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First Workshops on Child Safety Code.

childsafety28052024PHILIPSBURG:--- “Implementing a Child Safety Code will ensure that professionals working with children understand their responsibilities and know what steps to take to report suspected cases of abuse against children,” said Kimberly Dort-Brown, head of the Court of Guardianship, Ministry of Justice.

The Court of Guardianship, with support from UNICEF the Netherlands, has taken the first step in the legislative process by drafting a Child Safety Code for reporting suspected cases of child abuse. The Child Safety Code provides a step-by-step guide to help professionals identify signs of child abuse and neglect and determine the best course of action.

“Professionals from the education and healthcare sectors, such as teachers and doctors, have constant contact with children and are often the first to identify signs of suspected child abuse. There are several steps that professionals should take to determine the safety of the child and the best course of action. The Child Safety Code will provide a clear and legal overview of what steps are required,” explains Neidi de Carvalho, Child Protection Specialist for UNICEF the Netherlands.

To ensure that the Child Safety Code reflects the specific needs of the sectors and professionals in Sint Maarten, workshops took place between May 22nd and 27th. These workshops were facilitated by the Court of Guardianship and the AUGEO Foundation as part of the Child Resilience and Protection Project (CRPP). The CRPP is funded by the Sint Maarten Trust Fund and managed by the World Bank.

Mrs. Dort-Brown shares, "This was the first of several workshops, starting with professionals in positions most likely to encounter and report suspected abuse cases. However, the goal is for all professionals serving the children and families of Sint Maarten to participate in similar workshops to familiarize themselves with the Child Safety Code.”
Stakeholders present during the first workshops included representatives from school boards and school care teams, social workers, and healthcare professionals. “The workshops provided stakeholders with an in-depth overview of the Child Safety Code and the opportunity to give feedback regarding the proposed steps for analysis and reporting suspected cases of child abuse. It is important that they feel the presented steps are realistic, clear, and can be applied within their specific work field. We are grateful for the many stakeholders who participated. Without them, we could not actualize the Child Safety Code – and our overall goal to keep children safe,” concludes Mrs. Dort-Brown.

For continued updates on the work of the Court of Guardianship and future news on the development of the Child Safety Code, visit: www.facebook.com/cogsxm/

 


DCOMM documentalist participates in Dutch Caribbean Heritage Platform conference.

dcommdocumentalist28052024PHILIPSBURG:---  In its 10th year of existence, the Dutch Caribbean Heritage Platform held its 4th conference, with this year’s theme of “Awareness.” The biannual conference was held on Sint Maarten, Saba, and Sint Eustatius from May 5 to May 9.

Present at the conference were participants from the BES islands and the rest of the Dutch Caribbean (Sint Maarten, Curacao, and Aruba), including participants from Anguilla.

The DCH platform was founded to strengthen cooperation among the Dutch Caribbean islands, exchange knowledge, network, and learn and share information, practices, and activities—with the support of ErfgoedAcademie, a Dutch institute for heritage education founded in 1986.

The Department of Communication (DCOMM) Documentalist Lee Williams attended the conference on Sunday evening. The conference opened with a soft opening, during which Acting Minister of Education, Culture, Youth & Sports Lyndon Lewis gave a short opening remark. Afterward, Jay Haviser presented on archaeology in St Maarten.

On Monday morning, Governor of Sint Maarten Ajamu G. Baly gave a brief address before the attendees went on a scavenger hunt to discover the different historical and cultural sites.

On Tuesday, participants were on Saba, and on Wednesday, St. Eustatius.

On Thursday morning, the participants, visitors, and guests returned to St. Maarten. They attended the concluding part with a webinar with John Leerdam and Peggy Brandon, two of three Quartermasters for the slavery museum in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Afterwards, through web conference, there were productive discussions and exchanges of thoughts, ideas, and suggestions.

In the afternoon, the Head of the Archivo Nacional Aruba Mr. Raymond Hernandez presented DCOMM’s documentalist Williams with a memory stick with digitalized archives of that had relevant information to St. Maarten. For further information visit nationaalarchief.nl and coleccion.aw.

Williams said that the conference was very positive and productive, resulting in the preservation of DCOMM’s archive for the future generation.

 

National Alliance Stands Firm in Support of Its Ministers.

PHILIPSBURG:--- The Board of the National Alliance (NA) is deeply concerned about the false narratives being spread by the outgoing 2x4 coalition. These misleading claims undermine public trust in elected officials.

When the National Alliance took office in November 2019, they inherited a budget for fiscal year 2019 that had just been approved after nearly a year's delay by the previous DP Minister. This delay halted new policy implementation and left the budget unbalanced, with a shortfall of approximately NAF 71 million guilders, necessitating a request for liquidity support from the Netherlands.

Despite the challenges left by Hurricane Irma, the NA-led Government did not complain. Then, in March 2020, St. Maarten, along with the rest of the world, faced the global COVID-19 pandemic. The government quickly created and executed the St. Maarten Stimulus and Relief Plan, providing direct financial support to over 1,600 companies to help pay employees. Additionally, bus drivers, taxi drivers, independent taxi drivers, and individuals who lost their jobs due to COVID-19 received stipends. For eighteen months, the NA/UPP-led Government provided critical support during these trying times.

St. Maarten was one of the first islands to safely reopen to the world, recognizing tourism as its primary income generator. Airlines and cruise ships soon returned, a process that takes time. By the end of 2022, normalcy had returned, allowing the Government to focus on the island's numerous challenges.

Key accomplishments included forming task forces to collect payments from individuals and companies owing years of domain land fees and casinos in arrears. The government also ensured that the Justice Chain received their rightful positions and payments. Additionally, over ten years of financial statements were cleaned up, the budget was balanced, and NAF 90 million guilders were secured for capital expenditures for the first time in over a decade. Capital expenditure is crucial for national development, and the inability to invest each year has significant ripple effects. These critical milestones were achieved under the NA-led Government, despite the distorted picture the outgoing Council of Ministers attempts to paint.

The National Alliance remains committed to transparency and progress, standing by the achievements and integrity of their ministers.

Tamara Leonard resigns from the UPP.

Immediate Resignation from United People's Party (UPP)


Dear Board of The United People’s Party (UPP),
I am writing to formally tender my resignation from the United People's Party (UPP). As a board member since 2010 and an active participant in the parliamentary elections as a candidate and member since 2014, it is with mixed emotions that I have reached this decision.
I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the original founders of the UPP for their visionary leadership and dedication in establishing a platform for democratic engagement. Their commitment to empowering individuals like myself has played a significant role in shaping the party's success.
During my tenure as a member of parliament under the UPP, I have encountered various challenges and trials. Nevertheless, I am proud to have demonstrated that it is possible to be an effective parliamentarian, even in the face of adversity. Through unwavering dedication and resilience, I have worked diligently to represent the interests of our constituents and contribute positively to the development of our nation.
I would like to extend my heartfelt appreciation to the board members, leaders, and fellow party members who have supported and guided me throughout the years. Your wisdom, guidance, and unwavering commitment to our shared goals have been instrumental in my growth as a politician and as an individual. It has been an honor to work alongside such dedicated and passionate individuals.
As I embark on a new chapter in my political journey, I am filled with optimism and excitement. I am eager to explore new opportunities and contribute to the betterment of our nation in different capacities. I wish the United People's Party continued success in its future endeavors, and I extend my sincere wishes for prosperity to all members, leaders, and supporters of the party.
Please consider this letter as my formal resignation, effective immediately. I appreciate your understanding and support during this transition. It has been an honor to serve the United People's Party, and I am grateful for the opportunities and experiences it has provided me.
Thank you once again for your understanding, and I wish you all the best in your future endeavors.
Sincerely,
Tamara E.Leonard

Airport Reconstruction to be completed by October, PJIAE tells Minister of TEATT.

grishapjiae28052024PHILIPSBURG:--- The reconstruction of the Terminal Building at Princess Juliana International Airport will be completed by this October, management of the airport assured Grisha Heyliger-Marten, Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Traffic and Telecommunication when she toured the facilities on Friday.
In her discussions with the airport management (PJIAE) team, the minister emphasized the critical importance of completing the terminal building which has been ongoing for the last seven years.
“This project is vital not only for the residents of St. Maarten but also for visitors and neighboring islands that rely on SXM as a hub airport,” Heyliger-Marten said.
The minister expressed concern about the delays in reconstruction which has resulted in a significant $7 million cost increase due to an oversight. Of particular concern to her was the issue of travelers opting for direct flights to Anguilla or choosing routes via Puerto Rico to St. Barths instead of using St. Maarten as a hub.
Min. Heyliger-Marten noted that American Airlines has increased its direct service to Anguilla and other neighboring islands, further diminishing the hub function of SXM Airport. The minister is awaiting detailed figures and responses to several inquiries she made during the previous week.
The current state of the arrival hall negatively impacts the island’s first impression on visitors, Heyliger-Marten continued. She said poor arrival experiences can contribute to a decline in repeat visitors and a potential loss of market share.
Furthermore, as St. Maarten prepares to host the upcoming Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) conference in October, the Minister highlighted the necessity of ensuring that cruise industry partners and visitors have a seamless and positive first and lasting impression of the island. Over 500 delegates are expected to attend the conference.
Heyliger-Marten also expressed concerns regarding employee satisfaction at PJIAE and the turnover rate. The management of PJIAE informed her that they are actively recruiting St. Martiners from the Netherlands. Detailed hiring figures will be provided to the minister shortly.

 


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