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MP Bucamper suggests stiffer penalties for convicted sexual abusers.

tonchebuncamper09042021PHILIPSBURG:--- With the surfacing of yet another case of alleged sexual abuse of minors, MP Claudius “Toontje” Buncamper of the USP faction in parliament expresses his concerns with the unwarranted incident.
“What is frightening is that people in whom parents place their trust with their children are often the ones suspected of these crimes” MP Buncamper noted. The penalty for those found guilty of such heinous crimes is often found to be too lenient to society, considering that their victim(s) is/are scarred for life. Buncamper insists that: “Stiffer penalties must be applied to those convicted of rape, child abuse, making and distribution of child pornography. The possibility exists that pedophiles maybe walking around us in our midst, holding jobs that require them to interact with children.” MP Buncamper says that he will support a screening method to determine if an applicant applying for a job that involves interaction with children has a record of abusing children. He disclosed that former Member of Parliament (MP) Tamara Leonard started the process to amend the laws regarding child abuse and rape. The former MP proposed an increase of the maximum sentence for persons found guilty of child abuse and/or rape from 15 years to 24 years. The former MP also proposed to establish a database of persons convicted of rape and/or child abuse during the past number of years, which will be available to the general public. This will alleviate the possibility of placing former offenders in the circle of vulnerable children. MP Leonard had also proposed permitting abortion of an unborn child conceived by rape if the mother chooses to do so.
MP Buncamper said that the amendments to the laws proposed by former MP Leonard should be tabled again. “I will ensure that the initiative is completed, and the laws are amended and supplemented where necessary to make this type of crime heavier qua penalty and expose those invoked for at least 10 years once convicted.” Buncamper went on to say that “We must make our society safe from pedophiles and those persons engaging in child pornography.” At the same time, the MP advised parents to speak to their children about these subjects to ensure that they know what to do in the event they become targets of child molesters and other pornographic material. Adequate aftercare and counseling must be made available for rape victims who are left to deal with the ordeal on their own.

A Historical Moment for St. Martin’s Moko Jumbie Culture.

mokojumbie09042021PHILIPSBURG:--- The Soualiga Capoeira group were the founders of the Soualiga Mokos Jumbies, a local stilt-walking group that existed in the early 2000s has donated their costumes to Funtopia Youth Initiative Foundation the founders of the Soualigan Giants Moko Jumbies. “This is a significant moment for the culture of Moko Jumbies on the island, says president Lucinda Audain. “I see it has passed on the baton for the culture to continue to thrive. More collaboration is needed between cultural organizations in order for them to survive these current world changes.”
“While we took great joy in helping to revitalize the Moko Jumbie tradition - with the help of many others - we do recognize good work when we see it and it was far better to donate these costumes (that were used for various shows, during carnival and Xmas parades, etc.) to the current generation of Stilt-walkers than to have them sit idly in storage. We’re happy to be able to contribute this knowing that they will be in good hands under great leadership! “says Tyrone Phelipa.
At present, the newly renamed Soualigan Giants Moko Jumbie tribe has been active since 2014. The group currently has 35 members and 26 elementary students training in the Unesco after-school program. Funtopia youth initiative hopes to continue spreading the culture and knowledge about the art form and hopes to increase their numbers in the hundreds. On April 30, the new members will be on the boardwalk to put on a cultural display showcasing what they have learned in the last three months. For more information, follow Funtopia Youth Initiative Foundation and Soualigan Giants Moko Jumbies on Facebook.

Government of Sint Maarten stands in solidarity with the people of Saint Vincent & the Grenadines.

jurendydoran07092020PHILIPSBURG:--- The Government of Sint Maarten made contact with Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Ralph Gonsalves on April 8, 2021, regarding the possible approaching emergency; the eruption of La Soufriere Volcano in Northern Saint Vincent. Reports at the time mentioned that the Volcano was expected to erupt within hours or days. For this reason, the Government of St. Maarten has reached out to Prime Minister Gonsalves to show solidarity and offer support if the need arises. During the conversation, Prime Minister Gonsalves conveyed that he had indeed just ordered the evacuation of the red zone as more activity had been noted. Residents are being evacuated to shelters in safe zones and off-island via boat to neighboring islands.

Deputy Prime Minister Egbert Doran stated, “It is important that within the region, we maintain relationships and help when one of our brothers and sisters are in need, especially when it’s a natural disaster, which is beyond our control, and unpredictable. This is what being a part of the Caribbean is all about. We hope to find ways to assist Prime Minister Gonsalves and the people of St. Vincent should the need arise.”

Prime Minister Gonsalves expressed gratitude for the contact made and expressed that he would let St. Maarten know of any needed support in the coming days.

MP Ottley calls on St. Maarten to pray for St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

omarottley23022021PHILIPSBURG:--- La Soufriere volcano in St. Vincent has erupted and displaced thousands of people, which Member of Parliament for the United People's (UP) Party Omar Ottley says "it’s a sad turn of events for the entire Caribbean."
In a Press Release issued Friday Morning, the MP also said the volcanic eruption and displacement of St. Vincent and the Grenadines people should be "a wakeup call for those who are responsible for making the decision that impacts St. Maarten’s ability to recover."

"As people of the Caribbean, whenever one of our neighbors suffers, we feel their pain because we are all connected by blood and water," said Ottley. He issued a plea to the people of St. Maarten to "keep St. Vincent and the Grenadines in your prayers."

Ottley is also calling on the Nature Foundation on St. Maarten to "pay keen attention to oceanic developments that may result from the volcanic eruption." Studies show that after a volcanic eruption, evaporation decreases over the ocean. This change in sea conditions can lead to sea creatures migrating to other areas for haven.

"We will need to count on the expertise of the Nature Foundation and others to advise the government on what effects can be expected here in St. Maarten due to volcanic eruption and how best we can prepare," said MP Ottley.

Ottley said that at this critical time, organizations like the World Bank that manages the Sint Maarten Recovery, Reconstruction and Resilience Trust Fund, which is financed by The Netherlands, should be paying attention to what the new era of natural disasters are like.

According to MP Ottley, the World Bank, St. Maarten has been waiting since Hurricane Irma's aftermath in 2017 to see tangible signs of recovery.

"World Bank must be mindful of the supernatural acts such as hurricanes and volcanos that are no longer occurring at regular rates or with normal force." I urge you to see this latest development as yet another sign and make it your priority to rebuild and prepare St. Maarten as we enter a hurricane season that has already been predicted will be above average in the coming months.

St. Vincent's National Emergency Management Organization, NEMO, announced early on Friday that "La Soufriere experienced an explosive eruption." It released over five (5) miles of ash plum, which could see for miles while they were rushing to waiting ferries to take them off the island.
"Our lives will forever change, and for us here in St. Maarten, we know only too well what the impact of natural disasters can do to displace people and change lives."
According to MP Ottley, generations to come will be reminded of the tragic experience for the people of St. Vincent. "We in the Caribbean are just beginning to experience the real effect of the Corona Virus COVID-19 that has devastated global economies. I cannot imagine what life would be for the people of St. Vincent now that they have the added burden of this volcanic eruption," said Ottley.

Open your Heart, open your Mouth.

blackboxseries09042021Episode 6 of the BackBox Series curated by Naomi Janelle “Open you Heart, Open youth Mouth” was a mesmerizing evening of song co-featuring Faith Peterson, Tyreke Arrindell, and Troy Florent. Young artists ranging from 18-21 years brimming with talent stretching from dance to drama to song. Since their eye, hearth –and mouth opening experience in the musical “Hamilton” (NIA’s abridged version)they have embarked on a singing journey coached by DJ Jansen de Jong which will leave a lasting impact on the artistic cultural scene of St. Maarten, as witnessed by Diva La-Vaune Hodge-Henry, in her own words: “I was very impressed with the young performing artists at the Black box series on Saturday, March 27th at NIA. They were so brave, so creative, so talented! They explored the world of song attempting such difficult pieces. They were brilliant. I was so inspired and left the hall with much enthusiasm. I am really looking forward to seeing more shows from this group of budding and promising artists.”
The Black Box Series is a platform for artists to explore and share their work followed by a Q and A session. These artists, now dubbed the Fabulous Four, must also be commended for their efforts and organizational skills in putting this show of 13 numbers together which included ‘Stand up (Cynthia Erivo)’ performed by Troy Florent, ‘Control (Zoe Wees)’ sung by Faith Peterson, ‘All of me (John Legend)’ interpreted by Tyreke Arrindell and ‘Unbreak my heart (Toni Braxton)’ performed by Naomi Janelle.
Don’t miss Episode 7, Saturday, April 10 at 8 p.m. delving into the world of Drama and curated by Loes Nauta “Unwell”. Tickets go on sale at 6:30 p.m. and the show starts punctually at 8:00 p.m.

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