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Sint Maarten Lions Club hosts District Governor.

districtgov1802020PHILIPSBURG:--- The Sint Maarten Lions Club welcomes the District Governor of District 60B Lion Denise Forrest PMJF to the friendly island. She arrived on the island on Monday evening and will be here until Wednesday morning when she departs for St. Eustatius and Saba and after continues her visits to the various clubs in this area.
As is customary within the Lions Club organization, the District Governor, visits all the clubs in the region for an audit Meeting and also meets, interacts and engage with club members about Lionism in general.
The club has planned several activities for District Governor Lion Denise while she is on Sint Maarten. She will have courtesy calls to the Governor and the Prime Minister Offices as well as an interview on PJD2 radio station with Mr. Wendell Moore.
District Governor Denise Forrest will visit the murals painted on the walls of the St. Maarten Academy School, which is a project from St. Maarten Leo Club. Later on Tuesday, she is scheduled to visit the “No Kidding with our Kids” afterschool program, who continues to execute some areas the Lions Club International “Lions Quest” program with the students.
On Tuesday evening at 6:00 p.m. District Governor Denise will meet with President and members of the St. Maarten Leo Club (ALPHA) and St. Maarten South Leo Club South Leo Clubs for their joint Audit Meeting after which at 7:30 p.m. DG Forrest will meet with president and members of the Sint Maarten Lions Club for their 2019/2020 club audit.
The year theme of the District Governor for 2019/2020 is "Service Without Boundaries: Touching Lives Transforming Communities".


CFT Board refuses to sit in public meeting of parliament.

~boycott meeting on Tuesday.~

PHILIPSBURG:--- The board of the CFT has chosen to boycott the meeting they had scheduled with parliament on Tuesday, the reasons for boycotting the meeting is because the parliament of St. Maarten wants to the meeting to held as a public meeting instead of a closed door.
Chairman of Parliament Rolando Brison read an email he sent to the board of CFT explaining how the parliament of St. Maarten would accommodate them with matters they deem confidential. Brison said in the past everything discussed with the CFT behind close doors are divulged in a press conference.
Members of Parliament shared their dissatisfaction with the decisions of the board of the CFT to boycott the meeting of parliament.

Sheriff Security raided, allegation of bid-rigging of government contracts. (UPDATED).

PHILIPSBURG:--- Information reaching SMN News states that Sheriff Security is currently being raided, SMN News understands that the raid is conducted by the RST and TBO.
Based on eyewitnesses part of Coralita Road is blocked off while there are a number of vehicles bearing French number plates in front of Sherrif’s office while the parking lot belonging to the security company is also blocked off.
Efforts made to reach Spokesperson for the Prosecutor’s Office Hazel Durand has proven futile. As soon as more information on the ongoing raid becomes available this article will be updated.

 

On Tuesday 18 February 2020, the Anti-Corruption Task Force (TBO) searched a business premises and various archive storages on Sint Maarten under the supervision of the judge of instruction. No arrests were made.

The searches were carried out in relation to an extensive criminal investigation codenamed
“Ruby”. This investigation began in July 2018 and concentrates on the phenomenon of - alleged
– bid-rigging regarding contracts related to waste processing on Sint Maarten. Investigation Ruby mainly focuses on the suspicion of administrative corruption, in particular the acceptance of bribes and the misuse of public funds for personal purposes.

The company subject to the search - and its management - are currently not considered as suspects in the investigation. Based on strong indications that information relevant to the investigation was available within the company, the Public Prosecutor’s Office issued a written demand to the company’s management for disclosure of such information. This took place last year. Although the company has been given ample time, this demand was – presumably intentionally - not complied with in a satisfactory manner. This is one of the reasons why the Public Prosecutor’s Office requested permission from the judge of instruction to search the business premises and archive storages: to seize the relevant information.

It is important to emphasize that the level of compliance with a demand from the Public Prosecutor’s Office is not without obligation or at the sole discretion of the addressed party. On the contrary: it is legally required to comply fully. Failure to sufficiently cooperate with the judicial authorities could result in a serious impediment to a criminal investigation. The consequences should not be underestimated: such party accepts the risk of being subject to an unannounced search by the investigation services to secure the requested information. In addition to this, refusal to comply with such judicial demand can be qualified as nonobservance of an official order. This is a criminal offence.

TBO is a project-based collaboration between designated units of the criminal investigation cooperation team (RST) and the Attorney General’s Office of Curaçao, Sint Maarten and Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba. TBO focuses on a specialized approach to combat corruption and undermining financial and economic crime. Additionally, the team investigates fraud, forgery and money laundering.

It is important for a well-functioning democratic society that citizens have confidence in public administration. Administrative corruption is a multi-faceted phenomenon that occurs typically when public and private interests converge. Corruption undermines the integrity of the government and leads to unfair commercial competition. For this reason, TBO takes indications of corruption very serious and, if necessary, conducts in-depth investigations.

 

 

PERSBERICHT ONDERZOEK RUBY

Op dinsdag 18 februari 2020 heeft het Team Bestrijding Ondermijning (TBO) onder leiding van de rechter-commissaris een bedrijfspand en een aantal archiefruimtes op Sint Maarten doorzocht. Er zijn geen aanhoudingen verricht.

De doorzoekingen vonden plaats in het kader van een omvangrijk strafrechtelijk onderzoek met codenaam “Ruby”. Dit onderzoek wordt uitgevoerd sinds juli 2018 en richt zich op strafbare handelingen rondom de aanbesteding van contracten die verband houden met afvalverwerking op Sint Maarten. Het accent ligt hierbij op ambtelijke corruptie: in het bijzonder het aannemen van steekpenningen en het misbruiken van overheidsgelden voor persoonlijke doeleinden.

De leidinggevenden van het doorzochte bedrijf, alsmede het bedrijf zelf, zijn thans geen verdachten in onderzoek Ruby. Er bestonden aanwijzingen dat bij het bedrijf informatie aanwezig was die relevant is voor het onderzoek. In dit verband is het bedrijf door het Openbaar Ministerie gevorderd om gegevens te verstrekken. Hieraan is, vermoedelijk opzettelijk, onvolledig gehoor gegeven. Dit is een van de redenen waarom het Openbaar Ministerie aan de rechter-commissaris machtiging heeft gevraagd om het bedrijfspand en de archiefruimten te doorzoeken: om de voor het onderzoek benodigde informatie veilig te stellen.

Het is van belang om te benadrukken dat medewerking aan een vordering gedaan door het Openbaar Ministerie niet vrijblijvend is. Integendeel: dit is wettelijk verplicht. Een partij die zich bij een vordering door de justitiële autoriteiten onvolledig coöperatief opstelt, kan het onderzoek belemmeren en riskeert daarmee dat de opsporingsdiensten middels een doorzoeking zelf onaangekondigd de gevorderde informatie komen halen. Daarnaast kan het
niet meewerken aan een dergelijke vordering worden gekwalificeerd als het niet voldoen aan een ambtelijk bevel. Dit is een strafbaar feit.

TBO is een projectmatige samenwerking tussen gespecialiseerde eenheden binnen het recherche samenwerkingsteam (RST) en het Parket van de Procureur Generaal in Curaçao, Sint Maarten
en Bonaire, Sint Eustatius en Saba. TBO focust zich op een aanpak van corruptie en
ondermijnende financieel-economische criminaliteit. Het team doet daarbij onder andere onderzoek naar fraude, valsheid in geschrift en witwassen.

Voor een goed functionerende democratische samenleving is het belangrijk dat burgers vertrouwen hebben in het openbaar bestuur. Ambtelijke corruptie is een fenomeen met vele verschijningsvormen dat zich vooral voordoet op het grensvlak van publiek private belangen. Corruptie tast de integriteit van de overheid aan en leidt in het zakenleven tot valse
concurrentie. Om deze reden neemt het TBO dergelijke signalen van corruptie uitermate serieus en doet indien nodig daar diepgaand onderzoek.

 

PROSECUTOR's OFFICE PRESS RELEASE.

 

 

K1 Britannia Recruiting Volunteers for Mentorship for Foster Youth.

k1britania1702020PHILIPSBURG:--- K1 Britannia Foundation’s major focus is social issues that affect our youth on the island, specifically foster children and teenagers who are one of the most vulnerable and fragile groups on the island.

The mentorship program came about after discussions with the Court of Guardianship and Family Guardianship. “It was realized that the main thing that foster children and teens need in order to heal from abusive and other emotionally damaging experiences is to receive one on one time, love and attention that is so fundamental to their development,” stated Program Manager Yasmine Essed. Based on this, one of the goals of the foundation is to use its volunteer program to qualify persons in the community to become mentors or foster parents.

The foundation will be organizing Mentors training for persons 21 years and older who are interested in becoming a mentor and being a positive role model for youth.
The training is a 12 hour, 6-session course which will be given by psychologist Aisheline Maduro who has extensive experience and knowledge working with youth under protective custody on St. Maarten and has facilitated all of our Mentor training since 2015.

The training will start next Tuesday, February 25th. As this training only takes place once a year and is mandatory for all those who would like to become mentors or foster parents, K1 urges those from the community who are interested in helping Foster Children in this way to get in contact with K1 this week to sign up in order to have the opportunity to participate in this training.

The topics will range from the foster care system on St. Maarten, self-image & self-worth, social development, types of abuse, communication, effecting behavior change, life in foster care as well as cognitive exercises that seek to teach the essentials of becoming a mentor, through personalized knowledge of individual experiences, participants begin to understand the commitment necessary for becoming involved in the foster care and mentoring, and how they are interrelated in the foster care system.

After completing the course, volunteers will be certified to mentor or foster youth under protective custody in St. Maarten. The matching process will then be completed based on the mentor’s personal strengths and the needs of the child or teenager.

“Becoming a mentor is a very important decision and should not be taken lightly. We are looking for persons who can commit to a minimum of one year and 2-4 hours a week to a youth. However, this commitment is one of the most meaningful ways you can contribute to changing a young life.” added Program Manager Malaika Richards.

Persons 21 years and older who are interested in mentoring foster youth are encouraged to sign up as a volunteer online at https://k1britanniafoundation.org/get-involved/volunteering/ to participate in making a difference in the lives of youth on the island.

For more information about the Mentors Training, call the Program Managers at +1(721) 554-7383 or +1(721) 553-4727, visit www.k1britanniafoundation.org, www.facebook.com/K1SXM or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

COCI Reminds Entrepreneurs to Register for February 20 Workshop about product protection by BIP SXM.

PHILIPSBURG:--- The St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce & Industry (COCI) is reminding its members of the business community to register for its next “Grow Your Business with COCI Workshops set for Thursday, February 20.
Vincentia Rosen Sandiford, director of the Bureau for Intellectual Property of Sint Maarten (BIP SXM), will be making a presentation about how you can protect your business's intellectual property.
Intellectual property is the collective term for a number of specific legal areas. It relates to having a right to a non-material thing. These rights give the owner an exclusive right to manufacture or sell a product, to use the product's name or to duplicate work. The most well-known intellectual property rights are trademark rights, patent rights, and copyright.
The workshop will be about ‘trademark information and registration,’ for products and services and will take place at the COCI Conference Room from 7.00 PM to 8.30 PM.
Those interested in attending the workshop must register and pay a registration fee of US$20. Seating is limited and potential attendees need to register as soon as possible. You can register via email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 721-542-3590 for further information.
BIP SXM is an independent governing body incorporated by ‘the National Ordinance of the Bureau for Intellectual Property Sint Maarten’ and falls under the political responsibility of the Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunications.
Each workshop will deal with one specific topic. The last workshop in the series is: March 26 Financial Planning, by Ahmed Bell.
The workshop product series is a result of COCI’s 40th anniversary marking the Chambers establishment 40-years ago in 2019.


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