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Central Committee reconvenes on reform of the tax system on Sint Maarten.

PHILIPSBURG:--- The Central Committee of Parliament, will meet in a session on September 16, 2021.

The Central Committee meeting, which was adjourned on August 30, 2021, will be reconvened on Thursday, September 16, 2021, at 15.00 hrs in the General Assembly Chamber of the House at Wilhelminastraat #1 in Philipsburg. The Minister of Finance will be present.

The agenda point is:

Reform of the tax system on Sint Maarten
(IS/652/2019-2020 dated March 5, 2020)

This meeting was requested by MP S.A. Wescot-Williams, MP C.A. Buncamper, and MP M.D. Gumbs

 

Due to measures taken to mitigate the coronavirus (COVID-19), the House of Parliament is only allowing persons with an appointment to enter the Parliament building.
The parliamentary sessions will be carried live on St. Maarten Cable TV Channel 115, via SXM GOV radio FM 107.9, via Pearl Radio FM 98.1, the audio via the internet www.sxmparliament.org, and www.pearlfmradio.sx


Permanent Committee of Kingdom Affairs and Inter-Parliamentary Relations scheduled to meet on Thursday.

PHILIPSBURG:--- The Permanent Committee of Kingdom Affairs and Inter-Parliamentary Relations (CKAIR), will meet on September 16, 2021.
The CKAIR Committee meeting is scheduled for 11.00 hrs. on Thursday in the General Assembly Chamber of the House at Wilhelminastraat #1 in Philipsburg.

The agenda point is:
Debriefing IPKO and Tripartite August 22-25, 2021 in Bonaire, Caribbean Netherlands

Due to measures taken to mitigate the coronavirus (COVID-19), the House of Parliament is only allowing persons with an appointment to enter the Parliament building.

The parliamentary sessions will be carried live on St. Maarten Cable TV Channel 115, via SXM GOV radio FM 107.9, via Pearl Radio FM 98.1, the audio via the internet www.sxmparliament.org, www.pearlfmradio.sx and Parliament’s Facebook page: Parliament of Sint Maarten

 

SCDF meets with new tourism Minister to discuss Carnival 2022.

scdflawerence15092021PHILIPSBURG:--- The St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) met with Minister of Tourism Roger Lawrence on Wednesday to present him with the foundation’s COVID-19 safety plan for Carnival 2022 and discuss several aspects of Carnival for which they would like to build a stronger relationship with regards to the tourism sector.
The foundation is continuing with its preparations for Carnival 2022 and thought it was vital to meet with the new Minister to exchange ideas and discuss the future of the festival. “We were happy to get the opportunity to meet with Minister Lawrence since Carnival falls under his Ministry. It was an open and positive discussion upon which we will build going forward,” SCDF President Alston Lourens said.
Along with the COVID-19 safety plan, the foundation also presented the Minister with its marketing plans, an outline of how Carnival and Tourism complement each other, the Carnival 2022 budget, and the financials from the last Carnival year (2019). The foundation is also looking forward to meeting with the Minister again together with the St. Maarten Tourism Bureau.
Lourens said he was happy to note that Minister Lawrence fully grasps Carnival on a socio-economic level as well. “Carnival generates business opportunities for singers, songwriters, choreographers, costume builders and designers, makeup artists and musicians, to name a few. Even more importantly Carnival has driven the growth and development of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), many of which are skills-based services. What is often overlooked is the economic significance of Carnival to the economy, businesses, and regular people who depend on the festival. This recognition is needed in order that this valuable and unique facet of the St. Maarten’s culture can reach its full potential,” Lourens said.
He added that the SCDF will be making several major announcements in the coming days including the launch of the Carnival 2022 schedule and releasing the COVID-19 safety plan to the public.

Emmanuel asks if Schiphol, Ballast Nedam conflict will affect airport re-construction.

cemmanuel23022021PHILIPSBURG:--- An ongoing situation in the Netherlands between Schiphol International and contractor Ballast Nedam has prompted Independent MP Christophe Emmanuel to write to Minister of TEATT Roger Lawrence to obtain information on any potential fallout for the re-construction of the Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA).
In the week of August 27, 2021, several media outlets in the Netherlands reported on the significant financial losses of Schiphol International Airport in the first half of 2021 due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Included in these reports are the delays Schiphol is now faced with on the construction of a new wing at the airport due to conflicts with contractor Ballast Nedam.
The reports specifically mentioned rising costs and shortage of building materials. Dutch media has reported that the issue between Schiphol and Ballast Nedam could result in a legal dispute between the two.
“As Schiphol is heavily involved at the Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA) and as Ballast Nedam has recently been awarded the bid for the re-construction of PJIA, I obviously have my concerns and would appreciate if the Minister would answer a few questions so that we are clearly moving forward,” MP Emmanuel said.
The MP is seeking answers to the following question:
1. Has Schiphol or Ballast Nedam informed PJIA of any consequences for the re-construction of PJIA due to the reported dispute between Schiphol and Ballast Nedam? If yes, please elaborate.
2. Has Schiphol or Ballast Nedam informed PJIA of any cost overruns for the re-construction of PJIA due to an increase of material cost? If yes, please indicate how much cost overrun can be expected?
3. Has Schiphol or Ballast Nedam informed PJIA of any delays in the re-construction of PJIA due to shortage of material? If yes, please indicate the length of this delay.
4. Please explain if there is any clause in the re-construction contract of PJIA that indemnifies PJIA from additional costs related to third-party disputes and delays.
5. If a legal dispute develops between Schiphol and Ballast Nedam, how will this affect the re-construction of PJIA?
6. Please indicate if the re-construction is on schedule and if not, why not?

“Lastly Minister, in the event that PJIA does not have any information regarding the aforementioned questions or if they have not been briefed by Schiphol or Ballast Nedam, I hereby also request that you insist that PJIA reaches out to both Schiphol and Ballast Nedam with the questions in order to provide you with the answers. You can, in turn, inform my person and Parliament accordingly,” MP Emmanuel concluded.
The MP was very vocal against Ballast Nedam being awarded the contract to re-construct the airport citing its criminal history of bribing governments and other officials in at least to other countries.

SJIS, OM SXM facilitate Safe Home domestic violence behavioral intervention training for probation officers and professionals dealing with relational violence.

safehomessjib15092021PHILIPSBURG:---  Domestic (relational) violence has devastating, long-term effects on victims, both physically and psychologically. The impact of disasters such as hurricanes and pandemics may also lead to an increase in cases. Supporting victims of domestic abuse must always be a priority, but to prevent or reduce harm, we must first understand the behaviors that lead to perpetrators committing this crime and learn skills how to best address them. For this reason, the Stichting Justitiële Inrichtingen St. Maarten (SJIS)-Probation Department and the St. Maarten Prosecutor’s Office (OM SXM) have joined forces to combat domestic violence on St. Maarten.

Recently a group of professionals, amongst those SJIS-probation officers and staff members of Safe Haven Foundation and government department Women’s Desk, followed the Safe Homes behavioral intervention training for offenders, to prevent and reduce domestic (relational) violence amongst their clientele.

Probation officers often have the most contact with domestic violence offenders and play an important role in assessing the context of the offender’s violent behavior and recommending appropriate sanctions to the prosecutor’s office and court. Their recommendations can advance or impede both safety and accountability outcomes for the victim and the offender. However, until recently there was no evidence-based training that could be used by probation officers and other professionals to influence the behavior of offenders in order to stop the abuse and violence.

The Safe Home method provides insight into why someone exhibits this behavior, how to get control of their anger and how to react differently. During the training, the partner of the offender is also involved in order to prevent new violent behavior.

Probation officers would be able to offer the training in a compulsory framework to offenders of relational violence who are ordered by the prosecutor’s office or court to follow the Safe Homes training, but it is also important to provide the training as preventive assistance before the situation gets out of control and police and court are involved. Therefore Safe Haven and Women’s Desk domestic violence professionals will provide the training on a voluntary basis to persons within the community.

Furthermore, a Safe Homes animation video and brochure are being development and will be made available to the public through the media and at various locations such as the Police KPSM, SJIS, Safe Haven, Women’s Desk, Prosecutor’s Office, and the Court House.

Tackling relational violence cases via behavioral intervention training is not a new approach within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Currently, the Safe Homes training is available for the community of Saba, St. Eustatius, and Bonaire under the name of Kas Sigur Training and in the Netherlands as the Borg Training. Recently probation staff and other professionals in Curacao also underwent the same training.

The trainer is Desire Frans, who holds a master’s degree in criminology. Desire currently serves as Senior Probation Officer at Probation Caribbean Netherland and is a certified Domestic Violence and Behavioral Intervention trainer.

The training is part of a series of activities that aims to provide an alternative approach to conflicts and combat domestic violence. Other related activities are the Mediation Skills training that took place in July, a Gender-Based Violence training scheduled for September, pilot mediation in criminal cases implemented by SJIB and OM SXM during the course of 6 months until the end of 2021.

The Safe Homes behavioral intervention training falls under the Domestic Violence and Mediation Project financed through the Resources for Community Resilience R4CR funding program, which was implemented by VNG International (the International Cooperation Agency of the Association of Netherlands Municipalities VNG) and funded by the St. Maarten Recovery and Resilience Trust Fund to improve the capacity of St. Maarten’s civil society organizations and to support reconstruction and resilience at the community level.


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