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PPA Arrindell: Local Inclusive Development Plan is Critically Important

PHILIPSBURG – Gracita Arrindell, Leader of the People’s Progressive Alliance (PPA) states: “The reality of the aftermath of the devastation of Hurricane Irma continues to set in.  Thousands of people are expected to or already have been laid off. We can do two things, sit and ask rhetorical questions every so often or grab the ‘bull by its horns’ and suggest to those in office if they are incapacitated or incapable for whatever reason to create workable job opportunities for many of our people under the present circumstances. What worries most citizens from all walks of life, is why government has yet to submit a request to the Dutch government for reconstruction aid.”

“No matter how often explained in the media by both Sint Maarten officials as well as the Dutch government, the message is not hitting home.  Is anyone really listening? Words and rhetoric does not matter, simply because many cannot see beyond each day. While both sides are working to ensure that the nuts and bolts of the promised aid are clear and un-ambiguous,

“I suggest that a preliminary request supported by the most urgent needs e.g. to retrain thereby stabilize the work force be sent forth. Let us work with what we have”

Arrindell states: “many dismissed or put on half-  work especially in the hospitality sector, should get an opportunity to be retrained short term. 

“Those workers who decided to stay in Sint Maarten and are willing and able to be retrained to have a meaning full job and feed their families, must get that opportunity soonest. This requires a quick scan of what is needed most in the job market per sector.  A workgroup consisting of e.g.; Labor and Economic affairs, Education, Chamber of Commerce, SHTA, small business community leaders, Marine Sector, Agricultural sector can still be formed post haste, to present a viable, short term plan ‘of  work and dignity’  for our workers, both male and female, youth and the retired and experienced. Jobs, jobs, jobs. Is the new mantra.”

“This first plan can be financed by the local taxpayer’s money through a adjustment of our local budget.  Once the quick scan is done and we know what type of jobs are needed short term, a subsequent proposal based on that plan can be sent to Holland to assist in the recruitment of experienced persons to retrain our work force, who are in first instance from right here in Sint Maarten, those in the Netherlands, including of Antillean descent, Curacao, Aruba, Bonaire, the USA or the Caribbean.

“The Sint Maarten house in The Hague can and must have a significant role  in this plan. The trainers can be financed in part by a portion of the aid to be received from the Dutch government. This most appreciated Dutch tax -payers funded post Hurricane Irma contribution, will give the required transparency and accountability, while pragmatic and result oriented. It will be a win- win situation for all involved void of the grand standing.  Putting food on the table especially for those who need it most, is crucial. The upcoming Holiday season, must not come and go, while those who have get more, and those who have nothing are left behind. Unacceptable.

Gracita concludes: “Lastly, but not less important; Cooperation between the French and Dutch side is critical right now to work together and clean up our beaches from the sea grass and under water from the debris.  The beaches are one of our best tourism assets.  We have the machines and manpower to get this done. Small is beautiful and manageable.

Creating and increasing local productive activities is the way forward.  This is a great opportunity to create new jobs, and improve the skills of the existing work force.  It’s an opportunity to diversify and encourage new direct foreign investment opportunities.  Tourism accounts for almost four fifth of our total labor force.  Together with the expected re- building boom, Innovative, transparent, smarter, decision making will help our beautiful island Sint Maarten to  re- emerge  once  again, as the leading top destination in the region. 

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Cargo ship with major equipment from the Netherlands to arrive on Saturday

PHILIPSBURG – The Dutch Ministry of Interior Affairs and Kingdom Relations on Friday in a statement said that on Saturday morning the 7th of October (eta. 7 am) the motor vessel Cygnus, will arrive at Port St. Maarten bringing in emergency disaster aid for country Sint Maarten.

“On board of the cargo ship are the remaining materials for the waste train: pressure sprayers, water tanks and chemicals to disinfect high priority areas. The first part was flown in from the Netherlands by an Antonov cargo plane last Saturday. 

“Also on board of the Cygnus is a complete meteorological station, school bags and other education materials and nine trucks to assist the energy company Gebe in restoring the overhead lines. The meteorological station will probably be transported from the seaport to the airport on Monday.”

The Cygnus, that left Curacao earlier this week, is chartered by the Dutch Ministry of Interior Affairs and Kingdom Relations (BZK).

Recently BZK also chartered the vessel 'Aniek', which brought in food, water and garbage trucks to Sint Maarten, things that were needed at that time. The BZK statement said that expectation is that in the upcoming period of transports for help and the reconstruction of the island will continue.

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Cft: "Fulfilling crucial functions and management of government entities have to get more priority"

BONAIRE – During its visit to Bonaire on October 3rd the Board of financial supervision Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba (Cft) emphasized the need for an adequate budget execution (such as key role functions) and the management of government entities in its meetings with the Executive Council and the Island Council.

"It requires collaboration and effort of not only the finance department but of all the management boards, the Executive Council and the Island Council in order to improve this rapidly," was the statement of the new Cft chairman Raymond Gradus.

During the visit of the Board, meetings were held with the Lieutenant Governor, the Executive Board and the Island Council. A work visit was made to the Chamber of Commerce. The Cft was informed of the many economic developments and the challenges the various sectors are facing.

In addition, the rapid succession of various Executive Councils and Commissioners has also been addressed, which is something that causes important decisions to be delayed. Chairman Raymond Gradus: "If plans are not implemented (timely), this is not good for the investment climate, detrimental to economic growth and, therefore, not good for Bonaire society as a whole."

The 2017 budget implementation and the 2018 budget preparation were discussed with the new Finance Commissioner. One of the subjects was the intention to raise staff costs in the 2018 budget. Another topic was the prior agreement to fill up a number of crucial vacancies. It is agreed that these crucial functions will be completed by January 1st, 2018. In addition, the Commissioner indicated to come with plans to limit the increase of staff costs.

The recommendations of the various reports on the improvement of the financial management were also discussed. The process of reviewing the various procedures and processes has cost more time than was originally planned. At last all final reports on the procedures and processes have been completed and an implementation plan has been prepared by the Finance Department.

The Executive Board has indicated that this implementation plan will be submitted, making it possible for Bonaire to realize an unqualified audit statement on the financial statements for the year 2019. Furthermore, the financial statements for 2016 were discussed. The audited financial statements 2016 were submitted late. The submittal of the draft budget 2018 is also delayed. The belated submission of the draft 2018 budget is related to the late adoption of the 2016 financial statements. The fall of the coalition in July has also contributed to the tardiness. The 2018 budget will be submitted shortly to the Cft.

Another particularly important part of the discussion were the developments at two government entities. These developments may have a major impact on the budget. The Executive Board has indicated the intention to improve the management of these government entities. The Cft wishes to emphasize the importance of this matter.

Cft visit with new chairman and new member on behalf of the BES Islands

The visit to Bonaire on October 3rd was the first headed by the new Cft chairman Raymond Gradus. The Board has meanwhile been reinforced with the arrival of the new member on behalf of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba, Mr. Herbert Domacassé. The Board of financial supervision Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba now consists of Raymond Gradus, Sybilla Dekker and Herbert Domacassé. The Cft looks back on a useful visit to Bonaire.

Furthermore, the Board expressed its compassion with all who have been affected by the recent natural calamity on the Windward Islands. The Cft considers it not fitting at this moment to visit Sint Maarten, Sint Eustatius or Saba. Perhaps the Cft will make a separate visit to the Windward Islands by the end of this year.

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Family member of victim reports to police headquarters

OVER THE BANK - A family member of Mr. Reginald Andrews, victim of the deadly stabbing which took place on September 17th at Over the Bank in Philipsburg have finally reported to the Philipsburg Police Headquarters. 

The body of Mr. Andrews whose life was violently taken is being held at a morgue until family members would come to claim the body. The family members in question recognized they body of the victim as that of Mr. R. Andrews.

The police department sends out words of gratitude to the community who have been very instrumental in locating family members of the victim. (Sint Maarten Police Force)

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Additional Cable TV Areas Are Now On

MADAME ESTATE – St. Maarten Cable TV announced on Wednesday that the following areas are now on:

  • Node 27 - St. Peters Main Road (St. Peters Main Rd, Lemon, Genip, Tangerine, Strawberry, Raspberry. Grapefruit, Lime).
  • Node 28 – St. Peters across from the basketball court (St. Peter Main Road, Apricot, Pomserette, Avocado, Tangerine, Sugar Apple, Passion Fruit, Retreat, Honey Dew, Lime and Cantaloupe Road).
  • Node 4 – Guana Bay Entrance (Hope Estate Rd, Hope Estate Drive, Guana Bay Main Rd, Merite Shell Dr., imperial Shell Dr., Bonnet Shell Dr., Luncine Shell Dr., Experiment Estate, Pica Shell Dr.)                                        
  • Node 14 – Upper Sucker Garden and St. James Estate
  • Node 12 – Part of Arch Rd and Sucker Garden (Arch/Sucker Garden Rd, Pendant Cactus, Crown Cactus, Clae Cactus, Oragan Pipe Cactus Road)
  • Node 33 – Philipsburg, Cannegieter Street.  Fort Willem (lower part of backstreet, Walter Nisbeth Road, Percy Labega Street, Manzanilla Steeg, Krythoff steeg, Prakizijn Steeg, John Richardson Rd, Tamarind Steeg, Smalle Steeg, Visser steeg, Acher Street, Ruben Pantophlet Street, O’Nash Jones Street, Armenhuis Steeg, Sisal Steeg, The Cemetary area, Fort Willem Drive/Rd, Fort Hill Rd, Spanish Fort Rd, Spanish Fort Dr. Little Bay Road).
  • Node 10 – Philipsburg Methodist Church area (St. Jan, Afloop, Groene, Apothen, Hotel, Lood, Korte, Hensy Beuajon, Smid, Pomp, Weduwen, Shijwerken, Drukken, Visser, Cyrus, Wilhemina, Apotheken, Vav Ramond, Nisbeth, D.C., Steeg Part of Cannegieter Street, Part of Back Street, Part of Front Street.
  • Node 3 – Guana Bay, Over the hill (Guana Bay Dr., Guana Bay, Ivory Shell, Canoe, Queen Conch Shell, Ark Shell, Guy Estate, Pen Shell and Carved Road, Trition Shell Dr.)
  • Node 2 – Dawn Beach Area (Dawn Beach Estate, Red Pond, Ocean View Terrace, Tamarind Estate)

Currently 65 channels from the various packages are showing.  Customers have the option to wait until all our channels are back up to reconnect.  It should be noted that once the customer agrees to reconnect, no further credits will be applicable for missing channels.  The updated listing of channels that are on and other important updates will be published on our website and Face Book page on a regular basis and customers are encouraged to visit these sites: http://www.stmaartencabletv.sx/media/ or our Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/StMaartenCable

If your area is reported back up, your cable box is plugged in and you are seeing the guide, you most likely just need to have your account reconnected. Sometimes plugging the power cord of the Cable Box out and back in so that it can initialize is recommended.  If you are not seeing anything, then a service call will have to be scheduled since there may be a problem with the equipment on your street or with your connection. For our CableNet service, if your modem is plugged in but not all your modem lights are on, you also need a service.  In all three instances communication to the office should be made. 

Our office in Madame Estate is opened from 8:15 am to 4:45 pm.   Customers can also call our office on telephone number 542-4361 during the afore mentioned office hours. Communication can also be sent to e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

We are recommending that communication to our office whenever possible be sent via email since we will be inundated with calls for the next couple of weeks. 

Kindly indicate the following important information in the email:

  • - Cable TV Account Number
  • - Account Holder Name
  • - Contact Number(s)
  • - As much information related to the outage
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Dutch defence minister resigns over Mali mortar accident critical report

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Dutch defence minister Jeanine Hennis resigned on Tuesday night at the end of a stormy debate on a report into the death of two soldiers with the peacekeeping mission in Mali.

Hennis, who came under fire from across the political spectrum, said she had no option but to resign for the ‘clumsy’ way she had dealt with the report which blamed failures in the military’s safety and medical procedures for the deaths.

The report, published last Thursday, said ‘serious deficiencies’ in military procedures for an accident on 6th July 2016, when a 60mm mortar set off a grenade during a practice session.

It said procedures were not properly followed in purchasing the weapons, initially for a mission in Afghanistan in 2006. They were not kept cool enough in transportation and storage, and medical care at a local hospital was inadequate.

Dutch armed forces chief Tom Middendorp has also resigned. In a five-page letter to Dutch soldiers, he spoke of his last visit to the relatives of the two men who died an Mali, and praised the armed forces for their work around the globe. Almost 300 Dutch soldiers have remained in Mali in 2017 on a UN mission to guard the fragile peace.

Passion

Prime Minister Mark Rutte said after the resignation that he valued Hennis as a colleague. ‘I have seen how much passion she puts into her work for our armed forces with my own eyes during missions,’ he said.

It is unclear as yet what the resignation means for Hennis’ future. She had been tipped for a role in the new cabinet. Junior justice minister Klaas Dijkhoff is taking over at the defence ministry helm until a new government is finalised. (DutchNews)

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CBS: GDP Caribbean Netherlands increased in 2015

SABA/ST. EUSTATIUS - On all three islands of the Caribbean Netherlands, gross domestic product (GDP) expanded in 2015. The highest growth rate was seen on Bonaire with 3.0 percent, rising to a total GDP value of 415 million US dollars.

On St Eustatius, the GDP value rose by 2.1 percent to 102 million US dollars, while on Saba GDP grew by 1.6 percent to a value of 47 million US dollars. The collective GDP of these three Dutch Caribbean islandstherefore stood at  564 million US dollars in 2015.

Aside from its value, the volume of GDP also increased. Changes in GDP volume refer to developments in the value of GPD, adjusted for price changes. On Bonaire, the GDP volume rose by 3.4 percent, on St Eustatius by 3.2 percent and on Saba by 1.2 percent. The price correction is based on price indices for household consumption.

GDP per capita highest on St Eustatius

The highest GDP per capita in 2015 was recorded on St Eustatius at 26,600 US dollars. GDP per capita on Saba and Bonaire amounted to 24,900 and 21,700 US dollars, respectively.

Since 2012 when measurement of GDP by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) in the Caribbean Netherlands began, GDP per capita has grown fastest on Saba. The value of GDP per capita there rose by 16.4 percent: from 21,400 US dollars in 2012 to 24,900 US dollars in 2015.

On St Eustatius, the value of GDP per capita rose in 2015 relative to 2012 by 1.1 percent. On  Bonaire, the value of GDP per capita fell slightly, namely by 0.9 percent, from 21,900 US dollars in 2012 to 21,700 US dollars in 2015. (RCN Caribbean Netherlands)

RCN INSIDEThis year, the time series (2012-2015) of GDP per island will also be published on StatLine.

 

Source

StatLine: http://statline.cbs.nl/Statweb/selection/?DM=SLEN&PA=83776ENG&LA=EN&VW=T

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Plenary Session of Parliament about disaster management on Wednesday

PHILIPSBURG – The House of Parliament will sit in a plenary public session on October 4, 2017. The Prime Minister will be present for the session.    

The plenary public meeting which was scheduled to continue on October 2, 2017 will be reconvened on Wednesday, October 4, 2017 at 14.00 hrs in the General Assembly Chamber of the House at Wilhelminastraat #1 in Philipsburg.

The agenda point is State of preparedness hurricane season, Disaster management hurricane Irma, Reconstruction following the devastation by hurricane Irma.

Members of the public are invited to the House of Parliament to attend parliamentary deliberations. 

The House of Parliament is located across from the Court House in Philipsburg.

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Stories of Irma by St. Maarten children – request for submitting entries

PHILIPSBURG - To: St. Maarten children, their parents, teachers and schools

Hurricane Irma has left behind a deeply rooted impression for nearly all children. They had to deal with the power of nature, may have lost their roof or complete house, felt the fear of the adults around them and are dealing with the aftermath in many different ways.

As part of dealing with the effects of hurricane Irma and giving children a voice, they are invited to share their experiences, thoughts and feelings. This can be about the preparation before the hurricane, the Irma experience during the storm or the days and weeks after Irma. 

The story can also be about how children feel about the reconstruction of St. Maarten, their observations, their perception on the support, help and love they received from others.

With children/youth having left St. Maarten and others staying here getting back to school, all children are invited to share their “stories” regardless of where they are living now. 

The experience can be shared in the form of a poem, a story or a drawing.  It is left up to them in which format they like to present their work. The easiest way, as many children do not have access to computers or technology is by using paper, pen, crayons etc.

However, those who feel comfortable sending their work in a digital format and have access to technology, can also email Foresee (4C) Foundation. 

The story, poem or drawing can be submitted to their teacher/school manager or be sent by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Foresee Foundation (organizers of the DigiKidz, DigiTeenz, DigiWorkz projects, CTEC conferences and the TV project) will find a resourceful and creative way to share childrens’ stories digitally and/or in print format and have an incentive for all who participated.

This initiative is open for all children/youth in primary and secondary education.

When submitting Irma’s story, children/youngsters are asked to write down:

  1. First name
  2. Last Name
  3. Age/ Grade
  4. School attending or previously attended before Irma
  5. Contact information (telephone/email address)

The deadline for submitting Irma stories is Monday, October 23rd, 2017.

Foresee looks forward to receiving many entries!

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House searches executed leads to five arrests

PHILIPSBURG - On Friday September 29th during several house searches that were executed by officers from the from the different judicial departments presently assisting the Sint Maarten police force five persons were arrested as suspects in the looting case.

During these searches, a large amount of looted goods such was washing machines, fridges, furniture, food items and two brand new scooters were located and confiscated.

The large vehicle which was used to transport these items was also confiscated and taken to the Philipsburg Police Headquarters for further investigation.

All suspects were also taken to the police station where they remain in custody for questioning and further investigation. (Sint Maarten Police Force)

Cole Bay Pet.Plaz. 2

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