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Members of Parliament participate in Masterclass on the art of drafting laws

PHILIPSBURG - On Friday, November 3, 2017 several Members of Parliament participated in a Masterclass on “The art of legislative drafting”. This Masterclass focused on the principles of legislation, legislative stakeholders and the legislative process in its entirety.

Members of Parliament also gained more insight on how to prepare a “white paper” as preparation to the drafting of a national ordinance. The Masterclass was provided by Mr. Luciano Milliard who is the Vice-rector for governance and policy affairs of the University of Aruba.

Mr. Milliard has many years of experience in teaching constitutional law at the University of Aruba as well.

Mr. Milliard also provided a course “Understanding the Role & Operations of Parliament of St. Maarten” to the staff of the secretariat of Parliament from October 30 till November 1, 2017.

The goal of the Masterclass as well as the course was to equip all Members of Parliament and staff with the necessary tools in order for them to execute their role as a Parliamentarian or staff member even better.

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USp board: Chanel received ample support and guidance

PHILIPSBURG - The board of the United St. Maarten (US) party said it is very disappointed in MP Chanel Brownbill for the decision he took despite having stood by him through everything and involved him in even more. Brownbill ran on the slate of the US party in the last Parliamentary Elections.

The board explained that all effort was made to surround MP Brownbill, a new MP, with the assistance and guidance he needs to be successful in Parliament. “The party surrounded him with a legal expert and a legislative expert and former law maker.

“We made sure that the doors were always opened to him on both tiers of government and maintained open and constant communication. So this is very disappointing and regrettable,” the party board said.

“Here we had a young man looking for a home after being disenfranchised with his former political home. We decided to give a young person an opportunity to learn, to grow, to leave his mark on St. Maarten as a representative of the people. He repaid that chance given to him by the US family, by abandoning us and throwing the country into chaos with those that encouraged and enabled him.”

The board of the USP added that members of the Democratic Party (DP) should be ashamed of themselves for preying on young MP’s and encouraging them to do what the DP itself campaigned against last election; “jump ship”

“It is amazing that the Democratic Party actually placed itself on a high horse these past few weeks while it was still trying to undermine a government it was part of. Amazing that the DP, self-righteous in its quest against ship-jumping, can do this to the people of St. Maarten again with a straight face.

“If we are going into an election, we are doing so because of the DP. The conniving ways, scheming, undermining just for power is what led us to this point and we will not let the people of St. Maarten forget it,” the US board said.

As for Brownbill, the board said the MP has not contacted the board, has not resigned from the party and has yet to let the board know what his intensions are. “We don’t know why MP Brownbill did what he did. We do know he was manipulated into doing it.

“What’s done is done. The board and members of the US party will continue to work diligently for the people of St. Maarten in or out of government. The moves of one MP does not change that principle for us” the party board said.

US leader MP Frans Richardson told Brownbill in Parliament of Wednesday evening that he respects him and understand that he wanted to take a stand. However, Richardson told Brownbill that he has pledged his support to a group who will use him for the short time and then destroy him. “They will not guide you and help you. They will eventually destroy you,” the MP said. 

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No criminal investigation against Island Council Member Van Putten

CURACAO/ST. EUSTATIUS - The Public Prosecutor's Office (OM) BES will not conduct criminal investigations in response to statements by the politician of Sint Eustatius, Clyde van Putten, on Curaçao on October 9, 2017, a press statement from the Public Prosecution Service said on Wednesday.

“This decision was taken by the Chief Prosecutor, Henry Hambeukers. The successor of the declarant was informed of this decision. The policy of the Public Prosecutor's Office in political statements is that extreme reticence must be taken.

“Not only because of the state of the law but also the point of departure that what is said in the political arena must be done in the same arena. The Public Prosecutor's Office has formulated this premise in an internal instruction incorporating the weighting factors for the assessment of a political report.

“Persecution will only take place in cases where a threat is such that the threatened person should seriously take into account that the threat would be carried out, or when raging words actually caused riot with major social damage.

“This is not the case in this case. The Public Prosecutor sees no reason to deviate from her policy in this case. In addition, it is important that the circumstances surrounding this statement give a different picture of the purpose of this statement than is shown in some media.

“And the way in which Van Putten has meanwhile removed this statement confirms that again. He now denies the statement and says that is was taken out of context. Prosecution will unjustly draw attention to the statement that is now out of date, this given the qualifications put by Van Putten himself and the apologies he made.

“Van Putten's defaulting behavior has been socially received in an appropriate manner and has thus been put in perspective. The Public Prosecutor's Office deplores the statements made by Van Putten.

“A criminal prosecution has however no added value. If not in agreement with the decision of the OM, a complaint can be filed before the Court concerning Article 15 criminal proceedings (strafvordering).”

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St. Maarten Heineken Regatta still on for 2018!

SIMPSON BAY - As most of you will know, hurricane Irma left behind serious damage on the island of St. Martin, and the full recovery of the infrastructure and physical environment of the island will be a long and difficult process.

But the people of St. Martin and Sint Maarten are strong and dedicated, and the process of rebuilding has begun already with the sort of friendly determination for which our island is famous.

It is with that friendly determination that we will continue with preparations for the 38th edition of the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta. The regatta will go ahead, and it will be a very special edition indeed: its organisation and presentation will be a symbol of the spirit of St. Maarten.

Although high numbers of yachts have been destroyed in St. Maarten, much of the marine infrastructure is still intact, including sail lofts, riggers, and the Budget Marine store. The St. Maarten Yacht Club’s main building remained intact, but the docks, decks and other structures are demolished and damaged.

For those looking for ways to help St. Maarten and St. Martin recover from the hurricane, we will shortly publish details of some fundraising efforts currently being coordinated, but first and foremost remember that our island’s economy is entirely based on tourism.

So one way to help the island and to show your support is to come visit the island, and come participate in the 38th St. Maarten Heineken Regatta 1-4 March 2018.

St. Maarten Heineken Regatta

Four days of world-class racing with some of the world’s most seasoned sailors, from more than 35 countries, sailing Maxis, Monohulls and Performance Multihulls to holiday-makers on chartered Bareboats and live-aboard families cruising the Caribbean.

Crystal clear waters and cooling northeast trade winds provide pristine conditions for spectacular racing around the coast of St. Martin. And with Heineken as title sponsor, the racing days blend seamlessly into four nights of exceptional parties.

Come and enjoy life in the Caribbean, come for some Serious Fun from March 1-4, 2018!

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Construction material for rebuilding Statia has arrived

ST. EUSTATIUS - The first shipment of construction material for rebuilding St. Eustatius following the passage of hurricanes Maria and Irma has arrived. The second shipment is currently underway and will reach the port of St. Eustatius during the upcoming weekend.

The first transport was carried out safely under the guidance of the Caribbean Netherlands Police Force.

The building materials (mainly wood, steel and zinc) and the costs of tender are being funded by the Dutch Central Government. The rebuilding will be approached in several phases and will at this time be focused on rebuilding homes that were most severely damaged.

The rebuilding project is managed and monitored by Mr. Raboen de Sanchez Pacheco supported by Mr. Van Heijningen, Mrs. Bennett, Mr. Hook, Ms. Francis and Mr. De Jong under the supervision of acting Island Governor Mr. Woodley. In addition to contractors the project hopes to realize minor repairs through social initiatives.

On Thursday November 2nd the Rebuilding Team is hosting another meeting with a select group of homeowners who have suffered material damage to their homes. They will be briefed on the process for rebuilding their homes in the second phase of the project.

The Acting Island Governor recently addressed inhabitants via local radio. In his statement he requested homeowners to cooperate with the Rebuilding Team as well as the contractors.

“I know many homeowners are eager to return to their homes for the Christmas season. I have asked contractors to focus on rebuilding strong in accordance with the BES construction code. This is the main goal”, stated Woodley. (RCN Caribbean Netherlands)

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Book sale at the Philipsburg Jubilee Library this Saturday

PHILIPSBURG — This Saturday November 1st 2017, the Philipsburg Jubilee Library will be having a spectacular book sale.

This book sale is to bring back normalcy to the reading community of St. Maarten.   

This spectacular book sale will be offering Fiction, Non Fiction, Biography, Children’s Books and Magazines. All materials must go, so we have a placed bargain prices for all items:

15 books can be bought for $ 5.00 Naf 9.00. Hardcover books $1.00 NAf 1.75, Paper backs $ 0.50 Naf 1.00, Magazines $ 0.25 Naf 0.40

Come out and relax your mind; pick up as many books that you can. Tell a friend and bring friends. Take advantage of our huge selection of hard, soft cover and magazines.

Help us make this Book Sale event an event that all can remember.

All of the money raised will be used to fund library programs. Support your library by purchasing your favorite author or topic.

Don't miss out on this opportunity and come to the library this Saturday to buy your books!

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Les Fruits de Mer Release New Album: Fruits Around the World

GRAND CASE, St. Martin - The new album by Marc AuMarc—Fruits Around the World—lives up to its name. From the opening blast of horns to the closing sighs of a church organ, it’s a globetrotting journey of sounds and styles. Over the course of twelve songs, it reshapes the ever-fruitful Les Fruits de Mer theme song in surprising new directions. This latest release is available for free download at http://marcaumarc.com.

Fruits Around the World was composed and recorded over the last year in a wide variety of extraordinary places, from 30,000 feet above the Atlantic Ocean to the mountains of Cuba. Working with mobile technology, Marc AuMarc was able to create many of the songs on location.

“Drawing inspiration from different cultures and musical traditions keeps the music fresh,” explained Marc AuMarc. “This is the second full-length album based on a theme song that’s less than a minute long, and I think it’s even better than the first one.”

Many of the new tracks are upbeat. Latin rhythms brush up against Scandinavian techno, driving neo-disco and Chinese electro-funk. A few more contemplative takes on the theme balance out the tracklist.

“The variety of moods on this album is key to the listening experience,” said Les Fruits de Mer President Jenn Yerkes. “We also use different takes on our theme as the soundtrack to most of our documentary filmmaking, so this gives us a range of moods and styles to work with as we produce new films.”

An ever-expanding universe based on a single idea, a simple melody reflecting itself across the globe, and a fun time for all, Fruits Around the World is a lot like Les Fruits de Mer. Download it for free at http://marcaumarc.com and make it the soundtrack for your next expedition.

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Organizers taking a “#STAND” for TelCell Breakthrough 2017

POND ISLAND - Organizers of TelCell’s annual Breakthrough talent search are taking their own “#STAND” on behalf of youth entertainment on St. Maarten.

Encouraged by sponsors, well-wishers and by the TelCell Breakthrough contestants themselves, organizers say despite the ravages of Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria, there will be a Breakthrough show this year after all.

The show could not take place as planned on September 30th because of the passage of the two hurricanes, and it was all but cancelled for the rest of the year because of the damage caused to the show’s usual venue at the Theatre Royale, Maho.

But show organizers pooled their resources and came up with a new venue and are now planning to turn their 5th anniversary show into a post Irma/Maria benefit show to not only entertain the public, but also to raise their spirits after two of the most devastating natural disasters to hit the island.

“We have changed the entire theme of this year’s show from pure entertainment to a strong message of community engagement and rebuilding of our island and the part young people can also play in that,” said co-coordinator of the show, Angel Richardson.

She said TelCell Breakthrough 2017 will now take place on December 2, and the new venue will be the Harbour complex. Best news, the price of seeing the show has been  cut by half from $10 to $5 as a further gesture to the community so that as many people as possible can attend.

“Many large and important shows have been held at the Harbour in the past so it can more than accommodate our show in an open-air setting,” said Angel, who is also very excited about the theme of the show “#STAND”

She explained that the TelCell Breakthrough youths themselves came up with the hashtag name to signify the stand they are taking for their beloved island – in this case, a stand against sitting back and being depressed, but letting loose with the fun and excitement of an entertaining show.

“When the youngsters suggested “#STAND”, we just said yes, let’s run with it, and it’s already getting the imagination of their peers online,” continued Angel.

She said one of the most instrumental groups in convincing the organizers to continue with the show was in fact the contestants themselves who had been practicing their acts for the best part of two months before the storms struck.

“They were very disappointed that they would not be able to show what they could do and they really wanted to continue in any format possible to give a lift to the community,” said Angel.

She said the youth’s enthusiasm was also matched by the show’s group of dedicated sponsors, and also new sponsors who have since come on board, because they also believe such a show is important for the St. Maarten community at this time.

“We really want to thank all of our sponsors and well-wishers in the community who have been very supportive and have encouraged us to keep the show for this year. We have promised them that we will be sparing nothing in terms of the quality that they have come to expect from us,” said Angel.

The show co-organizer also thanked the National Institute of the Arts (NIA) for working with the youths these past two months so that they can perfect their performances.

She said 18 of the original 22 performers will be on stage on the night, since four of the previously named contestants have left the island and will not be back in time.

The performing categories this year will once again be: Vocals, Musical instruments, Rap, Spoken word and Dance (Urban and Technique).

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SMCP LEADER SMITH SAYS: NA/USP WALK OUT SHOWS LACK OF INTEGRITY

PHILIPSBURG - Last Thursday, while the honorable MP, Tamara Leonard had the floor, the honorable Chairlady of Parliament interrupted, stating that it was brought to her attention that there was no longer a quorum in House, Leader of the Sint Maarten Christian Party (SMCP) Wycliffe Smith said in a press statement on Monday.

“A public role call revealed that, with the exception of MP Ardwell Irion, all the other NA and USP faction members, who were present at the beginning of the meeting, were now absent. Blatantly and deliberately missing in action!

“Strange enough, some two years ago, Members of Parliament pulled a similar stunt. On March 31, 2015, the Daily Herald carried and article with the following headline “No Quorum for meeting on Integrity Chamber Law”. Let the last three paragraphs of that article refresh our minds as to what transpired? “NA MPs Marlin, Emmanuel and Silveria Jacobs along with Democratic Party (DP) MP Sarah Wescot-Williams were in their seats in the General Assembly Hall, but they did not sign the attendance list. The only signatures on the attendance list were those of coalition MPs Dr. Richardson, Theo Heyliger, Silvio Matser, Tamara Leonard and Johan Leonard of UP, Frans Richardson (United St. Maarten party) and Cornelius de Weever (independent). Absent with notice were MPs Franklin Meyers and Maurice Lake of UP, and Leona Marlin-Romeo (independent)”.

“In the private sector, when employees walk off the job, without giving notice, they are summarily dismissed, fired on the spot and they also lose their employment benefits! Not so with our honorable members of Parliament, who seemingly are above the law. They can disrespect the House of Parliament and a fellow Member of Parliament by walking out of the room while she is speaking and without notifying the Chairlady. They then attend subsequent meetings without giving a reason or an apology and act as if nothing has happened.

“Basic manners and ethics, learned at home, teach us that this type of behavior is rude, impolite, disrespectful and unethical. It is not only disrespectful to the House of Parliament but more so to the 3.778 NA voters, the 2.784 USP voters as well as to all the people of Sint Maarten whom these renegade parliamentarians swore to represent when they took the oath of office exactly one year ago. They now act as if they are accountable to no one and I am sure that at the end of the month these “walk-out” parliamentarians still expect to receive their full month’s salary.

“The walk-out by the NA/USP factions is also a demonstration of lack of integrity, the very topic that was being discussed at the time. A lack of integrity does not only refer to big time crime, corruption, bribery, etc. but it also denotes being dishonest, failing to keep one’s promise, not trustworthy or accepting payment for work not performed. These representatives in Parliament took an oath to represent the people. Walking out, after giving their reasons, was the ethical thing to do.

“But to walk out in a stealthy manner, that the Chairlady did not even notice, is really not becoming of mature representatives of the people. This behavior clearly demonstrates a lack of integrity on the part of our renegade parliamentarians. Consequently, this walk-out action by USP/NA faction members (with the exception of MP Ardwell Irion) is even more evidence of the need for an Integrity Chamber. I must commend the honorable MP Ardwell Irion, even though being the youngest and most junior Member of Parliament in the NA faction, demonstrated more maturity than his senior colleagues.

“It is my opinion that once politicians have been elected to parliament they should begin to act like statesmen and put the people’s business before politics. This type of political antics belongs to old school politics and certainly does not contribute to raising the bar in Parliament. If a parliamentarian does not agree with a colleague then the ethical thing to do is to hear the speaker out and voice your objections when you have the floor. Unfortunately, in the Central Committee Meeting of October 26th 2017, the NA/USP parliamentarians forfeited the opportunity to represent the people of this country as stipulated in article 44 of the Constitution.

“The walk-out by the NA/USP factions also raises some questions. Are we to interpret this walk-out to mean that these MP’s do not feel that they are worthy to discuss matters of integrity? Does this walk-out signify that they do not consider this topic worth their presence and their time? Does this walk-out mean that they do not care about the people’s business and interests? Our people just experienced the worst hurricane ever and many are roofless, homeless, and jobless and everybody is worried about the reconstruction of the country.

“For more than seven weeks people have been waiting for government to offer direction and solutions to help the country get back on its feet. But instead, a standoff developed between our local government and the kingdom government, concerning the two conditions: the integrity chamber and border control. In this Central Committee meeting people were expecting to hear what their representatives would have to say about these two conditions. People expected Parliament, as the highest supervisory body, to issue an instruction to the Prime Minister and Government as to what to do next to get the country out of this quagmire. Instead, the NA/USP factions walked away from their responsibility which resulted in the closure of the meeting. This walk-out is blatantly impolite, disrespectful and does not demonstrate the maturity and integrity expected of a parliamentarian. On the contrary, this walk-out demonstrates the need, more than ever, for the integrity chamber!” Wycliffe Smith, Leader of the Sint Maarten Christian Party concludes.

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Driver loses life during serious traffic incident on Saturday

POINT BLANCHE - The Police Traffic Department is presently investigating a serious traffic incident which resulted in the driver of a heavy transport vehicle tragically losing his life.

The incident took place on Saturday October 28th at approximately 2.15 p.m. on Ground Dove road in Point Blanche. Several police patrols, Police Traffic Department and Paramedics were sent to the scene to give the necessary assistance.

On the scene the investigating officers learnt that the driver of the heavy transport vehicle with license plate V-1502, identified with initials J.W.E., which seemingly had mechanical problems, for unknown reasons started rolling forward. 

The driver, who at the time was not behind the steering, attempted to get back into the vehicle in order to bring the vehicle to a halt. Unfortunately in this attempt he lost his footing and was crushed between the V-1502 and another vehicle with license plate M-7279 parked on the parking lot of Carib Trans located on Ground Dove road.

On the scene paramedics immediately administered CPR but unfortunately could not reanimate the victim. A medical doctor arrived on the scene and pronounced the death of the victim.

The scene was immediately closed off by police in order for the Police Traffic Department to question potential witnesses and conduct an in depth investigation. The body of the victim was confiscated and the V-1502 were confiscated for further investigation. (Sint Maarten Police Force)

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