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First step of the journey towards a new state of the art prison

POINT BLANCHE - The ground-breaking ceremony for the renovation to the entrance of the Point Blanche Prison took place on Monday, June 19th. The renovation is part of a series of reformations to take place at the facility, the Ministry of Justice reported in a press release on Tuesday. 

“I wish I could stand here and say I wish we were building a school, but the reality is that we are renovating a prison. This is the first in a series of renovations to the facility. Today, we start with the entrance to the prison and that will be followed by the fence, and then some other renovations to the inside of the prison,” noted Minister in charge of Justice, the Honourable Rafael Boasman, who was at the time speaking at the ground-breaking ceremony Monday afternoon. 

The Minister also acknowledged that these renovations have been on the books for quite some time, and that he is happy that those pending matters have become a reality.

The work is being carried out by the Leeward Island Construction Company (LICCOM), whom along with the interim directors at the prison Mr. Carty and Mr. Williams was commended by the Minister for the fantastic job that they have been doing. 

The project is being coordinated by Khalil Revan and according to Minister Boasman, there is so much to be done and it was necessary to have someone who will specifically concentrate on some of the matters that have to be done. Mr. Revan is an engineer by profession.

“The workers will experience some inconvenience during the construction period. However, in the end, they too will benefit from the work that is being done here,” the Minister said. 

On the issue of safety, the Justice Minister also said that Government has a responsibility together with the management team to ensure security which is also taken into consideration during the construction period.  He remarked: “Safety, not only for the inmates, but also for the workers and visitors to the facility.”

The ground-breaking for the renovation to the entrance of the facility is the first step of the journey towards a new state of the art prison.  “This not to encourage persons to be incarcerated but to demonstrate that government is playing its part in the upkeep of its prison, as is required by national and international laws and treaties,” Minister Boasman mentioned.

PHOTO CUTLINE: Left to right: Minister Rafael Boasman and Prison Director Wilfred Williams doing the symbolic “ground breaking.”

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PHOTO CUTLINE: Left to right: Hans Hootsmans and Henk van den Heuvel from LICCOM, Minister of Justice Rafael Boasman, Prison Director Wilfred Williams, Prison Director Steven Carty and Project coordinator Khlail Revan.

minjust inside one


Prime Minister Rhuggenaath and Consul-General Zhang Discuss the Future of China – Curaçao Relations

SINT MAARTEN/CURACAO – On 13 June 2017, Prime Minister Rhuggenaath welcomed Consul-General Zhang to Fort Amsterdam for a meeting to discuss relations between Curaçao and the People’s Republic of China. The meeting was positive and focused on intensifying relations between the two countries.

Consul-General Zhang positively remarked on the growing relationship between Curaçao and the People’s Republic of China, focusing on a long history of relations with the Kingdom of Netherlands. This year, the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the People’s Republic of China celebrate 45 years of diplomatic relations.

The Prime Minister of Curaçao congratulated Consul-General Zhang on the People’s Republic of China’s recent “One Belt, One Road” conference, where 29 heads of state and government gathered to discuss an international ‘roadway’ for sustainable development, innovation and people to people exchange.

In light of this, the Prime Minister and Consul-General discussed the recent MOU and Heads of Agreement with Guangdong Zhengrong Energy Co. Ltd., where both parties agreed that this agreement could result in a promising economic and social future for both countries.

Prime Minister Rhuggenaath emphasized the responsibility of the Government of Curaçao to safeguard the socio-economic future of Curaçao and ensure prosperity for all citizens.

Consul-General Zhang emphasized the interest of the Government of the People’s Republic of China to continue to enhance collaboration in various areas, including education, to collaborate to reach these aims.

The Government of Curaçao looks forward to a continuing to build on positive experiences with the People’s Republic of China, expanding on relations and further connecting the two peoples. (CuracaoChronicle)


Dutch PM was personally involved in efforts to bring ICL to NL

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte was personally involved in efforts to get the Israeli state-owned company ICL to locate its European headquarters in the Netherlands, the NRC reported at the weekend.

The paper says Rutte met ICL’s former boss Stefan Borgas at a breakfast meeting in Israel in 2013 and promised to help organize a number of crucial meetings. The paper bases its claims on documents obtained under freedom of information legislation and on talks with people involved in the negotiations.

The most important of these was a meeting between Borgas and senior officials at the economic affairs ministry. During this meeting, Borgas said ICL was considering relocating its global sales department to the Netherlands but that depended on the Dutch tax office making the company an offer that neared one made by Switzerland.

Confidential mails between the company and the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency show the exact percentage agreed with the Dutch remains a secret but ‘met ICL’s expectations.’

Dutch officials also intervened to make sure the area close to ICL’s office in the west of Amsterdam was cheered up with flowers and plants and that the dyslexic son of a senior member of staff was admitted to an international school, the paper said. (DutchNews)


Residents prepare for approaching storm

SINT MAARTEN/TRINIDAD & TOBAGO - The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM) of Trinidad & Tobago has issued information on how the citizens of the country can prepare on Monday for the effects of the weather system expected to sweep across the country overnight.

Citizens are asked to remain vigilant and exercise caution while conducting their daily activities.

Pay attention to relevant advisories from authorized agencies in Trinidad and Tobago namely the Met Office and the ODPM.

Citizens must not panic but rather take the time to prepare yourself and your families, as well as remain aware of flooding in low lying areas as these surfaces have been substantially saturated by heavy rainfall experienced.

The ODPM also encourages persons near land susceptible to land slippage to be especially vigilant of landslides, due to the weather.

Citizens and all concerned are advised to closely follow the directions and advise of their Disaster Emergency Managers at this time. Adopt all necessary measures to preserve life and property is the message being relayed to the population.


UPDATE: Tropical Storm Warnings issued for Southern Antilles

SINT MAARTEN/CARIBBEAN - The tropical disturbance, Invest 92-L, which is located about 800 miles to the east-southeast of the southern Lesser Antilles has become better organized today (Sunday), Crown Weather reported early Sunday evening.

“Given that the environment ahead of this system is favorable for additional development, the National Hurricane Center and the government of Barbados have issued Tropical Storm Warnings for Barbados, St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

“In fact, even though Invest 92-L is not yet a tropical cyclone, it is expected to become one very soon and thus this is why advisories are being posted.

“Invest 92-L is forecast to quickly move west to west-northwestward and will move directly over the southern Lesser Antilles and Barbados during Monday night and Tuesday with 50 to 60 mph winds, squalls of heavy rainfall and very hazardous marine conditions.

“Once this system moves into the eastern Caribbean, it is expected to encounter very strong southerly wind shear and rapid weakening and dissipation is expected by Wednesday.

“For everyone across the Southern Lesser Antilles, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago: Tropical storm conditions, including up to 60 mph wind gusts, heavy rain squalls and very hazardous marine conditions, are expected to begin on Monday evening and continue through Monday night and Tuesday.”

(SUNDAY, JUNE 18) SINT MAARTEN/CARIBBEAN - Invest 92-L, which is an area of disturbed weather located about 1000 miles to the east-southeast of the southern Lesser Antilles or very near 50 West Longitude, has become better organized over the past 12 to 18 hours, Crown Weather reported on Sunday.

“The environmental conditions around Invest 92-L are favorable for additional organization and development and there remains the potential that Invest 92-L could become a tropical depression or a tropical storm by the time it reaches the southern Lesser Antilles on Tuesday morning.

“I strongly urge everyone across the southern Lesser Antilles, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago to closely monitor the progress of Invest 92-L as it is likely to bring you tropical storm conditions, including 40-60 mph wind gusts, heavy rain squalls and very hazardous marine conditions, starting on Monday evening and continuing through Monday night and Tuesday.

“With all of that said, I think that organization and development of Invest 92-L will be slow to occur due to increasing wind shear values along and west of 55 West Longitude. This likely will put enough of a cap on development to limit strengthening as it moves through the southern Lesser Antilles on Monday night and Tuesday morning.

“Once Invest 92-L enters the eastern Caribbean, very unfavorable environmental conditions should lead to marked weakening of this system.

“Finally, if Invest 92-L does become a tropical depression or a tropical storm, it often portends a busy hurricane season. Past records reveal that the formation of tropical cyclones in June between the Lesser Antilles and the coast of Africa means that the hurricane season is likely to be busy,” Crown Weather said on Sunday.


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Commuters face train trouble on Monday as railway workers strike

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Commuters using The Hague’s central railway station and the station in Zwolle face disruption on Monday morning as railway workers go on strike over disagreements in NS policy.

The strike, called by the FNV railway workers union, will lead to fewer trains leaving The Hague and Zwolle and are likely to have a knock-on effect on services elsewhere. The strike is will last from 5am to 9am.

The union is campaigning for what it calls ‘an end to the break-up of the NS’. It wants the NS, which is 100% state owned, to take part in tenders for regional train services, manage shops and catering facilities at stations itself and place two conductors on double-decker trains.

‘One conductor on a double-decker train is unworkable,’ union spokesman Henri Janssen said in a statement. ‘It leads to a lack of safety, more fare dodgers and more aggression. Both NS passengers and staff are the victims of this.’ (DutchNews)


Why Not a Mega Yacht Regatta for Sint Maarten?

SINT MAARTEN – Destination Sint Maarten caters to the mega yacht market annually.  Multi-million dollar yachts come to the island and provide services to the rich and famous. The island creates a buzz annually for the Heineken Regatta which attracts 200+ sailing vessels and several thousand sailors, visitors and friends for several days of serious fun.

Bermuda is set to receive a regatta of luxury yachts next Spring (May ’18) to be known as “Oyster Yacht Regattas.”  It will be five days of sailing and socializing.

The company that will organize the regatta, Oyster, has been organizing dozens of regattas across the world since 2001.

According to Oyster, 25 boats usually take part in the Caribbean regattas; and the main focus is on 50-80 foot boats, considered as ‘baby superyachts.’

Oyster says the economic impact from the regatta would be beneficial to the destination, attracting about 20 boats with 125-150 people.

Oyster added that the Bermuda regatta would likely become an annual event, and could become a regular part of the Oyster regatta programme.



Islands Urged to Monitor Invest 92-L Located 1500 Miles of Southern Lesser Antilles 

SINT MAARTEN/CARIBBEAN - Invest 92-L, which is an area of disturbed weather located about 1500 miles to the east of the southern Lesser Antilles or along 38 West Longitude, is producing an area of concentrated shower and thunderstorm activity, according to Crown Weather on Saturday.

“The environmental conditions around Invest 92-L is still favorable for additional development and there continues to be the potential that it could gradually strengthen into at least a tropical depression over the next couple of days.

“I strongly urge everyone across the southern Lesser Antilles, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago to closely monitor Invest 92-L as it is likely to bring you some very stormy weather starting on Monday afternoon and Monday evening and continuing through Monday night and Tuesday.

“Let's take a look at the model guidance:Much like our western Caribbean disturbance, the model guidance are polar opposites on how they are forecasting Invest 92-L. The GFS model guidance continues to forecast that Invest 92-L will impact the southern Lesser Antilles as a tropical storm on Monday night into Tuesday. On the other hand, the Canadian and European model guidance continues to forecast little or no development of Invest 92-L.

“As I mentioned yesterday there are two possible answers to the large differences in the model guidance solutions. The first possibility is that this could be such a small system that the model grids may be missing it. The second possibility is that once this disturbance reaches 55 West Longitude it will encounter stronger wind shear and the models that are not forecasting development are seeing that the unfavorable conditions would do a real number on it.

“The tropical cyclone track guidance are all in very good agreement with Invest 92-L moving right over Trinidad and Tobago and then right over the southernmost Lesser Antilles on Monday night into Tuesday morning. A majority of the intensity guidance members forecast Invest 92-L to be a tropical storm by the time it reaches the southern Lesser Antilles on Monday night/Tuesday morning.

“Here are my thoughts:I still think that organization and development of Invest 92-L will be slow to occur. The reason why is because even though the wind shear values are currently favorable, they are expected to become unfavorable as soon as Monday and this could put a lid on any sort of development as it approaches the southern Lesser Antilles.

“At this point, I'm going with a 60 to 70 percent chance that we will see tropical development at some point this weekend or early next week as this disturbance moves westward towards the southern Lesser Antilles.

“Everyone across the Southern Lesser Antilles, Barbados, Trinidad & Tobagoshould continue to closely monitor the progress of Invest 92-L. Be aware that tropical storm conditions are possible starting on Monday afternoon or evening and continuing through Monday night and Tuesday. Even if Invest 92-L does not become a tropical cyclone, it will still bring very squally weather, including 40-60 mph wind gusts, heavy rain squalls and very hazardous marine conditions, to the southern Lesser Antilles, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago from Monday afternoon through Monday night and Tuesday,” Crown Weather concludes.


CPS Invites Women to Breast Abnormalities Screening on Saturday

GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – On Saturday, June 17, a group of stakeholders that includes the Collective Preventive Services (CPS), a department in the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, will kick off a two-year breast abnormalities screening survey.

The two other stakeholders involved in this very important effort are the Positive Foundation, and the American University of the Caribbean (AUC), the latter, is lead research agency.

The purpose of the study is to gain insight into the types of abnormalities and prevalence related to breast and to implement measures for early intervention.

The screenings will be carried out every Saturday or Sunday and the target audience are women 18+ years of age.  The screenings will take place at the Vineyard Office Park in Philipsburg where the Ministry of Public Health is located from 9.00am to 3.00pm.

For additional information you can call CPS at 542-3003 or 542-2078.


29-Year old Suspect in armed robbery of Abu Ghazi arrested

MADAME ESTATE - On Tuesday June 13th at approximately 11.45 p.m. two masked men armed with guns robbed Abu Ghazi snack located in Madame Estate of an undisclosed of cash.

An official report was filed in connection with this case and the Special Robbery Unit immediately started an investigation. As a result of this investigation a 29 year old male suspect with initials J.C. was arrested on Wednesday June 14th.

The suspect remains in custody while the investigation continues.  Anyone who have information regarding this case should immediately get in contact with the Detectives by calling 54-22222 ext. 213-214, the police anonymous tip line #9300 or the emergency phone line 911. (Sint Maarten Police Force)

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