Vinaora Nivo Slider 3.xVinaora Nivo Slider 3.x
Vinaora Nivo Slider 3.x

Postponement Continuation Plenary Public meeting of Parliament about amending the National Ordinance Spatial Development Plan in connection with the reintroduction of article 28a.

PHILIPSBURG,:--- The Public meeting to be held tomorrow Tuesday, January 22, 2,019 at 14:00 hrs with agenda point:
Ontwerp van Landsverordening tot wijziging van de Landsverordening ruimtelijke ontwikkelingsplan in verband met het herinvoeren van artikel 28a (ZJ 2015-2016-084) (IS/422/2015-2016 d.d. 14 januari 2016)

National Ordinance amending the National Ordinance Spatial Development Plan in connection with the reintroduction of article 28a (Parliamentary Year 2015-2016-084)

Has been postponed until further notice upon the request of the Minister.


Relief for Ruby Labega School.

rubylabega21012019PHILIPSBURG:---  Teachers and students at the Ruby Labega Primary School are today breathing a sigh of relief after repairs were made to classrooms that had damaged roofs. Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, the Honourable Wycliffe Smith visited the school during a shower of rain to attest to the teachers’ satisfaction with the progress. Temporary repairs were executed in the past, but due to weather and other unforeseen circumstances, these repairs had to be addressed again. 

The repairs to the school will continue with other buildings on the campus in the coming weeks, including the administrative rooms and communal areas. Principal Esther Jeffers expressed her appreciation for the quick response of the minister and his cabinet Chief of Staff, Peter Gittens, as these repairs needed immediate attention. Minister Smith would also like to would like to acknowledge Mrs. Claire Elshot- Aventurin, who in her capacity as President of the WITU, initially notified his cabinet of the situation.
Following Hurricane Irma, public school buildings underwent Phase 1 of the Reconstruction plan where quick fixes were done to get schools to an operational level. In Phase 2, subsidized schools received funding for their repairs while the bidding process began for public schools. Large expenditure of public funds must undergo a process of public bidding after which repairs and reconstruction can begin. Public school buildings are being prepared for the general reconstruction phase according to the Governing Program 2018-2022 where buildings will be made hurricane-resilient. Discussions are also ongoing for funding from the World Bank.

Prime Minister gives parliament insufficient information on WB and EIB loan for PJIAE.

stuatmotion121012019~ Minister Johnson chose to go on a cruise rather than responding to parliament. Motion of No Confidence presented against Stuart Johnson.~

PHILIPSBURG: --- Members of Parliament from the USP faction made it clear that Prime Minister Leona Marlin presented insufficient information to parliament regarding the loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB) and World Bank (WB) for the reconstruction of Princess Juliana International Airport.
MP Frans Richardson condemned the actions of the Minister of TEATT Stuart Johnson who chose to go on a cruise with the FCCA instead of responding to Parliament to discuss the financing to PJIAE. Richardson also presented a list of questions which he said must be answered by Johnson the shareholder representative.
MP Rolando Brison asked the Prime Minister how it is possible for Government to sign off on the loan when the 2019 national budget is not ready. Brison also lamented the fact that the Prime Minister did not make full disclosure to Parliament. Brison also raised concerns about the conditions applied to the loan and or refinancing for PJIAE. He asked if locals that are currently employed at PJIAE will be sent home to make room for the Dutch or Schipol staff. He asked how competent are these Schipol personnel with dealing with large hurricanes and inter-island flights. Brison also asked if the World Bank or the Dutch applied any type of conditions on St. Maarten Medical Center when they approved USD 25M for SMMC?
Brison also asked for the written agreements made by the Government with the Dutch. He also lamented the fact that Government agreed to conditions which they claim will be temporary. Brison reminded Parliament that the CFT was supposed to be temporarily but they are still here, including the TOT. Brison asked the Prime Minister if the term sheet on the WB and EIB loan were presented.
MP Silveria Jacobs also questioned the additional conditions from the Dutch, she asked if the local management at PJIAE are not able to fully manage the operations and reconstruction.
She called on the Prime Minister to further clarify exactly who suggested and or offer the Dutch two positions on the Supervisory and Management Boards of PJIAE. Jacobs asked the PM to clarify if the entire $100M is a loan or if part of it is a grant.
MP Ardwell asked if part of the conditions is that St. Maarten 2019 budget must be approved by the Parliament of St. Maarten. He also asked if the WB procurement process are being followed. He asked the PM to clarify who really, she is referring when she says PJIAE. He wants to know if it’s the Supervisory Board of Management Board. He asked for further clarity on the ultimatums made by the Dutch.
MP Doran also asked Romeo Marlin to clarify whether if it’s the St. Maarten Government offered the positions on PJIAE boards to the Dutch. He said that government is rather reactive whenever the Dutch says something. He asked the Prime Minister if she sought advice from the High Council of State prior to taking a decision with the Dutch Government, World Bank and EIB. Doran asked the Prime Minister to explain why the government of St. Maarten did not issue the guarantee letter to PJIAE. Doran asked the Prime Minister what her priorities are, he said the people of St. Maarten are crying loud for proper leadership, he said the current government is only taking orders from the Dutch Government. Doran brought up the statements made by the Minister of TEATT regarding the hostile take over of PJIAE. He said the Minister of Finance Perry Geerlings also shared some sentiments about the WB while in Suriname. Doran said these statements are also confusing and in his view ,the COM is going rogue.
MP Christopher Emmanuel asked the Prime Minister to tell Parliament who is really controlling her because she has become a “puppet on a string”. He said that the PM said that she is not anyone’s puppet but recently she has become the puppet and he wants to know who really is controlling her.
As for conditions for PJIAE he said based on newspaper article it clearly states that MP Theodore Heyliger who said the Government of St. Maarten should offer the two positions to the Dutch to obtain the loan for PJIAE. Emmanuel said the Prime Minister lied to Parliament when she said it was her that offered the two positions to the Dutch. Emmanuel said status is a crying shame since St. Maarten is offering conditions to obtain assistance. He said the late Dr. Claude Wathey would have never accept such conditions after St. Maarten and its people worked blood and sweat to build the airport. He said he did the necessary research to see if St. Maarten or management of PJIAE had to agree to conditions when they borrowed USD86M for the construction of Airport Terminal Building. He said nowhere it stated that St. Maarten accepted conditions. He said the current system is lopsided especially since SMMC did not have conditions.
He asked the Prime Minister to tell Parliament exactly how much money St. Maarten received from the Dutch Government. He said he did not want to know how much is in the World Bank account. Emmanuel said that based on what he is hearing St. Maarten already collected close to $300M but he does not know where the money is going.
Emmanuel also lamented that the Minister of TEATT avoided parliament at all cost. He asked for more information on the cruise the Minister went on instead of responding to the Parliament. He calls the Minister’s action as irresponsible.

MP William Marlin says several issues kept resurfacing that warrants explanations and or clarity. He said parliament was elected by the people whose authority is to question and exercise control over government. Marlin said that government is yet to present a plan and give clarity. Marlin said the Shareholder representative went on radio stations and made statements but today he is cruising. He said the Prime Minister said she was there to answer questions about the World Bank but questions regarding PJIAE must be answered by the Shareholder Representative. Marlin said when the Shareholder representative or his replacement are not present then the Prime Minister is responsible therefore she cannot wiggle herself out of the situation.
Marlin asked the Prime Minister to clarify who exactly offered the positions to the Dutch Government. He also asked the Prime Minister to tell Parliament what exactly Mike Alexander was hired for. He said he heard that Alexander was hired to amend the articles of incorporation to create positions for the Dutch.
Marlin said he also wants more explanation about the comfort letter from the Government of St. Maarten. He asked the Prime Minister to tell Parliament when exactly did PJIAE asked for the comfort letter for the bondholders? Marlin said if PJIAE asked for a comfort letter why was that not in the presentation? He said based on the presentation the wrong impression is given because had government grant PJIAE the comfort letter for the bondholders then they would not have been in the position they are in now.
Emmanuel then presented a motion of no confidence against Stuart Johnson.
Emmanuel also presented a motion of no confidence against Minister of TEATT Stuart Johnson who chose to go on a cruise instead of responding to the Parliament of St. Maarten.
Prime Minister Leona Romeo Marlin informed Parliament that the WB and EIB loan amounts to US 100M, this she said includes the USD 15M liquidity loan. Marlin insisted that the liquidity money is part of the USD 100M and the USD 15M will be coming in tranches. Marlin also told Parliament that it is PJIAE that requested USD64M for the reconstruction. She said that PJAIE sent a letter to the Council of Ministers in April 2018.

BirdsCaribbean Awards Betty Petersen Conservation Fund Grants to Three Projects that Conserve Birds and Empower Local Communities.

BirdsCaribbean Executive Director, Lisa Sorenson, today announced the first recipients of grants from the Betty Petersen Conservation Fund. The “Betty Fund” was created to support conservation projects in the Caribbean that engage and empower communities and stakeholders to both protect and sustainably benefit from their birds, an approach used successfully by the woman in whose memory the Betty Fund is named. In 2019, three conservation projects in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and St. Lucia were granted over $132,000, with commitments to an additional $114,000 for the second year of these projects.

The three organizations to receive Betty Funds from BirdsCaribbean are:
• Environmental Protection in the Caribbean (EPIC) for “Black-capped Petrel Conservation Through Poverty Alleviation in a Haitian Community”
• Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust for “Engaging Local Communities in Reversing the Decline of the Endangered White-breasted Thrasher by Restoring Key Nesting Sites and Reducing the Impacts of Invasive Species”
• The Peregrine Fund for “A Holistic Approach to the Conservation of Critically Endangered Ridgway’s Hawk in Dominican Republic”

“It was a very difficult choice,” expressed Andrew Dobson, Chair of BirdsCaribbean’s board and a member of the Betty Fund’s review committee. “We received 24 pre-proposals representing extremely important conservation work in 16 island nations. We invited full proposals from six organizations, and while virtually all of these were deserving, we had to narrow these down to three projects.”

The 2019 Betty Fund projects all exemplify the principle that conservation is a social undertaking, and in each human empowerment and benefits are explicitly addressed. Project approaches include establishing tree nurseries with local schools in St. Lucia to help the White-breasted Thrasher, training in sustainable agricultural practices and sponsoring a soccer team in Haiti with the local name, Diablotin, of the Black-capped Petrel in Haiti, and providing hawk-proof chicken coops to farmers in the Dominican Republic to reduce shooting of the Ridgway’s Hawk.

Additionally, all three of the selected projects focus on an Endangered or Critically Endangered species endemic to the Caribbean. “Species endemism is not a requirement for support from the Betty Fund” explained Dr. Sorenson, “but it’s gratifying to be able to direct these inaugural funds towards birds that are uniquely Caribbean.”

The Betty Fund was launched in 2018 from the generous donations of individuals who knew Betty Petersen personally or were inspired by her work. “I knew Betty for almost 30 years,” said BirdsCaribbean Board member, Charles Duncan. “She was, in her own way, a wizard. She turned local communities and school kids into committed conservationists, struggling NGOs into recognized players on the inter-American scene, and “paper parks” into real protected areas. And in the process she reminded us how rewarding it is to lend a hand when none is expected.”

Betty’s husband, Wayne Petersen, spoke on behalf of the family stating, ““Betty was neither a trained scientist nor an ornithologist. However she was a deeply caring, kind, and gentle soul who understood people, their needs, and their feelings. It was these attributes that made her sustained efforts on behalf of bird conservation in Latin America and the Caribbean so successful and what eventually made her a beloved, admired, and respected figure. I know that Betty would have been modestly overwhelmed by the way BirdsCaribbean is carrying forward her legacy – a legacy of which I am deeply proud.”

BirdsCaribbean will continue to fundraise for the Betty Fund, especially given the commitment for year two funding for the three inaugural projects. Dr. Sorenson said, “The recipients have committed to raise almost $275,000 in matching funds for their projects so, in just the first two years of its existence, the Betty Petersen Fund will have enabled more than a half-million dollars for conservation of endemic birds in the Caribbean. We are off to a great start, and we can’t wait to see what other projects we can fund in the ensuing years.”

“What wonderful news!” commented Adam Brown of EPIC, a recipient of funding for his work on the endangered Black-capped Petrel in Haiti. “We look forward to promoting petrel conservation the way Betty would have been happy to support.”

For information on how to contribute to the Fund and/or how to apply for funding please visit the BirdsCaribbean website at https://www.birdscaribbean.org/the-betty-petersen-fund-for-conservation/.

Dubai-based Canadian lawyer expresses concern over St. Kitts and Nevis’ Citizenship by Investment Programme.

dubaicandian21012019Basseterre, St. Kitts:--- A Dubai-based lawyer has raised concerns about where the CBI funds in St. Kitts and Nevis are being allocated.
Canadian Sam Bayat, owner of the Bayat Legal Group has also urged the St. Kitts and Nevis government to “properly manage” its CBI programme to curb fraudulent developer and agent activity.
“There are 80 government-approved real estate projects and there are not 80 projects completed. That is exactly the problem. There are empty shells around the island and they do not look good to tourists,” said Bayat, a guest on a recent edition of WINNFM’s “Inside the News.”
In his comments, reported by the Texas-based Caribbean News Now, Bayat reportedly suggested that the government should create an independent escrow fund, and control the construction stages to ensure all approved projects are actually built.
“The government may be happy that it gets its fees but what about jobs and the wider benefits for the economy from real estate investment?”
The Dubai-based lawyer added: “CBI is a noble concept and many countries have followed St. Kitts and Nevis’ footsteps, such as Dominica and St. Lucia and Malta, Cyprus and Bulgaria. Sometimes it can be so successful, but like any other concept, it needs to be managed properly.
Bayat is a Quebec (Canada) licensed attorney with background in international law and is specialized in corporate migration. He has over twenty years experience in business immigration and citizenship consultancy.
He pointed to the success of the Park Hyatt St. Kitts, attracted to the Federation by the Denzil Douglas Labour administration.
“For example, the Park Hyatt in St. Kitts and Nevis was extremely successful – it created jobs during the construction phase, permanent jobs and a lot of tourists.”
Bayat said the St. Kitts and Nevis government needs to be more diligent about how it runs the CBI programme.
“There are billions of dollars that are coming to the island. The public sees the applicants as the danger but the government is the biggest problem – if they managed the programme properly there would be no problem,” he said.
Bayat is a former president and vice president of Canadian Bar, International Section in Quebec. He had lectured in the International law at the Concordia University in Montreal.
He is the senior resident lawyer of the law firm, Bayat Legal Services (BLS) in Dubai.


Vinaora Nivo Slider 3.x

RADIO FROM VOICEOFTHECARIBBEAN.NET

Vinaora Nivo Slider 3.x
Vinaora Nivo Slider 3.xVinaora Nivo Slider 3.x
Vinaora Nivo Slider 3.x
Vinaora Nivo Slider 3.x
Vinaora Nivo Slider 3.x
Vinaora Nivo Slider 3.xVinaora Nivo Slider 3.x
Vinaora Nivo Slider 3.x