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COCI supports ban of single use plastics and applauds the use of reusable and biodegradable products.

plasticbags16122018PHILIPSBURG:--- The St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce & Industry (COCI) says it supports the ban of single-use plastics and applauds those in the business community who have moved to only using reusable and biodegradable products.
According to the St. Maarten Nature Foundation, at least nine million tons of plastic enters the world’s oceans each year, a rate that has increased 100 times in the past 40 years. If current trends continue there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050.
The foundation adds that single-use plastic bags, straws, balloons, cups, cutlery, and Styrofoam food containers are some of the most environmentally damaging products on the island. These items do not biodegrade and stay in the ecosystem and oceans forever, causing impacts to the environment, animals, and humans.
In addition, plastic releases harmful chemicals when it breaks down into smaller pieces that are ingested by marine life and eventually humans.
The Nature Foundation says that one million sea birds and 100,000 marine mammals are killed annually from plastic in our oceans. 44 percent of all seabird species, 22 percent of cetaceans, all sea turtle species and a growing list of fish species have been documented with plastic in or around their bodies.
It was stated in the media that bar and restaurant Topper’s had switched to using only reusable and biodegradable products instead of environmentally damaging single-use plastics.
The Nature Foundation recently stated that several other businesses have already switched to reusable and biodegradable alternatives products such as Dinghy Dock Bar, Buccaneers Beach Bar, Lagoonies and Coconut Reef Tours.
“It makes good business sense to do away with single use plastic materials and replace that with reusable and biodegradable products. A number of members of the business community have taken the initiative to go green and lower their carbon foot print and we at COCI applaud them for this and encourage other businesses to do the same.
“A number of other Caribbean islands putting legislation in place to ban single use plastic shopping bags, plastic drinking straws and styrofoam boxes. Due to our tourism-based economy, plastic products inundate the landscape of the country, but moving away from this is an investment in our future.
“Plastics create havoc on our environment if not properly disposed of. Consumers are encouraged to use reusable shopping bags because this will benefit not only you but the environment overall. The St. Maarten Nature Foundation has informed the community over the past months about the dangers of plastics to human and animal life.
“We strongly encourage the Executive and Legislative branches of Government to move quickly to ban single use plastics and promote environmentally friendly alternatives to the benefit of the tourism-oriented economy as well as the image of the destination,” COCI Executive Director Anastacio Baker said on Sunday.
PHOTO CUTLINE: A photo of a plastic bag stuck in the tree.


Minister Wuite building relationships at Cape Verde President’s Official State Dinner & Working Round-Table Meetings.

jwuitecapeverde16122018PHILIPSBURG (DCOMM):--- Minister Plenipotentiary of Sint Maarten, drs. Jorien Wuite, has been busy developing relationships and creating opportunities at a round-table, lunch meeting and state dinner for the Cape Verde president’s official visit to the Netherlands.

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of The Netherlands hosted President Jorge Carlos de Almeide Fonseca and First Lady Ligia Dias Fonseca of Cape Verde on a two-day State Visit to The Netherlands on December 10th and 11th to promote and celebrate diplomatic, economic and cultural ties.

Of particular interest were security, climate change and the maritime or blue economy. As representatives of the Caribbean Countries in the Netherlands, the three Ministers Plenipotentiary were invited to the Round-Table Meeting at the National Maritime Museum, the State Banquet at the Royal Palace and the working lunch hosted by Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.
Upon the request by both a Cape Verdean official and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Minister Plenipotentiary Jorien Wuite attended the Round-Table meeting about the Blue Economy.

The Blue Economy refers to the sustainable use and conservation of marine, inland aquatic and coastal resources for food security, job creation and sustainable economic development.

The Cape Verdean Islands are pro-active in their efforts to ensure a continued global platform for the vulnerabilities and opportunities of Small Island Developing States (SIDS), or as Cape Verdean State Secretary of Maritime Economy Paulo Veiga, stated Big Ocean States.

The Round-Table conference consultation, with Cape Verdean delegates, knowledge institutes, business representatives and the representatives of the Cabinets of the Ministers Plenipotentiary in the Netherlands, centered around the three subjects of maritime development, sustainable energy and sustainable tourism.

As Minister Sigrid Kaag, The President of the Cape Verde and King Willem Alexander joined the second part of the Round-Table deliberations, three participants were requested to provide summaries to the dignitaries.

Minister Plenipotentiary Wuite was requested to do this on the subject of sustainable tourism and highlights were shared related to the critical involvement, opportunities and partnerships of Cape Verdean (small) businesses and communities in order to secure that tourism is supported and sustained.
As Cape Verde is much aware and also sensitized through Sint Maarten’s Hurricane Irma impact, the need for economic diversification was emphasized.

Minister Wuite recognized the shared characteristics and heritage of both countries, and their similar challenges as SIDS as she acknowledged Sint Maarten’s enormous economic development through Tourism.

Wuite’s contributions were appreciated as she was also approached about the intention to include Sint Maarten in a follow-up meeting in the near future.

In recognition of similar heritage and ties, Wuite invited the Cape Verdean officials to join her on a special diplomatic visit to Sint Maarten during the 50th Anniversary of Carnival as Cape Verde enjoys life with similar cultural festivities.

Minister Wuite also attended and spoke during the government working lunch about Climate that Prime Minister Rutte hosted for the Cape Verdean delegation.

Rotary Sunset hosts Karaoke and Games night at Sr. Basilia Center.

rotarysunset14122018PHILIPSBURG:--- As part of Rotary International's December theme, Disease Prevention, and Treatment, members of the Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunset gathered at the Sr. Basilia Center to entertain the residents on December 7, 2018.

"This activity was especially designed to assist the residents with their daily treatment regimen. Music and interaction play a big part in most people's lives. It can be relaxing, spark euphoric feelings and increase quality of life. For people with disabilities, music and game interaction has several advantages and can help in the development of mental, physical and social abilities," President of the Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunset, Jaida Nisbett stated.

The night included games, karaoke, pizza, and drinks. The club would like to thank the Sr. Basilia Center and Events Coordinator Mieria Cortego for affording us the opportunity to fellowship and have a great time with the residents.

Safety Tips for Decorating your Home and Christmas tree this holiday season.

PHILIPSBURG (DCOMM):--- Holiday shoppers are busy buying Christmas trees and lights to adorn their home this holiday season. As the day gets closer, families are bustling around to have everything in place for Christmas Eve.

Parents and family members should keep in mind some holiday safety tips where it concerns decorations and the Christmas tree. The season is all about family togetherness and we would like everyone to have a safe holiday season incident free.

Every year the Collective Prevention Services (CPS), a department that falls under the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, as part of its calendar of observances, highlights and creates awareness where it concerns holiday safety.

Check out this list of holiday season safety tips:

Trees:
• When purchasing an artificial tree, look for the label "Fire Resistant." Although this label does not mean the tree won't catch fire, it does indicate the tree will resist burning and should extinguish quickly.
• When purchasing a live tree, check for freshness. A fresh tree is green, needles are hard to pull from branches and do not break when bent between your fingers. The trunk butt of a fresh tree is sticky with resin, and when tapped on the ground, the tree should not lose many needles.
• When setting up a tree at home, be sure to keep the stand filled with water. Place the tree out of the way of traffic and do not block doorways.
Lights:
• Indoors or outside, use only lights that have been tested for safety by a recognized testing laboratory, which indicates conformance with safety standards. Use only lights that have fused plugs.
• Check each set of lights, new or old, for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections, and throw out damaged sets. Always replace burned-out bulbs promptly with the same wattage bulbs.
• Use no more than three standard-size sets of lights per single extension cord. Make sure the extension cord is rated for the intended use.
• Never use electric lights on a metallic tree. The tree can become charged with electricity from faulty lights, and a person touching a branch could be electrocuted.
• Before using lights outdoors, check labels to be sure they have been certified for outdoor use.
• Stay away from power or feeder lines leading from utility poles into older homes.
• Fasten outdoor lights securely to trees, house walls, or other firm supports to protect the lights from wind damage. Use only insulated staples to hold strings in place, not nails or tacks. Or, run strings of lights through hooks (available at hardware stores).
• Turn off all holiday lights when you go to bed or leave the house. The lights could short out and start a fire.
• Use caution when removing outdoor holiday lights. Never pull or tug on lights - they could unravel and inadvertently wrap around power lines.
• Outdoor electric lights and decorations should be plugged into circuits protected by ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs). Portable outdoor GFCIs can be purchased where electrical supplies are sold. GFCIs can be installed permanently to household circuits by a qualified electrician.
Decorations:
• Use only non-combustible or flame-resistant materials to trim a tree. Choose tinsel or artificial icicles of plastic or nonleaded metals. Leaded materials are hazardous if ingested by children.
• Never use lighted candles on a tree or near other evergreens. Always use non-flammable holders, and place candles where they will not be knocked down.
• In homes with small children, take special care to avoid decorations that are sharp or breakable, keep trimmings with small removable parts out of the reach of children to avoid the child swallowing or inhaling small pieces, and avoid trimmings that resemble candy or food that may tempt a child to eat them.
• Wear gloves to avoid eye and skin irritation while decorating with spun glass "angel hair."
• Follow container directions carefully to avoid lung irritation while decorating with artificial snow sprays.

Governor Holiday receives Ambassador Irwin LaRocque Secretary-General and Chief Executive Officer of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).

laroache14122018Harbour View:--- On December 14, 2018, His Excellency Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, Secretary-General and Chief Executive Officer of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) paid a courtesy visit to the Governor of Sint Maarten His Excellency Eugene B. Holiday. During this visit cooperation in the Caribbean region and the role and position of country Sint Maarten within CARICOM and its organizations was discussed. Governor Holiday emphasized that through the region the shared cultural and geographic characteristics and shared challenges provide a good base for cooperation and therefor for the wellbeing of the Caribbean people.


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