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Three more Tzu Chi St. Maarten volunteers certified as commissioners


SINT MAARTEN (CUL DE SAC) - Three more Tzu Chi St. Maarten volunteers made the commitment to continue giving of themselves to relieve the burden of others by becoming certified Tzu Chi Commissioners in Taiwan recently. 

The three grateful volunteers, Regina Janga, Merlyn Schaminee and Hilda Carrasco, were personally certified as Tzu Chi Commissioners by Tzu Chi Founder Master Cheng Yen during the 2019 overseas Tzu Chi Commissioner Training Retreat held in Taipei, Taiwan from November 5 to 12. Also attending the training were Commissioner Sandra Cheung and volunteer Reinier Philip Maarten van Delden. The delegation returned to St. Maarten on November 14. 

This is the second year since Hurricane Irma that volunteers are committing their vows into action by selflessly giving of themselves with great love to relieve the suffering of others.  On November 21, 2018, St. Maarten volunteers Angela Heyliger, Saskia Amatdawoed and Jane Sanchez were also certified as Commissioners. 

This year 26 countries participated in the training and a total of 370 volunteers from around the world were certified as commissioners. 

By attending the 2019 overseas Tzu Chi Commissioners Training, participants learn about the dharma, follow Tzu Chi’s etiquette techniques and diligently learn the spirit of senior Tzu Chi volunteers. The hope is that participants are moved by what they experience and that they take a sense of mission back to their respective countries and pass on the Dharma and spread seeds of love in the hearts of others. 

With no idea what Tzu Chi was about, van Delden accompanied his partner Carrasco on the trip. He was moved by what he saw, what he heard, and what Tzu Chi has done around the world. 

“This trip was one of the best times I have ever experienced,” van Delden said. “I was reminded of what humbleness and compassion really means. All the people from different parts of the world - the way they unite, share, care, respect and love one another (as) one family (was humbling). We were taught how important vegan food is for our body; how not to waste resources such as food and water, and how important it is for us to recycle our garbage so that it becomes our treasure.” 

Carrasco said she feels blessed to have been certified as a Commissioner for the Tzu Chi Foundation. “It makes me feel blessed and fortunate... Meeting Master Cheng Yen and the whole great Tzu Chi family from all over the world is something really big.  My words will fall short. You have to live it and experience it,” the newly certified commissioner said. 

“As I told Master Cheng Yen, her teachings are the salvation of the planet.  Learning to love living beings, looking at them with love and compassion, helping the sick, the elderly and caring for the planet through recycling is beautiful. It is what humans need to make the world a better place. As the teacher says: A healthy heart can heal the earth. Seeing all that the teacher has managed to do with all the love, always thinking about how to relieve the suffering of others. It is seeing God, Buddha on earth. Seeing everything that the teacher and thousands of volunteers have done, makes me feel that I have not done anything yet, and as she says, “there is no time, we must seize time… It is time to fulfill our mission and make a better world.” 

Carrasco said she is grateful to Cheung for trusting her and giving her the blessing of being in Tzu Chi, as well as her sister Angela, for putting her on the path to Tzu Chi.  She also thanked her fellow Tzu Chi volunteers for translating for her, her partner for supporting her and her Tzu Chi family for their love and support. 

Janga said this was her second trip to Taiwan with the St. Maarten Tzu Chi Foundation. She was very happy to have been involved in this healthy event where everyone feels as though they are one family in the world.    

She said there is no discrimination; the mind, body and soul are purified, and participants learn to love and care for each other in the world. She returned to St. Maarten with a healthy body and mind. She was inspired about the story of how Tzu Chi Foundation started with 30 housewives. “When we all take this step, it is easy to purify the whole world, which is our home,” said Janga. 

Schaminee described the trip as being very educational and inspiring. “My first encounter with Dharma Master Cheng Yen was very touching. It was the moment Master put my name tag on me. The name given by Master to me is “Ming Chung” (holding on to the moment). As a Tzu Chi commissioner, I am willing to work hard and always keep in all my doings: speak kind words, think good thoughts, do good deeds, and walk the right path. Thank you, Commissioner Sandra, to have seen the potential in me to become a commissioner. 

And thank you for this unique opportunity,” Schaminee said.

tzu conf




COCI and Baker Tilly team up in Keep a Cool Head project


SINT MAARTEN (SOUTH REWARD) - President of the Chamber of Commerce & Industry (COCI) Benjamin Ortega announced on Friday the 29th of November that the COCI will be adopting the seventh MPC classroom to be air-conditioned and powered by solar panels. The Chamber of Commerce classroom will most probably be furnished with multiple corporate CV’s, as Mr. Ortega, vice-president Mr. Bertaux (Mr. Rude) Fleming and Mr. Baker, outgoing Executive Director of the Chamber, are all proud former MPC students.

Ortega did not hesitate to reach out after seeing the latest Facebook video, edited by MPC teacher Femke Neunzig. “This is a great initiative. I would like to collaborate and send a request to the business community to participate in this project Keep a Cool Head”, Ortega said.

Ortega’s request might be the final sprint of the Keep a Cool Head project that kicked off in the Port of St. Maarten in September. The first AC’s, sponsored by Mr. Cool, were installed this week and the impact on the students is amazing to see, said Femke Neunzig. The classrooms will be adopted in order of sponsor appearance. The first three will be named “Port of St. Maarten classroom”, “Divico classroom” and “La Vista classroom”.

Interested parties to either supply air conditioning, solar panels or both are asked to follow the newspapers as the public tender to participate will be launched in the week of December 2nd. The project needs 38 inverter AC units (18,000 BTU and 23 Seer) and 204 solar panels in total. Full technical specifications and requirements can be made available upon request.

In the meantime, students and teachers are working hard on other crowdfunding initiatives, of which the flagship will surely be the “Stop School Fights – Keep a Cool Head School Party”, to be organized in the Festival Village on December 14. Entrance fee will be USD 15 and the larger SXM bands are expected to be performing, including former MPC students Michael Maidwell and Jacob Streefkerk of Orange Grove.

For more information please contact Baker Tilly at or Femke Neunzig at


What does the Public Prosecutor Really Want?


SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) – “I have taken good note of reports stating that the Public Prosecutor has decided to appeal the acquittal of suspended MP, Theodore Heyliger by the Court of First Instance in the so-called “Catfish” case concerning alleged vote-buying,” said Grisha Heyliger-Marten on Sunday in a press statement. Heyliger-Marten is candidate number 4 on the UP Party slate for the upcoming January 9, 2020 parliamentary election.

“While I acknowledge the right of the Public Prosecutor to appeal the judge’s decision, I cannot but ask why? What does the Public Prosecutor really want?”, she asked.

According to the wife of the embattled founder of the UP party, the reason given for the Public Prosecutor for appealing the judgement is simply “frivolous”.

The Public Prosecutor said in a press release that it “would like to hear the assessment of the Court of Appeals concerning the meaning of ‘a promise’ in criminal law.”

“If the Public Prosecutor does not know the meaning of “a promise” in criminal law, let them google it, nuh!” Grisha Heyliger said. “Do they have to waste more money and prolong the agony of my family over that?”

She noted that the Court of First Instance had ruled on November 14 that there was not enough evidence to substantiate the charges against her husband.

“The only witness who also said Heyliger offered money to Laville said he got his information from Laville, so from the same source,” the judge said.

“Has the Public Prosecutor now found more witnesses after six long years?” she asked.

In her opinion, this is part of a larger scheme to “criminalize our very existence”.

“They are criminalizing our very existence. For them, it is criminal to be a St. Maartener. And if you think I am wrong, check the list: Claude Wathey, Ralph Richardson, Al Wathey, Frank Arnell, Crastell Gumbs, Rene Richardson, Louie Laveist, Maria Buncamper, and Claudius “Toontje” Buncamper.”

“Not to forget Patrick Illidge, Chanel Brownbill, Silvio Matser, Mark Mingo, Regina Labega, Edward Dest, Hiro Shigemoto, Michael Dijkhoffz, Frans Richardson, Etienne “Tochie” Meyers, Brenda Brooks, Theo Heyliger, and Christopher Emmanuel. And I could go on and on.”

“What do all of them have in common? They are ALL St. Maarteners. In a population of about 50,000 people, from some 120 nationalities, ONLY St. Maarteners are criminals?”

“Who is the Public Prosecutor accountable to? How much has been spent on all these investigations? Who is paying for them? A prisoner was murdered while serving time and awaiting his appeal in Point Blanche in 2016 yet no one has been held for this crime. Instead, the focus of the Public Prosecutor is on prominent St. Maarteners. Why? These and many more questions must be asked,” she added.


Two additional Ministers sworn in on Thursday joins the Jacobs Cabinet


SINT MAARTEN (HARBOUR VIEW) - On Thursday, November 28th two incoming Ministers took the oath of office at the governor’s office and were sworn in as Ministers in the Silveria Jacobs cabinet by His Excellency Governor Drs. Eugene B. Holiday, Fernando Clark said in a statement on Friday.

The two Ministers who took the oath on Thursday are: Pamela Gordon-Carty who takes up the mantle as Minister of Public Health, Labor and Social Affairs (VSA) and Melissa Arrindell-Doncher, who returns as Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Traffic and Telecommunications (TEATT), a position she held in the William Marlin Cabinet in 2017.

Minister Arrindell-Doncher takes over the helm from former interim Minister of TEATT Rene Violenus, who held the position from the inception of the Silveria Jacobs cabinet. Violenus moves to the Netherlands to assume the position of Minister Plenipotentiary.

The two recently sworn in Ministers join the Silveria Jacobs cabinet which comprises of Silveria Jacobs, Prime Minister in charge of General Affairs, Christopher Wever as Minister of VROMI, Ardwell Irion, who holds the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport (ECYS) and Egbert Jurendy Doran as Minister of Justice.

Minister Doncher

Minister Hon. Melissa Arrindell-Doncher

Minister Gordon Lake

Minister Hon. Pamela Gordon-Carty




Tswana Nunes-Burleson. Determined to make a difference


SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - “My humble, down-to-earth character and naturally caring personality allows me to connect with people of all walks of life without prejudice”. This is one of the ways that this remarkable Sint Maarten Christian Party (SMCP) candidate describes herself, the party said in a press statement on Friday evening.

Tswana was born in the Netherlands but as a toddler she moved to Aruba with her father where she completed her secondary education. The year 1995 was a turn-around year for her. It was the year that hurricane Luis devastated many of the islands in the Caribbean, particularly Sint Maarten. Having many friends of her childhood in San Nicolas who originated from Sint Maarten, whose families had lost their livelihood, Tswana got permission from her dad to move to Sint Maarten to assist her friends. Tswana fell immediately in love with Sint Maarten and decided there and then to make Sint Maarten her home.

Being ambitious, disciplined and people-minded Tswana has always been on the lookout for new opportunities. What she has been able to accomplish during her 23 years of living on Sint Maarten is nothing but remarkable.

Her first job on Sint Maarten was at Xerox, today known as Obersi Electronics. Notary Speetjens noticed her work zeal and ethics at Obersi and eventually invited her to work for his Notary firm. While at Speetjens she seriously considered studying law. But since she also enjoyed dealing with numbers and problem-solving situations, she pursued a bachelor’s study in Finance, Economics and Business Management from the Netherlands via correspondence courses, which was a major feat in itself. This degree opened many doors for her in the job market. After some years at the Notary Public, Tswana was asked to join the team at the Offshore Trust company industry where her main responsibility was dealing with the Financial Administration. After five years Tswana got a breakthrough in the tourism industry. She incorporated a Luxury Mega Motor & Sailing Yacht company, which was affiliated with a company in Florida.

After several years in the tourist industry Tswana then entered the civil service where she first worked in the Ministry of Finance, then in the Ministry of Justice and subsequently at the Council of Advice, one of our High Councils of State.

As a citizen Tswana believes that one must be involved. She has participated in cultural events organized by Urmaine Dormoy. She has also volunteered her time to assist the youth. As a trained PADI Rescue scuba diver instructor, she co- founded a Swim, Snorkel and Scuba Dive foundation that provides free swim and diving courses to particularly young persons during the off season. As a qualified mentor she works with several of the foster care homes on Sint Maarten as a volunteer mentor. Tswana is also the Treasurer of the Board of the VKS.

Tswana is multi-lingual. She speaks Dutch, Papiamentu, Spanish and English fluently and can also help herself in French and Sranang Tongo. Her foundational principles are justice, faith and loyalty. She often refers herself as being a committed humanitarian, which is evident in the way she relates to people and in the volunteer work which she has committed herself to.

SMCP is proud to present Tswana Nunes-Burleson as its #7 candidate on the SMPC slate. She has been working as policy advisor in the SMPC faction office. With her qualifications, her experience and knowledge gained over the years as well as having functioned in the faction office, the SMCP is confident that Tswana is well prepared and capable for the job of Parliamentarian.


Disaster Coordinator Thankful Busy 2019 Hurricane Season Comes to an End


GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – Disaster Coordinator and Fire Commander Clive Richardson, is thankful that the nation has been spared the full onslaught of a major hurricane for the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season which officially comes to an end on Saturday, November 30.

The six-month 2019 season started to get busy from mid-August through October. An average season has 12 named storms; six hurricanes; and three major hurricanes.

The 2019 season produced 18-named storms, that included six hurricanes of which three became major (Category 3, 4 or 5) systems.

“I am thankful that as a community we were able to make it through this Hurricane Season without any major incidents.

“Our nation’s Disaster Management Organization of 10 Emergency Support Functions was activated several times due to a potential threat in order to properly prepare the nation for any storm impact.

“I would like to say thank you to our residents, guests and the business community for taking all the necessary precautions and being diligent in their preparations during 2019 season.

“I am asking everyone to stay diligent as there are other natural disaster events or manmade disasters that can occur. Always be prepared by having an emergency kit and plan in place similar to the preparations that you take during the hurricane season.

“May you and your family safely enjoy the upcoming holiday season,” Disaster Coordinator Clive Richardson told the Department of Communication (DCOMM) on Friday.

The country’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and the Office of Disaster Management were activated and or issued advisories to the public on three occasions during the season.

This was related to Tropical Storm Dorian in August, Hurricane Jerry-September and Tropical Storm Karen-September.

According to the U.S. National Oceanographic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), this year marks the fourth consecutive above-normal Atlantic hurricane season.

The 18-named storms for the season were: Andrea, Barry, Chantal, Dorian, Erin, Fernand, Gabrielle, Humberto, Imelda, Jerry, Karen, Lorenzo, Melissa, Nestor, Olga, Pablo, Rebekah and Sebastien.

The three major hurricanes this season were Dorian, Humberto and Lorenzo. Hurricane Dorian as the second strongest hurricane on record in the Atlantic basin in terms of wind (185 mph).


Freegan Food Fd. & St. Maarten Training FD. students cook 100 meals for Thanksgiving


SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - “I’ve never cooked for 100 people, so this is a great experience for me,” says Sharon Jones, a culinary student at the St. Maarten Training Foundation (SMTF).

Sharon along with 70 classmates helped to provide a free 3-course Thanksgiving dinner yesterday evening at NIPA. The Freegan Food Foundation, who initiated the idea for the dinner, invited the guests from various neighborhoods on the island.

For nearly two years, Freegan Food Foundations Founders Dirk-Jan & Joost, along with volunteers, visit various communities to distribute their free vegan meals: “On a daily basis we see firsthand that certain families have trouble putting a nutritious meal on the table. We figured that likely they wouldn’t be able to have a nice thanksgiving experience either – so we wanted to provide that for them.” All meals are vegan and usually made with donated food from supermarkets and suppliers to combat food waste.

Upon hearing about the idea, SMTF, NIPA, 4C Foundation and the Sint Maarten Trust Fund partners jumped onboard to make it a reality. Together with donations from Carrefour, Kams Foodworld, CC1, Real foods and Caribbean Liquors amongst others, the ingredients for the 3-course menu were collected.

“NIPA is proud to have provided the space for the event. This is what our school is all about: collaboration and community involvement,” says Alexander Adoptie, Hospitality and Culinary Coordinator at NIPA.

The preparations started at 3pm, and at 6:30pm the guests arrived. The students served the meals and drinks, as music played in the background. “It’s really nice to be here, and I feel like everyone is having a good time,” expresses one of the guests who joined the dinner with three of her kids. “I never thought you can have thanksgiving dinner without meat,” says one of the teens laughing.

“People are in need. Some that are here tonight would not have had a meal otherwise. That is why this event and Freegan Food Foundation’s work is so important,” explains Josianne Cannegieter, a community leader and volunteer.

“The students were very excited when they heard they would be cooking for such a large group and for a good cause. They were a bit surprised to hear that we would be cooking a vegan dinner, so that has been a good learning experience for them as well,” explains Marco Brakkee, the culinary instructor at SMTF.

“I have a lot to be thankful for, so I hope we also made some people feel good tonight,” student Sharon concluded at the end of the night event.

thanksdin ins1




The Crystal Pineapple Awards Gala Makes Grand Comeback


SINT MAARTEN (MAHO) - This Saturday, Sonesta Maho Beach Resort Casino & Spa hosted the 12th SHTA Crystal Pineapple Awards Fundraising Gala. The Crystal Pineapple Awards (CPA) is the only event on the island that recognizes excellence in Hospitality & Trade Personnel, Organizations and Associations. The event honored Fifty exceptional nominees who vied for eleven awards in the public voting categories, while three SHTA selected awards were presented for those that the Board determined represent outstanding achievements.

The sold event was thrilled to be back at Sonesta Maho's Convention Center as the return of CPA to its usually home. The first time many attendees had been back to the Ballroom. As has been traditional Sundial School students participated in providing exceptional hospitality service to the dinners.

Sjorensly Valies of SXM Crazy Beach Chairs was awarded the Environmental Crystal Pineapple Award for his ongoing assistance to keep Mullet Bay beach clean. The Community Service Award 2019 was won by the Sint Maarten Training Foundation (SMTF) for providing subsidized education to those hotel employees without work post Hurricane Irma.

Excelling "Rookie of the Year in Hospitality" Christopher Smith of Oyster Bay Beach Resort stated, "if you enjoy your work as much as I do, there is no work".  The award for Rookie of the Year 2019 in Trade was taken home by a proud Johnell Davis of Princess Juliana International Airport.

Ronald Halman was acknowledged with a special Crystal Pineapple Award for his efforts over the last 10 years as President of the General Audit Chamber. SHTA stated Halman to have "Sint Maarten society at heart in everything he does... he personifies the independence, advocacy and integrity that citizens demand of our high councils of state". 

On behalf of Emilio’s Restaurant, Su Wathey graciously accepted the "Restaurant of the Year Award”; Nalia Muriel of St. Maarten Nectar was selected as "Entrepreneur of the Year".

The second special award of the event was presented to Winair for their rejuvenation and success, the SHTA underlined that "Like a Phoenix from the Ashes" Winair "fought itself back from dark days, in a very difficult and highly competitive market ... showcasing to all of St. Maarten what good corporate governance is". 

Famed radio host Kevin “Suppa Kid” Petrona received recognition as 2019’s Media Personality of the Year. The Crystal Pineapple Award for Manager of the Year 2019 in Trade was won by Wai-Hing Patterson-Yee of Guardian Group Fatum. Agnes Hughes of Sonesta Maho Beach Resort Casino & Spa was awarded the title Manager of the Year in Hospitality.

Kyle Richardson of Caribbean Palms took home the prestigious award in the category Employee of the Year in Trade. Jahvaughny Ayee of Domino’s Pizza received laurels as Employee of the Year in Hospitality. 

The final award of the evening was an SHTA Award presented to well-known hotelier Keith Graham for his work for the Sint Maarten tourism product and society at large, most notably his recurring voluntary efforts in recovery after hurricanes "working tirelessly to put St. Maarten back on the Map for visitors with the Emergency Recovery Fund after hurricane Luis, being one of the strongest advocates for protecting hospitality employees after the devastation of Irma ... so that employees would be able to upgrade their skills instead of sitting idle waiting for hotel reopenings". 

SHTA started and closed the event by thanking main sponsors Interval International and CC1 Sint Maarten, as "main enablers of the comeback of the Crystal Pineapple Awards as an iconic event for the Sint Maarten private sector". As an additional thank you note, the association hailed its host Sonesta Maho Beach Resort Casino & Spa "as a symbol of the resilience of the Sint Maarten private sector".




MERCI A Les voyages de Patw -  VOYAGE EN 2016!!!!!!!!   -  EN 2019 ENCORE DE LA RECONSTRUCTION A VENIR!!!!!!!!

Saint-Martin est un territoire français situé dans les Caraïbes, dans la partie nord de l’île de Saint-Martin, dans les Antilles, portant le statut de collectivité d'outre-mer française depuis le 15 juillet 20071. Avant cette date, elle faisait partie intégrante du département d'outre-mer de la Guadeloupe.

Son code officiel géographique (code Insee) est le 978 depuis le 1er janvier 2008. Néanmoins, le code 97801 est utilisé par les applications nécessitant une codification sur cinq positions. Son code postal est cependant le 97150 (il n’a pas changé depuis la séparation de la Guadeloupe).

Ses habitants sont appelés les Saint-Martinois et la langue officielle est le français. Néanmoins, du fait de l'histoire politique et économique de Saint-Martin liée à celle des îles avoisinantes à majorité anglophone, de la composante cosmopolite de l'île, de la forte influence nord-américaine et de la nécessité de simplifier les échanges entre les deux parties de l'île, l'anglais est largement parlé et compris dans la partie française.

La partie sud de l’île, également appelée Saint-Martin (Sint Maarten en néerlandais), forme depuis le 10 octobre 2010 un des quatre États du royaume des Pays-Bas ; la fédération des Antilles néerlandaises, dont elle était l'une des cinq régions, a été dissoute à cette même date.

Le 6 septembre 2017, l'île est complètement ravagée par l'ouragan Irma.

6 septembre 2017 : Saint-Martin est sur la trajectoire de l'ouragan Irma, l'un des plus puissants jamais enregistrés dans l'océan Atlantique nord, classé cinq sur l'échelle de Saffir-Simpson. Sa superficie est estimée à environ 335 000 km2, et son œil est évalué à environ 50 km2. L'île est lourdement touchée. Elle est tellement dévastée que les services publics n'existent plus. Le 9 septembre, les dégâts sont estimés à environ 1,2 milliard d'euros par la caisse centrale de réassurances. Selon le ministère de l'Intérieur, 95 % des habitations sont impactées et 60 % sont inhabitables.

Le 8 septembre, les premiers secours arrivent de la France métropolitaine. D'importants moyens militaires sont engagés : pas moins de 1 100 spécialistes : médecins, logisticiens, électriciens, etc., dont 600 de la Sécurité civile et 400 gendarmes. Mais aussi, plus largement, l'ensemble des moyens des armées de terre, de l'air, de la marine nationale, de la gendarmerie, de la sécurité civile et de nombreuses associations.

Le 14 septembre, Philippe Gustin, préfet, est nommé délégué interministériel pour la reconstruction des îles de Saint-Barthélemy et de Saint-Martin.

Marigot Capitale de Saint-Martin
Marigot est la plus grande ville de la partie française de l’île de Saint-Martin, dans les Antilles, dont elle est le chef-lieu puisque l'hôtel de la collectivité, l'hôtel de préfecture des « îles du Nord », ainsi que la plupart des administrations et services y sont localisées







Middeleeuwse historie in enen en nullen

Dankzij de Stichting Vrienden van de Bommelerwaardse Archieven heeft het Regionaal Archief Rivierenland (RAR) in Tiel het gehele middeleeuwse archief van het kapittel van de Sint Maartenskerk in Zaltbommel kunnen digitaliseren. Het archief is nu voor iedereen ter inzage op de website van het RAR. Ook zal het RAR een index op de website beschikbaar stellen op de 6.278 persoonsvermeldingen in het dodenboek van het kapittel over de periode 1303-1572.

Dec 26, Sint Maarten: St. Stephen's Day

26th December is the Feast of St. Stephen in Western Christianity. It is observed as a second day of Christmas holidays in several countries.. For more information on this holiday, visit the link.

Jan 01, Sint Maarten: New Year's Day

New Year's Day is a public holiday in all countries that observe the Gregorian calendar, with the exception of Israel. For more information on this holiday, visit the link.

Introductory meeting Secretariats SER Curaçao and Cft


CURACAO - On Wednesday morning, November 27, 2019, the Secretariat of the Financial Supervision Boards (Cft) (Curaçao and Sint Maarten, Aruba, and Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba) visited the Secretariat of the Social-Economic Council (SER) of Curaçao.

The recently appointed secretary of the Cft, Mr. Ray Thuis met with the secretary of the SER, Mr. Raul Henriquez, in the presence of senior advisors of the two Secretariats.

The delegates talked about their respective roles and expressed the aspiration to exchange at the technical level knowledge and information to support their particular advisory roles.

Furthermore, the delegates indicated the need to pursue follow-up meetings on issues related to the sustainability of public finances and socioeconomic development.


Rotary District 7090 Visit SXM


SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Rotary District 7090 headed by District Governor Bob Artis held their district conference aboard ‘Allure of the Seas’ with a stop in St. Maarten. District 7090 were joined on the cruise by Rotary International Representative Bob Menconi.

On their arrival in St. Maarten they were met by a delegation from Rotary District 7020 headed by District Governor Delma Maduro, and the coordinators for this visit Rotarians Denise Antrobus, from the Rotary Club of St. Maarten-Mid Isle and Lezlie Murch from The Rotary Club of St. Catharine’s and Rotaract Club of Niagara, Canada.

Rotary District 7090 is a district of eighty Rotary and Rotaract Clubs distributed throughout Southern Ontario, Canada and Western New York USA, twelve of their clubs were on the cruise. While Rotary District 7020 is a district with over eighty Rotary Clubs from the Islands of Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Barth, St Maarten, St Martin, The Bahamas, Turks & Caicos and the US Virgin Islands.

District 7090 have been very much involved with St. Maarten since Hurricanes Irma and Maria. They are involved in a global grant to get the Exceptional School at Sister Marie Lawrence up and running, they are willing to assist whenever help is required.

The first stop of the day was to the Sister Marie Lawrence School in Middle Region. Here they viewed a power point presentation on the work so far at the school which also included a song with the title ‘Thank You Rotary from SML’ which brought the visiting Rotarians to tears.

They visited the students from Sister Marie Lawrence School who are presently based at the St. Dominic’s Primary School for some interactive projects of reading, arts etc.

District 7090 enjoyed lunch and fellowship at Big Wood on the Boardwalk with local Rotarians from St. Maarten and Anguilla. Gifts and banners were exchanged with the District Governors and visiting clubs. Tanja Frederiks from the Catholic Board was presented with a Certificate of Appreciation, with thanks for hosting the Rotary District 7090 Conference on Cruise October 23, 2019.

Their afternoon visit was to Coach Tom and Player Development which also boasts an EarlyAct Club. The interactive activities were painting a Train Engine on wood, painting an inspiration quote ‘We are stronger, we are smarter, we are kinder’ on one of the containers which houses Player Development and dressing coffee cans for the children and Earlyactors to collect can tabs to help those in Abaco and Grand Bahama after the devastation of Hurricane Dorian.

Before returning to the ship at the end of their visit Rotarian Lezlie Murch recognized Rotarian Denise Antrobus with a Paul Harris Fellow on behalf of District 7090.


Omar Ottley: Clarity on eviction letter needed. Shelter contract not expired


SINT MAARTEN (SUCKER GARDEN) - Businessman and community activist Omar Ottley on Wednesday said that urgent clarity is needed regarding who is responsible for putting 40 persons in the Suckergarden shelter out and why are they being asked to leave on November 30th.

Ottley raised the issue earlier this week and has since provided with new information that further confuses the issue. While some has dismissed the issue as "not that urgent" or "exaggerated", he said he approached the owner of the shelter/building himself in an attempt to help after the worried persons involved approached him.

"I scheduled a meeting with the owner of the shelter/building to see if he would consider an extension and I turn give government a little extra time to plan. The persons received a letter on October 25 2019 informing them that the shelter will be closed by November 30th 2019," ottley said.

Ottley said he was surprised when the owner informed him that he was not responsible for the eviction and actually the contract is not up until next year. "He himself was in awe and confused as to why the persons were asked to leave the shelter by November 30th," Ottley said. He added that the owner indicated that he would reach out to the Dr. J Foundation in an effort to gain some clarity.

"We hope that some clarity can be brought to this situation and a realistic approach can be taken from now until the actual end of contract to ensure that homes can be found for these persons," Ottley said.


Support drops for the VVD in latest poll of polls, GroenLinks and PVV rise


SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Support for the right-wing Liberal party VVD has taken a knock in the latest poll of polls, which gives the party of prime minister Mark Rutte 17.3% to 20% of the vote if there were a general election tomorrow.

Despite the recent drop – equivalent to up to four seats in the 150-seat parliament – the VVD remains well clear of the anti-immigration party PVV and the left-wing green party GroenLinks, both of which have 10% to 12.7% support in the new poll.

The Christian Democrats and Labour are both on 8.7% to 11.3% while the nationalist Forum voor Democratie is in sixth place on 8% to 11.3%. Compiler Tom Louwerse says the four different opinion barometers which he uses to put together the poll of polls have wildly differing results when it comes to the drop in VVD support, but that the trend is clearly downwards.

It is unclear what the impact of Rutte’s support for reducing the speed limit and other measures to cut nitrogen compound pollution is. According to research by EenVandaag, up to one third of VVD voters may be opposed to the speed limit reduction.

At the same time, the PVV has gained the equivalent of two parliamentary seats in the latest compilation and is now heading back at its level at the March 2017 general election.

‘The row which engulfed Forum voor Democratie in the summer would appear to have made the PVV an option again for the right of the VVD,’ Louwerse told broadcaster NOS.



Amsterdam to close police stations at night, as officer shortage bites


SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – At least two Amsterdam police stations are to be closed at night and special teams focusing on cannabis cafes, and on transport crime, are being disbanded because of a shortage of police officers, mayor Femke Halsema has told city councillors.

The city needs an extra 500 police officers and by stopping some operations, officers can be freed up to concentrate on other duties such as street patrols, Halsema said. Making the police more visible will have a deterrent effect on vulnerable youngsters who may turn to crime, the mayor said in her briefing.

The shortage of police officers has been made worse because a number have been seconded as security for lawyers, judges and court officials following the murder of lawyer Derk Wiersum earlier this autumn.

‘We are struggling to keep our heads above water,’ the mayor said. The measures will come into force for an initial six months and will be looked at again after three. Utrecht too is taking action because of a shortage of officers.

Two police stations will be closed at the weekend and fewer officers will be available for policing football matches because so many officers are now involved in protection duties.

Justice minister Ferd Grapperhaus said in a reaction that the Dutch capital is right to set priorities, adding that he is investing an extra €320 on recruiting more officers and €100m to relieve police of routine organisational tasks.

However, according to the Halsema’s letter, Amsterdam has benefited from just 60 new officers, while 480 have left the force or retired. The cuts will not affect the new drive to root out organised crime in the city, the mayor told councillors.



The Dutch coast is a popular holiday destination – for the Dutch


SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – The Netherlands continues to grow in popularity as a summer destination, with almost 10 million people having a holiday in the country in July and August this year, the national statistics agency CBS said on Monday.

Dutch tourists accounted for more than half the total – with 5.53 million people taking a short break in their home country in the peak summer period, the CBS figures show.

The total number of tourists grew by 4.4% while the number of nights spent in holiday accommodation were up 7.6% at 35 million – with Dutch tourists accounting for over 21 million nights away.

The coastal provinces on Zeeland and Noord-Holland were the most popular destinations and holiday parks attracted 12% more visitors, the CBS said. The tourist boom continued into September and visitor numbers rose 6% that month.



Dutch doctor dies of Lassa fever in Leiden, a second is being treated


SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – A Dutch doctor who was being treated at Leiden University Medical Center after developing Lassa fever in Sierra Leone has died from the disease.

The doctor was flown back to the Netherlands in strict isolation and admitted to the hospital, which has a major incident unit, last weekend. However, he died on November 23, the RIVM public health institute has confirmed.

A second Dutch doctor at the hospital in the west African country has also developed the disease and both are thought to have become infected by the same patient, the RIVM said.

The second doctor is being treated in the isolation unit at Utrecht teaching hospital. A local nurse, who also became infected, is being treated in Sierre Leone. Both were working at the Madaga hospital in Sierra Leone for Norwegian charity Capacare International.

The organisation said of deceased doctor that it ‘admired his knowledge, capacity and passion to improve access to surgical care in the country.’ Several other Dutch health care providers are working in the Sierra Leone hospital and all those who had contact with the two patients with Lassa fever were also brought back on a special flight.

Because of the early detection of contacts, there is little chance that the virus will spread in the Netherlands, the RIVM said. According to news agency AFP, the doctor developed symptoms of the disease after operating on a pregnant woman.

Humans become infected with Lassa fever through contact with the excreta of infected rats or by close person-to-person contact.



Priest: A new law as a deterrent to violence against women


SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - A new law which would see tougher punishment for the perpetrators of violence against women is being proposed by President of the National Alliance and candidate in the January elections Leonard (Lenny) Priest.

Priest’s call comes as St. Maarten joins the rest of the world in observing November 25th as a day of violence against women on the anniversary of the deaths of three women in the United States since 1981. On December 17, 1999, November 25 was designated as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women by the UN General Assembly. “Violence against women in the Caribbean is not a new phenomenon in that it can be traced back since the days of slavery. The problem in the Caribbean is of such magnitude that unless there are tougher laws in place to act as a deterrent the problem will persist. In many cases it is regarded as an everyday normal occurrence with some woman even accepting that it is their partner’s right to abuse them if they displease him. We claim to be part of the modern age and it’s time we begin acting like it and this includes implementing laws that are standard in most developed countries,” Priest states.

I am almost certain that the island’s only shelter for the victims of domestic violence could reveal data that would be very alarming to the general public. However, no matter what that data is if only one female suffers because of violence against her, it is one too many.  Therefore,  I am suggesting that St. Maarten could implement a law similar to the United States Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (VAWA). The VAWA was a United States federal law (Title IV, sec. 40001-40703 of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, H.R. 3355) signed as Pub.L. 103–322 by President Bill Clinton on September 13, 1994. This Act provided billions of dollars toward investigation and prosecution of violent crimes against women, imposed automatic and mandatory restitution on those convicted, and allowed civil redress (compensation for injuries sustained) in cases prosecutors chose to leave un-prosecuted. The Act also established the Office on Violence Against Women within the Department of Justice.

“There have been many women over the years on St. Maarten who have lost their lives at the hands of an abusive partner and while none of the situations are acceptable or forgivable, we must do all we can to protect our women and children against violence and that means having the appropriate laws in place,” Priest states. I believe that such a law will receive bipartisan support as this is not a political issue but in some cases the difference between life and death.

There are many persons in society who will join me in a call for tougher laws to punish perpetrators of violence against women, explaining, that the lack of judicial interference is a great challenge as there is a lack of victim support in many cases. “The perpetrator is often never arrested and no attempts made to offer any type of workshops / education to the perpetrator.

We must do everything within our power to make violence against women a thing of the past by supporting legislation to establish tougher laws; establish community violence prevention programs; education and rehabilitation programs for the victims and the perpetrators and provide sufficient funding for these programs.  “There are many things we can all do to help put an end to this problem and certainly to make the offenders know it will not go unpunished. It is time we take a stand against this problem and I believe by introducing such a law is a gigantic step in the right direction. I do hope it’s something all parties can come together to see it becomes a reality,” Priest states.

 It is also very important that proper victim support services to assist the victims are necessary and that the police require specialist training and dedicated units to deal with abused victims and child abuse. The greatest fear that most victims have other than the embarrassment of the incident is that before leaving the station the abuser is aware that a complaint has been filed against him. The victims must have confidence that their complaints will be handled and not revealed to the perpetrators. We all will agree that the abusers must  be punished for their crime more frequently and be put before the Judge and if a custodial sentence is not an option, then  a mandatory workshop or programme must be in place for the abuser to attend.

“Let’s not make this just another year we all pay lip service on the day and do nothing to solve the problem. Let’s stand up for our women and put the proper laws in place to protect them, let’s draft  that new law or amend any existing laws that can be enforced in record time,” Priest concludes. 


Laville presents Living Wage legislation to the people of Sint Maarten


SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Romain Laville, candidate number 7 on the USP slate presented the Living Wage legislation on Friday November 22nd to the people of Sint Maarten. Laville announced during his first interview of this election campaign season on Friday, that he would be bringing legislation to eradicate poverty on Sint Maarten. Later that night those present at his rally at the Captain D’s Rib Shack in Simpson Bay heard firsthand about his legislation to introduce a living wage on Sint Maarten.

“While during my tenure as Member of Parliament from 2010-2014, all my social motions were passed unanimously in Parliament, Governments have not carried out their responsibility in executing these motions that would have alleviated the needs of our people. It is for this reason that, this time around my team and I have chosen a different approach to tackle the social needs on Sint Maarten.”, stated Laville.

Laville explained that the purpose of the Living Wage legislation is to once and for all force Government to carry out their legal responsibilities, in doing so eradicate poverty on Sint Maarten. “There have been too many talks about attempts to combat poverty. Too many Governments have promised to conduct a poverty line study. Too many Governments have promised to control prices and bring relief to the people of Sint Maarten. To date not one of these promises have been carried out. Prices continue to surge without any type of price control making it unaffordable to eat healthy. The rent committee is not given the resources to function optimally, mortgages are exorbitant, households are starving, and businesses are suffering.”

Laville and his team went through a number of reports, policies and legislation and decided to present an amendment to the current Minimum Wage law in such a way that one no longer can speak of a legislation regulating the Minimum Wage but one regulating the Living Wage. The number 7 candidate on the USP slate indicated that this law amendment will guarantee that every working person, that is currently earning a Minimum wage, will together with their household be able to live above the poverty line. Moreover, the legislation will create a legal basis for periodic poverty line studies and ensure that the purchasing power of every single individual on Sint Maarten increases. This law amendment, once passed, will obligate Government to control prices and properly execute established legislation such as the Rent Ordinance and Price Ordinance, to name a few. In addition to price control, this amendment will give a financial boost to our entire business community as one small group of businesses will no longer be controlling the purchasing power of our society, thus enabling all other businesses on Sint Maarten to prosper as well.

The amendment shares similarities with other legislation within the Kingdom such as the Minimum Wage ordinance of the Netherlands, as the focus point of both documents places emphasis on wages that will ensure the basic needs of persons are met in their respective countries, based on the specific situation of each country. This legislation was put together with the assistance of lawyers on Sint Maarten and Curaçao. It has been discussed in different stages of the process, with different stakeholders within our community such as those living below poverty line, a number of union representatives and their members, Civil Servants, representatives of the Sint Maarten Anti-Poverty Platform and the Secretariat of the Social Economic Council, to gather their views on the matter.

In the coming weeks more details will be provided pertaining to the content of the legislation and how this legislation will improve the overall situation of the people and businesses of Sint Maarten.


Special Unit Robberies arrest two men for armed robbery


SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The Special Unit Robbery (S.U.R.) arrested two suspects on Thursday afternoon for their involvement in a robbery of a supermarket in Cole Bay, that took place on October 4th, 2019, police said in a statement on Friday.

On the evening of October 4th, 2019, two young men dressed in all black with hoodies on, came into the restaurant brandishing a firearm and robbed the cashier. The suspects with the initials J.S.F and O.D.G were picked up on their jobs yesterday afternoon by the detectives.

They are being held in custody for further questioning. This investigation is still ongoing. (Sint Maarten Police Force)  


Security services unhappy with ‘assertive’ new regulator: Volkskrant


SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – The Dutch security services AIVD and MIVD are ‘unhappy’ with their new regulator, set up last year after both agencies were given sweeping powers to tap phone and internet connections, the Volkskrant said on Thursday.

Sources told the paper that the two services – one civilian and one military – say the TIB – which checks applications for hacks – is too assertive in its approach and is hampering their work.

TIB chairwoman Mariette Moussault told the paper that the issue is ‘a subject for discussion’ but that the agencies must be kept a close eye on and accept limits to what they can do.

The TIB was set up in May 2018 when new legislation came into force, requiring the security services to seek prior approval for hacking. In particular, requests to carry out bulk hacks involving information about hundreds of thousands of people in the hunt for one or two are liable to face tough questions by the TIB, the paper said.

Last year, for example, the TIB rejected a request to carry out a bulk hack on KPN clients, the paper said. The TIB is also proactive when applications are made to share information with other countries’ security services.

Breaking the law

The main security service watchdog CTIVD said in June that both agencies are still breaking the new laws on electronic surveillance. In particular the MIVD military security service is still failing to meet the requirements on privacy, partly down to IT problems, the CTIVD said.

Nevertheless, advances have been made since the CTIVD’s first report, which was highly critical of both services, the agency said. ‘Most of the high-risk items identified in the first report have been reduced to low or average risk since December 2018,’ the watchdog said. ‘The AIVD and MIVD are not there yet, and still have a lot to do in the coming period.’



Police investigate youth gang as five teenagers report being attacked


SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Police in Gorinchem have started an investigation into a teenage gang after a video showing a youngster being set upon by a group of youths appeared online.

So far five teenagers, aged around 14, have made formal police complaints about the attacks after police appealed for more victims to come forward. Police say several of the attackers, who kicked and punched their victims while they were lying on the ground, have been identified but no-one has yet been arrested.

The local school board has also called on parents to be alert. The videos are ‘sick-making’, Bert-Jan Kollmer of the OVO school association said. ‘This is disgusting and unacceptable,’ local mayor Reinie Melissant-Briene said in statement.

‘Everyone who has seen these images is as shocked and concerned as I am.’ The police have asked witnesses to turn over their videos to the police as evidence, and to stop sharing the videos online out of compassion for the victims.



vakantiehuisje in Sint maartenszee, Nederland : Villapark Anzelhoef 1 voor 4 personen

vakantiehuisje : Villapark Anzelhoef 1De vrijstaande vakantiewoningen op Villapark Anzelhoef zijn alle zeer comfortabel en modern ingericht. Je hebt de keuze uit een 4-pers. (NL-4226) en een 6-pers. (NL-4227). Elk type beschikt over alle hedendaagse apparatuur zoals bijvoorbeeld een afwasmachine, wasmachine, wasdroger en gratis WiFi internet. Je beschikt tevens over een riante tuin, met terras en tuinmeubilair. De speelse situering van de accommodaties en de heggen om de woning zorgen voor veel privacy.

Banana Republic


SINT MAARTEN (COMMENTARY – by Cdr. Bud Slabbaert) - St.Tosia is definitely not a Banana Republic; it is a Maracuja Republic. A few clarifying lines of political science may be appropriate here. Every government system is a ‘Cracy’ which originates from the Greek word for power: ‘Kratos’. Democracy maybe the most favored as it is supposed to be the power of the people. Experts of various kinds claim that due to human nature being essentially faulty, every government system in the beginning of its development has been a Kakistocracy, which is rule by the stupid; a form of governance where the worst or least-qualified citizens are in control. Common non-experts of various kinds believe that such still applies to the political situation in many countries worldwide.

By definition, a Banana Republic is considered a Kleptocratic system that economically depends upon the exports of bananas and features a society composed of an impoverished Ergatocracy and a ruling Plutocracy, composed of the aristocracy of business, politics, and the military.

St.Tosia is called a Maracuja Republic because it blooms like a Passiflora Incarnata or Passion Flower, which knowingly has herbal calming effects but also may increase the amount of gamma-aminobutyric acid in the brain which decreases the activity of certain brain cells which is not uncommon for politicians and noticeable in their speech and action.

The fruit of the Passionflower is of course the Passion Fruit or Maracuja. St.Tosia is an island full of passion. The islanders are extremely passionate which comprises anything from love, affection, mania, fascination, obsession and neurosis. The Passion Fruit is a vigorous, climbing vine that clings by tendrils to almost any support, something that is also typical for politicians on the island. And so.., there is no similarity whatsoever with Bananas which grow in clusters hanging from the top of the plant. Because of these differing characteristics a Maracuja Republic is therefore not comparable to a Banana Republic.

St.Tosia is more in line with what the laid-back region is really all about. The island is a political adhocracy. The philosophy is typified by aversion to planning, tendency to respond only to the urgent, as opposed to the important, focusing on 'firefighting,' rather than on establishing systems and procedures through goal setting and long-term planning. There is a world of business interests driven by society members who migrated to the island on the one hand, and the other hand a world of following, supporting and taking sides among families and clans of native St.Tosians in a House of Assembly. And the world of business and politics often blend harmoniously well depending on the potential opportunities of benefits and favors for the individuals. And so, the St.Tosian Adhocracy is flexible and non-permanent and can respond faster to a changing environment and circumstances and it can be a thriving factor on the wellbeing of the island.

On the other hand, political analysts from abroad believe that St.Tosia politics stands for a blend of Kleptocracy and Bankocracy. Kleptocracy is the Rule by thieves; a system of governance where its officials and the ruling class pursue personal wealth and political power at the expense of the wider population. Bankocracy is the Rule by banks; a system of governance of excessive power or influence by banks and other financial authorities on public policymaking.

Admitted that St.Tosia is worldwide known for ‘Tosiatic’ banking and finance. But leading psychologists have determined that such characterization is based merely on human envy and jealousy. As a gesture of appreciation for this thesis, St.Tosia’s Minister of Finance, the Honorable Sir Charles P. Dribcloss Sr., nicknamed ‘Laundromat Charly’, has offered support and incentives to those members of the Psychological Science community who are willing to settle on the island and lecture at the St.Tosia University and become Professor in a new Academy of Financial Psychology, the field that integrates Psychology with Financial Management.

St.Tosia has eighteen government ministries. The constitution of St.Tosia was written by Zadekiah Jones, a man with tremendous foresight for his time in 1898 when the government form on St.Tosia was officially changed from the ‘Most Serene Monastic Republic’ to simply ‘Republic’. Zadekiah was also a very social oriented person. Because of that, he became known in the history of St.Tosia as the ‘Father of the Island’. In fact, he was the father of an undetermined number of children from a just as undetermined number of different women. Whether that is true or not, elders on St.Tosia know that truth can be stranger than fiction, and lovers can be stranger than both.

It was Zadekiah’s philosophy that it is better to have more administrative offices rather than just a few because the government could employ more politicians and cronies as civil servants. One may expect that this would create more bureaucracy. On the contrary! On St.Tosia, it enhances adhocracy since nothing gets done in the first place unless it absolutely urgent, and then it will be done on of the spur of a moment related to an upcoming festivity. St.Tosians love partying and the incentive of having a festivity can be very motivating to take quick and positive action.

With more political seats available, one needs fewer votes to be elected for office. It supports a democratic system that distributes political power in the hands of the public which forms the electorate. In St.Tosia, it was never quite clear whether it would result in less power for more people or more power for less people. About two hundred votes are enough for a seat in office which pays well, provides health and retirement pension benefits plus a bodyguard and a private secretary of their own choice. In order to secure enough votes, there are various options. Government land can be leased to some members of large family groups to build dwellings and develop animal husbandry. Every piece of land has owners and families and thus multiple voters attached. Issuing various business licenses is another option to secure a constituency.

About the author:

The almost true stories and almost believable stories of St.Tosia are written by Cdr. Bud Slabbaert who claims that it is what he has experienced while residing on St.Tosia and monitoring what else is going on in the Caribbean.  


January 9th, 2020 is judgment day, the electorate shall properly respond!


SINT MAARTEN (COMMENTARY – By Edwin Gumbs) - This Government Silveria Jacobs showed such a hurry to get in the Governments’ seats, while knowing that on January 9th 2020 a general election will be held in order to elect a new Parliament, which on its term will elect a new Government.

So basically, this Government is just for the period of November 17th 20019 through January 9th, 2020 and depending on the outcome of the negotiations for a new government maybe a prolongation up to say February 2020.

Minimal 8 weeks up to 13 weeks. Popular said three months. NA through Silveria Jacobs and William Marlin pushed and pushed to get her government for a limited period of three months sworn in as soon as possible, because their period could only get less as swearing if lingered on.

My friend poor Christophe Emmanuels could not make the screening and Silveria and William decided to leave him behind in the hills of Sint Peters cause they decided to move on November 17th, 2019 to swear in the Cabinet Silveria Jacobs with 5 Ministers including the Prime Minster.

They were in such a hurry that in my opinion they really disrespect the people of Sint Maarten and our honorable Governor drs. Eugene Holliday by swearing in mr. Rene Violenus as Minister of TEATT, knowing that probably within two weeks he would be replaced in the COM and re-appointed in The Hague as Plenopotenciairy Minister.

Dutch says Violenus was “voor spek en bonen” appointed Minister of TEATT, because just like the other Ministers in that short period could not do anything for the people of Sint Maarten as Minister of TEATT. And that’s not the way you treat Peoples’ Affairs, you should take the Ministry for serious.

But lucky for mr. Violenus he can window dress his CV with ‘former Minister of TEATT’.
And by swearing in Cabinet Silveria Jacobs they made space for three NA candidates to be promoted to Members of Parliament.

Today November 28th, 2019 two new Ministers were sworn in, Minister Melissa Arrindell Doncher for TEATT and Minister Pamela Gordon-Carty for VSA. This all going into December 2019 with the Christmas Recess of Government and Parliament coming up.  

That’s how Silveria and her NA misspends governments money as if it was abundantly available in Governments Cover. Sint Maarten didn’t have to be spending extra money they don’t have for three months.

The caretaker Cabinet Wycliffe Smith could have sat out the elections of January 9th, 2020.
And Cabinet Silvera Jacobs has more things planned for the people. It’s payback time. Dutch calls it “Bijltejesdag”.

Minister Ardwell Irion, sworn in November 17th, 2019, today November 28th, 2019 sends out a statement that he believes that Secretaries General of the various ministries should be held ACCOUNTABLE and will be discussing the evaluation of these professionals in the next Council of Ministers meeting.

He isn’t even two weeks minister, yet he already wants to keep public servants accountable! Based on what? What does this Government know on the functioning of the SG’s.

Cabinet Silveria Jacobs is all about NA politics for NA politicians bettering their personal positions for a very short period on the cost of the people. And I’m convinced that the electorate on January 9th, 2020 will chastised these politicians for their gravy behavior on the people’s expense.

The people will vote for a new Parliament that will form a completely new Government, the TENTH IN TEN YEARS FROM 10-10-10 on. But this new government of another signature will bring stability for four years long to the country without intervention through throwing down Government and really work for the people.

Really an unnecessary waist of the Peoples money. Yes, Cabinet Silveria Jacobs should be held CCOUNTABLE by the electorate and not our hard-working Secretaries General by you not even two weeks in office Minister. You trying to bring other NA followers in top position in the Government apparatus?

January 9th, 2020 is judgment day, the electorate shall properly respond!
Edwin Gumbs 28/11/2019

COMMENTARY: The comments here are the sole responsibility of the author.


Minister Doran applauds Stevie Constantin on draft initiative for a Disability Act


SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - Acting Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor (Ministry VSA) Egbert J. Doran applauds young St. Maartener Mr. Stevie Constantin on his initiative to draft a Disability Act to guarantee the rights of disabled persons in the country.

Minister Doran said sadly that disabled persons in the community are often times overlooked and the draft is a very positive step in addressing many of the deficiencies that exist, in order to enhance the lives of disabled persons.

“I am very proud for this young man for taking the initiative to address this very important subject in our community. We have a responsibility to put mechanisms in place to ensure that the needs of persons who are disabled in our society are catered to, so that they can have an opportunity to live their lives as best as possible, and it is only by addressing their needs that this can be accomplished,” said Minister Doran.

“It is important that the disabled have easier and unrestricted access to public places, such as banks, government offices, supermarkets, health care facilities and any public establishment that they need to visit. For too long, this issue has remained unaddressed and the least that we can do is to continue to develop this draft in the interest of the most vulnerable in our society.”

Mr. Constantin developed the initiative during his internship at the Department of Education in 2018. During his internship, he provided support with the vision for Secondary Education and Special Needs Education policy.

While working on the latter, it was discovered that there was no legal foundation to support Special Needs Education and as a result, he took the initiative to start a draft for a proposed disability act. The objective of the Act is to secure the rights of disabled persons, and thereby promote for them equal opportunities, independent living and active participation in life (Human Rights of Persons with Disabilities, 2019).

The Act also seeks to protect and promote the equal enhancement of fundamental freedoms and human rights for all persons with disabilities and to encourage respect for their inherent dignity.

Some of the main points highlighted in the draft are the following:

  • All persons with disabilities are provided with the same scope, quality, and standard of free and accessible health care and programs for others, including sexual and reproductive health programs, and public health programs for the population.
  • The prohibition of discrimination against persons with disabilities in providing medical and life insurance, where national legislation permits such insurance, which shall be delivered fairly and reasonably.

Minister of Public Health, Social Development & Labor Egbert J. Doran Minister Soualiga Road 1 P.O. Box 943 Philipsburg St. Maarten Soualiga Road 1 P.O. Box 943 Philipsburg St. Maarten

  • Persons with disabilities have access to indoor and outdoor facilities, including schools, housing, medical facilities and places of work.
  • Private entities which offer publicly accessible facilities or services take all aspects of accessibility for persons with disabilities into account. The draft is still a work in progress, as additional research is needed, and it also requires the input and relevant data from other ministries.

Mr. Constantin recently graduated from The Hague University of Applied Science with a bachelor’s degree in International Public Administration. He intends to return to St. Maarten within short.

Minister Doran wishes him well and encourages other young dynamic St. Maarteners to follow suit in contributing towards St. Maarten’s overall development and the development of its people.

As of Thursday, November 28th, 2019, a new Minister will take responsibility of the Ministry of VSA. Minister Doran intends to discuss this draft act with his incoming colleague and hopes that she will look into the possibilities of taking this draft Disability Act further. He welcomes his incoming colleague and wishes her all the best in working in the best interest of the people of St. Maarten.


Cats are major killers and it is illegal to let them roam, researchers say


SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – People who allow their cats to roam outdoors are actually breaking European rules on nature protection, Trouw reported on Wednesday.

A paper by Tilburg university environmental law professors Arie Trouwborst and Han Somsen in the Journal of Environmental Law argues that the domestic cat (Felix Catus) is posing a serious threat to some 370 species in the Netherlands.

Under the European Bird and Habitat Directives countries have a legal obligation to protect wildlife, so allowing cats to roam and kill is illegal, the researchers say. ‘If you would want to take the Dutch government to court for neglecting its legal duty you would stand a good chance of winning,’ Somsen told the paper.

Some 140 million animals, from birds to bats, reptiles and fish, are thought to be killed annually by cats in the Netherlands and half the killings are carried out by cats with owners.

The Netherlands is home to between two and three million cats and some 10,000 feral cats and strays. Cats do damage to wildlife even without killing, the researchers said, because they cause stress to birds which will then have fewer young and transfer diseases.

‘It may not be people’s intention to harm wildlife but that is what they are doing when they are opening the cat flap, and it’s happening on a large scale,’ Somsen said.

Legal conclusion

The researchers said the cat is the only animal that leaves the house on its own and that it should be kept indoors or within the confines of a garden. Measures to that effect are sure to be on the way, they said.

‘The legal conclusion is watertight. The environmental damage is too great to continue to make a legal exception for the domestic cat.’ However, the European Commission does not appear to be impressed. The Dutch EU bureau said on Twitter that the Commission will not be asking cat owners to keep their pets on a lead.

‘According to our information, cats are not the biggest threat to biodiversity,’ the statement said.



The Dutch are getting taller, and heavier, but Frisians top the list


SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – The average Dutchman and woman are getting both taller and heavier, the national statistics agency CBS said on Wednesday. The average man is now 1.81 metres tall, up 3.8 centimetres on 1981, and weighs 85 kilos, a rise of 2.3 kilos on 40 years ago.

Women are 1.5 centimetres taller, with an average height of 1.67 metres, and weigh 72 kilos. Their weight has gone up by 4.7 kilos over the period, a far higher proportion than among men.

The figures come from the latest CBS health survey and are based on self-assessment. The CBS researchers found strong regional differences. The smallest people were in Limburg and Brabant, who were on average three centimetres shorter than the tallest at the other end of the country in Friesland and Groningen.

People in Drenthe and Flevoland are the most likely to be overweight and, in both provinces, over half the population are too heavy, the CBS said.

Junk food

The CBS said in April that a diet of junk food and calorific drinks is driving up the weight of young Dutch adults, and one in four are officially classified as too heavy.

While there is little difference between men and women, youngsters with a non-western background are more likely to be seriously overweight than the native Dutch.

The new figures show that people with a non-western background are also likely to be shorter than the native Dutch, the CBS said.



The Man behind the scenes


SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - There is no shortcut for hard work that leads to effectiveness. You must stay disciplined because most of the work is behind the scenes. The ones who most shape the world are those who are not exposed or on the forefront, they are very often not seen. They are persons whose conquests and achievements are not highlighted, Leader of the Sint Maarten Christian Party (SMCP) Member of Parliament (MP) Wycliffe Smith said in a statement on Wednesday.

This merely because these achievements and successes contribute to a greater cause. Like the hidden man in this story, except that instead of living a passive existence, he was designated and he chose to work in the shadows, to research, form strong alliances and promote the country we all hold so dear to our hearts. All of the above carried out in the shadows while forming part of a strong driving force in the betterment and promotion of Sint Maarten.

Who is this man? What drives this man? These are indeed the relevant questions one must be asking oneself. To discover the identity of this individual, an in-depth conversation was needed with the ones closest to him. This is what we discovered. An entrepreneur with a passion for passing on his knowledge and helping others achieve success. A devoted family man living by principles. A person whose drive and passions stem from the firm belief that with consorted effort and input of all, Sint Maarten will flourish when no one is left behind.

Building a stronger, more equipped society where resilience is not only felt, but mainly so instilled in all, is his mission. The main goal here being, bringing to the table strong legislation, tackling the most important needs and requirement, always placing the needs of the country and her people front and center. Ensuring that issues affecting the island are addressed in the house of representation on the floors of our Parliament.

Raising the bar where it pertains to the social and moral conduct in Parliament while working along with the elected to get the job done in a manner that works in the benefit of the country we hold high. As the world is watching our conduct and aptitude to getting the job done.

A man that believes in giving accountability and holding persons, institutions and more accountable for their (none) actions. A credible and reliable individual.

Well, I hear your thoughts, “is this man without flaws or shortcoming and does he think he can do all the above alone” To answer this question truthfully, for now I can honestly say, we all have flaws and or shortcomings, but what is important in his case, is that the mystery man behind the scenes is a man whose character is untarnished. He is of sound body and mind, a visionary that prior to bringing solutions to the table, questions the validity, the soundness and ultimate chances of success on transparent execution.

A peoples’ person, a team player who puts the success of the team above his own. Not boastful, he does not toot his own horns, but rather enjoys the fruits of shared accomplishments.

Do we need to unveil and (re) introduce this man behind the scenes? A resounding Yes! We must!

Please look out for the follow-up to this article as we unveil the Man behind the scene!


Nature Foundation Attended Sustainable Financing Workshop for Nature Management


SINT MAARTEN (COLE BAY) - Last week the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA) and World Wide Fund for Nature the Netherlands (WWF-NL) joined forces with Wolfs Company to assist the Nature Foundation Sint Maarten (NFSXM) with strengthening their ability to achieve sustainable financing for nature management in St Maarten. 

Nature Foundation staff and board members and representatives from the VROMI Policy Department, the Tourist Bureau and Maritime Affairs came together under the guidance of the Wolfs Company to establish sustainable finance mechanisms for the Nature Foundation St. Maarten and their task to manage nature.

“The workshop was a great success due to all the actively involved stakeholders and the leadership of the Wolfs Company, we now have developed several strategies, short-term and long-term, to increase revenue and capacity within the Nature Foundation in order to improve nature management and conservation. In addition, a very successful stakeholder meeting was hold on the last day of the workshop, to seek support and additional input and to present about the importance of nature conservation to the business community.

“Several companies and business did see the significance of our environment and nature to the economy, tourism and for our residents, and therefore offered their support in various unexpected and welcome ways. The next step will be the implementation of the developed strategies, hopefully also with the assistance of stakeholders and businesses” stated Melanie Meijer zu Schlochtern Manager of the Nature Foundation St. Maarten.   

Similar to other protected areas in the Caribbean, the organizations that manage the nature parks in the Dutch Caribbean (Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, Saba, Sint Eustatius and St. Maarten) face a structural shortage of financing to fulfil their nature management tasks, the Nature Foundation St. Maarten faces the greatest financial challenge.

On the other hand, nature in all these islands is the basis for their economic and social development, as they are the key asset for the tourism sector, thereby creating jobs and generating funds for the government from related taxes. They also provide key attractions for tourism, cultural and recreational opportunities for residents, food, coastal protection, disaster protection and other services like climate and erosion control and key habitat for biodiversity.

By managing these parks, nature management organizations maintain all these services functioning, while assisting the local governments with their obligations under international conventions and treaties to maintain nature. 

On St. Maarten some of these challenges include: insufficient financial support to increase capacity and conduct all assigned task, no overview of the financing gap, insufficient capacity within the park management authorities to actually undertake activities to identify and implement feasible financing and obstacles for putting financing mechanisms in practice.

In an effort to overcome some of these challenges, WWF-NL and DCNA have funded a project to assist the Nature Foundation St. Maarten in strengthening their strategies to achieve sustainable financing of the Nature in St. Maarten. The Wolfs Company brought in their expertise in conservation finance and facilitated the workshop.

The objective of the project is to address the challenges identified for the implementation of financing mechanisms to support protected area management, with the ultimate goal of supporting the parks’ management to develop and implement a sustainable financing strategy.

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Ottley calls on government to stop 40 families going homeless


SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Community activist and civil engineer Omar Ottley on Monday lamented over the thought of 40 families being made homeless and called on government to step in before November 30 to prevent this from happening.

He explained that after Hurricane Irma these families were fortunate to receive assistance and live in the shelter in Suckergarden. "The shelter was a temporary solution until spacing in government housing was available for them. It has been two years and no government house has been delivered and these persons unfortunately have 5 days to vacate the property," Ottley said.

He added that the owner of the property has the right to do as they please once the contract is up, "but the responsibility of these families, which also included children from 2 to 5 years of age, falls on the government of St. Maarten."

He said the Doc J Foundation raised funds to fix the eight emergency homes in Cole Bay that fall under the St. Maarten Housing Development Foundation (SMHDF) to house some of the families, while persons who were housed at the same location before the hurricane, moved back to Belvedere. This freed up three 3-bedroom homes.

"Dutch law prohibits boys and girls to share a room. So they put a video out on social media asking for assistance to fix these homes in Cole Bay. The video attracted the attention of World Bank who asked why would donations be sought when it had already made 550 thousand guilders available to the St. Maarten Housing Development Foundation (SMHDF) to repair the homes," Ottley explained

He continued: "After some back and forth the SMHDF has reportedly now pulled back its decision to offer the homes to the families and the families have to leave the shelter on Nov 30th.This is a main example of the real issues being neglected in our country. All these people are about to be homeless and we have yet to hear anyone speak on it."

"I would like government to know that it is a constitutional right to protect these young kids. So please step in before November 30th," Ottley concluded.


FMO accused of funding human rights abuses on palm oil plantations


SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Dutch development bank FMO is one of four European lenders accused of financing human rights abuses in the palm oil sector in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported that four state-backed development banks had invested around $100 mln (€91 mln) since 2013 in Feronia. It accuses the company of dumping untreated waste in waterways, exposing workers to dangerous pesticides and paying them less than $1.90 a day, the World Bank’s threshold for ‘extreme poverty’.

Feronia is due to hold a shareholders’ meeting on November 25 in London with the four banks, who also include the Belgian BIO, UK-based CDC Group and Germany’s DEG, to discuss its environmental and social track record.

PHC, Feronia’s subsidiary in DR Congo, is one of the country’s five biggest private employers with more than 10,000 workers on its books and around 100,000 people living on its plantations, which are leased from the government.

HRW said it had interviewed more than 200 people, including more than 100 workers on PHC’s three plantations. Workers complained of skin irritation, pustules, blisters, eye problems or blurred vision.

Two-thirds of men said they had become impotent since starting work. Congolese law requires people employed in high-risk jobs to undergo compulsory medical testing, but the workers on PHC’s plantations said they had never been given their results.

‘Polluted waterway’

HRW also spoke to managers who said that tonnes of untreated waste from PHC’s palm oil mills were dumped into a waterway that flows past workers’ homes, creating a foul stench.

Luciana Tellez, environment and human rights researcher at HRW, called on the development banks to hold Feronia to account over its environmental and labour law violations.

‘These banks can play an important role promoting development, but they are sabotaging their mission by failing to ensure that the company they finance respects the rights of its workers and communities on the plantations,’ she said. ‘The banks should insist that Feronia remedies the abuses and commits to a concrete plan to end them.’

Feronia and FMO told Trouw that wages had been increased this year to €3 per day and that the sewage in the waterways had ‘no environmental effect’. ‘The converse is true: it works well as fertiliser on the plantations,’ said company director Xavier de Carnière.

It is not the first time FMO has come under fire for its investments in developing countries. Last month Trouw reported that at least seven projects financed by the bank, which is 51% owned by the Dutch state, had experienced serious problems.

FMO part-financed dam projects in Honduras and Panama which led to the death of protestors, Trouw said. The director of the company building the Honduras dam has been arrested and charged with involvement in murder.



New COM defines Airport Reconstruction as Priority Nr. 1


SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY-AIRPORT) - In their first week in office, the Jacobs Cabinet made the efforts surrounding the reconstruction of the Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIAE) their first order of business. On Tuesday, November 19, the Council of Ministers (COM) met with the National Recovery Program Bureau (NRPB) and the Airport Managing Board and Project Management Team to discuss the status of the legal agreements for the Airport Terminal Reconstruction Project. During the meeting, the Council of Ministers received detailed presentations on the legal and financial aspects of the project that serves to rehabilitate the badly damaged terminal building

Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs thanked the NRPB and the Airport for their clear presentations, “It is unfortunate that the legal advisors of the bondholders have stalled the process which would have further allowed us to be much further along with many agreements needed to finalize our airport reconstruction” she stated after Tuesday’s meeting.

On Wednesday, November 20, the Ministers were given an onsite presentation about the phased plan approach for the full reconstruction of the terminal. The presentation was followed by a walk-through tour of the present facility and the temporary extension in the departure hall. This extension was realized to assist with the forecasted capacity increase during the upcoming winter season. An additional 250 seats will be made available, with a bar, restrooms and 2.5 additional gates.

The Airport project team also showcased how new technology is incorporated in the designs of the terminal reconstruction. Improvements will include three additional gates to the terminal, baggage belt upgrades, check in kiosks, and the addition of new escalators and elevators to provide better access for the physically impaired. These upgrades will enhance the passenger experience, help to efficiently manage the flow of passengers and will prepare the terminal for US preclearance.

“This project is more than just building back an airport facility,” NRPB Director Claret Connor concluded after the tour. “We are enhancing our destination and this will have a positive trickle-down effect to the life of each and every resident of Sint Maarten.” 

In describing the improvements, Airport CEO Brian Mingo stated that, “PJIAE is the engine to Sint Maarten’s tourism product so we need to give our visitors that great passenger experience. With the efforts of rebuilding the entire structure, including the addition of new automation services, we will strive to recapture our title as one of the best airport’s in the Caribbean.”

Following the visit on Wednesday, the Council of Ministers, the NRPB and PJIAE  immediately continued working on all pending matters with regard to the financing of the Airport Terminal Reconstruction Project. In accordance with the 2019 budget of the Government of Sint Maarten, the funds for the remodeling of the airport terminal are being secured through a grant agreement of US $72 million US Dollars from the Dutch financed Sint Maarten Trust Fund and US$50 million from the European Investment Bank.

“There are some final legal hurdles that we have to take, but I’m confident that with the support of all involved parties, including the bondholders of the airport, we are able to sign the relevant agreements in the coming weeks,” Minister of Finance Ardwell Irion indicated after a busy first week in office.


Team USP 2020 submits list of committed candidates


SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) – Leader of the United St. Maarten Party (USP) MP Frans Richardson, backed by the candidates, board members, family, friends and supporters presented the ‘winning’ slate to the Central Voting Bureau in the House of Parliament on Thursday, November 21st, 2019.

The list of 19 candidates shows how committed the US Party is in representing the people of St. Maarten – as it has been doing since its inception in 2014.

“Many parties have come and gone, but USP is here to stay. The numerous trials have not and will not stop the USP in its fight for US and we will continue our plight to work for the people of St. Maarten,” Leader of the USP and Member of Parliament Frans Richardson said. Richardson further stated that the public should “look out” for continued good governance by all representatives of the party who remain committed to upholding the laws of this great country.

Below is the list of USP candidates:

  2. Claudius BUNCAMPER
  3. Lloyd PAUL
  4. Chanel BROWNBILL
  6. Elvis FLANDERS
  7. Romain LAVILLE
  8. Richinel BRUG
  9. Khalil REVAN
  10. Akeem ARRINDELL
  11. Hilary WILLIAMS
  12. Curtis THOMAS
  13. Almando ROHAN
  14. Arthur LAMBRIEX
  15. Sergio BRYSON
  16. Wilfred WILLIAMS
  17. Martin WILSON
  18. Eligio SOMERSALL
  19. Denis WILLIAMS

President of the US Party board Agnes Brooks said: “We are United, Strong (US) and remain committed to representing St. Maarten.” The board thanked the entire public for their continuous support and look forward to a resounding victory on January 9th, 2020.

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