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Busy 2023 Atlantic Hurricane Season Comes to an End. We Must be Thankful says Richardson.

PHILIPSBURG (DCOMM):---  The 2023 Atlantic hurricane season officially comes to an end on Thursday, November 30th.

There were 20 named storms, of which seven (7) became hurricanes, and of those three (3) became major hurricanes (Category 3+ on the Saffir-Simpson Scale). An average season has 14 named storms; seven hurricanes; and three major hurricanes.

There was no storm activity between July 26 and August 19. From August 20 until October 6, the vast number of storms formed starting with Emily all the way down to Philippe.
Bret and Cindy both formed in mid-June.
Hurricane Lee was the season’s only Category 5 hurricane who achieved such a status in the open ocean east of the Leeward Islands.

In late October, Category 1 Hurricane Tammy, was another system that barely missed the Leeward Islands.

Disaster Coordinator and Fire Commander Clive Richardson, and on behalf of Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs, chairlady of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC), is thankful that the nation has been spared the full onslaught of any major hurricane for the 2023 season.

“This season has indeed been a busy one. The Leeward Islands have missed a number of storm systems during the peak period of the season. Therefore, we have a lot to be thankful for as a community after making it through another season.

“I would like to take this opportunity to commend our national Disaster Management Organization of 10 Emergency Support Functions and all other support organizations or teams who mobilized when necessary to protect life and property during the season. Our ESFs were kept busy with Philippe and Tammy.

“At the close of the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season, I call on the community to always be prepared by having an emergency kit and plan in place for any type of disaster that may occur similar to the preparations that you take during the annual hurricane season.

“Severe weather can still occur outside the traditional season and therefore one should always be prepared and remain vigilant as a nation.

“Continue to follow the information channels of the Meteorological Department of Sint Maarten (MDS) as the official national weather service throughout the year.

“May you and your family safely enjoy the upcoming holiday season in a healthy and safe manner,” Disaster Coordinator Clive Richardson said on Thursday.

Appeals court upholds guilty verdict in the Buncampers' case on Thursday

claudiusbuncamper30112023PHILIPSBURG:--- Independent suspended Member of Parliament Claudius Buncamper's conviction was upheld by the Appeals court on Thursday morning in the Ruby case. The criminal case was handled by the Prosecutor's Office since December 2021 when a guilty verdict was rendered by the Court of First Instance.

The NOW party deputy leader was suspended from Parliament and was replaced by MP Channel Brownbill formerly of the United St. Maarten party.

The court convicted the civil servant to 32 months imprisonment and has banned him for a period of 7 years as a civil servant, while his wife Maria Buncamper Molanus has been sentenced to 10 months of conditional prison sentence.  According to his Facebook page post he stated on Thursday, "I just received my verdict and it didn’t go the way I expected. Together with my lawyer, we will take a few days to analyze the verdict. We immediately appealed the case at the Supreme Court. I will share more details shortly.
I will continue to stand up and fight for this country even though certain powers don’t want that. I am the # 2 candidate NOW more than ever.
The suspicion against Buncamper was focused on corruption during his tenure as Head of Infrastructure at the Ministry of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment, and Infrastructure (VROMI) and the misuse of public funds for personal purposes. Buncamper was found guilty of requesting and accepting bribes of over 600.000 guilders in a period of 2,5 years in relation to the tendering procedure for management contracts of the landfill on Sint Maarten. The bribes included lucrative contracts for his wife and son. He was also convicted for forging invoices related to the sewage plant in order for VROMI to pay for personal expenses for his family and the Lions Club.

Buncamper was acquitted for the abuse of power related to the relocation of business premises operated by his family members on a parcel in Kim Sha Beach.
Co-suspect Maria Buvcamper Molanus was sentenced to 12 months of unconditional imprisonment. She was found guilty of taking bribes in association with her husband MP Buncamper. The Court took into account that Molanus was previously convicted for fraud. The Court ruled that the behavior of the Buncampers in particular inflicted damage to the trust of the people of Sint Maarten and damage to the integrity of the public


Click here of Vonnis for Claudius Anthony Buncamper.

Click here for Vonnis for Maria Buncamper Molanus.



Brison’s budget amendment bears fruit in new Tourist Bureau offices.

~Congratulates bureau staff for execution ~

rolandobrison29112023PHILIPSBURG:--- The crucial role that MP Roland Brison played in securing funding through a Naf 5 million budget amendment that he initiated is further highlighted as a significant milestone in the revitalization of St. Maarten's tourism industry with the opening of the new headquarters of the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau on December 1, 2023. A new national brand will be unveiled in conjunction with the inauguration.

MP Brison’s groundbreaking amendment in the 2023 budget, never before done for the tourism sector, earmarked over 5 million guilders for capital expenditures and investments, emphasizing the need for rejuvenation in the tourism sector. While the MP acknowledged his role in bringing the amendment, he expressed how proud he was that the personnel of the Tourist Bureau, where he was Tourism Director for a time, managed to execute and bring the project to fruition.

As part of this amendment, Brison highlighted the urgency of rebranding the St. Maarten product, recognizing the importance of maintaining a competitive edge on the Caribbean tourism landscape. “The tourism office's new headquarters and the impending brand reveal have already generated excitement among cruise, airline, and general tourism stakeholders,” MP Brison said. “This finally re-focuses our commitment to taking tourism seriously, attracting more airlines to our destination and positioning St. Maarten as a competitive player in the region."

Acknowledging that tourism constitutes 90% of the country’s GDP, Brison emphasized the critical role tourism plays in employment and investment, making it the primary industry for St. Maarten. As the former Tourism Director of St. Maarten, he expressed his understanding of the industry's implications for job creation and opportunities for the local workforce.

Brison congratulated the dedicated, hard-working men and women of the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau, commending their continuous efforts to promote the destination. He expressed pride in his role as a Member of Parliament in providing the necessary tools for tourism personnel, through budget amendments, to enhance the bureau's capabilities.

The unveiling ceremony on December 1st will feature a presentation by the MP underscoring his instrumental role in ensuring robust tourism budgets in the years ahead for the effective marketing of St. Maarten. Brison anticipates further discussions during upcoming budget sessions where he will continue to focus on the importance of investing in tourism.

He said no other Members of Parliament outside, of the United People's Party, have shown the level of attention to the tourism budget that has been lacking for so long, and none other than the UP have given attention to the cries of the stakeholders that the budgets of St. Maarten compared to competing destinations such as Jamaica, Aruba and the Dominican Republic, pales in comparison to those countries. “Those concerns and cries have not gone unnoticed by the United People's Party,” he said, emphasizing the party's dedication to comprehensive investments in tourism, encompassing the re-launch of the brand and strategic infrastructural improvements.

“Actions such as planting trees, and construction of new and proper restroom facilities at Mullet Bay and other areas all play a role in improving our product. These are all investments in our tourism product,” the MP said. With a working legacy of having brought the most amendments to Parliament as a legislator, MP Brison said that the work is just beginning and he will continue to focus on enhancing St. Maarten’s tourism even if those initiatives bear fruit in the mid-to-long term.

WICSU-PSU Engages in Productive Meeting with Coast Guard Management on Function Book.

Willemstad, Curacao:---  Windward Islands Public Service Union (WICSU-PSU) recently convened meetings on November 27 and 28, 2023, in Curacao with the Coast Guard transition team and Human Resource Manager, Mr. Berenos, along with his team. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the function book of the Coast Guard, addressing long-standing concerns raised by union members.

In attendance were representatives from various unions, including SEPPA Aruba, STRAF, ACOM, ABVO, and SAP. The collaborative session provided an opportunity for all parties to thoroughly examine the function book, which has been a topic of ongoing discussion. The meeting facilitated an open dialogue where the concerns of Coast Guard members were carefully noted.

The transition team, led by Ms. Magali van der Bunt-George, assured the union representatives that these concerns would be given due consideration. They committed to reviewing the points raised during the meeting and pledged to return with proposals early next year, fostering a collaborative approach to addressing the needs of Coast Guard personnel.

Additionally, WICSU-PSU gained valuable insights into the formation and functioning of the Coast Guard, not only for St. Maarten but for all Coast Guard Stations, including those in Curacao and Aruba. Acting Director of the Coast Guard Mvr. De Jong-Mercelina and Head of General Affairs, Ms. Zinck played instrumental roles in providing crucial information during the meeting. Their contributions are acknowledged and appreciated by WICSU-PSU as it navigates the discussions and decision-making processes for the benefit of Coast Guard members.

WICSU-PSU expresses gratitude for the transparency and cooperation demonstrated by Coast Guard Management and looks forward to continued collaboration in addressing the concerns of the dedicated members of the Coast Guard.

Minister of Education Samuel says Pre-Academic Year for Sint Maarten is not Mandatory.

rodlophesamuel0802023PHILIPSBURG (DCOMM):--- The Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports (MECYS) Hon. Rodolphe Samuel, on Wednesday, said the introduction of a pre-academic year is part of a new education programme within the Kingdom of the Netherlands under a Strategic Education Alliance (SEA), however, Minister Samuel added that the pre-academic year is not mandatory for Sint Maarten.

“In fact, in the case of Sint Maarten, the University of St. Martin (USM) is not ready as yet with a pre-academic year,” Minister Samuel said.

Minister Samuel also would like to address fake news circulating via social media. One item is that Sint Maarten students no longer can study in the Netherlands after completing certain programs on the island.

“This is fake news. As Minister of Education, I urge you to carefully look at the authenticity of what you read or hear before forwarding or circulating that type of information via social media.”


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