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Sint Maarten travelers will be able to breathe a sigh of relief

CANADA-SINT MAARTEN - In the wake of the recent downing of a passenger plane over eastern Ukraine, the United Nations (UN) and its partners have set up a task force to reduce the risks of civilian planes flying over conflict areas and ensure that the “right information reaches the right people at the right time.”  This is great news for Sint Maarten travellers. 

Sint Maarten travellers can breathe a sigh of relief to know that when they purchase a ticket, at some point in time regulations/protocols will be in place with respect to aircraft flying over a conflict zone.  The meeting in Canada was triggered by the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine on 17 July as it was traveling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, resulting in the death of 298 passengers.

Sint Maarten mourned with the Kingdom of the Netherlands by organizing a condolence register and a church service.  An Antillean family from Curacao of three members were victims in the plane crash.   

The decision to set up a task force came at a special meeting convened recently in Montreal, Canada by the UN International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), along with the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Airports Council International (ACI) and the Civil Air Navigation Services Organization (CANSO).

“The downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 is unacceptable. Our organizations wish to convey our deepest condolences to the families of the passengers and crew who lost their lives in this tragic event,” the participants said in ajoint statement.

“While aviation is the safest form of transport, the MH17 incident has raised troubling concerns with respect to civilian aircraft operating to, from and over conflict zones.”

The meeting stressed the need for accurate and timely information and intelligence that might affect the safety of passengers and crew, while recognizing that this is a “highly complex and politically sensitive” endeavour that involves not only civil aviation regulations and procedures but also national security and intelligence gathering activities.

The task force, composed of State and industry experts, will address the civil aviation and national security aspects of the challenge of ensuring that the “right information reaches the right people at the right time,” according to the statement.

It was also decided at the meeting that ICAO will convene a high-level safety conference with all of its 191 member countries in February 2015. In addition, the industry has called for ICAO to address fail-safe channels for essential threat information to be made available to civil aviation authorities and industry.

A UN specialized agency that was created in 1944, ICAO works with the 191 signatory States of the Convention on International Civil Aviation and global industry and aviation groups to develop international Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) which are then used by States when they develop their legally-binding national civil aviation regulations.

Working in collaboration with States, the agency has set over 10,000 standards, covering issues such as air traffic services, operation of flights, environmental protection and air safety.

These issues will continue to garner significant attention given that the global air transport network is projected to double in size by 2030. According to ICAO, the number of flights, currently 30 million annually, will grow to 60 million, while the total annual passengers served will rise to 6 billion from today’s 3 billion.

“That poses a significant challenge,” says Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu of Nigeria, the President of the ICAO Governing Council, noting the imperative to do everything possible to help ensure the safety of flights.

In an interview with theUN News Centre, Dr. Aliu said that a common misconception about ICAO is that the agency is responsible for determining air routes and deciding whether or not they are safe.

“Once the routes are designed, of course in collaboration with the industry, it is the responsibility and the obligation of the State through which the route passes to undertake risk assessment, to regulate the operation on the route and to either decide to close the route or keep it open,” he explained.

Especially in areas of conflict, States have the responsibility to assess the particular risks arising from the conflict and then make a decision on when and how to close the routes, he added.

When incidents do happen, as in eastern Ukraine, ICAO can be called on to assist with investigating. In the wake of this month’s tragedy, accident investigation experts from ICAO went to the country to assist their Ukrainian counterparts with the official accident investigation into the loss of the Malaysia Airlines flight.

Dr. Aliu explained that the sole objective of the investigation, which is not led by ICAO, is to identify the cause of an accident and to help prevent future accidents from happening.

“What we do, upon request, is to assist the process, ensure that the investigation is done in line with the relevant provisions of our Convention… and to provide guidance to the States in ensuring that it’s done,” he said, adding the presence of ICAO adds credibility to the process.

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TS Bertha Island Storm News Reports: Puerto Rico, St. Croix, St. Thomas and St. John

 

CARIBBEAN - Island Storm News Reports are real time reports of residents on the islands noted below on what they are experiencing at the time the message was posted.  These messages are posted on the website stormcarib.com.

 

PUERTO RICO:

Good Morning, 

The conditions in the Island is very wet, the rain began, like the 7:00am (Puerto Rico Hour). The wind now are in calm , we had some high gusts about 10 mph, but not serious. The precipitation to now is .94 inch with a temperature 75°F (24°C). The rain are lightly with some thunderstorms. We hope the rain fill the lakes to stop the interrupt plan of AAA (Autoridad de Acueductos y Alcantarillados). 

Now, we have a stop for the rain (Clear Place time), but the radar indicate the rain come again.Regards, 

Héctor

Well, the clouds have cleared, the rain has stopped, and there is no wind.  Strange storm!  We got our view back but it sure looks black to the south!  Checked the NWS radar and visible Atlantic loop....looks like the brunt hasn't reached us yet...and still looks like its south of here.  Oh well, sit and wait...the dogs are glad for the bathroom break...and a good sleep day to store up on their energy...great! :/
 
Will keep you updated as the day wears on....grey day....
 
Stay safe!
Pam in Ponce

Hi to all in the Caribbean region!
 
Here I am reporting from San Juan, Puerto Rico.  I am happy to say that we are getting some rain from Bertha!  We had a sunny sunrise but then at about 7:30 it started getting cloudy, and a drizzle started just before 8 AM.   We currently have a light and continuous rain, and the radar show a lot more on the way.   We had some breeze very early in the morning. But now there is almost no wind.  I would be happy if it stays like that all day.  We need rain very badly since we are already under a warning of water rationing by the gov. water authority that could start as soon as next week.  Puerto Rico has had this year the worst dry spell in at least the last 10 years maybe more thus... Welcome Bertha!   Please, slow down and stay with us a little longer!
 
F. Echegaray

ST. CROIX:

Electricity has just now been restored after four and a half hours in our area.

The wind has been howling and the rain has been pelting. It has calmed down for

the moment. NOAA  

has more thunderstorms in the forecast for later. Will check back then.

Blessings!

Isabel

ST. THOMAS:

We are thrilled to have the cooler rainy weather.  Enough rain to top off the pool, glorify

the foliage and give the water mon a rest. It is windy in the rain forest here.  We can

call it a rain forest again today, THANK YOU.

The airport is gusty, and the aviator is glad they tied down the planes and put others into

hangars. 

Some inter island flights are cancelled, the ferry boats are cancelled and the major airlines

are still coming in. There has been a buoy marker gust up to 70 mph near St Thomas. We

are holding near the airport up to 27 mph winds. Our friends in Puerto Rico report that the

reservoirs are coming up. Our hotels are filled with stranded folks. 

Tomorrow promises to be a stellar day and greening up is in the works.  

Grateful

on the Northwest side of St Thomas 

Jane Higgins  jhigginswearatislands.vi 

VIEQUES, PUERTO RICO:

It is nice and overcast right now with light rain.  So far so good.  All we have had are a couple of big gusts of wind and a gentle rain.  This is just what we ordered.  Since everybody rates everything in this world I would give Bertha a 4.5 out of 5 stars.  A little more gentle rain would have brought her to a perfect 5. 

Esperanza Bay is kicking as usual.  Only one boat is out there.  Up here in Pilon the view of Mosquito Pier is obscured by drizzle.  Earlier the seas seemed flat on the Northside.

One last note, El Quenepo will be open tonight!  If you don’t feel like eating that emergency canned food that you purchased for this storm come dine with us!  You can save the canned food for another occasion.  Plus it will be fun to watch the waves in the bay from a dry location!

Have a wonderful rainy day,

K

ST. JOHN, U.S.V.I.:

Oh yeah, now we got us a storm. Since about 9:30AM up to and including

now,about 10:15 AM it has been blowing pretty hard with driving pelting rain.

Thunder too. Visibility has been about 75 feet, tried to open door and take

photo but was driven back in soaking wet. All in all not so bad as we do need

the water, when I can see Coral Bay harbor again I'll let you know if any boats

broke loose-Crabby

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Yacht Beached on Simpson Bay Beach due to TS Bertha

SIMPSON BAY BEACH – A Yacht went aground on Saturday morning at White Sands Villas on Simpson Bay Beach right outside the residential area of Beacon Hill.  Rough seas associated with the passing of Tropical Storm (TS) Bertha resulted in the grounding.

TS Bertha passed more than 100 miles south of the country on Friday night into Saturday morning.

On Friday the Meteorological Department of St. Maarten (MDS) issued a Small Craft Warning for mariners stating that all small craft should remain in port due to the anticipated rough seas.  Beachgoers were also advised not to entertain the idea of heading out to the beach today due to rough seas along the southern coastal areas of the country.

A number of political billboards succumbed to gusty winds on Saturday morning and party crews could be seen on Saturday morning trying to salvage them or secure what was left. 

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TS BERTHA ISLAND STORM NEWS REPORTS: Barbados, St. Lucia, Dominica

CARIBBEAN - Island Storm News Reports are real time reports of residents on the islands noted below on what they are experiencing at the time the message was posted.  These messages are posted on the website stormcarib.com.

BARBADOS - At about 5:00 am (AST) Barbados was experiencing some winds along with showers coming in from North East, indicating that the island was under the influence of "Bertha's" vortex. This could and still can be confirmed by the Barbados weather radar imagery (http://barbadosweather.org/). BTW, the radar imagery is also useful for other Eastern Caribbean islands.

At 11:00 am the local MET office will lift the storm warning for Barbados, according to their current advisory #2A. Strom force winds will not affect the island, due to the distance of 56.6 miles in which Bertha will pass our island in the North East and the reach of only 45 miles of those winds apart from it's centre, if everything continues as projected so far. May be the Northern part of Barbados could get "a little blow".

As to my very personal observation (THIS IS NOT OFFICIAL INFORMATION!), it seems that Bertha may have deteriorated to a Tropical Depression. The "how close can it get tool" shows a black line for it's pass, indicating TD and the satellite imagery also shows signs of lesser organisation of Bertha. For sure, no reason to get complacent! Bertha has changed it's data a few times on it's way, so why not again!

Currently, the weather is really nice, blue sky with patches of white clouds and next to no wind. However, "the party is only over when the fat lady sings.", there is certainly quite a bit of rainfall to be expected once Bertha (or it's remnants) have passed. MET says 1 - 3 inches for late afternoon.

Everyone may take care and stay safe.

Jurgen Starck, Barbados (South), near airport (BGI)

ST. LUCIA - Just had some very heavy rain and the power was cut, back up now but just bought some more candles.  People are on their rooves doing some last minute checks otherwise we are OK. Sue 
Susan Beckwith

DOMINICA - We have woken up to a very still day with blue sky peeping out of the clouds, the lull before the storm no doubt!! Hopefully everyone takes heed and battens down taking all the protection necessary for Bertha.  No one knows quite where the storm will hit but it looks on track for St. Lucia, Martinque and Dominica and Guadeloupe with otherson the perimeter.  LIAT have put out an advisory that flights will probably be delayed or cancelled later today on some of the islands.   We wish everyone safety in the next 24 hours and advise everyone to take care.

Lisette Stevens

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Former French side Mayor Albert Fleming Supports UP Candidate Josianne Artsen

MARIGOT, St. Martin - Former St. Martin Mayor Albert Fleming, in an exclusive interview, shared his vision for the unification of the Northern French side, and Southern Dutch side of the island. “I am people person and I love my country,” says Albert. “Things on the French side are not going well because of the direction the politicians took on article 74 without having done a study. That’s one of the reasons why I left government because we don’t have the structure. We are in the crossroads of an extremely difficult situation financially, especially as a result of when the euro went into effect. Buying power with the euro is tremendous against the dollars, and that’s why people don’t come to French side to shop as much as they did in the past. This is in turn affecting the viability of businesses on the Frenchside, which are closing. In the long run our entire economy and the people suffer.”

Fleming also shared his concerns about the lack of cooperation among the Dutch and French and further explained that a clear mutual understanding is lacking because the legislation is different. “It’s not easy,” shares Fleming. “It has to be dealt with from Holland to France from the Central Government level. It comes down to basic things such as the economy. Local government on the Dutch side controls education, whereas on the French side the Central government, which is located in France, pays for education so they decide.”

Fleming shared his sincere desire for more cooperation and unification starting with the simple approach of working together among both French and Dutch. This should be done in order to achieve the same levels of understanding and thereby collaborate to have an impact. “The basis is to start discussions,” states Fleming, “These discussions require  that local people have to sit down and dialogue. Government can say what they want but it’s the people who have to better organize themselves. It is through having strong representation like Josianne Artsen, who is not only committed wholeheartedly to the process, but also deeply connected to all people, that these dialogues can be effective.”

Albert Fleming goes on to publicly announce his support of Josianne (aka Josie) Artsen’s campaign with the following statement:  “I would like to fully endorse Josie as a candidate because she has the potential to do a good job in various areas. I recommend her highly because she has been extremely instrumental in all of my campaigns over the past 24 years, and I know she’s a loyal and dedicated hard worker. She is a woman of integrity, and would be a good person to give a sense of direction to the UP party, as well as the people of St. Martin North and South. I hope people would put their confidence in her. I would like for the people on the French side of the island, who have always supported me, particularly those with dual nationality, to give her the support because I believe deep down in my heart that she can do a great job. I am now calling out to those people who have supported me to give her an opportunity to serve them.”

Albert Fleming further shared his desire for the people from both sides to sit down and look at what is the most common thing to start to work on. Issues such as immigration, education, tourism, economic growth affect all residents. Therefore, systems of cooperation should be implemented on both sides.

“The prostitution of people taking money to cover for other people has to stop,” says Fleming.   ‘We need to control this better because a lot of the people coming here are self-centered and don’t have what’s best for St. Martin at heart. That comes from educating the people, creating social events, and programs together. We need to get down to the grassroots things, and discuss with the people what they need. Josie is steadfast, honest and willing to work. I am confident that she can do that.” 

According to Fleming UNIFICATION among the people if St. Martin is yet to be accomplished and Josie has the expertise, skills, connections, trust and dedication to achieve that. “We have to unify the people before you unify any other structure on the island. We are getting close to the point of no return. If we don’t do something now, it will be too late in the next couple of years,” says Fleming.

In closing Albert shared: “Josie is a person who has a lot of capacity where the human race is concerned. For many years she taught and directed several schools. She started out as one of the first teachers as a driving force to establish the Methodist Agogic Center (MAC) with John Gumbs. She is a strong loving mother and gives selflessly of herself to our children, many who have been adopted into the family as our own. Josie has dedicated her life to serving St. Martin. I really fundamentally believe that she can be an asset to St. Martin,” says Fleming.

The public is invited to the official launch of Josianne ARTSEN C.A.R.E.S! campaign  being held on Friday August 1 from 6:30-8:30 PM at the Royal Palm Plaza located at Frontstreet #92 in Philipsburg, next to the Methodist Church.  For further information on the Josianne ARTSEN C.A.R.E.S! campaign, please log onto to www.jfaleadership.com and/or call 580-8881. (Contributed by UP Candidate Josianne Artsen)

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UP First Public Meeting in Sucker garden Huge Success

SUCKER GARDEN - The United People's (UP) Party first public meeting in the district of Sucker garden has been considered a huge success as several hundred came out to hear the 23 candidates of the UP Party discuss the issues and what they will do for the country once elected on August 29.

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INTERPOL assisting in identifying flight MH 17 victims that also includes Antillean Family

FRANCE-THE NETHERLANDS – The process in the identification of the Antillean family and the 295 victims who perished in the crash of Malaysia Airlines fight MH-17 will be assisted by a second INTERPOL (International Police Organization) response team that will be deployed to the Netherlands as part of international efforts to identify all 298 victims of Malaysia Airlines flight MH 17.

Following the offer by the Netherlands to provide secure and equipped facilities, after an initial examination in Kharkiv, Ukraine all victims’ remains will be transported to Hilversum where the full INTERPOL disaster victim identification (DVI) process will be implemented.  More than 200 victims have already been transported to the Netherlands.

“We welcome the Netherlands’s strong support for the international effort to identify all the victims of flight MH 17, as we have seen the results which can be achieved when the global DVI community comes together following a tragedy,” said INTERPOL’s Executive Director of Police Services, Jean-Michel Louboutin.

“We are approaching the 10-year anniversary of the 2004 Asian tsunami when thousands of victims from around the world were identified under the INTERPOL protocols, thanks to the commitment and dedication of 31 countries, including the Netherlands.

“INTERPOL will continue to provide whatever support is necessary to ensure that the remains of all 298 victims are returned to their loved ones,” concluded Mr Louboutin.

Specialist DVI officers from Afghanistan, Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Estonia, France, Germany, Malaysia, New Zealand, a joint Nordic DVI team – representing Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden - South Africa, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates are on standby to support the INTERPOL teams in the Ukraine and the Netherlands.

These officers are in addition to representatives from Europol and the International Commission for Missing Persons (ICMP) already deployed to Kharkiv as part of the original INTERPOL IRT.

Member countries which lost nationals on flight MH 17 have been requested to gather ante-mortem data for the victims which will be collated by the crisis cell established within INTERPOL’s 24-hour Command and Coordination Centre.

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WEATHER WATCH: TS Bertha Moving Away from Dominican Republic. Storm Grows Bigger

SINT MAARTEN - As of 2.00AM Sunday, August 3rd, 2014, TS Bertha is moving away from the Dominican Republic this morning and move near or over the South Eastern Bahamas and Turks & Caicos Islands on Sunday afternoon and move east of the central Bahamas Sunday night. 

TS Bertha has grown larger in size with hurricane force winds extending outward from the center by up to 160 miles mainly to the northeast section of the system.  The National Hurricane Center still expects TS Bertha to strengthen on Monday or Tuesday.  By then it will not be a threat to land and will be over the open ocean. 

At 2.00AM TS Bertha was located 30 miles north of Puerto Plata Dominican Republic and 95 miles south east of Grand Turk Island.  Maximum sustained winds are 45 miles per hour and the storm is moving north west at 21 miles per hour.  

ARCHIVE: Saturday, August 2nd, 2014 - At 2.00PM the poorly organized TS Bertha was moving through the Mona Passage between Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.  Bertha was 110 miles west south west of San Juan, Puerto Rico and 150 miles east south east of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.  

Bertha should move away from Puerto Rico this afternoon and move near or over the eastern side of the Dominican Republic later this afternoon and tonight-Saturday.  The system should be near or over the south eastern Bahamas and Turks & Caicos Islands on Sunday. 

TS Bertha could strengthen Sunday night and Monday. 

Sustained wind speeds are 50 miles per hour along high higher gusts, and moving west north west at 22 miles per hour. TS force winds extend outward from the center up to 105 miles mainly to the north east. 

ARCHIVE: Friday, August 1st, 2014 - TS Bertha is disorganized but continues on its track across the Caribbean.  At 11.00PM Bertha was located 180 miles south east of St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands and 275 miles south east of San Juan , Puerto Rico.  Bertha's wind speeds are 50 miles per hour with higher gusts and is moving quickly at 22 miles per hour west north west.

TS Bertha is forecast to pass near Puerto Rico on Saturday and move near or over the Dominican Republic late Saturday and Saturday night and approach the southeastern Bahamas and the Turks & Caicos Islands on Sunday.

TS Warning for Dominica has been discontinued.  TS Watches are in effect for the eastern part of the Domincan Republic as well as parts of The Bahamas and the Turks & Caicos Islands.

ARCHIVE: Friday, August 1st, 2014 - As of 2.00PM TS Bertha is approaching the island of Martinique (45 miles east of the island) and 115 miles north north west of Barbados with maximum wind speeds at 50 miles per hour and higher gusts.  According to the NHC TS Bertha is quickly moving at 22 miles per hour west north west. 

The Government of St. Lucia has discontinued the TS Warning for the island.  Bertha will track into the Northeastern Caribbean Sea late this afternoon-Friday and into the night and approach Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands on Saturday.

ARCHIVE: FRiday, August 1, 2014 - As of 11.00AM TS Bertha has increased in strength with wind speeds of 50 miles per hour with higher gusts.  TS force winds now extend 115 miles outward instead of 45 miles from the center, and mainly in the northeast section of the storm.  The system however according to the NHC is disorganized.  A TS Watch has been issued for Cabo Engano to Isla Saona in the Dominican Republic.  Warnings and watches have been discontinued for Barbados, St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

There are no watches or warnings for Sint Maarten or the surrounding islands of Anguilla, Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Barths, St. Kitts & Nevis.

According to the NHC TS Bertha at 11.00AM was located 150 miles east south east of Martinique and 70 miles north east of Barbados and moving quickly at 21 miles per hour to the west north west.

ARCHIVE: Friday, August 1 - As of 8.00AM on Friday, August 1st, a TS Storm Warning has been issued for the island of Martinique according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC).  A Hurricane Hunter Reconnaisance aircraft has been sent into TS Bertha to investigate the current status of the system.

Sint Maarten is not under any TS watches or warnings as it remains outside of the storm cone with respect to how the system is traveling.

TS Bertha is forecast to pass near or north of Barbados during the next several hours and move through the central Lesser Antilles (Dominica, Martinique, St. Lucia) tonight-Friday and into the Northeastern Caribbean on Saturday. TS conditions are expected to reach Barbados, St. Lucia, Dominica and Martinique by midday-Friday.  TS conditions are expected i Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands on Saturday.

The following islands are under a TS Warning: Barbados, St. Lucia, Dominica, Martinique, Puerto Rico, Vieques, Culebra, U.S. Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands.  A TS Watch is in effect for St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

As of 8.00AM TS Bertha is 110 miles east north east of Barbados; 220 miles east south east of Martinique; its moving west north west at a quick 20 miles per hour and its maximum sustained winds are 45 miles per hour with higher gusts.  TS force winds extend outward up to 45 miles from the center.

ARCHIVE: Thursday, July 31, 2014 - As of 11.00pm, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) upgraded the low pressure system to Tropical Storm (TS) Bertha.  The system was located at that time 275 miles east south east of Barbados and moving west north west at a quick 20 miles per hour.  Wind speeds are 45 miles per hour with higher gusts.  TS force winds extend outward up to 45 miles from the center. No watches or warnings have been issued for Sint Maarten.

Barbados, St. Lucia and Dominica are under a TS Warning which means tropical storm conditions can be expected within 24 hours.

A TS Watch is in effect for Puerto Rico, Vieques, Culebra, U.S. Virgin Islands, St. Vincent & the Grenadines. A watch means that TS conditions are possible within 48 hours. 

A TS Warning could be required for Martinique on Friday morning. 

Interests elsewhere across the Northeastern Caribbean Sea should monitor the progress of the system.

ARCHIVE: At 8.00pm Thursday evening the National Hurricane Center reported that a well-defined low pressure system located 350 miles east-southeast of Barbados, has wind speeds of 40 to 45 miles per hour in the northern and eastern portions of the system.

The NHC says the possibility exist that a Tropical Storm could form tonight-Thursday or early Friday morning, however gale force winds are likely to spread across portions of the Lesser Antilles beginning Friday midday.

Watches and warnings may be necessary for some of the islands later tonight-Thursday or Friday.

Interests in the Lesser Antilles should continue to monitor the progress of this low pressure system as it moves very quickly - 20 miles per hour west-northwestward. 

An Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter Reconnaissance aircraft visited the system Thursday afternoon and evening. 

ARCHIVE: At 8.00am on Thursday morning the National Hurricane Center (NHC) has advised residents of the Lesser Antilles to closely monitor weather reports as it may have to issue Tropical Depression or Tropical Storm advisories later during this morning.  A Hurricane Hunter Reconnaisance aircraft will visit the system on Thursday afternoon.

The well defined low pressure system was located approxiamtely 650 miles east of the southern Windward Islands.  The system has become better organized.

ARCHIVE: Wednesday, July 30, 2014 - The National Hurricane Center (NHC) on Wednesday afternoon says the low pressure system approximately 1000 miles east of the southern Windward Islands has weakened a bit, but conditions remain favourable that the system could still develop into a Tropical Depression during the next couple of days and therefore interests in the Lesser Antilles should continue to monitor the progress of the system.

Brian McNoldy, says that the computer guidance models have the system passing over the Leeward Islands on Saturday and close to Puerto Rico on Sunday. 

ARCHIVE: Tuesday, July 29, 2014 - According to Brian McNoldy, Senior Research Associate at University of Miami’s Rosentiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, the area of disturbed weather in the Atlantic Ocean over 1400 miles east of the South Windward Islands is poised to develop into Tropical Depression #3 (TD#3).  Last week Tropical Depression #2 had dissipated around this time and at the same location.  This new weather system is in an environment which is more favourable for this system to develop.

The National Hurricane Center on Tuesday evening said the system has a 70 per cent chance of developing into a TD#3 by Wednesday morning.

This tropical wave system had exited the coast of Africa last week Friday and has attracted the interests of weather watches ever since.  Each day it has become better organized.

Ocean temperature where the system is located is warm enough to support the development according to McNoldy, of a strong hurricane.  He adds, “As far as the forecast goes, all models agree on it becoming a tropical storm within a day.  Some are a little more aggressive and bring it up to minimal hurricane intensity by Friday, while the majority maintain a tropical storm for several days.”

“The short-range track forecast is easy: maintain a west-northwest heading at about 12 mph for the next five days.  This will bring it near the Leeward Islands on Saturday and Puerto Rico on Sunday. Around that time, depending on its intensity, it could start interacting with an upper-level trough.  If it is weaker, it will be more likely to stay further south, but if it’s stronger, it will be more likely to get nudged northward and recurve east of the Bahamas.”  

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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. 

LIVE COURT PROCEEDINGS IN HELMIN WIELS MURDER INVESTIGATION 

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.   

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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)

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