise Party, hosted at the New Testament Baptist Church in Philipsburg. The DJ for the night, Joshua DRJ Ferrol, launched the dynamic DRJ Sounds and brought much attention and energy to the GLOW-spirited gospel praise. Many youth groups were in attendance. To the patrons' pleasure, the artiste Positive gave a taste of his latest album, "Forever My King", amidst several other performances from local talents and game activities. From an early age, Positive displayed a strong passion for music, especially acoustic styles, such that he cultivated his life into it. The rhythmic accents on the off-beat by the guitar led him to identify with reggae, which became his love. He intends to touch the hearts of people and show them the way to God.

Saturday morning, June 1st will begin at 9 am to 12 noon with the "Livin' Worship" workshop at the Christian Faith Ministries International in Dutch Quarter, led by International recording gospel R&B artiste, Curtis Jordan from Trinidad & Tobago. Jordan is a worship minister, who is well-known for hits such as "Trust Me" and "Alive", will be accompanied by Keron Ramsey of Trinidad and Tobago as well as Apostle Alicia Liverpool of the David Company, Sint Maarten. This workshop caters to all Worship Teams, Choirs, Musicians, singers, and ministry dancers. The evening will be a worship experience at the Christian Fellowship Church in Cole Bay, starting at 7pm.
On Sunday, June 2nd, the P.O.W.E.R. Concert will be held at the Belair Community Centre starting at 6:30pm. This is a paid concert giving more than a deal for the money. The POWER team has the full line up of Keron Ramsey, Omalie Durand, Curtis Jordan, Positive, Kevin Smith and Prodigal Son. The event promises to be energizing and electrifying.
Visit the GIFTED Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/GIFTEDLIGHT and click "Like" to keep up-to-date with GIFTED activities and for more information.

The Police Department is informing the general public that in connection with the yearly Sint Maarten Triathlon which will be held this year on Sunday June 1st, 2013, temporary road closures will take place between 7:00am and 10:30am. The W.G. Buncamper road and all side streets that are connected to the Walter Nisbeth road including Voges Street, D.A. Peterson Street in the vicinity of the salt Pickers Round- a bout, Cornelius Vlaun street, Hensy Boujon Street, Tamarinde Steeg, Percy Labega Street, Long wall Road, and the A. Th. Illidge road at the Prince Bernard Bridge, Bush road and those street connected to the A.J.C. Brouwers road including Welgelegen road, Panter road, Tiger road, Mozart road and the A.J.C. Brouwers road up to the Osborne Kruythoff Round-a-bout. The public is asked to take serious notice of these traffic measures to avoid any unnecessary inconvenience.

KPSM Public Notice

confiscatedmoney31052013Philipsburg:--- Police arrested five foreign nationals who were busy skimming ATM machines belonging to the Windward Islands Bank (WIB) Thursday evening. The five suspects all of whom are foreign nationals were caught in the act.

Chief Commissioner of Police Peter de Witte said the five suspects were arrested due to cooperation with the WIB Bank who worked closely with police to apprehend the culprits when they were in action. De Witte said police also confiscated a large amount of monies. The top cop said no precise figure can be placed on the cash they confiscated because police is still busy counting the monies. De Witte said the officers also confiscated the equipments that were used to skim the monies from the ATMs, two vehicles, and a number of ATM cards that were being used by the suspects. As for the nationalities of the suspects, De Witte said they are all foreign nationals but their nationalities could not yet be confirmed because police has to verify their documents.
It should be noted that several banks including the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) and the FirstCaribbean Bank have reported that their ATM machines were being skimmed and a large number of their clients were being affected.

Five men arrested by police for skimming ATM-machines.

On Thursday May 30th at approximately 08:00pm, several police patrols from the Simpson Bay and Philipsburg districts were alerted that several men were identified as suspects in the fraudulent act of skimming monies from ATM machines. Descriptions of the vehicles the suspects were using to go to the ATM machines were given and an investigation to locate these suspects was initiated. With the assistance and cooperation of bank security personnel, a total of five men were arrested in this case. The investigation showed that these men had been busy skimming monies from all ATM machines at same time at different locations on the island. During their arrest and a search of their hotel room a substantial amount of U.S. currency and numerous electronic cards (used to manipulate the ATM-machine) were found and confiscated for further investigation. All suspects are from Canada and Lebanese descent. All suspects remain in custody for further investigation.

In addition, the police department has been receiving numerous reports of persons using false credit cards to purchase very expensive items such as jewelry and electronic items. The Police Department is warning everyone and in particular all businesses to take good notice of this information and inform the police anytime they encounter someone committing this type of illegal act.

KPSM Police Report

telemgroupcellsite02052013Pond Island:--- TelEm Group has written to the Bureau of Telecommunication and Post, St. Maarten, thanking the regulator and its staff for their prompt assistance in identifying recent interference to the company's 3G mobile voice and data network.
TelEm Group says it's thanks to the Bureau's technical staff, who, along with the Technical and Engineering staff of the company, quickly identified the source of the interference.
"We are also most grateful to the regulator for granting us the use of a new frequency so quickly after our official request was made, allowing us to quickly adjust our operating frequency and alleviating the effects of the interference," said Chief Financial Officer, TelEm Group, Mrs. Helma Etnel.
She said the value of having a local regulator for St. Maarten has shown its worth because of the quickness with which the Bureau was able to respond to the company's need.
Mrs. Etnel said reports from the Technical Department says 3G signals in the CupeCoy, Cole Bay and Simpson Bay areas are "vastly improved" now that the interference to these specific areas have been alleviated.
"The technicians and engineers are reporting some issues that remain in the St. Peter's Hill area, which may or may not be related to the interference problem, and they expect to have that issue cleared up very soon also," said Mrs. Etnel.
The CFO said work is continuing with the local regulator to minimize frequency interference in the future. In that regard, TelEm Group has invited an outside radio frequency planner to monitor the company's network and make recommendations as necessary to management.
She said based on the expert's findings, management will take whatever actions are required to safeguard customers against unwanted signal interference.

With June 1 marking the official start of the Hurricane Season in the Caribbean, Dutch marines from the 32 Infantry Company in Aruba maintain a permanent readiness to respond to natural disasters in the Dutch Caribbean. The Royal Netherlands Navy and Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard are vigilant, as experts expect a severe Hurricane Season this year.

Hurricane and disaster relief rank amongst the Dutch Navy's core tasks in the Caribbean. In recent history, Dutch Navy ships and marines came to the aid of Nicaragua after hurricane Felix struck in 2007. In 2008 Dutch marines were deployed to St. Maarten in the wake of hurricane Omar. And in 2010 after the devastating earthquake in Haiti, a relief detachment of Dutch military and local militia from Aruba was formed to provide aid and assistance.

Watchful eye
During the hurricane season, from June 1st till December 1st, the Operations centre of the Commander Netherlands Forces in the Caribbean in Curaçao keeps a watchful eye on depressions forming over the Atlantic. Stormy weather patterns are carefully monitored based on accurate projections. Island authorities can request military assistance if a strike is imminent. Together with local emergency services, a crisis team comprised of Navy, Marine and Coast Guard personnel will put robust contingency plans into action.

Keeping the peace
Prior to a hurricane strike, the Dutch Navy deploys to the likely affected areas to help with final preparations. Building are boarded up and shelters are provided with adequate water and food supplies. During the strike, Dutch marines protect shelters and other critical infrastructure. Afterwards, civil affairs specialists survey affected areas and determine the need for first aid and medical assistance. Dutch marines keep the peace by patrolling the affected areas, to prevent looting of ruined shops and buildings. In the unlikely event of a catastrophic hurricane strike, the Dutch Navy is able to fall back on additional relief detachments on board HNLMS Pelikaan and the West Indian Guard Ship. Even the help from disaster relief specialists from The Netherlands can be solicited.

daeaircrafts28052013WILLEMSTAD, Curacao:--- After reviewing the financial figures of Dutch Antilles Express (DAE) and its 2012/2013 Business Plan and after performing all required mandatory SAFETY inspection on DAE's current fleet, the Curacao Civil Aviation Authority (CCAA) has authorized all DAE's new destination' requests up to this moment and granted DAE the following destinations this week:

Curacao – Cali – Curacao
Curacao – Cucuta – Curacao
Curacao – Bogota – Curacao
Curacao – Cartagena – Curacao
Curacao – Bucaramanga – Curacao
Curacao – Barbados – Curacao
Curacao – Port of Spain – Curacao
Curacao – Montego Bay – Curacao
Curacao – Port au Prince – Curacao

"On behalf of our DAE family, we appreciate and express our gratitude to the CCAA for this trust, which commits us to continue working for Curacao. By granting us these designations, CCAA confirms our financial stability and ability to expand our operations and that DAE complies with all requirements and has a Safe Operations," Ramiz attested.

"DAE will start operating to Bogota and Cartagena by June 30. We will announce the day as soon as the flights are in our system," Ramiz indicated.

"Haiti will be for July 15. The rest of Colombia e.g. Cali, Cucuta and Bucaramanga as well as Montego Bay, Port of Spain and Barbados will be announced on a later date but it will be after the summer and definitely before the fourth quarter of this year," Ramiz stated.

"This summer we will also have different charter programs of 2 weekly flights to Manaus, Brazil and Punta Cana, Dominican Republic starting July till September of this year. With these charter flights to Manaus we will feed Orlando, Punta Cana, and Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, Sint Maarten, Bonaire and Aruba. Additional weekly flights to other destinations are being negotiated with local travel agencies and groups in Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, Panama and Havana. We will adjust our schedule after June 15. We will change Suriname and make it an overnight in Paramaribo, so we can connect Suriname with our HUB to other destinations." Ramiz said.

"We will operate this summer with one MD-83 and one Fokker -100 as back ups and the rest of our aircrafts will be operating the routes that we have. Additional aircrafts will have to be added later on this year," Ramiz concluded.

usmstudentsattend7thbiennialcaroaconference30052013Maho:--- Between May 6th and May 9th, 2013, two University of St. Martin (USM) students and Ambassadors Rajiv Besant and Nikhil Punjabi, were sponsored by the Ombudsman St. Maarten to attend the 7th Biennial CAROA Conference at Maho Beach Resort. Both students were privileged to participate in and observe the panel discussions, which included public service ethics, the pursuit of human rights, Ombudsman investigative methods and the privatization of public services, amongst a number of Ombudsmen of the Caribbean, Ontario, Europe and New Zealand. The students were also made aware that the Ombudsman seeks to restore human rights and investigate maladministration. The University of St. Martin warmly is very appreciate of the invitation to it students and looks forward to working with the Ombudsman St. Maarten.

USM Press Release

idadfoundation30052013"Any man can be a father but it takes someone special to be a dad."

As men, we are made in the image of God and innately possess the raw materials of masculinity. However, we are not born with the knowledge of how to use those materials. As with any trade or skill we have to be taught how to be a man. What guy ever picked up a power tool and instinctively knew how to hang drywall, or picked up a guitar and just knew how to play it? In the same way, we can't expect a young man to know how to deal with adversity or to pursue a woman's heart well unless he has been taught how to navigate such uncharted waters. Granted some men are self-taught, but that is and should be the exception, not the norm.

Today, father absence is among the most pervasive social problems challenging families. But the presence of a responsible father improves a variety of outcomes for children and serves as a protective factor against problem behaviors including teen drug use, pregnancy, truancy, and criminal activity. Thus, supporting and encouraging fathers to become more present and actively involved in their children's lives is our number one goal.

Billy Graham said: "A good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society."

The recently formed iDAD foundation has been active in the community since its first march for "Fathers to be active" on December 16th, 2012.

The iDAD foundation serves to awaken men into taking responsibility and being active in the life of their children, and extended into their community.

Our mission is for the fathers of St. Maarten to come together to work in becoming greater fathers and significant male role models through personal involvement, resulting in outcomes which are positive. One of our aims is to successfully building relationships between children, parents, schools and the communities at large.

We have been working closely with the Community Police Officers to assist with the troubled youth in our schools: working along with school management and counselors. We have also been able to visit the homes that house youths and the seniors home.

These are some of the activities that the iDad foundation had organized:

  • We've had an iDad beach day with Royal kids Club.
  • Weekend visits to the elderly home (the Dads along with their kids helped with the serving of the meals and after just spend some time talking or playing games with the elderly).
  • Visit to the iCan Foundation, where we (the Dads) cooked for the kids.
  • Visit to the Chrystal home, where we did games and talked to them about the importance of someone knowing where they are at all times. (We the Dads) also cooked for them)
  • We had an iDad movie day where dads were encouraged to take their kids to the movie.
  • We had a Movie day where the Dads were invited with their kids to come and watch a movie.

Our next event is when we celebrate our first annual Father's Day Dinner Dance on Saturday, June 15th, 2013 at THE ROCKHOUSE - PORT DE PLAISANCE from 7:00pm UNTIL. Dress code is formal. Entrance price is $40 per person or $70 per couple. Entertainment for the night includes: Live entertainment, DJ RICHY D & DJ TOOLS & GUEST DJ's. Come and support the cause that acknowledges fathers in our community and encourages them to be the best to their children, family and community. Not forgetting those who took the father figure responsibility upon themselves to be role models to the youths that lacks a parental male figure in their lives. Proceeds from this event will be used to provide breakfast and school supplies for the upcoming school Year 2013/2014 for less fortune children.

We urge the community and in particular fathers to be role models to the youth of St. Maarten. So that the ills in our society will gradually decrease, allowing our judicial system to be less strained as Fathers play a major role in their children's life. Fathers do not tell his children to live, he lives; and let his children watch him and follow. We cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father's protection.

As a dad there are lots of opportunities for you to get involved in your child's life. From helping chaperone the school trip, to reading together, to coaching the Little League team, take advantage of the time you can spend together!

Becoming more involved in your child's life can take a lot of different forms. At every stage your children can benefit from your involvement. Read with young children. Join the elementary school parent teacher organization. Chaperone a school event.

Volunteer as a coach, or ask your child's coach in what way he could use your help. Take time to be a positive and supporting part of your child's life.

"The situations of our youths are not mysterious. Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them. They must, they have no other models."

Interested parties may contact us for further information about our activities and what we together can accomplish for our country St. Maarten. Our contact information: Telephone: 581-5649 / 580-4445; Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/page/IDAD/439085889486922

swescotwilliamsmeetswithbgnaa30052013Philipsburg:--- The Prime Minister of St. Maarten the Honorable Sarah Wescot-Williams received a courtesy call from representatives of the Pensioner's Organization of the Former Netherlands Antilles and Aruba BGNAA. The group, representing pensioners from the former Antilles, met with the respective Prime Ministers of the islands of the former Netherland's Antilles and Aruba in order to inform their members of the changes which effect them since the constitutional changes of 101010. The Group thanked the Prime Minister in her assistance in resolving matters, which were complicated by the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles, and the changes in the pension structure.

From the Cabinet of the Prime Minister

GREAT BAY (DCOMM):--- Disaster Coordinator Winston Salomon, Head of the Island's Office of Disaster Management, would like to commend the clean-up initiative that was undertaken by the Community Police and Jazz G and O.C.C.O. of the Cole Bay district in preparation for the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season that opens on Saturday, June 1.

The first clean-up took place on May 18. Another clean-up is planned for Saturday, June 8 along Welfare Road, Windsor Road, and Cay Bay Road from 6:30am to 2:30pm.

The final clean-up will be on Saturday, June 15 on Welfare Road, Corner Road and Bill Folly Road. Those persons interested in volunteering their time to help with the community district clean-up should call 588-4035 or 550-7747. The removal of garbage is being carried out by Leonard Enterprises.

"These types of initiatives are very much welcome, and I am calling on all the districts to mobilize and clean-up. We need to see similar initiatives in the other residential districts. We need all stakeholders working together," Disaster Coordinator Winston Salomon said on Wednesday.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the United States Department of Commerce (NOAA) released its forecast for the upcoming six-month hurricane season, and the forecast calls for an active or extremely active season this year.

The NOAA forecast says there is a likelihood of 13 to 20 named storms, of which seven to 11 could become hurricanes, including three to six major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5) with winds of 111 miles per hour or higher.

"I am once more appealing to the Sint Maarten community to prepare for the hurricane season. We do this every year and more than the majority of the country knows exactly what they have to do before the hurricane season starts.

"The Office of Disaster Management always prepare for every season regardless of the forecast, because we all must remember that all it takes is one storm to make it a bad season," Disaster Coordinator Salomon said on Wednesday.

Storm names for the 2013 season are: Andrea, Barry, Chantal, Dorian, Erin, Fernand, Gabrielle, Humberto, Ingrid, Jerry, Karen, Lorenzo, Melissa, Nestor, Olga, Pablo, Rebekah, Sebastien, Tanya, Van and Wendy.

The 2013 hurricane season runs through November 30.

swescotwilliamsmeetswithalinehanson29052013Discuss Way Forward on Matters Related to Matters of Cooperation

Philipsburg:--- The Prime Minister of St. Maarten the Honorable Sarah Wescot-Williams met with the President of the Collectivite Madame Aline Hanson and members of her administration on Wednesday in order to discuss the ongoing cooperation between the two sides of the island. The Prime Minister, joined by the Secretary General of the Council of Ministers Ms., Cassandra Jansen and Interim Director of the Department of Foreign Relations discussed the way forward on various maters concerning the cooperation and mutual understanding between the administrations of Dutch St. Maarten and that of French St. Maarten. "We are picking back up the matters of cooperation, the various committees, and the technical working groups so we can move forward with matters of cooperation," commented the Prime Minister.

From the Cabinet of the Prime Minister

shtameetswithssm29052013Philipsburg:--- The St. Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association (SHTA), the largest private business representative on the island, met with a delegation of the Soualiga Social Movement (SSM), led by its president and co-founder Alston Lourens, treasurer and co-founder Sjaoel Richardson, board member Paul Bell, and Paul Henriquez, to discuss common grounds.
The SSM are firm believers of the concept "teach a man how to fish", the foundation focuses on being involved in the planning and facilitation of social projects, allowing the participants in the community to be directly involved with the execution of the planned projects which creates a sense ownership in the community of the activity and that usually guarantees it's success. The project at the forefront of this is the Social Summit "Get Together to Work Together". A planned conference for a group of active NGO's and other types of organizations, to come together at the table to work together on common goals and issues. This is something that the SSM and the SHTA have agreed to work together on.
Both association have agreed to jointly approach areas of common interest such as educating the public on issues, electoral reform, good governance, transparency, fiscal discipline, employment, improving economic activities on the island, increasing diversification, and especially the need for all, including NGO's, to work together toward these common goals among others.
People need to understand that they themselves are part of the governing procedure, that's how a democracy works. They contribute to the government financially (through taxes) and need to have more interest in how that contribution is being used. To gain an understanding of what procedures exists and why? Too many stand on the side lines complaining about government and the way things are, without understanding the real issues at hand, this is not ever going solve our problems. There are so many issues on such a small island, in order to make a change more people need to understand and exercise their rights by speaking up and actively participating in their communities.

The SHTA is dedicated to bringing quality to all aspects of life on St. Maarten by promoting sustainable economic development for its members in cooperation with the social partners and the creation of a fair marketplace. For more information please contact our offices at 542-0108 or visit our website at www.shta.com.

eholidayandpchopin29052013Harbour View/Fort Louis:--- On Tuesday May 28, 2013, Mr. Philippe Chopin, Préfet for St. Martin and St. Barthelemy, paid a working visit to Sint Maarten and met with His Excellency Governor Eugene B. Holiday at his office at Falcon Drive 3 in Philipsburg.
During the meeting, the Governor and the Préfet discussed several matters of mutual interest for St. Maarten en St. Martin. Topics discussed included cooperation between Sint Maarten/Saint Martin, immigration controls, law enforcement and travel documents. The productive meeting underscored the friendly relationships and provided an opportunity for the Governor and the Préfet to reinforce the importance of the cooperation between Saint-Martin and Sint-Maarten.

tamaraleonardandnicoledeweever29052013~Art Saves Lives Program will be held June 24-30 on St. Maarten~

Cupecoy:--- Local Award winning dancer Nicole C. De Weever of Art Saves Lives received a donation from Tamara Leonard last week in support of Art Saves Lives Summer Project. The upcoming Art Saves Lives summer intensive program will feature 16 artists from the United States who in addition to teaching classes will perform community service as part of their contribution to St. Maarten.

Ms. De Weever expressed her thanks to Ms. Leonard for her support of the project.
ALSP continues to raise funds to bring this project to fruition to serve local youth who are interested in a career in the arts and strengthen the performing arts on the St. Maarten.

whereiseethesun29052013GREAT BAY/MARIGOT:--- Where I See The Sun – Contemporary Poetry in St. Martin, is a new book of poems by 25 poets and spoken word artists from both parts of the island, said Jacqueline Sample, president of House of Nehesi Publishers (HNP).

HNP will release the book on Thursday, May 30, at 8 pm, at the opening ceremony of the St. Martin Book Fair, at the Chamber of Commerce Building, Spring Concordia, Marigot.

"We are happy to see that the mostly new and young writers in this anthology are motivated and inviting their family and friends to come out Thursday evening and celebrate with them. The book fair organizers are also inviting all culture lovers to 'the book fair for the entire family,' as our guests and to welcome our visiting authors from abroad in that special St. Martin way," said Sample.

Where I See The Sun, edited by author Lasana M. Sekou, is the nation's first poetry anthology in 30 years. The poets and spoken word artists reflect varied backgrounds – senior published poets, a former labor leader, a teacher, a lawyer, but mainly young poets that have been very active reciting, slamming, and rapping at public recitals at Axum Café and in Simpson Bay and Marigot over the last 10 years.

Among the writers in Where I See The Sun, most of whom have never been published in a book before, are: Raymond Helligar, Drisana Deborah Jack, Changa Hickinson, Mariela Xue, Tamara Groeneveldt, Roland and Laura Richardson, Georges Cocks, Faizah Tabasamu (Rochelle Ward), Tadzio Bervoets, Lysanne Charles, Marianne Tefft, Fulbert Marcellin, Elehandro Fleming, Morena Ignacio, Jay B. Haviser, Patricia Chance-Duzant, Sjorensly Valies, Lucinda "La Rich" Audain, Jenice Forbes, Glenda York, Kimasha P. Williams, and Terry Daniel.

The soulful singer Mischu Laikah will represent her fellow poets by singing one of her poems from Where I See The Sun at the opening ceremony. With over 60 poems, the book also includes a cover photo and brief profile of each writer, a glossary of St. Martin words or writer-specific terms, a critical blurb by literary giant Kamau Brathwaite, and a comment by leading Bajan spoken word artist Adrian Green. In his introduction to the book Sekou explains why and how the collection was put together, said Sample.

The St. Martin Book Fair, from May 30 to June 1, 2013, "is the perfect place to launch such a book of creative writing by some of the best young poets on the scene today in St. Martin," said Shujah Reiph, book fair founder and coordinator.

The St. Maarten Tourist Bureau is the strategic partner of the literary festival. The University of St. Martin, the St. Martin Tourist Office, and the Collectivity of St. Martin (COM) are sponsors of the 11th edition of the St. Martin Book Fair. Award-winning graphic designer Prof. Carole Mauge-Lewis and Pasanggrahan Royal Guest House are contributors to book fair 2013, said Sample. HNP is a book fair co-organizer.

markyokoyama29052013Philipsburg:--- May 29, 2013 At this year's St. Martin Book Fair, author and naturalist Mark Yokoyama will be presenting a workshop entitled "Wildlife Beats: The Rhythms of Nature on St. Martin." This special workshop is designed to complement this year's Book Fair theme "Drum Beats." The book fair is taking place at various locations on St. Martin from May 30th to June 1st. The Wildlife Beats workshop will be at 11am on Saturday, June 1st at University of St. Martin. Like all of the book fair events it is free and open to the public.

"The St. Martin Book Fair brings together so many different aspects of the St. Martin experience," says Yokoyama, "and that is one of the things that makes it so special. Whether it is literature, poetry, history or cooking, the books each tell a piece of the St. Martin story." He added, "I'm honored to have the chance to add the wildlife piece to that puzzle."

During the workshop, Yokoyama will explore the various rhythmic cycles that influence wildlife on St. Martin. Some are as short as a day, like the changing of the guard between daytime and nocturnal wildlife, while other cycles repeat over years, decades or even longer. Together, these "beats" form a song that is unique to the island. A slideshow of wildlife photos illustrates the various cycles and their impact on wildlife.

The St. Martin Book Fair, now in its 11th year, is a "book fair for the entire family" and showcases local and international authors. In addition to the workshops, there are readings, panel discussions and book launch events. For more information about the book fair, visit: http://www.houseofnehesipublish.com

Mark Yokoyama is the author of The Incomplete Guide to the Wildlife of Saint Martin, a guide featuring hundreds of animal species from St. Martin. An updated second edition of his book will be launched this summer. He also gives wildlife presentations and nature walks for schools and the general public. For more information about the workshop, visit http://www.sxmwildlife.com or look up Saint Martin wildlife on Facebook.

PHILIPSBURG:--- The Presidium of Parliament met on Wednesday in the House where a number of issues were discussed.

The meeting which was chaired by 1st Vice President of Parliament Hon. Romain Laville was to handle four agenda points, however two were handled on Wednesday and the other two will be dealt with on Thursday.

The first agenda point was related to the working visit of the 1st Acting Secretary General of Parliament; the second agenda point was the appointment of a Webmaster/Media Operator.

The two agenda points to be dealt with on Thursday are an evaluation of the personnel working with the Secretariat of Parliament; and the application Expat law to the Secretary General.

Also present in the presidium meeting was the 2nd Vice President of Parliament Hon. Petrus de Weever, and the Secretary Generals.

isaiahhaakmat29052013Two students artwork were chosen to represent St. Maarten at the 2013 Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) Children's Environmental Poster Competition.

Sidney De Weever (9 years) from the Methodist Agogic Centre – Browlia Maillard Campus in the junior category and Isaiah Haakmat (16 years) from the Learning Unlimited preparatory School in the Senior category are St. Maarten's Finalists. 30 entries were received from the various schools and were judged by local artist, Ruby Bute.

The FCCA Children's Environmental Poster Competition is an annual event coordinated by the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau in collaboration with the FCCA. Students from the Primary and Secondary schools were invited to participate in the poster competition.

The posters must depict at the least three ways in which the destination can make a difference in preserving the environment along with the title of each poster. De Weever and Haakmat posters were forwarded to the FCCA Selection Committee for further judging to determine the overall winner amongst the FCCA member countries.

A First, Second and Third place winner from both categories will be chosen and the winners will be awarded cash scholarships.

The 1st place winner will receive US$ 3,000.

The 2nd place winner will receive US$ 1,500.

The 3rd place winner will receive US$ 1,000.

The winning schools will also receive matching cash amounts.

St. Maarten has participated in the FCCA for several years.

In 2012, Emilie van der Waals from Learning Unlimited Preparatory School placed 3rd in the Senior Category.

The St. Maarten Tourist Bureau wishes the two finalists the best of luck in the Regional judging.

shootingfillin11102012Marigot:--- The director of the service Renseignements Generaux Serge Salvado was shot twice around 2pm on Wednesday. Information reaching SMN News states that the victim was at Le Butcherie restaurant in Concordia where the shooting took place.

The French consul located on the Dutch side of the island Stanislas Grair witnessed the attack on Salavdo who was leaving the restaurant at the time when he was attacked by two boys that were riding a scooter. Grair said that Salvado was at the restaurant eating with two persons and as soon as he exited the restaurant to get on his motorcycle, the pedal rider on a scooter that was riding pass him attacked Salvado. Grair said Salvado who is also a sportsman defended himself against his attacker and that person fell down. He said when the rider of the scooter saw that his accomplice was losing he pulled out a pistol and fired two shots at Salvado. Grair said the first shot was fired close to the victims head and the second in his stomach. Grair said that something has to be done regarding crime on St. Martin because at the time of the shooting two State representatives were at the restaurant. He said he was there and Salvado who is another State representative was attacked. Also at the restaurant at the time of the shooting was a well known French Television producer.

SMN News learnt Salvado was transported to the Louis Constant Fleming Hospital for treatment. His exact medical condition is not yet known. Efforts made by SMN News to reach the Commandant of the Gendarmerie for a comment proved futile.

sarahwescotwilliams05052013Philipsburg:--- During Wednesday's Council of Minister's Press Briefing the Prime Minister of St. Maarten the Honorable Sarah Wescot-Williams emphasized that the Government of St. Maarten is moving forward on essential items, including the formation of a new Council of Ministers. "It is unfortunate that the Outgoing Minister uses his position as Minister and not once, but three or four times goes live on National Television and Radio to espouse purely political messages without anyone even batting an eye. Do I constantly want to be rehashing these things? Of course not, but without there being some voice of reason we will be continuously involved in an ongoing polemic. Government is moving forward on essential items"

"Yes I wrote to the Governor and we had subsequent correspondences during which my position regarding the dissolution of Parliament had not changed. The letter from the Governor could not and did not change that, so the 'Smoking Gun Letter' as we have come to know it, is exactly that; smoke. That the caretaker Ministers refuse to attend Council of Ministers Meetings because I maintained the position I took from day one is something that they will have to live with and makes it more pressing that we get out of this period as quickly as possible. And that is the instruction that I have received from the Governor.

"I guess until then everything that I write to the Caretaker Ministers will remain on the online blogs, social media sites, radio shows, what have you," lamented the PM.

The Prime Minister confirmed that she has started the process of forming the new Government, including that of vetting the new candidate Ministers, "I have been asked by the Governor to form the next Government and I have started the next process which includes the vetting of the candidate Ministers. I have been asked to report to the Governor no later than June 7th and it is my intention to have the process completed before that time. The Governor has also stated specifically in one of his directives that speedy completion of the process be done in order to give completion to the process needed to establish the 2013 Budget for 2013, and to initiate measures aimed at stabilizing the political process, that is what the Governor is expecting as a priority of the next Cabinet.

"In the meantime I want to move things away from the downward spiral we have been in even if it means biting my lip. How can we ask our people to at least be decent to one another even behind the anonymity of social media or on radio. We need to set the right example and not instigate matter further," emphasized the Prime Minister.

From the Cabinet of the Prime Minister

Philipsburg:--- The Prime Minister of St. Maarten the Honorable Sarah Wescot-Williams appeared on the daily radio talk show Viewpoint with Lloyd Richardson on Wednesday afternoon.

The Prime Minister started out by emphasizing that the current debate on matters that effect the citizens of St. Maarten is healthy and that she is indeed pleased that persons are starting to discuss matters regarding the Constitution. "I believe that the current debate is healthy and necessary, however as politicians we need to make sure that we keep to a certain standard, simply because we have a leadership role to play in the community and are examples to persons out there.

The Prime Minister by explaining the various roles and responsibilities of the individual Ministers as it pertains to the ongoing political developments during the program. "Based on the Rules of Order outlined in the Constitution, the Prime Minister has a certain responsibility just as every Minister has their own responsibilities. My responsibilities are centered on the upholding of the democratic state etc. No one can act in within the responsibility of the Minister of General Affairs except the Minister of General Affairs, in this case the Prime Minister. And similarly I cannot decide on matters related to the responsibilities of the other Ministers that fall within their portfolio."

"Hide a letter? I realized that after I heard what was being put on the blogs it took a complete different turn; accusing me of fraud etc. As politicians we need to raise the bar.

"I must also add that I am not going to put the Office of the Governor in this kind of polemic. Again if we don't raise the bar we cannot expect the members of the community to reach out higher. Debate is fine but let us remain civil. I do not care if people make comments in favor of me or against me. But we need to show a difference. I know what my responsibilities as the Prime Minister are. Not everyone is pleased by my actions but let us keep it on a level," stated the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister also took the time to also answer questions, some of them quite tough, regarding not only the issues of the past few weeks but also regarding electoral reform and additional constitutional matters.

From the Cabinet of the Prime Minister

Common Court of Justice overturns judge of instruction's decision to release suspects

Philipsburg:--- On Wednesday, the Common Court of Justice ruled on the appeal of the Public Prosecutor against the April 18th, 2013 decision of the judge of instruction in which he ordered the immediate release of both suspects in the Middle Region stabbing incident in which Kimberly Illidge was killed.
The Common Court did, as it says in the decision, what the judge of instruction should have done, namely "order for the further pretrial detention" (gevangenhouding) of the 17 year old female suspect S.A.B. This means that the suspect has to return in pretrial detention.
The judge of instruction had released both suspects, based on his conclusion that the imposed day program for minors in the temporary youth facility in the Philipsburg Police station had not been strictly met. He therefore lifted the pretrial detention order and ordered for the immediate release of both suspects.
The Public Prosecutor immediately appealed that decision first leading to a decision in the case against 17 year old suspect E.J.J. by the Common Court of Justice on May 8th, 2013, overturning the judge of instruction's decision and subsequently on Wednesday in the case against S.A.B., overturning that same decision with the same result: the suspect has to go back to jail.
The Common Court of Justice ruled that, taken all circumstances into account, the current detention situation of minors is not to be considered in violation of the Sint Maarten Constitution nor the UN Convention on the rights of the child.
On Wednesday afternoon the suspect came to the Police station voluntarily and was put back in detention.
The first hearing in this case is scheduled for July 3rd, 2013.

Press Release from the Prosecutor's Office

GREAT BAY (DCOMM):--- Collective Prevention Services (CPS) that falls under the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, on Tuesday alerted local family physicians to look out for symptoms of Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD) after several cases were diagnosed in Anguilla.

Ministry of Public Health officials have been in contact with their Anguilla colleagues with respect to gathering information about HFDM.

HFMD is a common viral illness that usually affects infants and children who are 10-years of age or younger. It can sometimes occur in adults. There is no vaccine to protect against the viruses that cause hand, foot, and mouth disease.

Symptoms of HFMD include cold-like conditions, fever, mouth sores, loss of appetite, cough, and a skin rash; a non-itchy red rah that develops on the hand and the feet, and sometimes the rash can develop into painful blisters; painful mouth ulcers.

Hand, foot, and mouth disease is spread from person to person through nose and throat secretions (such as saliva, sputum, or nasal mucus), blister fluid, or stool of infected persons.

If your child or you have any of these symptoms, according to the Minister of Public Health Hon. Cornelius de Weever's 'Get Checked' campaign, visit your family physician.

To lower your risk of being infected with hand, foot and mouth disease, wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after changing diapers and using the toilet; disinfecting dirty surfaces and soiled items, including toys. First wash the items with soap and water, and then disinfect them with a solution of chlorine bleach; and avoiding close contact such as kissing, hugging, or sharing eating utensils or cups with infected persons.

Hand, foot and mouth disease is not the same as foot and mouth disease, which affects cattle, sheep and pigs. The two infections are unrelated, and you cannot catch hand, foot and mouth disease from animals.

For further information you can call 542-2078 or 542-3003.

PHILIPSBURG:--- The Department of Economic Affairs, Transportation and Telecommunication (EVT) produces on a quarterly basis the MacroMonitor, which is a publication that gives an overview of the macro-economic developments of the country.

The MacroMonitor is now available on the Government website: www.sintmaartengov.org; go to tab "Government," scroll down to "Ministry of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transportation and Telecommunications" link, go to "Department of Economic Affairs, Transportation and Telecommunications" and select the link "Economic Reports" and then select "MacroMonitor Year End 2012 Report" for download.

For 2013 economic growth is expected, but at a slower pace than in 2012. This assumption is based on a flat export growth for 2013, while imports are increasing. The current account as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is projected to further deteriorate. However, the season is still young, thus the External sector can pick up. The Department of EVT will continue to monitor the developments of the various sectors and update the estimates during 2013 on a quarterly basis.

This 2012 year-end report highlights the development of the main key sectors of Sint Maarten's economy and the policies and projections of the various target markets of the international sector. Sectors include; International, External, Fiscal and the Monetary sector.

At production time of the 2012 year end MacroMonitor report, data on some indicators for the last quarter of 2012 were still unavailable. These included the banking totals and balance of payment figures.

Therefore, the figures presented in the report could slightly change based on realized figures. These indicators will give the possible trends for 2013.

A brief overview of the findings for 2012 includes; GDP growth projected at approximately four per cent. This growth is fueled by the exceptional performance in the External sector, namely; cruise arrivals with six per cent increase, stay-over with eight per cent increase and occupancy rate (of both timeshare and hotels combined), increasing by six per cent, when compared to 2011.

From the Fiscal sector, both revenues and expenditures increased five per cent and 18% respectively, when compared to 2011. With the proportion increase in expenditures more than revenues, this can have adverse effects on the deficit. However, the increase in expenditures through Government consumption, investment in infrastructure and wages, also contributed to the economic growth for 2012. In small economies increase in Government expenditures serves as an engine towards economic growth and at the same time lead to a decrease in foreign reserve stock.

In the Monetary sector, inflation was reduced to four per cent, down 0.6 per cent when compared to 2011. Major contributing factors were the easing inflation recorded in the expenditure categories of Housing and Transport and Communication, both locally and globally.

Analysis of the International sector presents a bright outlook for 2013. The selected economies of the various regions show signs of growth and recovery. Therefore, assuming that the spending power of these regions increase with the projected growth, there lies an opportunity for Sint Maarten to capitalize on attracting more tourist to the Island. This however, will depend on efficient marketing strategies by the Sint Maarten Tourism Bureau.

corneliusdeweever03102012GREAT BAY (DCOMM):--- Youth Health Care, a section of the Collective Prevention Services (CPS), a Department at the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, is reminding parents and guardians to attend the community outreach vaccination session and lecture on Wednesday, May 29 in St. Peters.

The outreach and lecture on family planning is being held at the Rupert I. Maynard Youth Community Center in St. Peters from 5:00pm to 7:30pm.

Parents with children age 0 thru 17 years are invited. Children in (pre) exam class are advised to check their vaccination status. Please bring along your child's vaccination record/card. All others seeking information on vaccination and family planning, come out on May 29.

Minister of Public Health Hon. Cornelius de Weever 'Get Checked' campaign is in line with the efforts of CPS and therefore Minister De Weever is appealing to guardians and parents to get their children checked to see if they are up to date with their vaccinations, and this can be done on Wednesday.

The theme for the vaccination campaign this year is "A Shared Responsibility."

The objectives of the campaign are to stimulate parents to have their child(ren) vaccinated; to bring about awareness as it relates to vaccinations and to encourage parents and the community at large to take responsibility by ensuring updated vaccination records for the children in their care.

In addition the campaign aims to provide the public with general vaccination information; to encourage others such as, health care workers, pregnant women and pre-and exam class students to update their vaccination status. To encourage risk groups such as health care providers, waste/garbage handlers, the Police, hotel and restaurant workers, and others to verify and update their vaccination status, particularly Hepatitis B and Tetanus.

Vaccines protect against vaccine preventable and against certain life-threatening diseases.

Minister De Weever is also appealing to the various risk groups and health care providers to get checked to see if they are up to date with their vaccinations especially those identified by CPS, by visiting the community outreach session on Wednesday in St. Peters.

For further information you can call YHC at 542-2078 or 542-3003.

idoltuesdayswinnerstephenjosephreceiveschequefromtelem28052013Pond Island:--- Congratulations to the 2013 Idol Tuesdays contest winner, Stephen Joseph.
Stephen's dulcet tones, and powerful renditions caught the attention – but most of all the ear - of the Idol Tuesdays judges during the Grand Finals of the contest at the Hard Rock Café, on the Boardwalk, Saturday.
According to the judges, Stephen's performance was "consistent throughout the entire show."
"He had great vocals, a wonderful stage personality and he was an original performer all round," said one judge after the winner was named.
All contestants on the night had to perform three categories: Judge's song, John Legend song and their own ballad.
Also named on the night was "Most Popular" contestant, Rosalina Fiacques, as voted for by TelCell customers via the mobile provider's SMS service. Ms. Fiacques was presented with a Samsung Galaxy Note tablet with data service as a winning prize provided by TelCell. .
"It was a fun night for all the contestants and their supporters who turned out to cheer them on," said TelEm Group Marketing Representative Ms. Marelva Felix-Jones.
Marelva thanked Grisha Marten of Montage NV, coordinator of Idol Tuesdays for all the effort put into the preliminary rounds of the competition and also for making the Final's night a very special one for everyone.
"We are very happy to be associated with an event such as this that spotlights the wealth of talent amongst our youth," said the Marketing Representative.
As well as the $3,000 cash prize, courtesy of TelEm Group, the Idol Tuesdays winner also took home an all-expense paid trip for two, courtesy of Hard Rock Café, St. Maarten to see the Hard Rock Calling concert in London, England in June. The winner has also won tickets for two to see the Hennessy Artistry show on St. Maarten in August, featuring John Legend and Percy Sledge.
The top five contestants have also been presented with Samsung Galaxy smartphones, courtesy of mobile provider TelCell; bottles of Hennessy, courtesy of Caribbean Liquors and Tobacco and Gift Bags, courtesy of Hard Rock Café, St. Maarten.

Telem Press Release

sxmnfmeetingondutchcaribbeanbiodiversitydatabase28052013The St. Maarten Nature Foundation in collaboration with the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance held an informative meeting on the Dutch Caribbean Biodiversity Database with Dutch Nature Database Scientists Stephan Hennekens and Peter Verweij of the Alterra Institute of Wageningen University. A presentation was given to various private conservation practitioners, Non-Governmental Organizations and representatives from the St. Maarten Government Department of Statistics and the VROMI Ministry on how the Nature Foundation and Man of War Shoal Marine Protected Area, other conservation organizations and practitioners in the Windward islands can fine-tune and upload their information regarding the environment into the Dutch Caribbean Biodiversity Database. The goal of the Dutch Caribbean Biodiversity Database is to guarantee the long-term availability of information resources, maps, research and monitoring data for everyone involved in nature conservation in the Dutch Caribbean and thereby to support nature management and assist in the fulfillment of international reporting obligations.

On St. Maarten the team worked with the Nature Foundation on data sets which included monitoring data on sea turtles, Brown Pelicans, lionfish, sharks, coral reefs, water quality and marine mammals. Volunteer data collectors and government employees from the Departments of Statistics and Infrastructure and Environment enthusiastically joined the discussions.

The team is now on Saba where the focus is on monitoring data for the Red-billed Tropic birds, fisheries and marine mammals as well as archiving a wealth of information from the Saba Conservation Foundation archives. The team heads to St. Eustatius on Tuesday where the focus will again be on monitoring data for marine mammals, Red-billed tropic birds, sea turtles and lionfish, as well as Statia's data sets on butterflies, terrestrial birds, conch, and lobster.

uscgsprucesupaceschool28052013Cadets and officer candidates from the United States Coast Guard Tall Ship Eagle spent their time in St. Maarten productively on Saturday when they came out in full force to help spruce up the recently acquired Tzu Chi Foundation building, which will be occupied by the All Children's Education (ACE) Foundation school as of the new academic year.

The volunteer activity was coordinated by Jack Stevens of the Navy League with assistance from the Harbour Group of Companies. A group of about 50 cadets and officer candidates from the Eagle helped to paint the interior and exterior of the building, clean the yard; remove debris and fix the fence among other voluntary work.

They worked arduously and enthusiastically and were very happy to have been able to do something positive while in St. Maarten.

Their assistance has helped Tzu Chi Foundation make strides in its efforts to get the property ready to be occupied by ACE students at the start of the upcoming academic year. Foundation volunteers usually visit the property on weekends and work alongside professionals to help get the building ready.

The Foundation has also received assistance from a number of other businesses and individuals in the community such as the Sonesta Maho Group of Companies.

A lot of work still needs to be done and many more items are still needed, but the foundation is working arduously on this education mission in its efforts to do its part to help mold young minds in a positive, clean and comfortable setting.

The US Coast Guard Tall Ship Eagle for its 2013 sailing schedule is traveling to the Caribbean, along the Eastern Seaboard, and to Canada with cadets and officer candidates, teaching them practical seamanship skills while indoctrinating them in the Coast Guard's floating leadership laboratory.

The Eagle was built at the Blohm + Voss Shipyard in Hamburg, Germany in 1936, and commissioned as Horst Wessel. The Eagle became one of three sail-training ships operated by the pre-World War II German Navy.

Tzu Chi Commissioner Sandra Cheung said the Foundation is extremely grateful for all those who are supporting this initiative in whatever way they can. She also thanked Jack Stevens and the cadets and officer candidates from the Eagle who were kind enough to spend their spare time in the interest of education.

uscgrepaintsbuildingforschool28052013Philipsburg:--- Members of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Eagle assisted in renovating a building set to become a school for undocumented children located in Philipsburg, Saturday, May 25, 2013.
In coordination with the St. Maarten Chapter of the United States Navy League, more than 40 Coast Guard Cutter Eagle crew members and Coast Guard Academy cadets helped with painting, repair and cleaning for a planned school building and property located on the corner of L.B. Scott Road and Red Rose Road in Philipsburg.
Eagle, conducting its cadet summer training deployment, arrived in Philipsburg Friday for a port call lasting through the weekend.
"It was an honor to have the opportunity to participate in this event. I'd like to thank the people of St. Maarten for their warm hospitality and for sharing their beautiful island with us," said Captain Wes Pulver, Commanding Officer of Eagle. At 295 feet in length, the Eagle is the largest tall ship flying the stars and stripes and the only active square-rigger in U.S. government service.
Eagle has served as a classroom at sea to future Coast Guard officers since 1946, offering an at-sea leadership and professional development experience. Currently, there are 145 cadets from the Coast Guard Academy embarked. The summer deployment spans 11-weeks, stopping at nine port calls in five countries, with four different groups of cadets training onboard.

To follow the Eagle's summer cruise, visit the ship's Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/CoastGuardCutterEagle

daeaircrafts28052013WILLEMSTAD, Curacao:--- Regardless of Venezuela 's unilateral sanctions to the Curaçao airline, the airline will continue with its expansion plans to Manaus, Bogota, Cartagena, Punta Cana and other gate ways in United States.

"Venezuela is an important market and due to the commercial aviation crisis in that country, where 64% of the Venezuelan fleet is grounded due to lack of maintenance and spare parts and with the oldest fleet in South America, it can't serve the demand of passengers forcing travelers, wanting to travel abroad, to seek other countries to get to their destinations, specially to the united state who's TSA (transportation security agency) has declared a status quo for all Venezuelan airports so no new entrant airlines can serve those airports with flights to and from USA," Ramiz assert. "So airlines in Curaçao, Bogota, Panama and Aruba feed from this deficiency in the air service of Venezuela and becomes an important part of any airline market. The problem arises when these international airlines need to repatriate their sales income in Venezuela. Some airlines find themselves waiting about 6 to 8 months and the business becomes less lucrative. So while we will continue serving Venezuelan cities of Caracas, Valencia and return soon to Maracaibo, we will not expand seat capacity or gateways to that country.

"DAE made its decision last year to grow away from Venezuela and expand its business to more stable countries like USA, where the other local airline is unable to grow and where Curacao has become very well known, and Colombia where we are requesting authorities to operate to Medellin, Cali, Bucaramanga (where we will link with Easy fly to serve other cities via code-sharing) and Cucuta," Ramiz explained.

"DAE will grow its participation of the USA tourist market eager to come to Curaçao and to neighboring islands. Our efforts have been concentrated in the USA passenger market for the past year through our Miami sales office where DAE has hired experience ex AA executives and sales and marketing staff. The Dutch Caribbean has a great potential to grow and DAE is the only airline in Curaçao able to benefit from this growth and we will expand our operation in USA both in frequency of flights and gateways in these lucrative and hard currency market. We added 3 MD-83 to DAE fleet to operate to and from USA. Additional aircrafts are readily available from our sister company Falcon, if we need to expand to other gateways or add additional flights or as back up if the need should arise," Ramiz informed.

"Our fleet for the rest of the summer will remain with 9 aircrafts, the 3 MD-83, 3 ATR 42/72 and the 3 Fokker- 100 and we will continue our project for the A-319 for DAE and the A-320 Falcon/DAE for next year. The employees, its lessors, banks and investors remain fully committed to DAE and to Curaçao.

While others have made this incident with Venezuela a circus by talking about what they have no clue and spreading unfounded rumors, We at DAE are united, committed, focused and busy working even harder with our minds towards a sustainable future," Ramiz concluded.

scalesofjustice28052013Philipsburg:--- The Prime Minister of St. Maarten Sarah Wescot Williams refused to comply with request submitted by Deputy Prime Minister William Marlin which is to place an additional agenda point on the meeting scheduled for Tuesday May 28th which would have allowed the majority in the Council of Ministers to dissolve the Parliament of St. Maarten. In a letter Prime Minister Wescot Williams addressed to the Deputy Prime Minister William Marlin she stated that she already gave her reasons why she will not comply with their request. Wescot Williams said her position has been strengthened because the entire Wescot Williams II cabinet has submitted their resignation.

The political crisis took a new twist late last week when Deputy Prime Minister William Marlin and the other Ministers found out that the Governor of St. Maarten sent a letter to the Prime Minister on May 16th, 2013 informing her that the Council of Ministers has a right to exercise article 59 of the constitution and that she should give the majority in the Council of Ministers space to exercise their right based on the country's constitution. SMN News published the letter Governor Eugene Holiday sent to the Prime Minister on Sunday in its entirety.

On Monday Marlin told reporters at a national press conference that even though the Prime Minister received the letter dated May 16th, 2013, up to May 24th, 2013 the Council of Ministers and the secretariat had no knowledge of the Governor's letter because the Prime Minister hid the letter from the Council of Ministers. Marlin made clear that such a document was supposed to be booked in at the secretariat as an incoming document but the Prime Minister did not book the letter in. Marlin said that when he consulted with the Secretariat (Cassandra Janssen) to retrieve a copy of the letter he was informed that the secretariat had not seen such a letter. Marlin said the Prime Minister's actions have amounted to fraud and that she discredited her office as Prime Minister solely for political power. Marlin said what the Prime Minister did was not slick or a laughing matter because she violated the trust of her office and moreover committed a shameful and disgraceful act.

It should be noted that while the Governor of St. Maarten issued an advice and admonished the Prime Minister in his letter of May 16th, 2013, he should have sent the letter to the Deputy Prime Minister since he was fully aware that the Prime Minister and the other Ministers were at loggerheads for weeks concerning the dissolution of Parliament. Deputy Prime Minister William Marlin even sent an LB to the Governor on behalf of the majority in the Council of Ministers because the Prime Minister refused to allow them to exercise their constitutional and democratic rights in the Council of Ministers. But the Governor said he could not honor Marlin's request and he sent it back so that it could be handled in the Council of Ministers. Several persons cast some of the blame on the Governor saying that he is charged with ensuring that the process and the will of the people are respected.

Another concern several legal experts have raised is that while the Governor advised the Prime Minister on the country's constitution and made reference to the rights of the Council of Ministers based on article 59 of the constitution, the Governor himself erred in the procedure because the current political process has several steps which must be followed. An Attorney that is certified in constitutional law broke down the steps that have to be followed for SMN News.

  • The Parliament of St. Maarten expressed that the Wescot Williams II Cabinet no longer enjoys their support.
  • The right for the Council of Ministers to vote based on article 59, which to date has not taken place because the Prime Minister refused to respect the wishes of the majority and heed the advice given to her by the Governor of St. Maarten.
  • Formation of a new cabinet.

The attorney said that while step one has taken place, the Governor skipped step two even though he advised the Prime Minister correctly and he then jumped to step three which is to appoint Wescot Williams as formateur to form a new cabinet. "This is the one sided and biased to say the least, right now I am wondering what was done for the Governor to take sides in this political crisis. The Governor has to remain impartial but it appears as though he too is taking sides with those that have been disrespecting the country's constitution, its people, and the majority in the Council of Ministers."

"As the governor pointed out in his by now famous letter of May 16th, not allowing the majority in the Council of Ministers to vote on the matter of dissolving Parliament "does not do justice to our constitutional process."

In this crisis the steps to be followed are clearly outlined in our constitution.

  1. Parliament invokes a vote of no confidence according to article 33 of the constitution.
  2. Government has the right to respond according to article 59 by dissolving Parliament The governor points this out in his letter, as the "autonomous constitutional right of government".
  3. The formation of an new cabinet or interim cabinet follows.

"As the government was not given the chance to respond to the vote of no confidence because of obstruction by the Prime Minister, the governor cannot skip this step and go to step #3. By doing so he himself would be violating the constitutional process. He therefore should not appoint a "formateur", but wait until such a time that he has a clear indication from government whether they will dissolve Parliament or not. The fact that the ministers have resigned does not change this fact. The normal procedure is that they resign and dissolve Parliament at the same time. This was what Schotte did in Curacao. The only reason, why the Council of Ministers on St. Maarten did not get to pass the resolution to dissolve Parliament as we all know by now, is because the Prime Minister keeps blocking the vote.

The governor should by all means stay out of this fray. It is not his position to become involved. The Governor should now stand his ground and refuse to go on to step three until step two has been followed. He has sworn to keep and maintain the constitution. Skipping step two can be seen as acting contrary to the constitution. The question then arises, how long should he wait? As long as it takes to allow government to exercise its autonomous constitutional right. In the meantime, he would be well advised to stop the formation process until such a time as the Council of Ministers is allowed to vote according to article 59 of the constitution.

Failure to follow these steps might result in the formation of a government that rests on a flawed constitutional process. Such a government would lack legitimacy and the authority needed to carry out its tasks."

The attorney said based on these developments the Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the National Alliance who has the majority in the Council of Ministers can now protest against the actions of the Governor by sending the Governor a written letter to stop the formation process until step two is completed. "Marlin can use the letter the Governor wrote to the Prime Minister which confirmed what he "Marlin" was saying from day one and stop the procedure to form a new government. Another option the Governor could take is to call for early elections based on the current impasse and have a professional cabinet installed until elections are called."

SMN News learnt from well placed sources that this is an option the majority of Ministers are looking at while they will also inform their Kingdom partners not to recognize the government that is now being formed because the constitutional process was not followed.

Click here to view the letter Prime Minister Sarah Wescot Williams sent to Deputy Prime Minister William Marlin.

ssmmeetswithichsi27052013PHILIPSBURG:--- The board of the Soualiga Social Movement met with the founder of ICSHI, Mr. Roel Haakmat to discuss how the two foundations can work together on some projects. The Institute for Community Health and Social Issues (ICHSI) is a newly formed foundation who encourages awareness on Community Health, Education, Political issues, Cultural issues, Environmental Issues, Innovation, National Security and Youth Matters.
Both foundations sat at the table to discuss how the SSM could assist the ICSHI with its first project called 'de Klussenbus'. The Klussenbus project aims at equipping young unemployed, challenged adults with the necessary tools to provide handyman and domestic services to the community. These young adults will be taught by a coach while the team will be given the necessary tools and a van to execute their tasks. Services such as cleaning, painting, design and construction of gardens, yard work and general maintenance will be provided to the community at a very reasonable price. The ICHSI would also like to take the initiative and develop a special micro credit fund and the creation of a knowledge center. The funds should support young talented entrepreneurs in setting up their own businesses while the knowledge center seeks to encourage and motivate young adults to be innovative when coming up with new ideas to start businesses that can be self-sufficient, encouraging our young adults to play an integral part in developing our young country.
Board members of the SSM will be assisting ICSHI with financial planning, event planning and marketing while getting other organizations involved in this project.

swescotwilliamsatmassinmarigot27052013Philipsburg:--- The Prime Minister of St. Maarten the Honorable Sarah Wescot-Williams joined a specially organized Roman Catholic Church Service at the Catholic Church in Marigot focused on offering prayers for St. Maarten during the turbulent times both sides of the island are experiencing. The special mass included President of the Collectivite Mrs. Aline Hanson, Senator Louis Constant Fleming as well as various other dignitaries who joined in offering prayers in this turbulent time. Father Samson stated in his sermon that authorities of both sides of the island needed to not only pray but also have prayers done on their behalf for strength and guidance during turbulent political and social times. "We are one island under God and we must pray for guidance for our leaders so that they may be able to help us out of these trying times, whether it is trying political times or with regards to the crime that is plaguing our island," stated father Hanson. Last week Wednesday the PM also attended a specially held meeting with Political Leaders organized by the St. Maarten United Ministerial Foundation where she gave an explanation to various pastors on he way forward with the island.

From the Cabinet of the Prime Minister

Great Bay:--- Minister of Public Health Social Development & Labor, Cornelius De Weever is commending the St. Maarten Hospitality & Trade Association (SHTA) for their three day safety and health training this week.
"The initiative taken by SHTA for getting businesses involved with Occupational Safety and Health and the importance of prevention as well as reporting on the job accidents to the Inspectorate, the SZV in order for the labor policy department to report to ILO amongst other things must be commended," said Minister De Weever.
Convention 187 of the International Labor Organization (ILO) to which the Kingdom is a signatory to states that "A national preventative safety and health culture refers to a culture in which the right to a safe and healthy working environment is respected at all levels, where government, employers and workers actively participate in securing a safe and healthy working environment through a system of defined rights, responsibilities and duties, and where the principle of prevention is accorded the highest priority."
This tripartite setting is ideal for all parties to contribute to solving the unreported or under-reported cases of on the job accidents and to propose a one stop reporting which could begin at the SMMC and ultimately end at ILO. Secondly, use this opportunity to encourage employers and workers representatives to implement an HIV/AIDS workplace policy as well. These are the two challenges that I have assigned the stakeholders and I am looking forward to their solutions.

george21082009Philipsburg:--- Member of Parliament George Pantophlet says that the wishes of the people of this country St. Maarten must be respected. There is a signature drive that is ongoing and reports are that some have already been sent to Parliament and then on to The Governor. The total amount is said to be some 3000 and these are signatures from eligible voters. The recent political developments have created division frustration dismay and confusion among the people on St. Maarten and those living overseas. Many of eligible voters are crying out for early elections and have stated that under no circumstances will they agree to another government being formed without their input. The old saying three strikes and you are out should be applied here. The people want to and deserve the right to have their say as to who they want their representatives to be. This the reason why they are making use of their rights in accordance with article 24 of the Constitution of St. Maarten to petition Parliament to be dissolved and to make way for early elections. I have said on more than one occasion that mass is power. We the politicians should not stand in the way of the people whom we claim to represent. We need politicians who are not double minded. Because a double minded person is unstable in all his ways. No country can afford individuals who are fickle, unstable and tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine but ones who are focus and committed to the people. What we have at this present moment is, 8 members of Parliament of the DP/UP and independents Leroy de Weever and Roy Marlin overruling some 3000 eligible persons. I am sure that after the final tally of signatures we will bypass the previously mentioned amount. I see this as a sort of a referendum. If this turns out to be the case, will the majority of 8 still press ahead with the appointing of new Ministers and go back to the way it was after the August 2010 elections where the party with the most amount of votes and seats were left out of the coalition, or give the people the opportunity to once again choose their representatives? Article 21(3) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states and I quote: "the will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures" end of quote. Let me emphasize on the first line of the Article "the will of the people shall be basis of the authority of government". In other words the foundation for the government has to be determined by the will of the people. This is definitely not the case with the group of 8. We must do what the people want.

The outgoing president of the Soualiga Corporate Toastmasters Club TM Linette Gibs, was elated to accompany five of her members, namely Alexandra den Ouden, Denise Vijber, Reginald (Rick) Martina, Cylred Richardson, and Leona Romeo Marlin to the Guyana 2013 conference, held from May 17th to May 19th. These civil servants attended workshops that will benefit the organization;
Workshops such as:

  1. Parliamentary Procedures: Is it Necessary
  2. Customer Service; The Lifeblood of an organization
  3. Rough Stone to Glittering Gem - Polishing Your Words
  4. Keys to Motivational Speaking
  5. Principles of Leadership
  6. Say it Like you mean it: Presenting your best self

Workshops like the aforementioned build on one's leadership and communication skills, vital elements that can be passed on to the civil core.
TM Linette Gibs was proud to have two of her members participate in the conference, Denise Vijber as a contestant in the Table Topics Contest. She represented the club and the island well. Leona Romeo Marlin, was a judge for both the Table Topics and the International Speech competitions.
The delegation of Soualiga Corporate Toastmasters Club gained profound new knowledge that will be passed on to the new elected board members, the rest of the membership and the government organization.

williammarlin27052013Philipsburg:--- Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the National Alliance William Marlin told reporters on Monday afternoon at a national press conference that the Prime Minister of St. Maarten Sarah Wescot Williams committed fraud when she hid a letter that was sent by the Governor of St. Maarten informing her that she has to respect the wishes of the majority in the Council of Ministers. Marlin said he did not decide on a way forward as how he and the other members of the Council of Ministers would handle the matter. He said right now the ball is in Governor's court as well as those in the Kingdom Council of Ministers. Marlin further explained that had he or the other Ministers known that the Governor of St. Maarten sent a letter to the Prime Minister which was also carbon copied to the Council of Ministers they would have held on and not turn in their resignation last week. Marlin said each time he tried to get the Prime Minister to do the honorable thing by honoring the decision taken by five members of the Council of Ministers on May 7th, 2013 and the Prime Minister did not comply he informed the Governor. Marlin said when he realized that the Governor was not taking a strong enough stand he decided to end the political crisis because the chairman of Parliament could not have continued stalling the meeting of Parliament that was called to discuss the political situation neither could he allow the polarization in the community to continue.

Marlin further explained that he informed the Governor of St. Maarten drs. Eugene Holiday that he wanted three things to take place knowing what has happened during the past year, and that was to dissolve the Parliament of St. Maarten and call for early elections, dismiss the Council of Ministers, and to install a cabinet that would take care of the country's business pending the new elections. Marlin said the Governor did not even have to dismiss the Wescot Williams II Cabinet because the five Ministers were willing to submit their resignations pending early elections. Marlin also clarified to reporters on Monday afternoon that he did not commit any crime as alleged by the Prime Minister. He said when he sent his letter and LB to the Governor he did not impersonate the Prime Minister or the Council of Ministers. He said he sent the LB and letter informing the Governor that since the Prime Minister is refusing to deal with the matter in the Council of Ministers he had no choice but to submit the document to him.

Marlin also indicated that he submitted another request on Monday to see if the Prime Minister would honor the letter sent to her by the Governor of St. Maarten which is to respect the wishes of the majority in the Council of Ministers according to article 59 of the country's constitution.

The leader of the National Alliance said that the Prime Minister tarnished the image of her office, her actions were despicable and shameful, yet the Governor of St. Maarten rewarded her by nominating her formateur to form a new government. Marlin said that what the Prime Minister did is unacceptable and he wants to make clear that even though the letter is carbon copied to the members of the Council of Ministers that document is an incoming document and it had to be booked into the administration, which was not done up to Friday May 24th, 2013 when he checked with the secretariat.

Several members from the Council of Ministers believe that Marlin should now take a step further and file a complaint with the Prosecutor's Office or even with the Kingdom Council because the Prime Minister committed an illegal act.

sarahwescotwilliams05052013To The People of St. Maarten,

It is unfortunate that some media outlets are being used to propagate a particular political agenda, but no, neither in this case is there a "smoking gun".

It is unfortunate how the office of the Governor is being discredited, by a letter from his hand to the Prime Minister being put in the public domain, against all ethical standards.

However allow me to clarify some indisputable facts:

By letter of May 16th, the Governor responds to the letter from the Prime Minister dated May 10th, regarding what transpired on May in the Council's meeting of May 7th. The letter of the Governor was received on Friday, May 17th. This letter was cc'd to the Council of Ministers by the Governor himself, as all letters to the Council of Ministers are!

By letter of May 17th, Minister Marlin requests AGAIN that the dissolution of Parliament be put on the agenda of the Council of Ministers of May 21st.

On that day, before we could get to the incoming documents, a standard agenda point where mention is made of all incoming documents, minister Marlin asks about his request. The Prime Minister presented the advices she received pertaining to this request. The advices became a topic of discussion. The Prime Minister mentioned receipt of a letter from the Governor, but that the contents in her opinion did not change the position she has taken.

By not having the dissolution of Parliament placed on the agenda, the four ministers abandoned the meeting of May 21st and the meeting was closed.

On Friday, May 24th, the Secretary General of the Council of Ministers approached the Prime Minister, indicating Minister Marlin requested a copy of the letter from the Governor. Prime Minister's subsequent response was it would be put as an incoming document on the agenda. That same day, Minister Marlin requested and got a copy from the cabinet of the Governor. By that same evening -it is alleged-, the letter was published online.

How could a formal letter, Cc'd to the Council of Ministers, be hidden? And why would it be? The position of the Prime Minister is and remains what she has always said it to be.

In fact, the letter in question was the counter balance to the letter sent by the Governor to the Deputy Prime Minister Marlin regarding his actions following the May 7th meeting. Was this one published?

Using this letter now, Minister Marlin again attempts to put the dissolution of Parliament on the agenda of the Council of Ministers. And what will the position of the Prime Minister be? The advices as received on May 12th and May 17th are still applicable, in fact these are strengthened by recent developments, which have made the current Cabinet of Ministers a caretaker one.

Follow Up Comments from the Prime Minister concerning caretaker Prime Minister Marlin.

"I am surely not being sarcastic when I state that I tip my hat off to DPM Marlin. That he could take a non-issue and turn it into a frenzy deserves that.

Let's us play along with Marlin's game for a moment.

"Eureka, I have discovered the sinister plot of the Prime Minister."

What is the plot, Minister Marlin?

I discovered on May 24th that there is a letter written by the Governor of St. Maarten on May 16th to the Prime Minister advising her that the right to dissolve Parliament is one granted to the Council of Ministers by the constitution.

But wait. The Prime Minister agrees with that. She herself has stated such.

Oh, but the letter of the Governor also states that in the Council of Ministers, the majority must be respected.

But the Prime Minister does not disagree with that either. She has also stated that, but also stated that it will be done on the basis of the rules of order and the Prime Minister's responsibility for such.

On May, 10th, the PM informed the Governor what had transpired in the council's meeting of May 7th. That is the letter the Governor responded to. The PM had copied her letter to the Council of Ministers by cc'ing the council.

When the Governor wrote back TO THE PRIME MINISTER on May 16th, he did the same thing, copied it to the Council of Ministers, by cc'ing the letter to the Council.

You can check that in his letter, which went viral.

On May 24th, Marlin said he had not seen the letter. He indirectly asked the PM to forward him a copy. The PM replied, " sure, I'll take my copy, blank out my comments which I wrote on MY LETTER and send him a copy."

Marlin, convinced he had found the "smoking gun", proceeded to ask the Governor for a copy of the letter, which he received, because after all, the letter was CC'D TO THE COUNCIL OF MINISTERS

As a member of the Council, Marlin was entitled to a copy, right?

Marlin hardly had the letter in his hand before it went viral, in other words, it was on the net, not quoted, but the entire letter itself.

Marlin triumphantly informed the NA membership the following day: "I got her".

Wow, a master plot unveiled. "The Prime Minister hid a letter he had to get."

Wrong, Mr. Marlin.

My assessment? Marlin wants to read the contentious letter as instructions by the Governor to dissolve Parliament. Wrong, Mister Marlin. The Governor cannot instruct that.

Marlin is sorry that he tendered his resignation. Maybe he can use the letter to rescind the resignations? Wrong again, Mr. Marlin.

Sorry, but the Prime Minister refuses to play along with the childish games.

"Democracy will always prevail over trickery."

From the Cabinet of the Prime Minister

Philipsburg:--- Members of Parliament Frans Richardson and Louie Laveist issued a call to the Prime Minister of St. Maarten Sarah Wescot Williams to do the honorable thing and vacate her office since she abused the power given to her when she hid a letter the Governor sent to her basically informing her that she has to follow the constitution. The Members of Parliament made their feelings known on the radio program "View Point" on Monday. The letter that was sent to the Prime Minister by the governor clearly stated that she has to allow the majority in the Council of Ministers to use the rights given to them in article 59 of the country's constitution. That letter which was sent since May 16th, 2013 was hidden from the members of the Council of Ministers and the secretariat. SMN News published the letter and its translation on Sunday evening.

Leader of the National Alliance William Marlin said that the actions by the Prime Minister are shameful and disgraceful. Marlin said the Prime Minister Sarah Wescot Williams stooped to the lowest level possible to remain in her seat as Prime Minister of St. Maarten. He said that what is taking place right now will not benefit the people of St. Maarten instead it will only benefit a handful of politicians, some of whom are under investigation. Marlin again stated that the Ministers that were appointed by the National Alliance have no interest in remaining in office but they have decided to call for early elections because of all that has surfaced during the past year involving elected representatives of the Parliament of St. Maarten.

Marlin also clarified that the Prime Minister accused him of committing a crime when he sent an LB on behalf of the majority in the Council of Ministers after they failed to get the Prime Minister to deal with their decision to dissolve the Parliament of St. Maarten. Marlin made clear that if the Prime Minister feels that he committed a crime then she should not hesitate to file a complaint with the Prosecutor's office. Marlin said that the LB he sent to the Governor was not behalf of the Prime Minister or the Council of Ministers but it was on behalf of the majority in the Council of Ministers. He said along with that LB he wrote a letter to the Governor explaining him that he had no choice but to take the decisions he took because the Prime Minister has refused to honor their request to deal with their decision taken on May 7th, 2013 to dissolve the Parliament of St. Maarten.

The leader of the National Alliance said the Prime Minister did not share the letter she received from the Governor neither did she give it to the secretariat even though the letter was carbon copied to the Council of Ministers. He said he was made aware of the letter last Thursday when he met with the Governor and was informed by the Governor that he reacted to the Prime Minister in writing and that letter was supposed to be given to the members of the Council of Ministers. Marlin said when he was informed of the letter he contacted the secretariat and he was told that they did not have it and when the secretariat consulted with the Prime Minister she said that letter will come up for handling on June 4th, 2013. Marlin said he submitted an urgent request to have the Prime Minister place their request on the agenda for Tuesday morning (May 28th, 2013). Marlin said he submitted a copy of the letter that was sent by the Governor with his request also the letter the Governor sent him informing him that he needed to take the LB he sent to him back to the Council of Ministers for handling.

Marlin further explained that while the current cabinet is a caretaker cabinet they still have the right to take a decision to dissolve the Parliament of St. Maarten. Marlin further stated that there are a number of people that are bent on misleading the people of St. Maarten but his advice to the nation is to get their hands on a copy of the country's constitution and read it.

Member of Parliament Louie Laviest said on the radio program "View Point" that the actions of the Prime Minister Sarah Wescot Williams are impeachable and she should do the honorable thing and vacate her office because she abused her power and the trust of her office. Laveist said that the National Alliance faction will call a meeting of Parliament to discuss this matter.

MP Frans Richardson who was the first guest on View Point said that MP Roy Marlin took several letters that were sent to the Prime Minister and he read it out in Parliament but somehow the MP forgot the most important letter that they now have in their hands.

Many persons from the community including those who are are commenting on SMN News have said they have lost total confidence in Prime Minister Sarah Wescot Williams and they believe that she should remove herself from public office because she cannot be trusted.

cptedcourseparticipants26052013Cole Bay:--- The Sint Maarten Police Force (KPSM) organized its second C.P.T.E.D. course for its members along with other partners within the community. The course which was held in the conference room of Carl and Sons in Orange Grove dured from Monday May 20th through Friday May 24th. Approximately 45 participants took part in this course. C.P.T.E.D. stands for Crime Prevention through Environmental Design and was given by Mr. Arthur S. Hushen who is the President of National Crime Institute of Crime Prevention Inc. This course is primarily to educate all members of society how to better protect themselves against crime by applying the C.P.T.E.D concept.
Sint Maarten is the first country in the Caribbean to have so many persons follow this course. The island of Barbados thus far has four (4) persons that have followed this course. So far Sint Maarten has over 80 persons that have followed this course. Sint Maarten also made it possible for persons from our sister islands of Anguilla and the BES island to follow this course. In doing this the Sint Maarten Police Force and its partners have reached another mile stone and intends to continue expanding on the knowledge it has acquired.
In the coming months the Sint Maarten Police Force will have its Community Police Officers follow advanced C.P.T.E.D. courses and this will make the Sint Maarten Police Force eligible for an international nomination.
At the end of the course all participants received a certificate of participation as a C.P.T.E.D specialist.

KPSM Press Release

marijuanaplants26052013Middle Region:--- On Saturday May 25th, 2013 at approximately 9:00am, police assisted by members of the V.K.S, conducted a sting operation in hills of Margaret Bruce's Drive in Middle Region to locate a major drug operation and arrest those responsible for that operation. When police arrived in the area many persons most of whom were possibly "undocumented" took off running in different directions leaving their homes open. A search of the area lead the investigating officers to several marijuana plantations and numerous potted marijuana plants. Many full grown marijuana plants were put out to dry and prepared for distribution. Over two hundred marijuana plants along with many other items used to operate this type of business were confiscated.
During the search of the area, a brewery of what is called "Weed wine" was located. This wine or substance is produced with use of marijuana (cannabis) and sold for consumption to the public. The police department strongly warns the entire community, that the production of this so called "wine" is not only illegal but it can be very hazardous to ones health, especially to youngsters. The Forensic Department has been called in to investigate what is used to produce this so called "Weed wine".
Several persons who reside illegally on the island were brought in and turned over to the Immigration and Naturalization Department. No suspects have been arrested in this case thus far as the investigation continues.
The Police Department wants to thank all partners in the community who assisted them with information for carrying out this operation. The Police Department also wants to encourage the entire community to form a partnership with them and provide information that will help with this or any other investigation.

KPSM Police Report

POINT BLANCHE:--- The visit of the U.S. Coast Guard Tall Ship Eagle's visit has been considered a huge success. The open house attracted many visitors on Saturday despite the overcast conditions on that day. There was a lot of interests and enthusiasm for the tall ship.

The liberty visit of the Eagle has resulted in an economic spinoff for the country. Several groups of family members were on the pier when the vessel arrived at the port on Friday. The family members came down from the U.S. to spend the Memorial Day weekend with their family members who are on the training vessel. This resulted in them renting hotel rooms, renting cars and enjoying the shopping and dining experiences the country has to offer visitors.

The cadets on-board from speaking with port officials also said they had a wonderful experience. They were very pleased with the destination and very much enjoyed what the island has to offer visitors, and are looking forward to coming back someday.

Port management would like to thank all those who have contributed in one way or the other on making the visit of the U.S. CG Eagle a success. A thank you is also extended to the Prime Minister Hon. Sarah Wescot-Williams for the kind words that she delivered at the reception.

The Chief Executive Officer Mark Mingo will continue to work closely with Jack Stevens from the President of the Caribbean and Latin American Region Navy League of the United States to further explore opportunities leading to additional liberty visits. Additional meetings will be held with strategic partners in order to make this happen.

The U.S. Coast Guard Tall Ship Eagle for its 2013 sailing schedule is traveling to the Caribbean, along the Eastern Seaboard, and to Canada with cadets and officer candidates, teaching them practical seamanship skills while indoctrinating them in the Coast Guard's floating leadership laboratory.

The Eagle was built at the Blohm + Voss Shipyard in Hamburg, Germany in 1936, and commissioned as Horst Wessel. The Eagle became one of three sail-training ships operated by the pre-World War II German Navy.

At the close of the war, the ship was taken as a war reparation by the U.S., re-commissioned as the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Eagle and sailed to New London, Connecticut, which has been its homeport ever since.

The hull of the Eagle is steel, four-tenths of an inch thick. There are two full-length steel decks with a platform deck below. Under full sail in the open ocean, the Eagle can reach speeds up to 17 knots.

The U.S. Coast Guard Eagle Tall Ship departs the Port of St. Maarten on Monday.

corneliusdeweever03102012GREAT BAY (DCOMM):--- The Collective Preventive Services (CPS), a government agency under the Ministry of Public Health is busy making preparations to observe World No Tobacco Day which is observed on May 31. The schedule will be released later this week.

The global theme is "Ban Tobacco Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship." However, Sint Maarten has chosen the slogan of, "Be Smart, Don't Start. Want to Quit, Do it."

The aforementioned local slogan is in line with Minister of Public Health, Social Development & Labour's Hon. Cornelius de Weever's "Get Checked" campaign where the emphasis is on prevention.

The Minister is of the opinion if you don't start smoking your health will be better than if you were a smoker, and therefore keeping you away from a host of diseases caused by smoking.

World No Tobacco Day is part of CPS calendar of observances. The aim is to promote health related issues and topics during a designated time of the year.

May 31 is observed around the world to highlight the health risks associated with tobacco use and advocating for effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), tobacco is seen as a global epidemic which kills six million people each year, of which more than 600,000 are non-smokers dying from breathing second hand smoke.

The WHO added that this epidemic will kill more than eight million people every year by 2030 if countries decide to do nothing.

WHO estimates that more than 80 per cent of these preventable deaths will be among people living in low and middle income countries.

Philipsburg:--- The Governor of St. Maarten drs. Eugene Holiday in response to a letter sent to him about the political crisis by the Prime Minister of St. Maarten pointed out various inadequacies to Prime Minister Wescot Williams in a letter dated May 16th, 2013. The letter was also carbon copied to the Council of Ministers but the Prime Minister hid the letter from the council and the secretariat.

The letter was hidden from the Council of Ministers even though five of the seven Ministers from the Council of Ministers submitted a counter proposal to the advice of the Prime Minister requesting that the Wescot Williams II Cabinet resign based on two letters that was sent to her stating that three MPs withdrew their support from the Wescot Williams II Cabinet. Governor Holiday informed the Prime Minister that she must abide by the rules of order that governs Parliament because unless Parliament pronounced a decision based on the rules then notes or letters sent by Members of Parliament are not decisions of Parliament. Governor Holiday also indicated to the Prime Minister that she stated in her letter to him that the situation in 2013 is the same as to what took place in 2012 when she submitted the resignation of the Wescot Williams I Cabinet. Governor Holiday in his letter said that the Members of the Wescot Williams II Cabinet did not give her the permission to submit their resignations. Furthermore, Governor Holiday in his letter said that the constitution of St. Maarten provides checks and balances and therefore he advised the Prime Minister to allow the majority in the Council of Ministers to exercise the right given to them in article 59 of the constitution which is to dissolve the Parliament of St. Maarten.

The Governor also denied the Prime Minister her request that he should meet the leaders of the various factions in order to determine if there was a majority to form the III cabinet.

SMN News managed to obtain a copy of the letter that was sent by Governor Holiday to Prime Minister Wescot Williams on May 16th, 2013 which was never submitted to the members of the Council of Ministers. Below is a verbatim translation of the Governor's letter while the official letter in the Dutch language is linked beneath this article.

SMN News further learnt that because the five Ministers were not aware of the actions taken by the Governor, they submitted their resignations because of the threats that many of them and their relatives received from persons supporting the eight Members of Parliament.

In connection with your letter of May 10, 2013 with respect to the political situation that has arisen in our country I inform you as follows:

In your letter you state that you are of the opinion that the present cabinet no longer enjoys the support of the majority in Parliament, and each individual minister is legally bound to tender their resignation. You support your letter based on the opinion that article 33 paragraph two of the Constitution of Sint Maarten, should oblige the cabinet to resign in connection with the present situation namely the letter of 3 MP's wherein they have withdrawn their support from the present cabinet, and the letter of eight MP's in which they declare that they are prepared to form a new cabinet. Article 33, paragraph two, as well as the explanatory notes envision the act of the individual minister concerned in connection with a clear pronouncement of Parliament as such. In this case, at the time of your writing, neither one , the individual act of a Minister, nor the other, a pronouncement by Parliament as such, was the case. In that regard it is important to recognize that there is an important difference between a pronouncement of Parliament as such and a letter from a number of MP's ( whether the majority or not). One can amongst others refer to stipulations in the Constitution and the Rules of Order of Parliament which regulate how Parliament goes about its tasks, such as, that meetings are public and the fact that, and the manner in which deliberations are held, and voting takes place. These stipulations must be closely followed and serve as a guideline in situations where parties cannot reach an agreement.

In your letter you refer along these lines to the procedure followed by you last year around this time with respect to the resignation of your then cabinet. I draw your attention to the following sentence fragment in the decision page of the Council of Ministers (MR070513) which states: " However, the same resignation procedure will be followed by the Prime Minister as was used last year". In this regard I, draw your attention to your letter of May 8, 2012 in which you tendered the resignation of your then cabinet. In that letter you expressly stated that each minister had separately decided to make his position available and that the Council of Ministers had authorized you to do so. In the present situation this is absolutely not the case.

From the above decision page it appears, and you also indicate so in your letter, that a request by five (5) ministers, a majority in the council of Ministers, to handle a proposal to dissolve Parliament by the council of Ministers, according to article 59 of the Constitution, has been deposited, which is being considered by you, the chairperson. At the same time you are of the opinion that the current situation does not justify dissolving Parliament. In this regard it is important to point out that the right to dissolve parliament by Country Decree is a constitutional and autonomous right of government. This right can be seen as the flip side of the no confidence rule.

In the framework of the above I will like to underline that for an adequate functioning of our democratic process it is necessary that space be given to the majority position in the Council of Ministers. Otherwise justice will not be done to the constitutional process.

You end your letter by requesting me to explore, by means of a round of talks with all fractions in Parliament, whether the present composition of Parliament offers the possibility to form a majority, as stated in the letter to the MP's. Taking into consideration the situation which has arisen in the past week I have not been able to follow this request.

Click here to view the letter that was sent to the Prime Minister on May 16th, 2013.

Has Concerns Regarding 2013 Budget: "The Budget is Government's Number One Priority".

Philipsburg:--- During her weekly radio program One on One, the Prime Minister of St. Maarten the Honorable Sarah Wescot-Williams explained the way forward on various essential actions of Government after the political impasse of the last two weeks, including her concerns on the implementation of the 2013 Budget.

"When on May 6th the Majority in Parliament submitted a new proposal for working together, one of the first items arrived at was to come with an action plan for the essential items that need to be handled in the interest of the people; when they need to be handled and where the financing needs to come from in order to handle them," explained the Prime Minister.

"I think that at this juncture that is one of the main things that the people of St. Maarten need to know; what Government's stance is on the various issues facing the population and how we will tackle these issues? While we can write a one-year governing program I think that we need to take concrete actions so that people do not have to wait until they find out from the media to know what Government is doing. I think it is critical to be clear in terms of what are some of the things which we are going to do in the coming months," commented the PM

The Prime Minister emphasized during her weekly live call-in show that the 2013 Budget is the most critical issue facing the Government and people of St. Maarten. "The Budget is now Government's Number One Priority and it must be understood that this is very critical. Many persons feel that the Budget 2013, having been passed by Parliament, is now in place and that Government can now do its work on the basis of that. However, that is not the case; the Budget 2013 has indeed been passed by Parliament but now needs to go through the finalization procedure.

"The Budget has been balanced on the premise of certain new income sources. However the laws which need to be in place in order to make it possible to secure these income sources have not been provided for yet by the responsible entities and I am gravely concerned that the CFT will give a negative opinion on both the fact that we are already in the fifth month of the year and that those laws are not yet in place.

"I am now very concerned that so many organizations, foundations and individuals that rely on a passed Budget are now being brought into jeopardy. School boards and any other institutions receiving support from Government, the payment of salaries of our civil servants; these are all of these things are a part of our Budget 2013. That is why the matter of the transition of a new Government needs to happen as soon as possible; we cannot have a void which was exacerbated by the political impasse of the last few weeks continue, a void which has now brought the Budget into jeopardy," emphasized the Prime Minister.

The PM also explained that other priorities which are currently being worked on are the matter of the National Health Insurance, the changes in the National Tax System and the social development of St. Maarten. "Government needs to now make sure that we are able to reach the people and to ensure that there is a social net where people can go to with their various issues and receive the necessary support they need. Government needs to be more accessible in reaching the people and that will be our focus going forward," concluded the PM.

From the Cabinet of the Prime Minister

pjiaerepswithmvogesandpgeerlingsinholland26052013SIMPSON BAY:--- Following the recent high-powered Dutch trade mission to Brazil, and the subsequent announcement by Aruba of an upcoming air bridge between São Paulo and that island, the cabinet of St. Maarten's Minister Plenipotentiary in The Hague has begun talks with Aruba to explore a joint effort that would target the Brazilian market.
This was disclosed by Minister Plenipotentiary, Mathias Voges, and the director of his cabinet, Perry Geerlings during discussions with the managing director of the Princess Juliana International Airport, SXM, Regina LaBega when she paid a courtesy call on the St. Maarten House in The Hague, Friday. LaBega was accompanied by Corporate Communications Specialist, Kalifa Hickinson.
LaBega had indicated that Copa airlines was considering increasing its flights to St. Maarten to four times weekly once again. In expressing their satisfaction with this possibility, Voges and Geerlings noted that apart from the other parts of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Brazil market has a lot to offer St. Maarten also.
A São Paulo – Aruba – St. Maarten flight and vice versa would be a win-win situation for both Caribbean destinations, Geerlings said.
LaBega gave a brief synopsis of the recent air service maintenance and development forum hosted by SXM Airport, in which stakeholders discussed ways to maintain and increase existing airlift as well as desired markets they would like to jointly pursue.
She disclosed that a committee to be spearheaded by SXM Airport will soon be formed consisting of the stakeholders, including hub clients such as St. Martin, St. Barths, Anguilla, etc.
The committee will be made up of mainly decision-makers in the industry. Members will make monetary contributions to a joint fund based on traffic forecasts to the respective destinations. LaBega said SXM will continue to keep the minister's cabinet abreast of the committee's vision and direction, and Geerlings expressed interest in continuing the discussions on his next working visit to the island.

PHILIPSBURG:--- A plenary public session of Parliament regarding the position of the chairman that was scheduled for May 27 has been cancelled by the Vice Chairman of Parliament Hon. Romain Laville.

The agenda point was handled in the plenary session on Friday, May 24.

The plenary public meeting was scheduled for Monday morning at 10:00am in the General Assembly Chamber of the House at Wilhelmina Straat #1 in Philipsburg.

This meeting was requested by Members of Parliament (MPs) Hon. Petrus de Weever, Hon. Romaine Laville, Hon. Gracita Arrindell, Hon. Sylvia Meyers, Hon. Jules James, Hon. Janchie Leonard, Hon. Dr. Ruth Douglass, and Hon. Roy Marlin. The request for the plenary session was dated May 16, 2013.

swescotwilliamswelcomesuscgeaglecrew26052013We are small but nevertheless we are the gem in this Caribbean region and we are proud to welcome you here

Philipsburg:--- The Prime Minister of St. Maarten the Honorable Sarah Wescot-Williams welcomed the officers and crew of the Coast Guard training ship The Eagle at a special reception at the Chippie Café on Friday. During the reception Mr. Mark Mingo, CEO of the St. Maarten Harbor Group of Companies, thanked the PM for ensuring that the proper conditions existed both politically and socially on St. Maarten for the Coast Guard vessel to be able to visit the island.

At the reception Mr. Jack Stevens of the US Navy League and is spouse Asha Stevens announced the cooperation between the harbor Group of Companies and the Tzu-Chi Foundation in renovating schools of St. Maarten with volunteers who make up the crew of the Coast Guard vessel.

The Prime Minister congratulated the island in attracting the vessel and wished the crew a safe and enjoyable sojourn on St. Maarten: "To those who have helped bring the Eagle to St. Maarten but in a very special way I would like to thank all of you who have come to St. Maarten I would like to commend you for your efforts. To Captain Raymond 'Wes' Pulver and his Crew I would like to welcome you to St. Maarten and I am sure that although this visit is very brief it will be the best visit you have had in a very long time. For those of you who have been here before you will know what I am talking about and I hope that you will return in the very near future and rest assured that the Government and people of St. Maarten stand ready to welcome you. We are small but nevertheless we are the gem in this Caribbean region and we are proud to welcome you here. So finally welcome and enjoy St. Maarten and we look forward in welcoming you again on these shores in the very near future," concluded the Prime Minister.

From the Cabinet of the Prime Minister

rotarymidislecelebratessuccessfulyear26052013During the past Rotary Year 2012-2013, the Rotary Club of Sint Maarten-Mid Isle received various prestigious awards at the recently held District 7020 Conference in Tortola.
The Club received the District Governor's Silver Award For Club Excellence for their numerous community projects and donations, substantial contributions to the Rotary Foundation, involvements with Interact, Rotaract and RYLA, and hosting over 20 Rotarians and their spouses from the Santiago Monumental Rotary Club from the Dominican Republic.
For their involvement in the Annual Seven Seas Spelling Bee Competition, Essay Contest and support of the Sunrise Rotaract's "Give a Child a Chance" project, the Rotary Club received the District Literacy Award. The Zone 34 Public Image Citation was also awarded to the Mid Isle Club for making the community aware of the Club's projects in newspapers, radio, television, and also streaming the Spelling Bee's semi-final and finals live on the internet. For their annual contributions to the St. Maarten Diabetes Foundation for purchasing of testing materials, the Rotary Club achieved the Health and Hunger Award.
President Jon Hart thanked the Club and Board Members of Rotary-Mid Isle for their hard work and dedication in achieving these awards. A special "Thank You" also goes out to the businesses and supporters who made the Spelling Bee, the Rotary Youth Soccer Competition and the Rotary Youth Table Tennis Tournament a resounding success. Some projects are already in the planning for the Rotary Year 2013-2014 in which Sanjay Surtani will be president. The members of Rotary Mid Isle are looking forward to continue with their worthwhile contributions in our community and the world through Rotary.

mvogesandrlabega26052013SIMPSON BAY:--- Departure fee charged to passengers bound for Saba and St. Eustatius, the hub role of Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM) for these islands and the landing of emergency helicopters from both BES islands were among issues SXM Airport managing director Regina LaBega discussed with St. Maarten Minister Plenipotentiary in The Hague, Mathias Voges when she paid a courtesy call on him Friday, following her trip to Madrid, Spain where she received the International Transport Award on behalf of the airport. LaBega traveled with her Corporate Communications Specialist, Kalifa Hickinson.
Voges, who was accompanied at the meeting by the director of his cabinet, Perry Geerlings and Carol Voges also of the St. Maarten House in The Hague, explained the functions of the Minister Plenipotentiary and briefed LaBega on the recent talks the St. Maarten representatives have been having with the Dutch government, including transport.
As she had done when she received the Representative of the Netherlands (VNP) in St. Maarten, Mr. Gert Versluis in March, LaBega explained that SXM Airport had already given consideration to the fact that the BES islands enjoyed a "domestic" rate prior to the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles, hence the reason why passengers that fly to the BES islands from SXM actually pay less in departure fee ($20) than passengers traveling internationally ($35). This is unlike the case with Aruba where they pay the same departure fee as international passengers.
Moreover, she said, although SXM Airport also serves as hub for St. Barths and Anguilla, passengers to those islands still pay the international rate in departure fee, in other words, US$35 or 75% more than the BES islands.
Concerning the misconception of emergency helicopters being unable to land or take off at SXM, another topic of concern for the Dutch, LaBega confirmed that if the helicopter does not indicate that it was on an emergency flight, then it would have to wait in queue to take off or land. However, once the relevant personnel are notified of its emergency status, that helicopter would undoubtedly have priority.
After briefly discussing the good working relationship between WINAIR and SXM Airport, the subject of KLM's current rates to St. Maarten in comparison to its rates to Curacao (even though it stops in St. Maarten first) came up. All present agreed that in order to facilitate travel to Saba and St. Eustatius, the rates offered by KLM – the national carrier of the Netherlands – need to be more affordable.
Furthermore, it is the responsibility of the Dutch government to ensure affordable transportation to its constituent entities. Geerlings, however, disclosed that discussions are ongoing with the Dutch authorities in hopes that some type of protocol could eventually be signed on this matter.

GREAT BAY (DCOMM):--- The Collective Preventive Services (CPS), a government agency under the Ministry of Public Health is calling on the community to take immediate measures to prevent the breeding of mosquitoes after rain events.

Dengue Fever is transmitted by the female vector Aedes Aegypti mosquito. The Aedes Aegypti mosquito is distinguished by its markings. The body of the mosquito has alternate black and white horizontal stripes. The Aedes Aegypti mosquito lays her eggs in clear (clean) stagnant water. Within eight days the mosquito can complete its life cycle from egg, to larvae to pupae and to and adult mosquito.

Based on the aforementioned it is recommended for persons to walk around their surroundings within seven days to eliminate all possible breeding sites.

Minister of Public Health Hon. Cornelius de Weever, 'Get Checked" campaign, is in line with CPS's appeal for residents, and business owners, to check-in and around their homes, and businesses in order to reduce breeding sites of the Aedes Aegypti mosquito.

CPS is calling on the community especially homeowners to be proactive in implementing mosquito preventive measures on their own property in order to prevent vector borne diseases.

Persons are recommended to keep their homes, yards, neighborhoods and work environment free from mosquito breeding sites.

Actively destroy or dispose of tin cans, old tires, buckets, unused plastic swimming pools or other containers that collect and hold water. Do not allow water to accumulate in the saucers of flowerpots, cemetery urns or in pet dishes for more than two days. Throw out the water and turn them over every time it collects water.

Clean debris from rain gutters and remove any standing water under or around structures, or on flat roofs. Check around faucets and air conditioner units and repair leaks or eliminate puddles that remain for several days.

Change the water in birdbaths and wading pools at least once a week. The treatment of ornamental pools should be discussed with the experts. Fill or drain puddles, ditches and swampy areas, and/or remove, drain or fill tree holes and stumps with mortar and regularly treat and monitor.

Eliminate seepage from cisterns, cesspools, and septic tanks. Eliminate standing water around animal watering troughs. Flush livestock water troughs twice a week.

Check for trapped water in plastic or canvas tarps used to cover boats, pools, plastic bags, foam dishes or even plastic cups strewn on the road side.

Clean the dead leaves from banana and coconut trees. Adult mosquitoes prefer to rest on weeds and other vegetation. Homeowners can reduce the number of areas where adult mosquitoes prefer to rest on weeds and other vegetation.

Homeowners can reduce the number of areas where adult mosquitoes can find shelter by cutting down weeds adjacent to the house foundation and in their yards, and mowing the lawn regularly.

Check around construction sites or do-it-yourself improvements to ensure that proper backfilling and grading is realized to prevent drainage problems which can be a source for standing water.

Irrigate lawns and gardens carefully to prevent water from standing for several days. If ditches do not flow and contain stagnant water for one week or longer, they can produce large numbers of mosquitoes. Report such conditions to the respective government agency.

Mosquitoes can be kept out of the home by keeping windows, doors and porches tightly screened (16-18 mesh). Those insects that do get into structures can be eliminated with a fly swatter or an aerosol space spray containing synergized pyrethrum.

Adult mosquitoes prefer to rest on weeds and other vegetation. Homeowners can reduce the number of areas where adult mosquitoes can find shelter by cutting down weeds adjacent to the house foundation and in their yards, and mowing the lawn regularly. To further reduce adult mosquitoes harboring in vegetation, insecticides may be applied to the lower limbs of shade trees, shrubs and other vegetation.

The aforementioned measures should also be taken in and around the workplace, social gatherings and living quarters to eliminate mosquito breeding sources.

An increase in the mosquito population puts residents at risk. For information about dengue fever prevention measures, you can call CPS at 542-2078 or 542-3003.

sxmweekendofpowerbanner24052013Philipsburg:--- The G.I.F.T.E.D. Foundation has teamed up with Curtis Jordan Ministries and Glow Media Entertainment to present an event called "SXM Weekend of P.O.W.E.R." from May 31 to June 2, 2013. This is a Gospel event packed with the Praises Of Worshipers Empowered to Rule with international recording artistes Prodigal Son of Jamaica, Curtis Jordan, Positive, and Keron Ramsey of Trinidad and Tobago, Omalie Durand of Dominica, amongst several local artistes including God's Chosen.
The first session is a praise party, similar to the GLOW Party series, with the theme "N.R.G. – New Radical Generation" on May 31st at the courtyard of the New Testament Baptist Church in Philipsburg at 7pm. Local gospel DJ, Joshua "DRJ" Ferrol, will be the DJ for the night, along with multiple talented live performances from youths across the country. All youth groups are invited to come out to the free event.
The Saturday morning, June 1st will begin at 9 am with the "Livin' Worship" workshop at the Christian Faith Ministries International in Dutch Quarter, spearheaded by International recording gospel R&B artiste, Curtis Jordan from Trinidad & Tobago. Jordan is a worship minister, who is well-known for hits such as "Trust Me" and "Alive", will be accompanied by Keron Ramsey of Trinidad and Tobago as well as Apostle Alicia Liverpool of the David Company, Sint Maarten. This workshop caters to all Worship Teams, Choirs, Musicians, singers, and ministry dancers.
All are invited to this free 3-hour workshop as we discuss topics concerning "Living a lifestyle of worship" and "Using Our Talents in Worship". Attendees will get the opportunity to ask questions to the panel of Gospel artistes and ministers, and more. The evening will bring a worship experience at the Christian Fellowship Church in Cole Bay, starting at 7pm.
On Sunday, June 2nd, the P.O.W.E.R. Concert will be held at the Belair Community Centre starting at 6:30pm. This is a paid concert giving more than a deal for the money. The POWER team has the full line up of Keron Ramsey, Omalie Durand, Curtis Jordan, Positive, and Prodigal Son. The event promises to be energizing and electrifying.
Visit the GIFTED Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/GIFTEDLIGHT and click "Like" to keep up-to-date with GIFTED activities and for more information.

Philipsburg:--- A shooting that took place in the parking lot of the Bliss Night Club early Friday morning left one person injured. SMN News learnt that a tourist was shot in the face by someone. The victim was not critically injured and taken to the St. Maarten Medical Center for treatment. Police are busy investigating the case. So far no one has been arrested.

eholiday14122012Harbour View:--- On May 24, 2013, His Excellency the Governor of Sint Maarten, drs. E.B. Holiday, requested Sarah Wescot-Williams to form a new government as formateur.
The Governor considering the expressed willingness of the United People's Party, Democratic Party, and independent member of Parliament Mr. Romaine Laville and based on the results of two days of consultations, met with Sarah Wescot-Williams today. He requested her to form a new government, based on a majority in Parliament, and consisting of ministers who are committed to the promotion of the well-being of Sint Maarten and dedicated to jointly execute a governing accord, to be agreed upon by the coalition partners Democratic Party, United People's Party, and independent member of Parliament Mr. Romaine Laville. The Governor requested the formateur to give priority to the completion of the process towards the establishment of the budget for 2013, to initiate measures aimed at stabilizing the political process, and at making the execution of the electoral ordinance possible. In addition, the Governor emphasized the importance of the strict observance of the regulatory requirements including the screening criteria, applicable to the appointment for candidate-ministers.
The formateur took the commission into consideration and will inform the Governor regularly during the formation process. The Governor requested Mrs. Sarah Wescot-Williams to present him a final report of the formation process ultimately June 7th, 2013.

From the Cabinet of the Governor

shootingfillin05052013French Quarter:--- A man was shot in the head with a firearm at Choice Supermarket Thursday night around 9:00pm hours, confirmed Commandant of the Gendarmerie Paul Betaille.

Betaille said the victim was taken to the Louis Constant Fleming Hospital for treatment. Betaille explained that the victim was very lucky because he was not severely injured by the bullet that hit him in the head. The victim was treated and released from the hospital Thursday night. Betaille said the Brigades de Recherches is busy with the investigation and no one has been arrested for the crime.

In the meantime, the Gendarmes conducted a huge operation Thursday night in Grand Case in search of suspects that sell illegal drugs in the area and persons that are suspected of committing armed robberies against tourists and other persons.

A host of Gendarmes along with a helicopter and other surveillance units were used in the operation Thursday night. Residents of Grand Case told SMN News that they were forbidden to leave the street while the control was taking place. Commandant of the Gendarmerie Paul Betaille confirmed that the operation was to search for persons who committed crimes such as snatching of handbags, selling of illicit drugs, and other infractions.

ssparepsandsxmtouristbureauofficials24052013Great Bay:--- St. Maarten Small Properties Association Executive Board meet with the Director of Tourism Mr. Edward Dest and Ms Betty Jean -Baptiste of the St. Maarten Tourism Bureau to establish an amicable and future working relationship. The Association discussed future joint efforts between both organizations.
'Our aim is to establish a long lasting partnership with the private and public sectors on St. Maarten. By having this meeting today, we just covered one of our initial objectives. We would like to thank Mr. Dest and Ms. Jean- Baptiste for a very informative meeting and for their pledge of support during this initial year of existence".
"The St. Maarten Small Properties Association objective was establish through joint efforts of the Government of St. Maarten, The St. Maarten Chamber and the association members to provide the best possible networking and industry forum for its members, to assist them with improving the standards and quality of goods and services to be offered by particularly the small properties stated Ms. Nzinga Lake, President of S.S.P.A.
The Director of Tourism, Mr. Dest informed the Association Executive Board how they can provide their members with opportunities to market their products more effectively to both the Caribbean and the international tourism marketplaces and how S.S.P.A. can promote their members by advertising and promotions.
"In the near future, we would like to be members of Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), Caribbean Hotel Association (CHA) and various key organizations on St. Maarten and abroad. As a member, our Association can benefit by meeting and networking with Caribbean tourism's top executives and policy makers including: Ministers, Commissioners and Directors of Tourism, Leading executives and trend influencers from tour operators, hotels, media, airlines, cruise lines, and travel companies and showcase our products and services at targeted events". added Ms. Lake.
"Last month, S.S.P.A. Executive Board also had the opportunity to meet with the President of the St. Maarten Carnival Foundation, Mr. Michael Granger, the board discussed the positive effect that Carnival has on our occupancy rates of the small properties and agreed to meet to further discuss means and ways how both organizations can partner together to market our small hoteliers regionally, internationally and the destination for the upcoming 45th Carnival Celebrations," said Ms. Lake.

rodolphesamuel03012013Philipsburg:--- The President of Parliament Rodolphe Samuel submitted his resignation on Thursday. Samuel announced last week Sunday that he would have submitted his resignation on Monday morning but held back until Thursday when all the Ministers from the National Alliance faction submitted their resignation. It is expected that the former President of Parliament Gracita Arrindell would be reappointed as President of Parliament.

In the meantime, SMN News has been reliably informed that the griffier of Parliament was invited to a meeting with the new majority who allegedly threatened him if he did not do what they wanted him to do on Friday when the meeting of Parliament was rescheduled. It is not yet known if the griffier Josef Semeleer filed an official complaint with the justice authorities about what took place in the House of Parliament.

Click here to view President of Parliament Rodolphe Samuel's Letter of Resignation.

cdeweeveratlandfillfire24052013Great Bay:--- Minister of Public Health Social Development & Labor, Cornelius De Weever visited the landfill fire on the day the fire began to assess the situation and has expressed his concerns, and stresses the importance of garbage separation. Any burning of garbage at the landfill has serious consequences for the health of our community and the health of the environment.
It is known that when plastic bags burn, the composition of the bag mixed with the heat produces a highly toxic chemical called dioxin. Burning any type of plastic releases toxic and potentially cancer causing chemicals into the air, where they can be inhaled by humans and animals and deposited in soil and surface water and on plants. If plastics are burned with other materials, additional toxic chemicals may be created from the interaction of the different substances. Unburned portions of the plastic become litter on the ground. As it disintegrates, animals may eat the plastic and get sick. Larger pieces of plastic can become a breeding ground for diseases, such as by trapping water that provides habitat for mosquitoes.
"We should be able to separate our garbage into different categories, and encourage recycling as this minimizes health risks and protects the environment by keeping harmful chemicals out of the air," said Minister De Weever.
Minister De Weever is asking the community to introduce the 3Rs into their lives, which is Recycle, Reuse, and Reduce.

The University of St. Martin is proud to present its final lecture as part of the Spring 2013 lecture series. In collaboration with the Human Rights Plaform of the Government of St. Maarten, the lecture will be held on the topic United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).
The lecture is scheduled for Monday May 27th, 2013 at 6:30 – 8:30pm in the USM lecture hall.
The presentation will give an overview of the general human rights treaties process and procedure, provisions of CEDAW and CEDAW reporting procedure for NGOs and Government. The Prime Minister of Sint. Maarten, Sarah Wescot Williams and the Minister of Public Health, Social Affairs and Labor will be addressing the crowd on this topic.

CEDAW was adopted in 1979 by the UN General Assembly. It consists of a preamble and 30 articles, defining what constitutes discrimination against women and setting up an agenda for national action to end such discrimination. By ratifying the Convention, countries commit themselves to undertake a series of measures to end discrimination against women in all forms, including:

  • to incorporate the principle of equality of men and women in their legal system, abolish all discriminatory laws and adopt appropriate ones prohibiting discrimination against women;
  • to establish public institutions to ensure the effective protection of women against discrimination; and
  • to ensure elimination of all acts of discrimination against women by persons, organizations or enterprises.

Countries within the Kingdom of the Netherlands (Aruba, Curacao ,Sint Maarten and the Netherlands ) are party to the Convention and therefore legally bound to put its provisions into practice. The Kingdom also committed to submit national reports on measures the Countries have taken to comply with the treaty obligations. NGOs have the opportunity to monitor their respective Countries' performance in implementing CEDAW by submitting shadow reports.

As per 10-10-10, St. Maarten has to undertake the responsibility to adopt all necessary measures at the national level aimed at achieving the full realization of the rights recognized in the present Convention. For this reason , the country is required to submit its first report that will form part of the wider report of the Kingdom of the Netherlands by January, 2014.

pjiaerepsatgtlcinspain24052013Simpson Bay:--- Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM) became the first Caribbean airport to receive the International Transport Award given by the Global Trade Leaders' Club (GTLC) since the award was established 15 years ago. It was also the only airport to receive the award this year out of a total of 15 awardees.

Receiving the award on Monday, May 20, 2013 in Madrid, Spain, was managing director of the airport, Regina LaBega, who was accompanied by Corporate Communications Specialist, Kalifa Hickinson.

At the awards ceremony, Ricardo Roso Lopez, Secretary General and CEO of GTLC, introduced each CEO receiving the award and gave him/her the opportunity to introduce his/her company, the country where it is located and an overview of the main services the company provides.

In her address to a full hall of CEOs, government officials, and other dignitaries, LaBega proudly represented not only SXM Airport, but also St. Maarten as a destination and the hub islands it serves.

"I bring you greetings from the Friendly Island of St. Maarten, a 37-square-mile slice of Paradise which, in many respects, can be called the capital of the Caribbean, with non-stop gaming as intoxicating as in Las Vegas; with a gastronomy that is as delightfully varied as in Madrid or Paris; with beaches that are a sublime stretch of golden sands, washed by a turquoise blue sea ... St. Maarten is an island where the sun smiles all year round and where you can speak English, Spanish, French, Dutch, Papiamentu, Creole and be understood at the marketplace as well as at government offices!" LaBega said.

She continued: "Our airport is not only the gateway to this side of Paradise, it is a major regional hub servicing neighboring islands like St. Barths, Anguilla, Saba, and St. Eustatius."

"Coming from just being voted the 'World's Most Stunning Approach'," she said, "you cannot imagine how thrilled we at Princess Juliana International Airport are with this award, especially given that we are celebrating our 70th anniversary this year. As a matter of fact, the entire island ... is excited at this recognition."

LaBega concluded by inviting the organization to consider St. Maarten as a possible host of the awards ceremony in future, "in consonance with your global outlook."

SXM Airport was recognized for "the quality and excellence" of its services, according to GTLC. SXM Airport was presented with a golden trophy that reads: "International Transport Award, Madrid 2013 Spain, Princess Juliana International Airport." The airport also received stickers for promotional use, an exclusive membership database, a DVD of the ceremony as well as posters of the award that will be placed in the terminal building.

As a thank you, SXM Airport provided branded tokens of appreciation to the organizers that included an HD video of the airport and its facilities.

At the ceremony, SXM Airport was a clear favorite. Delegates were eager to learn more about St. Maarten and the SXM Airport facilities, and some even vowed to visit the destination in the near future with their families.

The 14 other companies receiving the International Transport Award hail from Nigeria, Mexico, Ghana, Indonesia, Benin, Togo, Tunisia, Portugal, Romania, Guinea Conakry, and Uganda, and represent various types of transport companies including logistics and mass transit companies, as well as the Uganda civil aviation authority.

In a letter to the awardees, Lopez described the 35 year old Global Trade Leaders' Club as "the first club of its kind that has been created exclusively for the promotion of trade relation among businessmen from all over the world and who are linked by the fact that they have all been awarded with GTLC trophies for being leaders of trade or industry within their respective countries."

Member companies recommend other companies (whether they are member companies or not) annually for the International Transport Award. Once the same company receives nominations from at least three different member companies, that company becomes eligible for the award.

SXM Airport, as a recipient of the International Transport award, will now become a member of the Global Trade Leaders' Club, which boasts membership of over 7,500 companies worldwide.

Philipsburg:--- The Inspector of Taxes hereby makes known that the issue date for the 2012 Income Tax Return Form is April 5th, 2013. Consequently based on article 7 section 1 of the General Ordinance on Federal Taxes the tax return in question has to be submitted to the Inspector of Taxes within 2 months after the date of issue, therefore before June 5th, 2013.

A request for extension must be submitted before June 5th, 2013 and should state a valid reason.

This year the Income Tax Return Form is made available to the tax payer via the online services of the Government of St. Maarten: http://onlineservices.sintmaartengov.org

PLEASE TAKE GOOD NOTICE OF THE FACT THAT THE INCOME TAX RETURN 2012 WILL NOT BE SENT IN THE MAIL.

The Management of the Tax Administration

Thursday, May 30 – Saturday, June 1

11th Annual St. Martin Book Fair

May 30: Opening Ceremony, 8pm, keynote speaker, Randall Robinson, author, foreign policy advocate, int'l human rights activist. Chamber of Commerce Bldg., Spring Concordia, Marigot.

May 31: Poetry & fiction readings by visiting & St. Martin poets, novelists; Drum and Dance Interlude, 8pm, Martini Restaurant, Grand Case Blvd. 63, Grand Case.

June 1: Presidents Forum – 21st Century Challenge: Reparations, by Randall Robinson, 2 pm, University of St. Martin, Rm 202, Philipsburg. Comments/Q&A/discussion format.

June 1: Main Book Fair day, 9 am – 4 pm, University of St. Martin: Free admission to book sales, signings by authors, workshops, and symposium for all ages.

June 1: Main Book Launch & Closing Ceremony, 8 pm, Belair Community Center, Cay Hill. New book launch: Lizzy Lizard by Robin Boasman, a children's adventure story.

Contact: (590) 690.30.73.66, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., houseofnehesipublish.com.

Organized by Conscious Lyrics Foundation and House of Nehesi Publishers in collaboration with St. Maarten Tourist Bureau and the University of St. Martin.

sjacobsatsportsdayevent24052013GREAT BAY (DCOMM):--- Minister of Education, Culture, Youth & Sports Hon. Silveria Jacobs last week Friday visited the after school program and sports day activities held at the Raoul Illidge Sports Complex in Cay Hill.

The Minister enjoyed watching the island's youth partake in various activities. The facility is about to undergo upgrading of the track, soccer fields, the public stands as well as lighting structures. (DCOMM Photo)

Philipsburg:--- The Prime Minister of St. Maarten the Honorable Sarah Wescot-Williams congratulated the Guyanese Community on St. Maarten and on Guyana on 47 years of being an independent country. On the 26th of May the people of Guyana will celebrate their 47th Independence anniversary. "To the residents of St. Maarten hailing from Guyana and to all Guyanese I would like to extend my personal congratulations and that of the Government of St. Maarten on the celebration of your 47th year of Independence from British rule. On the 26th of May 1966 Guyana gained its independence and on that day in your yearly calendar you should reflect on the sacrifices the citizens of Guyana have made to in order to arrive at this great achievement," commented the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister in her message also thanked the Guyanese community for their contribution to the Country of St. Maarten and encouraged all Guyanese to spend their celebration in the company of family and friends. "As you celebrate the achievement your forefathers have made in creating the Independent Nation of Guyana I also urge you to reflect on the opportunities which you have had and the contributions you have made to you adopted home of St. Maarten. Once again congratulations are in order," concluded the Prime Minister.

From the Cabinet of the Prime Minister

pjiaeaistraining24052013Simpson Bay:--- Five Flight Information Officers of the Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM) began a six-week training course this week in Aeronautical Information Service and Aerodrome Flight Information Service. The course is scheduled to end on June 28, 2013.

At the completion of the course, the five Flight Information Officers will become certified Aeronautical Information Officers and will qualify to assume the responsibilities of a full AIS office. At present St. Maarten does not have such an office whose tasks are currently being handled by the one in Curacao on a service level agreement.

The training is being conducted by three recently qualified St. Maarten ATS instructors under the guidance of Gabriel Virlan, a qualified and experienced ICAO instructor who was contracted by SXM Airport because it is a requirement for new instructors to conduct their first complete official training course under the supervision of a more experienced one.

The curriculum covers a major part of the Basic Air Traffic Controller's course and will be credited to candidates who go on to become Air Traffic Controllers.

Subsequent to the course, instructors will be able to conduct the training on their own with the approval of the St. Maarten Civil Aviation Authority. Once this is achieved, the intention is to provide the training to Flight Information Officers of Saba and St. Eustatius within the year. Negotiations are ongoing in this regard.

Providing the course to external entities will offset the cost of the training for SXM Airport and is a step toward the establishment of SXM's ICAO certified training academy. This will result in significant financial benefits for the airport in terms not only of air traffic related training but also in all aviation-related training in St. Maarten and internationally as well as in reducing the operational cost of Air Traffic Services.

sswdonatestopjl24052013Philipsburg:--- Franklyn Richards, Managing Director of Seven Seas Water (St. Maarten) presented a $1,000 check to the Philipsburg Jubilee Library Director, Monique Alberts on May 23. This financial contribution will assist with the publication of a commemorative picture book in celebration of the library's 90th anniversary on November 23. The book will feature historical and present day images of our island, with the sole purpose of cultivating awareness on St. Maarten's rich cultural heritage among our younger generations.

amerijetboeing767-200insxm23052013Simpson Bay:--- Almost unheralded, Amerijet International touched down with its Boeing 767-200 cargo jet at the Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM) Wednesday, May 22, 2013, about 10 minutes ahead of a scheduled noon arrival.

It was the maiden flight of the cargo aircraft, one of five in Amerijet International's fleet of 767-200 freighter aircraft. The company had before now been servicing the destination with its 727-200 cargo planes. The 767s will allow the carrier to increase capacity on its scheduled service routes, and expand its charter availability.

The flight began in its hub at the Miami International Airport and made a stop in Port of Spain, Trinidad before arriving at SXM Airport. From here it was scheduled to depart for St. Kitts and later St. Thomas and another Caribbean stop before heading back to base in Miami.

According to an official of the ground handlers, the huge cargo plane delivered drilling equipment and other cargo to Trinidad but brought mainly perishable goods for the hospitality sector in St. Maarten.

The official could not confirm if the 767 cargo plane would henceforth be making regular deliveries to St. Maarten.

Amerijet started operations in 1974 and has since provided cargo transportation services to more than 550 destinations worldwide.

Commenting on the 767 flight, managing director of Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM), Regina LaBega said she welcomed the use of this large cargo plane as a larger capacity aircraft to adequately service the St. Maarten market.

"It also falls within our strategic plan of making SXM Airport a major cargo handling hub for the sub-region," she added.

Philipsburg:--- Despite more than 10 years of lobbying for the creation of the STA, the St. Maarten Tourism Authority, this public-private partnership remains elusive. While other tourism dependent islands like Aruba, Bahamas, and Curaçao have managed to incorporate similar structures, St. Maarten still hasn't managed to complete the process. Such authority's goals focus on sustainable marketing strategies, independent of political structures.
The STA would bring continuity to the tourism industry of St. Maarten, regardless of what takes place in the political arena. Consequently, the business of promoting St. Maarten and bringing in tourists in, thus generating revenue for our country would continue uninterrupted. Had the STA been in place at present, a proper review of the funding of a promotional project such as Tempo, would not have to wait for the appointment of a new minister for tourism.
In the wake of a very successful SMART, the St. Maarten/St. Martin Annual Regional Tradeshow, the time is ripe to capitalize on the momentum. This is the moment to reinforce old partnerships and to build on new relationships. However, in this time of turmoil and uncertainty, stakeholders have understandably adopted a "wait and see approach".
For an island that depends heavily on tourism, this is not the way to manage our country's main industry, the one that generates the lion share of the income for the island. Not having the STA in place has been hampering our island's marketing efforts i.e. our economic productivity. We need to continuously and consistently promote St. Maarten's brand and image, not just the upcoming high season. Out of sight, out of mind!

Philipsburg:--- The St. Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association (SHTA), the largest private business representative on the island, wonders why the Government of St. Maarten is considering sponsoring yet another Tempo event, let alone allowing them to also be involved in some of St. Maarten's signature events like the Heineken Regatta, Carnival and St. Maarten's Day. We would be wiser to spend our already reduced marketing budget on creating additional airlift, supporting our travel partners and developing new markets. The SHTA urges Government to carefully consider all aspects of this proposal especially when the contract would remain in place for a period of 5 years, which means we would actually be committing to USD $3,000,000 (three million dollars) of St. Maarten's marketing funds, if not more.

Last year's USD$ 400,000, excluding the USD$ 50,000 the Harbour and Telem gave, was already at the time, considered to be an excessive amount for events that drew very small crowds, lacked organization and were of no proven substantial benefit to the island. Increasing the amount this year to USD$600,000, while the Heineken Regatta and the SCDF only received a marketing contribution of NAf. 500,000 (around USD$275.000), is beyond our comprehension.

When considering a third party to handle a large part of our country's marketing budget, we should look at their track record, not just a 20-page report. If last year's "Tempo Turns 7" is anything to go by, we could all be in for another rude awakening as the return on our investment left much to be desired. Any agreement, no matter how small, or in this case how big, needs to be carefully evaluated by all parties involved. In addition, the Government should consult the major stakeholders, look at other options and not rush a decision. The timing of these Tempo events during high season does not create any real additional inflow of tourism to the island as opposed to off season and/or shoulder season, when there is a surplus of rooms and businesses could use the additional volume.

Tempo's claims about the huge media exposure obtained because of its marketing machine can to date not be substantiated. Even without statistics from the hopefully soon to be operational TSIS, the Tourism Statistical Information System, it is safe to say that the promises made by Frederick A. Morton, Jr., Founder and CEO of Tempo Network, in his page long address to his fellow St. Maarteners last year, did not materialize. So let's not make the same mistake twice!

rotaractsxmsunriseplantstreesathighschools23052013Philipsburg:--- In recognition of Green Wave Day, The Rotaract Club of St. Maarten Sunrise planted coconut trees at 7 high schools on the island on Wednesday 22nd May 2013.
The Green Wave is a worldwide ongoing global biodiversity-education project that encourages people to make a difference in conserving the basis for life on Earth. Through action-oriented learning, The Green Wave, celebrated annually on May 22nd, demonstrates that learning about biodiversity can be fun and that persons can contribute to a global movement of people who care for the planet.
The high schools that benefited from this initiative were, Milton Peters College, St. Maarten Academy, St. Maarten Academy PSVE, St. Dominic, Sundial, Learning Unlimited and Caribbean International Academy. Members of the Rotaract Club of St. Maarten Sunrise planted the coconut trees with the help of students and personnel of the schools. In addition, members briefly informed the students about the importance of preserving and restoring our biodiversity.
The Rotaract Club of St. Maarten Sunrise would like to thank Mr. Jerry Speetjens for contributing to this Green Wave project by donating the coconut trees to the club.

williammarlin23052013Philipsburg:--- During the week from 20 May to May 23, the Ministry of VROMI with responsibility for Environment held meetings with four prospective bidders for the Waste to Energy plant. The bidders were the ones selected for what is considered Invitation II or the Dialogue Phase and were expected to give verbal presentations and request clarifications from the Steering Committee if necessary.
The four companies that were invited are Synergy Renewables, who is proposing a bubbling bed gasification process, Matrix Befesa, who is proposing incineration, Covanta Energy, who is proposing CleerGas Gasification process and Electrawinds / Babcock & Wilcox Volund, who is proposing mass burn incineration process.
The St. Maarten team consisted of Secretary General VROMI, Mr. Louis Brown, Head of Infrastructure Mr. Claudius 'Toontje' Buncamper, Consultants from DMV KEMA Mr. Frans Lamers and Mr. Roel Verlaan, Steering Committee Member Sipke De Haan and Adviser to the Minister Kendall Dupersoy. Also attending the dialogue phase was two GEBE representatives, Mr. Ray Carty Special Projects and Mr. Rudelso Henry Planning Department.
GEBE, through a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) will purchase electricity from the eventual winner of the bidding process which will contribute to the financing of the plant. The contractors can also produce other products for the local and overseas market through high tech processes and recycling. There is also the opportunity for additional employment and residual business opportunities for local entrepreneurs.
Minister Marlin expects the Kwh cost of the WTE plant to be lower than the current combined GEBE cost of power plus fuel cost. The Minister explained that in essence the general public should see a small reduction in electricity cost if all goes as planned.
All four bidders presented a full explanation of their technology and the financing options. Minister William Marlin's concept with the WTE plant is for the plant to have no financial impact on the people of St. Maarten, unlike in the past when Government was negotiating a solution that would cost the tax payers initially some 120 Million dollars and 20 Million a year to run.
Minister Marlin is happy that soon a project to reduce the eyesore of the landfill, commonly called the dump, will soon be finalized. Just a few days ago we experienced a fire on the landfill and burned all day covering the entire surrounding area with possibly toxic smoke not to mention the smell. With the commission of the WTE plant, all of our waste will be converted to energy in a clean environmentally safe way. After some years, the hill of some 28 meters will be reduced to land viable for residential and commercial use.

Press Release from Ministry of VROMI

I would like to commend our students in Holland who are getting involved in other non-curriculum activities to help the communities that they are currently apart of, but also still contributing in one way or the other to the development of organizations and institutions on the island.

I believe that it is very important for our students studying abroad to get involved in different community-oriented organizations and causes as it contributes to their overall social development as a young person and at the same time they get experience in the non-governmental field.

Stichting USC has partnered with fitness movement Team Don't Quit, a group of Sint Maarteners to launch "Run For A Cause."

The groups have observed the popularity of outdoor fitness challenges and have decided to participate in the Strong Viking Run, in Wijchen on June 8 in the Netherlands.

The funds raised from this event by the Sint Maarten groups will be split equally between the St. Maarten Medical Center Children's Ward and the Beatrix Kinderkliniek at UMC Groningin, and will be used for toys and books.

According to information that I read, persons in Sint Maarten can also donate towards the cause and can do so by making a direct deposit to RBC account 40352226 US$.

Exercise, sports, community and volunteer work embraced by these students and other participants in this great project shows once more as Albert Schweitzer famously stated, "Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing."

I commend the Sint Maarten students and young adults on their initiatives and encourage them to continue, and I also wish them much success with the Run For A Cause.

Drs. Gracita Arrindell
United People's (UP) Party
Member of Parliament

swescotwilliamsatsxmheartandstrokefoundationlaunch23052013Belair:--- The Prime Minister of St. Maarten the Honorable Sarah Wescot-Williams attended the official launching of the St. Maarten Heart and Stroke Foundation at the Belair Community Center. The Heart and Health Foundation was officially launched when Notary Marlene Mingo of MF Mingo BV officially notarized the Foundation. The Prime Minister joined Minister of Health the Hon. Cornelius De Weever in the launch, supporting the Heart and Stroke Foundation's aim of being a volunteer based health charity aiming to eliminate heart disease and stroke through the promotion of healthy living, an initiative which is always supported by the Prime Minister.

From the Cabinet of the Prime Minister

smmc23082012PHILIPSBURG:--- On May 20th the Court of First Instance ruled in favor of the SMMC in the appeal of the SMMC against the demands the Inspectorate for Public Health had imposed on the hospital on October 12th 2012. On October 12, 2012 the Inspectorate imposed 13 measures upon the SMMC to ensure that good basic quality of care is rendered in SMMC and as such within the only hospital on St. Maarten. These measures were imposed after the Inspectorate established in its latest report from September 7th 2012, following an extensive investigation that the care rendered was sub-optimal/sub-standard.
The Inspectorate is pleased to see that the Court of First Instance upheld its authority and the rights to be able to conduct also governance-related-supervision on health care institutions, where under the SMMC, despite the fact that SMMC has always strongly contested this supervision right by the Inspectorate. The Inspectorate acknowledges the efforts made by SMMC, notwithstanding the suspension of the demands imposed by the Inspectorate by the Court of First Instance in November 2012, to this date to comply with the demands imposed.
Fact of the matter is that several of the demands have meanwhile been fulfilled. Also the communication and relation between SMMC and the Inspectorate has improved measurably, in the past five months. There is however still much to do.
A proficient and efficient working Inspectorate requires continues accessing and determining by medical experts in the service of the Inspectorate, whether or not care providers are abiding to the law and providing the requisite level of medical care. The reported findings by the Inspectorate on the situation that existed in SMMC were the result of almost 9 months of extensive investigation and several conducted inspections. Still, the Court of First Instance regretfully ruled that the findings and 13 demands imposed by the Inspectorate premised on these findings were not sufficiently motivated and/or could not be established. This part of the ruling by the Court of First Instance is both factually and judicially incorrect. It moreover jeopardizes the rights and effective capability of the Inspectorate to be able to in any given situation establish possible shortcomings and more importantly act decisively to remedy same. In essence it makes it impossible and in any case very challenging for the Inspectorate to fulfill its legal obligation to ensure that proper quality of care is rendered.
The quality of care and well-being of the St. Maarten citizens is what is at stake. The Inspectorate as such will submit the contested parts of the ruling to adjudication with the Court of Appeals."

jerrygilpin23052013PHILIPSBURG:--- Arthur Lugisse, Director of the Tallahassee-St. Maarten Foundation Inc. (TLH-SXMF) and St.Maarten Government Liaison in Florida for Trade-Tourism Economic Development, Infrastructure and Social Development, will be accompanying Florida Business Executive Jerry Gilpin to several meetings this week with local business sector representatives to explore trade possibilities and opportunities between the US State of Florida and St. Maarten. Gilpin arrived in the country on Tuesday evening.

Lugisse drafted a report several months ago that outlined the opportunity for local businesses to be able to set up joint ventures with Florida companies and also options for financing for local businesses to get goods and services out of Florida.

The follow-up to the report are one-on-one business meetings between local entrepreneurs and Florida business executive Jerry Gilpin during the next few days. Gilpin will be meeting with the St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce & Industry on Wednesday morning followed by a meeting with members of the Tallahassee-St. Maarten Foundation.

Florida being one of the main export cities in America, and its close proximity to St. Maarten, makes a lot of sense to pursue, strengthen and expand business relations with the Orange State.

Florida-origin exports in 2012 were US$66.4 billion. International business makes up 18 per cent of Florida's economy.

"There will be opportunities for Food and Beverage supply, Green Houses, Heavy Equipment, Building Materials, Freight options, St. Maarten Air Ambulance, Shoes, Clothes, Appliance, Technology, Solar Lighting, New and used vehicles, road construction equipment, opportunity for manufacturing and packaging out of St. Maarten," Arthur Lugisse pointed out.

International business impacts many Florida industries and communities. Currently more than 58,000 Florida businesses, 96 per cent of which are small or medium sized, export products and services; Florida exported more than US$4 billion of agricultural commodities in 2012; international companies employ more than 223,500 Floridians, and Florida has more companies that export than any other state besides California.

Gilpin has a wealth of experience since 1973 being involved in the import/export business between the US and the Caribbean. The business executive is currently busy in the import/export of agricultural produce, seafood, telecommunications equipment, water systems and restaurant/tourism industry equipment between the United States, the Caribbean and Latin America.

Jerry Gilpin also works closely with Florida Export Finance Corporation that establishes lines of credit for local exporters and foreign buyers under the EX-IM Bank programs.

Gilpin is the international representative of Foods & Beverages/Financing of Family & Son Inc. out of Miami, Florida.

uscgtheeagle17052013The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Eagle is scheduled to arrive at Clipper Pier, Philipsburg, St. Maarten, on Friday morning as part of their 2013 cadet summer training deployment.
The Eagle will be open for free public tours on Saturday, May 25 from 10 am to 5 pm.
At 295 feet in length, the Eagle is the largest tall ship flying the stars and stripes and the only active square-rigger in U.S. government service. You are invited to tour this historic ship on Saturday. School and community groups welcome.
Constructed in 1936 by the Blohm and Voss Shipyard in Hamburg, Germany, and originally commissioned as the Horst Wessel by the German Navy, the Eagle was taken by the United States as a war reparation following World War II.
With more than 23,500 square feet of sail and six miles of rigging, the Eagle has served as a classroom at sea to future Coast Guard officers since 1946, offering an at-sea leadership and professional development experience. Currently, there are 145 cadets from the Coast Guard Academy embarked. The summer deployment spans 11-weeks, stopping at nine port calls in five countries, with four different groups of cadets training onboard.
To follow the Eagle's summer cruise, visit the ship's Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/CoastGuardCutterEagle

PHILIPSBURG:--- The first agenda point regarding recent political developments has been removed from the agenda by the President of Parliament as per the request of Members of Parliament (MPs) Hon. George Pantophlet, and MP Hon. Louie Laveist of the National Alliance (NA) faction, and Independent MP Hon. Frans Richardson in their letter dated May 23, 2013, with respect to the plenary public session of parliament for May 24.

The agenda point for the meet remains the vote of no confidence against certain members of the Council of Ministers.

The plenary public meeting will be held on Friday morning at 10:00am in the General Assembly Chamber of the House at Wilhelmina Straat #1 in Philipsburg.

The main agenda point for the plenary session based on correspondence dated May 7 and May 9, 2013 from MPs Hon. Roy Marlin (DP), Hon. Petrus L. de Weever (DP), Hon. Janchie Leonard (UP), and Hon. Gracita Arrindell (UP): Establishing that Minister W. Marlin, Minister R. Tuitt, Minister R. Duncan, Minister R. Pantophlet and Minister S. Jacobs no longer enjoy majority support from the Parliament of Sint Maarten.

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

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 www.pearlfmradio.com, and also via www.sxmparliament.org.

Philipsburg:--- Over the past weeks St. Maarten became the centerpiece of the world for the second time this year because politicians on St. Maarten decided to put themselves first instead of the county, its people, and the integrity of the nation.

Earlier this year St. Maarten was the talk of the world when the Bada Bing videotape was released, politicians in the Netherlands criticized government especially the former Minister of Justice Roland Duncan and Member of Parliament Patrick Illidge who was seen stuffing his pockets with what appeared to be monies from a businessman. When the Dutch businessman claimed that the leader of a political party orchestrated the taping to use as blackmail, another politician was brought into the Bada Bing investigation. A complaint filed by Member of Parliament Romaine Laville against the leader of the United People's Party Theodore Heyliger was the icing on the cake for those Dutch politicians that have been screaming that St. Maarten is a corrupt country with politicians that abuse their power while nepotism is the way of governing.

While many would agree that the Dutch politicians made their statements based on what was printed or leaked to them by people living on the island, one must also agree that since October 10th, 2010 to May 21st, 2012 there were only a few people that were being taken care of by government. Contracts were awarded to either spouses or close relatives to those in charge while close to two hundred people lost their jobs because a legislator (Member of Parliament) chose to fire the workers of SBRMC. Even though there was a change in government, most of the Pelican (SBRMC) workers are still out in the cold while government did nothing but make empty promises. A few of the Pelican workers got bus and taxi licenses but the true story behind the licenses that were granted to mostly foreigners is yet to be told.

On May 6th, 2013, St. Maarten became the centerpiece of the world when the NA/ DP/I-3 coalition fell apart because three politicians felt they got what they wanted within the one year period and so it was time for them to go back to their respective camps. Member of Parliament Romaine Laville ensured that his father got contracts at the habour, long lease land from government, and monies for TEMPO while the Sucker Garden Boyz still have to give account for the monies they were awarded to clean trenches.

Besides the self enrichment schemes by these politicians who have chosen to mislead the people of St. Maarten simply because most of the people of this great nation are not fluent in the Dutch language, there are still a few scholars that are able to tell you that the English translation of constitution is misleading to say the least and that the constitution of St. Maarten is not used the way it ought to be used.

The people of St. Maarten are told that the Parliament of St. Maarten is the "boss" and what they say goes. Several politicians that have spoken thus far based their argument on article 33 of the constitution, while they forgot that the constitution of St. Maarten also has article 59 which gives the Council of Ministers certain powers to ensure that checks and balances are in place in order to safeguard democracy and the country.

The Prime Minister of St. Maarten said that article 59 can only be used if there is no majority in Parliament to form a government. While the rules of order that govern the Council of Ministers states that the Prime Minister is the one that chairs meetings, makes up the agenda for the meetings, and determines if a document is ready for handling, those stipulations are for regular administrative business that governs the day to day running of the country.

When it comes to the application of article 59 of the constitution, the decision has to be taken by the Council of Ministers and be done by a Landsbesluit (LB) and not a Ministerial decree. This is where the confusion of the day comes because the English translation of the constitution states that this can be done by an ordinance. Again the interpretations as to who has the power and the authority to decide if Parliament must be dissolved are misleading to say the least. If it was the Prime Minister who had that power then the constitution would have stated that it could be done by a Ministerial decree and not a LB. The constitution is clear when it states that the decision has to be taken by the majority in the Council of Ministers and a LB has to be prepared for this to take place.

The electoral law states that the Prime Minister has the authority to organize elections but nowhere does it state that she/he is the only one that could decide whether or not Parliament must be dissolved.

Literature on the constitution states that article 59 gives the Council of Ministers a right in any situation that they believe would serve in the best interest of the country. The literature did not show any type of limitations or restrictions as to when the Council of Ministers can apply the use of Article 59 of the constitution which is to dissolve the Parliament of St. Maarten. Beneath this article readers can read the literature on article 59 and the dissolving of Parliament.

The Governor has to Ensure that the laws and Constitution is Respected.

Several citizens and legal experts have expressed their concerns about the amount of time the Governor of St. Maarten took to bring an end to the instability in the country. It is clear that one set of politicians (majority) in the Council of Ministers exhausted themselves to apply the legal right given to them in article 59 of the constitution but they had to throw in the towel and call on the people when they realized that the Governor of St. Maarten was not ready to admonish the Prime Minister to ensure that the expression of the majority in the Council of Ministers is respected. While the necessary consultations on the formation of a government is currently taking place, it is left to be seen if the Governor of St. Maarten will use the power vested in him by the Kingdom to ensure that democracy prevails in this ongoing political saga. It is clear that the Governor cannot enter into politics, he has to remain independent when it comes to politics and whatever he does and says to the politicians remains behind closed doors.

Considering that the former UP/DP/Illidge Government only had nine seats in the parliament they could not function optimally because they needed a two third majority to pass a law, something they did not have. The NA/DP/I-3 coalition had ten seats, they were in a position to draft laws and pass them without a doubt based on the country's constitution. Because of the abuse of power and self interest, the country was destabilized for almost three weeks because eight members of Parliament believe they are the majority and they have the right to determine when a government goes home. Rightly so, the majority in parliament rules but the same applies in the Council of Ministers.

It is the opinion of several legal experts that the Governor should take into consideration, that should one of the eight persons (MPs) fall ill and there is need for an urgent meeting of parliament, that would not take place because a simple quorum they would not have to convene a meeting, notwithstanding that if the constitution and democracy does not prevail now then the opportunity for checks and balances between parliament and government will be lost. On page 231 of Professor van Rijn's text book "Staatsrecht van de Nederlandse Antillen" it states:

"The governor as head of state does not possess any independent authority. His task can be described as the right to be consulted, to encourage, and to admonish. He may form an independent opinion about government matters, but in the case of a conflict the opinion of the ministers is always decisive. This is a given since the van der Meer affair in 1955. How this all works out in the relationship between the governor and the ministers remains behind closed doors."

His main tasks are to ratify all Landsverordeningen (Country Laws) and National decrees and send them on to the Kingdom government in Holland. He will not ratify them if in his opinion they are in conflict with a Kingdom regulation, an international regulation, or the interests of the Kingdom.

This also would give the Kingdom Council of Ministers enough reason to say that the Governor of St. Maarten did not bring about justice and democracy and it's time for them to march in and take control of what goes on St. Maarten.

Click here to view part of the literature on the Constitution especially Article 59.

Project continues strategic alliance between two cruise industry leaders.

MIAMI, Florida:--- The Florida-­-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) has chosen to tell the story of the first 20 years of the FCCA Conference and Trade show in partnership with Onboard Media. The two companies will publish a commemorative book for release at the FCCA Cruise Conference and Trade Show in Cartagena, Colombia, September 30 to October 4, 2013.

Every attendee at the conference will receive a copy, along with special editions for each cruise line CEO. The book will highlight the organization and all it does for the cruising industry and Caribbean destinations.

The publication is the latest of several projects on which the FCCA and Onboard Media have collaborated. Most recently, Onboard Media provided key media coverage tracking the FCCA's happenings at Cruise Shipping Miami through photos, video and
social updates.

Sarah Beth Reno, president of Onboard Media, said, "We are proud to partner with the FCCA to publish this book - we've worked closely with the organization over the past few years and are delighted that they chose Onboard Media to work on such an exciting project."

Michele M. Paige, president of the FCCA, said, "As Platinum Members of the FCCA, it's honorable that we can continue our strong strategic relationship with Onboard. The FCCA continues to build relationships with our destination partners within the cruise industry, and this project emphasizes the importance of our conferences year after year."

sarahwescotwilliams05052013Philipsburg:--- The Prime Minister of St. Maarten the Honorable Sarah Wescot-Williams has issued a strong reaction to statements attributed to outgoing Deputy Prime Minister William Marlin regarding the political situation on St. Maarten. "It is quite unfortunate to read, not only in the national press but also in the international press that "there are daily protests on the streets, that there is a culture of fear on St. Maarten, that the President of Parliament is threatened and that there is total chaos on the island." Also attributed to Minister Marlin is the statement that the only redress available now is the Kingdom Government.

Not to mention the outlandish report by the Minister that the Prime Minister of the country is "holding democracy hostage".

I would like to emphasize that on our small island democracy is alive and well established. Still, like in other democracies, we will have our disagreements, but to portray St. Maarten in essence as a "banana republic" is sad and reprehensible.

"Our numbers, such as the number of members of Parliament are small, but are represented by the same principles, a majority of Parliament must be respected and the minority must be heard.

A majority in Parliament passed a motion of no confidence which, according to the Constitution means that mentioned Ministers no longer enjoy the confidence of a majority, with the result that their resignation is necessary.

"The records show that every action which I have conducted during the political impasse of the last two weeks were all within the laws that govern our Country. Laws, which I must add, the outgoing Minister has disregarded in order for him and his colleagues to take part in what the Minister himself described as a "Mexican Standoff".

"The Minister in question, using his position as Deputy Prime Minister sought to undermine the position of the Chair of the Council of Ministers (the Prime Minister) by sending a letter to the Governor on behalf of the Council, which he was not authorized to do. This is an illegal act, an act which the outgoing Minister has admitted to doing in the national press of St. Maarten.

"By admission of the President of Parliament himself, who was willing to accept the political reality of the day and resign from his position, he was coerced by Minister Marlin not to do so, further perpetrating the "Mexican stand-off".

"But the most disturbing action conducted by the Minister whose responsibility it is to act not only in accordance with the laws but in the interest of the people of St. Maarten, is making false claims regarding the political situation. This information has traveled like wild fire throughout the Kingdom and beyond and created images of a St. Maarten burdened and out of control due to civil unrest or strife.

"Let me again state: claims that there was civil unrest on St. Maarten are erroneous, irresponsible and false. Yes, indeed there was a peaceful march, with emphasis on peaceful, of citizens exercising their right to voice their opinion.

"A petition was circulated and has since been submitted, totally legal in our democratic system, where the rights of petition and assembly are enshrined in our constitution.

"For outgoing Minister Marlin to allege that there was violence, fear and intimidation, is simply wrong and only serves to incite fear and mistrust in our community, long hailed for its peacefulness and all "getting along".

"Additionally, the outgoing Minister claims that parliamentarians and politicians were intimidated and threatened. This is very, very sad.

Minister Marlin has never substantiated his allegations that anyone was threatened. Up until yesterday parliamentarians and ministers were walking freely in Philipsburg without security and without anyone bothering them.

"In fact, as often seen, outside the halls of Parliament, these politicians remain civil towards one another, not always in agreement, but surely recognizing that we all want to continue living together on our beautiful island and that indeed we can have difference of opinion, political or otherwise.

The exiting Minister has contradicted himself by stating in the local press that statements made by the UP Party that the political situation will scare off investors to the island, is akin to fear mongering, while in the same breath goes out and tells those outside of St. Maarten that there is a "culture of fear" on the island.

It is upsetting to see that events which are part of the growing pains of a new democracy have been turned into, as the outgoing Minister has termed it, a 'Mexican Standoff'.

Finally, the fact remains that, despite the tactics employed by the outgoing Minister, he and his Ministers have sent their letters of resignation to the Governor of St. Maarten.

Why? Because the laws that govern this young but wonderful country of ours

Gave him no other choice.

To the people of St. Maarten, "We have overcome this hurdle as I have said we would".

It's the first major one, testing our resolve as a young country to solve our own issues, within the laws of the land and respect for one another and each other's opinion.

Let us also resolve that the loopholes which have become apparent during this debacle, be closed, so that we avoid situations like this in the future. Let us now ensure that there will be truly the possibility for fresh ideas and input into the governing of this country. Let us work together to effect the change we would like to see on our island," concluded the Honorable Wescot-Williams.

From the Cabinet of the Prime Minister

Harbour View:--- On Wednesday May 22, 2013 Prime Minister Wescot-Williams in view of the political developments presented His Excellency the Governor of Sint Maarten, drs. E.B. Holiday, with a letter dated May 22, 2013, making the portfolios of the Ministers and the Minister Plenipotentiary available and tendering the resignation of her entire cabinet.
The Governor informed the Prime Minister that he will consider her request and that he is calling on the Ministers and the Minister Plenipotentiary to continue their duties in the interest of Sint Maarten and to continue working with him until a decision has been taken concerning the request for resignation.
In view of the resignation of the cabinet, the Governor will start the consultation round in order to arrive at the formation of a new cabinet. The consultations will take place with the Deputy Chairperson of the Advisory Council, the President of Parliament, and the leaders of all the political parties who have a seat in Parliament. The consultations will take place as of Thursday May 23, 2013.

PHILIPSBURG:--- A plenary public session of Parliament regarding the position of the chairman is scheduled for May 27.

The plenary public meeting will be held on Monday morning at 10:00am in the General Assembly Chamber of the House at Wilhelmina Straat #1 in Philipsburg.

This meeting was requested by Members of Parliament (MPs) Hon. Petrus de Weever, Hon. Romaine Laville, Hon. Gracita Arrindell, Hon. Sylvia Meyers, Hon. Jules James, Hon. Janchie Leonard, Hon. Dr. Ruth Douglass, and Hon. Roy Marlin. The request for the plenary session was dated May 16, 2013.

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

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 www.pearlfmradio.com, and also via www.sxmparliament.org.

rclquantumoftheseas22052013POINT BLANCHE:--- The Port of St. Maarten will receive six calls from the newest Royal Caribbean Lines (RCL) vessel Quantum of the Seas for the 2014-2015 cruise tourism season. The Quantum of the Seas sets sail on its inaugural voyage November 23, 2014.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mark Mingo of the St. Maarten Harbour Group of Companies is looking forward to welcoming this new vessel adding that the new RCL vessel signifies the close partnership that exist between the port and RCL, and the confidence the cruise line has in the destination making St. Maarten a premier destination.

Quantum of the Seas will debut in fall 2014 followed by her sister ship Anthem of the Seas in Spring 2015. The Quantum series span 16 decks, encompass 167,800 gross registered tons, carry 4,180 guests at double occupancy and features 2,090 staterooms.

RCL is known for introducing signature features onboard their ships such as the rock-climbing wall, ice-skating rink, FlowRider surf simulator, Central Park and Aqua Theater. Quantum of the Seas will have 18 Caribbean sailings, ranging from seven to 12-nights.

The groundbreaking new ship will sail roundtrip from Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, New Jersey to the most popular Caribbean destinations through April 2015. Vacationers can choose from seven and eight-night Bahamas, eight to 11-night Eastern Caribbean, and 11 to 12-night Southern Caribbean itineraries.

The Eastern Caribbean cruises include ports of call among Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, St. Thomas, St. Kitts, and St. Maarten.

Guests on the Southern Caribbean cruises will call at Puerto Rico, St. Maarten, Martinique, Barbados and St. Kitts.

Pond Island:--- TelEm Group technicians and engineers today reported that the company's 3G mobile voice and data network is now free of interference from neighboring Anguilla. The network is now fully operational under a different frequency.
"With immediate effect, customers in the affected areas of Cupe Coy, Cole Bay and Simpson Bay will notice a vast improvement in their 3G voice and data service with less dropped calls and less interruptions while accessing data on the internet," said TelEm Group Public Relations Officer, Joe Dominique.
Mr. Dominique said engineers and technicians carried out some emergency maintenance work on the 3G network Tuesday night which resulted in the complete elimination of the interference on the network.
"We were able to work with the Bureau of Telecommunications and Post, St. Maarten, and also with technicians in Anguilla to identify and eliminate the problem altogether with some fine-tuning on a new temporary frequency Tuesday night," continued Mr. Dominique.
He said previous instructions from the technical staff for customers to take their mobile devices and smartphones "OFF" AUTO, has now been reversed.
"We are now advising 3G customers to reset their devices and handsets to AUTO to best utilize their voice and data service," said Mr. Dominique.
He said the company sincerely apologizes for the interruption in service caused by the interference to the 3G network and assured that this was out of the company's control.
"As a result of this incident we will be bringing in some frequency experts from overseas within short to analyze the network. We want to determine how we can best protect against something similar happening in the future.
"It is also the intention of the technical and engineering staff to further optimize the 3G voice and data network in the coming days and weeks to improve the capacity and efficiency of the network to the benefit of our mobile voice and data users." added Mr. Dominique.

Telem Press Release

corneliusdeweever03102012GREAT BAY (DCOMM):--- Youth Health Care, a division of the Collective Prevention Services (CPS), a Department at the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, planned community outreach vaccination sessions and lectures, has as its objective to reach all children with life-saving vaccines and health information for adults.

The first of three community outreach and "family planning" lecture sessions is set for St. Peters, next week Wednesday, May 29 at the Rupert I. Maynard Youth Community Center from 5:00pm to 7:30pm.

The theme for the vaccination campaign this year is "A Shared Responsibility."

Minister of Public Health Hon. Cornelius de Weever 'Get Checked' campaign is in line with the efforts of CPS and therefore Minister De Weever is appealing to guardians and parents to get their children checked on May 29 to see if they are up to date with their vaccinations.

The objectives of the campaign are to stimulate parents to have their child(ren) vaccinated; to bring about awareness as it relates to vaccinations and to encourage parents and the community at large to take responsibility by ensuring updated vaccination records for the children in their care.

In addition the campaign aims to provide the public with general vaccination information; to encourage others such as, health care workers, pregnant women and pre-and exam class students to update their vaccination status.

To encourage risk groups such as waste/garbage handlers, the Police, hotel and restaurant workers, and others to verify and update their vaccination status, particularly on Hepatitis B and Tetanus.

An estimated 22 million children in developing countries are still not protected from dangerous diseases with basic vaccines, according to the publication "Vaccine".

Immunization averts an estimated two-three million deaths every year, protecting children from diphtheria, measles, pertussis (better known as whooping cough), pneumonia, polio, rotavirus diarrhea, rubella, tetanus and others.

GREAT BAY (DCOMM):--- Disaster Coordinator Winston Salomon, Head of the Island's Disaster Emergency Management Organization, the Emergency Operations Center (EOC), will be chairing a meeting of the 10 Emergency Support Functions (ESFs) next week in preparation for the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season that starts on June 1st.

Salomon also uses this opportunity reminding the nation to continue to make preparations for the upcoming hurricane season and to do so in a timely manner. Forecasters have predicted a busy hurricane season ahead, and Disaster Coordinator Salomon points out that it only takes one hurricane to hit the country to make it a bad season.

Some of the key preparations are Family Plan which should be based on your vulnerability to Hurricane Hazards that could affect your family such as storm surge or flooding. By knowing your vulnerability and what actions you should take, you can reduce the effects of a hurricane disaster.

Every home should have a Disaster Supply Kit which would contain certain items you need to have regardless of where you ride out a hurricane.

Family Disaster Plan

Locate a safe room or the safest areas in your home for each hurricane hazard; Determine escape routes from your home as certain areas could be inundated by flooding and storm surge especially low lying areas and along the coasts; Make a plan now on what to do with your pets if you need to evacuate; Post emergency telephone numbers by your phones and make sure your children know how and when to call; Check your insurance coverage; Stock non-perishable emergency supplies.

Disaster Supply Kit

Water, at least one gallon daily per person for three to seven days; Food, at least enough for three to seven days, non-perishable packaged or canned/juices, foods for infants or the elderly, snack foods, non-electric opener, cooking tools/fuel, paper plates/plastic utensils; Blankets/Pillows; Clothing (rain coat, sturdy shoes); First Aid Kit/Medicines/Prescription Drugs; Special items for babies and the elderly; Toiletries/Hygiene items/Moisture wipes; Flashlight and batteries; Battery operated radio; Fully charged cell phone with an extra battery; Cash/Credit Cards; Toys/Books/Games; Important documents should be put in a waterproof container; Tools; Vehicle fuel tanks should be filled a few days before a hurricane strike; Pet care items (medication, amply supply of food and water, a carrier or cage, a muzzle and leash).

Storm names for the 2013 season are: Andrea, Barry, Chantal, Dorian, Erin, Fernand, Gabrielle, Humberto, Ingrid, Jerry, Karen, Lorenzo, Melissa, Nestor, Olga, Pablo, Rebekah, Sebastien, Tanya, Van and Wendy.

The 2013 hurricane season runs through November 30.

Conference Will Address Issues of Transborder Crime and Migration

Philipsburg:--- The Government of St. Maarten is moving forward with its planning of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) regional seminar to be held from the ninth to the eleventh of July.

ICAO, with the support of the Government of Sint Maarten, will hold a Regional Seminar on Machine Readable Travel Documents (MRTDs), Biometrics and Identification Management in Philipsburg, Sint Maarten, West Indies, from 9 to 11 July 2013.

The MRTD Regional Seminar will assist Member States in North American, Central American and Caribbean Regions in implementing ICAO machine-readable travel document specifications and related ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices. The Seminar will specifically address the needs of States to further enhance the integrity of the passport issuance process and ensure robust identification management in order to maximize border security and facilitation benefits.

In particular, the Sint Maarten MRTD Regional Seminar will focus on the very foundation of travel document and border security: a robust national identification management system. Seminar presentations and discussions will explore in depth key components of identification management, including the role of civil registries, evidence of identification (EoI), social footprint and investigative methods of confirming it, manufacturing and personalization of national ID cards, data sharing between national agencies involved in identification management, and much more.

An industry exhibition will complement the Seminar with a broad range of products and services related to MRTDs, biometric identification, travel document security applications and border inspection systems. Seminar participants will have an opportunity to interact with ICAO industry partners and experts to discuss the latest available MRTD technologies.

The Americas and Caribbean have a long history of cross-border migration and, in many instances, weaknesses in border control and identity management. For the past decade population mobility and effective border controls have become a matter of even greater concern for governments in the Caribbean and Central America, due largely to the rise of irregular migration and trans-border crime. In addition, the linkages between national (and regional) security and border controls have prompted governments to factor international organized crime and terrorism threats into their efforts to strengthen their migration and identity management capabilities. Indeed, the need for enhanced comprehensive border and identity capacity-building strategies has emerged as a priority for both individual governments and regional bodies.

A particular challenge that will be addressed during the meeting is related to the Caribbean region containing a considerable number of Dutch, British and French overseas territories. While not part of major regional cooperation frameworks (e.g., the Caricom), those islands are nevertheless part of the overall illegal migration and trans-border crime dynamics in the Caribbean and face common security challenges along with other Caribbean States. The proposed ICAO MRTD Regional Seminar in Sint Maarten presents a step forward in addressing those challenges in a coordinated regional manner in the spirit of inclusion and cooperation.

Invitations have been sent the Immigration, Customs, Civil Registry, the Princess Juliana International Airport, The Harbour, the Ministry of Justice, the Police department, Customs and the Counterparts of the various Organizations from French St. Martin. The Cabinet of the Prime Minister urges early registration to ensure places at the prestigious conference. For more information attendants are urged to send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

From the Cabinet of the Prime Minister

mischulaikah22052013GREAT BAY/MARIGOT:--- One of three books published by House of Nehesi Publishers (HNP) in time for the St. Martin Book Fair is the French translation of the critical essays, Haiti and Trans-Caribbean Literary Identity.

The new French edition, Haïti et l'identité littéraire trans-caribéenne by Emilio Jorge Rodríguez, comes complete with photos of distinguished Haitian authors, said HNP president Jacqueline Sample.

The book is available for the book fair's opening ceremony at the Chamber of Commerce Building, in Spring Concordia, Marigot on May 30, 2013, at 8 PM.

"Rodríguez's collection of essays is of strategic importance because it uncovers key exchanges... and, in ways, translate works through linguistic and cultural divides, to find common ground," said award-winning novelist Myriam J.A. Chancy.

Furthermore, the translation is "a remarkable collection of essays," said Maximilien Laroche, noted scholar from the Université Laval in Canada.

Haïti et l'identité littéraire trans-caribéenne, just like its previous English/Spanish edition, "is a missing link for most in building our fuller knowledge and experiences of Caribbean literature and culture, of how we think and why we live as we do in this region," said St. Martin author Lasana M. Sekou.

The 144-page book is beautifully designed with a Keith Mallet painting and it is already available at Amazon.com and Arnia's bookstore at Bush Road/Zagersgut Road.

The book fair's opening ceremony will also feature Mischu Laikah, the Netherlands-based singer from St. Martin. "The fine rising star sensation will wax poetic with her soulful voice at the literary festival," said Sekou, who is also projects director at HNP, a book fair co-organizer with Conscious Lyrics (CLF).

Laikah's connection to the festival is not just for celebrity attraction. The singer writes poetry. She is one of 25 mainly young poets and spoken word artists in the new book, Where I See The Sun – Contemporary Poetry in St. Martin, said Sample.

The singer/songwriter has performed with Eros Ramaz­zotti, Mojo Morgan, Orange Grove, and is currently on her first music tour in the Caribbean. Mischu Laikah's debut album, Life.Music.Love, will be available at the book fair (the St. Martin leg of her concert tour happens during the book fair weekend).

According to Lai­kah, "My poetry appears in my music." And it's exactly that blend which "we think will thrill the book fair audience when Mischu Laikah recites one of her poems from Where I See The Sun to musical accompaniment," said Sekou. The anthology will be introduced at the festival's opening night as well.

wmarlin21052013Philipsburg:--- Leader of the National Alliance and Deputy Prime Minister of St. Maarten William Marlin announced on Wednesday that four Ministers namely Roland Tuitt, Silveria Jacobs, Romeo Pantophlet, and William Marlin have submitted their resignation to the Governor of St. Maarten on Tuesday evening. Marlin said the Ministers took the decision prior to him speaking to the nation on Tuesday but they only submitted their resignation on Tuesday evening. The NA leader said that they have not given up the fight but have chosen not to continue with the polarizing of the island and not to incite violence.

On Wednesday morning the Governor drs. Eugene Holiday sent out a press release stating that the four Ministers representing the National Alliance submitted their resignation. The Minister of Justice Roland Duncan already submitted his resignation and has since been discharged from office. It is not yet known if the Prime Minister of St. Maarten Sarah Wescot Williams and Minister Cornelius de Weever submitted their resignations or if the Governor asked the Prime Minister to submit their resignations since it's the Wescot Williams II Cabinet that had to resign. The Prime Minister was called to the Governor's office on Wednesday morning but up to press time she did not make any statements.

Marlin told reporters on Wednesday afternoon that while the four Ministers submitted their resignations they remain steadfast on the decision the five Ministers of the Council of Ministers took on May 7th, 2013 which is to dissolve the Parliament of St. Maarten and call for early elections. Marlin said the constitution of St. Maarten has several articles and right now the Prime Minister who is the chairman of the Council of Ministers is misusing her position by refusing to execute a decision taken by several Ministers. Marlin made clear that no Minister is above another which includes the Prime Minister. He said that while they have submitted their resignation that does not mean that they have given up the fight. However, the fight now remains with the people of St. Maarten who are the ones that elected politicians to office. "You the people have a right to sign the petitions and to make your voices be heard in order to get your wishes. As the leader of the National Alliance I can say we have done our part to get the Prime Minister to respect the constitution of St. Maarten and to carry out the decisions taken by the majority Ministers in the Council of Ministers. We have all taken an oath or made a promise to uphold the constitution of St. Maarten and no Minister is above any other Minister."

Marlin said in 2009 when St. Maarten fell in a political crisis he formed a coalition government with the leader of the United People's Party Theodore Heyliger and he worked very hard to ensure that the people of St. Maarten got what they voted for in the year 2000 to become a country within the Kingdom. Marlin said Heyliger left the coalition he formed with him and went on the campaign trail while he and his team remained in office and worked for the people of St. Maarten. He said in 2010 the people of St. Maarten place their confidence in the National Alliance when they gave them three seats in the Parliament of the Netherlands Antilles and seven seats in the elections in September 2010, but those that received less votes and seats decided to form a government and excluded the National Alliance. Marlin said in 2010 he did not say anything because he believes in democracy but one year later the UP/DP/Illidge coalition failed. He stepped in and formed a coalition in order to work for the people of St. Maarten. During the formation of that government (NA/DP/I-3) the Democratic Party demanded that they get the seat of the Prime Minister. He said for him it was not about the seat he holds but it was about working for the people of St. Maarten and clearly the Prime Minister who got a vote of no confidence twice from the people of St. Maarten in 2010 decided that she will misuse her power and the trust the coalition partners vested in her.

The National Alliance leader said that at that time St. Maarten was a young country and what has happened now is far different from what took place in 2012. "Today we have the Bada Bing tape, the allegations made by Independent Member Romaine Laville that the leader of the UP tried to bribe him twice, the complaints filed by MP Jules James against MP Laville, and the statements made by the strip club owner Jaap van den Huevel who said that Heyliger asked him to make the tapes in order to blackmail Illidge. Because of these developments the majority Ministers believe that it would be in the best interest of the people of St. Maarten to dissolve the Parliament of St. Maarten and call for early elections.

Marlin even referred to the statements made by Dutch MP Ronald van Raak who did not want St. Maarten to attain its country status because the Dutch are of the opinion that St. Maarten politicians were corrupt, there was too much nepotism and the abuse of power by politicians on St. Maarten. He said he stood up to the Dutch (van Raak) and defended St. Maarten and its people in order to obtain what the people voted for in 2000 during the referendum.

Marlin said that during the past two weeks St. Maarten was turned upside down with the political crisis. He further explained that someone from the community even suggested that the three political leaders should go before the constitutional court for them to arbitrate on the constitutional issues at hand in order to end the political crisis on the island. Marlin said when the person made the suggestion to him he immediately agreed to do that, but the leaders of the United People's Party and the Democratic Party turned the option down.

While there are talks and many believe that now that five of the seven Ministers have resigned that would pave the way for the eight members of parliament to take over and to install a new cabinet. The governor of St. Maarten still has to make the final call on whether or not he will accept what the Prime Minister did in the Council of Ministers regarding the decision taken by the five Ministers. So far the Governor of St. Maarten has not given any directives except to ask the politicians to follow the rules and constitution of St. Maarten.

Four Ministers Resign.


Harbour View:--- On May 21, 2013, the Ministers Mr. W. Marlin, Mr. R. Tuitt, Mrs. S. Jacobs, and Mr. R. Pantophlet submitted their letters of resignation to His Excellency the Governor of Sint Maarten, drs. E.B. Holiday, as a result of the current political situation. The Governor has presented these letters to Prime Minister Mrs. S. Wescot Williams for further handling.

From the Governor's Cabinet

Politics we are told, is the art of the possible. It St. Maarten politicians have made that into the art of the near impossible. One need look no further than the furious attempts to fashion a government with a one seat parliamentary majority currently taking place. This will create eight chiefs and zero Indians. Each MP can hold the other seven hostage. After all, if he or she withdraws their support, the whole house of cards comes tumbling down. A government with such a slim majority in Parliament is a ticking time bomb, ready to explode at any moment, and at the slightest provocation. One of the oddest pairings is the alliance of Theodore Heyliger and Romaine Laville. This is the weakest link in the alliance. The chain always breaks at the weakest link. The history of animosity between these two is so deep, that each will have to keep a close eye on the other. This is not a marriage based on trust, but on convenience. Even stranger is the spectacle of Jules James fighting tooth and nail to form a government so that he can help make Romaine Laville, a Minister of State! Sad, however, is to watch the once proud Democratic Party lie down to become a political harlot, blithely hopping into bed with the highest bidder for her services. Gone are ideology, pride and self-respect. The voters will do well to put this sorry shambles of a party into an early grave.
In this hodge podge, Romaine Laville remains the volatile element, the wild card, the one wielding the monkey wrench that can and eventually will cause the whole thing to explode. The center will not hold. Things will fall apart, for this odd alliance has no center of gravity to pull it together. The centrifugal forces of disparate egos clashing are bound to tear it apart.
A shot gun marriage of the worst sort, born of desperation and poor calculations by all parties involved. Setting the ship of state to sea in such a creaky and unseaworthy vessel is a hazardous undertaking. One will be well advised to keep on one's life vest close at hand at all times.
Voters are left to figure out what combination of bribes and threats could have been brandished to induce Laville to jump into Theo's arms. Poor William Marlin is left scratching his head wondering how Laville could have been snatched out of his arms, after Laville had assured him over and over of his undying love and devotion. Politics does indeed strange bedfellows make.

fireonthedump21052013Philipsburg:--- Residents on the Pondfill and several businesses had a bad day on Tuesday when a fire of unknown origin started on the Landfill. Several firefighters were seen on the location trying to control the fire and thick smoke. On several occasions there were explosions on the dump causing the fire to become bigger and the smoke thicker. Up to late Monday evening the Department of VROMI could not be reached for a comment on the cause of the fire.

Simpson Bay:--- On Saturday May 18, Mr. Igor Sher proposed to his bride Mrs. Nela Rohovska planeside at Winair. Mr. Sher advised Winair and requested a sign be placed on our aircraft, much to the surprise of the future Mrs. Sher, Winair staff prepared the sign and a bottle of champagne was given to the happy couple. Mrs. Rohovska was completely surprised and said YES to the marriage proposal! The happy couple then flew to St.Barths to celebrate their engagement. Winair staff was in on the surprise and were on hand to share in the moment and wish the couple well.

WINAIR Press Release

uscgeagle21052013POINT BLANCHE:--- There will be an open house on Saturday, May 25 for the general public on-board the U.S. Coast Guard Tall Ship Eagle which will be in port from May 24 to the 27. The Open House is from 10:00am to 5:00pm on Saturday.

Visitors should pay attention to signage that will direct you to a safe and secure designated parking area, which is the open lot before you reach the entrance to the port if you are driving from the direction of Chesterfields. There will be a shuttle trolley that will take visitors back and forth to the USCG Eagle throughout the day.

The Port of St. Maarten has been working closely with Dr. Jack Stevens, President of the Navy League's Caribbean and Latin American Region, since last year to bring more U.S. Navy and Coast Guard vessels to St. Maarten for rest and relaxation. A port delegation which also included Stevens traveled to Seatrade in March where they met with various representatives of the United States Navy in order to promote liberty visits to the island.

Jack Stevens further explained that the four factors that determine where a ship makes a liberty visit are (1) the needs of the country or service, (2) the safety and security of the ship and the crew members, (3) costs associated with the visit, and (4) last, but certainly not least, the wishes of the crew.

Chief Executive Officer of the Port of St. Maarten Mark Mingo said that we can promote future business for our Country St. Maarten by making all visitors feel safe and secure, keep our prices competitive with other ports, and by helping every visitor have a great time on our friendly island.

The U.S. Coast Guard Tall Ship Eagle for its 2013 sailing schedule is traveling to the Caribbean, along the Eastern Seaboard, and to Canada with cadets and officer candidates, teaching them practical seamanship skills while indoctrinating them in the Coast Guard's floating leadership laboratory.

The Eagle was built at the Blohm + Voss Shipyard in Hamburg, Germany in 1936, and commissioned as Horst Wessel. The Eagle became one of three sail-training ships operated by the pre-World War II German Navy.

At the close of the war, the ship was taken as a war reparation by the U.S., re-commissioned as the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Eagle and sailed to New London, Connecticut, which has been its homeport ever since.

Eagle has offered generations of Coast Guard Academy cadets, and more recently officer candidates, an unparalleled leadership experience at sea. The Eagle offers the opportunity to put into practice the navigation, engineering, and other professional theory future officers have previously leaned in the classroom.

The hull of the Eagle is steel, four-tenths of an inch thick. There are two full-length steel decks with a platform deck below. Under full sail in the open ocean, the Eagle can reach speeds up to 17 knots.

Great Bay:--- The Knowledge, Attitude, Behavior and Perception of Sex, Sexuality and Family Planning (KABP) research among the age groups 18-59 years old will start this month and end in June 2013. This research is spearheaded by the Department of Social Development in collaboration with the HIV/AIDS Programme Management Team and Collective Preventive Services with the aim of attaining an indication of the knowledge, attitude, behavior and perception of sexual practices within the age groups 18-59 years old, while measuring their usage and non-usage of family planning methods..
Minister of Public Health Social Development & Labor, Cornelius De Weever is encouraging the entire community to assist with this research as surveys and focus groups will be used to conduct the research, therefore cooperation from the community is important.
The questionnaire will last approximately 40 minutes, and the information obtained will be treated with the highest degree of confidentiality. The information obtained from the survey will be used to determine the country's level of HIV/AIDS knowledge awareness; gain clearer perceptions about sex, sexuality and family planning; communicate to the public the practice of risky behaviors that result in the spread of STI's/STD's and unwanted pregnancies, and lastly provide products and services that are comfortable to use while practicing safe sex.
"I would like to thank the community in advance for assisting us in this research, and more information regarding the research will be forthcoming," said Minister De Weever.

telemgroupcellsite02052013Pond Island:--- Interference to TelEm Group's 3G network continues to be affected by interference from a source in Anguilla – despite the company's move to a new frequency last week.
TelEm Group continues to work closely with the Bureau of Telecommunication and Post (BTP), St. Maarten, and the source of the interference in Anguilla to identify and eliminate the interference.
Last week the BTP authorized TelEm Group's use of a new temporary mobile frequency as a first step towards eliminating the problem, however, upon configuration of network equipment and software, the change to the new frequency did not achieve the expected improvement in the voice and data network.
"We continue to experience interference from neighboring Anguilla, and equipment being operated by Digicel on Anguilla," said TelEm Group Chief Technical Officer (CTO) Mr. Eldert Louisa.
Mr. Louisa said TelEm Group technicians are working with their counterparts at Digicel Anguilla to eliminate the problem as quickly as possible while continuing to work with the local Regulator.
Last night the technicians conducted an Emergency Maintenance exercise also aimed at minimizing interference on the company's 3G network.
He said TelEm Group will call in outside help if necessary should any additional steps need to be taken.
"We want this matter resolved as quickly as possible in the interest of our customers who are affected by the interference to our 3G voice and data network," said Mr. Louisa.
Mr. Louisa said he understands that the current interference must be very frustrating to customers in the worst affected areas, however he wants to assure these customers that the matter is being dealt with as a matter of priority.
"We are adjusting equipments as best we can to improve the quality of signals in the worst affected areas, but the interference is a limiting factor because we have to operate with live equipment at all times," said the Chief Technical Officer.
Mr. Louisa is continuing to advise customers who are experience problems with the TelEm Group 3G network to take their handsets and smartphones off AUTO to "push" their service onto the company's 2G network until they are informed otherwise.

Telem Press Release

St. Maarten Pride Foundation is very much concerned about the human health and environmental consequences of fires at the landfill, such as the fire which took place on Tuesday May 21st, 2013.

Pride informs Government that landfill fires release fine ash and potentially cancer-causing substances and therefore pose both immediate and long-term health risks to those exposed to the smoke, gases and toxic fumes. The hazard and level of toxicity of landfill fires depends on the length of exposure to them and on the type of material that is burning.

Landfill fires generally release high levels of Carbon Monoxide (CO) which is harmful when inhaled as it displaces oxygen in the lungs thereby depriving the brain, heart and other vital organs of oxygen which can cause permanent damage and illness.

Another extremely serious concern during landfill fires is the emission of dioxins. Exposure to dioxins is a major concern due to their highly toxic potential and their persistence as organic pollutants. International studies have revealed that dioxins adversely affect a number of vital organs.

Even very low levels of dioxin emissions can have negative effects on the environment and on human health, in particular on the most vulnerable groups like infants and young children. Symptoms of short-term exposure of humans to high levels of dioxins include asthma, skin rashes, and liver problems. Long-term and or repeated exposure to high levels of dioxins may lead to impairment of the immune system, cause nerve damage (particularly with infants), reproductive and developmental problems and an increased risk of diabetes and heart disease.

The management of St. Maarten's solid waste and by extension thereof the dump which government chooses to refer to as the "sanitary landfill" is a longstanding issue. St. Maarten Pride Foundation reminds Government of its duty to safeguard the health and overall well-being of the island's residents and its visitors. The landfill fire are is serious health concern and therefore deserves Government's undivided attention.

St. Maarten Pride Foundation advises the general public to safeguard their health by taking precautionary measures to avoid inhalation and exposure to toxic fumes and particles during landfill fires.

Press Release from St. Maarten Pride Foundation

Windward Islands Airways NV "WINAIR" is pleased to inform its clients that it has launched "On-Line Check-In Facilities". Clients can now from home or anywhere with an internet connection, check in on their flight starting 24 hours before departure up and till 2 hours. Passengers with no luggage and checked in online, can proceed to Winair departure gate at least 45 minutes before departure. Passenger with baggage can proceed at least 60 minutes before departure to our special "Baggage Drop Counter".
Winair in its efforts continues to enhance our customer experience with this latest feature. Please check our website for special deals including various special package prices which includes Air, Free Car Rental, Hotel, and diving packages.
For any questions, please contact our call center at +1 721 5454237 option 1 or email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

rolandduncan21052013Philipsburg:--- Former Minister of Justice and Attorney at Law Roland Duncan in an interview with SMN News on Tuesday said he maintains his view that the Prime Minister of St. Maarten Sarah Wescot Williams has been abusing the power vested in her as Prime Minister and Chairman of the Council of Ministers. Duncan also stated that the Governor of St. Maarten drs. Eugene Holiday is failing in his duties as the Head of State on St. Maarten. Duncan said it has been two weeks now that St. Maarten is in a political crisis and the Governor has to step in as the representative of the State to bring about order. "So far, the Governor has not yet done so, by now the Governor should have at least given the Prime Minister an instruction to place the request of the majority of the Ministers on the agenda. Here, the Governor is taking a very impartial position which surprises me because he is very active on smaller matters. I would like to know why the Governor has not taken the decision to write an instruction in this case. The Dutch was very quick to do that in the case of the Justice Park which was just a plan. I am not saying it's the responsibility of the Governor but at a certain stage he has to take an impartial decision such as telling the Chairman of Parliament to allow the meeting to take place and he will also have to tell the Prime Minister to allow the majority to vote. Even if the MPs vote a motion of non-confidence against the Ministers, they still have the right to send Parliament home. I am looking forward for the Governor to do what he needs to do or else the Kingdom would have to step in because there is an impasse. The statements made by the Prime Minister claiming that the Deputy Prime Minister committed a crime is pure non-sense because anyone can send a letter to the Governor."

Duncan said that everyone is blaming the President of Parliament Rodolphe Samuel for postponing the meetings of Parliament but the Prime Minister of St. Maarten Sarah Wescot Williams is just as guilty by refusing to execute the request of the majority in the Council of Ministers. Duncan said since May 7th, 2013 he was very vocal in the Council of Ministers' meeting when he told the Prime Minister that she was abusing her power. Duncan said five of the seven Ministers in the Council of Ministers proposed to dissolve Parliament based on article 59 of the country's constitution and instead of the Prime Minister dealing with the request of the majority, she chose to say she needed legal advice. "The Prime Minister thinks she is in the Island Council but those days are over." Duncan said that the Prime Minister also brought an advice to the Council and she too did not follow proper procedures. He said that while the chairman is mandated to make up the agenda she does not have the right to cancel or postpone the request of the majority forever. Duncan said on May 7th when the chairman of the Council of Ministers chose not to deal with the proposal of the majority a written request was sent to her requesting that she place a meeting to discuss the political situation on St. Maarten. Duncan said the Prime Minister (Chairperson of the Council of Ministers) has two days in which she has scheduled this meeting. When asked by SMN News if that is written somewhere in the rules of order, Duncan said he believes it is in article 13 of the rules of order but he was not 100% sure if that was the correct article since he did not have the rules of order in front of him at the time the interview was conducted.

"The Prime Minister is stalling the handling of the matter, it is not her appointment and she does not have extra powers that other Ministers don't have. The only thing is she is the Chairman of the Council of Ministers. Not putting the point on the agenda is an abuse of her power, its undemocratic, and its also dictatorial." Duncan also said that the dissolution has nothing to do with the majority in Parliament.

Duncan said that the Prime Minister referred to his letter of resignation where he cited the letter from those that indicated that they form the new majority. Duncan explained that he consulted with everyone involved and when he realized that he did not have the support as a Minister he resigned. "I, Roland Duncan was appointed by MP Patrick Illidge and when I realized that my support was not there I left, the Prime Minister should not include me in what she believes and how she thinks Ministers should resign."

Duncan said what is currently taking place on St. Maarten shows immaturity on all sides, particularly when it comes to the Prime Minister and her actions. In mature politics, Parliament would send the Ministers home and the Ministers on the other hand could dissolve Parliament and call for new elections.

Duncan said right now the minority party in government is running the show (Democratic Party), the two bigger parties, the UP and NA are being held hostage by the minority the Democratic Party. "I hope with what is playing out today that the bigger party leaders will not give their Prime Minister seat to any smaller party in the future so that they can hold them hostage. If you look at what has happened the UP was in Government and they got kicked out, the NA got in and now they are being kicked out while the Democratic Party that has the least amount of seats remains in government. They will not like me for what I am saying but this is not democratic because the smaller party should not be in a position to hold the larger parties hostage. If they want to do electoral reform they should change it and allow the majority to take decisions on levels, in Government and in Parliament."

They should not try to control the Independents, the law provides immunity for Parliamentarians because MPs must have their freedom to speak and take decisions that they believe in.

When SMN News asked the former Minister if there is any truth to what is said in the community that he will be serving as an advisor to MP Romaine Laville if he makes it to become the Minister of TEATT, Duncan said he will serve his country but so far he did not make any agreement with anyone. Duncan said that he has a law firm and if anyone decides to hire his services he will provide that service if the price is right. "If Government consulted me for my services I have the right to consider whether or not I will grant the services, especially if the price is right."

wmarlin21052013Philipsburg:--- Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the National Alliance William Marlin issued a strong call to the people of St. Maarten on Tuesday afternoon asking them to remain calm and to hold a level head as the political situation on St. Maarten becomes more intense. Marlin made the call on Tuesday afternoon at national press conference when he informed the people of St. Maarten that the political situation on St. Maarten is not moving forward and that politicians are now at an impasse because the Prime Minister of St. Maarten has refused to deal with the decision taken by five members of the Council of Ministers on May 7th, 2013 which is to dissolve the Parliament of St. Maarten and call for early elections. Marlin said right now two things could happen which is either the Governor of St. Maarten would intervene or the Kingdom Council of Ministers would have to intervene and send an instruction to St. Maarten, but so far neither of the two has happened. The Deputy Prime Minister also stated that Members of Parliament and Ministers are becoming fearful because the situation on St. Maarten is becoming more tense by the day.

Marlin indicated that the President of Parliament Rodolphe Samuel has been receiving threats and that unscrupulous persons have been visiting Samuel's place of business. Marlin did not divulge details of the threats even when he was asked to do so. He said he has been a politician for close to 20 years and his 18 year old son has become fearful of the situation on St. Maarten. Marlin also explained again on Tuesday afternoon what exactly transpired in the Council of Ministers' meeting on May 7th, 2013 when the Prime Minister presented an advice for the Wescot Williams II Cabinet to resign.

Marlin said after exhausting all his efforts to get the Prime Minister to respect the desires of the majority members in the Council of Ministers, he took it upon himself to write the Governor a letter and to also send him a Landsbesluit in order to move the process forward but the Governor indicated to him that he could not have dealt with the LB unless it passes through the Council of Ministers' meeting. He said he attempted to do that again on Tuesday and the Prime Minister refused to adhere to his request which was also based on a written advice he received from the Governor of St. Maarten.

Philipsburg:--- The political crisis on St. Maarten is becoming more confusing by the day and it appears as though no one seems to know what is legal from what is illegal. On Tuesday afternoon, the Vice Chairman of Parliament Romaine Laville sent out an invitation to all Members of Parliament inviting them to a Parliamentary meeting that will take place at the A.C. Wathey Legislative Hall on Thursday at 10am. The invitation which was sent through Roddy Heyliger and not the griffier of Parliament states that the meeting "no. 6" that was postponed for the third time on Monday will reconvene to discuss the political situation on St. Maarten.

On the invitation the Vice Chairman of Parliament has two agenda points, the first being the one requested by MPs George Pantophlet, Frans Richardson, and Louie Laveist, while the second agenda point is the motion of non-confidence to be brought against four Ministers, namely William Marlin, Roland Tuitt, Silvera Jacobs, and Romeo Pantophlet.

What makes the entire political crisis confusing is that the Governor of St. Maarten in a press release on May 15th called on politicians to follow the rules of order and the constitution in order to resolve the political crisis on St. Maarten.
While the Vice Chairman sent out an invitation to all Members of Parliament and has taken the liberty to advance a meeting that was adjourned by the President of Parliament to Friday. On Tuesday afternoon, the Prime Minister of St. Maarten dispatched a letter to the Chairman of Parliament Rodolphe Samuel informing him that the decision and motion that was passed by the eight members of Parliament on May 13th, 2013 is binding. The Prime Minister in her letter said that based on advice she received from the Department of Legal Affairs the meeting is binding and the members of the Council of Ministers who no longer enjoy the support of Parliament have to submit their resignation.

Click here to view the invitation sent to the Members of Parliament by Vice Chairman of Parliament Romaine Laville.

Click here to view the letter sent to the President of Parliament Rodolphe Samuel by Prime Minister Sarah Wescot Williams.

"New web application gives food services the tools needed to facilitate online orders."

Philipsburg:--- Soon local restaurants will be able to offer customers a new service, online ordering. iLandgrub.com is a new web application designed to help hungry tech-savvy consumers discover restaurants that deliver to their homes via their PC, Tablet and mobile devices. iLandGrub.com also offers order management & online menu building solutions for restaurants who want to reach their customers online using their own dedicated Order Management Solutions (OMS) web application.

Grub OMS Basic is expected to be the first product the company will launch near the end of July as a restaurant solution for processing online orders. It comes packed with menu building, customer management, promotion and advanced reporting tools. "One of our core features is mobility" said start-up company founder, Duane Meade. " The time is right for restaurant owners to take advantage of the increasing developments in mobile connectivity on the island, their customers are already online - they should be too." With the use of Grub OMS, restaurant owners will be able to monitor and control online orders on the go, from any device. Restaurants can also provide their customers the option of online payment through their own online menu. Online payments are secured and made possible through full integration of PayPal payment gateways.

"We have partnered with ASAP Delivery Experts who offer tailored delivery solutions for restaurants who do not currently offer delivery." said Meade. "Not only would this increase our users offerings when searching for food but it would also give smaller restaurants a better position competitively, as the food services market on the island continue to face increasing market saturation."

ilandGrub aims to change the way we find and order food on St. Maarten and neighboring Caribbean islands by using available technology to enhance and personalize customer experiences.

Grub OMS will be available to restaurants starting August 2013 on an invite only basis and will launch as a Free service until the 2nd quarter of 2014. iLandGrub.com restaurant discovery app will launch and remain free for users on August 2013. Interested parties are urged to register today for an invite by visiting www.ilandgrub.com.

Philipsburg:--- During an interview with SMN News on Tuesday, former Minister of Justice Roland Duncan brought more clarity on how the negotiations for the Justice Park took place and what exactly transpired before he sent the letter of intent to the Prime Minister for approval.

The former Minister of Justice who was in the hot seat because of the Justice Park he wanted to construct explained that the negotiations started in November 2011 when the UP/DP/Illidge Government was in office. He said he started to negotiate with Sameer Andrwos to rent the BOX in order to create more cell space for prisoners. He said on November 26th, 2011 a plan was drafted where Andrwos would have reconstructed the BOX and turn it into a prison facility. "At that time, the words "Justice Park" were nowhere in the picture, Andrwos would have constructed 40 cells within four months while payments for the BOX would have started one year after but Andrwos never lived up to the contract which stated that he had to start the construction of the prison cells within a four months time frame. The plan was presented to the Council of Ministers and the council had no objections including the Prime Minister." Duncan said in 2012 as he was confronted with more issues regarding prison space and other prison facilities and the idea came up for the Justice Park. He said Andrwos was again contacted for the two unfinished buildings he had in Cay Hill, one being the BOX and the other six story building.

Duncan said he took all the plans he started back to the Council of Ministers and again it was approved. He said the Prime Minister also approved his ideas and at no time did she recuse herself from the decision making even though she knew the negotiators were members of her family. Duncan made clear that the Prime Minister who is the chairman of the Council of Ministers knew that her relatives were involved in the negotiations and he did not have to tell her how to act or what to do.

He said the Deputy Prime Minister at the time Theodore Heyliger was very vocal and supportive of the project because one of his ideas was to move the Court House from Front Street and put it in Cay Hill. Duncan said while it is estimated that the Justice Park would cost $100,000,000.00 no actual figure was finalized.

Duncan also addressed the email and discussion the Prime Minister brought up about the controls and inspections that were conducted by the Department of VSA, Inspectorate of Health, Labor, and Immigration. Duncan said that the Prime Minister's concerns were about the time the controls were being conducted, another point she raised is amount of time it takes for business people to obtain a business license. He said while he agrees that government has to speed up the process, that does not give anyone the right to open up shop and start a business without a business license.

SMN News asked Duncan if he ever stopped or interfered in the judicial process in order to protect politicians because there are numerous cases involving politicians that are sitting on the desks of the Landrecherche and they are not being investigated or prosecuted. Duncan said at no time did he interfere with the judicial process and since he has been in office, the only report he received from the Landsrecherche is the case of the Tortola Boat mishap that claimed the lives of nine persons. Duncan said on the contrary he cooperated in every sense of way when it came to the departments of Justice. He said when requests reached his desk he would sign them off the same day if possible.

theyliger04032012The people of the country would like the impasse created by the National Alliance to be over and governance returned to the country! There is a crystal clear parliamentary majority in place! The Governor needs to take his decision based on this.

I can fully understand the frustrations of some of the people with respect to the political events that have transpired during the last two weeks.

Those who created an unnecessary standoff have therefore once again tarnished the good name of the country.

The Leader of the National Alliance described the current situation to the Dutch as becoming intense and explosive. This is total nonsense! It is far from the truth, and it sends the wrong message once again to the outside world, especially the foreign investor and the visitor to the island.

These reckless comments and unprofessional behaviour can have a negative impact on the credit rating of the country. It can also lead to negative travel advisories being issued by the United States, Canada and European Governments with respect to the travel of their citizens to the country thereby impacting our tourism oriented economy.

Is it the intention of the National Alliance to create an explosive situation that would endanger the employment of the people of Sint Maarten?

I fully concur with His Excellency the Governor's statement released by his Cabinet for all stakeholders to do all that is necessary to maintain and protect the integrity of our constitutional democracy, and to foster actions in keeping with our constitution.

The appointment of a new President of Parliament will be forthcoming followed by a new Council of Ministers to work in the interests of the people and the country. Constitutionally due elections are approximately 12-months away.

The longer this impasse goes on leads to more speculation that something is amiss. A parliamentary majority is in place and this should be respected by the Council of Ministers, in particular the National Alliance members and Independent appointed Minister R. Pantophlet who no longer enjoy the support of the majority in Parliament, the highest elected body of the people of this country.

The parliamentary majority has presented its case to the Governor. The Governor now has to act.

There is no difference than what transpired last April/May 2012 compared to now! Tell me what is the difference? Elections held within the next couple of months will not change anything. You will still be in the same situation as before where Members of Parliament can leave a party and become an independent member of parliament, and withdraw their support and form a government with another party. That is the political reality that we live in today based on the current electoral laws of our country.

Changing the aforementioned can only be dealt with by Members of Parliament revising the electoral laws.

The National Alliance Leader has admitted that he and his Ministers are frustrating the authority of Parliament. Last April/May 2012, there was also an UP majority in the Council of Ministers that saw majority support in Parliament withdrawn. We saw the writing on the wall and resigned according to the laws of the land.

We respected our Constitution and parliamentary democracy and left without creating an impasse. We respected the parliamentary majority. Today, we have a National Alliance standoff where William Marlin is not respecting the majority in parliament, and that is damaging the image of our country.

Voters are coming to me every day telling me why doesn't the National Alliance respect the wishes of parliament? Democracy must prevail and there is a majority in parliament.

What we have is a Dictator who has taken over the Council of Ministers. He has not followed the procedure and has submitted a decree to the Governor with his name as Deputy Prime Minister to dissolve parliament. He cannot do this with the Prime Minister present. This is an illegal act and goes against the Constitution of Country Sint Maarten. The proper procedures were not followed with respect to this process. The Prime Minister cannot allow bad governance to prevail and has to act accordingly. The Prime Minister is protecting our democracy from the dictatorial procedures of William Marlin.

On Monday again, the Parliament of our country, the peoples Parliament, was hijacked for a third time by the President of Parliament. These people say they are working in the interests of the country, but if that is the case, and then you would let democracy prevail where the majority in parliament prevails. The people of this country are not stupid and they see the difference between the UP respecting our Constitution and democracy while the National Alliance actions in parliament and at the Council of Ministers level leaves a lot to be desired. William and Samuel are hell bent on sabotaging the democratic processes of the country and their actions speak louder than words. We are heading down a dark track in the young life of our country.

And with respect to the repeated political rhetoric being spewed by William Marlin of the National Alliance and cohorts, I have not attempted to bribe anybody or attempted to blackmail anybody for anything. Let Justice take its course.

Theo Heyliger
Leader of the United People's (UP) Party

swescotwilliamsandoralgibbs20052013"If there are new elections our satisfaction would be short-lived. We will come out of this together stronger."

Philipsburg:--- The Prime Minister of St. Maarten the Honorable Sarah Wescot-Williams took the opportunity to address the people of St. Maarten regarding the political developments on Oral Gibbes live on Monday. The Prime Minister gave an explanation on the political discussion and answered numerous questions from a significant amount of callers. "I think that what the people of St Maarten need to understand is that we once again have a situation where St Maarten needs to rise to the occasion and solve what we are experiencing now and set the example for the people. I realize, and we must all realize, that this too will come to pass and will serve as a lesson for all of us. At the end of it we will have become stronger and review the laws which we have. At the end of this we will see changes and amendments to rules and regulations so that we can stop this situation from happening again," commented the PM.

"I have taken distance from all statements regarding anything related to a Mexican Standoff. This statement sends the wrong message not only internationally but especially to the people of St. Maarten. When politicians start talking about Mexican Standoff; meaning that no one will budge on their position without thinking what that will do to St. Maarten and our young Democracy. They are putting their own political aspirations above those of the people. I will not entertain this and I think it is very unfortunate that those statements have been made. Regardless of the situation we are in we, as leaders in this Country, need to give direction as to how we act, do or say and we need to be very conscious of our statements."

The Prime Minister also explained that a very dangerous precedent is being set. "The dangerous and unfortunate part of this whole situation is that if those that are continuing this stalemate this are allowed to do so this situation can basically go on for ever. I have understood that the President of Parliament adjourned the Parliamentary Meeting today for Friday. However, there is no guarantee that on Friday the same thing will not transpire; that the President will adjourn again. Our parliamentarians need to see now how we can ensure how that is going to continue.

"The proposals from politicians and governing need to be clear to the people of St. Maarten. Elections on their own will not stop happening what is happening now. No one is able to foretell what a person will do when they get into Parliament. That is why we need electoral reform; we need to come to a system that will make it much clearer to the people of St. Maarten to understand to what politicians and political parties stand for. How can politicians be held accountable for the things they sold at elections and during campaigns? I believe that for elections to gain the turn around for what people are clamoring for we need electoral reform. If there are new elections our satisfaction would be short-lived realizing that elections did not help at all.

"I am a firm believer that there are many person of good will on St. Maarten and we will fix this matter. I have a moral and professional responsibility to lift this country. Let us ban together and fix this situation in the long run. We will come out of this together this stronger than when we entered into this situation," concluded the PM.

From the Cabinet of the Prime Minister

rotaryseniorcitizenscruise20052013Simpson Bay:--- The smiles on the faces said it all, on the annual Rotary Senior Citizens Cruise held recently. Over 150 Seniors were treated to lunch, a cruise through the lagoon and entertainment by DJ Ruby and not to forget a taste of Guavaberry.

The Rotary Club of St. Maarten started with this project more than 25 years ago whereby restaurants donated the lunch for the seniors and the fundraising dinner and dance that would be held the same evening covered the other expenses. Some things have changed since it started, but this humanitarian project focused on our seniors has proven to be an event supported by the community and enjoyed by the seniors alike.
The Rotary Club of St. Maarten would like to thank the community of St. Maarten for its continuous support which makes projects like this possible. Special recognition must be given to nurses and volunteers of the St. Maarten Home, Home Away from Home, Golden Age Foundation and individuals, Russell Bell and Bobby Keough, who ensure that our senior citizens are able to attend these activities and have a good time. Many persons and companies contributed and Rotarians, their partners, Rotaractors and Interactors continue to be encouraged to carry out community service projects that bring smiles to faces and make a positive impact on peoples lives.

cdeweeveratthinktanksession20052013Philipsburg:--- In an effort to increase awareness on HIV/AIDS, STIs, as well as healthy lifestyle choices, the HIV/AIDS Programme Management Team (PMT) in collaboration with the Department of Communication (DCOMM) and Collective Prevention Services (CPS) have began to develop a monthly TV Show. This TV Show will be aired on St. Maarten Cable TV, www.sintmaartengov.org, YouTube, and Facebook later on this year. This initiative aims at engaging, educating, and encouraging participation of the youth in the development and execution of youth friendly HIV, STI, and general health awareness

In order to develop the format and content for the TV Show, a Think Tank session was held on Thursday, May 17th at the University of St. Maarten with students between the ages of 16-20 from various secondary schools on the Dutch Side. At this event the students acted as the experts and gave their ideas on what kind of show would be entertaining for them and their peers to watch. They engaged in a discussion on what shows are popular amongst teenagers now; what information do they think their peers need to know about HIV, STI and healthy lifestyle choices such as getting tested for HIV, relationships, sexting, abortions, depression, and dieting among many others; who would be a good host and why; and most important what format would be most appealing (game show, reality series, investigative reporting, etc).

"The students were extremely creative and produced very interesting ideas that will definitely be used to guide the development of the TV Show. They are eager to continue contributing to making this exciting opportunity for St. Maarten a success and we will continue to work closely with these dynamic group of students as well as others who are interested. Based on the information we gathered there will be another think tank session, and then we will begin developing and executing the episodes," says Alissa Rios, Communication Officer for the PMT.

Minister Cornelius de Weever, the PMT, DCOMM, and CPS would like to give a special thank you to all the students that were involved - Natalie Richardson & Alexander Watkins (Sundial School); Naomie Mazzola & Gila Parisot (Caribbean International Academy); Sahar Thomson & Heavenest St.Cyr (St. Dominica High); Shanikwa Jno-Baptiste (MPC); Riddhi Samtani & Isaiah Haakmat (Learning Unlimited); Jeffeny Fidel & Rholdyne Lake (St. Maarten Academy), the coordinators/teachers from the various schools, the facilitators who helped guide the discussion (Jorge Solano, Peter Arndell, Shameda Delaney, and Rodney Richardson), and the University of St. Maarten. Stay Tuned, New TV Show in the making!

leonaromeomarlin20052013The Toastmasters Clubs of Sint Maarten will be hosting an Area Debate with the theme "Electoral Reform; Is there a need for change?". This event will be debated by experienced Toastmasters and will bring to the forefront the pros and cons on one of the most talked about issues within the community of Sint Maarten. "The debate will be one of the first held in a very long time by the organization", said Area Governor Leona Romeo-Marlin. As Area Governor, "I believe that it is essential that as Toastmasters we fervently continue to educate not only our selves but the community". Funds raised from this debate will be used for purchasing of educational and administrative materials for the Toastmasters Clubs on the Island.

Toastmasters International offers a program of communication and leadership projects designed to help people learn the art of speaking, listening, and thinking.
The debate will give spectators the opportunity to view Toastmasters display quick responses, present coherent arguments and make a clear presentation of their views. Teams will get the opportunity to present their affirmative or negative case and each team will get a chance to rebuttal. Team one consists of Joy Arnell, Denise Vijber, Georges Richardson, and Ashanti van Heyningen. Team two consists of Danae Daal, Malcolm Jacques, Alexandra den Ouden and Juan Richardson.
"The subject chosen by the planning committee may be considered a 'hot topic' however to reiterate what I stated it's about educating the community. I encourage the community of St. Maarten to take advantage of this opportunity and attend this event", concluded Area Governor Leona Romeo-Marlin.
The debate is scheduled for June 9th, 2013 at the Belair Community Center, starting at 4.30 p.m. Tickets will be sold at the door for $8 p.p.

cdeweeveratpointeblanchewaterplant20052013Great Bay:--- The good news of the arrival of the second stage and the main pump of the first Seawater Reverse Osmosis Desalination Plant was reason for Minister Cornelius De Weever, responsible for production and distribution of water to visit, the Yellow Building at the Harbor Cargo where the Pointe Blanche water plant will be housed.

Two new Desalination Plants will be built in the Yellow Building. Construction of the first new plant will start as soon as most of the equipment is on the island. The second stage, first to arrive on the Island, is an essential part of the new drinking water Plant as it will further desalinate the product water from the first stage to produce drinking water, well within the quality specifications. The first stage and other essential filtering equipment will be shipped soon and completion of the plant is foreseen in August 2013. The second plant will be built in 2016.

Production of drinking water will start once feed water is supplied to the plant. The design of the seawater intake and feed water supply system is in an advanced stage. The construction time for the feed water system may take may take longer than the actual time to build the plant. The decision to choose for the alternative open sea intake was necessary as deep wells near the building cannot produce the required volume of feed water.

The plants are built by Air-Fin/Seven Seas Water as described in the Water Supply Agreement Addendum II signed in December 2012 by Government and Air-Fin/Seven Seas Water. The plants are for the production of desalinated water which will be further distributed as drinking water by GEBE. Each Plant is designed for a maximum production of 3700 m3 per day. To compare: One typical household consumes half of a cubic meter per day.
The construction of the two water storage tanks, uphill in Pointe Blanche, reported on last week, are also included in this agreement.

fishermancatcheslionfish20052013The St. Maarten Nature Foundation has continued to work with local fishermen in battling the Lionfish Invasion. Fisherman Stanley Hosford (and daughter Sabrina) are pictured here with a large lionfish specimen caught using Fish Pots donated by the Nature Foundation. "Fishermen are very important in controlling the invasion; staff members and divers eradicating Lionfish can only do so within safe Scuba Diving Limits while fishermen are able to trap for Lionfish in much deeper waters," read a Nature Foundation statement. Mr. Hosford was donated a fish trap which was confiscated because placed illegally within the Man of War Shoal Marine Protected Area and was never collected by its owners. "By recycling fishing traps we are able to continue the tradition of fishing in a sustainable manner on St. Maarten while simultaneously working to eradicate the Invasive Lionfish."

Lionfish are an invasive venomous fish that can inflict a painful and sometimes fatal sting. Lionfish are usually found in the Indian and Pacific Oceans but were introduced into the Atlantic thru the aquarium trade. Native fish species don't recognize the Lionfish as a threat so they are unable to defend themselves against it. In other places were lionfish were spotted there are hardly any snappers and grouper left because those are the type of fish the lionfish likes to eat.

The Nature Foundation encourages fishermen, divers and all those who may have captured or sighted lionfish to report their catch or sightings to the Nature Foundation through calling 5270490 or via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

teamfcsoualiga20052013FC Soualiga is a women's soccer team established on Sint Maarten in April of 2013 under the St. Maarten Soccer Educational Foundation. The team is being coached by David Forsythe, who has over 30 years of experience coaching soccer teams of all ages. Currently the team is practicing for its first match on Saturday May 25th 2013, and a tournament planned for June. In addition to the planned matches, FC Soualiga will be holding a summer camp for all women interested in developing their soccer skills. If persons are interested in joining the team, FC Soualiga is still looking for energetic and fun ladies to join the team as well as the summer camp. The FC Soualiga team has been growing steadily in numbers and popularity and has ascertained a sponsorship by one of the biggest companies on the island. The new sponsor will officially be revealed during the match of May 25th, 12.00 pm at Johan Cruijff Court Belvedere. All are welcome to come support and inquire about joining.

For those interested in joining: FC Soualiga soccer practices takes place every Tuesday and Thursday at the Asha Stevens Campus of the Hillside Christian School in Cay Hill from 6pm. Membership is free and uniforms and gear will be provided. Interest in joining the team and inquiries can be e-mailed to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., via the Facebook page: FC Soualiga, or come visit during practice!

"It is unfortunate that political games are being played while we are striving to ensure that governing continues."

Philipsburg:--- The Prime Minister of St. Maarten the Honorable Sarah Wescot-Williams issued a statement on Monday dismissing allegations made on a news website regarding her sending a letter to Minister of Economic Affairs Romeo Pantophlet on the apparent inspection of an establishment reputed to be owned by a relative. "It is unfortunate that political games are being played at the moment while we are striving to ensure that governing continues. The attempts at manipulation, resulting in misinformation being distributed throughout the community, is contrary to ensuring that the people's business is taken care of. However, taking into consideration that I have always centered my administration on transparency and integrity, I would like to clarify the matter," commented the Prime Minister.

In the online article it is alleged that the PM penned a letter to the Minister of Economic Affairs regarding Labor and Immigration Controls that were executed at the beginning of the year. The Prime Minister confirmed that she did indeed write an email to the Minister of Economic Affairs, but that this was centered on permitting and the issuing of licenses and the difficulty businesses have in receiving licenses and permits on time. In the letter the Prime Minister stated that businesses are being fined despite the fact that their permits are still being processed: "Without these licenses, no request for employment permits can be made...Given this climate out there, should you (Minister Pantophlet) not issue a general decree, summoning all businesses whose licenses (business a/o operational) are not yet completed to close shop until such are issued? I ask this, knowing full well that this is impossible, because a large percentage of the businesses will have to close due to the lack of one license or another; businesses where St. Maarteners and other locals are also employed. Is it fair to fine a business that after waiting for months on a decision on their license, decided –at their wits end and with leases to pay- to start operations?" stated the Prime Minister in her correspondence to Minister Pantophlet.

"This was a desperate salvo of Minister Duncan. Sometimes you could tell a lie by not telling the whole truth and by making this particular remark the Minister suggested that the Prime Minister Issued a directive or more regarding the controls that have been taken place on St. Maarten. In fact, the email, not the letter which was erroneously reported, that the Prime Minister sent to several Ministers following a discussion by several Ministers in the Council of Ministers on the topic is there for anyone who wishes to read it," concluded the PM.

From the Cabinet of the Prime Minister

swescotwilliams20052013Philipsburg:--- Prime Minister of St. Maarten Sarah Wescot Williams tried to distance herself from the much contested Justice Park which her son and son in law have been negotiating with the former Minister of Justice Roland Duncan. During a spontaneous live press conference, the Prime Minister said that she wants to make clear that the letter of intent that was sent to the Council of Ministers on the Justice Park was sent for judicial and financial advice. Wescot Williams said that she received the advice and later forwarded it to the Minister of Justice and to date there has been no response from the former Minister of Justice Roland Duncan.

The Prime Minister also commented on the email she sent to the Ministers regarding the controls and inspections that were being conducted by Immigration and the Inspectorate of Health and Labour. SMN News questioned the former Minister of Justice about these controls when we were informed that a control was conducted at the Brasserie New York which belongs to the Prime Minister's son Andy Wescot. According to Duncan, the inspectors found several health violations and illegal workers at the business establishment.

Chief Prosecutor Hans Mos confirmed to SMN News that the Department of VSA sent a process verbal to the Prosecutor's Office and his office is yet to take a decision on the matter. Mos said to date he has not received a process verbal from the Immigration Department headed by Udo Aron. Wescot Williams told reporters on Monday that she sent the email after discussing the issue with the Council of Ministers.

"I will do what is necessary to resolve the Political Crisis --- Deputy Prime Minister committed a Punishable Act."

updprlavillesupporters20052013The press conference the Prime Minister called on Monday was to deal with the political crisis on St. Maarten. Wescot Williams read the letter and Landsbesluit that the Deputy Prime Minister William Marlin sent to the Governor of St. Maarten last Monday informing him that the majority members of the Council of Ministers had taken a decision to dissolve the Parliament of St. Maarten. Prime Minister Sarah Wescot Williams said the only person that is authorized to send such letters or Landsbesluits (decree) to the Governor is her in the capacity of the Prime Minister, she further explained that the letter and LB sent to the Governor last week does not reflect the truth because the Council of Ministers has not taken any decision on the dissolving of Parliament. Wescot Williams said the actions taken by the Deputy Prime Minister is punishable by law. However, she could not tell SMN News what the punishments are for the actions taken by the Deputy Prime Minister. Another statement Wescot Williams made was that there is nothing like a "Deputy Prime Minister" that function does not exist she said. Wescot Williams said when she is absent or off island the "deputy" then acts as Prime Minister.

Wescot Williams said that the Minister of Justice Roland Duncan resigned from his position which is now public information. She said the former Justice Minister Roland Duncan used the same letter that is now being contested by politicians as the basis for his resignation.

In addressing the political situation, the Prime Minister repeated what she told reporters on Wednesday on how she handled the letters she received from the three Members of Parliament who stated that they have pulled their support from the Wescot Williams II Cabinet. She also spoke about the proposal that was submitted by the five Ministers namely, William Marlin, Roland Duncan, Roland Tuitt, Silveria Jacobs, and Romeo Pantophlet which was signed and stated that they do not agree with the advice submitted by the Prime Minister and they have taken the decision to dissolve Parliament and call for early election.

Wescot Williams then walked reporters through the process of what she wrote to the Governor and her opinion on when Parliament can be dissolved.
Last week, the Prime Minister was asked if she and Minister Cornelius de Weever submitted their resignations and she responded in the negative. On Monday, SMN News asked the Prime Minister if she and Minister De Weever submitted their resignation because she said based on the letters she received that was the right thing to do and again on Monday she said they did not because the advice she submitted was voted down. Wescot Williams said she will take her political and moral responsibility and do what is in the best interest of St. Maarten but she failed to say what she is about to do on Tuesday during the Council of Ministers' weekly meeting.

SMN News asked the Prime Minister if she got any advice from the Department of Legal Affairs regarding the meeting that was held by the eight Members of Parliament when they passed a motion to dismiss four Ministers, Wescot Williams said that she did get two advices from the Department of Legal Affairs. SMN News managed to obtain a copy of an email correspondence between the Department of Legal Affairs and the Griffier of Parliament, that correspondence is beneath this article for your viewing.
While Prime Minister was giving her public press briefing, the tribune of the A.C. Wathey Legislative Hall was filled with UP/DP/Laville supporters and the Members of Parliament that want to form the Wescot Williams Cabinet III.

Click here to view the correspondence between Parliament and the Department of Legal Affairs.

National Press Conference Prime Minister of St. Maarten May 20th, 2013.

A very good afternoon to the People of St. Maarten,

Allow me to thank the media and all for coming to this extra-ordinary press briefing.

While most things can be left to the regular Council of Minister's Press Briefing, and as much as I will stick to the rules of the confidentiality of what is handled in the Council of Ministers meetings, I believe that these are extra-ordinary times and the people deserve to hear from me as Prime Minister, especially when we have seen what we have seen during the last couple of days with the Prime Minister of this Country being attacked as not upholding the Constitution of St. Maarten.

As I have mentioned in several occasions, meetings of the Council of Ministers are confidential in accordance with the Rules of Order unless dispensation is given or if the execution of decisions or circumstances of these decisions warrants such. Then you can issue a dispensation of the confidentiality rule that governs decisions of the Council of Ministers.

Before I go in to actually what I want to, which is to give an elucidation regarding the political developments I wanted to react, also taking into consideration the confidentiality rule, to what I refer to as Minister Duncan's last and desperate salvo with reference taken by the Council of Ministers with respect to the Justice Park. The Minister is quoted as stating that this particular project was approved twice by the Council of Ministers and, not wanting to overshadow the next point I want to come to, I would like to be brief, and also indicate that the records will show, that finally after discussions back and forth in the Council of Ministers the lease or the acquisition for this particular project it is a recorded fact that the letter of the Minister of April the 6th for the Council's Approval for the letter of intent of the Justice Park, was sent back by the Prime Minister of St. Maarten for Judicial and Financial Advice. That advice came in on the 18th and was sent to the Minister of Justice and has to this day not come back to the Council of Ministers.

Another desperate salvo of Minister Duncan was pertaining to a letter sent by the Prime Minister to amongst others himself and several other Ministers regarding the Controls that are taken place on St. Maarten at different businesses. Sometimes you could tell a lie by not telling the whole truth and by making this particular Remark the Minister suggested that the Prime Minister Issued a directive or more regarding the controls that have been taken place on St. Maarten. In fact, the email, not the letter which was erroneously reported, that the Prime Minister sent to several Ministers following a discussion by several Ministers in the Council of Ministers on the topic is there for anyone who wishes to read it.

Speaking of the matter at hand; the resignation of Minister Roland Duncan has become public and the point that I would like to make with respect to his resignation is that, at the basis for the Minister's resignation as he put it in his letter, is the same contested letter of the Eight Majority Members of Parliament pulling their support and I would like to emphasize that; in Minister Duncan's Letter for his resignation he outlined that the reason why he resigned is the pulling of support from the Parliamentary majority.

Going forward I would like to go over to the occurrences since May 6th, the date the two letters by firstly the three and then eight members of Parliament were received. These letters were received on May 6th and, like I did before in receiving official letters and this is the way I am required to handle, I presented an Advice to the Council of Minister on the seventh of May. According to the Rules of Order of the Council of Ministers, advices submitted to the Council of Ministers need to be done via a certain format. This advice which I presented to the Council of Ministers was that we have these two letters dated May 6th by a Majority of Parliament and the conclusion for me to those two letters would be to tender the resignation of the Cabinet of Ministers.

I submitted that Advice on the 7th of May during the meeting of the Council of Ministers. The response by five of the Ministers was that they do not agree with submitting their resignation on the basis of these letters. It is for this reason that I signaled out Minister Duncan's Resignation because eventually it was on the basis of that same letter that he resigned.

Nevertheless, rather than give their support or agree to us tending our resignation, the five members of the Council of Ministers came with a proposal which reads that the Ministers bring forth a proposal for the decision of the Council of Ministers. The proposal continues to ask that this decision be taken up in that decision list in the meeting of May 7th and charged the Prime Minister with the execution of this particular proposal. According to the Rules of Order proposals or advises coming to the Council of Ministers must be in accordance with a particular format.

The Rules of Order is a Public Document and one would understand what the procedures are for handling something by the Council of Ministers. On the Basis of this Document I indicated that this is not a reaction to my proposal, this is a proposal that is not ready to be handled by the Council of Ministers and I, in my capacity like I did with amongst other things the Justice Park, will send that proposal for legal advice. This was the recorded discussion on May 7th. The decision of the Council on May 7th reads as follows; the decision of the Council of Ministers reads that one; on the advice of the Prime Minister to have the Cabinet submit its resignation, five Ministers are not in agreement with submitting their resignation. It also reads that with respect to a proposal that was not ready for handling in the meeting yet to dissolve Parliament the Prime Minister indicated that she would be seeking legal advice and would be indicating when it would be ready to be placed on the agenda of the Council of Ministers. This was on the Tuesday before Ascension Day. So on the same Tuesday I received a request for a meeting of the Council of Ministers to deal with that matter. I now therefore ask that if the decision was taken to dissolve Parliament on May 7th, why would I have received a request for a meeting to handle the proposal to dissolve Parliament? I understand that for the public of St. Maarten these are a lot of procedures and rules and regulations but the fact remains that I did not receive the legal advice regarding that proposal that was put to the meeting until the twelfth of May, which was a Sunday.

Looking at the entire affaire the legal advice that I received read that I should await the outcome of the meeting of Parliament on May 13th. On Monday we all know what transpired as far as the meeting of Parliament was concerned.

Now low and behold: on Tuesday I am made aware of a letter sent to the Governor by the Deputy Prime Minister, who is only supposed to act as Prime Minister in my absence as there is no function of Deputy Prime Minister, on a letterhead of the Deputy Prime Minister of St. Maarten if you please, which function does not even exist if I am on-island, submits to his Excellency the Governor a resolution to dissolve Parliament. And stating in the meeting of May 7th a decision was taken to dissolve Parliament, and then says that as proof of that decision attached is a copy of the Decision taken and recorded on May the 7th. Along with that letter, the Deputy Prime Minister sends in a National Decree to the Governor.

The one responsible according to the Rules of Order to Submit a Letter or a Decree to the Governor would be the Prime Minister of St. Maarten. Not only that, but the draft of this National Decree to the Governor was sent in along with the letter of the Deputy Prime Minister and mentions amongst other things the dissolution of Parliament is to go into effect on the 15th of August, that the new Parliament will first convene on the 15th of August, that the date for elections will be established on the 26th of July and that the postulation for elections would be on the 14th of June. This is the resolution which was sent by the Deputy Prime Minister to the Governor of St. Maarten under the mum of a decision taken on May 7th. That decision clearly states what the state of that proposal was, namely that legal advice would be had on it and I have indicated what that legal advice entailed.

Subsequently, now that the meeting of the 13th of May by Parliament went the way it went, legal advice was again sought as to what now, and the legal advice clearly indicates that the responsibilities of the Prime Minister are clearly outlined in the Rules of Order.

Furthermore, the electoral law of this country establishes who decides on the date for election and more importantly on what needs to happen before this country can be thrown into elections. So to hear how both the Deputy Prime Minister and the Chairperson of Parliament now take this whole thing and turn the focus on the decision of the Prime Minister I will indicate what I indicated in the Council of Ministers; if there is any indication that this Prime Minister acted against any law, or is misusing her power then the place to take that is to the Parliament of St. Maarten and I would be expected to be called by Parliament to give account for what I have done. Many persons have asked me what the sanction is against the deliberate attempt by the Deputy Prime Minister to circumvent the laws of this Land and using the position of Deputy Prime Minister to usurp the responsibilities as the law puts down for the Prime Minister, and then have the heart to go out and tell the Public of St. Maarten that the Prime Minister is thwarting the process of the Council of Ministers. Although I listened to many statements being made, when it came down to this fact I had to hold this Press briefing today to explain that.

There are some stipulations in our Constitution and there are no two ways about it. There are articles in our Constitution that say that Parliament can be dissolved by National Decree. A National Decree is a decision by the Government of St. Maarten. That is not in dispute here, the dispute comes in the regards that what needs to be done in order to have that decision taken. In my letter to the Governor I have indicated to him that it is my firm belief that when you have a situation like that it is the Parliament of the Country where we need to seek redress and where we go with this matter. So to take and cover up the actions of this letter by the Deputy Prime Minister to the Governor of St. Maarten by falsely stating that it is the Prime Minister that is holding back the process of dissolving the Parliament I would like to say a couple of things to the people of St. Maarten: I often look back at my political career since 101010 and often ask myself how could it be that given the outcome of the elections in 2010 I was appointed Prime Minister. When in 2012 the Government changed and again I was in the position of Prime Minister I again asked myself the same question. And recently the answer to that question is becoming very very clear; I was put here for a reason. I was put here because at some point in time the people of St. Maarten would have been facing what we are facing today and I would be called in the position of Prime Minister to give a judgment. I want you and the people of St. Maarten to know: yes I have a responsibility to the people of St. Maarten as Prime Minister clearly outlined in the Rules of Order, where the emphasis was put on the Prime Minister in making sure that the rules and regulations are carried out accordingly. That has become very clear.

After having made that point extremely clear, persons have asked me the sanctions which exist for an action whereby the Deputy Prime Minister without consulting the Prime Minister and putting himself in the position of Prime Minister could indicate to the Governor that a decision was taken to dissolve Parliament. And then when I react then of course I am thwarting the process. Well you know what? This Prime Minister, and because there are penal sanctions that can be issued against any Minister putting his or her signature to a decision that is not in keeping with the rules and regulations, is going to be even more keen on deciding what, how and if decisions are taken in the Council of Ministers in St. Maarten. And for that I will carry full responsibility.

Rather however than telling the people of St. Maarten that this is a Mexican standoff, rather than informing persons outside of St. Maarten that basically the situation is explosive, it is explosive because politicians are instigating our people to make calls for things for which the ultimate end is not yet known and not yet understood. In fact the dates mentioned in the draft resolution which was sent to the Governor are in conflict with the electoral law of St. Maarten. I repeat that the dates are in conflict with the electoral law of the Country of St. Maarten and I challenge to be challenged on that point. My call to the People of St. Maarten is the following; I will not entertain even the semblance of a Mexican Standoff because my political and moral responsibility to the People of St. Maarten is to make sure that this issue which is hot, and which is intense, is brought to the solution in the benefit of only the people of St. Maarten. I am not entertaining the notion of Mexican standoff, I will not instigate the people and I will not send a message outside of St. Maarten reflecting a message that does not exist on St. Maarten and if it does exist it is instigated by politicians and I will not be a part of that. What I will do is take my political and moral responsibility and the extra responsibility given by the Constitution of St. Maarten and by the Rules of Order of St. Maarten and seek to solve this matter in the Interest of the people of St. Maarten. Everything that I have stated and read is on the record. I wish our Country well and give the people of St. Maarten my assurance that while some would seek a Mexican Standoff and hoping to see this situation grow into something none of us want, I am going to do the opposite and give whatever it takes to ensure that St. Maarten comes out of this wiser, better and more prepared to move forward. Thank you.

updprlavillepressconference20052013Philipsburg:--- On Monday shortly after the Parliamentary meeting was adjourned by the Chairman of Parliament Rodolphe Samuel, a press conference was held by the Members of Parliament that form the majority. During the press conference the majority raised several concerns, Member of Parliament Roy Marlin said that the chairman said that he sought legal advice on the meeting that was held and decision that was taken on May 13th, 2013 in the House of Parliament. Marlin said that the Chairman of Parliament claimed he received that advice and the meeting of May 13th, 2013 was an illegal meeting and so was the decision taken during that meeting. Marlin said if the chairman sought advice and received it, he is compelled to share the advice with the Members of Parliament. Besides that, the MPs from the UP/DP/Laville majority said what took place in the House of Parliament on Friday last week and Monday was undemocratic.

Marlin accused Deputy Prime Minister William Marlin of committing fraud when he sent a Landsbesluit to the Governor of St. Maarten stating that the Council of Ministers decided on May 7th to dissolve Parliament and call for new elections. He said he is of the opinion that the Deputy Prime Minister of St. Maarten wants the political crisis on St. Maarten to get out of hand. He said that the police officers that are present in the House of Parliament are there to protect them and when the Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of Parliament say there is no need to have police officers at the House of Parliament in his opinion they are looking for the political situation to get out of hand and are looking for problems. He said the longer this matter drags on it will become more heated. Marlin further explained that the Chairman of Parliament muzzled the Members of Parliament on Friday and on Monday. Marlin said they will take the necessary legal actions to resolve the political crisis. He assured that the political crisis on St. Maarten will not prolong. He said they will not do as the National Alliance who is trying to incite people, instead they are civilized and will use the legal tools at their disposal to resolve the matter.

Another accusation Marlin levied during the press conference is that the Acting Governor of St. Maarten, Attorney at Law Reynold Groeneveldt is acting in conflict of interest. Marlin said as Acting Governor of St. Maarten he is advising the National Alliance and that is in conflict with his role as Acting Governor. MP Marlin further explained that as soon as they (the new majority) get into office they will champion the removal of Groeneveldt from his position. When Marlin was asked if he has proof to substantiate the statements he made, Marlin said that he stood by his statements. MP Jules James also claimed that Groeneveldt is acting in conflict of interest because he saw the acting governor visiting the Chairman of Parliament to provide him with advice.

MP Romaine Laville in his statements said that the Chairman of Parliament has not been following the rules of order and he will ensure that the current standoff ends because he is the Vice Chairman of the Parliament of St. Maarten.

Member of Parliament Sylvia Meyers in her short statement said what is currently taking place in the House of Parliament is hinging on the democracy. She said that what took place in the House of Parliament does not reflect democracy. She said she is stressing on the importance of democracy. MP Meyers further stated that there might be people who were in the tribune that are happy but she wants to know where St. Maarten is heading since it became a country in 2010. She said she wants to know if St. Maarten is heading towards socialism or if its becoming a dictatorship country.

PHILIPSBURG:--- A plenary session of Parliament regarding recent political developments and the vote of no confidence against certain members of the Council of Ministers was postponed on Monday, May 17 and has been reconvened for May 24.

The plenary public meeting will be held on Friday morning at 10:00am in the General Assembly Chamber of the House at Wilhelmina Straat #1 in Philipsburg.

The meeting for May 24 was initially requested by Members of Parliament (MPs) Hon. George Pantophlet, and MP Hon. Louie Laveist of the National Alliance (NA) faction, and Independent MP Hon. Frans Richardson regarding recent political developments (agenda point 1). The request for the plenary session was dated May 6, 2013.

Deputy Prime Minister Hon. William Marlin was invited to parliament to be present for agenda point one and he was present for the plenary session on May 20. This request was made by MPs Hon. G. Pantophlet, Hon. L. Laveist, and Hon. F. Richardson in a letter of May 16, 2013 to the President of Parliament.

An additional agenda point had also been added to the plenary session based on correspondence dated May 7 and May 9, 2013 from MPs Hon. Roy Marlin (DP), Hon. Petrus L. de Weever (DP), Hon. Janchie Leonard (UP), and Hon. Gracita Arrindell (UP): Establishing that Minister W. Marlin, Minister R. Tuitt, Minister R. Duncan, Minister R. Pantophlet and Minister S. Jacobs no longer enjoy majority support from the Parliament of Sint Maarten. This agenda point is slated to be handled in the May 24 plenary session.

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

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 www.pearlfmradio.com, and also via www.sxmparliament.org.

updpmpsandrlaville20052013Philipsburg:--- Members of the United People's Party, Democratic Party, and Independent Member of Parliament Romaine Laville created an uproar in the House of Parliament on Monday when the President of Parliament Rodolphe Samuel convened the meeting and was making his address to the Members of Parliament and the general public. Also present at that meeting was the Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the National Alliance William Marlin.

On several occasions the Members of Parliament who form the new majority chose to call for a point of order and each time the President of Parliament Rodolphe Samuel kept on telling them "you do not have the word." While the commotion was taking place, the House of Parliament was filled to its capacity with citizens from the community. There were several detectives sitting inside the chambers where the meeting was taking place keeping a close eye on the proceedings.

MP Jules James told Deputy Prime Minister William Marlin on several occasions that he is the one responsible for how the Chairman of Parliament is handling the meeting because Marlin in his first press conference said that St. Maarten will be having a "Mexican standoff" because the Prime Minister Sarah Wescot Williams chose not on to deal with their request to discuss the political situation and dissolve the Parliament of St. Maarten.

Samuel told the people of St. Maarten on Sunday on the Lloyd Richardson Show that he would have tendered his resignation on Monday, but while addressing Parliament he said when he took his oath of office he swore to uphold the constitution and if he resigns from his position now then he would not be carrying out the duties which he swore to do. "I know today is a special day in country St. Maarten. On Friday, I adjourned the meeting because I wanted to seek legal advice on the gathering that took place in the House of Parliament on May 13th, 2013 when eight Members of Parliament passed a motion to dismiss four ministers. Today, I got the advice and that meeting of May 13th, 2013 was not a meeting of Parliament and the motion that was passed by the eight members and sent to the Governor and Prime Minister has no legal basis." Just after making that statement MP Roy Marlin called for a point of order and he was told he does not have the word. The Chairman of Parliament continued with his statements by stating that St. Maarten has a constitution which is the Bible of St. Maarten and it must be respected.

Samuel further stated that right now there is a controversy regarding articles 33 and 59, the President of Parliament was then disturbed by MP Jules James who asked for a point of order and he too was told that he did not have the word. MP James tried to continue speaking but the Chairman maintained his instructions to the MP by telling him he did not have the word. MP James proceeded and stated that the Chairman of Parliament was not following the rules of order. Samuel then proceeded to explain that the Prime Minister and other Ministers are appointed by national ordinance. "If a Minister no longer enjoys the confidence of Parliament he or she shall surrender his office based on article 33 sub one and sub two." At that point, MP Johan Janchi Leonard then asked for a point of order and he too was told he did not have the word. MP Gracita Arrindell who was the former Chairman of Parliament also interupted Samuel calling for a point of order, then MP Ruth Douglass.

At one point, MP Petrus Leroy De Weever slammed his fists on his desk and stated that they needed to stop the nonsense. MP Jules James told the chairman that the rules of order state that they can interrupt a speaker but Samuel quickly told him that the rules of order also states that an MP could only speak when he is given the word and up to that point none of them had the word except the chair. MP Roy Marlin then stood up and began to speak with several other MPs who form the majority trying to impose on the authority of the chair when they each called for a point of order.
Samuel then proceeded to explain what article 59 of the country's constitution states and he said thus far the Prime Minister has refused to sign the decree to dissolve the Parliament of St. Maarten and call for new elections.

MP Roy Marlin then insisted to speak even though he was told on several occasions that he did not have the word, Marlin asked the chairman if he was going to share copies of the advice he received on the meeting of May 13th and he also told Samuel that he should not lie on the Prime Minister when he stated publicly that she refused to sign the decree to dissolve Parliament. Samuel told MP Marlin on numerous occasions that he did not have the word but he refused to take his seat or stop speaking. At some point, MP Johan Janchi Leonard was seen telling his colleagues that they were creating confusion and commotion and they should stop speaking and take their seats because there were police officers in the House of Parliament.

Samuel said that he has to find a solution to the political crisis currently taking place and he is busy searching for answers and solutions, therefore he adjourns the meeting to Friday.

When Samuel made the announcement, the MPs from the UP and DP factions began shouting in the House of Parliament claiming that the Chairman of Parliament is muzzling Parliament. The MPs also shouted that there is dictatorship in the House of Parliament while MP Jules James shouted out that William Marlin is getting the "Mexican standoff" he spoke about.

Son of Prime Minister went After MP Richardson.

andywescot20052013As the MPs shouted and expressed their dissatisfaction as they left the Chamber of Parliament, the son of the Prime Minister Andy Wescot who was also in the chamber went after Member of Parliament Frans Richardson accusing him of stealing from the Harbour Group of Companies. "Its going to come out, it will be made public" were the words of Andy Wescot as he approached MP Richardson who was standing in the corridor of Parliament House speaking with his friends. Christopher Emmanuel and the President of the Democratic Party Michael Ferrier had to restrain Wescot because he was about to throw punches at MP Richardson.

Wescot was taken to the press room and then outside of Parliament to cool off. SMN News learnt that Andy Wescot then rushed over to the Government Administration Building and informed his mother of his behavior. A source from the Prime Minister's cabinet said the Prime Minister was in a state of shock when her son told her that he lost it and reacted the way he did.

Another concern for persons attending the Parliamentary meetings including police officers is the presence of a convicted ex police officer who was hired by MP Romaine Laville. Several persons told SMN News that they are very concerned for their safety because the former convicted police officer was involved in some gruesome crimes in Curacao, St. Maarten, and Aruba and it is despicable for a Member of Parliament to hire such a person as their bodyguard and take him in the House of Parliament when there are public meetings. SMN News further learnt that this matter was raised inside the Government Administration Building and security at the Government Administration Building took the necessary measures by preventing the bodyguard of the MP from entering the Government Administration Building but that is yet to take place at the House of Parliament.

Click here to view more photos of Monday's Parliamentary meeting.

cdeweever19082012Great Bay:--- Minister of Public Health Social Development & Labor, Cornelius De Weever would like to congratulate the St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) on their recent acquisition of an additional pediatrician and a general surgeon at the institution.
"I welcome this initiative taken by the St. Maarten Medical Center, as it is long overdue, and I am looking forward to the other specialists that will be appointed as a means of offering our community better service," said Minister De Weever.
Based on the Inspectorate's Report, the St. Maarten Medical Center has to bring the formation of specialists up to par. This was one of the demands handed down to the institution. There are still more specialist that the institution needs, such as two internists. The Inspectorate communicates on a daily basis with the St. Maarten Medical Center as they are both working together on pending issues. The SMMC currently has two radiologists on staff, working around the clock to give the necessary service.
"I am happy that the communication with SMMC and the Inspectorate has also improved with the ultimate goal of improving our only hospital," said Minister De Weever.

smeyersolivacce12072012On behalf of the UP party, we would like to congratulate the staff and management of the Princess Juliana International Airport and all stakeholders that form part of the airport community with respect to the International Transport Award that the airport has been bestowed upon from the Global Trade Leaders' Club.

The award from this prestigious group of global business leaders was created to reward goods and passenger transport companies and related industries that are distinguished for the quality of their services.

The Global Trade Leaders' Club is an organization of businessmen and women that brings together more than 7,000 members from 95 countries worldwide, which are considered leaders of big and medium-size companies in all sectors and activities that utilize transport and related companies.

Congratulations once more on behalf of the UP family to the island's airport community on this major recognition of all the hard work and service that is given on a daily basis to users and travellers at one of our main ports of entry.

Sylvia Meyers
United People's (UP) Party, Interim Faction Leader
Member of Parliament

williammarlin28122012Philipsburg:--- National Alliance leader, Deputy Prime Minister William Marlin said on Sunday night that he had spoken for quite some time with Dutch Minister of Kingdom Relations, Minister Plasterk regarding the ongoing political developments on St. Maarten.
Minister Marlin said he wanted to make it very clear again to the people of St. Maarten that it is not his intention, nor that of any other Minister to frustrate the authority of the Parliament of St. Maarten. There is a new majority in Parliament on the one hand, but there is also a majority in the Council of Ministers on the other hand.
The majority in Parliament want to dismiss the Council of Ministers or pass a motion of No Confidence in 4 ministers, while the Council of Ministers has already taken a decision to dissolve the Parliament in the meeting of Tuesday May 7th. And that is where the problem lies. The Prime Minister, Mrs. Sarah Wescot-Williams is refusing the carry out a decision of the majority, while trying to buy time for the new majority in Parliament to pass a motion of no confidence against the Ministers.
Marlin said, that is the reason why he decided to write to the Governor explaining the situation and also drafting a National Decree to dissolve Parliament and hold early elections in July. The Governor didn't sign the draft National Ordinance but referred it back to the Council of Ministers for handling. Marlin said that on Friday last he wrote the Prime Minister a letter asking her to place the matter on the agenda for handling. According to Minister Marlin the General Secretary to the Council of Ministers said that the Prime Minister told her that the agenda was already closed off.
The Deputy Prime Minister said that the public of St. Maarten needs to realize that it is the Prime Minister who is refusing to uphold the Constitution of St. Maarten. We have all taken the oath to do so.
The focus of the problem is on the Chairman of Parliament because Parliament convenes in a public session. But the Prime Minister has been getting away since the Council of Ministers meet behind closed doors and the public is not aware of decisions that have been taken.
It is wrong for the Prime Minister to abuse and misuse her power and authority just to stay in power. Marlin said what he would want to see is the decision of the majority of the Council of Ministers carried out, which is to dissolve Parliament and hold early elections.
With such a decision carried out, all of the Ministers will tender their resignation and if the new majority wants to appoint new Ministers, they have his blessings, which of course is their good right. But we cannot measure with two dipsticks, one for the Prime Minister, who is allowed to act in conflict with the constitution and the other one for the Chairman of Parliament. Even if he acts in accordance with the Constitution and the Rules of Order, it is not good enough for the new majority, that wants to take over the Government at all costs.
Minister Marlin said he pointed all this out to Minister Plasterk, and told him that the situation on St. Maarten is becoming tense and explosive. Marlin said as the most senior politician on St. Maarten, having spent 26 years uninterrupted in the Island Council and Executive Council of St. Maarten and also 9 years in the Parliament of St. Maarten, he has never felt threatened like now.
I have never sat in a meeting with that many police officers present. This is not like St. Maarten. And before matters get out of hands, he is calling on the authorities to act before it is too late. Up till now, all we have is the following: In letters three Members of Parliament have indicated that they had withdrawn their support for the present Government, while 8 Members of Parliament have further indicated that they are prepared to support a new Government.
But what we also have is that ever since the 7th May, 5 Ministers have taken a decision in the Council of Ministers to dissolve Parliament and hold early elections.
The situation as is cannot continue, Marlin said. We cannot simply ignore some of the issues surrounding key players in the formation of a new government. We have the manager of Bada Bing publicly stating that it is the leader of the UP Party who instructed him to make a tape in order to blackmail a Member of Parliament (which is punishable by law). We also have the Independent Member of Parliament who has publicly stated that he was offered a bribe by the leader of the UP Party of first 250.000 Dollars and then $350.000. and some three weeks after he was questioned by the Prosecutor about this, he has suddenly made a right about turn and is now all sweet again with the leader of the UP Party. They have now struck a deal: The Independent Member of Parliament will resign from Parliament so that the UP leader will get back a seat in Parliament and the Independent Member will become a Minister.
The public is not happy with these developments either and throughout the communities people are asking for early elections, instead of patching things up in order to have the third Wescot-Williams cabinet in three years!
Marlin said that he has again spoken to the Governor Drs. Eugene Holiday and to Dutch Minister of Kingdom Relations, Minister Plasterk.
In his opinion, the best solution is to dissolve Parliament and hold early elections and dismiss the present Council of Ministers and replace them with a caretaker cabinet until a new Government takes over after the early elections in July.
Marlin said the people need to be given an opportunity to speak out in new elections, the people need to give a new mandate as to who they want to run this new country of ours.
In view of the discussions, particularly with Minister Plasterk, Marlin said that he has asked the Chairman of Parliament, Drs. Rodolphe Samuel, not to resign on Monday as he had indicated during a radio interview with Lloyd Richardson on PJD-2 on Sunday morning.
Marlin also confirmed that all the National Alliance Ministers and Minister Pantophlet have signed letters of resignation and will hand them in to Governor Eugene Holiday as soon as a decision is taken to dissolve Parliament and hold early elections.

Press Release from Deputy Prime Minister's Office

PHILIPSBURG:--- St. Maarten will be receiving another Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) that will be promoting health. On Tuesday, a group of community minded persons will be coming together to launch the St. Maarten Heart & Stroke Foundation.

The Heart & Stroke Foundation is a volunteer-based health charity and the primary objective of eliminating heart disease and stroke and reducing their impact through the promotion of health living.

The launch of the foundation will take place at the Belair Community Center on Tuesday, May 21 from 7:30pm to 9:30pm. During the launch evening board members will be recruiting members and volunteers.

Guest speaker for the evening will be Cardiologist Dr. Meredith Sedney.

An estimated 17 million people die of particularly heart attacks and strokes, every year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). A substantial number of these deaths can be attributed to tobacco smoking, which increases the risk of dying from coronary heart disease and cerebrovascular disease two-three fold.

Physical inactivity and unhealthy diet are other main risk factors which increase individual risks to cardiovascular diseases.

One of the strategies to respond to the challenges to population health and well-being due to the global epidemic of heart attack and stroke is to provide actionable information for development and implementation of appropriate policies.

The St. Maarten Heart and Stroke Foundation will do all in its power to create awareness and work with other NGOs with respect to healthy living on St. Maarten.

The foundation has support groups who are willing to assist care takers of a family who has had a stroke or suffers from heart disease.

Philipsburg:--- The Saint Martin United Ministerial Foundation (SMUMF) is very much concerned about the current political and governmental upheaval in our nation.

Churches are calling on our politicians, government and parliament to resolve the issues as soon as possible in a peaceful, orderly and professional manner and to uphold and respect the laws of the country. Our people are uncertain, confused and upset about what is going on in government and parliament. Without clarity and a willingness of those concerned, this instability can lead to unnecessary unrest in our nation.

SMUMF therefore is appealing to our leaders to let reason, fairness and integrity prevail and to put the interest for the people and country above all self-interest. We are asking our leaders to conduct themselves properly, orderly and to be transparent and follow the laws of the land.

We believe that the sooner we break the current impasse the better it will be for our people, our government, our parliament and the nation. SMUMF is willing to assist in mediating between parties, if necessary, in order to bring about a solution to the current impasse.

May God bless and protect our beloved country, Sint Maarten!

rodolphesamuel03012013Philipsburg:--- The President of the Parliament of St. Maarten Rodolphe Samuel announced on Sunday morning on the Lloyd Richardson Talk Show that he will be tendering his resignation on Monday. Samuel did not give details as to how he intends to make his position available to the Parliament of St. Maarten.

The President of Parliament also gave another overview on how he handled every letter that was sent to him by the eight members of Parliament who said they form the majority of the Wescot-Williams III Cabinet. Samuel also explained to the people of St. Maarten for the third time why the meeting that was called by three MPs Louie Laveist, George Pantophlet, and Independent Member Frans Richardson was rescheduled and why he could not have chaired the meeting on Monday which was rescheduled to Friday May 17th. Samuel further explained that he had to bring clarity to the people of St. Maarten and that is what he did on Friday when he convened the meeting but did not deal with the two agenda points. He said the current political crisis has shed a very bad image of St. Maarten especially since the members of the highest legislative body are not following the rules of order that guides the functioning of Parliament.

St. Maarten's President of Parliament also clarified that what took place in Curacao was legally correct because the President of Curacao's Parliament was refusing to call a meeting. However, that is not the case on St. Maarten he said the letter that was sent by four MPs from the new majority had a mistake to which they admitted when he wrote them and asked them for clarification and then they requested that he placed their request as an agenda point of the meeting requested by the three MPs Laviest, Pantophlet, and Richardson. Samuel said that there are two articles of the constitution of St. Maarten that the people of St. Maarten will never forget which are articles 33 where Parliament can dismiss Ministers and article 59 where the Council of Ministers can dismiss Parliament. The only media outlet that has been bringing out the checks and balances of government through the constitution of St. Maarten is SMN News. SMN News posted many pages of A.B. van Rijn's book where he defines the constitution.

The current political crisis which seems to be never ending is being delayed because the Prime Minister of St. Maarten Sarah Wescot Williams has refused to deal with a request and expression of the majority members of the Council of Ministers which is to dissolve the Parliament of St. Maarten, Samuel told the radio listeners on Sunday morning.

President of the Democratic Party Michael Ferrier called in on the program and shared his views on the ongoing political saga. One of Ferrier's concerns was which article of the constitution came first and for him he wanted to know the real reason Samuel did not convene the meeting on Monday. On the radio program Samuel made clear that he received a letter from the MPs that requested the meeting to reschedule the meeting because one of them had left the island to attend the funeral of slain MP Helmin Wiels.

Deputy Prime Minister of St. Maarten William Marlin also called in on the program to clarify the true reasons for the political crisis on St. Maarten. Marlin made clear that the meetings of Parliament are public but the Council of Ministers' meetings that are held on Tuesdays and Thursdays are held behind closed doors. He said one of the callers were on the mark when they questioned what really worked for MP Romaine Laville who told the people of St. Maarten and the public prosecutor that the leader of the United Peoples Party Theodore Heyliger offered him bribes twice to return to UP party so that he Heyliger can remain in government.
Several persons who normally listen to the weekly program also called in and expressed their views on the behavior of the elected officials. One of the callers gave MP Laville a public advice which is to hold on to what he was paid by the leader of the UP Party to throw down the Government because if the Leader of the UP does not get into power he will be asking for a refund.

Another caller said that she wants to know why MP Romaine Laville is given the chance to destabilize the government of St. Maarten twice, she is of the opinion that if Laville gets the chance to throw the government down a third time he will.

A meeting of Parliament is scheduled for Monday morning while several of the persons who took part in the march on Friday promised to protest at the House of Parliament on Monday morning.

Philipsburg:--- The Saint Martin United Ministerial Foundation (SMUMF) declares Wednesday, May 22nd 2013 as a national day of prayer on Sint Maarten. The political and governmental upheavals over the past weeks have escalated to a very troubling level, one which not only calls for concern but also for all spiritual leaders and Christians to pray about.

The entire population of Sint Maarten is kindly requested to take some time on Wednesday during the day or night to pray for our nation. You can pray privately in your home, in your car, or even when you go to the bathroom on your job.

The New Testament Baptist Church will be opened on Wednesday between 12 noon and 1:00pm to the general public for collective prayer. Concerned citizens, whose lunch hour or work break is from 12 noon to 1:00pm can join the prayer vigil. The New Testament Baptist Church is located amidst the three pillars of Government, namely Parliament, Government and the Judicial branch. In light of the continued political and governmental uncertainty, the SMUMF believes that the time is now for us to rise up and collectively intercede for and on behalf of our country.

SMUMF is asking all Church leaders not only to set aside this day for special prayers, but to also ask your congregants to meet on Wednesday evening for a time of intercessory prayer. Below we have outlined nine prayer points which we hope will help to guide your time of individual and or corporate prayer.

Pray for: (1) God's divine intervention into the affairs of the Government of Sint Maarten. (2) God's wisdom to prevail in all areas of governmental decision making. (3) God's restoration of integrity to those who are set in place to rule and exercise authority. (4) God's will to be done in Government and in the nation. (5) The fear of God (reverential respect) to be established in Government and the nation at large. (6) God's peace to prevail in Government and in the nation.

Pray against: (7) The spirit of unrest in our nation. (8) The spirit of confusion and violence in the nation. (9) The spirit of selfishness and greed in the nation.

Let us join our hands, hearts, and spirits together as we obey the Word of God to pray for those in authority. May God bless and protect our beloved country, Sint Maarten.

swescotwilliamsataucgraduation19052013"I expect you to never forget the time you have spent here. This island will remain with you forever and is a part of what you are and what you will become as individuals and as practitioners in the medical field."

Philipsburg:--- The Prime Minister of St. Maarten the Honorable Sarah Wescot-Williams was one of the honored guests at the Commencement Ceremony for the Class of 2013 of the American University of the Caribbean on Saturday. The Ceremony, which celebrated the largest group of graduating students since the establishment of the Medical University, was held at the Sonesta Maho resort and featured guests from around the region, including representatives from the DeVry Group of Companies.

During her remarks at the Graduation Ceremony the Prime Minister stated that on behalf of the Government of St Maarten it was again her pleasure to be able to attend the ceremony. "Since the establishment of the AUC I have attended many celebratory events at the school as it continued and continues to grow from strength to strength. But it is always an extra pleasure to be at the Commencement Ceremonies, which for the students it is a crowning event of their career here on the island. It is a sign of confidence for the Country of St. Maarten and for the AUC that you, the students, have chosen St Maarten for your place of study. I am convinced that as you leave our shores you will not only have left with your degree but also with many fond experiences that you have had while on the island. I wanted to, in a special way, also well welcome the parents and loved ones who have joined you for this occasion. This is St. Maarten, the place where you as graduate have decided to come to and study and as St. Maarteners we are very proud of the Graduates Congratulations are also in order for the faculty and staff for continuing to build this school so that every year we can have these ceremonies. Thank you for making this island the permanent residence of UAC and look how far you have come since 1995. The Government of St. Maarten congratulates you in bringing the school to where it is today.

"To the students we say as you embark on your medical career, no matter how hectic your career may become, I expect you to never forget the time you have spent here. This island will remain with you forever and is a part of what you are and what you will become as individuals and as practitioners in the medical field. Thank you for choosing St. Maarten and also for the interaction you have had with the community of St. Maarten and for making it a household name on this island. We hope you may come back quickly and often and I look forward to seeing you soon. God bless you, stay strong and remain faithful to your calling and God Bless the Nation of St. Maarten," commented the Prime Minister

The American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine was founded in 1978, upon a belief in the need for visionary, skilled, compassionate doctors. The AUC was originally chartered by the Government of Montserrat in the British West Indies, however, In 1995 Montserrat's Soufrière Hills Volcano caused the school to be relocated to St. Maarten. In 1998, the School of Medicine completed a new multi-million-dollar teaching and learning facility and in 2002, AUC's modern one and two-bedroom student dormitory was constructed.

The AUC Medical School in Collaboration with the University of St. Maarten provides the opportunity for locals to become future physicians through the provision of scholarships worth up to $ 30.000. The AUC also collaborates very closely with the St. Maarten Medical Center in providing health care to the people of St. Maarten and logistical support through various programs.

From the Cabinet of the Prime Minister

PHILIPSBURG:--- A plenary session of Parliament regarding recent political developments and the vote of no confidence against certain members of the Council of Ministers was postponed on Friday, May 17 and has been reconvened for May 20.

The plenary public meeting will be held on Monday morning at 10:00am in the General Assembly Chamber of the House at Wilhelmina Straat #1 in Philipsburg.

The meeting for May 17 was initially requested by Members of Parliament (MPs) Hon. George Pantophlet, and MP Hon. Louie Laveist of the National Alliance (NA) faction, and Independent MP Hon. Frans Richardson regarding recent political developments (agenda point 1).

The request for the plenary session was dated May 6, 2013 and the meeting was scheduled for May 13 but was cancelled – reconvened for May 17 - in connection with certain MPs wanting to travel for the funeral of Curacao MP H. Wiels that took place on Tuesday.

Deputy Prime Minister Hon. William Marlin was invited to parliament to be present for agenda point one and he was present for the plenary session on May 17. This request was made by MPs Hon. G. Pantophlet, Hon. L. Laveist, and Hon. F. Richardson in a letter of May 16, 2013 to the President of Parliament.

An additional agenda point had also been added to the 13 May plenary session based on correspondence dated May 7 and May 9, 2013 from MPs Hon. Roy Marlin (DP), Hon. Petrus L. de Weever (DP), Hon. Janchie Leonard (UP), and Hon. Gracita Arrindell (UP): Establishing that Minister W. Marlin, Minister R. Tuitt, Minister R. Duncan, Minister R. Pantophlet and Minister S. Jacobs no longer enjoy majority support from the Parliament of Sint Maarten. This agenda point is slated to be handled in the May 20 plenary session.

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

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 www.pearlfmradio.com, and also via www.sxmparliament.org.

newelectionmarchers17052013Philipsburg:--- Close to two hundred persons took part in a peaceful march that started off at Le Grand Marche's parking lot on Friday afternoon as they called on the Parliament of St. Maarten to respect the wishes of the people and call for new elections. Several persons stood alongside the road while many drivers stopped and looked at the marchers who shouted from the top of the voices telling those that were on the sidelines to join the march because the change starts with the people.

The crowd which was expected to be much larger was hampered by the time it started because most people said they were working and preferred if the march had taken place much later in the evening. Another hindrance to the turnout Friday afternoon was that the unions chose to call a general membership meeting at 3pm Friday afternoon to inform their membership of the outcome of the meeting they held with the Prime Minister regarding the Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) payments. President of the Windward Islands Teachers Union Claire Elshot told SMN News on Thursday that her members would have joined the march because they did not get any satisfactory answer from the Prime Minister when she met with them earlier in the day but the WITU members did not participate in the march.

Despite the turn out, the marchers were carrying placards throughout the walk from Le Grand Marche to the Government Administration Building and they kept chanting "Enough is Enough, the change starts with us, know your rights to petition and march," as they demanded that new elections be called as soon as possible to end the current political crisis on St. Maarten. The peaceful march was organized by Lisa Alexander who began gathering signatures about a week ago demanding that new elections be called and the rights of the people on St. Maarten be respected. Radio personality and talk show host Mercedes Wyatt (ELECTRA) also participated in the march as one of the lead persons chanting and walking alongside the organizers Lisa Alexander and Rene "Koto" Wilson.

Rene "Koto" Wilson who was organizing a separate march joined Alexander in the march she organized since both marches were for the same cause. Wilson said that several persons called them and told them that they would have liked to participate in the march but it was taking place during their working hours. He said they are satisfied with the turn out because Friday was the beginning of the fight that will continue throughout next week. Wilson further explained that the protesters intend to continue their fight throughout next week until the Members of Parliament understand that it is the people that elected them and they need to listen to the electorate.

marchersatgovernmentbuilding17052013Wilson said that St. Maarten is the only country that has a convicted criminal in front of their Government Administration Building. The well known activist was referring to the statue of the late Claude Wathey that is erected in front of the Government Administration Building. Wilson said nowhere else in the world this happens but on St. Maarten. "The late Claude Wathey was convicted for embezzlement and Government chose to place a statue of a convict in front of the Administration Building because all of the politicians that reined under the late Wathey are also guilty of embezzlement." He said one of the things he intends to do is to get the Kingdom Prosecutor to conduct an investigation on the functioning of the Landsrecherche on St. Maarten because there are too many cases related to government officials that are not being investigated. "Right now, the politicians in the Netherlands and the Kingdom Prosecutors want to know why the Landsrecherche on St. Maarten cannot get its job done. I will be pressing for them to send St. Maarten's Attorney General Taco Stein home because he is not working in St. Maarten's interest. Stein was here before and he knows exactly what takes place on the island when it comes to corruption. So far, Taco Stein cannot say why cases that are over three years old cannot be completed."

The protestors and the organizers have decided that they will go to the Parliament of St. Maarten on Monday morning when the continuation meeting convenes to express their concerns and protest while the intention is to turn in all the signatures they collected during the petition drive. The organizers were still busy collecting signatures at Le Grand Marche's parking lot prior to starting the march and they did the same in front of the Government Administration Building. It was expected that Prime Minister Sarah Wescot Williams, the spokesperson for the Council of Ministers, would have come outside and greeted the marchers but the Prime Minister did not show her face. The only Ministers who were among the people were Minister of Health Cornelius de Weever and Minister of TEATT Romeo Pantophlet. Minister Silveria Jacobs was seen standing with a group of people while the protesters were walking down the Pondfill road. At the Government Administration Building, Member of Parliament Frans Richardson was seen speaking to some of his friends and supporters.

Click here to view more photos of Friday's peaceful march.

Harbour View:--- On Friday May 17, 2013, His Excellency the Governor of Sint Maarten, drs. E.B. Holiday, received and signed-off the national decree regulating the honorable discharge of Minister of Justice R.E. Duncan according to his request of May 10, 2013. The decree takes effect immediately.

civilregistrydeptatashastevensprimaryschool17052013GREAT BAY (DCOMM):--- The Civil Registry Department, restarted its "Identify Me Campaign", and has ensured that those schools that were unable to take part in the campaign last year were able to receive this extra service in 2013.

Over 120 students from the Charlotte Brookson Academy and the Asha Stevens Campus received their identification cards. Certain teachers took the opportunity to renew their cards as the need to physically come to the office was no longer needed.

The department will continue to target the schools on an annual basis as each person from the age of 12 and above is obliged to have an identification card according to the law.

jackothebaboon17052013The St. Maarten Zoo lost its oldest inhabitant this week. Our male baboon, Jacko, died quietly in his sleep.
We are not sure of his age but we believe him to be at least 25 years of age.
Baboons in captivity have been known to live up to 45 years, while in the wild their life expectancy is about 25 - 30 years.

Jacko was brought to the island as an adult baboon by Mr. Max Phelipa. The Zoo in Aruba donated Jacko to Mr. Phelipa's small zoo which he had in his yard on Front Street.
Jacko was a year and a half at the time.
Jacko lived there for about a year or so until the St. Maarten Zoo was opened in 1991.
Then Jacko and his family moved into a large comfortable enclosure at the new zoo.
They enjoyed many years of comfort there.
Over the years the other baboons died, and Jacko was left alone in his exhibit.
We know he was lonely and missed his family, but we are glad Jacko had so many years with us at the Zoo.
We know many people on the island remember going to the Zoo as children and seeing Jacko there.
We are sad to lose him but we are grateful he lived to such a good age.
Rest in Peace Jacko!

usfolcleansstjorisbay17052013WILLEMSTAD, Curacao:--- On 15 May 2013, volunteers from the U.S. Forward Operating Location (USFOL) and the local wind surfing community spent the morning picking-up trash and debris at Koraal Tabak on Sint Jorisbay. By noon, a half-ton of trash had been collected and sent to the island dump for disposal. Each month, around 3,000 people visit the area for recreation including at-risk youth who receive mentoring and free kite boarding lessons from Fundashon Sint Joris Baai, a non-profit organization. The USFOL regularly donates time to community projects as a way of saying "Thank You" for all that the Curacao people have given them.

civilregistrydeptdonatestoicanfoundation17052013GREAT BAY (DCOMM):--- The Civil Registry employees gathered non-perishable food as part of their social activities, and donated the goods to the St. Martin's Home and the I Can Foundation. This gesture was a way of giving back to the community and was well appreciated by the recipients.

Great Bay -The Department of Youth Affairs has announced that the application period for students to apply for the Business Outreach and Placement Program has been extended to May 24th, 2013.

Said program, coordinated by the Department of Youth Affairs, is dedicated to placing pre-exam and exam students aged 16 and older of secondary schools as well as students in tertiary level education in temporary employ during the months of July and August. The main objective of the BOPP is to provide a work experience based on the students' possible career ambition.

All students entering the program will gain knowledge through the training that is provided prior to being placed and ultimately gain an invaluable work experience. By spending four to six weeks working in various government departments and in the private sector, the gap between the academic and business world is bridged. The employer will benefit from the competent and often times innovative perspective that students can offer.

This year, the BOPP program is scheduled to run from July 1st through August 9th, 2013 and will mark its 15th anniversary in existence.
The program will consist of the usual application period, training, pre-selection for interviews and final selection for a summer job.

Students wishing to apply for a summer job can still do so by visiting their school guidance counselor's office for an application form or pass by the Department of Youth and Sports Affairs. Student applications must be submitted to the Department of Youth and Sports located in the Vlaun Building, across from the Post Office no later than Friday, May 24th 2013.

Business owners are also encouraged to participate in the program and support the youth as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility to the community. Businesses that are willing to participate or seek more information can contact the department of Youth and Sports Affairs for further information at telephone number: 542-2056/ 5423873 or via fax: 54-20643 or send an e-mail to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

uscgtheeagle17052013POINT BLANCHE:--- The Port of St. Maarten is working closely with Dr. Jack Stevens, President of the Navy League's Caribbean and Latin American Region, to bring more U.S. Navy and Coast Guard vessels to St. Maarten for rest and relaxation.

St. Maarten/St. Martin was the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard's top-rated liberty port in the Caribbean from the early 1990's until the shutdown of the Navy's Puerto Rico Training Area, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and real competition from other Caribbean ports that recognized the economic benefits of Navy and Coast Guard port visits. This all caused a drastic decline in U.S. Navy and Coast Guard visits to our friendly island.

As U.S. forces are reduced in many parts of the world and the U.S. again begins to recognize the importance of its Caribbean and Latin American neighbors, U.S. Navy and Coast Guard ship visits to our region are expected to increase significantly in the months and years ahead. And, St. Maarten/St. Martin has a second chance to become the U.S. forces liberty port of choice in the Caribbean.

On Friday, May 24 (less than two weeks from now), the U.S. Coast Guard Training Ship EAGLE will arrive in Great Bay Harbour for a three-day visit to our friendly island.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mark Mingo of the St. Maarten Harbour Group of Companies said the EAGLE visit is very important to St. Maarten for several reasons. First, because the EAGLE is considered "America's Tall Ship" and the oldest (77 years old) active ship in the U.S. fleet, it is recognized all over the world.

Second, the young cadets and officer candidates aboard this ship as well as the training officers aboard the ship will spread the word about their experiences on our friendly island. Finally, Mingo said, this very high visibility visit can help to reestablish destination St. Maarten as the ideal liberty port in the Caribbean not only for the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard but also for naval vessels of other friendly nations.

Harbour CEO Mingo added, "While most St. Maarteners recognize the positive contribution that cruise ships and mega yachts make to our economy, not as many recognize that visits of U.S. Navy and Coast Guard vessels can give an additional boost to our economy.

Jack Stevens thanked Mingo and his team at the Harbour Group of Companies for their support of the Navy League which has played a key role in promoting ship visits in the past. Stevens said that there was no guarantee of large Navy ship visits in the future but that we can greatly improve the possibility of future ship visits by making sure that the crew of the EAGLE has a pleasant and successful visit to our island.

Jack Stevens further explained that the four factors that determine where a ship makes a liberty visit are (1) the needs of the country or service, (2) the safety and security of the ship and the crew members, (3) costs associated with the visit, and (4) last, but certainly not least, the wishes of the crew.

Mingo said that we can promote future business for our Country St. Maarten by making all visitors feel safe and secure, keep our prices competitive with other ports, and by helping every visitor have a great time on our friendly island.

telemgroupcellsite02052013Pond Island:--- TelEm Group technicians and engineers last night switched over to the use of a new 3G network frequency to remove network interference issues that are coming from neighbouring Anguilla.
The frequency was granted to TelEm Group by the Bureau of Telecommunications and Post (BTP), St. Maarten, following a request from the company.
"We are thankful to the Bureau of Telecommunications for responding so quickly to our request for the temporary use of a new frequency. It will greatly improve on the quality of the signal being received by our mobile voice and data customers on the 3G network," said TelEm Group Chief Technical Officer (CTO) Mr. Eldert Louisa.
Mr. Louisa said it was also thanks to the BTP, working along with the company's Manager Network Operations, Mr. Julien Lake, and the coordinating technicians and engineers, that the source of the interruption was traced to equipment being used by Digicel in Anguilla. That equipment was also being operated on the same frequency as TelEm Group's 3G network equipment.
"Once we identified the source were able to take the necessary steps to deal with the interference as a matter of priority," stated Mr. Louisa.
He said a team of technicians and engineers had the task late last night, of shutting down the 3G network and reconfiguring hardware and software with the new frequency requirements, before activating the 3G network once more.
As a result of interference issues during the past three weeks, 3G mobile voice and data users who were experiencing problems with the TelEm Group 3G network were requested to take their handsets and smartphones off AUTO to "push" their service onto the company's 2G network.
Mr. Louisa explained at the time that mobile handsets and smartphones that are set to automatically select the most suitable network will jump from the 2G network to the 3G network depending of what signal is available.
"That is why we advised users to put their mobile handset and smartphones to AUTO," said the Chief Technical Officer.
He said once the new frequency is fully in use and the 3G network is once again regularized, TelEm Group will provide the public with additional information about the resetting of mobile and voice and data devices for optimal service on the 3G network.
Meantime the Chief Technical Officer has apologized to TelEm Group mobile voice and data customers for the interruption on network service which was caused by third parties and was not under the control of the company.

judithuyterlinde17052013GREAT BAY/MARIGOT:--- Bestselling author Judith Uyterlinde, one the Netherlands' most translated new generation writers, is headed for the St. Martin Book Fair, May 30 - June 1, 2013, said Shujah Reiph, book fair coordinator.

Uyterlinde's novel, Cette femme qui dit être ma mere, the French edition of The Woman Who Says She is My Mother, was published just in time for the May 30 book fair opening at the Chamber of Commerce Building, Spring Concordia, Marigot.

The first book by Uyterlinde, The Baby Void – My Quest for Motherhood, was an international bestseller, with translation rights sold in 20 countries. Her Dutch and English language titles will be available at the three-day St. Martin literary festival.

"The engineer-turned novelist Garfield Ellis, is also one of our important guest authors and he's coming in from Canada," said Reiph, who is also president of Conscious Lyrics Foundation (CLF).

A two-time winner of the Una Marson prize for adult literature, Ellis is the author of five novels and short story collections: Flaming Hearts, Wake Rasta, Such As I Have, For Nothing at All, and Till I'm Laid To Rest.

Both writers will be among the visiting and St. Martin authors touring schools throughout the island. They will read from their new books at the Literary Evening in Grand Case at Blue Martini Restaurant; and conduct free workshops on Saturday, June 1, the main book fair day at the University of St. Martin campus, said Reiph.

Uyterlinde is packing something else in her literary luggage. The Woman Who Says She is My Mother has been made into a documentary for Dutch TV. A graphic novel of the book will be published in Dutch and English in 2013, said the author. "This is the reason why we asked Ms. Uyterlinde to conduct the multimedia workshop called 'The life of a book after it's a book'," said Jacqueline Sample of House of Nehesi Publishers (HNP), co-organizer of the book fair.

People at the 'life of a book' workshop will receive expert, hands-on product and marketing ideas and practices of how "translations; film or video documentary; and producing a graphic novel" can be "creative ways to reach new audiences," said Uyterlinde.

Garfiled Ellis will conduct the Creative Writing Workshop, a practical workshop for writers, aspiring writers, young writers, and people thinking about writing poetry, a play, a novel, short stories, children's books, or their life's story, said Reiph.

Ellis, originally from Jamaica, is also a recipient of the University of Miami's prestigious James Michener Fellow and the Heinemann/Lifestyle short story award.

The St. Maarten Tourist Bureau and the University of St. Martin are partners in the 11th annual St. Martin Book Fair, organized by CLF and HNP.

GREAT BAY (DCOMM):--- Collective Prevention Services (CPS), a department of the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, continues to monitor developments with respect to a new strain of influenza A (H7H9) that has been observed in China in order to ensure that public health is safeguarded.

The standard advice to travelers to China is to follow good hand hygiene and food safety practices and to avoid contact with animals. While in China, avoid touching animals whether they are alive or dead and to avoid live bird or poultry markets and to only eat food that is fully cooked. Similar advice has also been issued by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Persons traveling to China are advised to remain vigilant and observe measures recommended by local Chinese health authorities. The World Health Organization (WHO) does not advise against travel to China at this point in time, as there is no evidence of human-to-human transmission of the virus.

Influenza A (H7N9) is known to affect wild birds and poultry. The cases in China are the first known cases of H7N9 infection in humans. As of May 8, China reported a total of 131 laboratory confirmed cases of human infection, including 32 deaths in the provinces of Fujian, Henan, Hunan, Jiangxi, Shandong, Anhui, Jiangsu, Zhejiang and the municipalities of Shanghai and Beijing. One case was reported by the Taipei Centers for Disease Control.

Age range is two to 91 years old with 54 per cent of cases registered in persons of 60 years or older. Of the total cases reported, 38 are among females and 88 are among males.

Returning travelers from affected areas in China should look out for signs and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as fever and cough, and seek early medical attention if they are will with such symptoms.

The Minister of Public Health Hon. Cornelius De Weever 'Get Checked' campaign emphasizes the importance of individuals informing their doctors of their travel history, should they develop these symptoms after returning to Sint Maarten.

Travelers to China should practice the following: avoid direct contact with poultry, birds or their droppings, and if contact is made, wash hands thoroughly with soap and water; Cook poultry and eggs thoroughly before eating; Wash hands frequently with soap and water (e.g. before handling food or eating, after going to the toilet, or when hands are dirtied by respiratory secretion after coughing or sneezing).

Also while in China avoid crowded places and contact with sick people with fever, and wear a mask when you have respiratory symptoms or are feeling unwell.

swescotwilliamsandjrollocks17052013Philipsburg:--- Chaos and confusion erupted in the House of Parliament on Friday morning when the Chairman of Parliament Rodolphe Samuel lectured the fourteen Members of Parliament that attended the meeting before adjourning the meeting until Monday claiming that he needed legal advice.
The head of the Legal Affairs Department sent an advice to the Prime Minister expressing doubt regarding the legality of the motion of non-confidence that was passed against four Ministers on Monday by eight MPs from the UP/DP Laville coalition. The legal affairs department informed the Prime Minister that there were several procedural errors when the motion was tabled and passed by the eight Members of Parliament on Monday. The Department of Legal Affairs even contacted the griffier of Parliament to furnish them with information on how the meeting took place in order for them to complete their advice and after receiving a response from the griffier of Parliament they concluded that they could not submit a coherent legal advice to the Prime Minister of St. Maarten.

The House of Parliament was filled to its capacity with several detectives that were there to ensure that safety and security was at its best.

While fourteen Members of Parliament attended the meeting many of them from the UP/DP/Laville faction signed the speakers list, but they did not sign in to form a quorum for the meeting to precede. Therefore, the meeting that was scheduled to begin at 10am began closer to 10:30am. Samuel in his address to Parliament explained that he could not start the meeting because several MPs took their seat but did not sign in for the meeting. He said the rules of order clearly states that if there is no quorum then a meeting of Parliament cannot be convened.

Samuel lamented that he is the President of the Parliament of St. Maarten and the only way he can be removed from his chair is if the majority Members of Parliament vote a motion of non-confidence against him. He said that could only take place in the House of Parliament and not by anyone sending him a letter. Samuel further explained that he already said that whenever he does not enjoy the majority in Parliament he will willingly resign from his position. While the Chairman of Parliament was making his statements, MP Leroy de Weever said he had a point of order but the chairman quickly told him that he did not have the floor to speak. At the time, Deputy Prime Minister William Marlin attended the meeting so he could have given his side of the story had the meeting took place.

updpandrlavillecoalition17052013The President of Parliament told the MPs that they needed to follow the rules of order that governed the House of Parliament since they are the highest legislative body on St. Maarten. Samuel said that the gathering that was held Monday where the eight Members of Parliament voted a motion of non-confidence against four Ministers has created confusion in the community and therefore there needs to be clarity on the matter. Samuel said that the people of St. Maarten need an explanation on the political situation. He said that even though eight MPs do form the majority of Parliament if those MPs does not follow the rules then St. Maarten has a huge problem.

When Samuel ended his statements, he referred to the advice that was sent to the Prime Minister by the Department of Legal Affairs. He said based on that he too is now seeking legal advice to determine whether the four Ministers namely William Marlin, Roland Tuitt, Silveria Jacobs, and Romeo Pantophlet were legally sent home or if they will be sent home twice. When Samuel announced that the meeting is adjourned until Monday, MPs from the UP faction, DP faction, and Laville started shouting, claiming that MP De Weever had a point of order. UP MP Johan Janchi Leonard seemed breathless when he jumped out of his seat and told the Chairman that MP De Weever had a point of order. MP Roy Marlin, MP Gracita Arrindell, and MP Laville all began to shout saying that they have to get the opportunity to speak but Samuel informed them that they did not have the floor then he slammed the hammer and said the meeting is adjourned.

MP Jules James was overheard yelling that this is the "Mexican standoff" the Deputy Prime Minister William Marlin was referring to when he gave his first press conference. "William, the Chairman of Parliament is carrying out your orders. He learned from you," MP Jules James said out of frustration.

As the commotion continued after the meeting, the Prime Minister of St. Maarten Sarah Wescot Williams rushed over to the House of Parliament to meet with the MPs who said that  they are now the majority that would form the Wescot Williams III Cabinet. The outcome of Monday's meeting left many members of the community confused, many of them were calling for the Dutch to intervene because the Prime Minister is refusing to execute her duties and now there is a stand off in Parliament.

Click here to view more photos of the commotion at the House of Parliament on Friday morning.

flaviennoaillespaulbetailleandregisbloret16052013Marigot:--- Vice Prosecutor of St. Martin Flavien Noailles, Commandant of the Gendarmerie Paul Betaille, and an agent of the Brigade de recherches Regis Bloret told reporters on Thursday evening that one person they consider to be the suspect that shot Johnathan Freedom five times last Sunday evening during the Fish Day manifestation has been arrested and charged with murder. The Gendarmes also arrested two other persons but they were released and are cooperating with the investigation.

Prosecutor Noailles identified the suspect as Job JN Marie, 22 years old from St. Martin he was arrested on Tuesday. The suspect was transferred to Guadeloupe where he will appear before the judge of instruction. Job JN Marie is no stranger to the justice system, he was convicted for robbery sometime ago and is also charged with attempted murder which took place before the 2013 Fish Day shootout.

Prosecutor Noailles said the investigation and evidence they collected thus far showed that the victim Johnathan Freedom (17) years old is the one who started the shooting spree and injured seven persons. One of the seven persons that were injured is the brother of the suspect that is charged with the murder of Johnathan Freedom. Prosecutor Noailles explained that the victim Johnathan Freedom shot Job JN Marie's brother "Jean Marc Vignerol" in his neck. He said it was after the suspect's brother was shot in the neck he reacted by shooting Johnathan five times killing him on the spot. The investigators found the weapon Johnathan Freedom used in the shootout in his hand on the crime scene. Noailles said the gun that was used to shoot Freedom was not recovered but the investigators found lots of ammunition that belonged to a 9mm gun.

When SMN News reporter asked Noailles how many guns were used in the Fish Day shootout, Prosecutor Noailles said that they know for sure two guns were used but there is a possibility that a third weapon was fired. SMN News also asked Noailles what sparked the shootout on Fish Day by these youngsters that are affiliated with gangs from Cheveries and Concordia. Noailles said that there was a stabbing in Concordia on May 2nd, 2013 by a group consisting of four people.

As for the victims that were injured, Noailles said six of them were released from the hospital while the seventh victim remains in hospital. He confirmed that the victim lost an eye and she is also pregnant. Noailles said the victim is in stable condition.

sjacobswith24studentcarecoordinators16052013GREAT BAY (DCOMM):--- Some 24 Student Care Coordinators (SCCs) were awarded certificates of participation on Wednesday morning for a recent training that was conducted by Student Support Services Division (SSSD) of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth & Sports.

The training ran from August to December 2012 and was financed by USONA. Participants received theoretical instruction and in groups they worked on how to apply the skills presented.

Minister of Education Hon. Silveria Jacobs, being a former teacher, SCC and school manager before becoming Minister of Education, encouraged SCCs to continue to upgrade themselves and in so doing have an impact on education.

Minister Jacobs, Acting Secretary General Quincy Harrigan (M.A.Ed.), and Head of Student Support Services Division Olga Mussington-Service (M.S.) presented the awards to the participants.

The award ceremony also included remarks by SSSD Head Olga Mussington-Service (M.S.), facilitator drs. Eveline John-Roberts, and class spokesperson Karen Wattley. During this event the speakers stressed the importance of the objectives of the training being carried over to the practical situations and thanked the award recipients while encouraging them to be consistent in their efforts.

The objectives of the training were for SCCs to understand their roles and position in the care system; roles as support to teachers, students and parents; the need for accurate tracking of students; the responsibility for proper documentation of student performance and referral; the need for accountability towards management, parents; using regular reporting and capacity building.

The award recipients included Adelicia Mossel, Agnes Brookson, Amorette Hodge, Anna Halley, Arlene Gumbs, Aster Allen, Bill Rattiger, Candyta Richardson, Christopher Wever, Daphne King, Estella Matinburgh, Hilda Brown-Carty, Jacklene Joedoleksono-Gumbs, Jamila Javois-Arrindell, Joanne A.R. Reiph, Karen Wattley, Laureen Prince, Michael Teixeira, Miranda Morris-Carty, Myrna Richardson, Richard White, Rozella Groeneveldt, Samantha Beaton, and Shaina Fernandes-Carneiro.

Awards of appreciation were also presented to the persons facilitating the training for the Student Care Coordinators. These persons included drs. Eveline John-Roberts, drs. Janique Kolfin-Baly, Morela Hodge-Holtermann, drs. Xiomara Balentina, Olga Mussington-Service (M.S.)and Denise Johnson (M.A.).

The Student Support Services Division also presented all school managers of elementary schools with a "Teacher Resource Manual" for their resource room.

Olga Mussington-Service stated that much of the resources of SSSD has been spent on capacity building at the elementary school level and that the books contains various interventions for problems that students present with. Mussington-Service further stated that the manual can be a great source for teachers and SCCs as we work together in the best interest of our students.

In closing of the ceremony it was stressed that the participation and completion of the training was not an end in itself, but a beginning to remain focused in the execution of the role of the SCC.

Le Grand Marche to Clem LaBega Square (Government Administration Building)

Road Closures

From 04.00 P.M.: A.J.C. Brouwers road closed at Welgelegen road. No more traffic towards Church Hill roundabout. Zagersgut rd. closed at the Coralita rd. No more traffic towards Bush rd. Bush rd. closed at the Zagersgut
road. No more traffic in the direction of Church Hill roundabout

From 04.00 P.M.: Walter A. Nisbeth road closed at the Prince Bernard Bridge. No more traffic toward Bush road.

From 04:30 P.M.: Walter A. Nisbeth road closede at the W. Percy M. Labega street. No more traffic toward Prince Bernard Bridge.

From 04:45 P.M.: Manzanilla steeg closed at WA Nisbeth road. No more traffic direction W. A. Nisbeth road. Tamarind steeg closed at the W. A. Nisbeth road. No more traffic in the direction of W. A. Nisbeth road. J.Richardson road closed at the W. A. Nisbeth road. No more traffic in the direction W. A. Nisbeth road.

From 05.00 P.M.: W.A.Nisbeth road closed at H. Beaujon street. No more traffic towards Prince Bernard Bridge.

From 05:15 P.M.: C.W.Vlaun street closed. No more traffic towards W.A.Nisbeth road. W.A.Nisbeth road closed at the Salt Pickers roundabout. No more traffic towards Prince Bernard bridge.

From 05:30 P.M.: Peterson street closed at the Cannegieter street. No more traffic direction Salt Pickers roundabout. W.A .Nisbeth road closed at the Salt Pickers roundabout. No more traffic towards Peterson street.

KPSM Public Notice

silveriajacobs16052013GREAT BAY (DCOMM):--- The Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports expressed her elation at being able to assist the Lions Club Sporting Club Foundation in hosting the very successful 30th Annual ABCS Softball Tournament held May 9th through May 13th 2013 at the Jose lake Senior Ball Park.

The ABCS softball Tournament is held annually by rotation on the partnering islands of Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao and St. Maarten. This year St. Maarten had the privilege of hosting the tournament endorsed by the St. Maarten Softball Association. The ABCS Softball tournament has a long history of promoting and also raising the competitive level of the sport of softball on the islands and in particular on St. Maarten.

Thirteen teams of 25 persons each from Aruba (3), Bonaire (3), Curacao (3) and St. Maarten (4) as well as many fans traveling with their respective teams and large group of local softball fans enjoyed a very successful tournament.

The success of the tournament is a testament to the fact that ABCS Softball Tournament continues to foster friendships between the people of the islands of the former Netherlands Antilles.

"The tournament is a prime example of Sports Tourism bringing a boost to the Hotel rooms, restaurants, caterers, wholesalers and retailers who catered to the traveling teams and their entourages," the Minister said.

Minister Jacobs commended the coordination of Steven Constance, his team of volunteers, and the Softball Association for an exceptional and competitive weekend which was enjoyed by all.

The Minister also congratulated all the stakeholders, sponsors and volunteers for making this event such a rousing success. The St. Maarten Softball Association is recommended to include fast pitch player for the male competition so that our local teams are better prepared to take the ABCS championship next time around.

diver16052013The St. Maarten Nature Foundation, in an effort to expand its activities and its operations while simultaneously involving the community in its work, will be launching a structured volunteer program. The St. Maarten Nature Foundation is the Management Authority for the Man of War Shoal Marine Park and manages environmental and conservation projects in the terrestrial, marine and wetland environments. Despite its wide mandate the small organization consists of only three people and therefore is taking steps to initiate a structured volunteer program.

The First group of volunteers the Foundation is looking to recruit is centred on experienced divers to assist with activities in the Marine Park. Divers with an advanced/ rescue diver level certification with their own equipment and who are interested in volunteering are encouraged to do so. The Nature Foundation carries out a wide arrange of activities within the Marine Park and territorial waters; these include in water monitoring of sharks and turtles, marine mammal monitoring, coral reef research and coral transplanting and the maintenance of dive mooring installations. Volunteers will be given training on the various techniques and methods and will then be asked to help out once or twice a month depending on the scheduled activities.

With a core volunteer group of dedicated and interested individuals the Nature Foundation hopes to increase its work capacity inside of the Marine Park and territorial waters of St. Maarten. Subsequent calls for volunteers will involve mangrove transplanting, invasive animal control and water quality monitoring. Those interested in volunteering with the Nature Foundation are asked to email the Nature Foundation at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. in order to request a registration and waiver form.

worldtelecommunicationandinformationsocietydayad16052013Pond Island:--- TelEm Group is promoting the safe use of mobile handsets and smartphones by motorists on St. Maarten as part of its observance of World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD) today (Friday).

World Telecommunication and Information Society Day is an important part of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) calendar for telecommunication companies worldwide.

It is celebrated each year on 17, May and helps raise public awareness about the possibilities of using the Internet and other Information and communication technologies (ICTs) to the benefit of societies and economies.

The theme chosen for this year's observance is: "ICT's and improving road safety.

In observance of the telecommunication day today TelEm Group will be presenting 10 randomly-selected customers with hands-free mobile accessories to promote the responsible use of mobile phones in vehicles .

"The best practice is not to be distracted at all by using a mobile devise while in your vehicle and while driving, but if you must and can operate the devise with voice-activated commands or remotely, then a hands-free device is legal and also your safest option," TelEm Group will be informing the recipients during the presentation of the hands-free devices.

The company wants the recipients of the gifts to make use of them and provide the company with feedback on their use so that they can further inform other customers and members of the public to make them in turn, more aware of the role ITC can play in road safety practices.

TelEm Group endorses this year's message from ITU Secretary General, Dr. Hamadoun I. Toure, that road safety should be a global concern and will be doing its part to continue to promote the theme for the balance of the year.

The company traditionally marks the day locally with a motivational message to personnel and a small customer-appreciation ceremony.

This year TelEm Group is also promoting the ITU young Innovators Competition amongst St. Maarten schools and youth, in collaboration with the ITU and the Caribbean Association of National Telecommunication Organizations (CANTO) (see advertisements in the print media).

proselytedivesitereopened16052013The Nature Foundation on Wednesday re-opened the Proselyte Dive Site when it sank a recycled sailboat keel as a mooring block on Wednesday. Through the Generous donation and assistance of Seatrek Helmet Divers, the Bobby's Marina Group of Companies and Aquatic Solutions the in excess of one ton keel was sank as a mooring close to the Island's most sought after diving location. The previous Proselyte Reef Mooring was attached to pins which were drilled into the bottom, but because the bottom at the location is made out of a clay-like substance and the pins were not holding it was decided to sink the keel instead. The Foundation had to wait for a few months to ensure that the weather conditions were optimal for the project to be concluded successfully.

Because the Marine Park in General and Proselyte Reef more specifically is an important aspect of St. Maarten's tourism product due to the significant amount of dive tourists that visit there, moorings are installed so that dive boats can tie unto them instead of illegally using their anchors, which damages coral.

The Man of War Shoal Marine Protected Area, which includes the Proselyte Dive Site, includes the island's most ecologically and economical important marine habitat, including extensive coral reef areas and seagrass beds and has a high intrinsic ecological, economic and cultural value. The Man of War Shoal Marine Park is a home and migratory stop over or breeding site for 3 IUCN Red List Species, 10 CITES Appendix I species and 89 Appendix II species. It is an area with a relatively healthy population of marine mammals including migratory whales and dolphins, numerous species of shark, sea turtles and numerous fish species. Studies conducted by the St. Maarten Nature Foundation have shown that biodiversity in this area, particularly coral reef density, is high and the economic goods and services which the ecosystem provides are in excess of fifty million dollars annually.

The Nature Foundation would like to thank Seatrek for the donation of the keel, Bobby's Marina Group of Companies for assisting with moving the keel using their heavy equipment and Aquatic Solutions very graciously taking the keel to the dive site and sinking at location.

reginalabega26092012Simpson Bay:--- Managing Director of the Princess Juliana International Airport Operating Company NV (PJIAE), Regina LaBega heads for Madrid, Spain, Friday, where she will be receiving the "International Transport Award" on behalf of her company. She will be accompanied by Kalifa Hickinson, the company's Corporate Communications Specialist.

In a letter announcing the award by the Secretary General and CEO of the Global Trade Leaders' Club, Ricardo Roso Lopez, it was explained that "This prize was created to reward goods and passenger transport companies and related industries that are distinguished for the quality of their services."

"This is very good news for us and for the entire island," said LaBega "because it is an award granted by consumers of our service, many of whom we may not even know."

"It could not have come at a better time as we are celebrating the 70th Anniversary of our airport this year," she added.

The award will be given at a luncheon at the prestigious Hotel Melia Castilla in Madrid on May 20, which will be attended by the city's authorities and diplomatic representatives accredited in Madrid.

The Global Trade Leaders' Club is an organization of businessmen and women that brings together over 7,000 members from 95 countries worldwide who, according to Lopez, "are leaders of big and medium sized companies in all sectors and activities all of whom are main users of transport and related companies."

pjlsolarenergyinfosession04042013PHILIPSBURG:--- On Saturday May 18, at 11:00am, the Philipsburg Jubilee Library will continue its series of educational presentations with Peter Mazereeuw, Director of Archyon Integrated Solutions N.V., on LED lighting possibilities and how it relates to solar energy.
Since the 48 panels were installed on the Library's roof in March, by Anthony Prall of Caribbean Energy Store and configured in collaboration with Archyon, there has been a considerable reduction in its electricity bills. This system has already produced over 4,300 kWh of free electrical energy to date and continuous to save money for the Library.
The general public is invited to come to the Library to learn about the huge saving possibilities of using LEDs and see the actual evidence of the solar system causing the library's electricity meter to run backwards during daytime. Peter and Anthony will be available to answer solar, LED, and other energy questions from 10:30am – 12:30 pm.

PHILIPSBURG:--- A plenary session of Parliament regarding recent political developments and the vote of no confidence against certain members of the Council of Ministers is scheduled for May 17.

The plenary public meeting will be held on Friday morning at 10:00am in the General Assembly Chamber of the House at Wilhelmina Straat #1 in Philipsburg.

The meeting for May 13 was initially requested by Members of Parliament (MPs) Hon. George Pantophlet, and MP Hon. Louie Laveist of the National Alliance (NA) faction, and Independent MP Hon. Frans Richardson regarding recent political developments (agenda point 1).

The request for the plenary session was dated May 6, 2013 and the meeting was scheduled for May 13 but was cancelled in connection with certain MPs wanting to travel for the funeral of Curacao MP H. Wiels that took place on Tuesday.

Deputy Prime Minister Hon. William Marlin has been invited to parliament to be present for agenda point one. This request was made by MPs Hon. G. Pantophlet, Hon. L. Laveist, and Hon. F. Richardson in a letter of May 16, 2013 to the President of Parliament.

An additional agenda point had also been added to the 13 May plenary session based on correspondence dated May 7 and May 9, 2013 from MPs Hon. Roy Marlin (DP), Hon. Petrus L. de Weever (DP), Hon. Janchie Leonard (UP), and Hon. Gracita Arrindell (UP): Establishing that Minister W. Marlin, Minister R. Tuitt, Minister R. Duncan, Minister R. Pantophlet and Minister S. Jacobs no longer enjoy majority support from the Parliament of Sint Maarten. This agenda point is to be handled in the May 17 plenary session.

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

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 www.pearlfmradio.com, and also via www.sxmparliament.org.

epicbirdwalk16052013Environmental Protection in the Caribbean (EPIC) invites the public to join a bird watching walk this coming Saturday May 18th, at Happy Bay to celebrate the 12th annual regional Caribbean Endemic Bird Festival. The walk will be led by knowledgeable guides Ronald Pieters and Mark Yokoyama, author of The Incomplete Guide to the Wildlife of St. Martin. Participants will meet in the parking lot of the post office in Grand Case at 9 a.m.

The 2013 Caribbean Endemic Bird festival CEBF theme is "Life Cycles of Birds" and focuses on increasing awareness of the diversity of birds and their life cycles, as well as the urgent need for conservation. Natalia Collier, President of EPIC explained "It is important that we protect not just nesting areas, but also feeding and resting areas as well as flight paths, covering all bird life cycles."

The Caribbean Endemic Bird Festival runs annually from Earth Day 22 April through to International Biodiversity Day on 22 May. The festival is sponsored by the Society for the Conservation and Study of Caribbean Birds (SCSCB), the largest single organization devoted to wildlife conservation within the Caribbean. The festival is the largest and oldest established grass-roots wildlife education program in the Caribbean. More than 100,000 Caribbean students and teachers are expected to participate in this year's festivities through-out the Caribbean.

Every year it gets harder and harder for birds to survive. For birds that use more than one habitat type or geographical area, the loss or disturbance of even one step in the chain of habitats that they use during their life cycle can lead to death or nesting failure.

The Caribbean Endemic Bird Festival promotes a wide range of activities to bring people to birds and their habitats and increase support for conservation.

Students and teachers interested in developing activities for CEBF should contact EPIC at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit www.facebook.com/epicislands for more information, materials and suggestions.

corneliusdeweever03102012GREAT BAY (DCOMM):--- St. Maarten's calendar of health observances is to promote particular local or global health issues, and encourage our population to Get Checked. World Hypertension Day, Friday, May 17th, is one of the listed opportunities.

In 2013, World Hypertension Day is dedicated to the theme, "Healthy Blood Pressure – Healthy Heart Beat."

To commemorate the day, the Collective Prevention Services (CPS) from the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development & Labour has joined forces with the Diabetes Foundation on Saturday, May 18 at Le Grande Marche on the Bush road from 10.00am to 12.00pm. Individuals will have the opportunity to measure blood pressure and give tips to the general public on reading labels when shopping, especially with respect to the intake of salt.

Hypertension also known as High Blood Pressure is a chronic medical condition that is preventable and treatable. It is possible to develop high blood pressure at any age and anyone can get high blood pressure especially if they have a family history of it. It is the major risk factor for heart disease and stroke, two of the main causes of illness and death in the Caribbean and the Americas.

Hypertension is sometimes called the 'silent killer', because most people with high blood pressure have no symptoms and don't know that they have it. More people worldwide are affected by hypertension than by HIV or AIDS.

The Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labour Cornelius De Weever is calling on the St. Maarten populace to 'Get Checked,' and know your risk factors.

Preventing or reducing high blood pressure through greater awareness and encouraging healthy behaviors is a collective responsibility.

St. Maarten Joins with the World Hypertension League in commemorating World Hypertension Day 2013.

In the "How Healthy is St. Maarten?" study in 1998/1999, hypertension was the second most common chronic disorder and became worst as people grew older. More than twice as many elderly people suffer from high blood pressure compared to younger age groups. Having ones blood pressure checked regularly is very important, especially in light of the fact that 13% of the participants in Sint Maarten reported suffering from high blood pressure.

The study also showed that the population of Sint Maarten leads a sedentary lifestyle with only 24% of all participants practicing any kind of physical activity or sport regularly (at least once a week).

In addition, the eating habits left much to be desired. Almost one third does not have breakfast daily, even though it is the most important meal of the day. Two thirds of the population does not have fruits and vegetables daily, 15% does not consider 'Use little salt' important and 19% add extra salt to prepared food. 17% of the participants do not consider 'Use little sugar or products containing sugar' important and 34% add extra sugar to prepared drinks.

When we look at the weight the results are alarming, the study showed that among both sexes more than 50% of the participants are overweight or obese.

High blood pressure, equal to or above 140/90 mmHg, increases one's risk of heart attack, stroke and kidney disease.

Hypertension is both preventable and treatable. Although high blood pressure affects some 30 per cent of the adult population, a third of them do not know they have the condition.

Hypertension often has no symptoms, which means adults need to take every opportunity to get their blood pressure checked. The health risks of hypertension are even higher for people who also smoke, are obese or have diabetes.

Hypertension can be prevented by consuming less salt; maintaining a healthy and balanced diet; engaging in regular physical activity; avoiding tobacco use; and avoiding harmful use of alcohol.

Great Bay:--- Minister of Public Health, Social Development & Labor , Cornelius de Weever visited the Public Service Center ( PSC) – Simpson Bay earlier this week, together with the Head of Labor Affairs / Acting Head Social Services – Peggy-Ann Dros-Richardson. The PSC recently opened, and houses several departments from various Ministries, including two critical execution agencies of the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development & Labor, namely Labor Affairs Department and Social Services.
Minister de Weever took time out of his busy schedule to visit and interact with staff members, querying the customer service levels, and if the departments are indeed fulfilling the expectations as set forth for the PSC. Currently, services and products being offered under Labor Affairs Department and Social Services include, Job Placement, Labor Registration, Employment Registration, Financial Aid Application, and Medical Aid Application. Indications have shown a desire from the business community to also have the services of work permit applications done at the PSC, an aspect that the Ministry will investigate.
Minister De Weever is encouraging the community to also make use of the facilities outside of Philipsburg that offer these services.
Efforts are on-going to deal consciously with the high unemployment, and as such Minister de Weever announced that Job Placement Officers at the PSC will focus on the business communities spanning from Port de Plaisance to Porto Cupecoy, imploring them to partner with the Ministry in the placement of suitable candidates.
The focus for this Ministry remains the same, 'people-first' and ensuring that the customer service remains at a platinum level thru the continued application of systems of accountability and technological innovations.

Philipsburg:--- Members of the Youth Link Foundation is calling on all elected or appointment Government officials to support their call for campaign finance reform.

President of the foundation, Stuart Johnson said, "In light of the ongoing political developments and against the backdrop of our initial call, now more than ever this reform must be formalized before any upcoming election which is to take place on St. Maarten."

Campaign finance reform will put a cap on the unending limits of campaign budgets of politicians and political parties. "It cannot be business as usual as the electorate should be voting on the issues with realistic solutions by capable and educated individuals," Johnson added.

Johnson made his belief clear by stating, "If we don't put the right laws in place now, we will continue to see many wrongful acts continue to take place and surely our people deserve better than that."

Once the political developments of our country stabilizes, the foundation will be submitting letters to Parliament, the Council of Ministers, and the Governor of St. Maarten.

"This issue surely needs to be addressed ahead of any election taking place on St. Maarten. Otherwise, we will continue to have more of the same," Johnson concluded.

The foundation will be joining with other organizations to ensure this issue is addressed by the relevant stakeholders.

PM to touch on various items Regarding Political Developments

Philipsburg:--- The Prime Minister of St. Maarten the Honorable Sarah Wescot-Williams will be a special guest on PJD 2 Radio's new on air show "It Is What It Is" this Thursday the 15th of May. The show, which is hosted by Joseph Ray, will feature an interview session and information segments by the Prime Minister regarding the on-going political developments. The PM will be on air from six to seven pm. "I would like to urge all listeners to tune into this new radio program where I will be explaining various items and also answering questions by the host Mr. Ray," commented the Prime Minister. "It Is What It Is" airs every Monday to Friday from six to seven in the evening on PJD 2 Radio.

From the Cabinet of the Prime Minister

The present confusion on St. Maarten caused by the row between Government and Parliament can be largely blamed on the lack of knowledge of how constitutional law works. The major players all displayed an alarming ignorance about the respective rights of the two branches of government involved in the conflict, Parliament and Government or the Council of Ministers.
William Marlin created the conflict by not understanding government's right to dissolve Parliament. His refusal to resign when it became clear that his government no longer enjoyed majority support in Parliament rightfully inflamed the UPP fraction. Our constitution is clear on this matter. The explanatory notes, which Marlin perhaps did not study, clearly state that Ministers must resign when they receive a clear message that they no longer have support in Parliament. The letter from the eight MP's stating that they no longer supported his government was a clear indication. The vote of no confidence was not necessary. He should have resigned forthwith. This is exactly what Schotte did in Curacao when he got wind that he no longer enjoyed majority support in Parliament. By the time Parliament got around to the no confidence vote, the governor already had received his cabinet's resignation along with the resolution (LB) dissolving Parliament and calling for new elections. The vote of no confidence that followed was an empty shell. Marlin could have avoided all the drama and confusion by understanding the constitution and following the steps Schotte took.
Because William Marlin did not know or understand that he also had the right to resign and dissolve Parliament (Just like Schotte), he chose the unconstitutional route of refusing to resign. What he should have done, was to obey the wishes of the majority and resign, then use the authority granted to him under the constitution, dissolve Parliament and call new elections. The UPP/DP majority in Parliament might not have liked that turn of events, but Parliament has no say in the matter. The right to dissolve Parliament belongs to government and government alone. It is their tool in the battle of wills between both.
Sarah Wescot Williams is perhaps the biggest culprit in all this. She displayed her ignorance of Constitutional Law when she tried to prevent the majority of the Council of Ministers from dissolving Parliament. First of all, she should have known that one of the responses to losing the majority in Parliament is for Government to in turn dissolve Parliament and call new elections. She is part of government and the Prime Minister to booth. She should have known better. Her refusal to table the agenda point to dissolve Parliament was not only wrongheaded, but unconstitutional as well. By doing so, she abandoned the constitutional order, and entered uncharted territory. A very unwise and poorly thought through decision. After all, she knows what article 20 of the Rules of Order of the Council of Ministers state: Decisions are made by the majority in the council of Ministers.
The UP faction's mistake was double; regret that when the shoe was on the other foot, through ignorance of constitutional law they meekly caved in to the opposition's demands and resigned, but did not dissolve Parliament and call new elections. They are now compounded that error by wrongfully arguing that Parliament should not be dissolved because after all, there is a majority ready to support the new government. They overlooked the fact that in our constitutional order, there is a separation of powers. Government cannot tell Parliament when, or when not to hold a vote of no confidence. That right belongs to Parliament and Parliament alone. Parliament on the other hand cannot tell government when or when not to dissolve government. That right belongs to government and government alone. Their letter to the governor urging him not to consider the LB dissolving Parliament is therefore laughable in its ignorance.
Governor Holiday is now faced with a fait accompli. He has an LB to dissolve Parliament along with the resignation of the Council of Ministers. One understands Sarah's plight. She has been sacked against her will. But, that possibility is always there, the right to pass the resolution to dissolve Parliament belongs to the Majority in the Council of Ministers. There will be new elections in July as stated in the LB.
St. Maarten is a young country and hopefully this experience has served as a lesson. Both Parliament and Government now better understand their respective spheres of influence a little better. Jumping ship has now become a risky move. Everyone now knows that government can dissolve Parliament and call new elections any time it loses majority support. Ship Jumpers will then have to face the wrath of the voters.

pjiaeairservicedevforum15052013Simpson Bay:--- What is the way forward in maintaining and further developing airlift to St. Maarten? That was the key question addressed by stakeholders and management of Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM) at a 4-hour forum held Tuesday, May 14, 2013, at the boardroom of the airport.

Welcoming the stakeholders to the meeting, managing director of the airport, Regina LaBega recalled that the last air service maintenance and development plan was done in 2004 and pointed out that a new one was therefore overdue. To this end, SXM Airport has commissioned El Perial Management Services to carry out the study.

LaBega gave a brief overview of SXM's air travel market, revealing that of the 1.6 million passenger movement recorded last year, 85% of this consisted of visitors while the remaining 15% was made up of residents. According to her, 49% of passengers traveled within the key five months from December to April, with scheduled air service making up 95% of the total airlift to the island.

The SXM managing director further disclosed that a draft Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for pre-clearance of passengers bound for Anguilla and St. Barths is currently under discussion, while SXM personnel attended a training session last week in Aruba in connection with sharing immigration information with SITA.

In his presentation, Ian Bertram, principal of El Perial Management Services, stated that his company would be looking at where SXM Airport is at present, its competitive positioning against selected airports, and the potential direction for air service development over the next five years.

He further remarked that SXM could serve as hub airport for Dominica, Nevis and even Tortola. The hub partners, he stressed, should see SXM as their airport, arguing that it was much more cost effective for them to do so, rather than the alternative of embarking on developing an international airport that could carry a minimum price tag of US$60 million, without any guarantee that they could maintain it or attract enough passengers to make it a viable proposition.

The consultant made a strong plea for regional airport integration, pointing out that Antigua and St. Kitts need not be competitors for SXM. "We need to stop thinking of ourselves in terms of our colonial heritage and start seeing ourselves in terms of our geographic location," Bertram stressed.

Calling for an open sky policy throughout the region, Bertram emphasized that a hub airport thrives in an open sky environment. "A whole lot of policy implications is involved in this," he noted.

Louis Halley, head of the Department of Civil Aviation & Shipping & Maritime Affairs, disclosed that at present St. Maarten has open skies agreements with Canada, the USA, and Antigua, however, similar agreements are not in place with other regions such as South America.

The island's and regional airlines at the Tuesday meeting, namely WINAIR and LIAT, stated that they are definitely in favor of open skies as long as there is a level playing field in that regulations they must follow, must also be adhered to by the carriers of other nations. Their main concern was about cabotage. According to Bertram, open skies agreements would allow for more opportunities with the rest of the eastern Caribbean, which would facilitate SXM's hub function.

Saro Spadaro, President of the Maho/Sonesta Group, emphasized that in his opinion, the key to an effective hub is not only open skies, but open (free) movement of people and goods.

In his own contribution, SHTA President, Emile Lee, questioned whether there is a point where the improved hub function could become detrimental to Dutch SXM, expressing the concern that St. Maarten might not benefit much from being a hub if most of the passengers passing through it are headed for St. Barths and Anguilla, for example. He said he hoped SXM's goal was to develop the market by increasing airlift at the lowest possible cost. SXM managing director, Regina LaBega explained that precisely to achieve that, SXM is seeking to lower aeronautical fees while reasonably increasing its non-aeronautical revenues.

The forum ended on a very positive note with participants agreeing to the establishment of an Air Service Committee to be formed by senior personnel of the airport authorities of the hub clients as well as St. Maarten and regional stakeholders. SXM Airport will take the lead in this regard.

Philipsburg:--- Travel agency, Let's Travel, partners with financial expert, Emilio Kalmera, to organize the budgeting courses it announced last week Friday as part of its empowerment initiatives launched under its SAVE NOW, TRAVEL LATER and LET'S SAVE programmes in observance of the travel agency's plans to celebrate its 25 years in business. Let's Travel is a renown travel agency specializing in airline tickets, cruises, packages, tours, charters and more since 1988.

The "Let's Save" budgeting courses is to be held during the month of June. In this introduction to managing money participants in the course will learn how to budget their income and expenditures. This budgeting course will allow participants to learn the different ways of effectively saving money and growing their money to pay for such things as a college education, buying a home, vacation travel, luxury items and last, but not least, saving for their old age pension.

The regular price of the budget course is $290 US Dollars, but as Let's Travel is the main sponsor, a special price of $250 will be on offer and an introductory 'early bird' price of $215 per person will be promoted for fast decision-makers. Participants will get all course materials in digital format, such as the budgeting tool, budgeting booklet, syllabus, theoretical booklet, PowerPoint presentation files and other digital articles for general knowledge purposes on money management.

From the price participants pay for the budgeting course, a percentage will be deposited in a fund as part of the "Let's Save" programme. The fund will be used to offer qualified graduating participants micro-loans. The management of Let's Travel and the course trainer, Emilio Kalmera, have already agreed to match the initial funds deposited in the "Let's Save" fund.

The budgeting course will last four weeks with weekly classes of 2 hours each. Participants have to complete the course with a working and balanced budget and with a theoretical written exam. Participants, who pass the course with a minimum score of 70%, can qualify to get a loan from the"Let's Save" fund.

Financial expert, Emilio Kalmera, was asked to lead this budgeting course not only for his theoretical knowledge and expertise but also because of his impressive resume and track record in the area of financial management. Emilio Kalmera has a Bachelor's degree in Finance & Accounting and has had a number of jobs in the financial and banking sector with such companies as KPMG and RBTT Bank. Emilio Kalmera, who is presently working for the St. Maarten Government as a Senior Financial Policy Advisor in the Finance Department, has been for the past year assisting the St. Maarten Housing Development Foundation and the St. Maarten Housing Finance Foundation as a financial manager. Emilio Kalmera has completed various training courses in management, wage tax, budgeting, policy development, and cooperation funding. Emilio has also given various courses and lectures on investment management, improving profitability, marketing, money management and wealth.

For more information and registration, clients can visit the Let's Travel office, call 523-3564 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

mariabuncampermolanustoberotarypresident15052013Maria Buncamper to be Inducted as New President

PHILIPSBURG:--- The Rotary Club of St. Maarten announced today its annual Change of Board Ceremony and Gala Dinner. On June 8, 2013 Maria Buncamper-Molanus, will take the helm of St. Maarten's oldest Rotary Club at a formal Gala Dinner at Infinity Restaurant in the Oyster Bay Resort at 7 PM. Tickets are US $95.

Mrs. Buncamper is no stranger to community service. She served as the first woman president of the St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce and Industry as well as a board member of the Children First Foundation, the John Larmonie Center, the Philipsburg Cultural Center and most recently as Secretary and President-elect of the Rotary Club of St. Maarten. Professionally, Maria has been an exemplary public servant, holding positions of State Secretary, Member of Parliament, Island Council Member and Minister of Public Health, Labour and Social Affairs. Mrs. Buncamper holds a Bachelor's Degree from the University of the Netherlands Antilles in Business Administration.

When asked about her goals for the Rotary Club once she becomes President, Maria stated, "I really want to emphasize the theme of "engage rotary, save lives". Engaging Rotary in the widest sense of the word is to become more involved with humanitarian work that we commit to do when we become part of the Rotary family. This means working with other Rotary Clubs and other community service organizations both locally and around the world. The results of engaging Rotary go far beyond its members or the local community, you will see us engaging rotary across our entire community, making our community and the