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Minister Fleming-Artsen meets with Cabinet Staff to Set Priorities for Sint Maarten House in The Hague for 2015

THE HAGUE, the Netherlands - Minister Plenipotentiary Hon. Josianne Fleming-Artsen recently met with her Cabinet staff at the Sint Maarten House to outline her priorities for 2015.

The governing accord was the one of the first items discussed in the meeting with staff.

“We are looking forward in 2015 of making an impact and getting the respect that we deserve as a country.  This can be achieved by having open and frank discussions and having understanding for the various challenges that as a new country we are confronted with.

“There is much to be done and we are ready and up to the task to make things happen in the best interests of country Sint Maarten,” Minister Plenipotentiary Hon. Josianne Fleming-Artsen said.

One of the first priorities is working to improve country Sint Maarten’s image in the Dutch community by having an active image improvement public relations campaign.

Another priority is to enhance the working relationship with the Minister Plenipotentiaries of Curacao and Aruba in The Hague.

Tourism is the mainstay of the country’s economy; Sint Maarten House will be looking at possibilities in conjunction with the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau where it concerns the promotion of the country in the Netherlands.

Identify, promote and stimulate economic development and relations resulting in foreign indirect investments in Sint Maarten from Europe; participating in trade missions; and promoting the hub function of Sint Maarten to Europe and beyond.

The Cabinet will also look at opportunities to access funding from sources within Europe for public and private sectors on Sint Maarten.


January Is Rotary Awareness Month: What is Rotary?

PHILIPSBURG - Rotary International is a service organization whose stated purpose is to bring together business and professional leaders in order to provide community and humanitarian services, encourage high ethical standards from all its members and vocations, and to help build goodwill and peace in the world.

Rotary Clubs are open to all persons regardless of race, color, creed, religion, gender, or political preference. There are 34,282 clubs and over 1.2 million members worldwide and four Clubs are on St. Maarten/St. Martin.

Rotary Club members are known as Rotarians and they usually meet weekly for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, which is a social event as well as an opportunity to organize and plan their community service goals.

Rotary's primary motto is "Service Above Self" and the object of Rotary is to encourage & foster the idea of service as a basis of worthy enterprise and to encourage and foster:

  1. The development of acquaintance as an opportunity for service;
  2. High ethical standards in business and professions, the recognition of the worthiness of all useful occupations, and the dignifying of each Rotarian's occupation as an opportunity to serve society;
  3. The application of the idea of service in each Rotarian's personal, business, and community life;
  4. The advancement of international understanding, goodwill, and peace through a world fellowship of business and professional persons united in the ideal of service.

The above objectives are the basis of the "Rotary 4-way Test" which is used to determine if a planned action is compatible with the Rotarian spirit. The test was developed by Rotarian Herbert J. Taylor during the Great Depression as a set of guidelines for turning around struggling businesses and was adopted as the standard of ethics by Rotary in 1942. It is still seen as a standard for ethics in business management.

The 4-Way Test asks the following questions in respect to thinking, saying or doing:

  • Is it the truth?
  • Is it fair to all concerned?
  • Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
  • Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

Rotary International’s most notable current global project, PolioPlus, is contributing to the global eradication of polio.  Locally, Rotarians are actively involved in many projects with a primary focus on assisting St. Maarten’s youth in terms of literacy, health, and overall education. 

From providing all 3rd grade students their own dictionary, to hosting the island’s Spelling Bee, to food hampers and Christmas Toy drives, to becoming a major supporter of the Catholic School board’s After School Program and the University of St. Maarten’s new Pre-USM project getting St. Maarten’s 65% of graduating students whom are not quite academically qualified to be admitted into college.

There are also many ongoing projects for our seniors ranging from buying specialized medical equipment for the various homes to heartfelt companionship by joining them for lunches and engaging them in conversation of days gone by, and fieldtrips such as lagoon cruises and senior parties. 

Rotarians work tirelessly to raise funds for these and other worthy causes.  Look out for Rotarians in front of Le Grand Marche’ soon selling raffle tickets for luxurious Audi Q-5.  All funds raised go back to the community in the form of service projects.

The majority of clubs meet weekly. As a Rotarian you are welcomed by any Rotary club around the world to attend one of their weekly meetings.  St. Maarten’s first club was chartered in 1972 and since its inception has grown in membership and has assisted in the formation of four new clubs in the district;  Anguilla (1978), St. Martin Nord (1988), St. Maarten Mid-Isle (1997) and St. Martin Sunrise (2004). 

Interested in becoming a Rotarian or learning more about what membership entails?  Contact or speak to any Rotarian; or check out The Rotary Club of Sint Maarten’s Facebook page or website;


DP Request copy of Timeshare Initiative Laws in order to continue with parliamentary process

PHILIPSBURG – Member of Parliament (MP) and Leader of the Democratic Party (DP) Hon. Sarah Wescot-Williams has informed the President of Parliament that her faction would like to get a copy of the draft timeshare initiative laws in order to continue with the parliamentary process.

“As is the case with initiative laws, the initiators are responsible for the process. It is also customary that a faction can continue the process, started by one or more of its members, no longer in Parliament, as is the case with these drafts. 

“I also informed Minister Conner of my intentions and suggested that we meet to plan the way forward with these drafts. I did so to avoid any overlapping and or doubling of efforts. 

“In July of last year, the Council of Advice advised on these drafts. That is also a prerequisite for the further handling. As far as I have been able to ascertain, this is where the two drafts are at, one on a timeshare authority and the other on regulating the industry, (Timeshare ordinance),” MP Hon. Sarah Wescot-Williams said on Wednesday. (DP Party Faction)


SXM Airport Meets with FRED on Recruitment of Young St. Maarten Professionals

SIMPSON BAY, SXM Airport—Managing Director of Princess Juliana International Airport, SXM, Regina LaBega and Chief Administrative Officer Migdala Artsen-Clarinda, met with Stephanie Carty of the Flinx Recruitment Expo Dutch Caribbean (FRED) just before Christmas.

The briefing touched on various points of the young company in the Netherlands. FRED was established to help provide young and starting professionals from St. Maarten with an opportunity to pursue work on their island, and to provide internship opportunities to those studying abroad.

FRED is a “recruitment event” with the primary objective of getting professionals and students residing in the Netherlands back to their native Caribbean islands and into the respective job markets.

SXM’s Managing Director Labega said that she is “very impressed” by this initiative of FRED. “I have always strongly believed that we should nurture and tend to our local professional talents first,” said LaBega.

FRED started as a statistical initiative, which has shown that many students who left for tertiary studies in the Netherlands ended up leading a professional and personal life in the Netherlands.  

To further help attract such professionals to return home, Stephanie Carty is currently reaching out to different St. Maarten organizations who would be interested in representing St. Maarten at The Flinx Recruitment Expo Dutch Caribbean job fair in Rotterdam, The Netherlands in 2015, where young professionals and those seeking jobs would have the opportunity to meet with employers from the islands.


NA Board seeks Clarification from the President of Parliament on ‘Meet and Greet’

PHILIPSBURG - The National Alliance has requested clarity from the Chairman of Parliament on the purpose of an informal meeting between the new Cabinet of Ministers and the Members of Parliament, termed a “meet and greet” upon the request of the Honorable Prime Minister Gumbs which was to be held on Monday January 12 at 9.30 am at Parliament and subsequently postponed.

Seeing the fact that the new cabinet is incomplete and that all current members are known to us, The National Alliance faction in Parliament would like to know the reason for this ‘informal meeting’. We are not interested in a meeting without substance.

We are, as are the people of St. Maarten whom we wholly represent, looking forward with keen interest to a presentation of the long awaited Governing program for 2014-2018, with a clear explanation of the short and long and term strategic goals and objectives with clear connection to the proposed budget of 2015 and future budgets.

It is a matter of public knowledge that the National Alliance and its coalition partners were ready after just three (3) weeks to present a full government as well as a governing program for 2014-2018 with clear cut strategic objectives translated into actions and projects to be carried out across the board by all seven ministries of government taking into consideration the current situation.

It is also common knowledge that since September 2014 the UPP led government has not been ready to govern and that the business of the people has not been properly attended to. In the three months it has taken to appoint a cabinet, the task is as yet incomplete.

What are the priorities of this government?

How do we aim to carry out much needed projects seeing the projected budget cuts taking aim at social and development projects?

What are the plans for tax reform in order to improve tax compliance and increase income for the government of St. Maarten?

What measures are being taken to curb waste and unnecessary spending within government’s organization?

The new and returning ministers have much to do (some with double tasks) to properly assess the current situation, and plan accordingly for this governing period. The people of St. Maarten have been waiting long enough, and while it was within the parameters of the law, in reality the obvious disgruntlement of the people with this lengthy process cannot be ignored.

The National Alliance looks forward to a formal meeting of Parliament where the Cabinet of Ministers can be introduced including a presentation of the Governing Program 2014-2018 indicating the country’s priorities, and awaits clarity from the Chairman of Parliament. (Board of the NA)


Prime Minister Gumbs making rounds through General Affairs Ministry

POND ISLAND - Besides devoting most of his time on extremely pressing matters such as budget 2015, Prime Minister (PM) of St. Maarten the Hon. Marcel Gumbs has still been scheduling time to meet with departments under the General Affairs Ministry for which he is responsible.

The Prime Minister is taking his “stability, civility, tranquility, prosperity” message to the public servants as well, stressing that service is what they provide and it should be practiced with the utmost professionalism. He complimented them for their hard work and perseverance even under certain circumstances that may not be ideal.

At the Civil Registry Department for example, the PM acknowledged and praised the staff as the frontline for very important government services. As such, he said, they bear a great responsibility in dealing with hundreds of people every day. Under those circumstances he said, frustrations may set in, but urged them to continue being exemplary as they have been in executing their tasks.

He also took some suggestions and ideas from the staff of Civil Registry and apprised them of the type of Prime Minister he will be (an open and approachable one) as well as how the management structure of the Ministry will be approached to allow more efficiency of work.

In the past few days the Prime Minister also received a tour of the new facilities of the Department of Communications and visited the Legal Affairs Department. (Press Secretariat Government of Sint Maarten, Council of Ministers)


MP Leona Marlin-Romeo Expresses Solidarity with French Saint Martin and the Republic

PHILIPSBURG – Independent Member of Parliament (MP) Leona Marlin-Romeo on Sunday, January 11th, 2015 spoke about the tragic events that took place in Paris, France starting with the Charlie Hebdo attack last Wednesday.

More than one million people have taken part in a unity march in Paris on Sunday, January 11th in connection with 17 people who were killed over a three day period.  

“It is imperative that our people stand in solidarity with French Saint Martin, not only as our historical neighbor but as an island where most indigenous St. Maartners share deep rooted family connections and consider ourselves as one people.

“The Republic of France is under attack, lives have been lost and we should not take what has transpired for granted and disconnect from the situation as it could occur on our soil.

“Our people are deeply connected to French Saint Martin, therefore let us keep the families of those who have lost their lives in continuous prayer and prepare our people, especially our students abroad to practice vigilance in these trying times. I pray much strength during these times for the Republic and its citizens,” Independent MP Hon. Leona Marlin-Romeo said on Sunday.


Curacao Prime Minister Asjes on official working visit to Sint Maarten starting Sunday

SINT MAARTEN/CURACAO – Curacao’s Prime Minister Hon. Ivar Asjes is planning an official working visit to Sint Maarten from January 11 to 13 where he will be meeting for the first time with Prime Minister Hon. Marcel Gumbs.

Both prime ministers will be discussing issues of mutual interests.  Curacao and Sint Maarten have a monetary union and share the Central Bank.

Prime Minister Asjes will also be meeting with Sint Maarten’s President of Parliament Hon. Dr. Lloyd Richardson as well as with His Excellency Governor Eugene Holiday, according to reports coming out of Curacao related to the visit.

The prime minister will be accompanied by Minister of Administration, Planning and Services Hon. Etienne van der Horst. 


Minister Fleming-Artsen attends New Year’s reception at the Governor of the Residence in The Hague

THE HAGUE, The Netherlands - Minister Plenipotentiary Hon. Josianne Fleming-Artsen attended the New Year’s reception at the Governor of the Residence, Lieutenant General dr. J.A.J. Leytens and Mrs. Dr. M.G.W. den Boer in The Hague, the Netherlands on Monday, January 5th, 2015.

The Governor of the Residence is mainly responsible for the military ceremonials in The Hague.  

Minister Fleming-Artsen stated that it was a great moment to network and to meet and share information about Sint Maarten at the event where a variety of key business and political personalities were in attendance.

“It is my intention to improve the image of Sint Maarten in The Hague and throughout the Netherlands,” Minister Hon. Josianne Fleming-Artsen said.

The Minister will be having a number of introductory meetings during the month of January.  Minister Fleming-Artsen took the oath of office on December 19, 2014 along with other members of the Government of Sint Maarten led by Prime Minister Hon. Marcel Gumbs.   


Chairlady of Kingdom Affairs and Inter-parliamentary Relations Committee Wescot-Williams Gives Update on Parliamentary Meetings in Aruba

ARUBA/SINT MAARTEN - Chairlady of the Sint Maarten Permanent Committee of Parliament for Kingdom Affairs and Inter-parliamentary Relations Member of Parliament Hon. Sarah Wescot-Williams gave an update on Wednesday at the end of the third day of the Inter-parliamentary Kingdom Consultation (IPKO) which is being hosted by Aruba. The first day, Monday, January 5th was dedicated to the three parliaments (Tripartite meet) of the Caribbean countries, Curacao, Aruba and Sint Maarten.

“In addition to reverting back to the previous Tripartite of April 2014, the three delegations approved and signed a resolution to promote sports in general amongst the three countries, but also sports for the disabled. Sports Organizations will be stimulated and encouraged to do the same. This will be done in collaboration with the respective governments of the countries.

“Furthermore, the agenda points for this IPKO were reviewed, as was the need for structural and more frequent tripartite meetings between the three parliaments. The three delegations in a presidium setting further elaborated on their position with regard to the matter of a dispute regulation. (Geschillenregeling).

“Generally with respect to providing feedback based on agreed upon points from the previous Tripartite and IPKO, Sint Maarten explained that we are not only with a new parliament and many new members since October 2014,  but also a new government of very recent.

“This was important to state, because several Sint Maarten members in IPKO committees did not return to Parliament, but also because government has not had the time to react to several "pushes" by Parliament in the past to work on resolutions of the previous IPKO.

“Tuesday was spent reviewing the work of committees, such as the ones for Youth, Education and Integrity.  A change was made to the agenda, putting the Regulation of the Governor and screening of ministers, which was schedule forThursday, on Wednesday.

“This evoked a lively discussion today (ed Wednesday), prompting the meeting to agree that the request of the Second Chamber to the Council of State regarding the instruction to the Governor of Aruba, be expanded to include the use of the Governor's regulation by the Kingdom Government in general.

“Integrity: it was accepted that this topic is discussable, yes, but with respect for the autonomy and development of the individual countries.  I thought the discussion on the contentious article 43 of the Charter was a good one. And a way forward will be addressed in the final conclusions of this IPKO.

“Not unrelated to this is the topic of a dispute mechanism for the countries in the Kingdom, which will come uptomorrow (ed Thursday). It is surely not a new topic for the IPKO, and there seems to be no difference of opinion that there should be such a mechanism. I think the discussion will be on the scope of such a regulation. But it should be independent and binding. 

“According to me, here is where the individual parliaments and their governments should close ranks to make headway, because on a kingdom parliamentary level, more than once, the governments have been urged to come with such. There are even motions to this effect.

“I am confident that Sint Maarten's government and parliament will be able to carry their weight where this matter is concerned. We have first-hand experience what the lack of such an authority can cause. Even the status of political parties in general; legislation and their internal organizations got some attention at this IPKO, but again from a positive perspective.

“Up to this point, the discussions have been fierce sometimes, yes, but open and candid. Let us see what we will be able to agree to in the end. I believe that the collaboration we have seen between the parliament and the government of Sint Maarten on the matter of the Instruction topic, with the Prime Minister coming to Parliament and providing support to the delegation should continue for the other topics of IPKO, such as the dispute or arbitration authority. We need to collectively decide on the priorities for our country and work together at achieving and where there are bottlenecks, solving them,” MP and Chairlady of Sint Maarten’s Permanent Committee of Parliament for Kingdom Affairs and Inter-parliamentary Relations Sarah Wescot-Williams said on Wednesday from Oranjestad, Aruba.

A delegation of six Members of the Parliament of Sint Maarten are at the Inter-parliamentary Kingdom Consultation in Oranjestad, Aruba from January 6 to 9.

The parliamentary delegations from the Kingdom partners will also visit the Waste to Energy Facility as well as the new building for the Court of First Instance of Aruba.

The delegation is headed by President of Parliament Hon. Dr. Lloyd Richardson, President of Sint Maarten’s Permanent Kingdom Affairs and Inter-parliamentary Relations Committee Hon. Member of Parliament (MP) Sarah Wescot-Williams, MP Hon. Leona Marlin-Romeo, MP Jon. Johan Leonard, MP Hon. William Marlin, MP Hon. Frans Richardson, Secretary General Nancy Joubert, Advisor Ralph Richardson, and Julien Larmonie, who all were scheduled to travel over the weekend to Aruba.

Also part of the Inter-parliamentary Kingdom Consultation is Dutch MPs from the First and Second Chamber of Parliament.  The Dutch delegation will be led by Chairman of the Second Chamber’s Permanent Committee for Kingdom Relations Hon. Jeroen Recourt.  Vice Chairperson and First Chamber MP Hon. Marijke Linthorst is also part of the Dutch delegation.



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