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Parliament to meet regarding examination credentials and admission Deputy Member of Parliament.

PHILIPSBURG:--- The House of Parliament will sit in a public meeting on Tuesday, January 18, 2022.

The Public meeting is scheduled for 10.00 hrs. in the General Assembly Chamber of the House at Wilhelminastraat #1 in Philipsburg.

The agenda point is:
Examination of credentials and admission of deputy Member of Parliament for Member of Parliament C.A. Buncamper in accordance with article 50, paragraph 3, Constitution (IS/450/2021-2022 dated January 13, 2022)
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


Minister of Justice Richardson visits Asha Stevens Hillside Christian School and reviews Safety & Security.

annaahastevens16012022PHILIPSBURG (DCOMM):--- Minister of Justice Hon. Ana Richardson visited the Asha Stevens Hillside Christian Schools on Friday, January 14.
“After receiving an email and invitation on Thursday, January 13th, from the Executive Assistant at the Asha Stevens Hillside Christian Schools to witness an alarming practice that the school is seeking assistance with, I opted not to delay the visit and made it there this morning (Friday).
“The remnants of Hurricane Irma are still visible throughout the island with what at times may appear as minute factors but carrying great significance for the safety and security of our daily lives.
“I am referring to traffic signs. It is evident that many of these no longer exist in the vicinity of the school. Signs that say, “School Zone,” “No Entrance,” and “Slow Zone” all appear to be signs that once stood there but now it’s just a severed poll. Even the large zebra crossing has since faded or rather the harsh forces eroded the paint from lining out clearness that it’s a pedestrian (student/child) crossing.
“Though this is the Hillside school I visited today, I have no doubt that other schools are also experiencing similar issues.
“Of course, I will communicate with my colleagues and relevant departments to have this matter receive the attention needed. In this COVID-19 era, however, and with our current active cases being high, many departments are affected and as such, the turn-around time is expected to be a slow one. As such, I’m asking for unity in the community…. Share this post as we ask all parents to not only think of the safety of their child but that of all children.
“Please drive slow in the school zone!!! Be mindful when reversing from parking spaces that a little one could possibly be walking behind your vehicle. Use your turn signals to indicate your next move. Please, please, please do not enter roads you know are one-way streets and use the opposite intended direction.
“Thank you in advance to all who read this post and will join in the unity drive as a community to share it with others. We seek for all motorists to be aware of our young ones who are using the public roads to commute to and from school.”

MPC receives upgraded Flow internet.

PHILIPSBURG:--- The students and teachers of the Milton Peters College (MPC) are now better equipped for online learning thanks to an upgraded internet connection from leading telecoms provider, Flow.
With the school’s recent decision to move to online learning, the upgraded speed is a welcome enhancement. Following the upgrade, streamed classes are possible with minimal disruption; allowing learning to continue as close to ‘normal’ as possible, while also protecting the health of students and teachers
Previously the school already enjoyed the highest business package available on Flow Fibre internet. Considering the size of the student population the school management and its IT team needed to re-evaluate the connectivity needs of the island’s largest school campus.
They concluded that an upgraded connection was needed after the onset of the pandemic and with the increasing use of digital tools in instruction. To meet this need they engaged the Flow team to design an upgraded, customized package achieving the enhanced connectivity experienced by students and teachers today.
“It’s important to keep our young people connected to their virtual classrooms by providing the critical pathways to their online classes,” said Rauf Engels, Acting Country Manager, Flow Dutch Caribbean.
“Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, we have focused our efforts on optimizing our networks to keep our communities and economies going. Education is a vital part of that so we also developed a policy based on which we can offer schools support with the reliable connectivity they need to keep education going. Especially under these challenging circumstances, our support specifically to education is important to us. Based on the size of the student population we’ve defined support packages for schools interested in connecting to Flow internet.” Engels continued.
Managing Director of MPC, Jacqueline Horsford-Duggins stated that the first move to virtual teaching in 2020 had been a difficult transition for the staff, students, and their families. “Creating the same structure and engagement in a virtual classroom was difficult but our teaching team has learned and grown a lot since then. With this upgrade we can equip our teachers and students with the best tools for success,” she said.
Flow’s focus on supporting education also carries through to supporting families as they return to online learning. To this end, the company has temporarily waived the installation fees on Flow home internet service. This allows families to connect the household for online learning and working, removing the standard installation fee, which reflects savings of up to $287 per household. The free installation offer will continue throughout the month of January 2022. Further information on Flow internet is available at www.discoverflow.co.

USP questions the security of the hospital contractual agreement signed with INSO.

cecilnicholas20122021PHILIPSBURG:--- The board of the United St. Maarten Party (USP) on Sunday said it is astounded by the government’s lackadaisical approach towards what is happening at the hospital project, and questioned the status and security of the contract signed for the hospital project with INSO, now FINSO. “The many financial setbacks reported at the project should be raising alarms within government,” President of the USP Cecil Nicholas said.

The now confirmed reports about contractors and sub-contractors not being paid as well as the report of the recent resignation (forced or otherwise) of a financial executive attached to the project, “is very concerning to our party in particular after the people of St. Maarten was assured a project with air-tight financial management and control,” Nicholas said.

Nicholas pointed out that Minister of Public Health Omar Ottley’s “simplified response” to the ongoing saga at SMMC does not speak to previously mentioned assurances made by the former Director of the SMMC Kleen Klarenbeek in 2019, which assured SZV, the pension fund, and the people of St. Maarten of secured investment.

“Difficulties in opening a bank account cannot and should not be the order of the day, but beyond that promises made on the floor of Parliament with regards to safeguarding the people’s patrimony has to be accounted for. This project, like PJIA reconstruction, is simply taking too long and has too many questions hovering over it which government continuously dismisses as trivial,” Nicholas said.

In 2019 during the period when concerns were raised about INSO's financial stability and ability to guarantee the completion of SMMC's vision of expansion, Klarenbeek expressed willingness to work with INSO under “strict, strict conditions”.

The USP board further questioned the strength of the signed contract. “Why have the strict conditions not been enforced? Did the specific clause allowing SMMC to pay contractors directly make it to the final draft of the contract? If not, why not? If it was included why hasn’t it been executed?” Nicholas questioned.

On June 1st, 2021 INSO was acquired by Fincantieri Infrastructure, (FINSO). The original contract signed at the time for the construction/expansion of SMMC with embattled INSO was supposed to include securities to prevent the kind of scenarios taking place right now. In addition to an on-demand performance bond and payment bond, SMMC supposedly enter into direct agreements with “critical” subcontractors in case INSO was structurally unable to pay outstanding subcontractors.

“INSO has been a topic of negative discussion from the inception of construction talks at SMMC, the people were assured that all the warning signs and red flags associated with this company could be negated through strong contractual agreements. The government should at the least conduct an inquiry to determine that the country isn’t getting a six for a nine once again,” Nicholas concluded.

Alpha Team reflects on 2021 operations.

accident16012022PHILIPSBURG:--- The Alpha Team has compiled an analysis of its operations in 2021 compare with those of previous years in particular the number of packages of narcotics intercepted by the team.

The amount of narcotics intercepted and confiscated at Princess Juliana International Airport and Port St. Maarten cargo section is much high compared to previous years. The reason for the increase is not completely clear as yet. The Alpha Team will continue to monitor this situation.

The Alpha Team is a jointly multidisciplinary team comprising the Police Force of St. Maarten KPSM, Customs, Immigration, the Koninklijke Marechaussee, and the Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard.

Traffic accidents

Over the past week, KPSM’s Traffic Department has yet again handled a number of accidents resulting in injuries.

KPSM will continue to carry out the controls on scooter riders and motorcyclists, especially due to some road users not respecting or obeying traffic regulations. Their behavior is a nuisance to the community and endangers the lives of others.

According to an international study, several factors influence the cause of scooters' and motorcycles' involvement in accidents. These include:

  • Speed-related errors  
  • Stunts
  • None or inappropriate protective equipment
  • Traffic violations

Anyone with information about any dangerous rider or others plaguing the community, contact the Police Force: 54-22222 or emergency number 911.

 

KPSM Press Release.


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