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SMMC temporarily adjusts operational hours at Eye Care Clinic.

smmccarecomplex26102020CAY HILL:--- St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) announces the temporary adjustment in operating hours of the Eye Care Clinic (Ophthalmology) due to COVID-19 travel restrictions for its team of rotating Eye Care Specialists. As per Monday, October 26th, 2020, the Eye Care Clinic will open from 8:00 am until 2:00 pm, Mondays through Fridays.
In addition to SMMC’s permanent Eye Care Specialists, Dr. Benny Oosterhof, SMMC’s Eye Care Department is strengthened by a rotational team of Eye Care Specialists from the Suriname Eye Center. After the reopening of the Princess Juliana International Airport, the rotating Specialists traveled to St. Maarten via the Netherlands as there were no direct flights between Suriname and St. Maarten. Due to the Netherlands issuing a Code Orange travel advisory for St. Maarten, traveling via the Netherlands is no longer a viable option and as such, as per October 26th, the clinic will reduce its hours until further notice.
SMMC apologizes for any inconvenience the adjustments in these hours may cause and urges all patients with existing appointments that are scheduled to occur after 2:00 pm and have not been contacted by SMMC, to reschedule their appointment by calling +1 (721) 543-1111 extension 1375 from Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 4:00 pm to do so.
SMMC’s Eye Care Clinic, located behind SMMC at the Care Complex, caters to both children and adults and performs a wide range of eye care procedures ranging from Glaucoma and Cataract treatments and surgeries to eye exams. Patients wishing to make new appointments can do so by calling the aforementioned number.


Local artist, Malaika Maxwell and Teen Queen, Shaneisha Robinson help Cupecoy Sunset Toastmasters Club Celebrate its 5th Anniversary.

maxwell26102020 PHILIPSBURG:---The virtual event, under the theme, “Honoring the Past, Ushering the Future", was graced with the presence of, past presidents, various special guests, and visitors as well as the regular members.
Miss Malaika Maxwell contributed to the meeting by performing a cover of I Was Here, the epic song by Beyonce.
Miss Teen St. Maarten 2019/2020 also contributed to the meeting by reciting her winning rap/poem about climate change, recycling, and the dump.

While the club’s 5th anniversary is originally in June, it wasn't possible to celebrate due to the pandemic. However, they used this year's International Toastmasters Day, October 22, 2020, to still commemorate the momentous 5-year occasion.

This 5-year celebration was very essential as after hurricane Irma the club was on the brink of closing due to a shift of member's priorities, lack of motivation, and the regular meeting location, AUC School of Medicine, being closed for some time.
However, through the assistance and dedication from the coaches at the time, the club was able to bounce back, refocus, and now had a new vision for the future, focusing on providing a space for experienced professionals to develop their skills and network.

The virtual event also acknowledged and presented certificates to the club’s past presidents, such as Gerard Lake, Ren-Dwina Browne, Peter Pizor, Melissa Harrison-Grinuva, Isabella Hyman-Graneau, Leona Gibs-Arnell; Sponsors: Linda Mouse Flanders, Valerie Brazier, Roland Tobias; Mentors: Vernicia Brooks, Cheryl Dangleben-York; and Coaches: Tamara Groeneveldt, Sharon Layne.

The addresses by past sponsors, mentors, coaches, and presidents allowed for a wonderful opportunity to reminisce on the club's successes and challenges, in starting up and especially after Irma.
The club president, Mr. Damien Schmidt, wrapped up the meeting by celebrating the great comeback of the club, outlining the club's strong culture, highlighting future plans of the club, and challenging others to "continue to leave your mark so everyone will know that you were here!"

The President also mentioned during his speech that the club is "going through a global pandemic, and the universe has given us this another opportunity to prove that we are leaders in pushing forward, as we did after the hurricane".

Overall, the night was a great celebration and reminder of overcoming, perseverance, and strong leadership.

The club meets twice monthly (every 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month) via the provided Zoom link at 5.30 PM.
Interested persons can visit the club or contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information. Additional information can also be found on the club's Facebook page (Cupecoy Sunset Toastmasters Club) or Instagram (cupecoysunsetters).

Toastmasters is an international organization that specializes in honing the personal and professional development skills of communication and leadership for persons (young, mature and otherwise) who dare to challenge themselves to grow in a dynamic and friendly learning environment. In return, these acquired skills foster the important attributes of self-confidence and personal growth necessary for public speaking, work, leadership or interpersonal communications.

Apartment fire on Bush Road.

bushroadfire25102020PHILIPSBURG:---  The fire department and ambulance were also directed to the scene Members of the fire department quickly dominated the flames. No other nearby apartments suffered any serious damage. 3 persons who tried containing the fire were treated for smoke inhalation by the ambulance personnel.

The cause of the fire is being investigated by the fire department. There were no signs of foul play.

 

KPSM Press Release.

Island Council approves ordinance to ban single-use plastic.

singleuseplasticbags25102020SABA:--- The Island Council of Thursday, October 22, unanimously approved the Island Ordinance to ban single-use plastic. Businesses are given four months to seek alternatives before the ordinance goes into effect, starting January 1, 2021 with a ban on plastic bags, followed by the prohibition of other plastic single-use articles in the months thereafter.

The Island was unanimously positive about the single-use plastic ban, which came to be upon the initiative of the Island Council through a 2018 motion, tabled by Council Member Vito Charles (Windward Islands People’s Movement WIPM).

“Two years ago, this Island Council unanimously adopted my motion to ban single-use plastic. I am very content that the ban now becomes a reality,” said Charles, who noted that there was still much work to be done in terms of implementation for the businesses.

“We are at the crossroads of how we want to further develop our island. Sustainability is becoming more and more important globally. This plastic ban will contribute to Saba’s environment and sustainability,” said Charles, who added that it was essential to not only keep recycling reusable materials, but to also consider reducing the amount of waste.

“We all see the benefit of this law proposal,” said Council Member Hemmie van Xanten (WIPM) in motivating his vote in favor of the island ordinance. “This is a big step for Saba,” said Council Member Esmeralda Johnson (WIPM), who pointed out that it was also important to educate people to use less plastics, to recycle more and to litter less.

Milestone

“This is a milestone for the island and the region as a whole. It puts us closer to see a reduction of single-use plastics, to reduce the amount of trash in general, and by extent, to reduce our carbon footprint. Banning single-use plastic is a necessary step. We all know how harmful plastics are for the environment. This ordinance is a step closer to achieving a cleaner, healthier environment,” said Council Member Carl Buncamper (WIPM).

Commissioner Bruce Zagers gave some background information during the handling of the draft island ordinance in an earlier Island Council meeting. The ordinance was drafted with the help of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management (IenW) and finds its basis in the regulation that is currently being developed for the European Union.

The ordinance prohibits the provision of a list of easily replaceable or frequently used single-use plastic products, namely carrier bags, food containers, cups, plates, cutlery, straws, stirrers, cotton swabs with plastic rods, fresh produce bags and confetti.

Phase-out period

The ban will be implemented in phases to give a reasonable phase-out period for the products on the list. The ban first goes into effect for carrier bags on January 1, 2021. Other products, except food containers, follow on May 1, 2021. Food containers are the last product to be banned, on October 1, 2021. The reason for this is that similar quality alternatives for food containers are harder to find than for the other products on the list. Restaurant owners need sufficient time to test different products and find a proper solution before fully eliminating the plastic and Styrofoam containers.

The ban focuses on all forms of plastics. This includes Styrofoam, but also bioplastics, which are chemically altered polymer products for which non-fossil organic raw materials were used. Although these plastics are more sustainable in the sense that no fossil raw materials were used, the end product is very similar to fossil fuel plastics and the environmental damage is therefore similar as well if the plastics are not processed in an industrial composting unit. The ban includes an exemption option for single-use plastic products that are necessary for medical purposes or in other contexts where hygiene cannot be sufficiently ensured otherwise.

No free bags

The ordinance prohibits businesses to give out plastic bags for free. This is done to encourage people to use reusable bags, but also to help business owners save costs. A price comparison revealed that the biggest price increase of alternatives compared to plastic counterparts is found in carrier bags.

Zagers stated that regular communication would take place about the implementation phases of the ordinance, to increase awareness and to inform the public on possible alternatives for the products that are banned. A ‘starter kit’ will be provided to each household, which includes different alternatives to single use plastic products. In the aim to reduce the use of disposable products in general, the kit will mainly include reusable products. Also, an expo will be organized for businesses where alternatives to single use plastic products will be presented and tested and business can collect samples to test in their own businesses.

Zagers said that Saba has always been known as an island and as a people who are conscious about the environment. “This is a positive development for Saba and will show long term gains for our nature and our environment as a whole,” he said.

END

Parliament approves motion to adjust admittance policy

PHILIPSBURG:--- The parliament of St. Maarten approved a motion that was presented by MP Omar Ottley to amend the guidelines as St. Maarten prepares to reopen its ports. Some of the measures in the proposed motion is to introduce the Antigen rapid testing for the coronavirus.
The motion allows the Minister of VSA Richard Panneflek to immediately explore the possibility to adjust the admittance policy. Implement the use of the Antigen rapid test, and to remove the requirement for travelers to have the PCR testing prior to boarding their flight.

Below is the full text of the motion that was approved by parliament. 11 MPs voted in favor while 3 voted against.

motion123102020

motion1231020202

motion323102020


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