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USP extends condolences over passing of Neville York

PHILIPSBURG - Leader of the United St. Maarten (US) party MP Frans Richardson and the board of the party on Tuesday extended condolences to the family and friends of Neville York who passed away early Tuesday morning, the USP said in a press statement on Tuesday.

Mr. York leaves behind a rich history of defending St. Maarten’s culture and exporting this culture whenever he could. The USP considers Mr. York a cultural icon whose work and dedication to the art of steel pan, local jazz and other art forms will never be forgotten.

His contributions as a proud citizen of St. Maarten, to the people and cultural history St. Maarten, deserves an abundance of praise. As a people we should be thankful and appreciative for what he has done for our country and our national identity.

May his family find strength through God’s guidance in these very difficult times.  

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We might ‘gesave’ and ‘gestream’, but English is not a threat to Dutch, says report

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Dutch is not under threat from English as a language and is still spoken by some 24 million people worldwide, according to a new report, quoted in Trouw on Monday.

The report, by the Meertens Institute for Dutch language and culture, Dutch promotion body Taalunie and researchers at Ghent University, says English is rarely a threat to Dutch in daily life.

The researchers questioned over 7,500 people in the Netherlands and Belgium about their use of the language. They found Dutch is dominant in nearly every sector and is regarded by both native and new speakers as a ‘beautiful’ language which should be passed on.

Dutch, the report states, ‘is a viable language with excellent survival chances in the future’.

While youngsters in particular are incorporating more foreign words – primarily English – into the language, the words themselves are becoming ‘Dutchified’ in terms of grammar, the report points out. Saven, appen and streamen are examples of this.

In IT, shipping, air transport and scientific research, however, English is becoming more dominant.

The research also shows that English is increasingly popular as a language to read the news in. Some 28% of the Dutch people questioned in the survey say they regularly read the news in other languages.

Some 10-15% of DutchNews.nl’s readers are native Dutch speakers. (DutchNews)

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MHF will have the Annual Mother’s Day Candle Sale as of Wednesday

CAY HILL - Candles that were produced by Mental Health Foundation (MHF) clients in the foundation's candle factory, will be on sale for Mother’s Day 2017. They are available in various shapes, colors and sizes, a press release from MHF said.

The candle factory falls under the Faraja care product and, since 2007, has been the largest community outreach-based project at the foundation that showcases the skills of participating clients and staff.

Kooyman has recently donated their left over candles, which are currently also being recycled in the MHF candle store, and will be for sale.

The public can purchase candles at the entrance of MHF Faraja Center at Leopard Road # 1, Cay Hill, on Wednesday May 10th from 10 PM to 4 PM and Thursday May 11 2017 from 10 AM to 4 PM.

For more information and sales visit the MHF online candle shop, www.mhf-sxm.com. Additional information can be obtained by calling tel. 542-1677 ext. 507.

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Ministry of Health Drafting Multi-Hazard Disaster Plan for a Public Health Emergency

GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – The Department of Collective Prevention Services (CPS) which falls under the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour (Ministry VSA), is currently in the process of creating a Multi-Hazard Disaster Manual for the event of a Public Health Emergency.

The aforementioned will be in line with International Health Regulations (IHR) of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Plan of Action 2016-2021 for the creation of a resilient health sector.

Starting on May 10 until May 12, a follow-up multi-hazard workshop will be held that will include CPS staff, stakeholders and a representative from PAHO.

The workshop is a follow-up to the first one that was held in May 2016.

The WHO embarked on the process to reduce the risks of disasters where protecting people’s health is at the centre of a new international framework.

The Haiyan Typhoon in the Philippines to the Ebola crisis in West Africa, have highlighted the centrality of human health to collective goals in disaster risk reduction by all sectors.

WHO has designed a new policy framework Reducing Health Consequences of Emergencies and Disasters: A Risk Management Policy Guide to help countries to effectively manage emergency risks and reduce their health consequences.

Recognizing the importance of multi-hazard early warning systems to disaster risk reduction, WHO renewed its commitment to help all Member States achieve their core capacities to detect, assess, notify and respond to epidemics and other public health threats under the International Health Regulations (2005).

WHO has also released a new Comprehensive Safe Hospital Framework and launched the Hospital Safety Index (2nd Edition) to make hospitals safe and operational in disasters, which was one of the key targets under discussion in Sendai.

WHO’s collaboration with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) to establish the WHO-WMO Climate and Health Office and implement the Global Framework for Climate Services to meet the climate information needs of the health sector will also contribute significantly to reducing risks to health of extreme weather and climate-related hazards and climate-sensitive diseases.

CPS is looking forward to the workshop which PAHO is assisting with.  PAHO helps regional countries with health disaster risk management assessment in order to build disaster resilience throughout the Region.

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Police give robbery awareness training to 50+ Front Street Merchants

PHILIPSBURG - In the continued effort to provide a safer environment for residents and visitors to the island, the Sint Maarten Police Force partnered with the recently formed Philipsburg Safety Committee to provide a series of robbery awareness training to the Indian Merchants of Front Street.

The training which is broken down into two sessions consisted of a theory and practical part administered by the Arrest Team arm of the Police Force who is certified in tactical training.

Present at the first training was Minister of Justice Rafael Boasman who lauded the Safety Committee for taking the initiative to partner with the police to create awareness which in some cases can be a preventative measure or in some cases is the difference between a life and death situation.

“Being here today is proof that people are committed to work with us to make the island safer,” he said to the group of over 50 merchants and their staff gathered at the Cultural Center.

“It shows that you understand that the police cannot do it alone, it requires the involvement and effort of each of us and I am very happy to see that we are heading in the right direction.”

The Minister also commended the police team which was headed by Chief Commissioner of Police Carl John who personally led the training session.

“I am extremely proud of my Police team, which is headed by Chief John continues to go above and beyond to find new, innovative and creative ways to conduct their daily policing tasks, while ensuring that a good relationship is maintained with members of the community.”

Chairman of the Safety Committee Eric Ellis used the opportunity to congratulate the IMA for coming on board to participate in such an important venture. “It would be remiss of me not to use this opportunity to applaud the Merchants for rising to this occasion and embracing this training being offered by the police,” he said.

“It shows me that we all see the importance of ensuring a safer environment not only for us to conduct business but also for our clients and visitors whom we serve on a day to day basis, because the truth is; safety and security of our island is in everyone’s best interest and should be everybody’s business.”

The trainings which are still ongoing are being facilitated by the Safety Committee; which comprises of the Chamber of Commerce, the Insurance association and private entities such as the Indian Merchants Association (IMA).

These safety trainings are available to and are being conducted with several business entities that have requested it from the Police. (Police Force Sint Maarten)

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First Tropical Wave of the Hurricane Season Now Moving Across the Central Atlantic

SINT MAARTEN/CARIBBEAN - The first tropical wave of the Atlantic Hurricane Season is now pushing westward across the central Atlantic and is located along the 40 West Longitude line on Sunday morning according to Crown Weather.

“In addition, another area of disturbed weather is located over the eastern Atlantic along the 20 West Longitude line. Other tropical disturbances, some of them quite robust are located across central Africa.

“Even though none of these tropical disturbances are expected to develop, should the strength of these disturbances continue into this summer and autumn, then the potential for named tropical storms and hurricanes in the central and eastern Atlantic that may end up impacting areas from the Caribbean and the Bahamas through the south-eastern United States and Gulf of Mexico will be something to really watch.

“Finally, there seems to be increasing factors that are pointing towards a more active hurricane season than what I originally thought. ENSO conditions may remain neutral and may never peak above a weak El Nino state.

“In addition, conditions across the Caribbean and the Tropical Atlantic are not hostile and are in fact a little more favorable than they have been over the past couple of years or so. These environmental conditions will be closely monitored as we head into the hurricane season,” Crown Weather concludes.

off africa

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Visit by Dutch Fire Department to Caribbean Netherlands Fire Brigade

SABA/ST. EUSTATIUS - At the end of April both the Chairman and the Deputy Chairman of the Dutch Fire Brigade visited the Caribbean Netherlands Fire Brigade (BKCN). This visit forms part of the strategy of the Dutch Fire Brigade to orient itself more overseas in the coming period.

The agreements on this visit were made during the last Fire Congress in Twente between the President Netherlands Fire Services Stephan Wevers and the General Commander of BKCN, Jair Tromp.

During the hectic multi-day programme in various sessions a large number of topics arose that are relevant to both parties. This is how BKCN received an extensive explanation of the developments within the fire field in the European Netherlands and could paint a good impression of the Brigade and its challenges.

As a result of the visit concrete follow-up appointments were made in a number of areas including the provision of information in the direction of BKCN, possible temporary staff support from the Netherlands and educating and training of particularly fire officers.

The General Commander said: "BKCN is honored with the visit of Mr. Wevers and Mr. Kransen and we have every confidence that closer cooperation will result in opportunities for both parties". (RCN Caribbean Netherlands)

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Steady influx of Sargassum Seaweed Being Recorded in Sint Maarten

COLE BAY - The St. Maarten Nature Foundation has been reporting a steady influx of Sargassum seaweed over the past few weeks. The organization has been monitoring the progress of sargassum seaweed and has recorded that a steady influx of the weed has been happening on Eastern facing beaches since mid-April: “We have been continuing our monitoring efforts with our partners in the region and based on weather predictions and aerial surveys plus monitoring efforts along our costs we are seeing a medium influx of sargassum now for the past two weeks.

“We are now working on coordinating with stakeholders regarding the removal activities of the seaweed, which can cause serious risks to nesting sea turtles and hatchlings,” commented Nature Foundation Manager Tadzio Bervoets. 

“Economically speaking there is a serious effect that seagrass can have on the beaches of the island. As soon as the grass is cleared it is being deposited back on the beach by the wind and currents.

“We will continue to work towards researching the effects of the grass and some possible solutions but at this point Sint Maarten, like many islands in the Caribbean, are being heavily impacted,” continued Bervoets. 

Sargassum is a genus of brown (class Phaeophyceae) seaweed which is distributed throughout the temperate and tropical oceans of the world. Most of the Sargassum Seaweed lies concentrated in the Sargassum Sea, a region in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean surrounded by ocean currents.

It is bounded on the west by the Gulf Stream; on the north, by the North Atlantic Current; on the east, by the Canary Current; and on the south, by the North Atlantic Equatorial Current. 

Sargassum first plagued the Caribbean and St. Maarten in 2011 and 2012, with the Foundation having to warn swimmers to avoid swimming in Guana Bay in August and September due to the large amount of Sargassum Weed and many beach front residences and hotels having to continuously clean washed up Sargassum. 

The Nature Foundation will continue to monitor the situation and will issue releases as information becomes available.

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Ministry of Health addressing Public Health related to the Environment

GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – The Department of Collective Prevention Services (CPS) which falls under the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour (Ministry VSA), has initiated the dialogue process in order to be able to address public health aspects related to the surrounding environment.

Starting on May 8, a representative from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Office of Caribbean Program Coordination, Ton Vlugman, Senior Advisor, Water, Sanitation and Environmental Health, will be hosting a two-day workshop for public and private sector stakeholders.

The general stakeholder’s workshop will include a presentation about the concept of Environmental Health within the scope of sustainable development; and a focus on an Integrated Solid Waste Management Strategy.

The objective of the workshop as well as the steps to be taken thereafter is to allow the Ministry of Public Health to be able to address the public health aspects surrounding the environment in a timely manner along with ministerial partners and other relevant key stakeholders on environmental health matters.

“While the Ministry of VROMI works on their Integrated Waste Management plan, some of the conclusions from this workshop will assist VROMI in setting standards and parameters for air quality and pollution that will be incorporated in the terms of reference for the Integrated Waste Management plans and any interim solution,” stated Minister Emil Lee.

There will also be field visits to the landfills on the Dutch and French sides where information related to the waste collection systems and recycling programs will be collected.

Part of the planning includes the development of a “Public Health Plan on Integrated Waste Management” within the realm of Social Determinants of Health, Primary Environmental Health Care.

  

“The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that outdoor and indoor air pollution kill 6.5 million people on an annual basis, making polluted air the most deadly consequences of environmental degradation.

“Air pollution is one of the most pernicious threats to health because it is so pervasive. No one can escape it. Everyone has to breathe. When breathing becomes deadly, entire cities become a hazard to health,” the WHO points out.

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SHTA and EPIC nominate Tri-Sport for CHTA 2017 CHIEF Award for Environmental Sustainability

PHILIPSBURG - Today, the St. Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association (SHTA) and Environmental Protection in the Caribbean (EPIC) released the nomination of Tri-Sport for the prestigious CHIEF Award for the category of Environmental Sustainability.

The CHIEF Award, run by the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA), highlights through the best practice of Caribbean businesses that improves the wellbeing of the industry and the region.

Tri-Sport was nominated by SHTA and EPIC not only for their innovative eco-friendly tours that give the opportunity to visitors to experience St. Maarten’s unknown treasures but also their relentless and passionate dedication in improving the environment and the St. Maarten community. Tri-Sport has repeatedly proven itself as a good corporate citizen, not only through educating but by also always practicing the essentials of their message.

With campaigns such as “Share the Road” which aims at improving road conditions and making them safer for bikers and pedestrians or community, beach and lagoon clean-ups, Tri-Sport has proven itself to be a valuable contributor to the environmental sustainability of the island and the preservation of our natural resources and habitats.

“It is an honour to be nominated by EPIC and SHTA for the CHIEF Award Environmental Sustainability category. Defending our environment and respecting our eco system is everyone’s responsibility, and Tri-Sport will continue doing all it can to promote tourism, while reducing its carbon footprint and sustaining the natural habitats and cultures that make St. Maarten so special. We are grateful for the awareness awards such as the CHIEF AWARD bring to the tourism sector, and we are proud to be part of it” said Susy Piscione, owner and manager of Tri-Sport.

Top five finalists in each category will be announced May 5th and will be judged on Approach undertaken, results achieved and best practices. The Chief Award categories are Operations, Sales and Marketing, Environmental Sustainability and Social Responsibility.

Long-time partners, EPIC and SHTA are actively increasing their collaboration and EPIC’s expertise in the field of sustainability was of great assistance to SHTA in choosing a suitable nominee that is active and well respected in this category. EPIC and SHTA are currently collaborating in organizing a sustainability mixer to be held on June 1st at Holland House to further promote environmental sustainability on St. Maarten.

Environmental Protection in the Caribbean is the National Operator for the international Green Key and Blue Flag program for Tourism businesses and always strives to promote sustainability amongst tourism businesses on St. Maarten and preserve the natural environment and ecosystem. Any business interested in learning more about applying for the award programs or to find out more about EPIC’s Environmental involvement can visit www.epicislands.org.

The SHTA, the largest business representative on the island, is dedicated to bringing quality to all aspects of life on St. Maarten by promoting sustainable economic development for its members in cooperation with the social partners and the creation of a fair marketplace. For more information, please contact the SHTA office: 542-0108, e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit the website www.shta.com

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