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New roof for Sunny Valley, light masts go up at sports field.

sabasportsfield26012021SABA:--- Commissioner Rolando Wilson, Head of the Planning Bureau Bobby Zagers, and Planning Bureau project manager Evita Pronk on Monday visited two projects currently in execution: the installation of the light masts at the Johan Cruyff Court and renovation of the roof at the Sunny Valley Youth Center in The Bottom.
The four lights masts have been put up at the sports field by the contractor Saba Roads. The delivery of the light masts, manufactured on special order in the Netherlands, suffered a delay due to the COVID-9 pandemic.
All equipment is now on Saba to complete the installation of the lighting, said Zagers. The installation should be ready somewhere around mid-February after the pulling of the cables, the completion of electrical work, and the placing of the LED lights in the light masts.
Four LED floodlights will be installed per light mast, 16 in total. This will surely provide enough light for persons who want to play sports like soccer and softball on the field in the evening hours. The project is a donation by the Johan Cruyff Foundation, while LED floodlights are donated by Signify, formerly Philips Lighting.
Commissioner Wilson said he was happy that the project was reaching completion. He said with the lights installed people won’t have to stop playing after the sun goes down. “With a light system in place, the schools and the different groups in the community can make use of the field in the evening hours. Playing sports, being active and staying healthy is extra important during a pandemic,” he said. He thanked the Johan Cruyff Foundation and State Secretary of Public Health, Welfare and Sport Paul Blokhuis for supporting the project.
At the Sunny Valley Youth Center, work is progressing to reconstruct the roof. The roof was leaking and become weak, which is certainly not an ideal situation since the building acts as a hurricane shelter, explained Zagers.
The Sunny Valley project, which should be completed in the second quarter of this year, is financed through recovery funds of the Dutch Government. The contractor is Zagers Construction. A renovation of the building in 2014 did not include the roof. Both the Sunny Valley and the Johan Cruyff Court light masts are executed under the management of the Planning Bureau.
Commissioner Wilson inspected the roof on Monday, together with Zagers and Pronk. “I am pleased to see that the work is coming along. When the roof is finished, in time for the hurricane season, we will have a completely safe shelter once again,” he said.


Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs and Minister of Finance Ardwell Irion present legislative amendments for top income earners at semi-public entities to Parliament.

sillyjacobs02042020PHILIPSBURG:--- On Monday, January 25, 2021, Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs and Minister of Finance Ardwell Irion attended a Central Committee meeting of Parliament where they were able to present the legislative changes to one of the three amending national ordinances for the agreed-upon cost-cutting measures to be enforceable. The ‘Temporary National Ordinance on the standardization of top incomes and adjustment of employment conditions at (semi) public sector entities’ was discussed for implementation per the conditions for receiving the second tranche of liquidity support from the government of the Netherlands. The ministers also fielded questions of the Members of Parliament.

This draft National Ordinance will standardize the incomes of top officials, and reduce the employment benefits by 12.5% per July 1, 2020, within the (semi) public sector including public companies and publicly funded foundations and other institutions that are financed for at least 50% from government’s budget. This measure will also apply to existing employment contracts with a maximum salary to a limit of 130% of the new standardized salary, including an equal maximum of the secondary employment conditions, of the Prime Minister of the country and with an equal effect on the rates for consultants. Minister Irion presented the financial calculations that were used to arrive at the Jacobs’ norm.

Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs stated, “Contrary to what was stated on the virtual floor of Parliament that the documents sent to Parliament, to be discussed at agenda point 3 (‘Temporary National Ordinance COVID-19 cuts employment conditions for civil servants’) of today’s Central Committee meeting, are not illegal. The cover letter sent via the Cabinet of Governor E.B. Holiday rendering an explanation of the national ordinance accompanying the ordinances sent to Parliament was incorrectly dated August 25th, 2021. However, this technical error was not the case for the other two national ordinances sent to Parliament and as such, does not affect the legality of these draft ordinances nor the underlying documents for agenda point 3 (draft ordinance, Advice from the Council of Advice, nor the ‘Follow-up report’) which remain the same. The date on the cover letter was promptly corrected by the cabinet of the governor and resent to Parliament.”

In addressing the reason, the draft ordinance to be handled at agenda point three had been retracted and resubmitted today, PM Jacobs stated that it provided additional financial information to the elucidation of the draft ordinance as was advised by the Council of Advice. PM Jacobs further clarified that government ensured that the necessary financial aspects which were referred to in the ‘Follow-up Report/Nader Rapport’ were included. The government also ensured that the advice rendered by the Council of Advice was followed related to allowing the Ombudsman to be able to have six weeks to carry out the necessary due diligence regarding the national ordinance as per St. Maarten’s constitution.

During the handling of agenda point 1 regulating the top incomes of (semi) public entities, MPs expressed concern that teachers were highlighted as one of the groups falling under such an entity that would be included to receive these cuts. However, these adjustments are not intended for teachers and school personnel as they fall outside the scope of this law and are regulated under agenda point 3 that is still to be handled. These reductions will only apply to the top income earners (schoolboards/management) of educational institutions as well as other employees of semi (public entities) who do not fall under the civil service regulation. Teachers and administrative staff of public and private schools are teaching personnel as per article 1 sub 3 of the ‘Bezoldigingslandbesluit onderwijs’ ordinance. As such, the ordinance regulating civil servants will also pertain to them and will be presented and debated in the continuation of the ongoing Central Committee meeting under agenda point 3.

The Central Committee meeting will resume tomorrow, Tuesday, January 26, 2021, whereby Government will respond to questions of Members of Parliament posed today, and then proceed with agenda point 2, whereby the ‘Temporary National Ordinance to amend the employment conditions of political authorities’ will be discussed to temporarily reduce the employment conditions of political authorities by 25% per July 1, 2020. Government looks forward to being able to finalize the presentation tomorrow.


Continuation Central Committee meeting of Parliament concerning several draft national ordinances

PHILIPSBURG:---The House of Parliament will sit in a Central Committee meeting on, Tuesday, January 26, 2021 at 11.00 hrs.
The Central Committee meeting is a continuation of the meeting which was adjourned on Monday, January 25, 2021. The Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance will be present.

The agenda points are:

1. Ontwerp tijdelijke landsverordening Covid-19 bezuinigingen arbeidsvoorwaarden overheidsdienaren (Zittingsjaar 2020- 2021-139) (IS/301/2020-2021 d.d. 18 januari 2021)

Temporary National Ordinance Covid-19 cuts employment conditions for civil servants (Parliamentary Year 2020-2021-139) (IS/301/2020-2021 dated January 18, 2021)

2. Ontwerp tijdelijke landsverordening normering topinkomens en aanpassing arbeidsvoorwaarden bij (semi) publieke sector entiteiten (Zittingsjaar 2020- 2021-140) (IS/302/2020-2021 d.d. 18 januari 2021)
Temporary National Ordinance on the standardization of top incomes and adjustment of employment conditions at (semi) public sector entities (Parliamentary Year 2020-2021-140) (IS/302/2020-2021 dated January 18, 2021)

3. Ontwerp tijdelijke landsverordening aanpassing arbeidsvoorwaarden politieke gezagdragers (Zittingsjaar 2020- 2021-141) (IS/303/2020-2021 d.d. 18 januari 2021)

Temporary National Ordinance on the amendment of the employment conditions of political authorities (Parliamentary Year 2020-2021-141) (IS/303/2020-2021 dated January 18, 2021)

4. Ontwerp van Landsverordening tot wijziging van de Landsverordening Corporate Governance in verband met het doorvoeren van enkele wetstechnische aanpassingen en tot intrekking van de Landsverordening corporate governance van de voormalige Nederlandse Antillen (Zittingsjaar 2020- 2021-138) (IS/043/2020-2021 d.d. 28 september 2020)
National Ordinance amending the National Ordinance on Corporate Governance in connection with the implementation of some technical adjustments and to repeal the National Ordinance on Corporate Governance of the former Netherlands Antilles (Parliamentary Year 2020-2021-138) (IS/043/2020-2021 dated September 28, 2020)
Due to measures taken to mitigate the coronavirus (COVID-19), the House of Parliament is closed until February 5, 2021.
The parliamentary session will be held virtually and will be carried out live on St. Maarten Cable TV Channel 115, via SXM GOV radio FM 107.9, via Pearl Radio FM 98.1, via the internet, and Parliament’s Facebook page: Parliament of Sint Maarten


Minister of VSA partners with healthcare organizations for COVID-19 vaccination support.

PHILIPSBURG:--- The Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labour (VSA), Richard Panneflek was accompanied by the Head of Collective Prevention Services (CPS), Mrs. Eva Lista- De Weever to meet with Red Cross officials Sebastian Kachadourian, Regional Program Manager for the food assistance program, Lorren Mangwiro, humanitarian diplomacy advisor, and Fanny de Swarte, Head of Mission Recovery Irma, to discuss support from the Red Cross with the launching of the COVID-19 vaccination planning and implementation process. In addition, it was also discussed, the support from VSA to the Red Cross food program.

The project manager for the vaccination program will be arriving tomorrow January 26th, who has been very useful in the first phase of the pandemic early last year.

The Red Cross was also very supportive in the first wave with the community outreach program and the Ministry of Public Health is once again looking fourth to receiving the same support this time around with the COVID-19 vaccinations.

Government prepares for the roll-out of the Covid- 19 vaccine.

PHILIPSBURG (DCOMM):--- The Ministry of Public Health, Social Development & Labour (Ministry VSA) has established a COVID-19 Taskforce to make sure Sint Maarten will be well prepared when the vaccine will arrive from the Netherlands.
Ministry VSA is aware of the urgent need for information, and clarification and the ministry would want to ensure you that the Taskforce has been working day and night to make sure to create a smooth, fair and safe National Vaccination Implementation Strategy.
In the last month, a lot of work has been done in the background to lay the groundwork for this huge logistics challenge. As there are still uncertainties regarding the exact date of arrival, amount, and type of vaccines, all possibilities had to be considered.
This week the Taskforce will be strengthened with the arrival of Henk Veerdig as the official Vaccine Manager, who will report directly to the Minister of Public Health.
Part of the responsibilities of this Taskforce is also the distribution of information to the public, via an information and public awareness campaign, which will commence this week.
Information will be disseminated via the official Government mediums of the Department of Communication (DCOMM) such as the Website (, Facebook, Government Information Page, Public Service Announcements (PSAs), St. Maarten Cable TV, YouTube, among other Non-governmental, communication and private sector entities.
The Taskforce works closely with other Kingdom partner communication groups from Curacao, Aruba, the Caribbean Netherlands (Saba, Sint Eustatius & Bonaire), and the Netherlands to ensure a consistent communications effort throughout the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

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