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DP responds to USP

PHILIPSBURG - The Democratic Party (DP) has been one of the longest serving parties in the history of St. Maarten.  We have had our ups and downs, but we have been there for the people of St. Maarten, now more than ever before, the DP Board said in a statement on Thursday. “Our main goal was and continues to be, "how can we make our island a better place for the people of St. Maarten". 

“To hear a political party, who welcomed the leader of the Democratic Party as the chairlady in one breathe and denounce her in the next, say some of the most unprofessional things is a shame to say the least.  This berating article from the USP board comes as no surprise, because the same lowdown type of message was previously shared in the NA/USP/DP coalition WhatsApp chat.

“Yes, the “testicular fortitude” message from the hand of a TEATT cabinet staffer, singling out 2 leaders of the coalition and calling the other (female) leader “spineless”. Well, for a spineless leader, Honorable MP, Sarah Wescot-Williams, surely has a vicious bite. Why, if the leader of the Democratic Party, was so incompetent, based on her "track record" did you include the Democratic Party in the coalition?  Why did the USP and the NA who together had a majority following the 2016 election, bring the DP into their coalition? They knew that “lil” bit of red made all the difference in the world.

“Reference is being made to the party being "Like an annoying mosquito that keeps you up at night".  If being an annoying mosquito means that we have had to buzz the words like, we have to be loyal to the people of St. Maarten, we have to take their well-being into consideration, we have to ensure that our people have a roof over their head, we have to ensure that our shores are ready for our visitors, we have to support our businesses so that they have the help that they need to be ready when we open our boarders to our guests. Then yes we are that mosquito and we will continue to be that mosquito ensuring that anyone who does not have the best interest of St. Maarten and its people at heart, wake up and smell the coffee.

“The Democratic Party might be small, but we will not be bullied into silence by a group of people who have had their self-serving interest smashed because we did not cower under the pressure.  We will not simply slide into obscurity and keep our mouths shut just because a few people stood behind their phones and literally tried to cyber bully us, as representatives of Country St. Maarten, into oblivion. What is evident, is the USP, the poster child for creating political coups, nepotism and backhandedness, as long as they are allowed to do what they want, like a spoiled child, without any push back or question, their partners are the sweetest persons in the world, well not the DP, SORRY!!!

“Like the bold red of our party we will stand firm and we will continue to stand if it means that things are not being done in the best interest of our country.  While others try to create smoke screens by posting false allegations and throwing piles of blame in an attempt to cloud the waters of reason, the Democratic Party will continue to fight for the people.  We believe that our time is best spent pounding the pavement of our parliament seeking justice, relief and proper negotiations for our people. 

“We can sit and talk about the roles assigned to the ministries of TEATT and Justice. We can look at the fact that while the ministry was out informing our cruise lines that we were ready to open, the merchants on Back Street and Front Street were shouting for proper security, assistance in cleaning up and a host of other issues that no one heeded the call to. Has anyone asked why St. Maarten was not ready for the strongly publicized November 11th cruise visit? Where are the reports of the hotels, and what is being done to ensure that these hotels are open so that our people can go back to their jobs and welcome our visitors back to our shores?   

“We can also talk about the break down in security during and after the hurricane and the lack of proper planning from the ministry of Justice. There is much to be said about a lot of issues. However, we are bigger than that and we will continue to focus on ensuring that the people of St. Maarten get the necessary relief that they will need, while not compromising our current and future generations to come. 

“We believe that our new coalition government is able and capable to help the people of St. Maarten.   The Democratic Party has partnered with a group of people who we believe are not about playing politics or smoothing down ego's but about making St. Maarten rise again.  We will continue to look out in the best interest of country St. Maarten and its people.  Our loyalty is to the people.  Our coalition will always be the people's coalition because the coalition, in our opinion will be about the people and, professionally, delicately, carefully and economically looking at what works for country St. Maarten.   

“In Part 2, please explain the following:

  • What will the USP say about the Integrity Law when it reaches Parliament?
  • Will the USP that quietly backtracked and signed the same border control agreement it rallied against for weeks, now sign “its” Integrity Chamber in Parliament?
  • Why did it take the Justice Minister weeks to buckle and sign the same border control agreement presented from day 1?
  • Can the USP give us the people of St. Maarten the “ingredients” for actually throwing down government? Revert to the infamous, “carnival coup”, if necessary.
  • Why did the leader of USP who so boisterously rants in Parliament, and defended the then PM Mr. William Marlin, leave the NA to form his own political party?
  • Please explain the formation of the USP with the many defectors or ship jumpers:

Maria Buncamper-Molanus by way of UPP, by way of DP

Romain Laville by way of UPP

Silvio Matser by way of UPP by way of NA

  • Why have MP Chanel Brownbill aligned himself with the Democratic Party and form part of the Coalition of 8?
  • MP –Leader Mr. Frans Richardson, said on the floor of Parliament, they went after the two most vulnerable and youngest MP’s. Why were candidates like

Leona Marlin-Romeo, Anna Rabess-Richardson, Lyndon Lewis left out in the cold?”

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Mosquito fogging schedule for Monday

GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – The Collective Preventive Services (CPS), a government department under the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, hereby informs the community that mosquito fogging will be carried out on Monday, December 4 from 6.00AM to 8.00AM and from 5.30PM to 8.00PM.

The fogging will start in the areas Lowlands, Rhine road, Cupecoy, University drive, Maho Reef, Airport Road, Beacon hill, Simpson Bay Village, Pelican, Cole Bay, Cay bay, Orange grove, Diamond and Almond Grove Estate.

If for some reason the Vector Control Unit cannot manage to do these areas in the 2.5-hour time frame, they will continue the next day and will inform on a continuous basis in which areas and days fogging will take place.

Residents living in the aforementioned areas are advised to take the following measures: Leave all doors and windows open to allow the insecticide to enter the building or house; Prevent pets from coming in contact with the insecticide; Toys for children should be covered or stored away; and cover all food and drinks.

For information about mosquito borne diseases such as dengue fever, zika and chikungunya and prevention measures, you can call CPS 542-2078 542-3003; or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  You can also report mosquito breeding sites at the aforementioned contacts.

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NA MP Samuel calls for more information about Government aid and assistance for hurricane victims

PHILIPSBURG – “Nearly three months after the passing of hurricane IRMA the people of St Maarten are still grappling to get their lives back in order,” said Member of Parliament (MP) from the National Alliance (NA) Rodolphe Samuel in a press statement.

“One of the main things that has to happen without further delay is the repairing of the roofs and especially those of our senior’s citizens.  Government on a bi-weekly basis is also providing food vouchers to the value of NAfls150 to those in need to facilitate the purchase of food products.

“Many persons have been to the government building in order to report that they are in need of such help, and how to receive the help they are looking for.  There are many out there in the community who do not know how to apply for help from the government or who to talk to or where to go.

“Persons are questioning if they qualify or not for aid, they want to know what the criteria are to which someone would have to comply. I am calling on the Minister of VSA-Social Welfare and Labor. Min Emile Lee to publish in the papers and otherwise the criteria to obtain help from the Government.

“In the interest of transparency the Min of VSA needs to publish how many homes have qualified for government assistance to be repaired.  This is government money. It’s important for persons who are given information to know whether or not their home will be repaired by Government or if they have to do so themselves. It’s better to know NOW than to be waiting for no reason and in vain,” NA MP Rudolphe Samuel concludes.

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2017 Hurricane Season most devastating for the country in modern times

GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – Disaster Coordinator and Fire Commander Clive Richardson, on Wednesday said that the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season was one of the most devastating seasons for the country within the past two decades, and is looking forward to seeing the season come to an end on Thursday, November 30.

The six-month 2017 Atlantic hurricane season has been described by the meteorological community as among the top 10 all-time most active seasons on record with 17-named storms forming; 10 became hurricanes; six of those became major hurricanes of Category 3-5 according to the Saffir-Simpson Scale, namely Harvey, Irma, Jose, Lee, Maria, and Ophelia.

The first hurricane of the season was Arlene which formed on April 19.  Thereafter, two storm systems formed in June; two in July; four in August; four in September; three in October, and one in November.

The 2017 season left catastrophic damage and dozens dead throughout the Caribbean region.

“Our country at the beginning of September 2017, saw three major hurricane systems passing close to our country Jose, Maria) and one was a direct hit – Irma on September 6.  My end of the season message for the past few years has always been, “despite a busy hurricane season, Sint Maarten did not experience any weather from the systems that did make their way near or through the Caribbean.’

“The 2017 season however was different as we all know and experienced.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the non-governmental organizations including United Nations related bodies and governmental entities from the Netherlands (Marines), Aruba (Police) and Curacao (Police) that came to our aid during the emergency phase of our disaster.

“I would like to thank the men and women who form part of our national disaster management system of our country comprising of 10 Emergency Support Functions representing the seven government ministries, for their around the clock emergency response hours after the passing of Hurricane Irma and the days and weeks that followed such as the Police, Ambulance Department, and Fire Department, with their limited staff who performed accordingly during this natural disaster, and to those entities who are still assisting us today.

“Everybody had a role to play, and despite their own personal losses, they reported to work to serve their community.

“Our thoughts and prayers at this time are with those who are going through a very difficult period as they rebuild their lives and homes. 

“May you and your family safely enjoy the upcoming holidays,” Disaster Coordinator Clive Richardson told the Department of Communication (DCOMM) on Wednesday.

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Basic Necessities Voucher Program Enters Phase 2 with Community-based Approach

POND ISLAND – The Ministry of Public Health, Social Development & Labor (VSA) launched the Voucher program for Basic Necessities on October 2, 2017.  Under the auspices of the Department of Labor Affairs & Social Services, a total in excess of 1800 applications have been taken in and are continuously being processed through established eligibility criteria in accordance with a policy framework and guidelines.

The execution of the program is being carried out in phases. Phase one (1) of the program will end on Friday, December 1, 2017, and the Ministry will move to Phase two (2) which is a more community-based approach. 

Phase 2 focuses on increasing and solidifying the reach within the Community, with the help of credible community leaders, volunteer organizations, religious entities, and non-profit, non-governmental organizations, through the collaborative efforts of Community Development, Family and Humanitarian Affairs (CDFHA).

As such, no more applications will be distributed via the Government Administration Building. Most of the number to apply at the Government Administration Building has been handed out so there is no need to rush to the building over the next few days.

Persons within the communities will be contacted via identified organizations, which will be published in the near future, and persons will be able to submit an application for a voucher through this means. 

"Huge thank you to the staff of the Department of Social Services and Labor Affairs, who have been working extremely hard since the passing of Irma to ensure persons reaching out for assistance can register for such. Many of the staff members are also faced with challenging personal situations, but still come to work every day to help others.

“At times the clients are also facing difficult times and may be agitated, some stressed making it a very difficult working environment under very stressful circumstances, and I think they have been doing a tremendous job," stated Minister of VSA Emil Lee at Wednesday's press briefing.

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Clowns without Borders bring welcome smiles to TelEm Group customers and staff

POND ISLAND - TelEm Group donated sim cards and free data packages to visiting clowns from the Clowns Without Borders organization to help them bring wide smiles to the faces of everyone on St. Maarten still trying to recover from the ravages of two terrifying hurricanes several weeks ago.

The clowns will be on St. Maarten for two weeks on a busy schedule of visits to schools, homes for seniors and the physically challenged.

On Friday the visitors will host a one-hour gathering at the Sr. Marie Laurence School in Middle Region where they will be entertaining and feeding residents from that area between 4:30 pm and 5:30 pm.

The visiting clowns are on St. Maarten on the invitation of the Behind the Beyond Community Theatre Foundation, whose Director, Albina Matuzko is doubling up as one of the performing clowns.

“We want to thank TelCell for their very kind donation and for supporting what we are trying to do in the St. Maarten Community to help people of all ages forget all the bad things that have happened to them for these terrible hurricanes,” said Albina on behalf of the Foundation and also the visitors.

TelEm Group, Manager, Grisha Marten-Heyliger also thanked the visitors for their kind gesture to the island.

“They are so creative and crazy- for a minute I thought they were customers who just came in late for our Wacky Friday sale,” joked Grisha.

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Public Schools receive school supplies

POND ISLAND - The seven public schools, namely Marie Genevieve de Weever School, Oranje School, Prins Willem Alexander School, Martin Luther King Jr. School, Leonald Conner School, Ruby Labega School and St. Maarten Vocational Training School, which fall directly under the Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, through the Division Public Education (DPE), have received their school supplies, which are a part of the emergency aid sent from the Ministry of Education, Culture, and Science (OCW) in the Netherlands.

The schools, after much assessments, provided, like other subsidized schools, a list of emergency school items, for both the classroom and office. The public schools received the items on Tuesday, November 28th.

The schools received similar items as the subsidized schools received such as laptops, filing cabinets, pens, paper, trollies to assist with moving boxes, tables, chairs, and many more items that will aid in the teachers and staff bouncing back better and ensure our students are provided a positive and conducive learning environment post Hurricane Irma. 

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“Leave No One Behind: End Violence against Women and Girls”

POND ISLAND - November 25th each year marks the observation of the United Nations Day which calls for greater action to Eliminate Violence Against Women and Girls. This day marks the beginning of 10 days of activism that end on December 10th World Human Rights Day.

The observation 2017 is held under the banner “Leave No One Behind: End Violence Against Women and Girls”. Leave No One Behind: End Violence against Women and Girls” reinforces the UNiTE Campaign’s commitment to a world free from violence for all women and girls around the world, while reaching the most underserved and marginalized, including refugees, migrants, minorities, indigenous peoples, and populations affected by conflict and natural disasters, amongst others, first (Un Org).

Sint Maarten has recently experience one of the most devastating storm in its history on September 6th. This storm has left in its path share destruction. It has plundered our island’s eco system, homes, lives, social infrastructure, displacing many.

Unfortunately, there were also loss of lives as a result. With the displacement of persons in particular women and children and services not functioning to its optimum, it places women and children at greater risk.

The after effects of such destruction is surmountable and can contribute to the rise or increase of social ills, domestic violence being one. The Gender and Disaster Network highlighted that “Domestic violence also referred to as relational violence is a social fact contributing to the vulnerability of women in disaster.

These women are considered a very vulnerable population who are less visibly at risk than poor women, refugees, single mothers, widows, senior or disabled women. All can agree that violence against women in intimate relationships crosses these and other social lines.

In a Global study published by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies it sighted that in countries where gender base violence was reported, domestic violence was the most widespread form of violence.

The reasons cited to explain this included: marital conflict; exacerbated by stress caused by loss of family members, livelihoods and homes; limited resources; and infidelity and promiscuity resulting from cramped life in internally displaced person (IDP) camps.

The combination of personal loss, financial hardship and uncertainty seems to increase violence by husbands and intimate partners within the family. Some researchers have suggested that, when stress aggravates feelings of loss of control, perpetrators tighten their authority at home, the one area in which they feel they have power.

Locally Safe Haven, the shelter for battered women, indicated that since the passage of the hurricane there has been a spike in the number of calls to the shelter from women seeking refuge from violence in their living environment. During the management of the NIPA Shelter there were women who came seeking shelter due to relational problems.

In the Daily Herald of November 17th there was also a case sighted where a women was being treated by paramedics after being abused by her partner. All these incidences are indications that we do have a challenge with relational violence and persons do not know how to respond in cases of relational conflict.

This however, does not mean that the violence did not exist before the hurricane; it simply means that we do have a challenge with relational violence and person’s tolerance levels as well as their ability to deal with conflict and resolve conflict situations in a more amicable and humane manner.

As a community there needs to be greater effort on the part of all involved to stamp out the social surge of domestic violence in our beloved Sint Maarten. As we observe this period let us be more attentive to those families, individuals, women, girls even the perpetrator who seems to be struggling and are challenged by violence. Let us be the society that CARES, “leaving no one behind”.  

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Minister Emil Lee refutes Blog story about private and commercial use of government vehicle and fuel bond book

POND ISLAND - A recently published story whereby Minister Lee was accused of using government fuel bonds to purchase fuel for personal use and misusing government number plate by a blog website is mistaken, the Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labour (Ministry VSA) said on Sunday in a press statement. 

“Sadly instead of investing time and energy into rebuilding the country, it appears that efforts will continue to be wasted blaming others and continued attempts at character assassination.  I believe this is a sad attempt to discredit, delay or interfere with the screening process for a candidate minister. 

“Unfortunately, I expect that these attacks will continue but I won’t let them distract my attention from the true issues on how do we care for the needy people in our country and how to we rebuild our country,” stated Minister Emil Lee on Sunday.

“Despite attempts to safeguard the government vehicle during Irma, the front windshield of the Minister’s car was badly damaged (see photo).  This made driving the vehicle unsafe and use would have subjected the vehicle to additional water damage. Since Irma, the vehicle has been covered and unused.

“Instead of requesting government to rent a vehicle which would have increased costs for the country, it was decided to use a personal vehicle, a pickup truck as a temporary replacement vehicle.

“The vehicle was purchased shortly before Irma, and while properly registered and insured, no license plates were available since government had run out of license plates. Since only authorized emergency vehicles, were allowed on the road and since only authorized emergency vehicles, were allowed to access certain gas stations, it was decided to temporarily place the MR4 license plate on the truck.

“When recently queried, why not put a "W" on the car and put the MR4 plate inside the truck, it was explained that the back window of the truck was also broken and covered with plastic and concerns were that anything loose inside the vehicle might be stolen. 

“This issue was discussed with the Prime Minister and it was agreed that these were unusual times and for the moment many atypical things were taking place.  It was agreed that efforts were better invested in other things and to continue as is until a more permanent solution could be found. 

“The claim that government gas bonds were used to purchase fuel for private or commercial use is absolutely untrue. "No fuel was purchased on government account and used for any business or my home," stated Minister Emil Lee.

“A review of Minister Lee’s fuel bond book shows that fuel was purchased on Aug 31. (before Irma) sept 15, oct 5 and nov 17.   All bonds are in sequence and accounted for.  On September 15, the purchase included one drum of fuel that was purchased to supply volunteers that were assisting with delivery of relief goods.  These volunteers were using their personal vehicles and didn't have a government bond book to buy fuel for their vehicles.  A half drum of diesel was also purchased for the same purpose. (This was not on Minister Lee's gas bond book, which is the same book that was issued to him in November 2015 and still not finished),” Minister Emil Lee concludes in his press statement.

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HYUNDAI, SHELL AND MOTORWORLD HOST MOBILE SOUP KITCHENS THROUGHOUT THE COMMUNITY

COLE BAY - The Motorworld community outreach team has been on the move throughout various areas in St. Maarten/ St. Martin to host mobile Soup Kitchens. This major initiative is being coordinated in partnership with Hyundai and Shell, who have contributed aid of $150,000 in support of a variety of post-hurricane relief efforts.

“The purpose of the Mobile Soup Kitchens is to provide assistance to the residents in need with a warm meal,” says Tariq Amjad, Managing Director of the Motorworld group of companies. “Though our primary source of business is automotive sales, we take pleasure and pride in the ability to give back to our local communities, which is extremely rewarding.”

Through the mobile Soup Kitchens, Motorworld provides everything required to set-up and share the soups to various individuals. This includes a Hyundai service tent, at least two (2) types soups, which has primarily been a chicken and vegetarian soup, made by several locally-renowned caterers, as well as bowls, spoons, napkins, and everything required onsite to facilitate the set-up and breakdown of the Soup Kitchens. Motorworld’s staff is also on-hand to assist with serving the community.

Motorworld’s community outreach team launched the Soup Kitchens on Thursday, November 23 in partnership with the Government of St. Maarten along with the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Zagersgut, on a day recognized internationally as Thanksgiving Day.

This was ensued by Soup Kitchens hosted onsite at Motorworld and Caribbean Auto on Friday, November 24 in order to reach out to the residents in the surrounding communities of Cole bay, Cay bay and Simpson bay.

 The Soup Kitchens will continue throughout the week. The schedule is as follows:

  • Monday, November 27 at St. Maarten Festival Village in Philipsburg from 11:00 AM - 2:00 PM
  • Tuesday, November 28 at SOS Radio station in Marigot from 11:00 AM - 2:00 PM
  • Wednesday, November 29, at Dutch Quarter Community Center from 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM
  • Thursday, November 30, at Melford Hazel Community Center in Suckergarden from 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM
  • Friday, December 1, at St. Peters Community Center for residents of St. Peters and South Reward from 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM

Hyundai, Shell and Motorworld’s mobile Soup Kitchen initiative is free and open to the public. The Soup Kitchens are being done in collaboration with various Community Councils and local organizations in order to cater to residents within the surrounding communities listed and everyone in need of a warm meal and a smile.

soupy

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