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15-Year Old Arrested in connection Carnival Jump-Up Stabbing Incident

PHILIPSBURG - In connection with an ongoing investigation, conducted by the Youth and Moral Department, the minor T.H., 15 years old was arrested on August the 5th 2017.

This investigation regards a fight that took place on the 17th of April 2017, during the "Opening Carnival Jump-up", whereby one person received stab wounds.

T.H. was arrested on request of the prosecutor and questioned. He remains in custody pending further investigation. (Sint Maarten Police Force)

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Local Educational Technology Innovators attend largest global ISTE Conference

PHILIPSBURG - Recently staff representing the majority of St. Maarten school boards attended the ISTE conference in San Antonio, Texas.

This conference focused on innovative integrated technology in education. Every year more than 20,000 educators from all over the world come together sharing good practices and showing the newest developments in the area of education and technology. 

The local school boards SVOBE, FAVE, SKOS, Public Schools, Seventh Day Adventist and Hillside Christian schools acknowledge the wealth of information available at ISTE and invested in sending representatives to San Antonio.

Foresee Foundation, an independent non-profit foundation supporting innovative educational projects, also attended and was delighted to see how the number of local St. Maarten participants has grown over the years.

As often said these days, in education we are training young people for jobs who do not exist as yet. A clear example is the role that a number of these St. Maarten educators preparing for new tasks.  

To successfully implement technology throughout the schools is a very challenging job whereby educational leaders have recognized the necessity of creating new job roles where specialist educators guide schools, students and staff to become better equipped.  

With projects in schools, such as the public school iStep project, the DigiKidz and DigiTeenz programs and the C-TEC conference, everybody is encouraged to get engaged in the use of technology in the classroom and even bring it also beyond the four walls of the building as learning can take place in a very flexible manner at any time and at any place.

This will allow for more flexibility in terms of planning, personalizing learning and equal opportunities for students.

The ISTE conference was a big eye-opener whereby lots of valuable ideas were taken along to be implemented at the respective schools. Out of the more than 500 exhibitors displaying their products and over 1,500 workshops to choose from, the most popular themes focused on innovative active learning, creating and designing learning with an emphasis on coding/programming/robotics, virtual learning and augmented reality, 3D printing, collaboration through social media, digital literacy, citizenship and safety, gamification in education and BYOD/ 1:1 devices (one device per student).

The latter discusses the implementation, the pros and cons of students bringing their own devices and/or the alternative of school boards/school districts investing heavily in purchasing computers, laptops, tablets, and setting up strong and secure networks which can guarantee the amount of data traffic while securing privacy.

This all needs to be done within the context of preparing and training staff and students in digital citizenship, literacy and internet safety.  

All attendants employed by the St. Maarten school boards and Foresee are keen on moving forward St. Maarten education bringing 21st century learning skills further into their local schools upcoming school year.

PHOTO: Sergio Blomont, IT DigiTeenz program manager Milton Peters College with Steve Dembo, keynote speaker at last year’s St. Maarten CTEC conference for educators.

Sergio Blomont with Steve Dembo keynote at St. Maarten C TEC 2016 in San Antonio inside1

PHOTO: ISTE conference, San Antonio-Texas US -  impressions – one of the keynotes and overview).

Overview ISTE inside 2

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School Bus Inspection Deadline is Thursday

GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – The Inspectorate of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Traffic and Telecommunications (TEATT) would like to provide an update on the status of the school bus inspections in preparation for the start of the new school year.

School bus inspections commenced July 17, 2017. As per Friday, August 4, 2017, a total of 26 school buses have been inspected with three pending to be re-inspected which equates to almost 50% of the entire school bussing fleet.

The remaining school bus operators are still pending to make appointments and have their school buses inspected.  As the department, needs to ensure that it is fully prepared for the new school year the deadline to have your school bus inspected will be Thursday, August 10, 2017. 

Operators who still have not had their inspections completed by August 10, 2017 face the real possibility of not being permitted to transport students come August 14th as the condition and suitability of the school bus to transport school children safely can’t be determined. 

The department strongly urges all remaining bus operators to contact Section School Bussing at 5425641, 5204072 or alternatively, visit our office at Cannegieter Street #23B (upstairs) next to Sr. Borgia School during office hours, before the deadline.

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Food wholesalers and warehouse depots requested to have plans in place to secure premises in event of a storm/hurricane threat

GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – Food wholesalers and warehouse depots are requested to have their facilities storm/hurricane ready by having a plan in place to prepare and secure their properties in the event of a storm/hurricane threat, the Office of Disaster Management said on Monday. 

Every effort must be made to be prepared to take timely action in clearing storage areas properties of loose pallets and other materials in the event of a weather related threat.

The primary objective is the protection of the people first and foremost, property and surrounding residential areas.

Materials such as plywood, shipping pallets, food pallets, pieces of metal used to secure pallet shipments, can easily become flying missiles capable of impaling brick walls or anything in its way. 

It is the responsibility of the business owner to have plans in place to remove any materials and/or have them properly secured on the property within a short period of time in the event of a storm/hurricane threat.

When a tropical storm or hurricane watch is issued 48-hours before a system is forecasted to hit the country, businesses should activate their business resilience hurricane preparedness plans which should also include the aforementioned.

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3rd Annual Breastfeeding Photo Contest Deadline Extended to August 11

GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – The Collective Prevention Service (CPS), a department in the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, has extended the deadline in connection with its 3rd Annual Breastfeeding Photo Contest, to and including Friday, August 11.

Those who would like to participate in the contest can still do so up until and including August 11 up to 12.00PM. Submissions should include your name, telephone number, description of photo and why you chose to breast feed; one image of yourself and your baby breastfeeding, and submitted to the Gmail email account below.

Due to ICT challenges, the deadline was extended from August 7.  All those who have already submitted their photo’s etc. prior to August 7 are requested to resubmit their submissions to the following new email address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The rules for the contest are: photographs must not be older than two-years; pictures must be submitted by the mother or partner; watermarks are not acceptable; pictures submitted after August 11 at 12.00PM will be disqualified; pictures will be judged.

Prizes are: 1st, a weekend stay at Sonesta Maho Resort & Casino; 2nd, a breakfast at Divi Resort and a Pandora Gift Certificate; 3rd, a Gift Certificate from Indulgence by the Sea and a goodie basket from Marinique Capriles & Son. 

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"Cuchi" back at Point Blanche Prison

POINT BLANCHE – On the 4th of August, Kathron Fortune aka ‘Cuchi’ was taken over by law enforcement personnel from Sint Maarten and brought back to Point Blanche prison where he will serve the remainder of his 21-year prison sentence rendered against him for the murder on Ervin Margarita in 2006, the Public Prosecution Service said on Friday evening. 

“On the 4th of August, the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Sint Maarten was informed that the Public Prosecutor on Saint Kitts and Nevis brought Fortune before the summary court in Saint Kitts & Nevis.

“The summary court ruled that Fortune gained illegal entry into the territory of Saint Kitts and Nevis and – subsequently - ruled that Fortune should be deported as an illegal alien. An order to deport Fortune was signed by the Prime Minister of Saint Kitts and Nevis,” the Public Prosecution Service said in a statement. 

On the 29th of July 2017 Kathron "Cuchi" Fortune was arrested by the law enforcement authorities of Saint Kitts and Nevis for illegal entry into the territory of Saint Kitts and Nevis. The Sint Maarten Police Force (KPSM) was informed of the arrest of Kathron Fortune. 

As Kathron Fortune travelled from Sint Maarten to Saint Kitts and Nevis previously, and also has Dutch nationality, authorities on Saint Kitts and Nevis decided to return Fortune to Sint Maarten. 

"Cuchi" Fortune escaped from Point Blanche prison on the 15th of February 2016.

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Rotary Mid Isle heeds call for Back to School Back Packs

SIMPSON BAY - It takes compassion to think of others who are in need. While we are all taught to share and help our neighbors, 16-year-old Ki-mani Olivacce a student of Learning Unlimited School has taken it to the next level.

For the second year he has called out to the community to come together and donate to a worthy cause of a ‘Back to School Drive’ for students in need.

The Rotary Club of St. Maarten-Mid Isle heeded the call for the second year under the direction of Service Projects Director Grace Linger. This year again we worked with the Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA).

Along with the help from LMSA and the generous donations and weekly fines of the Mid Isle Rotarians, we were able to shop and pack forty school back packs for the less fortunate students in our community.

This amounted to twenty back packs for elementary students and twenty back packs for high school students with all the necessary items for the start of the new school year 2017-2018. 

The Rotary Club of St. Maarten-Mid Isle meets Tuesday at 7pm at Mary’s Boone in Simpson Bay.

For more information please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit our Facebook page Rotary Club of St. Maarten-Mid Isle.

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Employers, unions set to join cabinet formation talks – restart next week

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Employers’ organisation VNO-NCW and union federation FNV have been invited to take part in the first post-holiday formation talks next Wednesday, a sign the negotiations may be entering their final phase, the Volkskrant reported on Friday.

The next meeting between the parties – VVD, D66, CDA and ChristenUnie – could be a crucial one where decisions may be made about contentious issues such as sickness benefits, flexible work, the self-employed, pensions and poverty, the paper said.

Joint proposals with unions and employers may make negotiations that much easier and early agreements may foil any resistance from the opposition, the paper writes. However, a comprehensive social accord is not on the cards this time.

The unions and employers partners want separate agreements on each issue in order to be able to criticize other plans. The FNV in particular is afraid to be seen as a pillar of a right-wing coalition, the paper said.

One of the items on the wish list of the unions and employers is a change to the sickness benefits system. They say small and medium sized businesses should only be responsible for one year of sickness benefits instead of two as at present.

The second year would be paid from a joint fund contributed to by all small and medium sized businesses. Unions and employers also want the four parties to consider early pensions for people who do heavy physical work.

Loggerheads

The two groups are, however, still at loggerheads over the new dismissal law, the Volkskrant writes. Employers, VVD and D66 think the new system is too rigid and too expensive and want to make dismissal easier.

FNV thinks a change in the law is unnecessary and wants to await an evaluation. Flexible work is another bone of contention: the FNV wants flexible work to be made more expensive for employers to encourage fixed contracts and the employers’ organisation wants to relax the rules surrounding flexible work.

They do see eye to eye about a policy to combat the poverty trap and the need for clearer regulations for the self-employed. Their number is growing, often because companies fire people to then employ them as freelancers.

The self-employed have also been faced with new rules surrounding their tax status, a system introduced by the outgoing government which has since become bogged down by administrative difficulties, the paper writes. (DutchNews)

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Two men arrested in the Lynx investigation involving a fatal stabbing

COLE BAY - On Tuesday August 1 and Wednesday August 2, two male suspects in the in the ongoing Lynx investigation were arrested by detectives. 

The suspects with initials M.J.H. and D.R.C. were arrested without incident and taken to the Police Headquarters in Philipsburg.

The Lynx case is the investigation concerning the recent brawl between two groups resulting in the fatal stabbing of one man. The suspects have been led in front of an Acting- prosecutor and remain in custody for further investigation. (Sint Maarten Police Force)

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Preparations for New General Hospital Progressing Well. Requests for Building Permits to be submitted

POND ISLAND – Minister of Public Health Emil Lee disclosed at the Council of Ministers press briefing this week that things are progressing well for the construction of a new General Hospital for Sint Maarten.

Minister Lee added that all parties concerned are working diligently on the Hospital plans.  Engineers, designers, and architects have been having discussions related to the construction drawings, and that these should be submitted to the Ministry of VROMI in two weeks in connection with a request for building permits.

Funding for the new General Hospital which is around US$60 million is also in the process of being finalized with funding coming from local institutions such as Social & Health Insurances Agency SZV and the Sint Maarten General Pension Fund APS.

The due diligence process in order to secure financing from the SZV should be completed this week followed by APS in a matter of weeks.

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