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Granting of Erika Cannegieter DREAM BIG Educational Scholarships

PHILIPSBURG - This is the third year that Be The Change has granted educational scholarships to worthy students. The Erika Cannegieter DREAM BIG educational scholarship was initiated in memory of the founder of Be The Change, Erika Cannegieter- Smith. It is presented yearly on the occasion of her birthday, July 27.

This year Be The Change is pleased to announce two scholarship winners, James Brooks, and Mirian Pierre.

We received many applications and the choice was difficult but James and Marian represent two students who are dreaming big to further their education.

They both have worked hard and done well in school. They have shown themselves to be positive involved members of the community by volunteering in different organizations.

The awards were presented in a small ceremony at the Cultural Center.

James will be attending the University of St Maarten. James states “I will use this scholarship award wisely to further my education, so I can be one step closer to my dream as a psychologist.” He also states “I just want to thank the Be The Change Foundation for assisting me and helping me be one step closer to my dreams.”

Marian, who recently graduated from the University of St Maarten, will be attending Mount Saint Vincent University, Nova Scotia, Canada, in pursuit of her Bachelor’s degree.

Marian stated that, “The value of education is something that I have understood since a very young age. She thanked Be The Change and stated “Push yourself beyond everything you think will stand in the way of you, your goals and all your dreams, because no one else will do it for you.”

Be The Change congratulates the winners and wishes them best luck in continuing their education and reaching their goals. As Nelson Mandela said, “Education is the most powerful tool you can use to change the world.”

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DP Party faithful pays tribute to the late Dr. A. “Claude” Wathey

PHILIPSBURG – “A small but appreciative group of mainly Democratic Party (DP) members paid tribute to the late Dr. A. "Claude" Wathey, as the present DP leader and the party's VP (Vice President) laid a wreath at Wathey's statue in Philipsburg on July 24, the day of his birth,” a DP Party press release said on Tuesday.

“DP, this time around was the sole organization at this venue during the annual observance of Wathey's birthday. In her brief remarks to those gathered to observe the occasion, MP (Ed Member of Parliament) Wescot reminded those present of the late Wathey's indelible mark on our island's development. ‘In his time and in his way, he provided the foundation for modern-day St. Maarten’, the DP leader commented.

"Because his vision in the early tourism days was one of economic development above political independence unlike many of his peers, we got a head-start in the tourism business. A head start, which we need to do our utmost to retain."

“Too often the "40-year" reference (to DP's mainly uninterrupted rule) is used to criticize the ills of this period, without the appreciation for all the good it also brought all of us.

“Beneficiaries of this period are today some of its biggest critics. But to a great degree, we are who we are, because of who we were."

wreath dp

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100% jobs for USM graduates of Bachelors of Elementary Education program. Proud teachers accepted to teach at the local schools.

POND ISLAND - The University of St. Martin (USM) recently celebrated its 23rd commencement ceremony at the Maho Beach Resort with a total of 37 proud graduates.

Amongst the graduates, a total of 12 teachers from the Bachelors of Elementary Education will be proudly starting their years in new schools across the island. Ms. Sharon Freiburg, former Division Head of the Education program supported the students from the very beginning of their studies.

The educator ensured that the group was prepared and skillful to take their careers to the next step.

In their continuous effort to contribute to an educated citizenry, the students shared their personal experience of their time at the USM.

Below are a few statements that the proud graduates wanted to share.

I am currently substituting at Sr. Marie Laurence and in August I will be at St. Joseph School. I am quite excited! I also hope to one day achieve my masters. You know the saying you are never too old to learn. Being a teacher every day that saying applies, nothing is ever the same. You may be walking into the classroom believing that you know it all, and poof reality knocks you off of your high horse. Nothing beats experience! You have to apply what you learn to the new-found experience ahead. But trust me every day is a new learning experience!

Shudeska Leonard

The best thing about teaching at an elementary school is being able to have an impact on the student's educational platform. It is also very fulfilling to be a role model and play all the different roles in the students' lives. One of the names I'm frequently called is mommy which proves how much love children get from their teachers and also expect from us when they come to school. Teaching elementary school gives you so many experiences from what children say and do there are hardly ever any boring days.

Ludmilla Evers

USM and the great and experienced instructors prepared me for most of the aspects of teaching and taught me the skills I need to relate to my students what they need to know which will lay the foundation for them to be successful in their educational career and life goals. I plan to go into one of the schools on St. Maarten to give back what I have been fortunate to receive from USM. Because going to USM allows you the opportunity to pursue your tertiary studies within the confines of your home, friends and family so that you can have support when needed in order to be successful. It is also for the younger students an opportunity to mature enough in order to be able to function away from the safety of their home and parents.

Vania Maynard

Teaching should not just be the teacher standing in front of the class and talking, but it should be fun for the students and get them involved and willing to learn and participate. As a teacher, not all the students will grasp what is taught instantly and that's where the patience and love for the job comes in. If someone is going into teaching just for the vacation day then I urge them not to, because they will not put 100% into the students. Teachers build the foundation in a student's life, and a teacher's input is very crucial to how the students take in information. I enjoy teaching because watching how some of my teachers in elementary school, high school and college  taught with a passion and the love they portrayed for what they did inspired me to gain my teaching degree.

Valeta Brown

 

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PPA Leader Arrindell calls for immediate Government attention to flood prone areas

PHILIPSBURG - Gracita Arrindell, Leader of the People’s Progressive Alliance (PPA) stated in a press release on Sunday: “There’s a popular Dutch saying that goes as follows; ‘Als het kalf verdonken is, dempt men de put’. “when the calf has drowned then we empty the well”.  Taking action after the fact.

“When faced to address a dangerous or annoying issue, it almost becomes a norm that we react emotionally rather than with a cool head armed with a well thought out solution. Often these matters are left un addressed for years or a ‘plaster on a festering wound’ solution is applied until something really bad happens that demands a solid response. We read about them every day.

“Take your pick. In this case once again I bring attention to the dangerous situation on Billy Folly road and the alley next to WIB in Simpson Bay, when it rains, water on these roads are high and stagnant, especially Billy Folly road from ‘Burger King restaurant up to Atrium Hotel becomes a dangerous ‘warzone’ for pedestrians and drivers alike.  When it rains, water on these roads are high and stagnant, especially Billy Folly road becomes dangerous ‘warzone’ for pedestrians and drivers alike. “

“This is situation is plainly unacceptable for residents and thousands of tourists who use these roads every day.  Pedestrians are splashed by un- caring and selfish drivers; road rage has increased as a consequence thereof. Just the other day, we witnessed a large taxi vehicle where its driver refused to move an inch to let a small car to pass, blocking everyone else in the process, until we drove around both vehicles.”

Arrindell states: “when I brought this issue forward as I have done many times regardless of which government is in office, one minister said ‘the roads are private property ‘.

My reply; ‘Minister with all due respect, the community and tourist who spend time and money in this area don’t give a rat’s ass that this is a public or private road. Putting a public /private plan together to solve this issue once and for all is what matters’. 

Arrindell continues; “Another year goes by; another holiday season is in sight.  It is high time to solve this problem once and for all.  An action-plan is needed discussed with ‘stakeholders’.

A plan and partnership which includes a solid financial - and drainage maintenance chapter, proper sidewalks and hand railings, timely garbage collection. While we are cleaning up, ensuring that the OPC’S in the area have proper ID’s and attire and a time limit for approaching clients in the area.

Leaving this situation as is simply not acceptable. The quality of life and tourism product we now chase after while our neighboring islands keep reaping the top travel awards for 2017 are not elusive. We can do it again, with less talk, less grand standing and less posturing. Being at the top of our game requires more quality action.”

Gracita concludes: “Sint Maarten is a beautiful island. Let us not wait for an accident to happen. More quantity and bigger is simply not a viable option going forward for the future of our island.  The next generation deserves better.

PHOTO: Street alley in Simpson Bay next to the Windward Islands Bank branch. (Photo contributed)

simpsonbay water road

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Pre-Storm/Hurricane Preparations for Simpson Bay/Causeway Bridges for 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season

SIMPSON BAY – Port St. Maarten would like to remind boat owners and mariners with respect to its protocols for pre-storm/hurricane preparations for the Simpson Bay and Causeway Bridges in connection with the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season.

For all vessels wishing to enter/exit the Simpson Bay Lagoon, prepare well in advance to come through the bridges. Listen out on marine radio VHF Channel 12 or local radio stations, if there are any changes to or added bridge openings.

Regular Simpson Bay Bridge opening times are : 8.30AM Outbound, 9.30AM Inbound; 10.30AM Out, 11.30AM In; 15.00PM In, 16.00PM Out, 17.00PM In Regular Causeway Bridge opening times: 10.00AM, 11.45AM, 15.30PM. Bridges will not open above wind speeds of 25 knots sustained.

The Simpson Bay Lagoon should not be considered as a safe haven. Vessels wishing to enter are urged to do so in a timely manner. Commercial cargo vessels should not seek refuge in the Simpson Bay Lagoon.

The best place to secure your vessel in the event of a hurricane is a boat yard or on land. Mariners are urged to make appointments with boat yards for haul out.

Vessel owners should ensure that all loose objects or potential objects are removed from the deck of the vessel and secured below (eg. Sails, awnings, fenders etc.)

Anchored vessels are to ensure that the vessel has enough ground tackle and that it is sufficient for any expected weather conditions, and all lines have chafing gear.

Boat owners are responsible for their property and may be held liable for damages to other person’s property/livelihood.

For those requiring additional information you can Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; or call VHF Channel 12 and in the event of Emergency #: +1 721 520-2059.

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Boat owners and mariners advised to review hurricane season preparatory plans

GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – Boat owners and mariners are being advised by the Office of Disaster Management (ODM) to review their hurricane preparatory plans so they can be ready to take action in the event of a storm/hurricane threat to the island during the upcoming peak months of the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season.

The 2017 hurricane season has already seen four systems develop, three of them since June 1st. The Office of Disaster Management hereby advises mariners and boat owners to ask themselves, “How have you prepared yourself for the hurricane season?”

ODM is requesting mariners and boat owners to make special preparations to stay with friends or in a hotel, and not to remain on their vessel during the passing of a hurricane while moored in the Simpson Bay Lagoon or Oyster Pond.

Hurricanes have been the cause of many maritime disasters. 

The decision to leave port for hurricane avoidance must be made very clearly.  Consideration to the latest safe departure time and likely avoidance routes must be balanced with a number of other factors.  Most important of these is time versus distance.

The risk of damage to a vessel at sea increases as the motion of the hurricane increases towards the maximum safe speed of the vessel attempting to leave port in advance of that system. 

Considerations to remain in port during hurricane passage must include an evaluation of the amount of protection afforded by the port.  The direction from which the strongest winds are forecast to blow along with the potential for storm surge must be factored in when deciding whether to seek haven pier side or at anchorage.  Ports and harbours also have their own storm/hurricane protocols which must be followed.

ODM says, ‘Remember It Only Takes One to Make It a Bad Season.’

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CANTO 2017 - Ministers from Around the Region Talk

SINT MAARTEN/DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - The Ministerial round table saw a wide range of representation from throughout the region with ministers involved in the panel discussion including the Hon. Marlon Penn, Junior Minister, Trade and Investment Promotion, BVI; the Hon. Andrew Wheatley, Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Jamaica; the Hon. Catherine Hughes, Ministry of Communications, Guyana; and the Hon. Darcy Boyce, Minister of State with responsibility for Telecom, Barbados.

Mr. Joe So, Huawei CTO ICT Solutions did a presentation on Smart Cities. He pointed out that modern day cities provide spaces for people's livelihood and Industry development and in the Caribbean the environmental ecology must be considered. He noted that these cities are facing challenges including city governance: natural disasters, terrorist attacks. 

The Smart city approach he said, "would deliver to the Caribbean efficient city governance, high quality public services and New ICT which is the key to a smarter city and a core part of an enhanced production system".  Specific to the Caribbean the Smart city initiative for Caribbean he said - "is geared to bring economic value; safer city; and attract more tourists and residents since the Caribbean has superior resources for Tourism."

Huawei through their presentation continued to prove that they are a great partner for smart cities and are willing to cooperate with partners to build a sustainable system.

Then it was up to the skillful moderator of the Ministerial panel, Ms. Rochelle Cameron, CANTO Vice Chair to manage what was a very diverse panel of regional government representatives. In the end, she was able to elicit a wide range of information and engage in insightful conversation among the panel.

The Hon. Catherine Hughes of Guyana noted that though traditionally an agricultural country undertaking minerals and mining they have realized the need to transform through ICT. 

The benefits to be gained involved impacts of online learning because of distant villages and rural communities.  ICT she said also has possibilities for eHealth via online medicine. She also highlighted opportunities for employment and trade as Indigenous communities with products to sell can create ICT hubs, "we can start to transform entrepreneurial activity." 

The work she said has begun as "her ministry started e-govt network to facilitate reaching citizens. Connecting high schools with free Internet to 101 schools including three university campuses."

The Hon. Andrew Wheatley, Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Jamaica noted that they have realized ICT is a pillar for economic growth and Set a target of 5% economic growth in 4 years. Jamaica he says want to use ICT to improve efficiency and interacting with citizens and is moving away from just consumers to innovators of technology. 

The panel took the time to discuss critical issues affecting the Caribbean including: Cyber security, and where we are with regard to legislation? How can we get more regional collaboration? How do we as a region deal with OTTs who are unlicensed and untaxed? How do we go forward with more level playing field with indigenous operators? And big data/artificial intelligence.

The 33rd Annual Conference and Trade Exhibition, affectionately referred to as CANTO 2017 is the Caribbean's premier telecommunications event for industry professionals, academics and regional governments. The event ran from the 16th -19th July at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Punta Cana Dominican Republic. 

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Thousands of prisoners caught using drugs in Dutch jails

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Drug tests on prisoners in Dutch jails and secure psychiatric units show the use of cannabis is widespread, news agency ANP said on Thursday.

Thousands of urine samples have proved positive for drugs, with the rate as high as 50% in some jails, ANP said. The figures come from justice ministry figures which have not yet been made public.

In total, the tests resulted in 16,600 positives for cannabis, compared with 14,500 in 2014. There were 1,600 positive tests for cocaine and 730 for opiates, such as heroin. More than 1,000 positive tests for cannabis per jail were not unusual, ANP said.

The true size of the drugs problem in Dutch jails may be far higher because not all prisoners are tested. Yet while the tests are random but people considered likely to use drugs or who are repeat offenders are more likely to be singled out, ANP said.

Improvements

The justice ministry told ANP in a statement that officials work continually on improving drug checks. ‘Addiction clinics are also involved to increase awareness of the problem among staff,’ the ministry said.

Prisoners, particularly addicts, are extremely inventive in how they obtain their drugs and the prison inspectorate said in a recent report that the shortage of staff makes it difficult to keep drugs out of jails.

Union spokesman Frans Carbo told ANP: ‘This is yet another sign that policy needs to be radically overhauled so that staff work in a safe environment. The cuts made in recent years have severely threatened this.’

Last September, local broadcaster Omroep Brabant reported that a woman had been caught attempting to smuggle soft drugs into the prison at Vught using a three-year-old child. (DutchNews)

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Consumer Prices have increased compared to February 2017

PHILIPSBURG - The Consumer Price Index for Sint Maarten has increased in the month of April 2017 by 0.5 percent compared to that of February 2017.

When comparing average consumer prices over a twelve-month period (April 2016 to April 2017) an inflation rate of 1.0% is recorded.

This is evident from the data released by the Department of Statistics (STAT) today.

Price changes between April 2017 and February 2017

The Consumer Price Index for Sint Maarten has increased in the month of April 2017 by 0.5 percent compared to that of February 2017. The price index recorded in April 2017 is 128.7

In April 2017, six of the nine expenditure categories recorded positive percentage changes (prices increased), one was negative (price decreased) and two remained stable.

Prices increased in: ‘Food’ (+1.6%), ‘Beverages and Tobacco’ (+1.9%), ‘Housing’ (+0.6%), ‘Medical Care’ (+0.8%), ‘Recreation & Education’ (+0.2%) and ‘Miscellaneous’ (+0.2%).

Whereas, a decrease was recorded for the expenditure category ‘Transport & Communication’ (-0.7%). The expenditure categories: ‘Clothing & Footwear’ and ‘Household Furnishing & Appliances’ remained constant.

Expenditure Category

WEIGHT

INDEX February 2017

INDEX April 2017

% CHANGE

Food

10%

203.1

206.4

1.6

Beverages and tobacco

1%

149.6

152.5

1.9

Clothing & footwear

7%

111.9

111.9

0.0

Housing

39%

125.5

126.2

0.6

Household furnishing & appliances

6%

142.7

142.7

0.0

Medical care

3%

119.4

120.3

0.8

Transport & communication

20%

page2image57112 page2image57432

104.5

103.8

page2image60488

-0.7

page2image62656

Recreation & education

6%

106.6

106.8

0.2

Misc.

page2image69312 page2image69632

8%

page2image71464

121.9

page2image74216

122.2

page2image75304
page2image76488

0.2

page2image78000

TOTAL

100%

page2image81768

128.1

128.7

0.5

page2image85560

Expenditure Categories – overall increase 

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Speech of PM William Marlin at UN High-Level Political Forum in New York

SINT MAARTEN/NEW YORK – Prime Minister (PM) William Marlin is currently in New York City attending a high-level United Nations (UN) meeting related to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The prime minister forms part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands delegation.

Prime Minister William Marlin delivered the following speech:

“I bring you greetings from Sint Maarten one of the 4 autonomous countries of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

“Each of the four countries wholeheartedly embraces the Agenda 2030 and has its own political reality and therefore faces its own peculiar challenges, but we all share the belief that the key to success in attaining the SDGs lies in our willingness to form partnerships at the national, regional and international levels.

“We have just presented our Voluntary National Review to the United Nations, which outlines the steps we have taken in implementing the SDG’s.

“St. Maarten, shares a 37 square miles island with a Territorial Collectivity of the Republic of France, and obviously has the biggest challenge in ensuring the achievement of the 17 SDGs identified in the 2030 Agenda.

“For us sustainability has a very unique meaning; we have to keep improving the quality of life for all our citizens while functioning under the core principles of open government, integrity, accountability, transparency, sustainable development, social inclusion, and equality.

“Tourism the main pillar of our economy, accounts for some 80 per cent of all economic activities.

“Using the Millennium Acceleration Framework, St. Maarten has introduced measures to combat poverty and hunger.

“Our latest National Household Budget Survey estimated that the average household in St. Maarten spent approximately US$44,700 in 2015.

“More than double the amount a decade earlier.

“We have been working closely with the PAHO, the W.H.O. and the Caribbean Public Health Agency to improve health care policies and services.

“A National Health Insurance scheme is now being developed while a brand new hospital is also on the books.

“We offer compulsory education and lifelong learning and we are improving our vocational and tertiary education levels to meet the growing demands for skilled labor.

“We are working diligently on affordable housing, to provide especially for our young professionals.

“The UNDP office provides support to the St. Maarten government in integrating the SDGs into our National Development Plan and policies that are now being drafted.

“I can assure you, of our unwavering commitment to achieving the SDGs for the well-being of our people.

“We stand ready to continue this important work in the future, and to report our further progress to the international community. 

“On behalf of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, I wish each one of you much success in the implementation of your prioritized goals in the coming years. I thank you.”

PHOTO: Prime Minister William Marlin in conversation with Curacao's Prime Minister and other members of the Kingdom delegation.

PM W Marlin in conversation w Curacao PM Dutch delegation

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