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Infant sustained minor injuries after a rear-end collision.

PHILIPSBURG:--- An infant was injured in rear-end collision, around 8:00 a.m., on September 23, 2021, Police Central dispatch received a call about a traffic accident at the intersection of Gladiola Road and Carnation Road.

 Preliminary findings are that the driver of the blue i10 was not able to regulate his speed and rear-ended a purple Toyota Corolla in front of him.

Due to the impact, a child who was seated in the rear of the vehicle sustained some minor injuries. The child was treated by the ambulance personnel.

It later emerged that the driver of the i10 was not in possession of a driver's license. He was issued a fine and the car was impounded for further investigation.

The St. Maarten Police Force reminds drivers to have the necessary documents while driving on public roads. Furthermore, a plea to parents of under-age children to wear their seat belt in the car or remain seated in the car seat while driving.

 

KPSM Press Release.

 


One arrest, house search in drugs smuggling investigation.

drugs23092021PHILIPSBURG:--- On September 23, 2021, the Alpha Team carried out a house search and arrested one suspect with the initials Z.M.D.D. (24) for his involvement in a drug-smuggling operation. The house search and arrest are in connection with an ongoing investigation into trafficking and/dealing in narcotics.
The incident that triggered this investigation took place in July 2021 at Princess Juliana International Airport. Several items were relevant to this investigation were confiscated during the search.
After the search, the suspect was transported to the police station in Philipsburg and detained there in connection with the further investigation.
The Alpha Team is a joint multidisciplinary Team consisting of the Police KPSM, Customs, Immigration, Royal Military Police, and the Coast Guard.

 

KPSM Press Release.

17 confirmed COVID-19 cases today.

omarottley23022021PHILIPSBURG:--- As of September 23rd, there were seventeen (17) persons who tested positive for COVID-19; however eleven (11) persons have recovered; bringing the total active cases to one hundred sixty-five (165). The total number of confirmed cases is now four thousand one hundred seventy-eight (4178).

The Collective Prevention Services (CPS) are monitoring one hundred fifty-six (156) people in home isolation. Nine (9) patients remain hospitalized at the St. Maarten Medical Center. The total number of deaths due to COVID-19 remains at sixty-one (61).

The number of people recovered since the first case surfaced on St. Maarten has increased to three thousand nine hundred fifty-two (3952). One hundred nine (109) people are in quarantine based on contact tracing investigations carried out by CPS.

The Ministry of Public Health, Social Development, and Labour (VSA) Airport Health Team in collaboration with Health Care Laboratory Sint Maarten (HCLS) have tested 3, 704 travelers arriving at the Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA), while CPS tested 41, 509 people throughout the community. As the numbers continue to fluctuate, CPS will continue to actively execute its contact tracing measures.

Minister Ottley urges all unvaccinated persons to come out to the vaccination pop-up drive on Saturday, September 25th, at SMMC premises in Cayhill from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. On-site there will also be Prostate cancer screening and a health check corner with blood pressure and glucose monitoring.

USP Faction leader questions to VROMI on Vineyard Heights.

cbuncamper05022021PHILIPSBURG:--- During the public meeting of parliament on Thursday, MP Buncamper stated in his notification remarks that he believes that a harsh tone has already been set for this meeting regarding the disrespectful letter of the Minister of VROMI to the Ombudsman, a high council of this country. The remarks directed to the ombudsman about her personal life have absolutely no bearing on the questions that were posed. Those types of remarks were totally out of context when addressing any high council in this country. They were basically sexist. I once told a person on this floor not to “whine like a woman” and I took the high road and apologized the same afternoon publicly as I meant no disrespect to the woman of the country. I hope that you use the opportunity given here today to you to also take that high road and apologize to the Ombudsman.  

During his turn to question the Minister of VROMI, Egbert Doran, the MP posed the following questions regarding the Vineyard Heights land issues.

  1. What should we conclude of the letter of the Ombudsman regarding the state of affairs regarding the lands at Vineyard Heights?
  2. Why are lots now given out seeing there is no infrastructure in place?
  3. Does government have the necessary funds for the infrastructure? If not those persons who have received a parcel of land are unable to utilize it, and are therefore not obliged to pay the cannon.
  4. How does the government plan to finance the Vineyard heights project of apartments, that will be for sale and rent? Who will manage this project from start to finish?
  5. What’s the role of SOG in the Vine Yard Heights project, taking the accumulated debts incurred in the Festival Village into account and the condition of the other buildings they presently manage?
  6. Am I to understand from the minister’s remarks made on various radio talk shows, that former Minister of VROMI, Mr. Angel Meyers committed illegal/wrongful acts when he gave out the 54 parcels of land? If yes, what illegal acts did the former minister commit?
  7. When did the court grant government full ownership of the land in question?
  8. Would any minister at that point in time have been able to grant said land to the 54 recipients while following proper procedures?
  9. Why is it that no other minister after former Minister Meyers attempted to grant the parcels of land in question to anyone else? Is it because there was no infrastructure in place at the time? And granted them the land would be a deceitful act, as those persons would not be unable utilize the land?
  • What procedures were used to determine who was eligible to receive a parcel of land in Vineyard heights? Can parliament be provided a copy of the criteria?
  • Have any legal actions started against government by any of the 54 persons who were duped by this government, as it appears that continuity in government does not exist? What is your position on continuity in government, Minister, and how is it applied in this particular case?
  • The Ombudsman stated that the standard of legal certainty (opgewekte vertrouwen) is essential in any state of law; it requires legitimate expectations to be honored by the government. Minister, do you agree with and thus support this statement?
  • Minister, do you believe that the 54 recipients of the property at Vineyard Heights could have been under a reasonable belief that after the court case they would get back their parcel of land as was agreed upon by the previous government? Would you, Minister, as a resident unaware of the details of how the process works, have the same belief?
  • Minister, when I saw the documents that were on the Facebook page of the journalist Mr. Ralph Cantave regarding the bidding process and the internal granting advice, and the headline that read “Questionable Bidding Process”, it was clear that something did not go right with the bid. So allow me to pose the following questions so that you can clarify for all of us;
  1. Why was the decision taken to have an invitation bid instead of a public bid? Was this an emergency?
  2. Why was the tender not granted to the Access NV that complied with the tender request to submit a price?
  3. Why was the company Atys Architecture allowed to come back a few months later to submit a price which is totally not in accordance with the bidding procedure?
  4. Atys Architecture explained to a journalist that the works should under normal circumstances cost about 15-20K dollars. Why did the ministry accept an underbid cost of NAF 3.000,=?
  5. Minister, when I look at the advice, there is only one signature signing on behalf of the department. Is this a normal procedure in the ministry? If so, please explain how the checks and balances are done?
  6. Minister, the article of the journalist Ralph Cantave states that the Atys group spokesman said that he did it for this special price because the head of VROMI told him he would be part of the project in the future? How fair is this towards the others involved? Please explain the meaning of “he will be part of the project in the future?"
  7. Why would the tender be stopped and a new tender made as per the process regulation if government did not accept Access NV’s offer?
  1. The Ombudsman zorgbrief stated that a tender for the infrastructure will be going out.
  2. Who will be handling the tender for the infrastructure?
  3. How much is the internal cost for the infrastructure?
  4. Does government have the funds for this infrastructure? Or will the SOG or Government take a loan to cover the costs?
  5. Who will guarantee the loan and what effects will this have on our already high borrowing ratio?
  6. Is the 20 million dollars reserved by the Steering Committee to be used for the Vineyard Heights projects instead of the Belvedere homes?
  7. Why is there a notice in the media informing those persons who had a signed deed and/or papers for the Over the Bank project to bring them in before November 2021? Why wasn’t this done before granting the lots to the persons?
  • When will the finalization of the lands for Denicio Wyatt be finalized?
  • The Rain Forest project was granted over 350 thousand square meters of land. I have the following questions;
  1. What is the status of the property at Rain Forest that was to be returned to the government?
  2. Has Rain Forest paid up its outstanding cannon?
  3. Will that land is put to “eventually good” use like various forms of agriculture?
  4. Will the lands that were used by Shipyard now be cleared up and turned over once for all?

Government and NRPB on SMHDF funding request.

governmentbuilding09042020PHILIPSBURG:---  The Government of Sint Maarten would like to address the two articles regarding the Sint Maarten Housing Development Foundation (SMHDF) that were published in The Daily Herald earlier this week. In these articles, SMHDF expressed its disappointment about the funding allocation decisions of the Sint Maarten Trust Fund.

Since the inception of the Trust Fund in 2018, 369 SMHDF units have been repaired, totaling US$ 1.06 Million. Worth noting is that the National Recovery Program Bureau (NRPB) is making the final preparations to refurbish the 64 Belvedere tower apartments. These repairs, which have an estimated value of US$ 5.4 Million, have already been tendered and are scheduled to commence in the next few months. As it relates to the announcement of SMHDF to increase the rent of their tenants, the Government will be seeking further information from SMHDF.

With respect to the statement of SMHDF that it was never asked to meet with the Steering Committee “to properly present its case and explain the reasons why funding is so important”, the Government wishes to clarify that the procedures to submit proposals to the Steering Committee are formally set. Once the Council of Ministers supports a proposal that has received the necessary technical input from stakeholders, it is submitted to the Steering Committee for consideration. The representative of Sint Maarten in the Steering Committee receives instructions through the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers on the position of the Government in the Steering Committee. Third parties are not offered the opportunity to present their case to the Steering Committee.

On the statements made by the Steering Committee, the Government wishes to clarify that support from the Trust Fund, with the repair and new construction of low-cost housing, has been proposed on several occasions without setting a definitive amount. In a letter to the Steering Committee in March 2020, the Government estimated that a total amount of 22 million US Dollars would be needed for repairs in Belvedere. With this letter, the Government also reconfirmed its support for a potential housing project and highlighted possible financial support for SMHDF as part of such a project.

At the request of the Government, a Rapid Housing Sector Assessment was conducted by the World Bank, and extensive technical assistance was offered to SMHDF over the last few years. A review of the financial situation of SMHDF showed the need for structural improvements with the financial management of the Foundation. The recommendations as outlined in the Assessment are intended as a framework for discussion with the Government about possible actions to improve the housing market in Sint Maarten.

The Steering Committee met several times to discuss a potential housing project based on the outcomes of the Rapid Housing Sector Assessment and the financial review of SMHDF. Initially, a decision on a housing project was not made, as it was not clear whether there would be sufficient funds remaining in the Trust Fund for such a project. In July 2021, on the initiative of the Government, the Steering Committee agreed to earmark 20 million US Dollars for a potential housing project and requested the World Bank and the NRPB to prepare a detailed proposal for final decision-making. In preparing this proposal, the World Bank and the NRPB have also been requested to consider the opportunities of blended financing to increase the available envelope. The Government intends to bring other financial parties to the table in the preparation of this project. In the coming months, consultations with stakeholders and possible project partners are scheduled to take place, including with SMHDF. Unfortunately, SMHDF made its statements publicly without having further dialogue with government on the earmarked funds.

In closing, this Government would like to emphatically state that our priority has always been to solve Sint Maarten’s dire lack of access to adequate housing, and we will continue to seek opportunities to remedy this during the current governing period. Is it relates to the announcement of SMHDF to increase the rent of their tenants, Government will also be seeking clarifications on the decision to enforce such.

 


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