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Soualiga News II (1302)

Permanent Committee of Expenditures to Meet on Wednesday with the General Audit Chamber

PHILIPSBURG – ThePermanent Committee of Expenditures of Parliament will meet in a session on 6th May with the General Audit Chamber.

The permanent committee meeting is set for Wednesday at 10.00am in the General Assembly Chamber of the House at Wilhelmina Straat #1 in Philipsburg.

The two point agenda is a presentation by the General Audit Chamber on its role and the working relationship with Parliament; and the Expenditures Committee planning for the parliamentary year 2014-2015.

Members of the public are invited to the House of Parliament to attend parliamentary deliberations. 

The House of Parliament is located across from the Court House in Philipsburg. 

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St. Maarten Zoo Honors Previous Board Members for More than 20 Years of Dedication

MADAME ESTATE - The Board of the St. Maarten Zoo Foundation expressed its appreciation for the previous Board members, now resigned, at Taloula Mango’s on the Boardwalk.

President of the “new” Board, Amy Arrindell expressed how valuable the board members have been to the establishment and continuation of the Zoo after all of these years. Specifically, Ms. Tina Arents, Mr. Rob Heil and Mrs. Barbara Cannegieter who have all served on the board of the Zoo for over 20 years. 

They were presented with a Certificate of Appreciation thanking them for their hard work and never ending support for the St. Maarten Zoo.

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Be The Change launches NEW Website

PHILIPSBURG – The Be the Change Foundation is proud to announce the unveiling of its newly redesigned website.
The new website is easier to use and will encourage more individuals and businesses to participate, enabling Be the Change to continue its commitment to being a leader in facilitating community service and philanthropy in St. Maarten.

With their new easy-to-navigate web page, potential donors and supporters of various projects around the island are now able to access features such as:

  • Search for causes
  • Sign up to volunteer
  • Donate to individual causes or on monthly/annual basis (with various payment methods including online bank transfer, PayPal, credit/debit card, cash and/or arrange a cheque pick up)

Visitors to the site can also access the e-shop where one can order shirts and other accessories, which are considered donations to the Be The Change Foundation.

To visit the newly redesigned website, go to www.bethechangesxm.com.

BTC’s excellent website was donated and developed by CaribiX.nl, a company owned and operated by young St. Maarten entrepreneur, Charlon Pompier.

President of the Board, Melanie Choisy, asserts that, “current and potential members will appreciate this updated, convenient and more user-friendly approach for our website that both residents and visitors to St. Maarten can appreciate.”

We hope that many will now access our web site and join Be the Change in our endeavors. Sign up today!

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Let’s revisit the idea of setting up a loan guarantee program!

PHILIPSBURG – Leader of the One St. Maarten People Party (OSPP) Lenny Priest in a press statement released on Sunday said the St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce initiative to establish Business Centre is commendable.  

“In my opinion it can be the beginning of many young potential entrepreneurs entering into small business. And this would be a great thing, after all small businesses are the back bone of every economy and we have seen small local businesses virtually disappeared over the years. These small businesses once established properly would provide jobs and revenues for the coffers of the government and we will be in charge once again of our economy.    

“However, it is of vital importance that we must also take into consideration the existing Small Business Development Foundation that also has a vital role to play in the development of small businesses. Therefore, I am suggesting if it has not taking place as yet a crucial meeting should be organized between these two organizations in order to avoid the overlapping of services being offered. As a matter of fact the services that these prestigious organizations are offering should be supplementing each other and not competing against each other. In my opinion each one of them would definitely contribute positively towards the establishment of local small businesses here on St. Maarten.    

“In 2013 the OSPP suggested the establishment of a loan guarantee program and a letter was forwarded to the present Minister of Finance, Mr. Hassink. As a political party we believe that one of the greatest disadvantages that our young potential entrepreneurs have are not being able to come up with the financing to set up their businesses. And this is not uncommon in the business world as many start up and existing businesses depends on bank loans to move their businesses forward. Unfortunately, for most young business entrepreneurs here on St. Maarten they lack the collateral in order to obtain the type of financing required to do business.

“No banks are willing to provide those young entrepreneurs with an unsecured loan, meaning a loan without putting up some type of collateral be it real estate, a savings account or some other valuable asset. Therefore, it behooves the government to come up with some type of funding to set up this loan guarantee program to assist these young entrepreneurs. If the government does not have the vision to provide this guarantee program then in our opinion the Chamber of Commerce Business Centre and the Small Business Development Foundation would never reach their potential and neither would those aspiring small business entrepreneurs.    

“We have also forwarded the proposal of the establishment of the loan guarantee program in the past to the Chamber of Commerce, the SHTA, the Bankers Association, The Small Business Development Foundation and as mentioned before to the government of St. Maarten.  We can openly report here that Mr. Hassink did respond and would have taken it up with the former Minister of Economic TEATT as he agreed that it would stimulate the development of more small businesses.

If we can effectively bring these three great ideas together we would experience a boom in the establishment of small businesses, one that St. Maarten has never known before.    

“Once again we have recently forwarded a letter to the present Minister of TEATT, Minister Claret Connor and copied to the Finance Minister, Mr. Hassink and the members of the parliament of St. Maarten regarding the establishment of this loan guarantee program and suggested that the funding for the program should come from the government owned companies, NV GEBE 1,000,000.00 guilders; St. Maarten Harbour Group of Companies 500,000.00 guilders and the Princess Juliana Airport NV 500,000.00 guilders. This loan guarantee funding should be administered by some of the members that were on the 1995 hurricane relief program based on the Dutch funding provided to St. Maarten.   

“All hands should be on aboard if we truly want to create jobs, generate more revenues for the coffers of the government and work towards controlling our economy as our forefathers have done in the past,” OSPP Leader Lenny Priest said on Sunday. 

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Permanent Committee of Kingdom Affairs and Inter-parliamentary Relations to Meet on Tuesday

PHILIPSBURG – ThePermanent Committee of Kingdom Affairs and Inter-parliamentary Relations (CKAIR) of Parliament will meet in session on May 05.

The Permanent Committee of Kingdom Affairs and Inter-parliamentary Relations meeting is set for Tuesday at 10.00am in the General Assembly Chamber of the House at Wilhelmina Straat #1 in Philipsburg.

The two point agenda for the meeting is approval of the decision list regarding committee parliamentary business for the 2014-2015 period; and preparations for the Tripartite and Inter-parliamentary Kingdom Consultation (IPKO) that is scheduled between May 25-29 in The Hague, the Netherlands.

Members of the public are invited to the House of Parliament to attend parliamentary deliberations.

The House of Parliament is located across from the Court House in Philipsburg.

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Animal Defenders Sint Maarten Donates Dog House Shelters to Needy Families and Their Pets

COLE BAY- Animal Advocacy Group Animal Defenders recently donated the first seven doghouses to less fortunate families and their pets to protect them against the elements.

The doghouses, which were built by Volunteers as part of the SXM Doet Project, were delivered to families who are unable to provide shelter for their pets. “We have been noticing many animals being kept on leashes outside and exposed to the elements (hot sun, rain and wind) so we decided that this would be an excellent project to both provide shelter for the animals and to create awareness that our pets are an important part of our family,” stated Mrs. Mercedes De Windt, of Animal Defenders St. Maarten.

Doghouses, or shelter for dogs, are an important requirement for dogs living in Sint Maarten’s sometimes volatile climate. Dogs can easily burn, become dehydrated or become ill if they are exposed to the elements for a long period of time. It was therefore decided to focus the project on providing shelter to pets from families who may not be able to afford a dog house.

Animal Defenders also stressed that pets, if they must be leashed and kept outside, are kept on a long leash in addition to being provided with shelter and that they are given adequate water and food.

“Pets are an important part of the family and they also need affection, protection and nourishment. We urge the population to realize these basic needs for their pets and recognize them as important members of their families.

“We would like to thank all of the volunteers who helped out at Milton Peters College, Caribbean Eagles and the Nature Foundation Workshop for making this project possible. And a special thanks to Leroy la Paix for helping with distributing the first set of dog houses,” stated Animal Defenders.

The organization has also started with a spay/neuter campaign where stray dogs are caught and sterilized, limiting the amount of stray dogs on the island. More information on this will be released as the program progresses.

If anyone wishes to contact Animal Defenders they can do so via their Facebook Page Animal Defenders Sint Maarten.

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Acting Minister of Labour Bourne-Gumbs wishes nation Happy Labour Day

PHILIPSBURG – Acting Minister of Labour Affairs Hon. Rita Bourne-Gumbs in a Labour Day 1 May Message on behalf of the Council of Ministers would like to wish the population of the country Happy Labour Day.

“The rights that workers have gained over the years are once again being celebrated on this Labour Day 1st of May.  We as a people, as labourers, as employees, and as employer’s have much to be grateful for when we look at what has been achieved by us all working together.

“We must collectively pay homage and reflect this Labour Day on what we as a country have achieved together.  What our economy has achieved due to the hard work of employees under the management and innovation of the company that they work for, we must be thankful.

“On this May 1st 2015 Labour Day, reflect upon the stable democracy that we have as a people, and reflect on the great achievements.  We are a people of great determination in unity with a purpose.

“There are challenges that still remain within the world we live in, but also right here on Sint Maarten.  Those challenges we must continue to work together in making them into achievements so come Labour Day 2016, we can say we have added as social partners another feather in our cap.  Happy Labour Day,” Minister Hon. Rita Bourne-Gumbs said.

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Caesarean sections should only be performed when medically necessary

AMERICAS - Caesarean section is one of the most common surgeries in the world, with rates continuing to rise, particularly in high- and middle-income countries.

Although it can save lives, caesarean section is often performed without medical need, putting women and their babies at-risk of short- and long-term health problems. A new statement from the World Health Organization (WHO) underscores the importance of focusing on the needs of the patient, on a case by case basis, and discourages the practice of aiming for "target rates".

Caesarean section may be necessary when vaginal delivery might pose a risk to the mother or baby – for example due to prolonged labour, foetal distress, or because the baby is presenting in an abnormal position. However, caesarean sections can cause significant complications, disability or death, particularly in settings that lack the facilities to conduct safe surgeries or treat potential complications.

Since 1985, the international healthcare community has considered the "ideal rate" for caesarean sections to be between 10% and 15%. New studies reveal that when caesarean section rates rise towards 10% across a population, the number of maternal and new-born deaths decreases. But when the rate goes above 10%, there is no evidence that mortality rates improve.

It is estimated that globally, the rate of caesarean section is higher than the ideal. In the Americas, the average is 38.9%, according to the most recent data from 25 countries. However, this figure could be higher given that in many cases it does not include caesarean sections done by private sector health services.

"It´s very worrisome that almost four out of every 10 births in the region are by C-section," said Suzanne Serruya, director of the Latin American Center for Perinatology, Women, and Reproductive Health (CLAP) of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), regional office for the Americas of WHO. "Doctors, midwives, obstetric nurses, those responsible for health policies, mothers and fathers, and society as a whole should work together to reduce this number and use caesarean sections only when it´s needed for medical reasons."

Across a population, the effects of caesarean section rates on maternal and newborn outcomes such as stillbirths or morbidities like birth asphyxia are still unknown. More research on the impact of caesarean section on women's psychological and social well-being is still needed.

"Having too many caesarean sections is exposing more women to new health problems, like abnormal placentation, which in the case of a second caesarian section can occur in 40% of cases, and in the case of a third caesarian, can occur all the way up to 60% of cases. This represents a risk for maternal death by hemorrhage," warned Bremen de Mucio, regional advisor on Sexual and Reproductive Health in PAHO/WHO´s CLAP.

Due to their increased cost, high rates of unnecessary caesarean sections can pull resources away from other services in overloaded and weak health systems.

The lack of a standardized internationally-accepted classification system to monitor and compare caesarean section rates in a consistent and action-oriented manner is one of the factors that has hindered a better understanding of this trend. WHO proposes adopting the Robson classification as an internationally applicable caesarean section classification system.

The Robson system classifies all women admitted for delivery into one of 10 groups based on characteristics that are easily identifiable, such as number of previous pregnancies, whether the baby comes head first, gestational age, previous uterine scars, number of babies and how labour started. Using this system would facilitate comparison and analysis of caesarean rates within and between different facilities and across countries and regions.

"Information gathered in a standardized, uniform and reproducible way is critical for health care facilities as they seek to optimize the use of caesarean section and assess and improve the quality of care," explains Dr Marleen Temmerman, Director of WHO's Department of Reproductive Health and Research. "We urge the healthcare community and decision-makers to reflect on these conclusions and put them into practice at the earliest opportunity.

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Council of Ministers meets with PSS Board of Supervisory Directors and Management

GREAT BAY (DCOMM) – In accordance with the current Governing Accord, the Council of Ministers (COM) met with the Supervisory Board and Management of the Postal Services St. Maarten (PSS).

The meeting was requested by the Interim Managing Director to discuss some urgent matters. Up to this date, COM has conducted several shareholders meetings with supervisory boards and management among which were TelEm, NV GEBE, St. Maarten Harbour Group of Companies, and the Holding Company of Princess Juliana International Airport.

It is the intention to schedule additional meetings with the other Government owned companies in the coming weeks and months. 

Present in the meeting were: Stuart Johnson, Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Hubert Pantophlet, Member of the Supervisory Board, Antonia Wilson, Interim Managing Director, Alex Richardson, Director of Finance and Daphne Benders, Head of Human Resources and administrative support. Member Julian Lake was absent due to other obligations.

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Committee of Petitions to meet on Friday regarding work methods

PHILIPSBURG – Parliament’s Committee of Petitions will meet in a House session on April 24.

The permanent Committee meeting is set for Friday at 9.00am in the General Assembly Chamber of the House at Wilhelmina Straat #1 in Philipsburg.  The initial meeting was adjourned on April 21 and is now being reconvened.

The agenda point is the committee’s work method.

Members of the public are invited to the House of Parliament to attend parliamentary deliberations. 

The House of Parliament is located across from the Court House in Philipsburg.

The parliamentary session will be carried live on St. Maarten Cable TV Channel 120, via Pearl Radio FM 98.1, the audio via the Internet www.pearlfmradio.com and via www.sxmparliament.org. 

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