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Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams meets Outgoing Commander of Dutch Navy

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten - The Prime Minister of St. Maarten the Honorable Sarah Wescot-Williams received a courtesy visit from the outgoing commander of the Dutch Navy Brigadier General Dick Swijgman and his successor Hans Lodder at her Cabinet on Thursday.

The Prime Minister was updated on the change in command and the operational aspect of the Dutch Navy’s presence in the Caribbean. Commander Hans Lodder will receive the command of the Dutch Navy in the Caribbean when he will replace brigadier general Dick Swijgman.

Lodder will also be director of the Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard. The Commander of the Dutch Naval Forces in the Caribbean is the highest military representative in the region and monitors the performance of the duties imposed by the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The Dutch Military is tasked with the protection of Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Sint Maarten, Sint Eustatius and Saba. 

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Turnout for Parlatino Committee Meetings nearly 90 per cent

MAHO REEF, Sint Maarten – The President of Parliament Hon. Gracita Arrindell is very pleased with the turnout to the three committee meetings of Parlatino that were held on May 22 and May 23 when the country hosted Members of Parliament and support staff from the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).

The meetings took place at the Sonesta Maho Beach Resort & Casino saw attendance nearing 90 per cent. The committees that met were: Economic Affairs, Social Debt and Regional Development; Committee of Energy & Mines; and Committee of Political Affairs, Municipal and Integration.


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NIA showcase well received at Parlatino's opening reception

MAHO REEF, Sint Maarten—National Institute of the Arts (NIA) showcased St. Maarten’s culture and talent at the Parlatino Committee Meeting’s opening reception held at Sonesta Maho Beach Resort and Casino on Thursday, May 22.

The performance arts institution, known for both its cultural and contemporary repertoire, was charged with adding aspects of arts to the evening.

“The organizers of this event recognize that to showcase a nation's culture, you cannot really do it just through a speech, you have to involve the arts. You need an artistic element to capture the full St. Maarten story. So for them to recognize that and also that NIA is the premiere vehicle from which to display our island’s culture strengthens our awareness that we are on the right path as an arts institution,” Co-Director of NIA, Arlene Halley said.

NIA presented two dances and a medley of St. Maarten’s cultural songs, which highlighted folkloric, Latin and modern contemporary elements. The initial dance was an upbeat piece paying tribute to the polka and Latin influences on the island and was danced to the music of the island’s legendary Tanny and The Boys. The mixture of songs was sung by vibrant trio, Morenika Charles-Arrindell, Lena Browne, and Malaika Maxwell. The second dance, PAC-B-13, is a modern contemporary number, which was choreographed by NIA instructors Peggy Oulerich and EoIia “Bibi” Ada, along with Co-Directors Arlene Halley and Clara Reyes and is named for the quartet.

Each piece seemed to delight the attending guests and earned high applause.

We always bring strong performance elements to all that we do, making sure that each piece tells a story about who we are as a St. Maarten people. When it comes to cultural heritage and its preservation we often hear about all of these wonderful buildings or natural spaces, but it is really the people who create the experiences that are had in the buildings or spaces, so it is the people that really create the legacies that live on and that is what NIA is all about, creating a lasting legacy of arts,” Co-Director of NIA, Clara Reyes said.

Latin American ParliamentParlatino is comprised of regional National Latin American and Caribbean Parliaments. The organization held its annual representatives meeting on St. Maarten last week.



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Green Friday's and Drive UP becoming Popular Trends

SUCKER GARDEN-PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten - The United People’s (UP) party has started a “Green Friday” tradition asking all those interested to wear the colour green every Friday.  On May 23rd the party also introduced “Drive UP” in the district of Sucker Garden and on the Pondfill.  Driver’s passing along the route could pull over and have their vehicle partly adorn with UP paraphernalia.  The UP Drive will be moving into the various voting districts in the coming weeks Soualiga Newsday has understood.

According to an UP party sympathizer who was on the scene at both locations, dozens of cars and trucks pulled to the side, and people were asking when they would be coming to their district.  “There is a green momentum building and the UP Party will be victorious on the night of August 29 sweeping more than eight seats,” the party supporter said.  

The UP party is one of the political organizations that will be participating in the upcoming national elections scheduled for August 29.  The UP party was the first political organization to register with the Electoral Council which took place on March 19, more than two-months ago.

The Electoral Council announced this week that political parties have until May 28 to register for the polls.

Postulation of candidates by political parties participating in the August 29 elections will officially take place on July 18.  Political parties will also have to present their party manifesto to the Electoral Council on that day.

Political parties will then move into full gear organizing various public district meetings to introduce their candidates to the people and address the issues and present their party’s solutions for the next four-year governing period. 

This will be the nation’s second national elections since achieving the status of autonomous country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands on 10-10-10.

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PM holds special meeting with Kingdom Youth Parliament Delegation

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten - The Prime Minister of St. Maarten the Honorable Sarah Wescot-Williams met with the St. Maarten delegation of the Kingdom Youth Parliament at the A.C Wathey Legislative Hall on Friday to personally congratulate the Youth Parliamentarians and their coaches Franklyn Richards and Connie Francis.

The Prime Minister stressed how impressed she was and mentioned that St. Maarten can rest assured that its political future is secure considering the performance at the 1st ever Kingdom Youth Parliament: “I want to extend warm words of congratulations to all of you for your performance during the Kingdom Youth Parliament just a couple of days ago. You did a wonderful job and it is clear that with your commitment you were able to do an excellent job giving a dynamic and powerful presentation.

“I am extremely proud of our young people, how you were able to leave the historical baggage aside and to see how we can make cooperation happen. you have come up with some very concrete actions that they will undertake. It must have been a wonderful experience for all of you and all of us on St. Maarten can learn a thing or two from them.

“It is in Parliament that decisions are made and that laws are made; laws that governs our lives. The whole matter of debating is so important, it is important to be able to speak with authority on laws and proposals. That is a critical part of a Parliament, youth or otherwise. I know that our young people when called to step up to the plate do so with conviction and I said wow look at the future leaders of our country,” commented Prime Minister Wescot-Williams. 

Prime Minister Wescot-Williams for her part was thanked for her contribution to politics and for her inspiration to the team with regards to being able to speak with authority on various issues important to Country St. Maarten and for supporting the Kingdom Youth Parliament.

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Prime Minister to Meet with Kingdom Youth Parliament Friday

POND ISLAND, Sint Maarten - The Prime Minister of St. Maarten the Honorable Sarah Wescot-Williams attended various sessions of the Kingdom Youth Parliament, held for the first time on St. Maarten this past week at the University of St. Maarten.

The Prime Minister also had a brief meeting with Her Royal Highness Princess Beatrix who was on island to officially open the Kingdom Youth Parliament, whose president Ms. Trumane Trotman hails from Sint Maarten. During the opening Ceremony the PM also interacted with the Youth Parliamentarians answering various questions. The PM will be meeting with members of the Kingdom Youth Parliament on Friday. 

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Central Committee and Plenary Session of Parliament Scheduled for May 26

Central Committee and Plenary Session planned for Monday

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten – A Central Committee and Plenary session of the House of Parliament is planned for May 26th regarding a number of issues.  

The Central Committee meeting is set for Monday at 9.00am in the General Assembly Chamber of the House at Wilhelmina Straat #1 in Philipsburg.

The two point agenda for the committee meeting is the composition of the delegation that will be traveling to the Netherlands for the Kingdom Parliament consultation that takes place in The Hague from June 3 to 6.  The second agenda is an amendment of article 36 of the Rules of Order.

The plenary session of the House is set for 10.00am in the General Assembly Chamber.

The first agenda regards the proposed merger between TELEM and UTS. This particular agenda point was requested by three independent Members of Parliament namely, Hon. Frans Richardson, MP Hon. Patrick Illidge, and MP Hon. Dr. Lloyd Richardson.

The second agenda point is the amendment of article 36 of the Rules of Order; third agenda is a discussion on the institution of a joint legislation academy in accordance with the agreement list dated April 9, 2014 of the Tripartite Meeting.

The fourth agenda is a discussion on the UNICEF report in accordance with the aforementioned agreement list that came out of the Tripartite meeting.

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 sessions 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. and www.sxmislandtime.com  

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Former Prime Minister of Curacao Detained

WILLEMSTAD, Curacao – The former Prime Minister of Curacao Gerrit Schotte (39) was detained on Tuesday morning by the Police in connection with an on-going investigation.

His life-partner C.R.D. (36) was also arrested.  According to a press release from the Public Prosecutors Office, Curacao based on complaints made in September and October 2012, the Attorney General’s Office decided in January 2013 that the accusations warranted further investigation by the Curacao National Detective Service.

Based on information received by the Attorney General’s Office from overseas, in mid-2013, a criminal investigation was started under the name Babel.  The Curacao National Detective Service is receiving assistance from the Detective Cooperation Team.

House searches were carried out in December 2013 and various computers and documents were confiscated in the interests of the investigation.

The former Prime Minister is suspected of committing forgery and money laundering.

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Silent March Planned for May 24 Against Violence of Children

CAY HILL, Sint Maarten - The Asha Stevens Hillside Christian School Parents Committee under the presidency of Tatiana Arrindell, will organize a silent march against all types of child abuse on Saturday, May 24th.  The march is in solidarity with all the children of the country.

The silent march is being organized after one of the school’s students was viciously attacked by a person while on her way to school last week Thursday.  The nine-year old suffered serious injuries inflicted on her by a man from the St. Peters/South Reward area.  “We will no longer tolerate any more acts of violence against our children,” President Tatiana Arrindell said on Tuesday.

The silent march is to start at 5.00pm and will travel the following route: Asha Stevens Hillside Christian School (Cay Hill), Welgelegen Road, AJC Brouwers Road, Bush Road, Prince Bernhard Bridge, Pondfill, and ending in front of the Government Administration Building.

In front of the Government Building, there will be a number of speeches from various youth groups, and a song by the Hillside Christian School Choir.

Other schools have been invited to participate in the May 24 event.  Everybody participating has been asked to wear a white T-shirt and walk with a flashlight.   

Persons requiring additional information can call Tatiana Arrindell at 520-2851

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Armed robbery at Trendy Shop on Back Street

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten, POLICE HEADQUARTERS - On Friday May 16th at approximately 07.00 p.m. the Central Police dispatch received a call from Trendy Shop on the Back street stating that shortly before an armed robbery had taken place at that establishment.

Police officers were immediately sent to the scene to investigate what had taken place. On the scene the investigating officers encountered the victim who had been tied up by the suspects with tie-straps and tape.

The victims stated that two unknown men had come into the establishment asking to use the bathroom. Once inside one of suspects pulled a fire arm and threatened to use it. The armed robber put the gun to the head of the store manager forcing him to hand over the cash. The robbers also took the manager’s telephone and several new phones.

After committing this act the robbers fled the scene. The Special Robbery Unit is investigating this case.

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