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Group of Teachers willing to accept proposed cuts, says W.I.T.U does not speak for entire teaching population.


PHILIPSBURG:--- A group of teachers that Franklin Jeffers is representing has penned a letter to the Minister of Finance Ardwell Irion informing that they are ready to accept the proposed cuts for the years 2020 and 2021. The teachers in their letter said they are ready to accept their full salaries, and the proposed 50% cut in vacation pay for both years, while they envisioned having their vacation pay reimbursed by 200% in the year 2022.
The group of teachers also explained that they stand in solidarity with the entire island in these trying times and also made clear that while the Windward Islands Teachers Union (W.I.T.U) is a respectable organization they do not represent the entire teaching population.
The letter reads below.
Dear Honorable Minister Ardwell Irion,

We are a group of concerned teachers who have taken note of the proposed cuts by the government. While everyone would love for our finances to be stable, we acknowledge the limitations of our coffers.

Therefore, it is reasonable to accept our current salaries as we move forward and half of our vacation pay for 2020 and 2021. Additionally, we would like to propose that the vacation pay be reimbursed in the year 2022 by 200%. Of course, we are hoping that these cuts will be in collaboration with the other operational and material cuts of government, which was part of the cost-cutting conditions.

We, the teachers are in solidarity with the whole island of Sint Maarten during yet another trying time. Since this pandemic became a the reality, every parent has had to acknowledge our strengths as we both in-person and online functioned as teachers, counselors, mentors, advocates, and the list goes on.
The Windward Island Teachers Union represents a body 200+ teachers and has done a great job. However, while the Windward Island Teachers Union (W.I.T.U) is a respected organization, they do not speak for the entire population of teachers.

We hope to have informed you sufficiently as we move forward,


Franklin Jefferson
Group of concerned teachers.


Prime Minister reached out to Civil Servants by Letter.

silly07032020PHILIPSBURG:--- Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs reached out to the civil servants by letter on Wednesday explaining to them the current financial situation the country is faced with due to COVID-19.
Below the full content of the letter.

PRIME MINISTER S. JACOBS Letter to Civil Servants


Dear Civil Servants,

"The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential... these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence",- Confucius.

No civil servant should believe there is a conflict between complying with the law and serving the Government of the day - and no Prime Minister or Minister should place the civil service in such an invidious position.

Since the inception of the COVID-19 reality and its effects on the economy of St. Maarten, the
Minister of Finance, to safeguard the required liquidity to sustain the country, prepared a SSRP.

In addition to this, the Government of Sint Maarten requested liquidity support for the immediate recovery of the economic fallout due to the coronavirus outbreak. As a result, thereof, Sint Maarten will receive its second liquidity support until June 30, 2020, to the amount of ANG 53 million, to be paid in two installments:

a. ANG 24 million to be paid out immediately;
b. ANG 29 million for salary support after Sint Maarten has complied with contribution of its employees and the adjustment of the graduated scales with respect to the SSRP.

As it relates to the essential conditions set by the Kingdom Council of Ministers:
I. Sint Maarten must increase the pension and AOV age from 62 to 65 ultimately July
1 ' 2020;
II. An adjustment, resulting in a decrease of the total package of labor conditions (salaries,
(vacation) allowance, etc.) of the Ministers and Parliamentarians by 25% ultimately July
1, 2020 and until further notice;

III. An adjustment, resulting in a decrease of the total package of labor conditions (salaries, (vacation) allowance etc.) of all employees, workers within the semi (public) sector by
12,5% ultimately July 1, 2020, and until further notice.

The aforementioned adjustment applies to all Government-owned companies, and foundations or other entities subsidized through the budget of the Government of Sint Maarten by at least 50%.

This decrease applies to all workers regardless of their salary with the understanding that the gross salary after deduction is not less than the minimum wage.

In addition, no indexation is permitted, effective July 1, 2020, and until further notice;

On the pension and AOV age adjustments, please note that Government has already been in the process to do these adjustments. Both pieces of legislation are already in the process and after due diligence will be sent to parliament for debate and approval.

IV. Salary and fee limit of all labour/consulting conditions of top executives working within the semi (public) sector including workers, consultants of all Government-owned companies, and foundations or other entities subsidized through the budget of the Government of Sint Maarten by at least 50%.

The salary/fee limit is equivalent to 130% of the new salary norm (primary and secondary labour conditions) of the Prime Minister and applies to existing and future employees, workers, consultants.

The legality of these conditions were questioned from inception. General concerns were, whether the unilateral and (temporary) decrease in salary of the semi (public) sector by 12,5% is lawful?

Pursuant to the constitution of the Civil Servants, affectionately known as the Landsverordening Materieel Ambtenarenrecht or the LMA, the labor conditions of a worker/employee can only be amended, if the employee/worker has explicitly consented to the change. Said adjustment resulting in a decrease in salary is an amendment to the labor conditions. This Government will do in accordance with our laws and procedures.

Given the current circumstances, specifically the current COVID-19 crisis, it is in my opinion just to say that the proposal of Government to the unions is considered reasonable and fair. The unions should be more reasonable, and fair in their approach towards Government.

In closing, civil servants, please indulge me the opportunity to remind you, the good hardworking people of Sint Maarten, though in the face of adversity -

"We, who call S'Maatin our home, and see it as a place where opportunities exist, as a place where each citizen is empowered to realize their own strength to progress at all levels, should stand together in this time of crisis.

We are St. Maarten, a place where EVERY DREAM CAN BE ACHIEVED TOGETHER!"





Click here to view Letter in PDF format.

TelEm Group main building closed for two days for deep clean from Thursday.

telembuilding09072019PHILIPSBURG:--- The TelEm Group's main building on Pond Island will be closed for two days (Thursday, May 28, and Friday, May 29, 2020) to allow for professional fumigation of offices and all public areas.
The closure is out of an “abundance of caution” in the event an employee in the building may have come into contact with a suspected Coronavirus patient.
In a Communique to employees, Wednesday, CEO, Mr. Kendall Dupersoy, said the professional cleaning is only being taken as a precautionary measure in keeping with the company’s safety protocols.
Employees will be working remotely from home during the two-day closure and regular business hours will resume, Monday, June 1, 2020.
TelEm Group’s Simpson Bay Branch will remain open while the main building is closed. The company apologizes for any inconvenience caused.


Claim of attempted robbery in Cole Bay.

armedrobberyfillin13082012PHILIPSBURG:--- On Tuesday, May 26th, 2020 at approximately 3.30 pm, the police patrol was sent to in Cole Bay for what the central dispatch explained was attempted robbery, but upon further investigation, it was discovered to be an escalated altercation then a robbery.
Officers arrived on the scene at Dr. Lasly Lago Street after receiving reports that two males dressed in an orange vest, cleaning the streets attempted to rob an individual in the neighborhood.
The resident was curious as to what the two males were busy doing in the vicinity and questioned why they were in front of her gate. For reasons still unclear to the officers, the resident was pushed to the ground by one of the road workers.
The male workers were later attacked by the resident’s dogs when they noticed that their owner had been attacked. They then fled the scene in an unknown direction once the dogs had begun to chase them.
The Special Unit Robbery looked into the other claims of robberies which were said to have taken place on various days through the month of May by males wearing an orange vest and no such reports or claims had been made to the police.
The Sint Maarten Police Force is currently aware of the information circulating through social media regarding a spree of robberies happening within the communities and would like to publicly dispel those rumors.
Officers were sent to the same location this morning, Wednesday 27th May, where a new set of workers were also cleaning the road as they were contracted to do.
We understand that social media is a means to bring fast awareness, but we are also pleading with the community to be careful of the news you spread/forward without concrete facts, as it might cause unnecessary panic within the communities.

Sint Maarten on a whole is already on high alert during this COVID-19 pandemic and false information helps feed into the stress. The detectives are currently still investigating the incident that took place in its entirety and is asking the public to allow us to do so; please cease from spreading nonfactual information as it creates more harm than good.


KPSM Press Release.

Minister Doran allocates land for Waste Water Treatment Plant.

jurendydoran24112019PHILIPSBURG:--- On Wednesday, May 20, 2020, the Honorable Minister of VROMI E.J. Doran, signed the deed for property in Cay Bay, which was allocated as part of the sewage network for Cole Bay, in order to construct a Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP).

This is a cross border project between the Government of Sint Maarten which will alleviate land-based sources of pollution from contaminating the waters of the Simpson Bay Lagoon and damaging its ecosystem.

In compliance with the Convention for the Protection and Development of the Marine Environment of the Wider Caribbean Area, the Government of Sint Maarten has embarked on a multi-annual process to construct an island-wide sewage collection network.

As part of the EU Territorial Cooperation Program, it was decided to construct a joint WWTP for both the greater Cole Bay area and Marigot, which will be funded in part by the EU through the European Regional Development Fund.

Due to the unregulated urban development of Cole Bay and the lack of spatial planning regulations in the past, it was challenging to find a suitable location for a WWTP in the Cole Bay/Simpson Bay Area which meets all the necessary criteria according to all applicable laws, rules and regulations.

The location of the property is situated behind the power plant of GEBE in Cay Bay. Studies are being carried out for the realization of the WWTP in accordance with EU regulations, such as an Environmental Impact Assessment, Geotechnical Terrain Study, and other technical assessments to determine the design specifications for the plant and sewage collection network.

These studies are expected to be completed by the end of this year in order for the project to move forward with the actual construction of the plant. This project will be funded in part by the Recovery Trust Fund.


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