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Soualiga News (1921)

No parking in front of Court House as of Monday

GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – The Inspectorate of TEATT (Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport & Telecommunications) by way of executing the minister’s vision of eliminating the often chaotic situations of taxis parked in front of the Court House at Captain Hodge Wharf, hereby informs the general public that all vehicles including taxis will be prohibited from parking in front of the Court House at Captain Hodge Wharf as of Monday, December 4th, 2017.

With the assistance of Ministry VROMI the square will be closed off to vehicular traffic.

All taxis will make use of the normal lineup area between the public paid parking lot and RBC Bank.  The parking lot in the rear of the former Government Administration Building will be used as a staging area for overflow taxis.

A taxi dispatch booth will be stationed at the entrance to the parking lot to control the flow and dispatching of taxis from this area. A second taxi dispatching station will be placed at the entrance to the Captain Hodge Wharf at Cyrus Wathey Square to facilitate tourists debarking the Captain Hodge Wharf and those tourists on Front Street.

Government Taxi Dispatchers will man both these stations and all dispatching will be done via Taxi dispatchers on site. All taxis are to abide by the line-up system and await their turn to be dispatched.

Taxi drivers are to remain with their vehicles and soliciting of tourists is prohibited as stipulated by LBHAM Personenvervoer.

Officers from Control Unit and Casino Control will also be supporting the dispatching process to ensure that law and order is maintained and dispatching is done quickly.

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State Secretary Knops and Statia hold frank and open talks

ST. EUSTATIUS - On Thursday November 29th during his inaugural visit to St. Eustatius State, Secretary of the Ministry of Interior of Kingdom Relations, Raymond Knops, held talks with act. Island Governor  Julian Woodley, Commissioner Derrick Simmons and members of the Island Council. 

Following what were termed open and frank discussions with both the Executive and Island Council the State Secretary presented Commissioner Simmons with a letter in which the Central Government has granted 2 million euro to the Public Entity of St. Eustatius for repairs in the context of insular tasks following two major hurricanes in September.

This one time contribution of 2 million euro is in addition to what the Central Government has already contributed through emergency funding and what will follow as part of the rehabilitation and reconstruction funds the Ministry will make available to help St. Eustatius. These funds are earmarked for restoration projects which fall under island responsibilities and are subject to, among others, the following conditions.

The funds must be spent by December 31st 2019 at the latest; it is not allowed to spend the resources to restore entities governed by private law, the so-called government entities; annually an interim progress report must be submitted no later than June 30th; project proposals need to be submitted by the Island Governor to the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations and in the framework of the applicable preliminary supervision, in consultation with the Commission Financial Supervision it will be considered how the project applications will be reviewed and checked.

State Secretary Knops has explained that the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations and the Ministry of Infrastructure &Water Management will hold discussions with the Executive Council for their input and the setting of priorities.

In a joint press briefing State Secretary Knops and Commissioner Simmons stated that efforts will be made to work on strengthening the relationship between Central and Local Government in the interest of the people of St. Eustatius. (RCN Caribbean Netherlands)

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MOTORWORLD HOSTS THE ANNUAL CHRISTMAS CAR SHOW THIS SATURDAY, DECEMBER 2

COLE BAY - Motorworld, Caribbean Auto and Audi brings in the holiday season with the Annual Christmas Car Show on this Saturday, December 2 from 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM. This major event brings fun festivities, good times and cheer for the holidays along with some remarkable deals on all the reliable quality brands, which includes Audi, Ford, Hyundai, Volkswagen, Mazda, Jeep, RAM, Honda, and Chrysler.

Some of the amazing deals include markdowns on the Ford Ecosport with a starting price at $16,995, as well as $2,000 of the Ford Edge, plus 5 years warranty, plus 3 years free extended service protection, which is valid on all Ford vehicles. In addition the newly launched Honda City, fully-loaded, starts at $18,990. Not to mention the discounts on various vehicles, such as $1,500 off the Volkwagen Polo, $1,200 off the Audi Q2, $1,500 off the Mazda CX5, $1,500 off the Honda CRV, $1,000 off the newly-redesigned Grand i10, and $1,200 off the ever-popular, Hyundai Creta and Tucson, which also includes 5 years warranty.

In addition, all the latest vehicles from all the brands will also be on display, with various added-value deals and discounts. The Annual Christmas Car Show provides an opportunity for individuals who may have lost or damaged their vehicle as a result of Irma to get great deals on the 2017, as well as 2018 models.

Not only are all vehicles discounted on this day, the banks will also be available to provide affordable finance packages, with low interest rates on car loans. The first three monthly payments will be FREE from participating banks, with two monthly payments guaranteed. This allows customers to take advantage of the car promotions, with the peace of mind that the first 2-3 months of payments are already covered, courtesy of Motorworld and the participating banks. Zero down payment, 100% financing, is also available. Participating banks include: Windward Islands Bank, RBC Bank, Scotiabank, PSB Bank and CIBC First Caribbean International Bank. Several banks will be offering their best rates on this day only! Customers can take advantage of finance packages that the banks will be making available at the Car Show, and are asked to bring along the necessary paperwork. For all the financing details please log onto www.motorworldsxm.com/financing.

In the spirit of giving, with every purchase, customers also get a free gift of their choice such as a 40" Samsung Smart TV, Apple iPad, Samsung Galaxy C7 Pro, or a 15" Laptop!

Festive entertainment will be provided by King Rumer, Young Dow aka Grand Prime who will also be bringing some great vibes with the steel pan, along with special appearances by Versatile and Yapi. The kiddies corner features a bounce house, cotton candy and popcorn complimentary for children to allow parents the peace of mind to shop at ease, as the entire family enjoys the festivities.

In addition, live broadcasts from Laser 101, SOS Radio and X104 will be taking place onsite to keep the entire community informed and engaged.

The Christmas season is looking bright at Motorworld and the entire community is invited to attend and enjoy this festive day. There is a full-day program organized to be an enjoyable experience for everyone. There will be free food and drinks all day.

The Annual Christmas Car Show is a day not to be missed in St. Maarten/ St. Martin. Motorworld, Caribbean Auto and Audi's wide range of vehicles, products and services are listed among the top class dealerships in the Caribbean, and the world. It will all be available, accessible and ready to serve each customer's unique needs.

For further information, please visit www.motorworldsxm.com or call (721) 544-5294.

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Looting suspect arrested during house searches. Fire arm and jewelry found

BISHOP HILL/EBENEZER - One man was arrested on Wednesday November 29th around 3.00 p.m. during a house search in Bishop Hill. The suspect was arrested in connection with the many ongoing “Looting investigations” since the passing of hurricane Irma.

During the search of this house numerous pieces of jewelry and a fire-arm were found and confiscated for further investigation. The suspect was taken to the Philipsburg Police Headquarters where he remains in custody for questioning and further investigation.

The second house search took place at a home in Ebenezer where also several pieces of jewelry were found and confiscated. However no suspect was arrested during this search. This investigation is ongoing. (Sint Maarten Police Force)

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WIB Re-opens Two Additional ATMs

PHILIPSBURG - The Windward Islands Bank (WIB), your partner in progress, just announced that two additional ATM machines have been re-opened.  These are located at Bush Road- Le Grand Marche, and at the       Pelican Resort.

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MORE THAN JUST A READ-A-THON. ENGAGE IN LITERATURE WELCOMES AUTHORS CANTAVE, LAKE AND ROM

COLE BAY - Local authors Ralph Cantave, Joseph H. Lake Jr and UK author Jacky Rom, will be guest authors at the Engage in Literature First Annual Read-a-ton Fundraiser. No stranger to St. Martin’s literary world, author and political scientist Joseph H. Lake Jr. has been known for his work as a journalist, newspaper editor, and publisher for over three decades.

In 1976, Lake founded the Windward Islands Newsday and in the early 1990s the tourism magazine Welkom/Bienvenue. “His literary contributions to the country are profound and we are elated to have him be part of this event.” stated Engage Foundation.

Lake’s works include The Republic of St. Martin, Friendly Anger–The Rise of the Labor Movement in St. Martin, and Six 4 Nine–Country Sint Maarten/Collectivité Saint-Martin. His most recent, the 2017 title Pen on Paper, is a collection of commentaries, news articles, and editorials penned by Lake or attributed to him between 1970 and 2001.

Joining Lake is Jacky Rom, UK Author, Drama Teacher, Producer and Playwright. At the age of 17, she wrote her first play and has written and directed many others over the years. In 2008, she wrote her first book titled The Missing Extra.

This vision turned into a series of five books about The Adventures of Starr, an 11-year-old detective, many of which were written while on St. Martin. Other publications include Momo’s Adventures Series and the fictional adult crime novels The Sandra Bernstein Chronicles; From Makeup to Murder and From Villany to Vegas.

Completing the trio of guest writers, is Ralph Cantave, a student at the University of St. Martin, radio host, and youth ambassador. He is the author of Words of Change Voices from Soualigan Soil and 21 & Savage. Most of his writings reflect politics, history, culture and social issues.

He has done several lectures and speeches at various schools and organizations and represented St. Maarten in various capacities abroad. In 2015 he received the President of Parliament Award for his volunteerism and contributions to the island’s social development.

All authors will be available for book signings at the read-a-thon benefiting the Philipsburg Jubilee Library on Saturday December 9th at the Coffee Lounge on Front Street.

To register for the read-a-thon or for more information Engage can be contacted via e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call +1 721-554-5294.

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Dutch Ministry of Interior and Kingdom Relations provides Saba with two million Euros

SABA - On Tuesday November 28th the State Secretary of the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations (BZK), Raymond Knops, began a first familiarization visit to Saba.

Upon arrival he spoke with Island Governor Jonathan Johnson, the commissioners and members of the Island Council. The talks were constructive.  As a result of hurricanes Irma and Maria the Windward Islands have to make the necessary repairs in the context of their insular tasks. In this regard, the State Secretary has granted a one-time special allowance  of 2 million euro to the Executive Council of Saba.

In the coalition agreement states that additional investment will be made in the Caribbean Netherlands under the condition that good governance and financial accountability are guaranteed at a sufficient level.

Saba meets those conditions Saba for years. The State Secretary has pledged further to invest in the development of the local government organizations. A contribution of $688,000 is granted for the further development of the organization of the Public Entity of Saba and improving the service to the citizen.

State Secretary Knops repeated his statement during the last budgetary debate of Kingdom Relations in the Second Chamber: "More for more, less for less".

With this the State Secretary is referring to the importance of quality, customization and solution-oriented activities in the cooperation. The Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations and Saba are together now giving this to follow-up.  

This amount is in addition to the rehabilitation and reconstruction funds that are being made available following the damage caused by hurricanes Irma and Maria.

In the framework of the reconstruction, an amount of approximately $25 million will be made available for Saba, for the recovery of the (sea) port, the incineration and restoration of homes. The Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations and I &W will enter into talks with the Executive Council about prioritization and the input of the island. (RCN Caribbean Netherlands)

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PPA Leader Arrindell calls for Civility in our Daily Actions for Citizens and Visitors

PHILIPSBURG – Leader of the People’s Progressive Alliance (PPA) Gracita Arrindell states: “The Government Administration building has been at the center of attention again for more reasons that one. Not in the least because of the recent un-ceremonial change of the political/ Ministerial ‘guards’ at the helm of the decision-making process of our Island.

“However, there is an equally serious issue simmering in the midst of all the political turmoil. The issue is the feeling of helplessness, loss of respect, impatience and un-civil behavior towards our fellow citizens.  This behavior is UNACCEPTABLE.

“Prior to hurricane Irma our governments service, especially in regards to the census office sectors, ‘ burger zaken’, has been under pressure to provide basic and in reasonable time documents such as driver’s license, ID cards, pass-ports, excerpts from the civil registry etc.’ Waiting time up to three months or longer, due to faulty machinery, or system mal functions has been known for quite some time.  It’s perfectly understandable that temporary measures must be taken in the aftermath of an extreme natural disaster to ensure that a basic level of service is continued.  

“The public service center in Simpson bay is still closed while offices are being repaired. Most government services are now centered at the government administration building in Philipsburg, including the extra assistance provided to those who deserve help most, by the social well -fare department. The location is understandably packed. Especially in the morning hours.  Consideration should be given in regard to the latter, to assist these persons, in their own districts, from the offices of the community councils,” the PPA Leader said in a Tuesday evening press statement.

Arrindell states; ‘to be clear and fair there are those civil servants who are courteous and professional in performing their daily duties at the government administration offices and at other buildings, including security personnel.

“Given the negative experiences by numerous visitors who were (are) subjected to unfriendly and downright rude employees, clearly there is an urgent need for someone in authority to step in, step up and improve the manner in which people are addressed. The experiences are too many and too often. Adding insult after injury (homes, destroyed, jobs lost etc,) and being subjected to unruly behavior is simply unacceptable.  This must never become the new norm. Immediate attention is required by those administrators who are charged with this supervision, to improve or rectify what should be better.”

“We must ensure that a decent level of service continues to be provided.

“Service that includes, but is not limited to phones being answered, when numbers are given by the civil registry department to make an appointment to pick up documents. The hours when visitors can ‘walk in’ without appointment (now from 8.30- 10 am) is expanded back to ‘normal’ working hours as soon as possible. Most importantly, ensure that personnel working at the front offices remain, calm and professional when addressing their clients at all times.”   

Gracita concludes; “We must be mindful of the very stress full situation thousands of our citizens are under in the aftermath of the devastation of hurricane Irma.

“We must never allow our friendliness, humbleness, our servitude be replaced with animosity towards our fellow citizens. As we move slowly forward towards recovery and building a smarter and stronger foundation of our Nation, now more than ever, requires leadership, empathy, and civility in dealing with the people’s business.”

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Court finds owner of biggest cannabis cafe guilty, but rules out punishment

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – The owner of the former Checkpoint cannabis café in Terneuzen, close to the border with Belgium, has been found guilty of trading in soft drugs and membership of a criminal organisation but will not face any punishment after a legal process stretching back to 2010.

The appeal court judges in Den Bosch said the owner had broken the terms of his licence from the town council but said this is inevitable ‘when you run a profitable coffee shop’.

The public prosecution department had said the man, Meddie W, should be given a suspended jail term of seven weeks and a suspended fine of €250,000. Checkpoint was for years the biggest cannabis café in the Netherlands, serving between 2,000 and 3,000 customers a day.

To meet demand, the café had to have more than the accepted 500 grammes of cannabis on the premises – the limit to qualify under the coffeeshop licencing system.

At one point the cafe even moved from the town centre to a large out of town location with generous parking space, with council help.

The town council turned a blind eye to the issue until the public prosecution department decided to intervene, closing down the café and bringing criminal charges against the owner and staff.

Guilty

In 2010 W was found guilty of membership of a criminal organisation, fined €9.7m and sentenced to 16 weeks in jail. That case went to appeal, at which the appeal court said that even though the cafe had too much marijuana on the premises this did not merit a prison sentence.

In 2014, the Supreme Court ordered a retrial, hence Tuesday’s verdict. The government is under pressure to tackle the grey area between coffee shop sales and the supply side, which is often in the hands of organised crime.

It is planning to launch trials of licenced marijuana production in several local authority areas. The police dismantled 5,856 marijuana plantations in 2015, or nearly 16 a day, according to the latest available figures. However, police estimate this is only one fifth of the total. (DutchNews)

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Angel Bermudez new Head of Health Insurance Office BES (ZVK)

SABA/ST. EUSTATIUS - As of December 1st 2017, Mr Angel Bermudez will assume the function as the new Head of the BES Healthcare Insurance Office (ZVK).

Bermudez is no stranger to the BES islands. Between 2011 and 2014 he was director of the Tax office for the Caribbean Netherlands. In recent years, Bermudez was Minister of Finance in Aruba. (RCN Caribbean Netherlands)

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