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Last request to claim confiscated scooters.

scooterskpsm14012021PHILIPSBURG:--- Over the last six months, the police of Sint-Maarten (KPSM) has issued several notices to owners of scooters and other vehicles, which were impounded over the last year to visit the police station and collect these items. After several public requests, very few owners have shown up to retrieve their vehicles.
Through this press release, the Police of Sint-Maarten would again like to request does persons, who may own, any of these vehicles, which are impounded at the police station, to visit the station and collect their property as soon as possible
Persons still wishing to retrieve their bike(s) can now do so until the end of January 2021. The scooters and motorbikes that are allowed to be retrieved are those that were taken out of circulation, because they were being used in a way that was against the law, for instance, used without insurance, or because they had a technical problem.
Bikes that are confiscated for further investigations will not be available for retrieval. The Prosecutor’s office is the only entity allowed to return a bike confiscated after investigation purposes.
If you know your bike or scooter is present at the police station, you can take it home with you if you can present the following documents: proof of your identity (a driver's license, identity card, or passport) and proof that you are the rightful owner of the scooter/motorbike. You will also have to show proof of insurance and inspection for the scooter/motorbike.
If you can do so, your motorbike/scooter or car will be returned to you.

 

KPSM  Press Release.


Impactful Re-greening SXM Project contributed to the resilience of St. Maarten.

regreeninggroup14012021PHILIPSBURG:--- The re-greening SXM project has improved the resilience of St. Maarten and successfully planted a total of 609 trees with the help of more than 192 volunteers last year. Albeit the challenges brought about by the pandemic, the project still managed to safely host 5 community clean-ups and 4 community planting events. Due to the great contribution of volunteers, the project was able to reach its successes and the following communities were left cleaner: Madam Estate, Little Bay, Great Bay, Arch Road, Illidge Road, and Cole Bay. Currently, 82% of the planted trees and plants are healthy and surviving! Besides, environmental awareness was raised among the residents and students to learn about the importance of nature protection and resilient communities.

The re-greening SXM project was launched to create a greener and more resilient island in 2020 by the Netherlands Red Cross in collaboration with the Nature Foundation St. Maarten. The Project aimed to restore and build environmental resilience here on St. Maarten last year. The Re-greening SXM Project was a component under the Netherlands Red Cross’ Disaster Risk Reduction Project, as part of the Hurricane Irma Recovery Programme. The project’s focus was to ensure ways in which community environments on the island will be better adapted to withstand future hazards and disaster impacts.

“This has been a great opportunity to initiate a program which links up environmental, disaster, climate, and community resilience. Indeed, the “Regreening SXM Project” did not only raise awareness among the volunteers and community members, but it also influenced various stakeholders such as the government, private sector, academic institutions, and civil society organizations, to come together and complement each other to build a stronger, greener, and more resilient Sint Maarten,” as stated by Martin Dacles, DRR Project Manager of the Netherlands Red Cross.

The Re-greening project was conducted mainly through the restoration of natural and native vegetation. Land ruin results in soil erosion and vegetative damage which in turn creates a higher risk of flooding. Vegetative restoration mitigates these impacts, builds resilience, and restores proper ecosystem functions.

“Working on this project has been a blast! I am incredibly pleased with all that has been accomplished throughout this project. I would like to thank everyone who came out and assisted in the project and gave up their time to build a more resilient St. Maarten. It was beautiful to witness the care, love, and passion for St. Maarten through this project.” voiced Ernika van Putten Project Leader of the Re-greening SXM Project.

“The Nature Foundation is grateful to see more trees planted on our island and the completion of this project. Tree planting will enhance our natural habitats and the environment, creating a more sustainable future. Our nature assists us to protect our island from disasters, such as flooding and storms, their enrichment is critical in the way to recovery and is needed to be prepared for future disasters. Without our natural vegetation, trees, mangroves, and coral reefs, our island would experience much larger impacts from flooding, erosion, and storms, therefore nature restoration activities are of utmost significance for St Maarten” stated Nature Foundation’s Manager Melanie Meijer zu Schlochtern.

Pollution along with soil run-off creates a blockade in the drainages. This ends up slowing down or completely stopping the water flow through these drainages. With heavy rains and hurricane winds added to this equation pollution from afar also ends up in the drainages. Therefore, proper disposal of waste everywhere is very important. For our environment to stay healthy, the community as a majority needs to take initiative on keeping the island clean. Once a healthy ecosystem is promoted, restored, and maintained in our environment, rest assured that our communities will become safer and better equipped to reduce the impacts of disasters. We would love to see that this project further affects the communities positively and that actions are sustained for a St. Maarten that can better withstand future hazards.

The Irma Recovery Programme will end during the summer months this year. Red Cross will resume their regular activities. With disaster management prominent on the agenda of The Netherlands Red Cross and Red Cross St. Maarten, the Disaster Risk Reduction efforts will continue to strengthen St. Maarten beyond the Irma Recovery Programme.

SXM Doet postponed to May 28 & 29, 2021.

PHILIPSBURG:--- The Oranje Fonds is postponing the Kingdom-wide ‘DOET Event’ 2021 by 2.5 months. This includes SXM DOET, which is executed by Be The Change Foundation on Sint Maarten.

“Together with the other Dutch Caribbean islands and The Netherlands, we have chosen to postpone our yearly SXM DOET event to 28 and 29 May 2021. We will aim to hold the volunteer event during that time with safety as our priority. Projects will only be allowed to take place if they can comply with COVID-regulations.” explains Melanie Choisy, President of Be The Change Foundation.

“Let’s achieve more together, safely” is the slogan for the 2021 event. Participating organizations and volunteers are asked to adhere to a set of rules and guidelines so that projects can be completed in a safer manner. These include: maintaining social distancing, proper sanitation, encouraging households to volunteer together, discouraging sharing of materials, and appointing a ‘supervisor’ to make sure guidelines are followed, etc.

All projects will also be provided with ample protective materials such as masks and sanitizer. Organizations can also apply for additional funding to purchase additional protective equipment fitting to their project needs. The full COVID rules and guidelines for NGO’s & volunteers during SXM DOET 2021 are available on www.sxmdoet.com.
With the postponement, community organizations can now register their projects and apply for funding till March 19, 2021. Melanie “We look forward to seeing a lot of outdoor projects for this 7th edition of SXM DOET on May 28 & 29. Let’s have fun and work together safely to bring positive change to the community!”

For any questions, SXM DOET can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or on their Facebook page.

 

Aging with Grace Show Talks COVID-19 Vaccines.

evabouman14012021~Top epidemiologists share insights and answers questions on Facebook Live Show~

PHILIPSBURG:---  Aging with Grace is an online show aired on Facebook Live every Sunday at 3:00 pm and hosted by Drs. Linda Richardson, a community leader who has successfully had careers in linguistics, education, and political advisory. Started in April 2020 during the emergency lockdown at the onset of the pandemic, this show is designed to empower seniors to live their best life while providing a blueprint for youngers on how to do the same. The focus has been topics such as aging in the corona age and health. Since its inception, it has become a vehicle to inform the community of important related matters. Reaching thousands of viewers in the Caribbean, Europe, and the USA, this program has had the honor of guests such as Makhicia Brooks, director of St. Maarten Development Fund, Former Prime Minister Marcel Gumbs, and international speaker, author, Gladys Agwai (USA).

Aging with Grace is in its second season and share unique experiences such as a virtual Mother’s Day Song Festival ( May 2020) and a virtual exercise class that included a virtual Zumba session. One of the key features of the show is that the virtual audience can send in questions and get answers live. Officially a retired civil servant and passionate about health and well-being, Drs. Richardson started this show as a means to inform audiences of the decades of personal research and invite experts to share on health topics.

This Sunday, January 17, 2020, epidemiologist Mrs. Eva Lista -De Weever, Director of Department of Collective Prevention Services (CPS). Mrs. Lista was a guest on the Aging with Grace show before, where she informed the viewers on the COVID-19 and the guidelines to prevent its spread. Also, on the program is visiting epidemiologist, Dr. Leigh Bowman (UK), who specializes in tropical medicine with extensive experience in outbreaks, will be guests on Aging with Grace. This special edition will focus on providing information on the COVID-19 vaccines as there are some concerns. These medical professionals will shed some light on this matter.

Mrs. Lista holds an MSc in Public health and has experience with epidemics such as Ebola Outbreak. Originally from St. Maarten, Mrs. Lista has worked in Canada and in the US extensively studying the causes and effects of diseases in the human population and ways to manage outbreaks. Dr. Bowman is visiting from the United Kingdom and is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, a Member of the British Exploring Society. Dr. Bowman has more than 10 years of experience across academia, government, and international NGOs with much experience in working on outbreaks in low- and middle-income countries (dengue, Zika, and now COVID-19). Former roles with Imperial College London and the World Health Organisation. Currently, consultant epidemiologist to AMI/ Collective Prevention Services, helping lead the response to COVID-19.

This episode is going to be informative and interactive and will take place on Sunday, January 17 at 3:00 PM (AST). To see join live or view replays of previous shows, go to www.facebook.com/groups/agingwithgracetv. For inquiries, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

USP outlines its plan of action of 2021.

buncamperarrindell14012021PHILIPSBURG:--- The United St. Maarten Party (USP) faction in parliament outlines its plan of action for the year 2021. The work on some of the projects outlined in the 2021 plan of actions has begun in 2020, while the party intends to have them completed during the course of this year.

Animal Cruelty Law is one of the projects on the list. This law already exists in parts of our penal code. Aruba has a more in-depth law with a penalty section. The faction intends to review this law to establish if there is a need to implement a similar law with adaptations that are best suitable for St. Maarten. Discussions with stakeholders and revision of the Aruban laws have already taken place. The law will safeguard animals’ rights and prevent cruelty to certain domesticated animals, such as dogs, cats, and horses. The law to protect the shark species are already on the books, while specific emphasis will be placed on having dolphins in enclosures such as dolphinariums, etc. not allowed. The allowance of zoos will also be reviewed as we are of the opinion that animals belong in the wild and not in cages.

From the aspect of food security and strengthening our economy in the field of agriculture and fisheries, we are confident that this sector can be beneficial both financially and health-wise.

Small-scale personal gardening is already a new phenomenon on the island for those with the space to do so. The requisition of domain land to accommodate professional and personal agriculture is a possibility being considered to further discuss also with the Ministry of VROMI.

Cannabis farming for medicinal and recreational purposes is another sector that can be a new pillar for our economic diversification. Presently the faction is busy seeking collaboration from the parliaments and governments in Aruba and Curacao who are much further with legislation and permitting of such farming especially the medicinal cannabis.

Agriculture through technology will be a beneficial source for food security, thus also benefitting the hospitality sector (phonics technologies within a hurricane area) It will probably be necessary to bring in specialists from abroad to assist in this area. A more in-depth working relationship with experts from the Netherlands (University of Wageningen) must also have collaborated. The University of St. Maarten and the agriculture sector can together pull this initiative.

Market protection for locally grown and cultivated products is very essential. The price of the local products can remain competitive by using well water (to be decontaminated if necessary), which is much less costly and is easily accessible in many areas on this island.

Another sector that can bring economic advantages is seafood farming for lobsters, fish, shrimps, and conchs, thus creating additional opportunities for jobs.

Livestock farming of chickens, ducks, and pigs for consumption and egg production can be sold locally as well as exported to neighboring islands.

The USP faction in parliament is actively working on the tolerance policy for the decriminalization of possession, use, and cultivation of Cannabis. The maximum allowed amount of cannabis for personal and recreational use is yet to be determined. This will decrease the number of persons incarcerated for possession of a minimal amount of cannabis. In addition, youngsters found with a minimal amount of cannabis will not have a criminal record, thus allowing them to further their education or to seek employment.

The finalization of the code of conduct and gift policy for parliamentarians is another aspect that the USP faction in parliament will be dealing with, as this is imperative to avoid Members of Parliament (MP’s) finding themselves in positions of a possible conflict of interest and to avoid them compromising their functions/duties. It will also prevent MP’s from using their office for personal gain and to prevent them from having their integrity to be called into question.

The code of conduct will determine, among other things, the maximum monetary value of gifts a member of parliament may accept, what other employment or duties/work a member of parliament may perform outside of his/her duties as a parliamentarian, and what other functions the member may hold or carry out.

Installing a permanent Integrity Committee in parliament is also something that the US Party will be bringing to the floor of parliament.

On the subject of Environmental Protection and Preservation, the US Party believes that the beach ownership legislation must be reviewed to ensure that all our beaches and shorelines are owned by Country St. Maarten, including the parking and accessibility.

The US Party will be pushing for the long-awaited finalization of the VROMI ordinance which entails the garbage collection ordinance, the sewage collection ordinance, the building ordinance, and the completion of the zoning of our country to prevent the destruction of our beaches, lagoons, ponds, and the remaining greenery, just to name a few.

The needed law on breathalyzer testing is presently being reviewed for the process to start the initiative law or an amendment to the present law. This law will allow law enforcement officers to perform a breathalyzer test on individuals suspected of being intoxicated or under the influence of alcohol while driving a vehicle on the public road, or being a nuisance to society. Presently, there is no legal manner to determine the state of such persons by means of a test unless a blood sample is taken. Also, the law on noise pollution is being reviewed for the initiative law process and will equip law enforcement officers with a device to measure and determine the level of noise being produced. Perpetrators will be warned or given a fine, should they exceed the to-be-determined allowed number of decibels. Presently, there is no legal manner to determine the level of decibels in the law.

 The USP MP’s are dealing with the adaptation of the electoral laws on the following points:

  • The numeration that politicians are entitled to at the end of their terms or when their terms end prematurely. (i.e. termination due to a vote of no-confidence or change of government, or due to early elections)
  • The right and the process to call early elections prior to the formal end of the term.
  • The procedures to appoint and screen candidate ministers.

The revision of the draft penal code is another matter very dear to the hearts of the USP MP’s. They have suggested amendments to various articles to ensure that everyone is treated fairly by the law. And that no one party, in particular the prosecutor’s office, is given a preferential position to carry out their job. The law is not about what quota can be filled or how many people can be arrested, but about ensuring that the country is safe for all citizens. Everyone must be treated equally and personal privacy must be safeguarded by the laws (as it in the Netherlands) which is presently not the case.

The USP MP’s are going to make several proposals for the strengthening of our Rule of law (Rechtstaat) and the justice system during the next 5 years, which include that:

  • All laws will be translated into English and will be the formal language of the courts within the transition period of 5-6 years.
  • Maarten/Antillean born lawyers practicing should be granted the opportunity to become judges and prosecutors during the program period of the proposed COHO entity.
  • Funds from the transition program, be it a grant or a loan, must now be allocated to this project in writing.
  • A Prosecutor General be appointed for St. Maarten who reports to St. Maarten’s Minister of Justice and carries out policies best for THIS country.
  • The laws on Financial Economic crimes, particularly pertaining to offshore businesses, be equal to those in the Netherlands.
  • The border control is part of the Coast Guard and Immigration, seeing that KMAR is not controlling the physical border between the Dutch and the French sides.

In regards to the sustainability of our economy, the USP faction recommends:

  • That we reinstate offshore banking as is stated in our laws and adjust the laws if necessary. The CFATF will be taken into consideration.
  • That our telecommunication companies be strengthened by partnering with a telecom giant from the Region, or the Kingdom of France. Proper telecommunication services and stable internet service must be guaranteed. The rates are to be competitive with those within the region.
  • That we move from direct taxes to indirect taxes. Tax reform must ensure an attractive investment climate. Everyone must pay their due taxes.
  • And that we move on to sustainable energy whereby our water and electricity supply is produced through incineration of garbage partially or in full.
  • Alternative Energy should be sought in the form of wind and solar but with the local electricity company at the helm of such to ensure the sustainability of the company for the future.

As it pertains to the discussion of Decolonization, the US Party wholeheartedly supports the review by the Constitution and Decolonization committee of Parliament on the status of the completion of Article 73 of the UN resolution 945. The USP faction in parliament supported the motion passed in parliament regarding the position of the Pro Soualiga Foundation and will continue to support such until the full measure of decolonization has been attained.

The party strongly believes that our freedom of expression and our rights to choose is not to be surrendered as a condition for any money.


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