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Front street closed Wednesday and Thursday

POND ISLAND – Front street will be closed on Wednesday November 22 and Thursday November 23 from the Philipsburg Court House onwards due to the paving of the road.

Front street will reopen on Friday November 24, 2017.

The Ministry of VROMI apologizes in advance for the inconvenience. 

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Night Club and Supermarket armed robberies under investigation

PHILIPSBURG - The Special Robbery Unit is investigating an armed robbery which took place on Friday November 17th at approximately 7.30 p.m. at Defiance Night Club. According to the victim he was attacked by three unknown men as he was about to enter into his car to leave.

One of these men threatened him with a gun while the other two robbed him of his telephones, his jewelry and cash. After committing this act the suspects fled the scene on foot.

The Special Robbery Unit is also investigating an armed robbery which took place on Saturday November 18th at approximately 2.00 p.m. at Johnny II Supermarket located on Arch road in Sucker garden.

The victim stated that he was sitting behind the counter at the cash register when the suspect came into the establishment. The suspect came up to the cashier and pulled out a fire arm.

He aimed the fire-arm at the victim and threatened to use weapon if all the money was not handed over. Fearing for his life the victim handed the suspect an undisclosed amount of cash after which the suspect left the scene on foot.

Police patrols and Detectives were sent to the scene to investigate this case. The area was searched by police but the suspect was not found.

As a preventive measure the Special Unit Robbery is asking the entire community and mainly all business owners or managers to take all necessary measures to prevent becoming a victim of crime. They should exercise precautions to ensure the safety and security of their employees and their business. The Police Department offers the following safety tips:

Tips to prevent street robberies:

  • - Avoid dark areas, dark areas form a risk because most robbers tend to rob people in dark areas
  • - Don’t go to the ATM during dark hours, plan ahead and get your cash during safer times
  • - Avoid carrying a lot of cash and other valuables
  • - Trust your instincts, if you sense trouble, get away as soon as possible
  • - Take a cab instead of walking home. If you have to walk, take some company along with you
  • - Be very alert and observant
  • - Keep your money close to you, preferably not in a purse that hangs free from your hand
  • - Don’t advertise; don’t wear expensive or fancy looking jewelry
  • - Install apps like ‘find my phone’ or ‘find my mobile’ on your Smartphone
  • - Make a note of the unique IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identification) number of your cell phone. If it gets stolen, the police will be able to search in databases. You can find this number by typing *#06# on your cell phone, the IMEI number should pop up on the screen.

When, in spite of the abovementioned tips, a robbery does take place, here are some things you can do to make it easier for the police to catch the robber:

  • - Stay calm
  • - Don’t be a hero, your life is worth more than your money
  • - Take a good look at the robber. Make mental notes about the robber. Give the dispatcher all the details you can remember about the robber(s) so the police patrols on the street can start an investigation immediately
  • - Note the direction of the robber when he leaves
  • - Try to get a description of the vehicle, if the robber uses one
  • - Call 911 as soon as possible
  • - If there are any witnesses, ask them to remain with you until the police arrive. If they can’t, get their name, address and phone number
  • - Go to the nearest police station to file a report
  • - Call the emergency number of your credit card company or bank, they can freeze your credit
  • - Log on to your ‘find my phone’ service, try to locate the phone and tell the police about your findings

The Police Department is also asking the community to help combat and prevent crime by sharing information with police. The police cannot fight crime alone and needs the assistance from the community to do so. (Sint Maarten Police Force)

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Bonaire Hosts International Meeting on Protection of Sharks

BONAIRE - From November 20-24th, 2017 a group of international shark experts is gathering at Captain Don’s Habitat on Bonaire to discuss measures for the international protection of sharks.

Countries ranging from the Philippines to Saudi Arabia, from the United States to Australia and from Costa Rica to Chile have sent experts to Bonaire for an advisory meeting of the Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation of Migratory Sharks (Sharks MOU) under the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS). 

This meeting brings together both the Advisory Committee and the Conservation Working Group of the Sharks MOU, to discuss what shark or ray species need more protection internationally, how they can best be protected, how to cooperate with fisheries organizations and how to build capacity for better shark protection. They will formulate recommendations for the Meeting of Signatories, which will take the final decisions.

The Netherlands is one of 41 signatories to the Sharks MOU; the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food quality (LNV) is hosting this workshop on Bonaire in order to help profile Bonaire as a shark friendly island and “green destination” and also to promote the Sharks MOU in the Caribbean region, where there are still relatively few signatories.

Bonaire has been protecting sharks since 2008 because of their importance to its dive tourism and in 2015 also joined in the Yarari Sanctuary for marine mammals and sharks, comprising the waters of Bonaire and Saba. The Tourism Corporation Bonaire (TCB) is supporting the meeting and is welcoming the participants at a cocktail party on Monday evening.

The Sharks MOU is the first global instrument for the conservation of migratory species of sharks. Sharks are under serious threat around the globe.

At present time, it is estimated that one-quarter of shark and ray species are threatened worldwide. The number of sharks being killed every year ranges between 63 and 273 million individuals.

The MOU is a legally non-binding international instrument within the framework of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS). It aims to achieve and maintain a favorable conservation status for migratory sharks based on the best available scientific information and taking into account the socio-economic value of these species for the people in various countries. Currently 29 species of sharks are listed in Annex I of the MOU

The Netherlands has taken an active role in the Sharks MoU, and with the Caribbean Netherlands the Netherlands is a range state for numerous migratory shark species. Sharks are an important attractor for dive tourism.

Dive tourism is the economic mainstay for Bonaire, which is why the island decided to protect all sharks almost ten years ago already. More recently both Bonaire and Saba requested the Netherlands to establish a sanctuary for both sharks and marine mammals in the water so the islands as well as in the waters of the adjoining Exclusive Economic Zone.

As a result, the Yarari Sanctuary was established in 2015 which will help to improve protection of in particular migratory sharks. (RCN Caribbean Netherlands) 

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Fatal stabbing on Genip road Saturday evening. Suspect arrested

PHILIPSBURG - Detectives are presently investigating the fatal stabbing of a man on Genip road in the vicinity of Sunshine Supermarket. The incident took place on Saturday November 18th at approximately 7. 40 p.m.

Immediately after receiving this call several police patrols, Detectives, Forensic Department and paramedics were sent to the scene to investigate what had taken place.

On the scene the male victim was not showing any signs of life. The area was immediately closed off for the Forensic Department to collect evidence and the Detectives to question potential witnesses.

The suspect identified with initial F. as his last name and who was still at the scene and also seemed to be injured was treated on the scene by paramedics and then taken to the Sint Maarten Medical Center for further treatment.

The suspect was immediately arrested after treatment. The cause of this stabbing is under investigation. The body of the victim identified with initials D.W has been confiscated for further investigation.

More official details this case is not available at this time. As soon as more details become available the media will be informed. (Sint Maarten Police Force)

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Eight arrested in Amsterdam in joint Dutch Irish drugs crackdown

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – A joint campaign between Dutch and Irish police has resulted in the arrest of 13 people suspected of being part of a drugs gang which may have links to Ireland’s notorious Kinahan clan.

In total, eight people were arrested in the Netherlands – three with Dutch nationality, three Irish men and one Belgian, according to Irish media reports. They are suspected of trafficking drugs and money laundering.

Police in Amsterdam also seized 175kg of cocaine, cannabis, vacuum-packed cash, computers, encrypted phones and bitcoin in the raids in the Netherlands, Irish media said.

Dutch police have refused to comment on the arrests because the suspects are being held in solitary confinement and only allowed contact with their lawyers.

In Ireland, where five arrests were made, police found drugs, worth an estimated €7 million at two industrial units in Ashbourne, Co Meath.

Senior Irish police officer assistant commissioner John O’Driscoll was in the Netherlands on Thursday where he met Dutch law enforcement personnel and law enforcement personnel from other jurisdictions, according to the force’s Facebook page. (DutchNews)

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VanEps Kunneman VanDoorne celebrates eightieth anniversary

SINT MAARTEN/CURACAO - To celebrate the 80th anniversary of VanEps Kunneman VanDoorne, the firm launched a new event concept on Friday 10 November called ‘RECHT&’ (literally: ‘LAW&’), an interactive knowledge café. The first edition focused on the National ordinance on competition, which went into effect in Curaçao on 1 September of this year.

During ‘RECHT& Concurrentie’ (‘LAW& Competition’), the consequences of the new National ordinance were discussed from a macro-economic, legal and business organizational perspective. Three keynote speakers made short thought-provoking statements, to which the panel and public could then respond.

The discussion on the macro-economic terrain was introduced by the Minister of Economic Development, Steven Martina. Keynote speaker on the legal aspects was Rogier van den Heuvel, partner at VanEps Kunneman VanDoorne and an expert in the field of competition law.

Finally, Justus van der Lubbe, CEO of Inter Assure, tackled the business organizational perspective. Apart from the abovementioned speakers, the panel featured Albert Scholten, implementation manager of the Fair Trade Authority Curaçao (FTAC), and Steven Coutinho, member of the SER and Chairman of the Supervisory Board at Aqualectra.

Frank Kunneman, partner at VanEps Kunneman VanDoorne and the moderator of the event, led a lively panel discussion after each statement made by the speakers. Subsequently there was room for questions from and discussion with the public, which welcomed the new concept enthusiastically.

The participants were very pleased with the choice of topic and the program’s broad (not strictly legal) outlook. VanEps Kunneman VanDoorne is happy that ‘RECHT&’ was such a success and intends to repeat the concept periodically in the future, also on the other Caribbean islands where it is active. 

Following on the day program, a festive anniversary reception was held where the firm members joined clients and business partners in a toast to the firm’s eightieth anniversary.

Managing partner Focco Lunsingh Scheurleer gave a short speech in which he both looked back on the firm’s history and ahead to its future. He also thanked all of the clients present for their trust.

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Dutch State secretary Knops visits St. Maarten, St. Eustatius and Saba

SABA/ST. EUSTATIUS - State secretary Knops (Interior and Kingdom Relations) is visiting the three Windward Islands from Monday, November 27, until Sunday, December 3.

The visit is divided in two parts. From November 27 until November 30, the State Secretary first has his own program. Afterwards, he accompanies his Majesty the King and her Majesty Queen Máxima, who will pay a visit to St. Maarten, St. Eustatius and Saba from November 30 until December 2. 

During his own program of this first visit, State Secretary Knops will have talks with officials, representatives of the business community and NGOs on reconstruction needed as a result of Hurricane Irma. He also visits various organizations and institutions on the islands

The State Secretary is looking forward to his first visit to the Caribbean part of the Kingdom of The Netherlands since his appointment: "I want to be able to see for myself how the situation is now, for the people of St. Maarten, St. Eustatius and Saba.

After the heavy hurricanes that have affected the Islands, emergency aid was started right away. In addition, the Cabinet recently released funding of 550 million Euros for St. Maarten and 67 million Euros for Saba and St. Eustatius for the necessary reconstruction. Now we have to start to work with that quickly.”

The program of State Secretary Knops starts Monday, November 27 on St. Maarten. He visits Saba starting the afternoon of November 28.  Finally, the State Secretary will visit St. Eustatius where he will arrive in the afternoon of November 29.

From Thursday, November 30, State Secretary Knops accompanies his Majesty the King and her Majesty the Queen during their visit to St. Eustatius, Saba and St. Maarten. (RCN Caribbean Netherlands)

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Three positions available on COCI Board for Small and Large Businesses

PHILIPSBURG - The St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce & Industry (COCI) hereby wish to inform you that in accordance with the Federal Ordinance of the Chamber of Commerce & Industry (P.B. 1944 No.202) there are three positions available on the COCI board. There are two vacant seats for the representation of Small businesses and one vacant seat for the representation of large businesses.

Due to the resignation of two board members, two seats have also became available. One seat for the representation of Small businesses and the term for this seat will end on December 31st, 2019. One seat for the representation of the large businesses and the term for this seat will end on December 31st, 2018.

In that regard, interested persons are informed that postulation will begin on November 16th, 2017 and postulation forms can be picked up at COCI as of then. 

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Division Study Financing: Study Financing Application Period Postponed

POND ISLAND - The 2018 Study Financing Application period which was scheduled to start November 15, 2018 has been postponed due to technical issues with our website, inavailibilty of adequate application intake facilities in the Government Building on Pond Island and delays with the preparation/publication of the 2018 priority listing of studies.

We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this postponement may cause.

Stay tune to our Facebook and Government information page in the daily newspaper for updates.

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Nature Foundation puts program in place to structurally clean beaches

COLE BAY - The Sint Maarten Nature Foundation, through the support of the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance DCNA, has been able to structurally put a program in place to clean the beaches over the past week.

Despite several beach-clean-ups being held and due to large amount of trash and hurricane debris still being found on the beaches the Foundation decided to request DCNA for relief funds to structurally clean beaches.

“While we were doing our assessments on the ground post-hurricane Irma and Maria, and after the follow-up assessments which were conducted especially leading into the restarting of the Tourism Season we decided that the beaches were still not at a level of cleanliness they should be.

“We therefore appealed to the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance who made funding available for us to rent equipment and pay the manpower necessary to structurally clean the beaches. We have started at Mullet Bay Beach and will be working our way down to Dawn beach in the next few days,” commented Tadzio Bervoets, Nature Foundation Manager.

For the past two months the Nature Foundation has placed a lot of focus on cleaning both the beaches above as underwater, making the areas safe for swimming. “There are some areas that are still a concern. The area in front of Karakter Beach Bar where there has been a wreck for some years is still dangerous for swimming.

However we buoyed the area off as to warn simmers from swimming there. We have also been working with young people from our district in Cole Bay and from Dive Operators paying them a stipend so that they can also have an income while they assist us in getting the beaches clean.

So far we have removed five dump trucks worth of trash from Mullet Bay and five dump trucks from Simpson Bay and we will continue to clean methodically,” continued Bervoets.

The Foundation also met with a group of Tour Operators on Monday where discussions were held on readying the beaches for the arrival of the cruise ship passengers and with the various Government entities about the status of beaches; our beaches are our primary natural resource and as such we need to ensure that they are healthy from both an environmental and economic point of view. We also are urging people to keep their property clean and properly dispose of garbage,” concluded Bervoets.

nature inside

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