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DP's Camp RED Meets and Exceeds Expectations of Participants

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten - Saturday's afternoon event of the Democratic Party, themed Camp RED was one way of the DP leadership keeping its promise to prepare the DP candidates for the job they are seeking in representing the people.

Prime Minister Wescot-Williams stated that it was important that the attendants took home some of the important information that was made available during the retreat; “Yes, the position of a member of Parliament is a job on behalf of the people who elect their representatives to Parliament and a job that must be taken seriously,” stated the leader of the Democratic Party.

The afternoon was mc'd by DP Treasurer, Giselle York-Missoudan, who did an excellent job, keeping participants engaged.  The highlights of the afternoon were presentations on the Party's 2014 Platform; the role of parliamentarians as provided for in the constitution and electoral law; the law on registration and finances of political parties and the use of social media.

The Red threads throughout the DP's 2014 platform are education, jobs, nation building and social advancement. "It's a people's thing."

After attentively listening to the presentations, DP 2014 candidates and their support teams engaged in animated discussions regarding these topics.

"Camp RED has surely met the expectations of the participants and I was pleased to note that participation exceeded the expected number of persons", continued DP leader, Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams.

The intention of Camp RED was to inform and educate the 2014 DP candidates and their support teams. Not only was this accomplished, but also the afternoon turned into a "think tank" of ideas and proposals.

"I am quite pleased", said the DP leader at the end of the afternoon as candidates mulled around and socialized with each other, "Pleased and proud, with the commitment demonstrated by our candidates and the level of seriousness displayed by all."

Presentations and subsequent discussions on the above mentioned topics lead to several concrete proposals, which the DP is committed to pursue:

- Screening of Parliamentary candidates elected to office.

 - Establishing by law an Ethics Committee of Parliament.

- Tax deductibility of political donations, specifically.

Board members of the DP were also pinned during the Camp Red event.

This coming week promises to be another eventful DP week with:

The annual July 24th Wreath laying at 8.30 am, in front of the Administration building, commemorating the birthday of the late A. Claude Wathey, co-founder and first leader of the DP; Wednesday, July 23, at 6 pm, DPnPROUD youth meeting, and Friday afternoon, Red Splash at a venue to be announced. (Contributed by the DP Party)

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Parties allowed to break rules on placing campaign flags on bridge without consequences

GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten - The United St. Maarten Party is calling on the Minister of Justice Hon. Dennis Richardson, to take action against political parties that has blatantly disregarded his instructions on the placing of campaigning paraphernalia at locations that could hinder or endanger traffic.

"The Minister explicitly gave instructions in all media sources that public manifestations are not allowed to block road, cross roads or intersections and clearly, not all parties are adhering to those rules," Member of Parliament (MP) Hon. Frans Richardson said.

"The Minister was clear when he said campaign material is not allowed on or around roundabouts, nor should they be attached to traffic signs, traffic lights, guardrails and bridges. What I would like to know is am I the only one noticing that not all parties are complying with these rules and why is it that action is not been taken against those who don't," the Member of Parliament questioned.

“We have to lead by example, how can we be a good leader if we cannot follow simple instructions and set an example for our supporters to follow" Richardson questioned. "In addition, law for one should be law for all. The rest of us are willing and responsible enough to abide by those rules, and then there should be consequences for those who don't," the MP pointed out.

Prior to the allowed campaigning date, guidelines for placing campaign materials were issued in the media, via radio, websites, newspapers and television, therefore we believe that no one should be above the law and the Minister Richardson should act on his words in his capacity as Minister of Justice. (Contributed by the US Party)

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Workshop Social Media and Citizens’ participation: What is your strategy?

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten - A workshop with as theme Social Media and Citizens’ participation: What is your strategy? took place at Divi Little Bay Beach Resort. Since a lot has changed in the last decade in regard to society and the rise of social media, it was deemed necessary to organize a workshop for communication representatives within government, as the effects are not only limited to society, but also affect governments around the world.

The workshop, which was funded by USONA and organized by the Secretariat of the Council of Ministers, was intended to increase the understanding and the possibilities of Social Media. The focus of the workshop was on how social media can be used to increase the participation of the citizens in government and the democratic process in general. 

The workshop was attended by PR-officers from the Tourism Office, press officers of the Ministers’ Cabinet, communication specialists of the Department of Communications (DCOMM) and the spokesperson of the Police Force St. Maarten. The Workshop was facilitated by Ms. Tetyana Lokot.

Ms. Lokot has a M.A. in journalism from the National University Kyiv Mohyla Academy in Kiev, Ukraine and a B.A. in management from International Christian University. Currently she is a researcher at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland. Some of her research interests are digital activism and political participation online, impact of internet communities on political decisions, social media platforms and social/political change.

The content for the workshop was specifically developed for St. Maarten. The full day was divided in four sessions. The first session dealt with the possible content choices and rules of the game. The second session focused on planning a social media strategy for different scenarios including crisis management. The third session emphasized how to engage the citizens. The last session concentrated on developing a tailored social media strategy. The participants were generally satisfied with the outcome of the workshop. 

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DP Party Activities: Church Service, DP Women’s Wing, and DP Party Retreat

Church Service, Community Donations Part of Democratic Party 60th Anniversary Celebration

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten - The Democratic Party of St. Maarten will start its series of activities celebrating its 60th Anniversary this weekend with the hosting of a special commemorative church service. The DP Membership and the general public is invited to a special celebratory mass to be held at the St. Jude Anglican Church on Back Street starting at eight in the morning.

On Monday the DP as part of its celebrations will also be making donations to three foundations that have strengthened the community of the country; the Key to Freedom Foundation which focuses on combatting drug abuse, the Arts Saves Lives which introduces especially children to arts and culture and the Generation new Status Drum Band, which introduces children to rhythm through drumming.

The DP will also be hosting its annual wreath laying ceremony commemorating the Founder of the Democratic Party the late Dr. Claude Wathey followed by visits to the St. Maarten’s home in order to continue its sponsorship of cable television for the elderly and the Sister Basilia Center where it will be making a special donation to its clients.

The Public is encouraged to attend all of these events and celebrate 60 years of Democratic Party leadership.

DP Women’s Wing Congratulates 28 Women Contesting Parliamentary Elections 

Highlights Strong Women on its Slate 

The Women’s Wing of the Democratic Party of St. Maarten congratulates the 28 female political candidates in general and in particular the six ladies on the Democratic Party slate for stepping up to the plate and contesting the 2014 Parliamentary elections; St. Maarten indeed is a unique island in that we not only have a female Prime Minister, a female President of Parliament, a Female Ombudsman, and a female at the helm at the Council of Advice. We would like to congratulate the 28 female candidates and wish them the best.

The DP list is the only one with a female at its helm: the Prime Minister of St. Maarten the Honorable Sarah Wescot-Williams. Also on the list is Head of the court of Guardianship Richelda Rodriguez-Emmanuel; founder of the Starlight Foundation and part of the National Development Plan Platform Carmen Hodge-Smith, Former Commissioner and founder of the Home Away From Home Foundation and the one instrumental for providing utility relief for the elderly Patricia Flanders, retired Educator and community organizer Patricia Verlack and Pastor and Motivational Speaker Mulrose Toulon.

“We have a list of strong women representing the strong women of St. Maarten. We would like to wish all females strength and guidance in their choices for Parliament,” concluded the DP Women’s Wing Statement.

DP Hosting Party Retreat Saturday to Discuss Political Platform 

“One-party rule a neglect of the wishes of others, wishful thinking that such a group will remain true to any common agenda for the people” 

This Saturday's DP Retreat, dubbed Camp RED, is taking concrete form, as DP Members and Candidates get ready to discuss and prepare their party platform. According to DP Leader and Prime Minister of St. Maarten the Honorable Sarah Wescot-Williams said that DP Candidates will hone their political skills for the 2014 elections; “The DP Retreat, Camp RED is shaping up nicely. It is an informative and interactive session for primarily the DP candidates during which they will hone their skills, prepare for hitting the road with the DP's message and address the issues facing our country in a head-on, open and transparent way. 

“We don't only talk integrity, we embraced it as a DP administration, we endorse it in our Platform, and we promote it vigorously within our own ranks.

Of course our 2014 Political Platform will be a topic for discussion during the Camp RED as are the applicable laws for this election. We will make use of expertise from within and outside of the Party to facilitate the discussions. 

Members of the DP Young Professionals (DPYP) will also be present and participate. It is our opportunity now to separate ourselves from the others in terms of where we stand on topics, such as government-owned companies, public private partnership, taxes and transparency in government business. 

The Prime Minister also highlighted the DP’s view regarding One Party Rule and inclusive government; “We believe that any progress must be with the masses in mind and not just a select few. We of the DP view the call for a one-party rule as a neglect of the wishes of others. It is also wishful thinking that such a group will remain true to any common agenda for the people. We view this call as a wish to ‎control and muzzle persons who disagree and we view this as an insincere call to control the people of this country to the benefit of a select few.  To use an old adage, "teach us to bake, so we don't beg for the crumbs, concluded Party Leader Wescot-Williams. (Contributed by the DP Party)

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Leona Marlin-Romeo Conducts informative workshop for students studying abroad

POND ISLAND, Sint Maarten - Head of Civil Registry Leona Marlin-Romeo has been conducting informational workshops with students studying abroad at the University of St. Martin over the past few days.

Marlin-Romeo in a statement says that given her experience as past Regional Coordinator for Students studying in the Netherlands, in addition to complaints and feedback provided by the students as well as civil registries in countries where St. Maarten students relocate to study.

"I have received a lot of complaints and heard of situations in which our students, especially those who are holders of Dutch Passports but born of foreign parents, have major problems in being registered abroad," she said.

"The purpose of these workshops is to highlight key areas to look out for and to properly inform them of the relevant documents they must acquire and travel with for their registration process abroad. Based on my experience from my previous role as a Regional Coordinator, I know how hard it can be for students who have to send back home to get a legal document once they have left the island, so to make the process smoother and less stressful for the student who by then will have other crucial matters to deal with, I am hoping that these three days of one on one sessions will properly prepare them for the process of not only registering in another country but also of writing themselves out of St. Maarten while you are studying away.”

Marlin-Romeo who was accompanied by one of her staff; Tamara Bell urged the students to have all their important documents like birth certificates properly translated and notarized, ensure that their passports are renewed and even explained that her department; the Census Office has extended their opening hours on Wednesdays to accommodate and facilitate students who are travelling to study with the renewal and acquiring of these documents.

The workshop which ends on Friday, are so far well attended and have attracted students and prospective students travelling in and outside of the Kingdom to study. Marlin-Romeo is also advising all parents and or guardians to get familiar with the process so that they can also assist their child in their relocation and settling process.

“It is hard enough that they have to leave home, the place they have been all their life and to move to a foreign country where in most cases the process is entirely different from here in St. Maarten,” she said. “So in these meetings I offer advice, solution and support to these students so that the transition is as easy as possible.”

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Minister Lake present for installation of Backboard for Simpson Bay Basketball Court

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten – Minister of Public Housing, Environment, Spatial Planning and Infrastructure (Ministry VROMI) Hon. Maurice Lake on Wednesday afternoon was present for the installation of a temporary backboard along with the basketball rim for the Simpson Bay Village basketball court.

Permanent boards are scheduled to arrive at the end of July or early August. 

“Additional recreational courts are needed in other districts for the nation’s youth.  I promised to repair the basketball court in Simpson Bay Village and a promise made is a promise kept. I also would like to thank the Simpson Bay Community Council and Nelly Halley for their assistance in making this a reality for the youngsters.  It was all a community effort and that is how we build a nation by joining hands together,” Minister Hon. Maurice Lake said on Wednesday.

 

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Democratic Party Highlights Alternative and Renewable Energy as Part of DP Party Platform

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten - The Democratic Party gave an explanation of its policy regarding renewable energy as part of its DP Party Platform for the 2014 Parliamentary Elections.

The DP Party platform is the party’s vision for moving St. Maarten forward and includes items focused on Governance, Education, Immigration, Energy and the Environment.

As part of its Platform on Renewable and Alternative Energy the DP stated that it endorses the National Energy Policy of St. Maarten of March 2014 and emphasized that the goals of the policy are only attainable if all stakeholders are on board, including: government, GEBE, and the society at large. The DP also stressed that the necessary legislative framework should also be in place to ensure the successful execution of the policy.

The Democratic Party also stated that, based on the Energy Policy, it hopes to see the island have 35% of its energy come from renewable sources by 2016, 80% renewable by 2020 and 100% HF oil free by 2025.

The Democratic Party also stressed that in order to achieve this, educational awareness is paramount and should form part of the policy's implementation plan. This plan also offers some potential for new business opportunities, and that is part of the reason why the DP supports this policy and will commit to its execution.

“If we look at the issues taken up in the policy plan we see a complete and holistic effort with regards to what this entails for the people of St. Maarten in terms of energy consumption. A lot of worthwhile efforts and initiatives have been taken by Government, the Private Sector and NGO’s, however if we are not working on the basis of a plan or vision or an approach many of these initiatives and efforts seem lost and ad hoc.

“The intention of the plan is to move away from the use of certain types of fossil fuels for energy production, to introduce a countrywide energy saving program, to peruse improved efficiency at the NV GEBE power station, and to seek for renewable energy options for the island.

“The plan also looks at the impact of introducing smart grid concepts for improved electricity supply chain and Saba perhaps providing geothermal power to the island and the implementation of the Waste to Energy Plant. A component of the plan will be to also decrease the Environmental Impact of energy use and to reduce the Carbon footprint of the island. These are just some the plans and goals and I think it is important for the people of St. Maarten to understand the long-term plan of action as part of this plan,” commented DP Leader and Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams. (Contributed by the DP Party)

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Budike presents Books to the Library

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten - In light of the recent Emancipation Day celebration, Robert O. Budike, the Managing Director of Projects, Consultancy & Management International NV (PCMI), presented two books, Coloniary and De Vroegernij to the Philipsburg Jubilee Library’s(PJL) Director, Monique Alberts, on July 2.

The books, Coloniary and De Vroegernij, presented to PJL, were written by Budike’s uncle, Drs. Fred Budike, a specialist in Human Resource Management and accreditation in Tertiary education. The writer also lectures on Project Evaluation & Monitoring and Human Resource Management at the Anton de Kom University of Suriname.

According to Budike, Coloniary explores facts about labor relations and conditions in the Caribbean from slavery to indentured labor.

Vroegernij, written in Dutch, illustrates the exploitation and the inhumane aspects of slavery and contracted labor among Africans and Asians.”

In his books, Budike wants to demonstrate that slavery has always existed in one way or another and had different colors, also in the Caribbean.  Budike reviews enslaved Indians who were exported to Spain, white and black laborers from Spain and other European countries, as well as Black people from Africa.

Books are available at the library and for purchase at PCMI NV at the W.J.A. Nisbeth Road (Upstairs Office World). Please call 542-3088 for more information.

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ST. MAARTEN INVITES TRAVELERS TO ‘UNLEASH SUMMER’ WITH EXTENSIVE MARKETING CAMPAIGN

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten – The friendly island of St. Maarten (www.VacationStMaarten.com) has launched a large scale “Unleash Summer” marketing campaign to attract visitors from the Canadian and South Florida markets. In an effort to support island businesses and hoteliers, this push is aimed to increase arrivals during the off-peak season.

Throughout this in-depth island promotion, St. Maarten will have a presence throughout multiple media channels including television, social media, newspapers and online. This month, a St. Maarten TV spot will premiere on South Florida Cable Television and will be aired on CNN, Fox News, TBS, E!, Travel Channel and TLC. Information on the destination will also be featured throughout the months of June and July in South Florida newspapers, The New York Times digital channels and used by programmatic advertising networks to attract online visitors currently in the research phase for a Caribbean vacation. Additionally, the island will be included in a Travelzoo Featured Destination promotion launching in July.

Consumers will have the opportunity to view a preview of what a summer vacation in paradise could look like during a jam-packed, five-day vacation itinerary displayed in real time over St. Maarten’s social media channels. Photography and video uploads provide fans with an authentic vacation experience that is fun to watch and also serves as a useful guide to some of the must-see places on the island. Exclusive promotions and offers will also be made available on St. Maarten’s Facebook and Twitter pages throughout the summer season.

For more information on St. Maarten, visit the official site of the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau at www.VacationStMaarten.com. (Contributed by the Tourist Bureau)

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SXM Airport – A Leader in Aviation - Holds Staff Appreciation Day to Celebrate Awards

SIMPSON BAY, Sint Maarten - It was party time for employees of the Princess Juliana International Airport, SXM, Saturday as they were treated by management to dinner followed by a dance at Tantra in what managing director Regina LaBega referred to as “an evening of togetherness.” Several items were also raffled.  

Addressing the over 100 staff members before they took to the dance floor, LaBega said: “It is your hard work that we are here to celebrate; your dedication and commitment, which have earned our company numerous international awards, including the European Award for Best Practices.”

“These awards,” she continued, “are a result of the contribution of each and every one of you. They are therefore a recognition you should be proud of.”

“I really mean it when I say you are the reason SXM Airport is what it is today: a leader in aviation in the Caribbean,” she added.

Noting that it is easier to reach the top than to remain there, LaBega said, “We are therefore doing everything possible to improve our facilities and services. This is a goal we will achieve together, as we have done with every accomplishment so far.” She urged the staff not to slow down, but to continue to give of their best, “so that the Princess Juliana International Airport will be what it is destined to be: among the very best, not only in the region, but in the world as well.”

Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Directors, Clarence Derby, also gave a short address in which he thanked the employees for their hard work, and commended the Managing Director for her vision. He listed a number of projects, which are on stream to be realized as part of SXM’s Capital Improvement Program, and which will further strengthen the position of the airport as among the best in the region.

Following the brief addresses, the staff danced the night away to the music of DJ Rude and Impact Band, in an atmosphere of camaraderie and good vibes. (Contributed by SXM Airport)

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