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“July 1” discussion on Language, Culture, and Identity in St. Martin at Jubilee Library

GREAT BAY/MARIGOT, St. Martin - The facts and findings of Language, Culture, and Identity in St. Martin by Rhoda Arrindell is at the center of the Emancipation Day discussion on Tuesday, July 1, at 7:30 PM, at Philipsburg Jubilee Library, according to House of Nehesi (HNP), the book’s publisher.

The new study looks at how St. Martiners see their own identity; and how and why the island’s speech has been changing before and after the 1848 Emancipation, said HNP president Jacqueline Sample.

“Dr. Arrindell also uses interviews and surveys to present what immigrant groups think about the St. Martin way of speaking, and about other aspects of the culture on both parts of the island. All of this makes for a first-of-its-kind book for us,” said Sample.

“Arrindell’s research is a unique groundbreaking work,” said Prof. Alma Simounet, a linguist at the University of Puerto Rico.

“The Emancipation Day discussion will tackle issues in the book, from the curious to the controversial. Questions and comments from people in the audience will also be invited,” said Arrindell, who will read short selections to stimulate the exchange.

In Language, Culture, and Identity in St. Martin, Arrindell presents different points of view, analyzes, and explains. She manages to open the way to a wider public and scholarly discussion about the nation’s language, culture, and identity; and about education policies and practices in the South and North of the island, said the publisher.

Released in early June 2014, Arrindell’s book cites earlier research by Daniella Jeffry, Mario Brown, and Linda Richardson on whether St. Martin has its own language or a creole dialect. “But Dr. Arrindell goes the furthest so far to introduce St. Martin in a scientific way to the complex language, ethnic, and culture realities of the Caribbean region,” said Sample.

The writings of leading international language experts are drawn into the book as well. According to the distinguished US professor Dr. Garrett Hongo, the overall work by Arrindell is an “achievement” in the “linguistic realm” as it relates to actual evidence of “resistance, naming, and claiming” in the island’s culture. Language, Culture, and Identity in St. Martin is based on Arrindell’s original Ph.D. research.

At the Tuesday program, copies of Language, Culture, and Identity in St. Martin will be available for every one and for the author to sign. The new title can be found at Van Dorp bookstore, SPDbooks.org, and Amazon.com, said Sample.

The Emancipation Day discussion is organized by the St. Martin Book Fair Committee and sponsored by SOS Radio, said book fair coordinatorShujah Reiph.

 

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Democratic Party Reminds Parliament and Factions that the Electoral Ball is in their Court

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten - Prime Minister and Minister for GA was visibly surprised with Parliament's letter reminding and asking the PM to respond to Parliament's motion of April 2013 regarding electoral reform. Ironically this motion has received the most attention by far from government.

The PM reminds the Parliament of St. Maarten of her initiative and discussion paper in which she outlined  to the Parliament of St. Maarten how the matters of the electoral reform motion could be addressed. The Prime Minister has even appeared in Parliament to expound on the proposals that she submitted.

More striking however is the fact that in the absence of  current guidelines governing the election campaign period,  some political factions are suddenly not in favor of arriving at a consensus regarding conduct and guidelines for the political campaign.

Mind you, the motion of April 2013 was UNANIMOUSLY adopted by all factions and parties (DP, UPP, and NA) in  Parliament.

It appears now that the UP faction in Parliament in particular  is reneging on this agreement as expressed in the Parliamentary motion of April 2013. That motion for some factions in Parliament seems to have been solely for political consumption and not for any real change in how we conduct ourselves in politics.  "Now, I receive this letter from the Vice Chair of Parliament on behalf of  the same Parliament??"

"Yet, I am sure if any organization, (church, NGO, social club etc.) was to call on political parties to observe some type of electoral protocol, many  politicians would nod in agreement, but have absolutely no intention to cooperate, let alone abide.

For good order sake, the DP faction showed its willingness and contributed to the draft agreement that the Minister of Justice was and is seeking between parties, to at least have a semblance of order and proper conduct during the campaign period.

It was felt that time does not permit formal  regulation of matters such as order at polling stations etc. and hence the proposal  by the Minister of Justice that political parties could arrive at a consensus (gentleman's agreement) regarding guidelines for the 2014 electoral campaign.

PM: "My feeling, however,  is that this matter could be regulated in the Police Ordinance, as I proposed to Parliament several months ago".

Already parties are making (mis)use of the absence of guidelines for the political campaign.

When does it start? And end?

Have there been exemptions given to the regulations governing billboards, political meetings etc? These matters are all part of the Police Ordinance.

For now therefore, the DP is focusing on the proposal that was also part of the Paper presented to Parliament, namely the agreement between parties and their candidates, the so-called covenant. We have formulated this agreement in a pledge for our DP candidates.

Our search for candidates who are in it for country and service to country, whose records are clean, who are committed to "Raising the Bar" is bearing fruit. Yes, there are these persons out there. Many, I dare say.

Some, still hesitant to enter the political arena,  because of intimidation and outright pressure, but also quite aware, that they can help turn things around. "If not you, then who and if not now, then when, is my mantra." When you fill in "then who", can conjure up some scary prospects of who are asking to represent us.

We can not observe what is going on and lament in our own small circles, but on the other hand, accept and join the public hype. When standing for what you believe in, you sometimes stand alone. (Press Statement by the Democratic Party)

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Central Committee to meet on Monday morning regarding 2014 Budget Amendment and Curacao Parliament Session

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten – The Central Committee of the House of Parliament will meet on June 30th.

The Central Committee meeting is set for Monday at 10.00am in the General Assembly Chamber of the House at Wilhelmina Straat #1 in Philipsburg.

The first agenda point is an invitation to attend a solemn ceremony of the Curacao House of Parliament on July 2 in connection with ‘Dia di Bandera.’

The second agenda point is the draft National Ordinance related to a budgetary amendment of the 2014 National Budget with respect to the financing of several policy initiatives.

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

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

The parliamentary session will be carried live on St. Maarten Cable TV Channel 120, via Pearl Radio FM 98.1, the audio via the Internet www.pearlfmradio.com, and also via www.sxmparliament.org.  

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Prime Minister Wescot-Williams Attends Opening of Mental Health Conference

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten - The Prime Minister of St. Maarten the Honorable Sarah Wescot-Williams attended the opening of the Mental Health Conference at the Sonesta Great Bay resort on Monday. The PM has continuously stressed that the Mental Health Foundation and mental health care in general is something that requires the wide scale support of the community, especially in light of recent events within the community; “As I have already expressed that, although there is no excuse for violence, murder or ill treatment mental healthcare in our community is something very essential. We have a Mental Health Foundation doing extremely good work but one that is faced with challenges. The Foundation is subsidized by Government but indeed the needs of the organization are great. I have requested that from Government side that we look into the finances of the Mental Health Foundation upon learning of the issues that they have been dealing with.

“There are a lot of issues that are faced by people on a daily basis; some persons can conceal this state but others not. More can be done on St. Maarten but we must also acknowledge that we have come a long way, not to long ago we had absolutely no care for those suffering from issues related to mental health on St. Maarten. During our island territory days things needed to be done but our legal parameters were not in place yet. Some persons got together and provided that service and Government subsidized the activities of that foundation but there are still some legal issues, including picking up persons and forcing them to have care, which must be looked at. This was a crime and you can’t just attack someone, but if it is true that the person needed care in terms of mental care that care should indeed have been given,” commented Prime Minister Wescot-Williams. (From the Cabinet of the Prime Minister)

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UPDATE: 8.0 Earthquake hits near Rat Islands Alaska, Tsunami Warning Issued

ALASKA – Several earthquakes have occurred near Alaska, the latest one being an 8.0 magnitude at a depth of 68 miles.  This quake was located 25 miles NW of Amchitka, Alaska or 195 miles W of Adak, Alaska.  A tsunami warning remains in effect from a previous high magnitude earthquake.  The tsunami warning is in effect for the coastal areas of Alaska from Nikolski, Alaska to Attu, Alaska.

UPDATE – Associated Press Reports:  Residents of the city of Adak on Alaska's Aleutian Islands evacuated the town site and gathered on a nearby hill Monday after a magnitude-8.0 earthquake prompted a tsunami warning for part of the island chain.

"We're seeing water leave our bay, so we do have everybody up on the Bering Hill area, where our primary evacuation centre is at," City Manager Layton Lockett told The Associated Press by telephone as he gathered some last paperwork before heading out himself to join about 300 residents at the centre.

About 200 miles west, a tsunami wave of about 7 inches was reported at Amchitka Island, said Jeremy Zidek, a spokesman for the Alaska Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.


There were no immediate reports of damage, he said, as authorities with the state emergency system began notifying the coastal communities affected by the tsunami warning or the tsunami advisory that was issued for coastlines further from the earthquake's epicenter.



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Prime Minister Wescot-Williams on Ombudsman Dr. Nilda Lynch-Arduin Woman of Great Esteem Recognition

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten - “Further proof that the women of St. Maarten are amongst the most successful in the region, occupying top positions and being recognized internationally for their work,” was the comment of Prime Minister Wescot-Williams as she congratulated St. Maarten Ombudsman Nilda Lynch-Arduin during the awarding of the Women of Great Esteem obelisk at the Ombudsman offices on Friday.

The Prime Minister, a previous recipient of the Woman of Great Esteem award, congratulation Lynch-Arduin and all women of St. Maarten for their contributions in building the country’ “I would like to give warm congratulations to our Ombudsman Dr. Nilda Lynch-Arduin for receiving this prestigious award. I welcome you to the growing amount of women on St. Maarten who have been recognized by the Foundation for the Women of Great Esteem.

“It has been more then ten years since I have received this award and today the Foundation continues to recognize women from all over the world. We should be proud to have one of our own recognize this year and it is good to welcome Nilda as a recipient of that award. This is further proof that the women of St. Maarten are amongst the most successful in the region, occupying top positions and being recognized internationally for their work.

“Too often we face a lack of recognition as women in our own communities while outside people recognize us for the work that we do under the circumstances that we are expected to do our jobs. Ladies of St. Maarten should recognize our strengths and the strengths of those amongst us for their service to our country and our people and the service for building our nation of St. Maarten,” stated Prime Minister Wescot-Williams. (From the Cabinet of the Prime Minister)

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Prime Minister Wescot-Williams Urges USM Graduates to Continue to Develop Themselves and St. Maarten

POND ISLAND, Sint Maarten - The Prime Minister of St. Maarten the Honorable Sarah Wescot-Williams congratulated and encouraged the thirty graduates of the University of St. Maarten at Port de Plaisance on Saturday evening.

The PM also encouraged the graduates to continue to excel and to continue to contribute to St. Maarten; “It is a great pleasure to be able to stand here this evening and address the 2014 and 2013 University of St. Maarten graduating class. As we gather here tonight and congratulate you on your achievements we all realize that this is the culmination of the work that you have done over the years that has enabled you to receive your diploma.

“It is a proud moment for you and your families and some of you I am sure have had to face many challenges, challenges you were able to overcome through persistence and through showing courage and. You have all needed to go the extra mile in order to be successful, in order to be here this evening. I am sure that the yearning is within you to do more, to yearn more, to go higher and to grow more and I urge you to do exactly that.

“Expand your horizons and continue to strive for excellence. Your tomorrow is there waiting for you to take and conquer it. Overcome your challenges as you have done to be here tonight. I believe that tonight  you should also thank the persons that have surrounded you; your faculty your families and friends that have assisted you in reaching this goal.

“You are a large part of increasing the human development index of St. Maarten; you are making St. Maarten smarter and more intellectual and for that too I congratulate you. You have come this far and you have much further to go; take it with determination and passion and continue to build yourselves and our country St. Maarten,” concluded Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams. (From the Cabinet of the Prime Minister)

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Heyliger says UP committed and ready for construction of new hospital

CAY HILL, Sint Maarten – The United People’s (UP) party is committed to the construction of a new state-of-the-art hospital for the country, stated UP Leader Member of Parliament Hon. Theo Heyliger said in a statement on Sunday.

“This will be one of the signature projects of the green party once successful at gaining majority support to govern the country in the August 29 Parliamentary Elections. Preliminary plans of the interior and exterior of the new hospital have also been developed by UP,” MP Heyliger said on Sunday.

Heyliger made the artist’s impression of the new hospital building public on Sunday. The design has already been shared with the supervisory board and management of SMMC.

“UP does not promise projects. We commit to them and we deliver them. Our track record proves that. The new hospital has high priority for UP. It is not a political priority; it is a people first priority,” the UP Leader said.

The push for a new hospital by UP is not new. Heyliger had called on Finance Minister Hon. Martin Hassink, who is part of the coalition government UP supports, to add the hospital as a capital project to the 2014 budget.

“This was not possible thanks to financial mess left behind by the National Alliance attempt at governance in 2012-2013. We could have been further with our new hospital than we are today. It’s time to look up and onwards with this project, and the UP is ready to deliver to the people of this country a state-of-the art hospital,” Heyliger said.  

“Ways to fund the new hospital project are already being explored and pinpointed by UP. The new hospital is much more than a new building. It means a commitment to the health and well-being of our people. We should have access to world class health care at home. The health and access to exceptional health care is the mark of a progress of a country.

“The notion of a hospital as a place only for the sick and dying has changed over the year. It has become a place where people go to heal and recover, a place where families can visit and care for their loved ones when they are receiving treatment. The new hospital design is in keeping up with the times and changes in international health care systems,” the UP Leader MP Hon. Theo Heyliger concluded on Sunday.

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