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Plenary Session of Parliament set for Monday morning regarding Pension System

PHILIPSBURG – TheHouse of Parliament will meet in a public plenary session on November 9th.    

The plenary session is set for Monday at 11.00am in the General Assembly Chamber of the House at Wilhelmina Straat #1 in Philipsburg. 

The agenda is the draft National Ordinance to change the National Ordinance General Old Age Pension with respect to the pensionable age etc. This session of the House will be carried live on Soualiga Newsday video feed.

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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Painting intersection of Welfare road/Billy Folly planned for Sunday; Trench works on Monday at Bishop Hill road

GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – Ministry of Public Housing, Environment, Spatial Development and Infrastructure (Ministry VROMI), announces that painting works at the Welfare road/Billy Folly is planned for Sunday, November 8.

The painting works will commence at 6.00AM to 6.00PM on Sunday.

Trench works will be ongoing on Bishop Hill road intersection Belvedere road.  These works will be supervised by St. Maarten Cable TV and will start on Monday, November 9.

Trench works opposite PMC School will be carried out by NV GEBE with respect to the laying of new water lines.  This is an ongoing project.

Motorists are advised to pay keen attention to road crews who will be using heavy machinery to carry out the work.

Ministry VROMI apologizes for any inconveniences this may cause.

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St. Maarten Cable TV Announces Programming Changes: Space No Longer Airs NBA Games

MADAME ESTATE - St. Maarten Cable TV announces, effective immediately, Space, aired on channel 278, no longer has the rights to air the 2015 NBA Seasonal Games which were aired on Tuesdays and Thursdays for regular season and conference finals.  

Beulah Jonis, Managing Director, stated, “We regret to inform the public that Space will not be showing this season’s NBA games. However, St. Maarten Cable TV subscribers can view live games on ESPN and ESPN2 Caribbean found on channels 209 and 211 on Wednesdays and Fridays. Wednesday and Saturday games air on Digicel SportsMax found on channel 200. Customers may also view most of the Chicago Bulls’ home games on WGN. We encourage our customers to stay tuned to the media as we are in communication with ESPN and Digicel SportsMax who may get the rights to the Tuesdays and Thursdays NBA games. Discussions are also ongoing with the NBA for NBA TV which has additional NBA games.”

St. Maarten Cable TV apologizes for the inconvenience that this may cause its customers.

Customers are encouraged to visit St. Maarten Cable TV’s Facebook page and the website for additional information and other pertinent facts. The website address is http://www.sxmcable.com/. Customers may also call our Customer Service department at 542-4361.

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MP Lake calls for Constitutional and Electoral Reform before Elections

ST. PETERS – Member of Parliament (MP) Maurice Lake calls on all political leaders to show political maturity and raise the bar to address the amendment to the Constitution, the MP said in a press release on Thursday.

“I have listened keenly to the caretaker PM (Ed Prime Minister) and the Minister of Justice and I have to say for two senior officials I have lost great respect for them for playing politics and making mockery of our Constitution. The caretaker Minister of Justice should know better as being part of the constitutional process for Country St. Maarten.

“The Constitution is the foundation of the supreme law of the land in St. Maarten and should be upheld, respected and amend before we talk about any elections. How can you go into an election without amending your constitution which is the foundation of what principles your people stand for during an election? The intent of the Founding Fathers was for the Constitution to be a progressive document which would be amended as necessary to better suit the needs of future generations. 

“We have to amend our Constitution and some articles to define them clearer for some of our leaders to uphold with integrity and that needs all (well most) hands on board if we are to steer the course in a positive direction. Any true Leader would stop the political rhetoric now and call their appointed Ministers in order to respect and uphold our Constitution.

“As an elected representative of the people, my allegiance was to uphold the Constitution and serve the people. It is not just to show party loyalty. The Constitution is the guide which I never will abandon and is the foundation and pride of our Country.

“As we get ready to celebrate St. Maarten’s Day, as true Leaders we need to reflect and rise to the occasion and put aside party politics and start working for our people with a plan of action to move St. Maarten forward,” MP Lake pointed out. 

MP Lake stated he understands politics very well, but the Constitution is above everything when one is talking about Country St. Maarten. “How can you go into a snapshot election before constitutional reform and electoral reform to elect the same persons into Office with the same self-interest and ideology? The people's intelligence needs to not be played with."

“Did the people call for an election or an appointed Prime Minister who disrespects our Governor, our Constitution and the people of St. Maarten? Does the appointed Council of Ministers have more authority than the elected representatives of the people in Parliament? Does any political party foresee an outright win in this election knowing some of our leaders couldn't pass the screening to become Prime Minister and execute the priority projects within the Governing program because of self-interest for the people under the theme "We Ready"? All of a sudden, the people seeing all the plans and priority projects being presented after the fact by the care taker government.

“Our appointed Prime Minister has to understand his position is an "honour position" to serve the people and execute the Governing Program and not to disrespect our Constitution. Our Prime Minister did make history with his behaviour and attitude of disrespecting our Constitution, our Governor and the people of St. Maarten, while some of our Leaders just sit back and entertain the circus and put our Governor in a compromising situation, and having to make a decision of pleasing all parties by signing a decree with discrepancies which is not in the best interest of St. Maarten. I am in full support to annulled or amend the decree of the former PM incorrect premise and unconstitutional decision for speaking on behalf of the people which he never consulted in the first place.

“Did the Prime Minister forget he was appointed by ship jumping and did not once before address it during the integrity process and in our governing Program? How long are we not going to hold each other accountable despite living in a small community?

“We need to put aside egos and understand that St. Maarten belongs to the people and does not belong to an appointed prime Minister and a selected few of politicians who doesn't put their people first. St. Maarten people and professionals should be first in their own Country. 

“I will be one of the first to address ship jumping during electoral reform to bring more stability in Government. I didn't take such a bold stand because of power, position or money, but to raise the bar based on my principles and values of working in the general interest of the people. I never asked any one of my Coalition members to do any illegal acts or personal favours other than to help our people based on our Governing Program in a correct and a legal manner but with a time frame. We need to look around and go in the districts and talk to the people to see if there is anything to smile about within the community.

“I was very embarrassed in the last meeting in the House of Parliament. Some of our MPs went against their own code of conduct by being present and walking out of meetings and constantly interrupting the Chairlady of Parliament. Some of our MPs should think twice before they speak in the house of the people because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.”

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Disciples Toastmasters Club Elects New Executive Board

ST. PETERS - The Disciples Toastmasters Club continues to work together with the students of the St. Maarten Academy PSVE on the leadership program. The students are developing their leadership and communication skills. 

Yesterday November 4th, parliamentary procedures were carried out once more to elect a new executive board. It was an exciting and satisfying journey to victory for the new board.

The Disciples Toastmasters Club meets every 2nd and 4th Sunday of each month. (Disciples Toastmasters Club)

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St. Maarten Cable TV Equipment Upgrades Will Result In Brief Intermittent Service Interruptions for Some Customers

MADAME ESTATE – St. Maarten Cable TV informs its customers of outside plant equipment upgrades which will commence on Wednesday, November 4, 2015 and is scheduled to be completed by Friday, November 13, 2015 providing weather permits.

During this time period, St. Maarten Cable TV customers in the areas located between Tropicana Casino in Cole Bay and Lowlands will experience intermittent outages for brief periods of time between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.

Beulah Jonis, Managing Director, stated, “St. Maarten Cable TV’s technical team will be upgrading the system’s trunk amps as a means to balance the network’s signal. This upgrade is in preparation of the Company’s plan of upgrading its outside plant infrastructure in the aforementioned areas to a Hybrid Fiber Coaxial (HFC).”

Jonis concluded, “We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience caused as we continue to maintain and upgrade our equipment to provide optimum service to our customers”.

Customers are encouraged to visit St. Maarten Cable TV’s Facebook page and the website for additional information and other pertinent facts. The website address is http://www.sxmcable.com/. Customers may also call our Customer Service department at 542-4361 or send emails to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Department of Sports to host Brown Pelican Sports Awards

PHILIPSBURG - The first ever Sint Maarten Brown Pelican Sports Awards (BPSA) ceremony, honoring local athletes and sporting legends, will be held on Sunday, November 22 at the Sonesta Maho Beach Resort Convention Center.

According to representatives from the Department of Sports, the event, which will start at 5pm and end at 7pm, highlights people and organizations who have had an impact on sports on the island.

“Our aim is to place a spotlight firmly on those individuals and associations who have worked tirelessly to make sports possible throughout the years in our communities,” Department of Sports head, Jonelle Richardson, said.

Richardson explained that various organizations have submitted potential nominees in 10 categories, including best overall, best sponsor, best coach, international ambassadors, best sport organization, sporting innovations, athlete of the year (male), athlete of the year (female), best sporting school and sporting icons.

“Earlier this year we approached the various sporting associations to have the organizations under them submit names in the different categories. All of the names submitted will now be vetted by a committee and the actual nominees will be revealed closer to November 22,” The Department Head stated.

The event will also feature sporting legends from the field of baseball. Richardson explained that each year new legends would be selected from another sport, until as many legends possible had been recognized across all organized sports on the island. It was also explained, that baseball had been chosen first, because of the impact of athletes in this sports, both at home and broad, and the longevity which had been experienced under the entities organizing it.
 

Richardson further stated that, because the Department recognizes the importance of championing local athletes and organizations, she is encouraging the St. Maarten community and the various sporting organizations to support this event.
 

“Sports on the island could not have grown without the input and contributions of these persons and organizations who have been submitted for nomination and so we ask the public to help us pay tribute to them. It is our aim to make this event an annual one, continuing long into the future. It should bring together athletes, coaches, sponsors, volunteers and sports aficionados and we hope that eventually it becomes something that people will mark on their calendars and look forward to year after year,” the Department Head is quoted as saying.
    

Cost of the event is $20 and more information about tickets and the use of the collected funds will be released in a subsequent press release.
 

“The Department of Sports is doing, and will continue to do, its part in recognizing the outstanding participation of this individuals and organizations in sporting endeavors, both within our communities and abroad. We take excellence, dedication, innovation and discipline in sports very seriously and we look forward to toasting those amongst us who do the same,” Richardson concluded. 

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DP gives its take on the National Decree to Dissolve Parliament and New Elections

PHILIPSBURG – The Democratic Party (DP) on Tuesday issued a press release giving its analysis in what it considers the “real reasons behind it” (Ed. the national decree) that the Council of Ministers presented to the Governor for signature with respect to the dissolution of Parliament and new elections.

The DP Party’s comments are noted in RED:

NATIONAL DECISION of the 29th October 2015, no. LB-15/0992 (THE REAL REASONS BEHIND IT)

THE GOVERNOR OF SINT MAARTEN,

On the recommendation of the Prime Minister, Minister of General Affairs, in keeping with the sentiment of the Council of Ministers;

Having taken into consideration:

-that immediately after the results of the last elections,  persons elected as member of Parliament, have split off from the party with which they contested the election and positioned themselves  as independent  members of Parliament;

Conclusion: this is the very same make-up that facilitated the UP/Gumbs cabinet into office. Now   independent members Marlin-Romeo and de Weever are thrown under the proverbial bus by the same government, because they separated from their parties.

-that now  again some  members of Parliament  in a letter of September 30, 2015, without prior discussion with and any further statement by the Government, have withdrawn………………..(?), while two of these members have left the party with which they participated in the election and thereby again  created a different relation than  that of the results of the election.

Conclusion: withdrawn what? This is an incomplete sentence in the heart of the matter, namely that the UP/Gumbs cabinet is acting outside of the legal constitutional order, issuing this decree, as a government that has no parliamentary support. 

-that since 10-10-10 on average each year, a new Government was formed as a result of defections;

Conclusion: the 2014 election obviously has not solved the "ship jumping", even after 2 changes during the first parliamentary term (2010-2014).

-that since the Parliament election in August 2014, the governing accord that supports the government was renegotiated several times,  because of the constant changing makeup of the coalition;

Conclusion: this is the fault of the leaders of the coalition that support the UP/Gumbs government.  The program is still in some drawer at Parliament.

-that the Government partly as a result of the above, was constantly under threat that its support would be undermined,

Conclusion: the stability of the UP/Gumbs government was absent and under threat, due to  the absence of a collective or cohesive vision. A house divided cannot stand.

-that a durable majority in Parliament cannot be guaranteed;

Conclusion: neither does an election in February 2016 guarantee this.

-due to the constant changes there is insufficient guarantee c.q. cannot be foreseen that a subsequent Cabinet will be able to count on the durable support of a majority in Parliament;

Conclusion: neither does an election in February guarantee this.

-that it is necessary during this governing term, also on short term, to take major  financial-economic decisions as well as decisions with  respect to the integrity of  the public administration for a resilient future of the country and that such decisions can be taken only in a stable governing  climate, evidenced by  a clear voters mandate;

Conclusion: the government has some major financial-economic measures in mind and the voter has no idea what these measures are. Taxation comes to mind.

-that the constant changes are sufficient reasons to hold new elections;

Conclusion: Election at this time does not solve "crossing the floor" or "ship jumping", because no reform was ever championed by the UP/Gumbs cabinet. To the contrary, they willingly accepted the practice, when it was in their favor.

Whereas, moreover:

-also that the reports "Doing the right things right"; final report Commission Integer Governance, July 2014 (white/Samson), the report "Integrity Inquiry into the functioning of the Government of Sint Maarten "(Price Waterhouse Coopers, 2014) and the report" National Integrity System Assessment Sint Maarten ", 2015 (Transparency International) showed that the phenomenon of “crossing over” Parliament members has strong negative impact on the integrity and quality of our government;

Conclusion: No measures have been taken by the UP/Gumbs-cabinet to curb the phenomenon of "crossing over". Not even as part of their integrity program. Luckily for them, the DP helped them to at least get to an integrity chamber.

-that for the image  of Sint Maarten in regional and international context,  for the development of our democracy and the continuity of the government of Sint Maarten, it  is not desirable to allow this situation to continue;

Conclusion: this very same decree and a "snap" election perpetuate the image of a government "gone wild".

Whereas, moreover:

-that the representative system on which our Constitution is based, presupposes agreement between the Government and the people's representation and that is a prerequisite to successfully govern our country;

Conclusion: the bedrock of our parliamentary democracy is a government that is accountable to the people's elected representatives in Parliament.

-that a representation of the people only exists as long as such is supported by the electorate;

Conclusion: government has no authority to "fix" the constitutional term of 4 years of a parliament to its own liking.

-that, given the constantly changing relations, there is reason to allow the voters to make a clear statement whether the members of Parliament, who perform their task as they  see fit, still enjoy sufficient trust   of the voters;

Conclusion: that is not the call of government. Voters vote for persons. These persons (can) form coalitions. Constitutional term is 4 years.

-that the insight that mentioned trust exists or not, cannot be established independently of  the voters, so that new elections should be held,  that  guarantee unanimous support of the voters support for the intended major decisions;

Conclusion: WHAT MAJOR DECISIONS, WHEN THE GOVERNMENT PROGRAM HAS NOT EVEN BEEN DEBATED??? The UP/Gumbs government is not forthcoming and is using the right to dissolve parliament as a ploy to push through measures that are shrouded in darkness.

-that the possibility is herewith created for the voters to make a clear statement as to whether members of Parliament have the confidence of the population;

Conclusion: the UP/Gumbs government is turning the legal constitutional order on its head. Voters vote their representatives into office; these representatives "judge" the ministers. Not the other way around.

-that the Government is of  the belief that with the  government’s policies  pursued thus far, the  public interest and the welfare of the people are well  served;

Conclusion: No evidence whatsoever of this is provided.

-that it is now up to the voters to decide if such is the case;

Conclusion: so this is not about a new parliament; this is about judging the UP/Gumbs government's actions that have been as obscured as night. Cases in point: E. Wilson Estate, St. Maarten Housing Development Foundation, Zebec, Vorst Estate, GEBE, S'Bay land, Landfill, medical tourism, procurements, APS funds.

-that in the decision of 28 October 2015, no. LB-15/0951 by mistake an incorrect election date was mentioned, which was not in compliance with the statutory period referred to in article 40 of the electoral regulation;

-Whereas it is therefore necessary to annul this decree and to establish a new decree.

Having regard to:

-Article 59 of the Constitution of Saint Martin; -

Article 21 and 40 of the electoral regulation; -

paragraph 3 of the State Ordinance registration and finance political parties;

 HAS DECIDED:

Article 1

The Parliament of St. Maarten will be dissolved in accordance with article 59 of the Constitution of St. Maarten. The dissolution of the Parliament will take place on Monday 14 March 2016.

Article 2

Voting for the election of members of Parliament takes place on Tuesday 9 February 2016.

Article 3

The day of nominations for the election of the members of the Parliament is determined on Tuesday 22 December 2015.

Article 4

The first meeting of the newly elected Parliament will take place on Monday 14 March 2016 at a time determined by the Chairman of Parliament.

Article 5

The national decree of 28 October 2015, no. LB-15/0951 is repealed.

Article 6

This national decree shall enter into force on December 15, 2015 and is published in the National Gazette.

Conclusion: a decision by the UP/Gumbs government which will enter into force 2 1/2 months after these ministers were "dismissed" by parliament. Undemocratic, Unlawful and Unacceptable!

                                                                                  

Philipsburg, 29 October 2015

The Governor of Sint Maarten                                                                                 

                                                                                

The Minister of General Affairs

Dated 30 October 2015

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Come Meet, Greet and Eat the St. Maarten Caribbean Way Now Serving at the St. Maarten Festival Village

POND ISLAND - A small business weekday entrepreneurship program initiated by Stichting Overheidsgebouwen (SOG), is now underway at the Festival Village on Pond Island. 

This weekday program is aimed to stimulate entrepreneurship and more usage of the Festival Village while offering vendors the opportunity forselling of drinks, foods, arts & craft etc. The vendors in this program will be allowed to have booths, tents or tables for vending.

If you are wondering where to eat, and want to eat local or Caribbean food, then St. Maarten Festival Village is the venue to be.  Bring your friends and colleagues over and enjoy some of the best local and Caribbean dishes on the island.

Open on Tuesdays to Thursdays from 8.00am to 5.00pm; Fridays 8.00am to 1.00am; Saturdays 8.00am to 10.00pm.

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Informative Session for November 4: What is my child saying; Is that normal?

PHILIPSBURG – Does your child have a speech impairment or language disorder? What should a child be saying and when should he/she be saying it? Do you have difficulty understanding your child? Is your child frustrated because no one understands what he/she is saying? Are you frustrated and don’t know what to do?

The Student Support Services Division (SSSD) of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports Affairs is organizing an informative session entitled, “What is my child saying; is that normal?”

The information session is intended for the general public and especially parents in order to help them in understanding speech and language development in children and learning tip and/or strategies on how to assess and help improve your child’s speech and language skills. The facilitator for this workshop will be Speech Therapist, Ms. Najhilah Brooks.

Parents and other interested persons are encouraged to come out to this session which will be held on Wednesday November 4th, 2015 at the University of St. Martin from 7:00 P.M. to 9:00 P.M.

The objective of the session is to bring awareness to parents about speech and language development and also to provide useful tips on how to assess and help improve your child’s speech and language skills. At the end of the workshop, you will have tools to assess if your child needs speech therapy and you will know how to improve your child's speech and language skills.

For more information, you can contact the Student Support Services Division at 543-1235 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The SSSD office is located in the Amigo Building across from the Police Station and next to the WIB.

The Student Support Services Division (SSSD) provides support services to students referred by the care team of their schools. These services consists of psychological services, counseling services, social work services, educational diagnostic services, career services, speech therapy services and parent education sessions.

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