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Continuation Plenary Public session of Parliament about Draft National Ordinance Budget 2019.

PHILIPSBURG:---The House of Parliament will sit in a Continuation Plenary Public session on Wednesday, June 26, 2019.
The Public meeting which was adjourned on Tuesday, June 25, 2019, will be reconvened on Wednesday, at 14.00 hrs. in the General Assembly Chamber of the House at Wilhelminastraat #1 in Philipsburg. The Council of Ministers will be present.
The agenda point is:
5. Ontwerp van Landsverordening tot vaststelling van de Begroting van het land Sint Maarten voor het dienstjaar 2019 (Landsverordening begroting 2019) (Zittingsjaar 2018-2019-126) (IS/666/2018-2019 d.d. 4 maart 2019)

Draft National Ordinance Establishing the Budget of Sint Maarten for the 2019 service year (National Ordinance Budget 2019) (Parliamentary Year 2018-2019-126) (IS/666/2018-2019 dated March 4, 2019)


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.


APS participants reminded to attend seminar on June 28th at Sonesta Maho Resort.

PHILIPSBURG:--- APS participants are reminded to attend the 3rd APS seminar themed APS into the Future that will take place on June 28th at the Sonesta Maho Beach Resort from 1:30 pm to 5:00 pm. The seminar will be opened by the honorable Minister of Finance Mr. Perry Geerlings and will feature several presentations from the APS team, including a surprise announcement. Those attending will be briefed on the Strategic Agenda of APS, the financial position, the development projects and the pending pension reform. The event is free, and participants and employers alike are highly encouraged to attend, as all topics to be discussed will have an impact on both groups.

The seminar will include several speeches and presentations. The following speakers are scheduled to present: APS chairman of the board Mr. Franklyn Richards, APS Director Mrs. Nadya Croes-van Putten will be presenting the three year Strategic Agenda of the pension fund, Financial Controller Mrs. Milica Drakulic - de Bruin will present the current Financial position of APS and the way forward into the Future, Manager Project Ms. Kendra Arnell will present an update of the development projects of APS and Mr. Oscar Williams, Manager P&R / Adjunct Director, will present on the pending pension reform and the importance of this for the future of the pension benefits. A Questions and Answers segment is included in the schedule for those that have questions about the various presentations shared.

“The seminar is for all of our participants; whether you are on pension already, approaching pension age and even those far from pension age. It is also your responsibility to know what happens with your pension contributions and benefits. The seminar is designed to give our participants more insight and a way for us to communicate transparently about what is going on with the pension fund.” – APS Director Nadya Croes-van Putten

Attendees are urged to be on time. As the Maho paid parking is not operational yet, parking space can be found at the parking lots next to the Mullet Bay Clinic or the Golf Shop. A shuttle bus will be available from these parking areas to the entrance of the resort. Seminar registration will open at 1:30 pm and the seminar will start at 2:00 pm sharp. The seminar will close with a cocktail reception from 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm, for all in attendance. If employees are not sure if they are an APS participant, you can ask your employer or contact the APS office located at the Yogesh Building Unit 1A/1B, telephone 543.0003 or via Facebook: Algemeen Pensioenfonds Sint Maarten – APS

Ferrier sold land on airport road for S1.3M, still did not pay land lease.

PHILIPSBURG: --- MP Christopher Emmanuel undressed the Minister of VROMI Miklos Giterson whom he asked several questions about the land lease owned by former Minister of Finance Michael Ferrier. Emmanuel said that he got information stating that the former Finance Minister sold a parcel of land for $1.3M cash and he wants to know if the Minister authorized the sale knowing that the Princess Juliana International Airport needs that stretch of land for their hanger.
Emmanuel further asked the Minister about an agreement that is pending to extend the long lease for SXM Shipyard even though they never paid their long lease. Emmanuel cautioned the Minister about a bit of advice made up by the Secretary General of the Ministry of VROMI that would grant additional land to Ferrier so he could eventually sell the economics rights to PJIAE. Emanuel described the actions of Ferrier and those in government that is aiding and abetting as theft.
Emmanuel asked the Minister several questions about the Dump and his statements about the World Bank going to diminish the landfill fires. Emmanuel asked the Minister to show him the money for the landfill projects and to also show him who exactly is involved in recycling on St. Maarten and to also tell parliament how the recycling reducing garbage on the landfill.
Emmanuel then took a turn on the Minister of VSA Emil Lee who is responsible for healthcare and a few St. Maarten patients sent to Colombia for long periods. The National Alliance MP said that patients from St. Maarten are in Colombia for as long as a year. He said millions of sending patients to Colombia. He asked the Minister why he could not change the policy to bring those specialists to St. Maarten. Emmanuel said that those doctors cannot come to practice on St. Maarten because their degree is not recognizable. He asked the Minister if the doctors in Colombia is not recognized on St. Maarten then how it possible for him to send St. Maarten patients to Colombia for treatment to doctors whose degree is not recognized locally. He said Lee is the only Minister that served in the same Ministry for almost five years and has nothing to address the situation regarding the patients sent to Colombia.
Regarding the New General Hospital that is to be constructed INSO Emmanuel confronted the Minister with the information, he gathered on the now-bankrupt company that the Minister is hell-bent on hiring INSO.
Emmanuel said the Minister of VSA knows that INSO was having financial problems prior to him traveling to Italy.

Minister of Finance Perry Geerlings also came under fire for the Bearing Point contract he issued. Emmanuel asked the Minister to tell Parliament how it was possible for him to grant a contract to Bearing Point while the female St. Maarten representative was working in the Minister’s office and she even travelled with him. He further stated that he heard the female representative of Bearing Point is pregnant. He asked the Minister to tell Parliament where is that person now and if procedures were followed.

COCI-2U Services Available to the Business Community. June 31 deadline approaching for special promotion.

cocibuilding19032019PHILIPSBURG:--- St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce & Industry (COCI) would like to remind the business community that they can make use of its COCI-2U service which was introduced mid-March.
This service entails COCI going to the business establishment after a request has been made for an excerpt and delivering the aforementioned document, and at the same time picking up of annual fees due, among other Chamber to Business related matters.
The process entails the customer contacting COCI either by telephone, fax, email or via Facebook with their request. COCI will then proceed to prepare the document (s) requested and deliver them to the customer. Payment could be made by cash, check or credit card, and a receipt of payment will be provided to the customer on the spot by the COCI representative.
The aforementioned service facilitates making it easier to do business for the entrepreneur by avoiding having to wait in long traffic lines and not being able to find parking when in Philipsburg.
In connection with COCI’s 40th anniversary marking its establishment, the Chamber is continuously looking at improving its services towards the business community.
The Simpson Bay Public Center is also a venue that businesses can make use of in requesting documents and making their annual fee payment.
As part of its 40th anniversary in 2019, COCI has decided to waive outstanding dues before 2014, only if a company owes for the period 2015-2019, that they pay for that period in order to be current. This special promotion after being available for a four-month period, will end June 31, 2019.
Those businesses who are in arrears at the Chamber are invited to call a COCI customer service representative at 721-542-3595 or 721-542-3590 – to discuss a payment plan arrangement; for those who are having challenges to pay their annual registration fee, they can also approach the COCI customer service rep about a payment plan.

Ten Percent MP Salary Reduction Proposal Equals Nickel and Diming the People of Sint Maarten

PHILIPSBURG:---Gracita states; “the SMCP representative in Parliament and Government, recently reiterated their position on a self-imposed reduction of 10% of their salary while urging their colleagues in Parliament to follow suit.
This is admirable, however, the proposal clearly misses the point. It is like taking an aspirin for a headache while our community continues to suffer chronic migraines.”

“SMCP proposal takes a nibble out of their paycheck, to donate this amount to a charitable organization of their choice. For all intent and purposes, this act of ‘generosity’ barely touches the real issue at hand, which is to substantially reduce the deficit in the proposed 2019 budget. A more meaningful proposal would be fifty percent ((50%) salary reduction. This would imply that the elected and appointed representatives are serious about making a significant contribution to trimming some excess fat from our budget. Anything less is ‘nickel and diming’ our citizens again”.

Arrindell states; “The reason for establishing this salary at the time was among others to attract (educated, experienced) persons who would otherwise go to work in the private sector.
Possibly the high remuneration did attract some business people to seek higher office, arguably hardly the best or the brightest. In addition to those who already have a regular job the position of an elected member of parliament was meant to be a full-time job.
Honestly, the issue is not even about the relatively lucrative salary.
It is about the ethical or moral obligation to show support as a people’s representative without being pressured to do so by Holland or anyone else.
It is about showing true solidarity with the plight of the people.”

“Immediately following the passing of Hurricane Irma and Maria, we supported the calls to Parliament to show some solidarity with the thousands of men and women who at the time lost their jobs in the aftermath of the Hurricanes.
Many of our law-abiding citizens today are still struggling to make ends meet.
Parliament can truly represent the people and pass the law to legally enact the salary adjustment, temporarily or permanently. The monies derived from the salary cuts must be designated to a post in the budget that benefits our children, our future.
Anything less will be cherry picking and would reek of favoritism.

Gracita continues; “while the current budget debate continues in the House of Parliament, the Legislative branch can take the lead in making the proposals to adjust the salaries. Present the motion followed by draft legislation in Parliament and put it to a vote, for or against!

“PPA leader concludes; there’s a lot at stake for the People of Sint Maarten.
There’s a lot at stake for ( legitimate) businesses on Sint Maarten. There’s a lot at stake for the future generations of Sint Maarteners. Reducing poverty and the overall high costs of living in Sint Maarten among other pressing matters that affect the overall quality of life of our citizens. Remember that for decades, the average man, woman, young families can’t get a break not even to save a cent with the low-interest rates on savings.”

“ The question becomes at the end of the budget debate, will our citizens see any significant changes to their benefit, or will they be shortchanged again by their current elected representatives in Parliament. Only Time will tell”.

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