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Soualiga Newsday Top Stories (1905)

All Clear Given. Princess Juliana International Airport Open; Temporarily closed roads open

SIMPSON BAY, (DCOMM) – The authorities have given the all clear, and Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM Airport) is now open. 

Temporarily closed roads leading to the airport from Simpson Bay Causeway round-a-bout and from the Maho round-a-bout were re-opened between 4.00pm/4.30pm.

According to Police Spokesperson Inspector Ricardo Henson, the Emergency Police Dispatch Center received a call after 2.00pm about a bomb threat regarding a JetBlue flight at the airport.

The Emergency Services responded to the threat and dispatched Police, Fire and Ambulances to the SXM Airport where bomb threat protocols were executed.

Also involved in the emergency response were the Airport Security, Airport Fire Department and Airport Ambulance Service.

After the aforementioned services carried out their bomb threat protocol response, the all clear sign was given by local authorities.

Authorities are continuing with their investigation with respect to the bomb threat that was made on Saturday.


Police may test motorists’ saliva for marijuana, cocaine and speed

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Dutch police may begin testing the saliva of drivers and people involved in violent crimes for drugs from July 1 when new zero-tolerance rules come into effect, the transport ministry said.

The saliva test can be used to find out if people have taken opiates, cocaine, THC (the active ingredient in marijuana) and methamphetamines and has been used in Belgium for some time.

The test identifies whether there are drugs in the system but cannot say how much or when the drug was taken, which needs to be established to find out if someone has broken road safety laws.

To establish this, follow up tests need to be done, Patrick van Vugt from test maker Dräger told BNR radio. The test is not without its critics. Cannabis researcher Nicole Maalsté said in a website column that THC can be identified up to 14 hours after it was taken.

‘I consider it very unlikely that someone is still under the influence if they smoked week half a day ago,’ she said. Follow up blood tests are also expensive, Maalsté said. This makes it likely that police will select who to run a saliva test on based on their appearance.

‘Shirt and tie, no drugs test, cap and sneakers, yes a drugs test,’ she wrote. ‘I can see it happening.’ (DutchNews)


TelEm Group rallying support for Annual ABCS Softball tourney now under way

POND ISLAND –  TelEm Group is calling for a huge turnout of supporters for the Annual ABCS Softball Tournament that is being hosted by Country St. Maarten starting this today (Thursday).

The prestigious contest pits the best softball teams from Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao and St. Maarten (ABCS) against each other to find out which team is the best of the lot.

According to hosts, The Lion Sporting Club Foundation, some 15 teams will be competing, including four from Aruba, four from Bonaire, four from Curacao and three from St. Maarten. (Each team will consist of 25 players and officials).

According to Foundation Treasurer, Ludson Dongo, St. Maarten has the honor of hosting the 34th Annual Softball Tournament this year and his group is doing its utmost to ensure players and supporters alike have a wonderful sporting experience.

He said thanks to a donation from TelEm Group towards the event, his foundation is confident that it will make many different softball fans from all the competing islands happy with the arrangements.

The Treasurer and fellow Foundation member, Timothy Daniel, picked up their sponsorship donation from TelEm Group, Senior Account Manager, Lucrecia P. Lynch, during a brief presentation ceremony at the TelEm Group main building on Pond Island last Friday.

“We have a number of softball players and fans within our company, and I am encouraging them all, along with other sporting fans on the island to turn out and root for their favourite teams,” said Lucrecia, who informed that fans can also keep up with the progress of the tournament with free live streaming of the games.

“We will have some random prize giveaways to keep the excitement going and we will be providing Top-ups for mobile customers at the sports venue,” continued the Account Manager.

She was informed by the Foundation members that all games will be played on the Little League playing field, Soualiga Boulevard, from May 25th until May 28th when prizes and trophies will be handed out to the winning team and MVP’s before the visiting teams and their supporters return to their respective homes.


Office of Disaster Management: Prepare your Disaster Supply Kit

GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – It only takes one storm to change your life and community.  We live in the hurricane belt, and therefore you need to be prepared.  One of the first things that you need is a Disaster Supply Kit (DSK).

A DSK would have the necessary supplies to get you through the first few days after a storm has struck the island.  A devastating hurricane could leave the country without water and electricity for several days if not longer, and therefore it is very important to have a minimum of one week of supplies for each person in the household.

The DSK should contain non-perishable food, water and medicine (fill prescriptions before the storm); non-electric can opener; first-aid kit; extra cash (ATM machines and credit cards won’t work if there is no electricity); battery powered radio and flashlights as well as extra batteries; make sure cell phones are all charged prior to the arrival of the hurricane; fill up your car/truck with gas; check if your home and automobile insurance are up to date; put ID cards, passports and driver’s license in a waterproof bag along with other important documents.

If you are a parent with an infant or young children, you also need to have essential items as part of your disaster supply kit: baby formula; diapers; bottles; powdered milk; medications; moist towels; and diaper rash ointment.  

The Office of Disaster Management (ODM), is advising all residents to begin to prepare timely for the Atlantic hurricane season, and to have the necessary plans in place before the peak of the season (August – October).  The hurricane season opens on June 1st.

Use the quiet period of the season to trim back tree branches from your home; cut all dead or weak branches on any trees on your property; clean-up your yard and put away items that could blow away during the passing of a hurricane. 

The 2017 hurricane season officially runs through November 30.


Division Public Education Hosts Motivational Day for Cycle II Year 4 Students

BELVEDERE – The Division of Public Education (DPE) within the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport is hosting a Motivational Day for the Public Schools’ cycle II year 4 students on Tuesday, May 23rd and today, Wednesday, May 24th.

The theme for this years’ Motivational Day is “Being Dependable helps you get the results you want.” The Motivational day is a two-part event and also consists of a Career Fair. The Career Fair is geared towards helping the students to find their path from early on, also inciting ideas on possible future careers.

The various stakeholders present were; St. Maarten Medical Center nurses, Sector Health Departments, Mrs. Georgiane Adriana-Henriquez, Ambulance Department, Fire Department, Mr. Cleon Federick, NIPA, Adriana’s Catering, Gaia Nails, St. Maarten Tourist Bureau, Mr. Celestine, Mr. Joslyn Richardson, St. Maarten Air Traffic Control, Mr. Walton Holiday, Auto Bev System, Staff of DPE.

The keynote speech was given by Mr. Lenworth Wilson Jr. “Today’s plan will focus on being dependable, which will allow you to refocus once again as you’re moving to another chapter in life, where you will have to adjust your mindset, your attitude, and you’ll begin to comprehend your life’s path and goals,” the Minister of Education, Ms. Silveria Jacobs said. 

The head of Division Public Education, Mrs. Glenderline Davis-Holiday addressed the students and thanked the stakeholders and the staff of DPE on a job well done.

The Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport wished the students a successful and productive Motivational Day and Career Fair and congratulated all who took part in organizing and ensuring the success of the event.


TelEm Group assisting with much-needed seniors bus repair

POND ISLAND - Kind-hearted volunteers with the Helping Hands Foundation were recently on the receiving end of kindness when they received a generous donation from TelEm Group to assist with repairs to their customized wheelchair bus for seniors.

The group appealed for help from TelEm Group so that they could continue their daily transport of seniors and disabled persons to hospital, various clinics and also to pharmacies for medical supplies.

According to Foundation treasurer, John Hodge, the bus service was in danger of coming to a grinding halt because of failing parts to the group’s customized wheelchair bus.

“Because our bus has a lifting mechanism for the wheel-chair bound, it is in high demand and needs to be on the road,” explained Mr. Hodge.

He said he was most grateful to TelEm Group and other sponsors who have rallied round to help with the cost of providing replacement parts for the vehicle.

“Our seniors have contributed to this island through hard labour and they deserve all the help we can give them at their time of need,” said the Foundation official.

TelEm Group Senior Account Manager, Lucrecia P. Lynch, thanked the Foundation for the work they are doing in the community on behalf of seniors and the disabled.

“We were informed that amongst the persons you transport to the hospital each day are many dialysis patients who have come to depend on your service to safeguard their life – for that and all the others work you do, we encourage you to continue aiding your community and much success,” said Lucrecia.


If the youth are the future, then the future is now Dennisio Duzong tells Parliament

GREAT BAY - “We often say that the youth are the future. Well, the future is now.” This statement by Dennisio Duzong, 27, of the Independence for St. Martin Foundation (ISMF) sums up one of the main reasons the foundation is requesting Parliament to convene a new constitutional referendum.

Making the case for ISMF in its presentation before the Central Committee of Parliament on Wednesday, May 17, 2017, Duzong received high praise from members of parliament one of whom said the future is in good hands.

“Unless we are willing to take full responsibility for ourselves and the choices we make, we have no control over our lives. We have been given all the power to create our experiences through our choices, but if we believe that outside forces are responsible for our choices, we give away all the power we have,” Duzong said.

He continued: “Today we are here to ask that the people of St. Martin be given a chance to make their own decision on their future. This is an inalienable right, a God-given right, which cannot be taken or given away, or transferred to another person.”

“Also, it is a fundamental aspect of every democratic process to consult the people,” Duzong said.

According to him, “A referendum gives the clearest and truest reflection of the will of the people and seeing as the subject is so sensitive, we need to consult the people about this matter. If we are talking about being as democratic as possible then this is the most democratic option.”

Reiterating what president of the foundation, Jose H. Lake Jr. had said in his introduction, and with the screen showing photographs of him at four years old and 10 years old, Duzong stressed that “it has been 17 years since the last referendum. From the restructuring of the Netherlands Antilles to the establishment of our current status, there have been two referenda. There was only six years between the first two.”

“This means there was a specific generation that got to decide twice on the course of our future, whereas in the lapse of almost two decades there is a generation that has not had a chance to voice its opinions on the future they envision for their homeland,” Duzong said.

He pointed out that “based on the 2011 census, this means that approximately 30 percent of my generation were not able to participate in the last referendum, or get a chance to place our fingerprint in the future of our country.”

Asked by USP leader, MP Frans Richardson how many of that 30% he believed were in favor of independence, Duzong replied: “That is precisely why we are here, to ask for a referendum so we can find out.”

“Will this Parliament now deny my generation the right to help determine the future?” he asked in conclusion.

Responding to a question by NA MP Rodolphe Samuel about facts and figures, Duzong said the only figure that was relevant to him was that of the more than 25% of the youth between the ages of 15 and 24 who were unemployed.

With regard to comments by DP MP Perry Geerlings who said he did not consider the fact that the last constitutional referendum was held 17 years ago a strong enough argument to request a new referendum, Duzong replied: “17 years ago, I was a child. My parents made the choices for me. Today, I have a child of my own. I want to be able to do the same for him.”


Homeowner Shot in Middle Region on Tuesday. Culprit still on the run

MIDDLE REGION - On Tuesday May 23rd at approximately 2.00 p.m. several police patrols, Forensic Department and paramedics were sent to Philips Drive in Middle Region after receiving a call of a shooting that had taken place.

On the scene the investigating officers located the victim who according to him and witnesses was shot by an unknown armed man. The victim also stated that the suspect entered his home and demanded money from him but did not comply with this demand and was then shot. The suspect then fled the scene in an unknown direction.

The area was immediately closed off for the detectives to question potential witnesses and for the Forensic Department to collect evidence. The victim was treated on the scene and then transported to the Sint Maarten Medical Center for further treatment.

The reason why or who the suspect in this case is, is still unknown and is under investigation. The identity of the victim has no yet been established. This is case is in its preliminary stages and as soon as more information becomes available the media will be informed. (Police Force Sint Maarten)


Coalition with ChristenUnie is the only option, chief negotiator says. Meetings continue on Tuesday

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – MPs from the Liberal democratic party D66 and the minor Christian party ChristenUnie will meet on Tuesday to discuss forming a coalition with the ruling VVD and the Christian Democrats.

Edith Schippers, who is in charge of the cabinet negotiations, told reporters on Monday afternoon that a combination of the four parties is the only option for a majority cabinet.

With both the Socialists and the Labour party ruling themselves out of the talks, there is no other option open, Schippers said. The Netherlands has been without a government since the March 15 general election.

Talks with the VVD, CDA, D66 and left-wing greens GroenLinks collapsed a week ago. D66 leader Alexander Pechtold has said he sees no point in an alliance with ChristenUnie because the two parties have widely differing views on ethical questions.

In particular, D66 backs assisted suicide for elderly people who consider their lives to be complete and an opt-out register of organ donors. The four party combine would also only have a one-seat majority in both houses of parliament. (DutchNews)


Three suspects arrested. Two fire-arms confiscated

PELICAN - On Sunday May 21st at approximately 1.45 a.m. a police patrol was directed to Hollywood Casino in connection with three suspicious men who were walking through the casino in question.

On the scene, the patrol encountered an off-duty colleague who informed them that he had also observed the suspicious behavior of these men. He also stated that these men had left the scene in a white car with heavily tinted windows. 

During a search of the area the suspect vehicle was seen driving in Cole Bay. The vehicle in which two men were driving at the time was stopped on the Welfare road by the patrol to be controlled.

During a search of the vehicle a back-pack which contained two fire arms and some clothing was found. These weapons were immediately confiscated for further investigation.

The third suspect in this case was also arrested shortly after on Welfare road. All three suspects with initials M.H.J. A. (24), M.J.D. (26) and R.J.A. (28) were arrested for illegal fire-arm possession and taken to the Philipsburg Police Station where they remain in custody for further investigation. (Police Force Sint Maarten)

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