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Soualiga Newsday Features (854)

October 1st: International Day for Older Persons

PHILIPSBURG - This year’s theme for the 24th commemoration of the International Day for Older Persons; October 1st, is “Leaving No One Behind: Promoting a Society for All”. On this occasion the Department of Community Development, Family and Humanitarian Affairs within the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour will like to acknowledge and show our appreciation to our seniors who have indeed worked and toiled ensuring that the succeeding generations can live in a developed and progressive society, as the St.Maarten we know today. In addition, we recognize and thank all the various organizations who are currently working on behalf of the elderly either by championing their issues, assisting with meals, providing care and recreational activities to them.                      

This year’s theme is in keeping with the goals of Community Development, Family and Humanitarian which is promoting the general well-being of the society. By fulfilling this goal one of our responsibility is to ensure community work and community development in the various neighborhoods on St. Maarten. When executing this task we encounter and intervene in many concerns that affect people’s daily lives, and by extension our seniors. In contrast we’ve also encountered seniors, despite the challenges of growing old, enjoy and embraces old age. This then begs to question why the difference. And the answer is simple PREPARATION.

In reflecting on this year’s theme and specifically “leaving no one behind” it is important to draw one’s attention to the pre-elderly those nearing their golden years; between the ages of 50-59 years old. Within the next 10 years or less our pre-elderly will become our elderly and the question is: ‘Have they been planning and preparing for the years to come’?  To avoid that our seniors experience hardships during old age, it is important that all stakeholders including the individual begin with preparations now. It is said one who fails to plan, plans to fail. Employing a proactive approach Community Development, Family and Humanitarian Affairs is exploring the possibility of linking with potential stakeholders in developing an action plan for this specific objective in support of this target group.

Approaching this time in someone’s life might seem overwhelming  due to the overly concern of: loss of identify, boredom as a result of one’s extra times on their hands, no longer having a sense of value, financial security and the eminent decline in health. However, being pro-active by planning and preparing at an early stage might lessen the anxiety that comes along with ageing.

Things to consider in preparing for the golden years:

  • Improving or maintaining your health by either committing or(recommitting) to healthy eating and physical activity
  • Assessing one’s debt and overall expenses
  • Assessment of assets such as pension plans, insurances, property etc.
  • Consider turning your hobbies into income generating activities
  • Taking self-improvement classes
  • Partaking in volunteer work

Just remember, whatever you decide to do, don’t wait to begin preparing, even though it might seem as if it’s far way. Success depends upon previous preparation and without such preparation there is sure to be failure.

(Contributed by: Community Development, Family & Humanitarian Affairs)


Mobile Health Services Bus Has Arrived

CAY HILL - "We are proud to announce that St. Maarten’s Mobile Health Services Bus has arrived bringing us one step closer to a healthier St. Maarten through increased access to health care services. Preventative care is highly important for managing the health of the people of St. Maarten.

Many of the top risk factors leading to various illnesses and premature deaths are preventable through early detection and informed healthy lifestyle choices. The bus will be used to increase awareness on the need routine check-ups for all the people residing on St. Maarten in order to change the behavioral patterns of our people when it comes to managing their own health”, said Minister Cornelius de Weever in a press release on Tuesday. 

St. Maarten's new Mobile Health Services Bus was transported from the Port of Galis Bay to the Fire Department on Monday by representatives from Collective Prevention Services at the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labor and Social and Health Insurance (SZV). The bus will be stationed at the Fire Department when there is no outreach activity taking place.

The bus is properly equipped with medical testing and examination facilities that will facilitate the delivery of effective and efficient preventive care. It will be utilized to strengthen the existing programs that are executed by Collective Prevention Services (CPS) and broaden the scope of service delivery.  It will also enable CPS to regularly visit communities in order provide health information and screening opportunities in collaboration with local health care institutions. Schedule for deployment to the various communities will be forthcoming.


World Heart Day 2014 – Salt Reduction Saves Lives

PHILIPSBURG – September 29 is World Heart Day.  Country Sint Maarten has approximately 40,000 beating hearts, and as a country we should take note.  The World Health Organization (WHO) is calling on countries to decrease the overuse of salt by implementing WHO’s sodium reduction recommendations to cut the number of people experiencing heart disease and stroke, and, in turn, save lives.

Target: 30% salt reduction by 2025

Non-communicable diseases, including heart disease and stroke, are the leading causes of premature death in the 21st century. WHO is supporting governments to implement the "Global action plan to reduce non-communicable diseases" that comprises nine global targets, including one to reduce global salt intake by a relative 30% by 2025.

“If the target to reduce salt by 30% globally by 2025 is achieved, millions of lives can be saved from heart disease, stroke and related conditions,” says Dr Oleg Chestnov, WHO Assistant Director-General for Non-communicable Diseases and Mental Health.

The main source of sodium in our diet is salt. It can come from sodium glutamate and sodium chloride, and is used as a condiment in many parts of the world. In many countries, 80% of salt intake comes from processed foods such as bread, cheese, bottled sauces, cured meats and ready-made meals.

Increased risk of hypertension/high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke risks

Consuming too much salt can lead (or contribute) to hypertension, or high blood pressure, and greatly increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.

On average, people consume around 10 grams of salt per day. This is around double WHO’s recommended level from all sources, including processed foods, ready-made meals and food prepared at home (less than 5 grams or under one teaspoon per day). WHO recommends that children aged 2 to 15 years consume even less salt than this, adjusted to their energy requirements for growth.

“Salt is in almost everything we eat, either because high levels of salt are found in most processed and prepared foods, or because we are adding salt when we prepare food at home,” adds Dr Chestnov.

Dr Chestnov said that reducing salt intake is one of the most effective ways for countries to improve population health, and urged the food industry to work closely with WHO and national governments to incrementally reduce the level of salt in food products.

Strategies to reduce salt consumption

WHO’s evidence-based strategies to reduce salt consumption include:

  • regulations and policies to ensure that food manufacturers and retailers reduce the levels of salt in food and beverage products;
  • agreements with the industry to ensure that manufacturers and retailers make healthy food (with low salt) available and affordable;
  • fostering healthy eating environments (that promote salt reduction) in public places such as schools, hospitals, workplaces and public institutions;
  • ensuring clear food labelling so consumers can easily understand the level of salt in products;
  • implementing WHO’s recommendations on the marketing of foods and non-alcoholic beverages to children.
  • reading food labels when buying processed food to check salt levels;
  • asking for products with less salt when buying prepared food;
  • removing salt dispensers and bottled sauces from dining tables;
  • limiting the amount of salt added in cooking to a total maximum amount a fifth of a teaspoon over the course of a day;
  • limiting frequent consumption of high salt products;
  • guiding children’s taste buds through a diet of mostly unprocessed foods without adding salt.

Strategies for individuals and families to reduce salt intake include:


Top US Expert to Speak at SXM Safety and Security Conference

SIMPSON BAY, Airport RoadTop US expert, Dr. Gerald Dillingham, Director of Civil Aviation at the U.S. Government Accountability Office, is among the featured speakers at the forthcoming Safety and Security Conference and Exhibition being organized by the Princess Juliana International Airport, SXM, as part of its ongoing 70th anniversary celebrations.

Dr. Dillingham who served on the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (The 9/11 Commission), directs program evaluations and policy analysis with respect to all aspects of civilian aviation, including safety, finance, environment, air traffic control, airport development, and international aviation issues.

Under the theme of “Prioritizing Safety, Security, and Revenue Growth to Maximize Aviation Efficiency in the Caribbean,” over 100 aviation professionals from across the Caribbean region as well as members of St. Maarten’s Civil Aviation Authority, airline representatives, SXM Airport employees and other groups, will gather at the Westin Dawn Beach Resort and Spa from September 30 to October 1, 2014 to take part in the Conference & Exhibition.               

Other speakers include Michael Nicolaas, ICAO TCB expert in Airport Operations and Management, Lionel van der Walt, newly appointed IATA representative for the Caribbean and Jurgen Benschop, COO of Aruba Airport Authority (AAA) and ACI Chairman of Latin America and the Caribbean.

Nicolaas, who did a Postgraduate in Air Transport Planning and Economics at MIT,is a veteran of four decades in civil aviation, specializing in air service development and marketing as well as airport security and planning. For over a dozen years, he has been involved in developing airport projects around Latin America and the Caribbean.

“This is a very important conference for all the stakeholders involved in aviation on the island,” said Regina LaBega, SXM managing director. “The quality and caliber of the featured speakers is an indication of the high priority we at SXM place on safety and security,” she added.

The SXM Airport Safety and Security Conference and Exhibition is held every two years as a means of raising safety and security awareness in the aviation industry and creating networking opportunities with colleagues and counterparts in the Caribbean region.


Two arrested on Friday for theft after robbing Cole Bay supermarket

COLE BAY/CAPE BAY - Two male suspects with the initials M.D. (18) and J.L.M. (16) were arrested on Friday September 26th after a short foot chase by police in the Cole Bay/Cape Bay area.

A report came into the Central Police Dispatch that a supermarket on the Wellington road had just been robbed and that the suspects had fled on foot in the direction of Cape Bay. 

The police immediately started to search for the suspects and spotted them in the area of Tropicana Casino. They took-off running but were caught shortly after.

The suspects had stolen several bottles of Hennesy Cognac from the supermarket. The suspects were taken to the Philipsburg Police station for questioning.  (Contributed Police Force Sint Maarten)


Port St. Maarten a partial Sponsor of SXM Airport Safety & Security Conference

POINT BLANCHE –Port St. Maarten Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mark Mingo says that the port is one of the sponsors of SXM Airport’s Safety & Security Conference 2014 which will bring to the country’s shores over 100 aviation professionals from the Caribbean region, airlines industry reps and civil aviation authorities early next week.

The theme of the conference is: “Prioritizing Safety, Security, and Revenue Growth to Maximize Aviation Efficiency in the Caribbean.”

“Airports and Seaports have to work hand-in hand in order for a country to progress.  Port St. Maarten and SXM Airport are the gateways into the country and serve as the catalyst for the economic engine we know as tourism.

“The theme of the conference serves to enlighten us about the current trends and developments in the travel industry and in this case aviation and airports.  We all have to be on top of things in order to be able to address upcoming challenges.

“Once you are ahead of the challenge curve, you are able to mitigate and protect the interests of your port whether it is sea or air.  Our two ports of entry cater to a couple million visitors annually, so it is in our interests for us to be on the ball.

“Port St. Maarten’s sponsorship of part of the conference is in line with our mutual and dual interests in protecting our customers, visitors who make use of these facilities annually due to the professionalism of staff, employees and clientele as well as other important stakeholders who show hospitality when carrying out their responsibilities.

“Both ports of entry will remain at the forefront in the success of the country’s economy, and we need to intensify cooperation as we move forward as a country,” Port St. Maarten CEO Mark Mingo said on Friday.

The conference will take place at Westin Dawn Beach Resort & Spa from September 30 to October 1.


Two arrested for drugs possession

CAPE BAY - On Wednesday September 24th at approximately 06.35 p.m. during a routine control in the Cape Bay area, a police patrol saw a silver colored Kia Picanto with license plate 9127AAA suspiciously driving through the area.

The area is well known for the selling and dealing of drugs. The vehicle was stopped by the police and controlled. During a quick search of the occupants a plastic sack containing several grams of cocaine was found on the driver.

The plastic sacks with drugs were confiscated for further investigation. The driver with the initials M.D. (21) and the passenger A.L.L.B (19) were arrested on the spot and taken to the Philipsburg Police Station for questioning. (Contributed by Police Force Sint Maarten)


Cruise passenger almost drowns

BOARD WALK, PHILIPSBURG - On Tuesday, September 23rd at approximately police patrols and paramedics were sent to the Board Walk in the vicinity of Holland House where a passenger on board of the Norwegian Cruise Ship in port had become ill while swimming and almost drowned. 

The victim was brought ashore by persons who saw what was going on. On the scene the officers encountered the victim with initials J.J.C. (66) lying on his side and being assisted by a registered nurse and a fire fighter from the U.S.A.

Shortly after the paramedics arrived on the scene and transported the victim to the Sint Maarten Medical Center where he was treated and admitted for observation. The cruise representatives on the island are taking care of the victim and his wife. When the victim is dismissed from the hospital they will decide if they will rejoin the cruise or fly back home. (Contributed by Police Force Sint Maarten)


Portrait of His Majesty the King will stay on Sint Maarten

PHILIPSBURG - The official portrait of His Majesty King Willem-Alexander got a prominent place in the university hall where the first Kingdom Youth Parliament (KYP) had its meetings in May of this year as part of the official celebrations of the 200th birthday of the Kingdom.

HRH Princess Beatrix must have felt very much at home with her oldest son looking down at her while she gave her opening speech.

As a final ‘thank you’ for the warm, professional and friendly way in which the Pasanggrahan Hotel hosted the KYP the organizers decided to leave the King on Sint Maarten. Here he will join his parents Princess Beatrix and Prince Claus, Grandmother Queen Juliana and great-grandmother Queen Wilhelmina in the Royal Portrait Gallery of the Pasanggrahan Hotel.

On Wednesday, 24 September, 2014, the President of the KYP Foundation, Ron van der Veer, presented the portrait to the owner of the Pasanggrahan Hotel, Mrs. Oli Tinitali.

Both agreed that the KYP had been a very special event for all involved: “The enthusiasm, creativity and energy of that group of 50 young people overwhelmed all of us. It was indeed a pleasure to be in their company!” 


Three suspects arrested for fire-arm possession

CUPECOY - On Tuesday September 23rd at approximately 11.35 a.m. the security office of the Grand Marche in Cupecoy called the Central Police Dispatch and informed them that three suspicious young men had driven on to the property in a white Toyota Yaris with license plate R-141.

They stepped out of the vehicle, walked into the supermarket and looked around quite suspiciously. They then stepped back into the vehicle and left. When the security tried to stop the vehicle before leaving the premises the driver refused to stop, he increased speed and drove into the direction of Simpson bay.

Having in mind that this supermarket was robbed two days prior by three armed and masked men, the police was immediately informed.

A police patrol saw the suspect vehicle driving on the Causeway Bridge. Assisted by another patrol the suspect vehicle was stopped and the vehicle was searched.

During this search a pistol and other items that can be used to commit armed robberies were found in a black backpack which was lying on the backseat of this vehicle. These items along with suspect vehicle were confiscated for further investigation.

The three suspects with the initials L.J.E. (18), M.A.E. (17) en M.V. (18) were all arrested on the spot and taken to the Philipsburg Police Station where the suspects remain in custody for questioning. (Contributed by Police Force Sint Maarten)

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