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Soualiga News II (1682)

TRAFFIC ALERT: Road works start on Thursday

PHILIPSBURG - G.E.B.E. N.V., announces that as of Thursday the 8th of February the trench and road work activities taking place at the Yrausquin Boulevard and Buncamper Street starting at the Point Blanche cargo terminal to the Freedom Fighters roundabout near Sundial School will restart, the utility company said in a press release on Tuesday.

“The works will be carried out by Windward Roads in collaboration with The Ministry of VROMI, Cable TV, Telem and UTS to install a main water line, sewerage, high tension cables and other utilities.

“One lane will be closed off temporarily on sections of the work, leaving the other lane for alternating one directional traffic. Construction activities will continue in the night on narrow sections to reduce traffic disruption.

“Pedestrians will be rerouted between Dock Maarten and Bobby's Marina during the road works on this section.

“Motorists are advised to take into account additional travel time and to pay keen attention and abide by the traffic signs, controllers and lights that will be in place. Motorists should also drive with caution in connection with road crews who will be working in the area. Their safety comes first.”

G.E.B.E. N.V. apologizes to motorists, businesses and residents for any inconveniences this may cause.​

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SXM to Brief Stakeholders Quarterly About Airport Recovery Progress

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY) - The Princess Juliana International Airport, SXM, together with representatives of SHTA and The Ministry of TEATT held an initial introductory meeting on February 2, 2018 in an effort to create a joint collaboration between stakeholders to discuss the current status, progress and rebuilding efforts for the entire island.

Monthly meetings are scheduled to be held to improve the flow of information and communication between all parties and to inform the public of the progress being made towards the full economic recovery of St. Maarten.

The second meeting is scheduled for Friday, March 2, 2018. As part of the collaboration, stakeholders will be given a tour of the new temporary facilities currently being erected to better accommodate passengers and other users. A tour of the airport’s terminal facilities will also take place at the same time.

The following stakeholders have confirmed participation in the meetings: The Ministry of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunications (TEATT), the St. Maarten Civil Aviation Authority, the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau (STB), the St. Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association (SHTA), the St. Maarten Harbor and Port Authority and the St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce.

SHTA and PJIA since the beginning of the year had been exchanging progress reports about future rooms availability and airline capacity and will continue as part of the future meetings.

It is also the intention of the team to include the authorities in Marigot, including the management of L’Esperance Airport in Grand Case during quarterly meetings to be held. The overall sentiment by all present at the initial meeting was that the opportunity to work together towards a common goal, has never been better.

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APS INFORMATION SESSIONS ON WELGELEGEN HOMES PROJECT

SINT MAARTEN (CUL DE SAC) – St. Maarten’s general pension fund administrator, APS, has over the course of the past weeks begun conducting several information sessions on the Welgelegen Homes Project. Attending the sessions have been persons who have indicated their interest in the APS housing project, which will be known as the Oryx Residences.

During the sessions Michele Noll and Alexandra Osterholt of KEY, a concierge real estate company, provided information to prospective home owners, many of whom are first-time home buyers. The sessions additionally cover the project timeline, mortgage lending, home ownership and other relevant information. Michele and the agents at KEY are striving to make information clear and available, stating themselves that, “We would like all the participants to join us at these sessions to obtain important information on the process of becoming a first-time home owner.”

“APS takes an active role in these sessions as well, by sharing with participants our reason for developing the housing project. We feel it’s important to help get St. Maarten residents into their own homes. People still want to own a piece of this paradise island”, says APS director Nadya van Putten.

She adds that the project allows participants of the pension fund to benefit from being a member of the fund during the active stage of their career, instead of having to wait until reaching retirement.

The APS housing project envisions construction of 62 units, 44 of which will be two- or three-bedroom townhouses. The project further includes 18 apartments of 1, 2 or 3 bedrooms. Sales prices are dependent on the size of the unit. However, the maximum price will not exceed 250,000 U.S. dollars for the largest units. Characteristics of this development project are, amongst others, that it will be a gated community with the layout and design promoting a genuine community atmosphere with a central outdoor area where neighbors can come together whenever they so desire.

The pension fund is convinced that the project will give persons the opportunity to invest their hard-earned money in a quality home, built with quality materials, in a quality location, at an affordable price.

According to the APS director, St. Maarten’s general pension fund administrator continues on a path to contribute to relieving the post-Irma housing shortage on Sint Maarten by building more homes and fast-tracking ongoing housing development projects. Barring unforeseen circumstances, the project is scheduled to start in the second quarter of 2018.

APS has already committed itself to stimulating the economy by engaging local (sub) contractors in this and other future development projects.

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Voting Card pick-up for Philipsburg districts at Raoul Illidge Sports Complex

CAY HILL - The pick-up location of voting cards for persons who will vote in the Philipsburg districts has been moved from the Old Census office to the Raoul Illidge Sports Complex in Cay Hill.

The Civil Registry Department made the decision in light of the precarious smoke situation from the landfill.

Persons who vote in the following Philipsburg districts, i.e. John Larmonie Center, Sundial School, St Maarten Senior Citizen Recreational Centre, Melford Hazel Sport & Recreational Centre, Bute Hotel, and NIPA school have to pick up their voting cards for the PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS 2018.

For additional information from the Department of the Civil Registry (Census) call 542-0652, 542-6085, 542-9344.

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Minister of Justice De Weever’s Message for Safer Internet Day

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) – Tuesday, February 6 is Safer Internet Day and this year’s theme is, ‘Create, Connect and Share Respect: A better internet starts with you.’ 

Over the years, Safer Internet Day (SID) has become a landmark event in the online safety calendar. Starting as an initiative of the EU SafeBorders project in 2004 and taken up by the Insafe network as one of its earliest actions in 2005, Safer Internet Day has grown beyond its traditional geographic zone and is now celebrated in approximately 130 countries worldwide.

SID is a global initiative started by the Insafe network in Europe to champion safe and responsible use of internet technologies, including on mobile devices.

“The growth of the internet has been remarkable.  The development of information technology is considered the fourth industrial revolution. Sint Maarten is a well connected nation.

“Both young and old should be able to enjoy the internet.  Every user of the internet has to be aware internet etiquette where it concerns online safety and respecting each other.  Social media has grown rapidly especially when one looks at the development of Facebook.  Everyone should have an enjoyable experience when using the internet.

“It is a resource or digital tool that is used on a daily basis to communicate with family and friends or gather information about different things and to enjoy various forms of entertainment.

“I encourage all users on this Safer Internet Day on Tuesday to promote safety and be your brother’s keeper in the cyber world.  We need to keep everyone safe online due to the many pitfalls and dangers that exists. 

“Be aware of the dangers online and educate yourself and love ones about online safety.  Be aware of cyber bullying and cyber violence, social networking websites, forms of inappropriate activity and peer violence.  It is important that we protect our children online. On this day, educate yourself, your children, family members and friends about internet safety and to avoid trouble,” Minister of Justice Cornelius de Weever said on Monday.

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Frans questions role of Post Office in voter card distribution

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Leader of the United St. Maarten (US) party MP Frans Richardson on Monday questioned what the role of the Post Office will be in distributing voting cards for the February 26 Parliamentary election.

Richardson was reaction to information from the Prime Minister and Civil Registry that voting cards would be distributed via the community centers in the various districts, with several voting districts grouped together. Persons would then physically have to go to their designated stations to collect their voting cards.

“I find it hard to believe that this will be the only way people will be able to get their voting cards, especially considering the working hours of our people,” Richardson said. “This in fact reeks of voter suppression, knowing full well that it would be extremely difficult for the vast majority of people to get time off to stand in a line and collect a voting card,” Richardson said.

As such, he continued, the Post Office should in some way, shape or form, play a role in the distribution of the cards considering their knowledge of addresses and areas. “But there has been no information regarding the role of the Post Office, if any. I’m calling on government to clarify this process and be transparent with how people can obtain their cards,” Richardson said.

“We have seen numerous attempts to postpone this election or affect the organization of said election. We acknowledge that the Post Office like many places suffered damage, but they are open and operational. There are also many people back in their homes or still in their homes, never left. So not using the Post Office system should not be an option and we hope this is not so. Clarity is needed immediately,” Richardson said. 

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Police and Fire Services Evacuate Persons Living on Pond Island due to Massive Fire

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - All streets leading to Pond Island are closed off by police due to the massive fire that started at the new dumpsite (hurricane Irma debris) on Sunday afternoon February 4th.

The Fire department and other relevant departments who have been working through the night are doing their utmost to bring this situation under control and to finally put the blaze out.

During the night many persons including families with children living on Pond Island were told to evacuate the area, to avoid the inhalation of the heavy toxic smoke. The Emergency Dispatch however received several calls during the morning hours with concerns of persons still in the immediate vicinity of the fire.

A search team consisting of police officers and firefighters again went into the area which was covered by heavy smoke and did a search. Several persons were located including a physically impaired man and his wife.

Everyone who did not leave or refused to do so was ordered by police to leave the area immediately for health reasons, which they did. (Sint Maarten Police Force).

pond isl fire inside1

pond isl fire ngb

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Landfill Fire: Minister of Education visits other schools in Cay Hill to assess situation

GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – Due to the fire at the Pond Island landfill, the Minister of Education Jorien Wuite visited the Asha Stevens Hillside Christian School and the Learning Unlimited Preparatory School in Cay Hill to assess the situation regarding landfill smoke, and in collaboration with school managers the decision was taken for the two schools to remain open as the winds have since shifted and the smoke does not pose a threat at this moment.

Minister Wuite also visited on Monday morning schools in the Philipsburg area, and based on the site visits to the five schools in the area (St. Joseph Primary School, Sr. Borgia Primary School, Oranje Primary School, Marie Genevieve de Weever School Cycle 1 and 2 and Sundial High School), Minister Wuite in close consultation with Prime Minister Romeo Marlin started preparations to allow students to leave school early as smoke relating to the fire on the landfill continues to be worrisome.  A notice with respect to the aforementioned was communicated to the community on Monday morning.

Students of the primary schools were released into the care of their parents or guardians and the Minister urged all businesses to allow employees to collect their children and make proper childcare arrangements.

The Minister of Education Wuite remains in close contact with the Prime Minister and all relevant authorities, and will continue to provide updates as they become available. 

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UPDATED - Landfill Fire: COM Closes Schools in Philipsburg. Business Owners and residents should take measures

NEWLY UPDATED, GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – Due to the fire at the Pond Island landfill, the Prime Minister in collaboration with the Council of Ministers have taken the following decisions after assessment of the current on-going situation.

All schools in the Philipsburg area will be closed and parents/guardians as well as school bus operators are asked to pick up the school children from the schools in the aforementioned area.  The Police Department will assist with the potential traffic challenge in the Philipsburg area.

Residents and business owners are asked to use discretion and allow employees with respiratory challenges to take the necessary measures to avoid the wind driven smoke.

All persons are encouraged to purchase nose and mouth masks from local hardware stores as a preventative measure against smoke inhalation.

Additional information will be forthcoming as warranted.

ADDITIONAL UPDATE - GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – Due to the fire at the Pond Island landfill, the Prime Minister/Minister of General Affairs Leona Romeo Marlin in consultation with the Minister of Education and other relevant entities, hereby makes known that the Charlotte Brookson Academy will not open for classes today, Monday, February 5.

The Fire Department which falls under the Ministry of General Affairs, continues to monitor the situation at the landfill.

UPDATE EARLY MONDAY MORNING - GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – The fire at the Pond Island landfill has grown and Prime Minister Leona Romeo Marlin has decided to close the Government Administration Building for Monday, February 5.

Civil servants who work in the Government Administration Building are not to report to work due to the heavy smoke in the area.  This means that government services out of the building are closed for Monday, February 5.  The Prime Minister apologizes to those who may have had appointments scheduled for Monday for any inconvenience that this may cause.

The access roads to Pond Island via the Soualiga Boulevard has been closed.

The Fire Department from the North side of the island has been requested to assists the fire authorities on the South side of the island.

Additional information will be forthcoming during the next few hours.

The Fire Department, is advising persons living downwind from the landfill fire, to close windows and doors, especially persons who have a respiratory challenge such as asthma, or shortness of breath.

The Fire Department along with the company responsible for the management of the landfill are working diligently to extinguish the fire.

ARCHIVE, SUNDAY, FEB.04 - GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – Part of the landfill on Pond Island is on fire.

The Fire Department, is advising persons living downwind from the landfill fire, to close windows and doors, especially persons who have a respiratory challenge, and for persons who suffer from asthma, shortness of breath, or any other respiratory challenges.

The Fire Department is monitoring the situation at the landfill on Pond Island.  The company responsible for the management of the landfill is working diligently to extinguish the fire.

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CANTO Welcomes Regional and International Telecom Delegates to 34th AGM in Trinidad

SINT MAARTEN/TRINIDAD & TOBAGO - ICT/Telecommunications Association, CANTO in collaboration with founding member and Operator, Telecommunications Services of Trinidad & Tobago (TSTT) host over 150 delegates at the 34th Annual General Meeting & Mini Expo.  From the 4th - 6th of February, CANTO will hold discussions on the theme: "Guiding Digital Adoption to Lead the Global Market" while focusing on the topics of Cyber Security and Disaster Management.

Chairman of the Board, Mr. Julian Wilkins, stated, "This year, the CANTO AGM in Port of Spain, Trinidad will add much more value to its members by covering key topics for ICTs stakeholders including the Caribbean Risk Management Disaster forum; Emerging trends on content; Cyber-security and its impact on Caribbean Network Operators and a discussion panel on key spectrum requirements for the World Radio Conference in 2019".

Senator the Hon. Robert Le Hunte, Minister of Public Utilities, will be the featured speaker at the opening ceremony.  Hon. Le Hunt is expected to address the delegates on the theme and provide a government's perspective on ICT/ Telecommunications.

The packed agenda also includes Dr. Ronald Walcott CEO of TSTT and other key subject matter experts from CARILEC, CDEMA and FCC to name a few. 

The delegates will also be treated to the formal launch of a National Disaster and Emergency mobile application created by a group of young, talented, innovators called LXJ Code of Belize.

"CANTO's 34th AGM promises to be a dynamic, thought provoking event", stated, Secretary General, Teresa Wankin, "and CANTO is committed to working with all stakeholders to shape a digital economy for our citizens so that we can compete with strength and fortitude in the Global Markets".

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