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Continue to take measures to eliminate mosquito breeding sites after rainfall to lower the mosquito population

GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – The Collective Preventive Services (CPS), a government department under the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, says daily intermittent rainfall creates mosquito breeding opportunities, and therefore, every household and business enterprise needs to continue taking proactive measures to prevent mosquitos from breeding. 

Be on the alert for mosquito breeding sites and eliminate them especially after every rainfall event!

Actively destroy or dispose of tin cans, old tires, buckets, unused plastic swimming pools or other containers that collect and hold water. Do not allow water to accumulate in the saucers of flowerpots, cemetery urns/vases or in pet dishes for more than two days.  Throw out the water and turn them over every time it collects water.

Maintain ‘screen off cistern outlets,’ covers and screen off septic tanks properly, and screen windows and doors.

An increase in the mosquito population puts residents and visitors at risk for a mosquito borne disease.

The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) recently reported that the number of zika cases in the Caribbean has significantly declined from the outbreak of 2016, however, there is still need for continued vigilance and action on mosquito borne diseases, which pose a health security threat, a tourism threat, and an economic threat.

Zika, the newest and latest mosquito borne disease to the Region, came on the heels of chikungunya which affected the health and economic structure of most countries and territories.

In late 2015, the Caribbean confirmed its first case of the zika virus, followed by a dramatic increase in 2016.

The number of laboratory requests and confirmed tests peaked in August, then began a steady decline to December. The zika epidemic has shown signs of a significant slow-down, and the risk to residents and visitors is deemed much lower. However, the region continues to struggle and fight against the Aedes aegypti mosquito responsible for its transmission.

Zika has been associated with an increase in Guillian Barre syndromes (GBS) in five CARPHA member states (CMS). A zika-associated case of microcephaly has also been reported in one country. No reports of sexually transmitted zika cases in CMS have been documented. These associated complications can have a marked impact on the people affected and their communities.

Dr. C. James Hospedales, Executive Director of CARPHA said, “The Region has seen dengue, chikungunya, and now zika which is transmitted by the same mosquito, and the key to tackling them is prevention and control. We must continue to literally wage war on them. But we need to be smarter. We need new approaches and technologies and partners against this threat, which is present throughout most of the tropical world.”

CPS says the war on mosquitos requires an integrated collaborative and effective approach and therefore calls on the populace as well as visitors to wear light colored clothing at dusk; long sleeve shirts and pants; and use mosquito repellent to prevent being bitten by a mosquito that could possibly be carrying a mosquito borne disease.

For information about dengue fever, zika and chikungunya prevention measures, you can call CPS 542-2078 or 542-3003 to report mosquito breeding sites or send us an email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

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Dutch want a strong leader, but are not protest voters: survey

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – The typical Dutchman or woman casts his or her vote more out of conviction than in protest, opting for a strong leader who plays within the rules, the Volkskrant said on Monday.

The paper bases its claim on a large survey of voters registered in the Netherlands, Britain, France and Germany by Kanter Public, formerly known as TNS/Nipo. All were asked the same set of questions.

The results: Germany is the least susceptible to populist movements, France and Britain the most. The Netherlands sits somewhere in between, the paper said. The British and the French are seeking a strong leader, even more so than the Dutch, but they have the least confidence in democracy, elections and political parties.

The German stance is the opposite with Germans placing more trust in democratic institutions, trade unions and the European Union than individual people, the survey revealed.

Some 67% of Dutch respondents said the country needs a strong leader to get things done, compared with just 24% of Germans. The researchers asked why people vote: because they agree with the ideas of a certain political party or out of frustration with the other parties?

The Kantar report said 15% of the Dutch voted out of frustration and 21% did so in Britain. Figures were higher in France (37%) and Germany (41%). A minority (28% in the Netherlands, Britain and France) believe politicians are honest. But this figure was higher at 37% in Germany. (DutchNews)

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Independence for St. Martin Foundation Welcomes Statements by Dutch legislators

GREAT BAY - The Independence For St. Martin Foundation has taken good note of recent statements by members of the Dutch Second Chamber, Bosman (VVD) and Van Raak (SP) regarding their intention to approach the United Nations in order to facilitate the exit of Curacao, Aruba and St. Maarten from the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

The Foundation sees this as a welcome development and agrees with the position of both Dutch legislators that the current constitutional arrangement within the Kingdom is not final.

The Foundation referred to a report in the Antillianse Daagblad of July 12, 2017 in which Bosman was quoted as saying we are only halfway with the decolonization process. “The Kingdom Charter is not final but an intermediate solution to be seen as a transfer phase. The Netherlands is obligated by the UN charter to develop a system of self government which would lead the countries into full independence,” the publication claimed Bosman stated.

“This has been our position since we were established in 1994,” the Independence for St. Martin Foundation said.

The Foundation further expressed the hope that the Dutch government’s promise to take the “pulse” of the people of St. Martin would not mean just talking to a few politicians and public office holders but actually “finding out the wishes of the people of St. Martin via a constitutional referendum.”

The Independence for St. Martin Foundation recalled that it has been pushing for a referendum on independence for St. Martin for the last three years, arguing that the last constitutional referendum in the territory was held 17 years ago.

‘We have met on several occasions with the Parliament of St. Martin which has the constitutional authority to convene a new referendum, and remain confident that Parliament will do so as soon as possible,” the Foundation stated.

The Independence for St. Martin Foundation said it is ready and willing to work with Bosman, Van Raak and all people of good will, both here on St. Martin and in the wider Dutch Kingdom and beyond, to achieve the goal of full political independence for St. Martin in a responsible and democratic way.

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SXM Weekly News gauges tourist/resident opinion on Beacon Hill road closure proposal

BEACON HILL – SXM Weekly News by Electronic Online Publisher Jeff Berger of JMB Communications, read by close to 300,000 people around the world, in its recent online newsletter, has been gauging the temperature with respect to the Government’s suggestion of closing the current Beacon Hill road and re-routing traffic into Beacon Hill via Simpson Bay.

SXM Weekly News says: In a move that has both astonished and bewildered St. Maarten tourists and residents alike, a Dutch Side official is examining closing Beacon Hill Road that runs from Maho to Alegria (formerly Caravanserai) Resort into the entire Beacon Hill residential / villa / condo community, and rerouting traffic into Simpson Bay where it would enter Beacon Hill from the vicinity of Bada Bing.

“The proposal is in response to the death of a New Zealand tourist who was blown backwards by jet blast from a departing aircraft last week after being unable to hold onto the airport fence, on which there's a huge warning that jet blast can cause serious injury or death. It was the first jet blast death on the island, though many have been injured.

“Traffic cannot be rerouted quickly. For one thing, part of the area where the traffic would go has only beach and no current road. Building a road there would be highly problematic since after hurricanes the road could be washed away, possibly stranding residents.

“Worse, this would throw all Beacon Hill business and residential traffic into Simpson Bay, greatly worsening current traffic jams there.

“The plan would call for the road to be for all practical purposes removed, the fence pushed farther away from the runway, and the curbs removed. That latter move would eliminate the problem of flying bodies slamming into curbs, causing injury.

“But it would cause beach sand to go everywhere in storms, including onto the runway. It could greatly hamper the ability of fire, police, and ambulances to access Alegria and all of Beacon Hill.

“Businesses are already howling because of the effect it could have on cruise ship tourists --cabs would be hampered from getting them as close to the fence as possible.

“Lastly, many responding wondered why the quick and "inept" knee-jerk reaction to one tragic death which is in such stark contrast to multiple tourist deaths by drowning each year on both the Dutch and French Sides of the island. ‘If deaths are so undesirable, why don't they require lifeguards on every beach? That could save several lives a year. This plan will likely save no lives while inconveniencing hundreds to thousands of people every day and screwing up the island economy in the process. It just doesn't make sense,’ one tourist said,” SXM Weekly News concludes.

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Police department very busy over the weekend. Responds to seven fights

PHILIPSBURG - The Police Department has been quite busy over the weekend answering many calls for police assistance. At least seven of these calls were for fights that had taken place at different locations.  These fights do not include the other cases that are presently other investigation by the Detective Department.

Jealous husband arrested for ill-treating wife

On Friday July 21st, at approximately 10.35 p.m. a jealous husband with initials P.P.C. was arrested for ill-treating his wife with a machete. As a result of the ill-treatment the victim suffered several wounds to her body which needed medical attention.

The incident took place on the Arch Road in Sucker garden. The suspect remains in custody pending further investigation.

Vehicles and drugs confiscated

On Friday July 21st during a routine control by a police patrol a man with initials A.M. was arrested for the possession of numerous small plastic bags each containing an amount of marihuana.

During the control of the vehicle the suspect was driving, the investigating officers realized that the VIN-number on the vehicle had been tampered with, which raised the suspicion that the vehicle might be stolen.

The drugs and vehicle were both confiscated for further investigation. The suspect remains in custody.     

Man arrested for Attempted run over

On Friday July 21st, a man with initials D.S. from Guyana was arrested by police after he attempted run over somebody his with his car. The suspect is in police custody for further investigation.

Wife arrested for ill-treating husband

On Saturday July 22nd, a female with initials D.R. was arrested by police on the Soualiga road after she ill- treated her husband with a knife. The victim suffered several cuts to his face and back.

The victim was treated on the scene by paramedics and then taken to the Sint Maarten Medical Center for further treatment. After treatment, the victim came to the police station and stated that he did not wish to press charges against his wife.

After questioning and summoned to appear in court at a later date the suspect was released. (Sint Maarten Police Force)

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Frontier Airlines adds routes to Puerto Rico from Atlanta and Miami

SINT MAARTEN/SAN JUAN – As of October 5, Frontier Airlines will expand its operations in Puerto Rico’s Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (SJU) with routes from Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (ATL) and Miami’s International Airport (MIA).

The MIA-SJU route will operate with one daily flight, while the ATL-SJU route will operate with three weekly flights, Gov. Ricardo Rosselló and Puerto Rico Tourism Co. (PRTC) Executive Editor José Izquierdo announced in a written statement.

Frontier, which began operations to San Juan from Orlando’s International Airport (MCO) and Philadelphia’s International Airport (PHL) on June 11, will become the second airline to fly the ATL-SJU (Delta) and MIA-SJU (American Airlines) routes.

It is estimated that Frontier’s new flights, combined, will bring more than 65,000 travelers to the island, which will have an annual economic impact of roughly $14.7 million.

Frontier is expected during the following weeks to confirm additional routes to SJU, which will begin to operate in the spring of 2018.

“We are enthusiastic about the diversification of air routes that will make it easier for more tourists to visit us and get to know firsthand the quality of services and the beauty of our island,” the governor said.

“This is an additional example that Puerto Rico continues to be a highly attractive location for airlines and the tourism industry in general,” the PRTC executive director adds in the release. (CB)

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Forecasters upgrade hurricane season to 15 named storms. Four down 11 to go

SINT MAARTEN/CARIBBEAN - Colorado State University (CSU) now expects a total of 15 named storms and eight hurricanes in the Atlantic basin this season. Three of the eight hurricanes are forecast to be Category 3 or stronger on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.

So far four named storms have formed for the season, namely, Arlene, Bret, Cindy and Don.  Based on the revised forecast, with four down, there will be 11 more to go if the season lives up to the forecast.

Three months ago, CSU had predicted that 11 named storms would become hurricanes, with two likely to reach major hurricane status. On June 1 the forecast changed again, with CSU predicting 14 named storms and six hurricanes.

The latest updated forecast is above the 30-year historical average (1981-2010) for the Atlantic Basin of 12 named storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes.

Warm water temperatures in the tropical and subtropical Atlantic Ocean along with the dwindling chance of El Niño’s development later this summer, are contributing factors to CSU’s updated forecast predicting more storms.

Hurr Seas 2017 Names

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CBS: Seven out of ten Caribbean Dutch employed

SABA/ST. EUSTATIUS - In 2016, 69 percent of the Caribbean Netherlands’ labour force (the population aged 15 to 74 years) were in paid employment. On Bonaire and St Eustatius, the employment rates stood at 70 and 66 percent respectively; on Saba, this was 62 percent. This makes Saba one of the Dutch municipalities with the lowest employment rate, according to newly released figures from the Labour Force Survey Caribbean Netherlands 2016 conducted by Statistics Netherlands (CBS).

Bonaire had 15.3 thousand inhabitants between the ages of 15 and 74 in 2016. On St Eustatius and Saba, the population was 2.4 thousand and nearly 1.6 thousand respectively. The latter island houses an American medical university, and because of this a relatively large part of its population are (foreign) students. To a large extent, this explains the lower labour participation rate.

Slightly more men than women have paid jobs in the Caribbean Netherlands. On Bonaire, 72 percent of the men and 68 percent of the women aged 15 to 74 are in employment. On St Eustatius, these rates amount to 67 and 65 percent respectively; on Saba, 64 and 59 percent respectively. Both men and women living in the Caribbean Netherlands primarily work full-time. On Bonaire and St Eustatius, there are however slightly fewer women than men in full-time employment, while there is hardly any difference on Saba. 

Low labour participation among young people

Employment rates are highest between the ages of 25 and 64. It is not customary for young people in the Caribbean Netherlands to work part-time alongside their training or education. Nearly half of 15 to 24-year-olds on Bonaire and St Eustatius indicate that they are either not willing or able to work, mainly due to their studies. On Saba, this even applies to over 60 percent. In addition, on Bonaire and St Eustatius unemployment is high among young people in particular. On all three islands, 18 percent of the over-65s are in paid work: a higher employment level than among their peers in the European Netherlands. They relatively often work in part-time jobs.

Mainly lower educated among unemployed

In 2016, 6.7 percent (equivalent to 770 people) of Bonaire’s labour force were unemployed. People are considered unemployed when they are not in paid employment, have recently looked for work and are currently available for work. Unemployment on St Eustatius stood at 7.1 percent. The lowest rate was recorded on Saba: 3.3 percent. On all three islands, the majority of the unemployed are low-skilled. In total, 65% of the jobless population of the Caribbean Netherlands were lower educated.

Retirement and education main reasons for not having a job

Around 20 percent of 15 to 74-year-olds on Bonaire and St Eustatius indicate that they are not looking for work, not available for work nor willing or able to work. This share is highest on Saba: 32 percent. This is related to the relatively large group of medical students living on the island.

People on Bonaire and St Eustatius mention early retirement, retirement and old age as the main reason for being unwilling or unable to work, followed by education or training. Over half of the people living on Saba say education is the reason for not being willing to work. Sickness or disablement comes in third place on all three islands. The share of people who are not in work due to the care for their family or household is relatively small in the Caribbean Netherlands. These are mainly women. (RCN Caribbean Netherlands; CBS)

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Five men jailed for up to 20 years in gangland shooting which victim survived

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Five men have been jailed for between 12.5 and 20 years for their role in an attempted gangland killing in which a car was riddled with bullets in the middle of a residential area of Diemen in 2015.

The victim, a known gangland figure, survived the attack and attempted to drive off. His car ended up in a nearby canal. The two gunmen, who shot at least 34 times at the victim using semi-automatic weapons were both sentenced to 20 years in jail.

The driver of the getaway car and two other men who had followed the victim were also sent to prison, the driver for 16 years, the others for 12.5 years.

The sentences handed down by judges in Amsterdam are particularly severe by Dutch standards, commentators said.

The judges said they hoped the long sentences would have a preventative effect, given the current spate of gangland killings in the Dutch capital. (DutchNews)

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CANTO 2017 - Looking into the Future

SINT MAARTEN/DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - CANTO 2017 continues at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Punta Cana Dominican Republic. The 33rd Annual Conference and Trade Exhibition, is addressing current concerns and challenges in the region and how they can be solved. The Conference is also looking to the future, recognizing that ICT is continually changing.

One of the future facing discussions which has been on the Agenda is 5G. This issue was discussed via a panel discussion entitled: 5G Technology and the Potential Benefits to providers in the Caribbean. The panel was moderated by David Cox (organization) and included Tim Burke, Vice President, Strategic Technology, Liberty Global. 

Mr. Burke's presentations included a review of the Wireless technology evolution, and the fact that each generation takes a long time to get going and stays for a while. Noting that over time we have moved from Analog to GSM to CDMA to LTE and that these advances have allowed us to benefit from increasing bandwidth of each generation of technology 5 G like generation before will bring the world and the Caribbean Spectral efficiency improvement.

He noted that LTE and 5G enabling technologies will bring to the region, increasing cell density, advanced arenas, better modulation, Beam forming and Beam tracking. As cell size coverage varies with frequencies and higher frequency spectrum being aggressively deployed, we will see new mobile phones handle both FDD and TDD modes across many frequencies.

With all these changes, the role of the Regulators in the region and the general regulatory environment must be contemplated. When pressed on what would be an ideal environment Mr. Burke suggested that it should be one which "stimulates competition..."

 In concluding, the Moderator (David Cox) asked Mr. Burke, how can this technology (5G) transform the Caribbean? What will be the social impact?  His response was: "It's all about education; to bring broadband speeds to the general population and doing so economically, will help so much. The key is getting broadband to the masses and bridging digital divide between rural and urban communities."

CANTO remains the Caribbean's premier telecommunications event for industry professionals, academics and regional governments.

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