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Mingo maintains his innocence. Has full confidence in outcome of the investigation

PHILIPSBURG – “This afternoon Mark Mingo, the St Maarten Harbour's CEO, has been released from pretrial detention,” a press release from Mingo’s attorney Hans de Jong on Wednesday stated.

“The Public Prosecutor's office has issued a press release concerning alleged fraud. Mr Mingo strongly denies the correctness thereof. No criminal offence whatsoever has been committed.

“He has full confidence in the outcome of the pending investigation. It is regretfull that the Public Prosecutor draws conclusions before the investigations are completed and issues irrelevant insinuations and suggestive remarks,” Mingo’s attorney Hans de Jong said on Wednesday.

On Wednesday, the Public Prosecution Service issued a press statement stating: “The Public Prosecution Office released 46-year old M.M. today, on Wednesday, June 28th 2017. His detention is no longer necessary for the investigation. The suspect was arrested in the Emerald investigation on June 7, 2017. Since that time, he was detained. He remains a suspect and the investigation in this case continues.

“The Emerald investigation started in April 2016 and revealed that some companies in Sint Maarten have allegedly sent fictitious or greatly increased bills to the port. These invoices were then paid. However, the work on these invoices were probably never, or only a small part executed. The involvement of the suspects M.M. and O.A., but also others, is currently under investigation.“The port and its subsidiaries are not a suspect in this investigation. Presumably this form of fraud has been going on for years. The first estimate is that in this way the port and the country Sint Maarten were disadvantaged for at least 7 million US Dollars. From that money, for example, a large number of social housing could have been built. For half of that amount the country could have refurbish all school buildings this year, or could have been used for the construction of the new hospital.

“More information will follow on this case as soon as there is more clarity about the extent of the fraud and the role of the suspects in this investigation.

“The investigation is part of a joint, intensive approach to cross-border corruption and fraud, also called the anti-corruption unit (Team Bestrijding Ondermijning). Corruption and money laundering poses a serious threat to the security and economies of the Caribbean countries of the Kingdom. The TBO of the RST, and the national detectives of Curaçao and Sint Maarten and the Public Prosecution Office are partners in the fight against undermining.”

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SMCP LEADER SMITH: RATING PARLIAMENT ON ITS ICT PERFORMANCE

PHILIPSBURG – “Congratulations to His Excellency drs. Eugene Holiday for hosting a timely, well organized, informative symposium entitled “ICT Governance: Shaping our Future”. The world of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is ever expanding and Sint Maarten needs to get on board before we are left behind,” Leader of the Sint Maarten Christian Party (SMCP) said on Wednesday.

“ICT is not only about having faster internet and more computers and smartphones in our society. Rather, it is more about planning, implementing and managing technology in order to promote and enhance the flow of information to and from citizens and to provide efficient service to citizens and to businesses.

“Where does Parliament stand in terms of ICT? Very poorly! A few months ago, when reviewing Parliament’s website in terms of the information it provides and how it interacts with the people, it was obvious that in both instances Parliament failed dismally. On March 27th of this year, a letter was delivered to the President of Parliament offering suggestions as to how to improve Parliament’s website so that the people could be better informed and served. Having received no response or even a confirmation from Parliament, this letter was resubmitted on June 13th 2017.

“To the Honorable Member & President of Parliament. As a concerned citizen, profoundly interested in the role and functioning of the Parliament of Sint Maarten, it is my belief that Parliament, as the direct representative body of the people of Sint Maarten, should be more transparent, accountable and communicative towards the people of this country. It behooves Parliament to disseminate as much information as possible in order to raise the level of awareness of the people concerning this new and august co-legislative and supervisory body in Sint Maarten.

“Consequently, I would like, via this letter, to draw your attention to the following concerns and suggestions that would serve to raise the transparency level between parliament and the people of Sint Maarten. The following suggestions also address the question raised by the St Maarten 2015 National Integrity System Assessment on page 32 and issued by Transparency International namely: to what extent can the public obtain relevant and timely information on the activities and decision-making processes of the legislature in practice?

“As Parliament’s website is the main source of information at this time, it should be relevant, user friendly and easily accessible to the people. Please note that the current website is in urgent need of a general overhaul. The audio archives need some serious updating. The last audio recording dated back to January 26th 2016. Note also that not all of the parliamentary meetings are available in the audio archives. Furthermore, the audio files need to be labeled better so that one can easily find the meeting one is looking for.

“The video archives are in need of some serious updating and overhauling as well. These need to be complete because several video recordings of parliamentary meetings have not been taken up in the archives and consequently, people who go to the archives are unable to find what they are looking for.

“For example, the first meeting of the NA/UP Government held on October 31st is missing; also, the budget meetings held in December 2016 are incomplete. In addition, the meeting concerning the establishment of parliamentary committees is also missing. These are but a few examples of missing videos on the website. Furthermore, the videos also need to be clearly labeled and identified so that one can find a particular meeting with much greater ease than now is the case.

“The telephone numbers, email addresses and office hours of the MPs should be listed. I hereby also suggest that a brief Bio of each MP be given as well as the various committees that an MP is a member of.

“I tested parliament’s email address that is listed on the website (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) by submitting a question to parliament. To my surprise and joy I received an immediate reply stating that I would receive an answer within one business day. Three months have since passed and I am still awaiting the promised reply from Parliament. I suggest that someone of the administration be assigned to check Parliament’s emails and to ensure that the necessary follow up is carried out expeditiously.

“I have noticed that the Parliament of Curaçao posts all the documents related to the agenda points of a meeting on their website. Is it possible for the Parliament of Sint Maarten to also post the same on its website?

“Minutes of public and committee meetings are not available on the website. Will these be posted soon on the website?

“These are just a few of the observations and suggestions that I submitted in writing to the President of Parliament. I ended my letter by stating that in the interest of ensuring that the people of Sint Maarten receive accurate, relevant and timely information, “I kindly request that you look into the above-mentioned issues and problems so that the people will be kept abreast of what is taking place in Parliament with their elected representatives. Trusting that you will be able to improve the communication and information flow between parliament and the people in the near future, I remain”, Wycliffe Smith, Leader of the Sint Maarten Christian Party concludes.

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Possible phantom tropical development next week. Things could possibly get busy after mid-July

SINT MAARTEN/CARIBBEAN - Tropical development is unlikely across the Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico for the rest of this week right through this weekend as there are no areas that are of significant concern right now, according to Crown Weather.

“One feature that continues to be eyebrow raising is the robustness and strength of the tropical waves that have been pushing off of the African coast. For late June, they are quite strong and look like something you would see in late July or August, not in June. The reason why I mention this is because some of the model guidance are hinting that tropical development could occur somewhere between the Lesser Antilles and the coast of Africa next week. So, let's take a look a closer look at this to see whether this could in fact be real or just a imaginary storm forecast by the model guidance.

“The tropical disturbance that some of the model guidance, the GFS model in particular, are forecasting to develop next week is currently located over west-central Africa near the 0 Degree Longitude line. Satellite imagery this morning indicated that there is deep thunderstorm activity occurring with this disturbance and this system should emerge off of the coast of Africa into the eastern Atlantic by this weekend.

“The GFS model guidance has been pretty persistent in forecasting that this particular tropical wave will develop into a tropical cyclone by the time it reaches 30 West Longitude by early next week. From there, the GFS model forecasts that this system will impact the northern Lesser Antilles by July 9th. Looking beyond the GFS model, none of the other models, including the Canadian or European model guidance are forecasting any sort of tropical development for the next week to 10 days. Although, the European model does hint at low pressure development just southwest of the Cape Verde Islands late next week.

Even though I will be keeping a very close eye on all of the tropical waves that are moving off of the African coast, I think the GFS model may be putting out a phantom storm for next week. The reason why is that the environmental conditions from the coast of Africa to about 30 West Longitude are unfavorable for development due to strong wind shear.

“In addition, any tropical disturbances that move north of 15 North Latitude between the Lesser Antilles and the coast of Africa will have a very difficult time developing due to very strong westerly wind shear. So, basically right now the conditions across a large part of the Atlantic are not favorable for anything to develop into a tropical depression or a tropical storm.

“I do still think things will remain fairly quiet in terms of tropical development through at least the 4th of July and probably right up to about the week of July 10th. The overall atmosphere and environmental conditions across the Atlantic are expected to be unfavorable due to a downward motion pulse of the Madden Julian Oscillation for the next couple of weeks or so. In addition, widespread sinking air, moderate to strong wind shear and dry stable air are all expected to be an issue across a large part of the Atlantic through at least early July.

“Beyond this, however, a new upward motion pulse of the Madden Julian Oscillation is forecast to gradually move into the Atlantic Basin after July 10th. So, I think that we will see tropical activity in the Atlantic Basin begin to ramp up after July 10th and especially beginning during the July 15th to July 20th time frame as the upward motion pulse of the Madden Julian Oscillation moves into the Atlantic Basin.

“Lending some credence to this is that the CFS model guidance has been quite consistent in forecasting favorable conditions for tropical development to develop from the Caribbean through the Lesser Antilles to the central and eastern Atlantic during the week of July 10th. So, while things are fairly quiet right now, I strongly believe that we will see things get busy in the Atlantic Basin by mid and late July,” Crown Weather concludes.

crown inside one

crown inside two

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Tourist Bureau attending Route Development for Tourism Destinations Course

SINT MAARTEN/MIAMI - Head of the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau Rolando Brison and Senior Policy Advisor at the Cabinet of the Minister of Tourism Julian Lake are in Miami, Florida attending the Route Development for Tourism and Destinations course hosted by Routes Latin America.

This course shows destinations and tourism authorities how to boost tourist numbers through route development.

Tourism authorities and destinations have an important role to play in route development. Airlines have said that the support offered by destination partners is one of the most important factors when deciding whether to launch a new route, and they prefer to deal collectively with stakeholders who have a unified approach.

The course shows participants how to utilize their collective resources to beat the competition and win new air services.

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FIU Sint Maarten and OM start “non-reporting project”

PHILIPSBURG - The FIU (Financial Intelligence Unit Sint Maarten), and the Public Prosecutor’s Office (OM) will be working together in the “non-reporting project”. The aim of the “non-reporting project” is to provide more, timely and better reports of unusual transactions to the FIU.

The FIU is on Sint Maarten the supervisor carrying out investigations into mandatory institutions and compliance with the National Ordinance reporting unusual transactions (LV MOT) and the National Ordinance Identification Service (LV ID). The Designated Non-Financial Businesses and Professions (DNFBP) on the island include notaries, accountants, jewelers, car dealers, administrative offices and real estate agents.

The FIU on Sint Maarten has been diligently working on the registration and providing of information to the DNFBP and the Financial Institutions on the island when it comes to reporting unusual transactions and performing client due diligence. A large majority of these businesses and professions adhere to the registration and information requirements, however, a small group of DNFBP do not comply or do not fully comply.

Information of the DNFBP who do not adhere to the registration requirement of at the FIU can be transferred to the OM for criminal investigations. This is based on article 23 of the LV MOT. In a later stage of the project the results of the FIU audits will be discussed with the Public Prosecutor’s Office to determine if this should be followed up by criminal investigation in case reports are not submitted, or submitted incomplete, or no client due diligence was conducted.

The approach to money laundering and terrorism financing is a global initiative. It is very important for the effectiveness of combating all forms of serious crime as well as the protection of the integrity of the financial and economic market. Capturing the criminal origin of crime proceeds prevents the perpetrators of these crimes from staying out of the reach of the investigating authorities and enjoy, without any obstacles, their criminal proceeds.

The DNFBP are obliged to report unusual transactions to the FIU. These so-called 'gatekeepers' are indispensable in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing and it is therefore important that they comply with their obligations under the LV MOT and the LV ID.

The FIU then assesses whether the unusual transaction is suspicious. If the transaction is considered suspicious, it can be investigated by the authorities. If institutions fail to report unusual transactions or if they intentionally do so late then this will work undermining in relation to national and global financial integrity. and In addition, thereto it can be considered as unfair competition to parties who comply with all relevant laws in this respect. In case of such failure, OM has the authority to initiate a criminal investigation.

For more information on FIU and the notifierproject go to:  www.fiu-sxm.net

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Class of 2017 brought the hype for a successful prom Night 2017

MAHO - The eventual Prom King rolled up in a self-made chariot, stretch limos rolled past Maho and parents gathered in droves to witness and cheer a parade of elegantly dressed students who attended Teen Times Prom Night 2017.

The event was held on Sunday evening, June 25 at Tantra Nightclub and drew about 300 high school senior who, as they were encouraged to do, created memories on the only Prom Night they will ever get. 

Teen Times Prom Night, a staple of the end-of-school-year activities for the past 21 years, bore the theme “Enchanted Forest, and Artemia Event Planners did not disappoint with it décor that transformed Tantra. Hanging vines and white draping were the central pieces in the venue which was brought alive by lighting provided by Genesis Music Group.

While the décor set the mood, the students brought what Teen Times calls the Prom spirit. “We can easily say that the Class of 2017, although a bit smaller than other years, definitely brought their Prom Spirit to Prom Night 2017,” Coordinator of Teen Times Roosje Rommy-Richardson said. “They were hype and fully into it from start to finish.”

No one was more “hype” or “fully into it” more than Tafari Lake a senior of Caribbean International Academy (CIA) who raised Prom entrances to another level. Most of the students rolled up to Prom in luxury vehicles and others, such as Sundial School, came together as a group in a Prom bus. But not Tafari Lake.

Tafari decided he was going to be a movie and stand out and arrive at prom Night on a self-made chariot pulled by a four-wheeled ATV. He then stepped off of his chariot and modeled his way to the entrance of Tantra where he stopped, flung his “Enchanted Forest” cape to the floor and posed for photos before going into the Prom hall. “Lets just say in terms of entrances to prom, that set the standard so far,” Rommy-Richardson said.

Students spent the rest of the night dancing away to the tunes of the Cut Creator DJ Outkast and special performances by Soca stars King James and King Rumer.  Teen Times awarded Kyeanna Connor with Prom Queen Honors, Brianna Halley with Best Dress, Best Suit went to Walter Margarita, Best Couple was Malcolm Martes and Lakeisha Walwyn, Prom Prince went to Giovanni King and Prom Princess to Juliann Richardson.

All of the winners received prizes from Blue Point and randomly selected students also received gift pouches from the company as tokens of appreciation for their hard work. Rommy-Richardson went on to thank all of the students and their parents for fully embracing the concept of Prom Night. She also thanked Artemia for “really bringing our event alive”, Bureau Telecommunication & Post, Genesis Music Group, The Daily Herald, suppa Kid who was the host of the event and Tantra Nightclub “for being such great hosts and always willing to work with Teen Times. To Manny and his crew we owe you the world of thanks,” she said. 

PHOTO CUTLINE: Prom King Tafari Lake and Prom Queen Kyeanna Connor.

prom inside one

PHOTO CUTLINE: King James entertaining Prom Students on Sunday night.

prom inside two

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Dorzier wins dinner for two after his prediction of the employment rate

PHILIPSBURG - Myson Dorzier was the winner of a dinner for two at Melange International Grill after his prediction of the employment rate (94%) was the closest based on the recent results of the 2017 Labour Force Survey (LFS) conducted by the Department of Statistics (STAT).

"Predict 2017 Employment" was conducted by the Department of Statistics. A link to the full LFS report is available on the STAT. 

He is presented with his prize by Joy-Ann van Arneman, Social statistician at STAT. 

The final labor survey report can be seen here: https://goo.gl/MPeFU8.

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GEBE staff take center stage as Management Introduces ‘Power to Serve’ Toastmasters Club

PHILIPSBURG - NV GEBE staff take center stage as their Managing Board introduces the “POWER TO SERVE Toastmasters Club” as a means to assist its workers in their personal and professional development.

Toastmasters International is a world leader in hands-on communication and leadership training since 1924 and is used by Industry giants such as Apple, AT&T, Bank of America, The Coca-Cola Company, Exxon Mobil, Google, Microsoft and The Walt Disney Company, who have found the program to be an effective staff development tool that benefits their organization in a meaningful way. 

The Toastmasters program helps members to develop better listening, thinking and speaking skills by practicing prepared and impromptu speeches as well as receiving and giving constructive evaluations and feedback.  Members are also challenged to accept leadership roles in order to develop their leadership skills.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NV GEBE, Mr. Kenrick Chittick expressed the Managing Board’s commitment to achieve excellence through improved internal communication and greater customer satisfaction.  

THE POWER TO SERVE Toastmasters Club was initiated by Mr. Georges Richardson, incoming President of the club, with the assistance and guidance of District 81’s Division E Director, Kathia Magdeleine. 

Mr. Richardson voiced his pleasure at finally seeing the birthing of this new club and applauds GEBE for granting its workers such a great opportunity through its sponsorship.

The enthusiasm of employees did not go unnoticed during a very well-attended demonstration meeting as they rose to the challenge and participated with vigor.  Many expressed their excitement as they look forward to beginning their journey by taking the first step, which is acceptance of the program.

The introduction of THE POWER TO SERVE Toastmasters Club is multifaceted as it will help improve employee performance leading to fulfilment of the organization’s objective to achieve excellence.

District 81 Director (over the entire Caribbean region), Ms. Sherry-Ann Batson is slated to install members and Club Executives during a ceremony on Wednesday, June 28th 2017.

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St. Maarten Lions Club Hosts Lions Little League Team

PHILIPSBURG - The President, Board, Youth and Education Committee and members of the St. Maarten Lions Club hosted the Lions Club Little League baseball team players, coaches, a few parents and supporters at the Lions Den Meeting Room for pizza, drinks and an inspiring baseball movie called “The Perfect Game”.  

"The Perfect Game" film is based on a true story of the events leading up to the 1957 Little League World Series, which was won by the first team from outside the United States, the Industrial Little League of Monterrey, Mexico, who defeated the heavily favored U.S. team. Mexican pitcher Ángel Macías threw the first, and so far only, perfect game in championship game history.

The young Little League team members between the age group 10 to 12 years old and Lions Club members were very enthusiastic about the evening as this was the first time that the St. Maarten Lions Club with the assistance of Domino’s hosted and treated its own sponsored baseball team after their Little League season ended.

Many St. Maarten Lions Club members attended games of the team at the Little League Ball Park over the past few months.     

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Register your child for the Summer Fit Camp. Deadline is July 5

GREAT BAY (DCOMM) – Collective Prevention Services (CPS) is organizing once again a free Summer Fit Camp for children ages 9-12 years old, which will be held at the Caribbean International Academy (CIA) in Cupecoy from July 10th to 15th 2017.

The goal of the health camp is to promote and educate children on healthy eating habits and encourage physical activity to promote healthy behavior change and combat the increase of obesity on our island.

The children will be divided into groups of five and will have their own group leader appointed to them.  The group leader’s role is to supervise and support the children while participating in activities to motivate and encourage participation.

Organized activities are dance, adventure hike, gardening, pool activities, cooking demonstration nutrition sessions and motivational sessions.

The children will learn about healthy meal and snack choices, healthy food portions, and the importance of drinking water rather than juice.  They will be exposed to good sportsmanship, team building activities and will also receive knowledge positive self-esteem and confidence.

An orientation meeting will take place 6:30pm on July 7th, 2017 at the CPS Office. The orientation meeting will provide parents and guardians with information related to the camp such as camp rules, meals provided, scheduled activities, pick up and drop of location (which is at Raoul Illidge Ports Complex).

If your child does not have any pre-existing health conditions, but has an overweight concern, then this camp is the ideal opportunity for your child to participate in healthy activities. 

The deadline for registration is July 5th; space is limited. Persons interested in participating in the camp as a group leader can also request for registration.

Forms can be obtained from the Collective Prevention Services office at the Vineyard Park Office Building in Philipsburg.

You can also contact Camp Coordinator Swinda Richardson via phone at 542-3553 or 542-2078 or by email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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