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Continuation Plenary public session of Parliament about National Ordinance to amend the General National Ordinance Land Taxes in connection with international obligations.

PHILIPSBURG:--- The House of Parliament will sit in a plenary public meeting on Friday, December 14, 2018. The Minister of Finance will be present.
The plenary public meeting which was adjourned on September 26, 2,018 will be reconvened on Friday at 15.00 hrs. in the General Assembly Chamber of the House at Wilhelminastraat #1 in Philipsburg.
The agenda point is:
1. Ontwerp van Landsverordening tot wijziging van de Algemene Landsverordening landsbelastingen in verband met internationale verplichtingen (IS/350/2017-2018 d.d. 23 februari 2018) (ZJ 2017-2018-106)

(National Ordinance to amend the General National Ordinance Land Taxes in connection with international obligations)

Members of the public are invited to the House of Parliament to attend parliamentary deliberations.

The House of Parliament is located across from the Court House in Philipsburg.

The parliamentary session will be carried live on St. Maarten Cable TV Channel 115, via SXM GOV radio FM 107.9, via Pearl Radio FM 98.1, the audio via the Internet, and Parliament’s Facebook page: Parliament of Sint Maarten.

City of Amsterdam Technology Office inspires SHTA with Innovative Opportunities Ahead.

shtaholland13122018PHILIPSBURG:--- "Technology can bring new economic opportunities, but even more importantly solve societal challenges." This was the key message of Ruben Polderman, Mobility Project Manager of Amsterdam's Chief Technology Office, in his presentation to the Sint Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association (SHTA) membership at their end of year mixer held on Wednesday, December 12th. The mixer was hosted by Topper’s Rhum Factory in Cole Bay, which proved to be a very interesting venue, with cocktails made with Topper’s Rhum and delicious catering by Topper’s Simpson Bay Restaurant.

An increasing amount of cities have founded an innovation or technology office in order to cope with the rapid change of societies and economies by technology. The offices deal with systemic change brought forward by new technological innovations like AirBnB, Uber and self-driving cars and try to change challenges into opportunities and new policies. Polderman shared how in many cities self-driving shuttles and self-driving cars already have hit the road. Recently, even Caribbean islands like Aruba are founding comparable offices in order to hedge technology innovations and nudge its citizenship toward more desirable behaviors such as shared rides in doing so.

Polderman enlightened the business community about Amsterdam's Startup-in-residence program, fostering startup companies helping to create opportunities out of Amsterdam's challenges. “Amsterdam is growing, but the city can’t handle more cars on the streets. Sint Maarten might need a low-car diet too.” Polderman stated that data gathering is essential to identify new trends and to determine the impact of new technology as well as to determine the best policies for integration. As an example, he stated when the City of Amsterdam brought AirBnB into compliance, not only did they identify necessary usage restrictions such as in low income or subsidized housing areas and to restrict the number of AirBnB nights allowed in certain neighborhoods, but they were also able to double their room tax revenue. A key indicator for gaining a better understanding of AirBnB usage in Amsterdam was not initially suspected missing tax revenue but escalating property values—something that St. Maarten doesn’t even adequately track.

The presentation about new technologies has great connection with SHTA’s successful SMILE event hosted at USM in November. SMILE highlighted how things can be done differently after Irma – most notably with sustainability and innovation. For more information about SMILE visit

The SHTA thanks Mr. Polderman for his interesting and informative presentation and to Topper’s Rhum for their gracious hospitality.

Minister Johnson supports Winair expansion and growth efforts. On track after a remarkable comeback.

stuartjohnson25102018PHILIPSBURG:--- Minister of Tourism & Economic Affairs, Transport & Telecommunications (Ministry TEATT) Stuart Johnson, says that the Government of Sint Maarten and in particular his Ministry and himself, are in full support of Windward Islands Airways International (Winair) expansion and growth plans currently underway.

“I would like to commend the Supervisory Board, Management and Staff of Winair, for their hard work and efforts currently underway and since the passing of Irma to turn things around for our local national airline.

“Winair has accomplished a lot during these challenging times that our nation finds itself in, however, the challenges acted as a motivation to put things in place and make sound-business decisions which has allowed the national airline to expand and grow.

“Management has been closely monitoring the airline’s performance and noticed that seat inventory remained insufficient, and therefore took immediate action to meet the demands of the aviation-travelers market in order to accommodate customer needs.

“Winair’s success is also founded in its relationships developed over the decades with destination partners and stakeholders in the northern and eastern Caribbean.

“We can look forward with confidence that the Staff, Management and Supervisory Board will continue to soar and connect by bringing people together and keeping family and friends in touch with each other especially during this festive time of the year. Hats off to Winair’s Board, Management and Staff on a job well done,” Minister Stuart Johnson said on Thursday.

Winair announced an increase in flights to Haiti as of December 1, 2018, three times a week; and also upgrading to jet service using a Boeing 737, operated by Sunrise Airlines.

The temporary jet service provides additional seat capacity of up to 133 seats per flight, serving Haiti for the holiday winter season.

Winair has also introduced additional capacity from December 1, 2018 to January 15, 2019 to Curacao four times per week using a 72-seater aircraft. Services to Aruba three times a week have also been upgraded to the new Super ATR-72 along with a service to Bonaire one time per week.

Winair is also increasing services between Sint Maarten and the Dominican Republic to a daily basis using the Super ATR-72 and its services to Dominica will increase from four to five weekly.

The national airlines in November received its 4th Twin Otter aircraft that will increase the airlines airlift for the 2018-2019 high tourist season.

Winair expects increased demand for flights to and from its hub at the Princess Juliana International Airport.

“Winair has grown by leaps and bounds since September 2017, and its plans for expansion and growth demonstrates the determination of this little airline which assures us that Winair is on track after making a remarkable comeback,” Minister of Tourism & Economic Affairs Stuart Johnson concludes.

Increased Airlift to the Caribbean Fuels New Opportunities for the Region.

MIAMI:--- The Caribbean's private sector has a unique opportunity to generate strong profits in the new year with the unprecedented quantity of airlift coming into the region.

Director General and CEO of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA), Frank Comito, encouraged regional stakeholders to get ready for what the association believes can be an especially strong winter season. "With new routes and upgraded aircraft announcements over recent months, market-savvy hoteliers are positioned to increase occupancy and generate additional business."

Comito, whose team is preparing to host the 37th annual Caribbean Travel Marketplace, the Caribbean's largest tourism marketing event, in Montego Bay, Jamaica from January 29 to 31, 2019, said that while the 2017 storms affected year-over-year growth, with new, re-opening and upgraded hotels the region is poised for growth.

Destinations which were impacted by the 2017 hurricanes are seeing a return to pre-2017 flight levels while many other destinations in the region are seeing increased service. "We are confident that hotels participating in Marketplace this January in Jamaica will be in a great position to promote their properties, especially with the added airlift," added Comito.

JetBlue Airways is increasing its Mint service flights to the Caribbean.

The CHTA chief executive cited JetBlue Airways' continued growth into the region with additional flights and upgraded Mint service starting in early 2019. Delta Air Lines is bumping up its service to The Bahamas; Kingston, Jamaica; St. Kitts and Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Similarly, American Airlines has added capacity to Aruba, Bahamas, Bonaire, Cayman Islands, St. Kitts, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Turks and Caicos, and is increasing its service to Barbados, Curaçao, Puerto Plata and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; and St. Lucia.

Also on CHTA's radar are new Southwest flights to Cancun and the Mexican Caribbean; Grand Cayman; Punta Cana, Dominican Republic; and Turks and Caicos. The airline is also expanding its service to San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Copa Airlines, Frontier Airlines, Iberia, LATAM Airlines, Norwegian Airlines, Spirit Airlines, Sunwing, United Airlines and Virgin Atlantic are also extending their reach into the Caribbean.

Comito noted that regional carriers are also undergoing considerable expansion and some are entering into new partner agreements, helping to improve connectivity, particularly to those destinations with fewer nonstop flights. Examples include the rapid expansion of InterCaribbean Airways flights, now covering 22 cities in 13 countries; Caribbean Airlines with more than 600 weekly flights; LIAT, which is teaming up with Air Antilles and Winair; and Seaborne Airlines, which was recently acquired by Silver Airways.

These among other travel, tourism and hospitality trends will be discussed in Jamaica during Caribbean Travel Marketplace, which will attract hotel and destination representatives, including high-level executives and key decision makers; wholesalers and tour operators; online travel agencies; Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions (MICE) planners; and members of the media for several days of business meetings, including a busy program of thousands of pre-scheduled appointments to expand their businesses.

Comito explained that while demand for the region is strong, major investments in airport expansions were contributing to the growth in airlift, which bodes well for the destinations and travelers.

Airports in Antigua, Bahamas and San Juan, Puerto Rico have recently benefited from upgrades, while those in Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Curaçao and St. Maarten are under construction. Officials in Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Grenada, Haiti, Kingston, Martinique, St. Lucia and the U.S. Virgin Islands are each examining expansion plans.

Caribbean Travel Marketplace 2019 is produced by CHTA in collaboration with co-hosts Jamaica Hotel & Tourist Association, the Jamaica Tourist Board and the Jamaica Ministry of Tourism. It is the leading event in the Caribbean tourism industry where more than 1,000 delegates from 26 Caribbean countries meet with buyers from over 20 markets.

This year's host sponsors are Interval International, Jamaica Hotel & Tourist Association, Jamaica Tourist Board, JetBlue Vacations and MasterCard, while Platinum sponsors include Adara, AMResorts , Figment Design, Marketplace Excellence, OBMI, Sojern, STR, Travelzoo, and the United States Virgin Islands. Gold sponsors are Best Western International, Condé Nast Traveler, Delta Air Lines,, HCP Media, Northstar Media, Prevue magazine, Rainmaker, Recommend magazine, SiteMinder, Simpleview, The New York Times, Travalliance Media, Travel Relations and TravPRO Mobile.

The 2019 event is expected to have an increase in the number of buyers and suppliers and exciting new activities that will strengthen the connectivity between industry stakeholders.

CPS Reminder: Advises persons at risk to get their flu vaccine.

PHILIPSBURG (DCOMM):--- It’s that time of the year when influenza, better known as the flu, becomes more predominant. Make sure to get your flu shot.

Influenza is a highly contagious viral infection. Unlike the common cold, influenza can cause severe illness and life-threatening complications such as pneumonia and bronchitis, which often require hospitalization.

The flu poses a risk or can be dangerous for the elderly people (65-years and over), pregnant women, and very young children (aged six months and over) as well as for people with underlying medical conditions (severe asthma, lung or heart disease, low immunity, diabetics).

The aforementioned groups are considered high-risk groups and it is highly recommended that these persons get their flu shot (vaccine), the Collective Prevention Service (CPS), a department within the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour (Ministry VSA) said in a reminder press statement on Thursday.

Vaccination offers effective protection against influenza. Persons are also reminded to adhere to proper handwashing and cough etiquettes. Vaccines need to be given each year as flu viruses are always changing.
There are three different types of influenza viruses that infect humans: influenza A, B and C. Only influenza A and B cause major outbreaks and severe disease, and these are included in seasonal influenza vaccines. Influenza spreads from person to person through the air by droplets as a result of coughing and/or sneezing, or by direct contact with the virus on hard surfaces or people’s hands.
The flu usually differs from a cold as symptoms develop suddenly and can lead to complications such as chest infections and pneumonia – particularly among the elderly and young children.
Flu symptoms tend to develop abruptly one to three days after infection, and can include: tiredness, high fever, chills, headache, coughing, sneezing, runny noses, poor appetite, and muscle aches.

Most people who get the flu will suffer from mild illness and will recover in less than two weeks. However, some people can develop longer-term health problems, including pneumonia, bronchitis, chest and sinus infections, heart, blood system or liver complications, which can lead to hospitalisation and even death.

Consult your physician to assure the correct diagnosis, to obtain laboratory confirmation of the condition and acquire treatment for respective condition.

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