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Soualiga Newsday Latest News (1268)

Second Women and Sexual Diversity Conference For LBT Activists

ST. LUCIA-SINT MAARTEN - “Inspiring women to leadership” is the theme under which activists from across the Caribbean will convene next week in Suriname for the second Caribbean Women and Sexual Diversity Conference. An initiative of United and Strong Inc. Saint Lucia, the CWSDC is supported by CariFLAGS and WomenSWay Suriname.

"St. Maarten/St. Martin Alliance For Equality (SAFE) is pleased to be able to participate in what is anticipated to become an important regional LBT women's event in the coming years. Our organization is eager to network with and learn from other organizations representing countries throughout the Caribbean. We look forward to sharing the knowledge gained with other interested organizations on St. Maarten and the neighbouring islands, whether they are LGBT or ally. We appreciate the hard work of the organizers and thank them for every courtesy they have extended to our representative," Safe President Lysanne Charles - Arrindell said.

Now in its second year, the CWSDC targets activists in the area of lesbian, bisexual and transsexual health and rights, with the aim of increasing Caribbean women’s visibility in the movement. This year’s collective is drawn from thirteen countries, from Bahamas to Suriname and points in between.  

“We are grateful for the opportunity to connect women across the region, in what we aim to be a lasting movement,” says Executive Director of United and Strong Inc. Kenita Placide. She adds, “The women’s conference was conceptualised to enhance the LGBTI movement in the region by amplifying the voices of LBT activists.”  

For one week from October 5 to 12 in Paramaribo, Suriname, twenty-four participants will explore ways to improve their advocacy including proposal writing, international mechanisms, community mobilising and media. They will also learn from each other’s varying knowledge and experience in advocacy.  

Sessions will be presented by facilitators from Saint Lucia, Trinidad and Suriname. Facilitators are also drawn from the University of the West Indies (Cave Hill Campus), Arcus Foundation, the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, Astraea Lesbian Foundation and Women’s Health in Women’s Hands.  

Faye Ferdinandus of CariFLAGS (Caribbean Forum for the Liberation and Acceptance of Genders and Sexuality), says the mix of presenters will add to the value of the conference. “We want to build networks, which we the organizers did last year, and continue to build upon that foundation. We want to do so this time also. Caribbean presenters bring an understanding of the culture and live the lives so will bring a knowledge of the nuances to the training.”  

The CWSDC runs parallel with Suriname Coming Out Week celebrations organised by LGBT Platform Suriname and participants will attend events as part of the conference. Suriname’s annual Coming Out Week is one of the most vibrant pride celebrations in the region, with Suriname’s first lady hanging out the rainbow flag in 2013.

UNITED AND STRONG:

United and Strong (U&S) is the strongest and most vocal LGBTI representative organisation in the small island Caribbean and houses the eastern hub of the Caribbean Forum for Liberation and Acceptance of Genders and Sexualities (CariFLAGS). The CWSDC was conceptualised by this woman-led organisation, which has executed several regional human rights and advocacy based training for civil society and government. Among its activities are distribution of safer sex commodities, empowerment, education and social activities.  

WOMEN’SWAY FOUNDATION:

Women'SWay Foundation (WSW) is inspired to make women who love women more visible in Suriname and the Caribbean. Formed in 2008 it was registered in 2011. The group aims to be a dynamic, cultural, creative and intellectual platform for women who love women in Suriname.  

BACKGROUND INFORMATION:

Legally and constitutionally, Saint Lucia and Suriname are very different. Saint Lucia is one of the Anglo-Caribbean islands left by the British with anti-sodomy and gross indecency laws that still formally criminalizes male homosexual relations, while Surinam in inheriting the Dutch European continental (Napoleonic) law system, never had those laws. This difference allows for the opportunity to do comparative research on LGBTI tolerance, homophobia and government and societal attitudes between the two countries, which can be very educational for the rest of the Caribbean island states. 

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Reigning Carnival Queens say Thank You

PHILIPSBURG - Reigning carnival queens paid a courtesy visit to the Tourism Bureau & Sint Maarten Guavaberry Emporium last Friday.

The queens visited the organizations to personally thank them for contributing to their participation in regional pageants during the Summer.

Miss St. Maarten, Bria Sorton, represented St. Maarten in the Miss Caribbean Culture Pageant in August.

Jr. Carnival Queen, Laetita Cozier, represented St. Maarten in the Festivel del Talento y Belleza in the Dominican Republic.

Pictured are the Queens with representatives of both organizations handing over the certificates of appreciation. Photos by Ruminni Rogers.

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Prime Minister highlights the Importance of Safety, Security, Efficiency and Growth for the Future of SXM’s Airport

DAWN BEACH - The Prime Minister of St. Maarten the Honorable Sarah Wescot-Williams in her opening address at the Princess Juliana International Airport Safety and Security Conference highlighted the importance of safety and security for the economic stability on the island.

“As you as representatives from the aviation industry have travelled to our shores to attend the Safety and Security Conference at the beautiful Westin Resort it is important for us to realize the importance of safety, security, efficiency and growth for the further development of the ports on our island.

“In recent decades airport safety and security has been one of the most important areas not only to airport administrators and security experts but also especially to the general public.

“Oftentimes while traveling or preparing to travel we are confronted by the disquieting perception that air travel is inherently risky and that these risks are often dictated by the international political climate and instances that have plagued the airline industry recently.

“I would like to reiterate that, according to all reports; flying still remains the safest means of traveling and it is up to you delegates to share your experiences and expertise to ensure that this stays this way.

The security and safety of the airline industry is paramount. We as an island and as a region should share our best practices and our experiences that we take away from our own areas to reinforce the standards of safety and security, I daresay the high standards of safety and security that we have here in the region. It is also very important to include all of the stakeholders in your consultations and deliberations.

“I urge all delegates to activelt take part in information exchanges and during the exhibiions; be a part of making our skies some of the safest in the region.

And lastly please do not forget to enjoy our friendly island and our wonderful airport, which stands as an example of not only airline and airport security in our region but also as a hub for travel in the Caribbean,” concluded Prime Minister Wescot-Williams. (From the Cabinet of the Prime Minister)

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FCCA Conference & Trade Show expected to boost tourist’s arrivals pre and post conference

POINT BLANCHE –With 100 cruise executives, presidents, chief executive officers, and approximately 1000 conference attendees scheduled to attend the 21st Annual Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association’s (FCCA) Conference & Trade Show from October 6-10, destination St. Maarten/St. Martin should see a boost in tourist’s arrivals pre and post conference. 

“With a conference of this capacity, the spill over benefits will be tremendous for the destination.  Conference delegates will also be traveling with family members and they will be arriving a on the weekend before the conference begins.  This means money into our economy. 

“More than the majority of the delegates and family members have never visited destination St. Maarten/St. Martin, so it will be a first for them.  Without a doubt, they will tell friends and other family members back home about their St. Maarten/St. Martin experience.  This will result in new business for the island as they return for a holiday on the island,” Chief Executive Officer Mark Mingo of Port St. Maarten observed. 

CEO Mingo added that the FCCA Cruise Conference and Trade Show should be a stepping stone for the destination to get into conference and convention tourism. 

“Conference and convention tourism is a niche market that should be explored and developed. Business travel and meetings, and incentive travel can boost stay-over tourism numbers.  These visitors will also spend money sightseeing, entertainment and in our casino’s just a few to mention. 

“We have an opportunity in the FCCA post-conference period to work towards establishing St. Maarten as a dynamic business events destination.  If we can host, organize and cater to the FCCA Conference, we can do other ones as well. 

“Imagine the spin-off for small and medium size businesses.  It will also promote the development of other small businesses who can offer value experience tours about our culture and heritage, the marine life, our arts and much more.  These are key selling points as we reinvent cruise St. Maarten. 

“It’s all about the future of our tourism sector, cruise and stay-over.  We have to reinvent ourselves and we must start today.  I am very confident about the future, but we need all hands on deck to make it work and to make it happen.  We have done well after 50-years as a cruise destination, and we will continue on the foundation that has been built,” CEO Mark Mingo concluded. 

Cruise tourism contributions to St. Maarten as a destination is very prominent. 

According to the Business Research & Economic Advisors (BREA) 2012 study, Economic Contribution of Cruise Tourism to the Destination Economies, the average expenditure per passenger in St. Maarten was $185.40, which benefitted numerous industries through purchases of goods that included food and beverage at restaurants and bars, clothing, shore excursions, ground transportation, local crafts and souvenirs, watches and jewelry, perfumes and cosmetics, electronics, entertainment/night clubs/casinos, retail purchases of liquor, and telephone and internet. 

The same study showed that the average expenditure per crew in St. Maarten was $135.50 on similar products and services. Plus it revealed the direct and indirect employment generated by the cruise industry, totaling 8,123 jobs and $159.8 million in employee wages. 

The FCCA has 15 Member Lines, which operate over 100 ships in Caribbean and Latin American waters.

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Jamaica Health Minister Addresses Nation on Chikungunya

SINT MAARTEN-JAMAICA – November/December will mark one year since chikungunya was introduced to the Caribbean when cases started to grow on the North side of the island (St. Martin).  In December 2013 cases were confirmed on the South side of the island (Sint Maarten).  This led to a joint campaign between St. Martin/Sint Maarten to tackle head-on the virus.

As of September 22, according to figures collected by the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), there are 11,843 confirmed/probable cases of chikungunya reported with 1,794 cases from 21 CARPHA Member States and 10,049 cases from 11 other countries/territories.  There are 713,600 suspected cases throughout the Caribbean and 114 deaths.

Sint Maarten has 372 confirmed/probable cases with no deaths while St. Martin has 793 and three deaths.

On September 28, Jamaica Minister of Health Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson made a national address to the country with respect to the chikungunya virus.  According to media reports there are many people in Jamaican society across social lines that have dismissed medical and scientific explanations that the virus is being spread by mosquitoes, and believe that it is an airborne virus, which can be easily contracted. 

Jamaica Minister of Health Dr. Ferguson’s Sunday’s address: My fellow Jamaicans, Since July, we have been battling an increase in the incidence of cases of fever with pain, among them individuals affected by the chikungunya virus. As a citizen of this country and the Minister of Health I am very concerned about this and commit to you that the Ministry will continue to do all it can to respond. I want to express my sympathies to those who have been ill and wish you a quick and full recovery. While I understand the reaction of Jamaicans to this new illness, I am concerned that the important messages are getting lost in the sea of misinformation that has been circulating. 

I want to highlight a few important points: 

  • Chikungunya is spread by the bite of an infected Aedes aegypti mosquito.
  • It is a container breeding mosquito found in and around the home and other places where people gather such as schools, businesses and places of worship. Any container in which water settles can therefore be a breeding site.
  • Persons who get chikungunya usually experience symptoms which are resolved sometimes in as little as 2-3 days but up to 7 days. However there are rare cases involving persons especially in the high risk group who experience more severe symptoms and may even have difficulty moving.
  • There is no specific cure for chikungunya. Symptoms such as fever, joint pain and rash are treated and persons are urged to take paracetamol such as panadol and cetamol among others, drink lots of fluids and get rest.
  • Chikungunya is new to the country and each individual is at risk.

I want to assure you that we have been working assiduously to implement the activities to limit or slow the spread of this illness, including vector control, community fever surveillance and health education.  

Between June and up to September 12, 2014: Larvicidal activities were conducted in 484 communities, with 50,887 premises inspected. 84,015 containers were inspected for mosquito breeding. 24,206 containers were treated. Space spraying activities were carried out in 977 communities. Community fever surveillance activities involved 15,532 persons.

We have done direct, face to face public and community education with close to 60,000 persons. And our activities continue.  

The Ministry notes that based on information from communities and private physicians there are a number of cases involving persons with fever, joint pain and rash in excess of what has been officially reported to us and which would not form part of the official numbers. We continue to investigate as we have an interest to determine all the types of viruses that are presently circulating. It is important to note that the expectation is for chikungunya cases to spike and then trend down as persons begin to build immunity to this new disease. You can only get chikungunya once.  

We are aware of the impact this is having on productivity and attendance at school and work and ask employers to be compassionate and assist their staff through this difficult period. We expect that the health workforce will also be impacted and so we are putting in place an emergency response plan to ensure that we can continue to provide care to the population.  

I want to point out that this time of year we generally see an increase in cases of dengue which is transmitted by the same mosquito that spreads chikungunya. In 2012, we had a total of 5,929 suspected dengue cases and in 2013, we had 925 cases. Dengue is even more serious than chikungunya as the death rate is much higher. While there are exceptions deaths from chikungunya usually occur in persons with an otherwise compromised immune system. The death rate from chikungunya is less than one percent compared to dengue which is 1-5 percent and influenza which kills millions each year. I want to appeal to persons in the high risk group including pregnant women, infants, children under five years old and persons with chronic illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease, to seek medical care immediately if they experience symptoms that could be chikungunya.  

It will take a comprehensive response to really deal with the spread of dengue and chikungunya. That is why I am meeting with stakeholders to establish how we can continue to work together going forward. The first meeting was Thursday, September 25, 2014 and involved Mayors, Local Government, Transport and Works, Tourism and the Water, land, Environment and Climate Change Ministries, the National Solid Waste Management Authority, the National Water Commission and others as we put plans in place for a national clean-up effort. I want to make the point that this is not the first set of stakeholder meetings that we have had. Even before we had the first case, we began to engage stakeholders including the Ministry of Education to assist with the response.  

The only real workable strategy is the destruction of mosquito breeding sites and personal protection. While the Government must lead the process, citizens have a major role to play in the reduction of the spread of this disease. It is therefore important for all of us to ensure that we are not harbouring this mosquito in our environment to prevent the spread of both dengue and chikungunya. Personal responsibility is going to be paramount in the reduction of the spread of this disease. Take ten minutes each week and look around your home, your school, your workplace, your church and ensure that there is no uncovered container with water that could breed mosquitoes.  

I implore every citizen to join us when we declare national clean-up day. Let us take charge of our health and restore national pride. Let’s make Jamaica the country where we all want to live, work, raise families and do business.  Thank you.

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AUDIO: MP Roy Marlin comments on Plenary Session Budgetary Amendments

PHILIPSBURG – A public Plenary Session of the House of Parliament that was scheduled for September 24th and rescheduled for September 26th was closed by the President of Parliament after half an hour due to a lack of a quorum.  This is the second time the meeting had to be closed due to the aforementioned.  Member of Parliament Hon. Roy Marlin made the following statement after the meeting.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z0VQRkepwUc&list=UUJsnE_MxA-A7x73JYmLhMGg

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AUDIO: Audi Breaks Ground on Sint Maarten, Dealership Showroom to Open in December

COLE BAY - An Audi dealership will open in Cole Bay mid December next to Caribbean Auto.  Its a new business addition for the Cole Bay area and a US$500,000 investment.  Audi is a partnership with Caribbean Auto owned by Imran McSood, Reza McSood and Tariq Amjad.  Listen and view the video of the official ground breaking that was carried out on Thursday in the presence of the Prime Minister Hon. Sarah Wescot-Williams and Audi overseas officials along with local owners/management.  

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Be5DYdUHQow&index=2&list=UUJsnE_MxA-A7x73JYmLhMGg                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

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POWER HOUR DATE CHANGED TO OCTOBER 17

POINT BLANCHE – POWER HOUR: Heels & Cocktails Edition has been moved to October 17, 2014 due to a tropical wave which will most likely affect the island on Friday evening. This event will still be held at the Harbour.

Hosted by Foundation INFOBIZZ, the POWER HOUR was designed to inspire and empower entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial professionals by providing them with tips and tricks from those who have already achieved success in their business and industry.  Known as networking for movers and shakers, the POWER HOUR has been able to inspire and empower over 120 entrepreneurs in a short period of time.

“We owe it to everyone involved, the attendees, vendors, speakers, supporters, to ensure that the POWER HOUR continues to provide a standard of excellence where they can truly benefit from this experience. With an impending tropical wave, we cannot guarantee that as it is an outdoor event. We are not comfortable in taking that risk.  This was a hard decision to make, still safety is always first” said the director of INFOBIZZ, Ms. Ife Badejo.

To show their appreciation for the public’s understanding and support, INFOBIZZ will allow all those who bought their tickets to bring a friend on that same ticket. In other words, the ticket they now hold counts for two. Tickets are still on sale for $30, which includes refreshments and all materials. Also vendor tables are still available.

INFOBIZZ was started to develop successful entrepreneurs and support them in their start-up and growth phases.  POWER HOUR was designed as an ideal opportunity to expand one’s network and gain insight on how to succeed by established entrepreneurs and professionals.

For more information about POWER HOUR or Foundation INFOBIZZ, please call +1-721-523-1842 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Electoral Council: Missed deadline for candidates violates the law. Elected members to Parliament will not be able to take the oath of office

PHILIPSBURG - The Electoral Council is cautioning all candidates who participated in the recently held parliamentary elections, that if they do not submit their donation registration to the Electoral Council by Monday, September 29th, 2014, they will be in violation of the law.

Upcoming Monday, September 29th, 2014 is the last day for submission of the registration of donations. To date, only five (5) of the 90 candidates complied with the law, while over 90 % of the candidates vying for a seat in Parliament has yet to comply with the legal requirements laid down in the National Ordinance on Registration and Finances of Political Parties.  

The Electoral Council is hereby informing candidates that sanctions for non-compliance include having the names of non-compliant candidates published in all mass media.

Elected members to Parliament will not be able to take the oath of office to assume their position in Parliament if they fail to comply with the law. Candidates who did not receive any donations are also required to complete the form, date and sign it and submit it to the Electoral Council.

In order to accommodate candidates with the submission of their donation register before the deadline, the Electoral Council will extend its office hours and will be open from 9 am to 5:30 pm on Thursday, September 25, Friday, September 26 and Monday, September 29, 2014.

Candidates who have not yet received an email from the Electoral Council with instructions on how to access the database to be able to complete the registration digitally, should contact the Electoral Council immediately during its opening hours at the office on Backstreet 145b or by telephone nos. 5439888 and 5439889 or by email-address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  Website: ecsxm.org

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Minister Lake follows-up on trench cleaning works and job creation

PHILIPSBURG – Minister of Public Housing, Environment, Spatial Planning and Infrastructure (Ministry VROMI) Hon. Maurice Lake announced on Tuesday that he is in the process of visiting the different districts where it concerns trench cleaning works based on contracts that were signed earlier this year.

“I am very proud of the work that has been carried out by our young small business owners, the local contractors.  They have done a great job, and taking pride in their own districts.

“This is in line with my vision of giving our people the opportunity to run their own business. Within my short term in Government, I had the opportunity to give our local contractors three times within the year work related to trench cleaning so that they would have a steady income and be able to take care of their families.

“I would like to see a more permanent structure in place for trench cleaning for the boys in the different districts.  They have proven they can do the work once given the opportunity.

“I try my best to create work for our local contractors with my limited budget that falls under my ministry. The permits section within the ministry is working to facilitate the issuing of as many building permits as they come in.

“I always preach to my ministry that the more building permits we get out the more work we create for our people and more revenues for Government. It is very slow in the construction sector at this point in time and a lot of contractors are hurting. 

“Government needs to be creative and create more projects to create more jobs for our people.  We also need economic stimulus for our people where more and more become their own boss in our country.  We need to raise the bar, and focus on empowering our people.

“I am also looking into other employment opportunities for other young people in the various districts including Sucker Garden.  Not everybody is into trench cleaning, but have other expertise in different areas that could be of benefit to the community that they live in,” Minister Hon. Maurice Lake said on Tuesday.

  

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