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Minister Ted Richardson Commends Rotary Club St. Maarten for its Tourism Awareness Campaign

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten – Recently the Rotary Club St. Maarten installed the first Tourism Awareness Sector banners along the Walter Nisbett Road on the Pondfill.

The objective of the Rotary Club St. Maarten is to profile and highlight the importance of the tourism industry for the country’s economy and all those who are employed directly or indirectly.

The awareness campaign is geared at helping everyone understand just how important tourism is to our economy and to help promote a greater understanding of tourism in our community.

Ministry TEATT is also busy with its own public tourism awareness program that will also be launched shortly.  The campaign is exactly in line to familiarize the public with the benefits of tourism to the country’s economic development and for the social coherence.

“As Minister responsible for Tourism, this effort by the Rotary Club of St. Maarten is a commendable one.  Tourism is our main pillar of the economy.

“Tourism is an important vehicle for socio-economic development and has led to the advancement of country Sint Maarten during the past five decades,” Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transportation and Telecommunications Hon. Ted Richardson said on Sunday. 

International tourist arrivals grew by five per cent in 2013, reaching a record 1,087 million arrivals, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

Despite global economic challenges, international tourism results were well above expectations, with an additional 52 million international tourists traveling the world in 2013.  For 2014, the UNWTO forecasts four to four and a half per cent, again, above the long term projections.

International tourism export earnings in 2013 reached US$1.4 trillion.  Receipts earned by destinations from international visitors grew by five per cent to reach US$1159 billion, while an additional US$218 billion was earned by international passenger transport.

Minister Richardson added that international tourism which country Sint Maarten is part and parcel of, employs millions of people around the globe, and therefore is also a very important pillar of the global economy as well.

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Ministry VROMI announces traffic interruption on Sunday evening for Back Street

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten – Ministry of Public Housing, Environment, Spatial Development and Infrastructure (Ministry VROMI), hereby announces there will be interruption to the traffic flow on Back Street June 22.

The civil works will start on Sunday, in the evening at 8.00pm until 5.00am.

There will be a temporary road closure of Back Street between the intersection School Steeg/H. Beaujon Steeg and Weduwen Steeg.

The civil works entails the sewage connection to Lot #128.

Motorists and pedestrians are requested to be vigilant and observant for the traffic directional signs indicating what works are underway in the respective area.

Ministry VROMI apologizes for any inconvenience that this may cause.

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St. Maarten Lions Club donates to Dow’s Musical Foundation Summer Program

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten - The St. Maarten Lions Club recently served the community by donating to the highly anticipated summer program of Dow’s Musical Foundation headed by our pan maestro Sir Isidore York, which will be once again held in at the Oranje School premises. The Lions Club sponsored some US$ 1050,- towards the program which will allow less fortunate children be able to participate in the summer program.

The musical foundation headed by the Sir Isidore York aka Mighty Dow has truly saved the art form of steel pan on the island and the Lions Club wanted to ensure that kids not able to financially pay for these lessons aren’t excluded of learning this great art form.

According to Lion president Claudio Buncamper and chairperson of the Youth committee PDG Lion Claudius Buncamper of the St. Maarten Lions Club whom both have never really played steel pan but love its sounds stated that young person’s get a chance to develop themselves their empowering themselves and that one of the themes of our president which was Youth Empowerment” through the various activities available on island.  

The St. Maarten Lions Club is proud to once again be associated with the Dow’s Musical Foundation and be given the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of the youngsters on the island.

The St. MaartenLions Club has 52 members and meets on every 1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month at the Lions Civic Center at 7.00 pm. Lions clubs are a group of men and women who identify needs within the community and work together to fulfill those needs. For more information or to get involved with the St. MaartenLions Club, please contact Lion Claudio Buncamper at 5200250.

Lions Clubs International is the world’s largest service club organization with more than 1.3 million members in approximately 45,000 clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical areas around the world. Since 1917, Lions clubs have aided the blind and visually impaired and made a strong commitment to community service and serving youth throughout the world. For more information about Lions Clubs International, visit the Web site at www.lionsclubs.org.

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Minister Lake visits Church Hill Round-a-bout and Commends Small Entrepreneur Spaceless Gardens for a Job well done

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten – Minister of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure (Ministry of VROMI) Hon. Maurice Lake, on Thursday visited Church Hill Round-a-bout where he was given a tour by local entrepreneur Denicio Wyatte, owner and operator of Spaceless Gardens.

“I was very impressed with the quality of work that this young local entrepreneur carried out at the round-a-bout.  Denicio Wyatte has done a beautiful job with the input of local agriculturalist Joslyn Richardson. 

“Wyatte recently formed his own company and has hit the ground running,” Minister Hon. Maurice Lake said on Thursday after being briefed by Wyatte about the type of flowers that were planted as well as about the process of landscaping.

Spaceless Gardens has been working on the round-a-bout for approximately two months and completed its landscaping activities during the past week.

“The re-landscape process of the round-a-bout took a while due to underground pipelines having to be carefully restructured for irrigation, the last structure that was put into place was totally damaged because of the over growth of the wild palms that were left without the proper maintenance.

“The new design created by me and local agriculturalist Joslyn Richardson does not express its full potential as yet. In the next few months and with proper maintenance, the community and drivers will witness its full potential when passing by this round-a-bout.

“The design is meant to have the shape of a star effect in rotation as the driver cruises by. The star consists of Darante Gold plants that will form a nice hedge border. The border of the star will be outlined by beautiful red and yellow Lantana Flowers, surrounded by beautiful St. Augustine Grass and Fox Tail Palm trees.The Center Statue can finally be fully seen and will be surrounded by multicolored bougainvillea flowers,” Denicio Wyatte explained on Thursday.

Minister Lake added, “I have full confidence in our local entrepreneurs!  They can do the job just as good as anybody else from abroad.  We have to give them the opportunity.

“I would like to see all round-a-bouts adopted by local companies and beautified by our local young entrepreneurs.  They know about beautification and should be given the opportunity to beautify our landmarks,” Minister Hon. Maurice Lake pointed out.

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Audio of Council of Ministers Press Briefing with the Prime Minister on Wednesday Now Online

COUNCIL OF MINISTERS PRESS BRIEFING, Sint Maarten - The Prime Minister Hon. Sarah Wescot-Williams addressed five matters on Wednesday morning during the Council of Ministers Press Briefing held at the Government Administration Building.  The audio file can be downloaded with respect to what the Prime Minister spoke about.

The issues the Prime Minister highlighted were:

- TELEM and UTS Merger Proposal (12 minutes), Prime Minister says not a done deal!

- Electoral & Campaign Reform (12 min)

- Census Office and Passport Issue (10 min)

https://www.sendspace.com/pro/dl/ts1qpw

- Prime Minister Condemns Acts of Abuse Against Children (5 min)

- Prime Minister extends condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Glinder Webster (2 min)

- Reporter questions to the Prime Minister on the aforementioned and other matters unrelated: Postal Services of St. Maarten and court case with former Managing Director Denicio Richardson, and Budget Amendment related to the Emilio Wilson Estate.

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Meet, Eat & Greet to kick off in the St. Maarten Festival Village

POND ISLAND, Sint Maarten - The small business weekend entrepreneurship program initiated by Stichting Overheidsgebouwen (SOG) in collaboration with Strictly Business Educational Foundation (SBEF) is making all final preparations to kick off on July 4th 2014.

The weekend program is scheduled to start with a program of activities on Friday July 4th, Saturday July 5th, Sunday July 6th 2014 and will continue every weekend thereafter, until the end of March 2015.

This weekend program is aimed to stimulate entrepreneurship and more usage of the St. Maarten Festival Village while offering vendors the opportunity to sell their products such as drinks, foods, arts & craft etc. The vendors will be allowed to have booths, tents or table spaces for vending for a small fee.

The SOG who is charged with the management of St. Maarten Festival Village and SBEF would like to encourage persons within our community to get involved in the weekend program, by registering to become a potential vendor, or by participating on the entertainment program.

There will be no entrance fee to enter the St. Maarten Festival Village during the weekend programs hosted by SOG & SBEF collectively.

However in the event there should be a concert or any other type of event organized and hosted by a private entity or group, or an event organized by a private group or entity and this event is hosted by the private entity or in collaboration with SOG & SBEF at the St. Maarten Festival Village, an entrance fee will be charged and imposed for persons wanting to attend these concerts and other events.

The entire population is urged to get involved by visiting & supporting the vendors. The weekend program which carries the name Meet, Eat & Greet, speaks volumes, as you come to the venue, you meet people, you eat in the largest kitchen in the Caribbean and you can greet and meet many persons eventually creating a large social network. The weekend programs will consist of Fish Fry Friday’s; Downtown Saturday’s Music Extravaganza and Family Fun Sunday’s.

In preparation for this grand opening the following meetings have been organized and will be held in the conference room at the St. Maarten Festival Village:

  1. Prospective Tenants Information Session:  Thursday, June 19th 2014 from 6:30pm - 7:30pm.
  2. Promoters & Event Planning and Management entities: Tuesday June 24th 2015.

Additional information can be obtained at the St. Maarten Festival Village between the hours of 09:00AM – 5:00PM or by calling +1(721)543-0506 /07.

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Deputy Leader of the NA Jacobs Issues Statement on Child Abuse

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten – Currently Deputy Leader of the National Alliance (NA) and former Minister of Education, Culture, Youth & Sports Silveria Jacobs, on Tuesday issued the following statement with respect to child abuse.

“I have heard and read many commentaries on the allegations of abuses against our children, and as a parent, educator and citizen I ask your indulgence to express my thoughts on the matter via this medium.

“Child abuse comes in many forms and should never be taken lightly, regardless of whom the perpetrator may be. In my twenty odd years in education I have seen and heard a lot, walked with parents and victims through the process and seen most decide against action.

“For many years many types of abuse against especially women and children has been pushed aside, hidden or not fully dealt with due to lack of sensitivity, fear of stigmatization, lack of personnel, policies and facilities or foster homes to remove the abused, and not enough professionals to assist victims and their families with the aftermath. Safe Haven must be commended for meeting this need for many years and more facilities will be needed to deal with the many unreported cases out there if our culture of silence is finally broken.

“We can only properly prepare and meet the needs we assume are out there when we know the truth and when we have accurate numbers.

“This injustice against the weak and vulnerable by predators who scar them for life can no longer be tolerated!

“Silence breeds consent, so please speak out to save your child, someone else's child, yourself or a friend from this scourge against humanity.

“Teach your child to respect him/herself and what/where the no touch zones are. Teach them that it's ok to tell, that they must tell even when the perpetrator is a family member or a trusted friend and promise always to protect and support them. Many children fear that no one will believe them, are threatened with their lives or their loved ones, or have no idea who to trust.

“St. Maarten can only deal with this problem if we know what, who and how many (victims & perps) we are dealing with.

“I speak to all types of abuses - it really does take a village of caring and loving persons to help victims through this ordeal.

“Too many cases go unsolved for lack of proof. A witness is not someone who has heard from so and so (so please stop the melee - as it hurts victims too); a witness is someone who has seen the act or experienced it (the victim); any person whom the victim tells can report the abuse.

“So if you know about it - then report it!!!!

“Stop being the victim, take away the power of all abusers, expose them - Not on FB or in the blogs - but at the Prosecutor's office or Court of Guardianship offices at the Vineyard building. Right must prevail, this is not a melee issue! Let's deal with it in a responsible manner, respecting the rights and privacy of all, especially the victims who have suffered enough,” former Minister of Education, Culture Youth & Sports Silveria Jacobs said on Tuesday.

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14-Year Old Teenager Arrested with Knife

DUTCH QUARTER, Sint Maarten - On Friday June 17th at approximately 08.50 a.m. a 14-year old boy with initials I.C.S. was arrested in Dutch Quarter for the possession of a knife.

The parents and the lawyer of the suspect were informed of the incident before being questioned.

The suspect remained overnight for questioning and was released on Monday, June 16 in the custody of his parents. (Contributed by the Police Force of Sint Maarten)

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Ministry VROMI announces traffic interruption on Tuesday in Simpson Bay

SIMPSON BAY, Sint Maarten – Ministry of Public Housing, Environment, Spatial Development and Infrastructure (Ministry VROMI), hereby announces there will be interruption to the traffic flow on Robert’s Drive, Simpson Bay on Tuesday.

The civil works will start on Tuesday, June 17 in the morning at 9.00am until 3.00pm.

The civil works entail repair of the road surface with hot asphalt.

Heavy equipment and trucks will be moving up and down during the aforementioned timeframe.

Motorists and pedestrians are requested to be vigilant and observant for the traffic directional signs indicating what works are underway in the respective area.

Ministry VROMI apologizes for any inconvenience that this may cause.

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Reparations and West Papua’s Independence Movement Spark Interest at St. Martin Book Fair’s Presidents’ Forum

GREAT BAY, St. Martin — A last minute change in the program brought the issues of Reparations and the continuing struggle of West Papua for its independence from Indonesia to the forefront of the Presidents’ Forum at the 12th Annual St. Martin Book Fair, Saturday, June 7. It was a blessing in disguise, and one that remained consistent with the festival’s 2014 theme of “Crime&Punishment.”

Following an introduction of the presenters by president of the University of St. Martin, Annelies van dem Assem, rapporteur/moderator Fabian Badejo welcomed the audience and said the Presidents’ Forum is the “intellectual underpinning” of the Book Fair.

The issue of reparations for the crime against humanity that was Slavery is one that won’t go away easily, he said, invoking the adage that states, “he who does the crime, must do the time.”

However, author, playwright and member of Antigua and Barbuda’s National Reparations Committee, and of the Caribbean Reparations Commission, Dorbrene O’Marde addressed the issue from several angles, stressing that reparations was necessary to bring closure to that evil chapter in human history that still impacts the lives of Caribbean people up till today.

One by one, O’Marde debunked the main arguments against reparations, and drew a clear distinction between slavery in Africa and the chattel Slavery of the Transatlantic Slave Trade adding that he agreed with Badejo’s suggestion that the latter be spelt with a capital “S.”

He also showed that there has been no break in the struggle for reparations, especially in the Caribbean and explained that the CARICOM Reparations Commission had a 10-point plan, which was recently approved unanimously by the member states to “achieve reparatory justice for the victims of genocide, slavery, slave trading, and racial apartheid.”

The Forum however, belonged to exiled West Papua independence movement leader, Chief Benny Wenda, an ex-political prisoner and Nobel Peace Prize nominee for his relentless work to drum up international support for the liberation of his people.

In a chilling presentation that began with a freedom song in his native language, Wenda recalled the racial humiliation he suffered at school and the institutionalized oppression of the people of West Papua by the Indonesian military.

A sham referendum in 1962, recognized by the UN, made West Papua part of Indonesia. However, the cry for freedom of the people has beensystematically stifled with the international community either not paying much attention or totally ignoring the plight of the West Papuans. Wenda revealed that since 1962, over 500,000 West Papuans have been killed by the Indonesian military.

He received an emotional standing ovation and many participants pledged their support for his cause and wanted to know how they could help advance this.

Wenda would later receive the Presidents’ Award at the closing ceremony of the Book Fair held at the Chamber of Commerce building in Concordia, Marigot, on the Saturday evening.

The Presidents’ Award is presented annually to a book fair guest for creating or advancing original or critical works of literature and orature. Chief Wenda, with his wife Maria, is also part of the Lani Singers. The group’s albums, Ninalik Ndawi and Ninalik Arirak, include West Papua songs that might land some in jail if interpreted as subversive folk or protest songs by the Indonesian military in West Papua.  

 

 

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