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UPDATE: Lottery Boss Detained by Detectives in Murder Investigation of Curacao Parliamentarian

WILLEMSTAD-SINT MAARTEN – The Curacao Public Prosecutors Office (CPPO) has not released much information in connection with the Tuesday arrest of Robbie dos Santos (56) by the National Detective Team (RST).  The lottery businessman is expected to initially be held for two days with a possible extension later this week by another eight days. 

The arrest was made in the on-going investigation of the May 5th, 2013 murder of Helmin Wiels.  The only information from the CPPO is confirming the detention of Robbie dos Santos. 

According to reports, two locations were searched, a property in Brakkeput and his business headquarters in Dominguito.  There are also unconfirmed reports that his the home at Jan So fat was searched by investigators.  The role and link in the murder of the Curacao Member of Parliament has not been disclosed as yet. 

Santos was arrested and questioned in April 2012 in a case referred to as Bientu related to money laundering, tax evasion etc.  During that time his home and businesses were searched by detectives.  Apparently, according to reports, his U.S. bank accounts remain frozen. 


Press Officer Mauritsz de Kort stated in a press release that the court proceedings into the murder of Curacao parliamentarian Helmin Wiels will be carried live via radio, television and online.  More information will be revealed during a press conference on Friday, August 1st. 

The court case will run from August 4 to 8. 

Due to security concerns, the public will not be allowed in the Stadhuis where the court proceedings will take place.  Only the family members of Wiels and of the suspects, court staff and lawyers will be allowed in the Stadhuis.   Additional security measures will be in place outside the court house including street closures for motorized traffic. 

ARCHIVE - Tuesday, July 29, 2014 - WILLEMSTAD-SINT MAARTEN – Early Tuesday morning just after 6.30am detectives investigating the murder of Curacao Member of Parliament Helmin Wiels arrested and detained Lottery owner and operator Robby dos Santos, owner of Robbies Lottery which also has operations on the island of Sint Maarten and Saba, according to information coming out of Curacao.

This is the third high profile person who has been detained and questioned in connection with the assassination of the Curacao parliamentarian.  The two other persons are two former Ministers namely Carlos Mon and George Jamaloodin.

Helmin Wiels was gunned down in May 2013 next to a beach in Curacao.   


Frankie Meyers Campaign Continued with a Meet & Greet

SUCKER GARDEN - The United People’s Party candidate # 3, Frankie Meyers hosted a Meet & Greet event Sunday July 27th, 2014 in Sucker Garden. The crowd, a mix of all ages and gender was very cheerful and supportive with Meyers’ return to politics. Some expressed a solid confidence about getting the candidate elected. Giving the UP Party and in particular Meyers the opportunity to continue his work once elected were expressed by several of those present.

During his speech Meyers addressed the crowd thanking them for being there and showing support. Meyers shared with the crowd that he’s been hitting the campaign trail hard and has encountered situations that made clear to him why he had to return; he went on to say that he was back to take care of his people, to make sure each St. Maartener has the opportunity to grow and prosper. ‘These are serious times and we need serious people with the interest of the people of St. Maarten at hart, to take serious decisions. The crowd chanted his name, clapped and cheered the candidate on.

The candidate reiterated that the UP Party and he have always worked for the best interest of the people of St. Maarten and will continue to do so. The UP Party offers a plan for every project, and drew specific attention to the Medical Center and urged opposing parties to not just criticize the leader of the UP Party’s plan but instead come with plans of their own. It seems like their only plan is to criticize the UP Party’s plans.

Frankie Meyers is the son of the late Eulalie Meyers and Etienne Meyers.

Born in St. Eustatius on November 28th 1967 where his parents where living at the time because his father was Chief of the Police in Statia.

Frankie Meyers, is a hands on father of 3 children, and has been an avid sportsman his entire life. his sports of preference are Basketball, Baseball and Soft ball.

Frankie Meyers stands for Self-improvement of the People of Sint Maarten. He believes that we must put ourselves in a position as Sint Maartener’s, not only locally but globally, that we be a prime example of achievement and perseverance.   (Submitted By: The  It’s About You Communications Department)


Saharan Desert Dust Creating Hazy Conditions

SIMPSON BAY, Sint Maarten – The weather forecast from the Meteorological Department of Sint Maarten (MDS) confirms that Saharan dust is settling across the Caribbean Region, hence why it is so hazy this weekend.

Saharan dust is not harmful; however, people with allergies or respiratory problems should remain indoors when possible as the dust can agitate those who suffer with asthma.  The dust is a form of air pollution which reduces visibility and results in poor air quality. 

The dust comes from the far flung Sahara Desert in North Africa.  It is a result of dust storms and warm air which allows the sand to rise above the desert and travels thousands of miles across the Central Atlantic Ocean towards the Caribbean.

Saharan dust also limits the development of storm systems in the Atlantic Ocean.  The dust passes through the Caribbean several times a year, mainly in spring and summer.


National Security Service Sint Maarten Host Critical Infrastructure Protection Conference

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten - Recently the National Security Service (VDSM) on behalf of the government of Sint Maarten held the first ever Critical Infrastructure Protection Conference on the island.  The conference highlighted the importance of protecting critical infrastructure (CIP).  By stimulating cooperation and communication between the various stakeholders, the conference has made a contribution in achieving an effective level of critical infrastructure protection in the future.

The conference featured both international and local speakers. Colonel (Ret'd) George Robinsonfrom Trinidad & Tobago with over 27 years in the Military and experienced in developing practical security solutions spoke on the topic of critical facility protection.

Ronald Jackson who assumed the post of Executive Director CDEMA in April 2013 spoke about CIP and the structure of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency. Other experienced speakers with competencies concerning National Security and CIP, made presentations including the Director of the National Security Service  Aruba, J.T. Nicolaas; Department Head at the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations of the Netherlands, I. Westerman; Director International Affairs Ministry of National Security of the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago  Antoinette Lucas-Andrews; Programme Manager Inter-American Committee against Terrorism, Shevaun M. Culmer, and special Agent Brian LeBlanc from the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the United States of America.

The two days conference also featured speakers from the local front: Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor the honorable V. H Cornelius de Weever, Drs. M. Arnold Head of the Department of the Interior and Kingdom Relations and Paul Martens representing the Sint Maarten Disaster Management Organization. Mark Mingo CEO of the St.Maarten Harbor Group of companies and R. Mercera, Department Head Department of Environment, Health, Safety and Security at GEBE both addressed local critical protection measures.

As one attendee to the invited only conference said “It was a good basis for the first time. There was a nice structure of local and international speakers”.

Since its inception in 2010, the National Security Service has been working on the promotion of measures to protect critical infrastructure in the county. The ambition of the National Security Service in relation to the protection of critical infrastructure of Sint Maarten is threefold:

  • To advise and support the various stakeholders in their efforts to avoid large –scale failures or disruptions
  • To advise and support government and the private sector in their efforts to strengthen the necessary preparation for the consequences of failure or disruption
  • To contribute to (repressive) measures that can be taken to prevent or minimize damage from failure or disruption as much as possible.

For further information concerning the conference see also the conference website


Venezuela lifts suspension of air traffic connections with Sint Maarten and other Kingdom countries

VENEZUELA-SINT MAARTEN – The Government of the Republic of Venezuela has lifted its suspension of air connections to Sint Maarten as well as the other Kingdom countries including the BES Islands (Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius). 

The suspension if it was to remain in place would have left hundreds of Venezuelan passengers/tourists who are visiting any one of the islands stranded until further notice.  This brings great relief to those in Sint Maarten and in the other countries of the Kingdom that they will be able to fly back to their home country. 

Travellers are expected to cut their vacations and family visits short not knowing what will happen next.  Rather than being stuck and running out of financial resources, airlines could see an influx of people wanting to travel back to Venezuela within the next few days.

The suspension of air service also included cargo, mail, and special transport.  The suspension was issued on Friday, July 25, 2014 by the Venezuelan Government and was in place for several hours before being lifted.

The suspension of air services according to diplomatic sources has to do with the arrests and detention of a Venezuelan diplomat in Aruba at the request of United States law enforcement authorities.  It has been alleged that the Venezuelan diplomat Hugo Carvajal, a former Head of Venezuelan Military Intelligence, is wanted by U.S. authorities on drug-trafficking charges.

A Judge in Aruba on Friday, July 25 ruled that Carvajal should remain detained by Aruban authorities until an extradition request has been processed.

The Venezuelan Government says that Carvajal has diplomatic immunity and therefore could not be arrested, but the Aruba Judge has stated that he does not enjoy any diplomatic privileges.   Carvajal according to Venezuelan authorities was to be sworn in as a consular representative to Aruba.

This case will be closely watched to see what Venezuela’s next move will be.

Tourism officials in Curacao, Aruba and Bonaire are left uneasy not knowing what the impact will be on tourism.  Venezuelans traveling for holiday may be hesitant to still make the trip not knowing if they will get stuck on one of the islands should Venezuela institute a travel ban.


Minister of Education & Culture Patricia Lourens-Philip Signs Condolence Book

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten - Minister of Education, Culture, Youth & Sports Hon. Patricia Lourens-Philip signed the condolence register at the Government Administration Building on Thursday.  

The condolence register was opened by the Government of Sint Maarten in connection with the crash of Malaysian Flight MH-17 in Ukraine which carried 298 passengers of which 193 were Dutch citizens.   

The Prime Minister Hon. Sarah Wescot-Williams also signed the register on Thursday.


UPDATE: Detention of Former Minister of Finance Extended by Eight Days

WILLEMSTAD, Curacao – UPDATE – The Judge on Friday has extended the detention of former Minister of Finance G. Jamaloodin (46) by eight days.  Jamaloodin is the second Minister to have been questioned by investigators with respect to the murder of parliamentarian Helmin Wiels.  Former Minister Carlos Monk was questioned recently.  

The Public Prosecution Service according to reports stated that there is the possibility of more arrests being made in the on-going investigation into the political assassination.

ARCHIVE Friday, July 25, 2014 PM - The Curacao Public Prosecution Service confirmed on Thursday that the former Minister of Finance G. Jamaloodin (46) was arrested early Thursday morning in an apartment near Seru Lora.  The former Minister will be detained for two days before going before the Judge where investigators are expected to request that the detention be prolonged in the interests of the investigation.

Jamaloodin according to reports served as a Minister from 2010-2012.  Today he operates a security company.

A number of properties were searched by investigators on Thursday and several items seized as part of the investigation.  Properties in Steerijk, Steenen Koraal, Salina and a hotel were also searched.

According to media reports, the murder weapon that was found in Waaigaat in June is said to belong to a Curacao security company.

MP Wiels was murdered on May 5, 2013 at a beach.  He was the leader of the largest political party on Curacao, the Pueblo Soberano.

In the initial court proceeding involving the case, it was revealed that half a million guilders was paid to have the MP murdered. 

ARCHIVE Thursday, July 24, 2014 AM - Former Curacao Minister of Finance George Jamaloodin has been arrested in connection with the assassination of Member of the Curacao Parliament (MP) Helmin Wiels.  MP Wiels was murdered in May 2013 near a beach on the island of Curacao.

According to information coming out of Curacao, the former Minister is considered a suspect in the murder case of the Curacao MP.  Investigators have searched the home of the Minister and seized undisclosed items.

Former Minister Jamaloodin is a member of the MFK party led by former Prime Minister of Curacao Gerrit Schotte.  The MFK is currently in the opposition in the Parliament of Curacao.

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