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Old Fire Station to be Demolished on Thursday and Friday.

GREAT BAY (DCOMM):--- Ministry of Public Housing, Environment, Spatial Development and Infrastructure (Ministry VROMI), announces that the old Fire Station across from the Clem Labega Square will be demolished.

The demolition works will take place on Thursday and Friday July 19 and 20 from 6.00AM to 5.00PM.

Vendors at the Market Place are hereby reminded to take note of the aforementioned demolition works.
Ministry VROMI apologizes for any inconveniences this may cause.

Food wholesalers and warehouse depots requested to be storm ready.

GREAT BAY (DCOMM):--- Food wholesalers and warehouse depots are requested to have their facilities storm/hurricane ready by having a plan in place to prepare and secure their properties in the event of a storm/hurricane threat, the Office of Disaster Management said on Tuesday.

Every effort must be made to be prepared to take timely action in clearing the surroundings of storage areas of loose pallets and other materials in the event of a weather-related threat.

Every business has a role to play in being storm ready for the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season. Tropical Storm Beryl was an exercise for businesses and homeowners to see if they are storm ready for the season, ODM said on Tuesday.

The passing of Beryl allowed business owners and households to review their hurricane preparation plans and to adjust and address any weaknesses in those plans.

The primary objective is the protection of people first and foremost, property and surrounding residential areas second. This ODM message comes less than two weeks before the start – mid-August - of the peak part of the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season.

Materials such as plywood, shipping pallets, food pallets, and pieces of metal used to secure pallet shipments, can easily become flying missiles capable of impaling brick or wooden walls, zink roofs or anything in its way.

It is the responsibility of the business owner to have plans in place to remove any materials and/or have them properly secured on the property where their business is located within a short period of time in the event of a storm/hurricane threat to the country.

When a tropical storm or hurricane watch is issued 48-hours before a system is forecasted to hit the country, businesses should activate their business resilience hurricane preparedness plans which should also include the aforementioned.

Remember, be storm ready!

ECS Stats Update.

PHILIPSBURG:---The Department of Statistics (STAT) from the Ministry of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Traffic & Telecommunications, embarked upon an Economic Census Survey (ECS) approximately 10 weeks ago and has received information to date from over 1800 actively operating entities.

Department Head of STAT, Makini Persaud-Hickinson said she remains very pleased with the cooperation of the business community so far and feels very confident that the census will provide a good baseline of statistics for the country.

The ECS is now in its final phase, where STAT is verifying the non-visible/micro businesses who are registered but not necessarily operating from an openly visible location. The project has therefore been extended by 3 weeks and will now run until the third week of August, to enable STAT to thoroughly get an idea of how many of these type of businesses are still active.

Initial statistics coming out of the census show businesses that have opened after the hurricanes total 107 with the majority being in the food service sector. These businesses currently employ 386 people with 201 of them or 52 per cent being female.

The legal form of the new businesses is almost evenly matched between NV (29 per cent), BV (28 per cent) and Sole Proprietorship (26 per cent).

The roughly 1700 businesses that were actively operating before the September 2017 hurricanes are mostly NV’s with Sole Proprietorships being the second.

Wholesale and retail trade represents the biggest portion of these businesses with accommodation and food service being the second largest sector.

Currently employed in the existing businesses are 13,104 people, of which 6,460 are female. The 13,104 is down from 13,831 of the same businesses before the September 2017 hurricanes.

The ECS is an internationally used exercise to collect and report on the number of business establishments according to their size, economic activity/industry, and location.

STAT will also be able to identify and report on the number of micro, small, medium and large entities operating on St. Maarten.

9 interviewers have been busy canvassing business operations in eight zones namely, Low Lands, Simpson Bay, Cole Bay, Little Bay, Cul de Sac, Philipsburg, Upper Princess Quarter and Lower Princess Quarter.

This survey is a main data source for: 1) Creating a comprehensive Statistical Business Register system; 2) Calculating more accurately the Gross Domestic Product (GDP); 3) Obtaining data on the number and distribution of economic establishments by industrial category, region and number of employees.

Discussions on the future of the EU-OCT partnership commenced.

msmeeting17072018PHILIPSBURG:---Tuesday July 17 the EU representative for Sint Maarten, Mrs. Carol Voges, chaired an ad hoc Executive Committee meeting of the Overseas Countries and Territories Association (OCTA). The objective of the meeting was to initiate discussions with the OCTA membership on the future of the association post Brexit. The majority of OCTA’s current membership consists of British Overseas Territories. Their exit will prompt an array of operational and strategic constraints for the association.
Consequently, the existing articles of association were reviewed and the possibilities for cooperation with the British Overseas Territories with respect to regional programming, diplomacy and lobbying after March 29, 2019 were thoroughly debated. Significant to note is that the majority of these territories are located in the Caribbean region. Examples are Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands and Montserrat, therefore preserving our ties with these territories post Brexit remains of paramount importance.
In preparation of the upcoming Ministerial conference in early 2019, the decision was made by the Executive Committee to commission a legal consultant to advice as to the various options available for the continued partnership with the British Overseas Territories.
Additionally, on May 2, 2018 the European Commission published as part of the Multiannual Financial Framework for the period 2021-2027, their proposal for a budgetized Overseas Countries and Territories (OCT) specific financial instrument, which will exclude the British Overseas Territories. In order to commence the discussions with the Member States linked to the Overseas Countries and Territories, Sint Maarten’s EU representative chaired a workshop which comprising of representatives from France, The Netherlands, Denmark and various OCT representatives.
OCTA informed the Member States that in early August, it would be publishing its position on the new Overseas Association Decision (OAD). The OAD being in essence the legislative framework that outlines the OCTs relationship with the European Union.
Moreover, during the meeting both the Member States and OCTs present shared their perspectives on the proposed new OAD and OCT financial instrument. The future level of funding, access of OCTs to union programmes and increased flexibility for OCTs with respect to their individual programming, as well as cooperation with non-OCTs were the main points of discussion.
In closing, the Member States shared with the OCTs the institutional timeline of meetings which they will be attending to negotiate the terms of the European Commission’s proposals. The Member States present assured the OCTs that they would do their upmost to champion, wherever possible, the position of the OCTs during the forthcoming negotiations. A follow-up meeting between the three Member States and the OCTs has been scheduled for mid-September.

Minister Plenipotentiary Wuite & Cabinet Welcomes Deputy Minister Somersall. Continues with Courtesy Calls.

jwuite16072018GREAT BAY(DCOMM):--- On Monday July 16, the Minister and Cabinet members welcomed the Deputy Minister Plenipotentiary, Michael Somersall at Schiphol Airport as he arrived to take up his duties in the Netherlands. Together this team of dedicated persons will work towards repositioning, reviving and rebranding Sint Maarten in the Netherlands.

Courtesy visits were also made to the Ministers Plenipotentiary of both Curacao and Aruba, where the Honorable Drs. Jorien Wuite received updates on developments, shared experiences and the working environment in The Hague. The key words expressed during said visits being cooperation and collaboration, shows the willingness between the Kingdom partners to indeed make a difference.

During her second week in office Minister Wuite met with the Vice President of the Council of State Piet Hein Donner. During this meeting the pending matter of the dispute regulation within the Kingdom and priority relations for Sint Maarten was discussed amongst other things.

The central message, being one of cooperation and sound working relations between the Kingdom partners of the Netherlands in order to strengthen ties and support Sint Maarten’s recovery resonated in the Ministers message. The above, aimed at underlining the resilience and willingness of Sint Maarten to bring the country back to the standards it had and beyond.

In the course of the coming month other courtesy calls will take place, where the Minister will be receiving Ambassadors from befriended countries and visits will be made to institutions and members of the Dutch Parliament.

Overall, Minister Wuite expressed to use this month of recess to acquaint herself, build an atmosphere of trust and prepare an action plan that she can present and discuss with Prime Minister Romeo-Marlin and other Ministers such as Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication (TEATT).

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