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Soualiga Newsday Latest News (1411)

Minister Lake looks into Dutch Quarter Complaint of Gas Tank

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten – Minister of Public Housing, Environment, Spatial Planning and Infrastructure (Ministry VROMI) Hon. Maurice Lake says he looked into the complaint lodged by the Dutch Quarter Community Center (DQCC) regarding an LPG Refilling Station.

DQCC is acting on behalf of the residents of Lower Princess Quarter and in particular the residents in the nearby vicinity of the LPG Filling Station.

“I was informed by Dutch Quarter residents about the alleged illegal building of a CO2 tank.  I called the Inspector from Ministry VROMI and instructed that it be stopped.

“Proper procedures have to be followed.  You can’t build a tank and put gas inside and then apply for a permit.  If anything goes wrong without the necessary due diligence being done, the community would be the one to suffer,” Minister Hon. Maurice Lake said on Thursday.

DQCC is opposed to Delta Robertos Gas Station d.b.a. A.Q.S. Gas Station NV request for amending an existing hindrance permit to decrease the storage of lightly flammable gasses and add a large storage tank containing CO2 at A. Th. Illidge Road #291 Lower Prince’s Quarter.

DQCC shares the opinion of residents that they should be duly informed beforehand about the dangers and what safety measures are or should be in place for such an installation.

The Council seeks an audience with Ministry VROMI, Fire Department and the owners/operators of A.Q.S. Gas Station in order to be informed prior to making an informed decision regarding the establishment of a CO2 Refilling Station.

“I fully understand the position of the Dutch Quarter Community Council as well as some of the residents who have personally spoken with me or have written to me about their concerns.

“I believe in openness and transparency, and that is how I have functioned throughout my tenure up to this point in time.  The residents should receive all the information from the stakeholders involved in order to make an informed decision.

“Our communities have a say in what takes place in their neighborhoods.  This has been my approach from one end of the country to the next,” Minister Hon. Maurice Lake said on Thursday.


Prime Minister Wescot-Williams Brings U2CanMove Campaign to Simpson Bay

SIMPSON BAY VILLAGE - Prime Minister Wescot-Williams brought the U2CanMove campaign to the Simpson Bay district with some fifty participants this past Saturday, July 26, 2014.

The special Zumba Walk-a-Thon, accompanied by the New Status Generation Drum Band, made its way throughout the district in order to bring movement and music to the early morning hours, encouraging the population to move and to stay healthy.

Highlight of the day for the participants was engaging in group exercise on the Simpson Bay Causeway. The Prime Minister will be bringing movement through exercise and music to the various districts free of charge for anyone who wants to improve their health. (Contributed by the Cabinet of the Prime Minister) 


Coastal residents advised to have plans in place for storm surge flooding

GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – Coastal residents are advised to have plans in place for possible storm surge in the event of a passing hurricane along the south coast of the country.

According to the Office of Disaster Management, these plans should have been in place since before the start of the hurricane season on June 1.

The season so far has seen one storm form namely Arthur near Florida several weeks ago.

Property damages that can be expected from hurricanes and coastal flooding have been increasing year by year, and in many places the threat to life is increasing as well, according to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Most coastal communities are vulnerable to one or more different kinds of flooding and related hazards: frequent flooding from storm surge and winds; and storm-caused erosion of bluffs and beaches.

Coastal areas of Sint Maarten are: Beacon Hill, vicinity of the Princess Juliana International Airport road connection to Beacon Hill, Simpson Bay, Pelican, and Philipsburg (along the boardwalk).

In the event of a passing hurricane, homeowners should secure their possessions to upper levels of the structure.  If you decide not to stay in your home, you should make the necessary arrangements before the passing of a hurricane on where you would stay to ride out the storm system.

One should not wait until the last moment to evacuate their home; this should be done before the hurricane arrives.  First responders won’t be able to go out during hurricane force winds to execute a rescue. Rising storm waters can also flood coastal roads, therefore you should leave before.

The most important link in the chain of preparation and response for coastal flooding is you.  Take the necessary measures to prepare your family and home, according to the Office of Disaster Management.

Here is a check list if you have to leave your home before a hurricane strike due to high storm surge that is expected: turn off water and gas; have a radio and spare batteries; a first aid kit; flashlight; spare bedding; bottled water and tinned food; house keys; prescription medicine; cash and credit cards; mobile phone and spare clothing.

Remember, it only takes one hurricane to make it a bad season.  Be prepared!


President Arrindell calls for moment of silence at Parlatino Parliamentary Forum in Connection with Malaysian Plane Crash

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten – President of Parliament Hon. Gracita Arrindell last Thursday requested a moment of silence to be observed in connection with Malaysian Flight MH-17 crash victims at the Parlatino Parliamentary Forum on Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) that took place in Panama City.

80 delegates stood for a moment of silence for all victims of violence and the victims of MH-17.

“The moment of silence was dedicated to all the victims of violence in general and in particular the victims of MH-17 that crashed in Eastern Ukraine.

“It was logical for me to make a request to the Congress given the agenda point of the day,” President of Parliament Hon. Gracita Arrindell said on Sunday.

The Parliamentary Forum on SALW was founded in 1999 by parliamentary initiatives to create a platform for greater on SALW. 

Officially constituted in the Spanish Parliament in 2002, today the forum is the only global network of parliamentarians specifically dedicated to matters of arms control and violence prevention.

The mission of the organization is to support parliamentarians in their small arms related work, contributing to the advancement of the small arms agenda, and providing a space for parliamentarians to meet and join forces with other stakeholders and actors, such as civil society organizations.

Founded as an initiative by parliamentarians from Central America and Europe, the Forum today unites parliamentarians from various political fractions in Latin America, Africa and Europe.

Arrindell is also one of Parlatino’s Vice Presidents.


DP To Hold Meet & Greet in Cole Bay July 26th

COLE BAY, Sint Maarten - The Democratic Party of St. Maarten will be having  a Community Meet and Greet in the District of Cole Bay this coming Saturday July 26th from 4:00PM to 6:00PM at Carmen Hodge’s Property in Cole Bay opposite Motor World. 

The General Public is invited to come out and meet the dynamic members of Team DP, which includes the Candidates who will be contesting the August 29th Elections along with their families and support groups, The Board, Members of the DP n Proud youth arm as well as members of the DP’s Young Professional Organization.

"As an organization, we believe voting to be a fundamental civic right that we should all embrace," said the Party Leader. "It is our goal to give the voters of St. Maarten and the communities in particular that we are visiting the ability to make informed decisions on whom to vote for in this upcoming election."

Candidates will be on hand to discuss one-on-one about real issues affecting St. Maarten and the planned approach for addressing these issues.

For more information about this event and other Democratic Party Events, follow us on Facebook at DPSXM. (Contributed by the DP Party)


Council of Ministers secretariat participates in workshop on digital speed reading

GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – The Staff of the Secretariat of the Council of Ministers recently participated in the workshop Digital Speed Reading offered by TDC (Training and Development Centre) and funded by USONA.

The workshop was intended to support the staff in their transition to a paperless environment and consisted of four half day sessions. In addition, the staff is required to read extensive policy papers and reports on a regular basis in a limited amount of time.

The workshop provided insight in reading behaviour and methodology. The participants all significantly improved their baseline reading speed at the conclusion of the last session.  


DP: Openness and Transparency only Cure for Mistrust and Apathy Towards Politicians

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten - The Democratic Party of St. Maarten presented its Party Platform on Accountable and Effective Government on Tuesday. In a release explaining the Party’s vision regarding Government, the DP Highlighted that with a mixture of innovation and new ideas, the DP remained committed to provide the best Government organization to residents of St. Maarten; “The DP is the most experienced party in government on St. Maarten and we remain committed to build the government organization to provide the best service to our all of our citizens.

“The DP is proud of building capacity in Government through numerous training programs. We are also proud of the transparency and openness of government through its endeavors regarding the laws of the land. Bringing the law to the people, we have enabled empowerment of citizens as they call their representatives to give account and explanation through various forums available, such as the Ombudsman and Constitutional Court.

The Democratic Party Release also stated that transparent government and openness is the only solution concerning the mistrust of politicians being experienced in the community; “The apathy and mistrust towards politicians can only be countered through a transparent government apparatus. Giving account must become the norm. Openness in government must be practiced on all levels. Less bureaucracy and more accountability is the prescription for a better performing government. The DP favors performance evaluation, linked to compensation for the civil servants, as well as clear lines and openness of policies. We believe technology is key in providing better service and faster response time. This must be visible in the areas of work permits, building permits, business licenses, taxes etc. The DP will continue its e-government program, aimed at eliminating paperwork. We have made great strides here, but we still envision a goal of reducing our paper consumption by at least 50%,” concluded the Democratic Party statement


Busy first half of year for SAFE

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten - St. Maarten/St. Martin Alliance for Equality (SAFE), a LGBT organization founded on December 10, 2013, has had a busy first half of 2014.

The foundation, which has as its core objectives, the empowerment of LGBT people and the full inclusion and participation of LGBT people in St. Maarten/St. Martin society, has held several activities meant to bring LGBT persons from both sides of the island together.

Lysanne Charles-Arrindell, President of SAFE, said that thus far the response to the organization has been overwhelmingly positive, both from within the LGBT community and from the wider island community. 

“Since we started with our activities we’re received a lot of well-wishes from people across all segments of society and have been told that it was high time that such a foundation was organized. People recognized that this organization grew out of local indications that the time was right and ripe for such. So we, as the board of SAFE, really appreciate each one of the people who have reached out to us and offered their support, whether they are LGBT persons or even Allies,” Charles-Arrindell said.

Charles-Arrindell said that thus far the organization had held several meet & greets, hikes, general meetings, radio interviews and community outreach meetings with other foundations. Monthly educational discussion meetings are also about to start this week. 

“The board of SAFE has been really busy with these events for the first half of the year and also with the Pink Orange Alliance (POA) conference scheduled for later this year in collaboration with our Dutch counterparty COC, but of course there is still much more to come. So we encourage those who are interested to get in contact with SAFE and to come out and learn more about the organization and its objectives. We also urge LGBT people and allies who have ideas about how SAFE can better serve the community to contact us and share their thoughts with us,” Charles-Arrindell said.

She said that SAFE looks forward to future collaborations between LGBT persons on the French and Dutch sides of the island and also cooperation between SAFE and ally organizations on the island and across the region. She also said that the organization would be moving ahead with a full schedule of event for LGBT persons and their allies and encouraged people to visit their Facebook site or webpage for more information.

“We’re always looking for ways to reach out to LGBT persons and also to the island community and the regional community, so we look forward to any and all dialogue as we move ahead with our goals,” Charles-Arrindell said.

Those interested can reach SAFE via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.,, www.facebook.come/safesxm or +1-721-550-4221.


Minister of Justice on the beat

COLE BAY, Sint Maarten - Honorable Minister of Justice Dennis Richardson, the Director of the Cabinet of the Justice Ministry Ronald Van de Veer and the Acting Chief of Police Denise Jacobs, went on the beat to see for themselves the increased controls being carried out by law enforcement authorities.

The Minister and his entourage visited the control point at Bell View and Cole Bay while the controls were going on to get a personal view of how they are carried out. (Contributed by the Police Force of Sint Maarten)


DP's Camp RED Meets and Exceeds Expectations of Participants

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten - Saturday's afternoon event of the Democratic Party, themed Camp RED was one way of the DP leadership keeping its promise to prepare the DP candidates for the job they are seeking in representing the people.

Prime Minister Wescot-Williams stated that it was important that the attendants took home some of the important information that was made available during the retreat; “Yes, the position of a member of Parliament is a job on behalf of the people who elect their representatives to Parliament and a job that must be taken seriously,” stated the leader of the Democratic Party.

The afternoon was mc'd by DP Treasurer, Giselle York-Missoudan, who did an excellent job, keeping participants engaged.  The highlights of the afternoon were presentations on the Party's 2014 Platform; the role of parliamentarians as provided for in the constitution and electoral law; the law on registration and finances of political parties and the use of social media.

The Red threads throughout the DP's 2014 platform are education, jobs, nation building and social advancement. "It's a people's thing."

After attentively listening to the presentations, DP 2014 candidates and their support teams engaged in animated discussions regarding these topics.

"Camp RED has surely met the expectations of the participants and I was pleased to note that participation exceeded the expected number of persons", continued DP leader, Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams.

The intention of Camp RED was to inform and educate the 2014 DP candidates and their support teams. Not only was this accomplished, but also the afternoon turned into a "think tank" of ideas and proposals.

"I am quite pleased", said the DP leader at the end of the afternoon as candidates mulled around and socialized with each other, "Pleased and proud, with the commitment demonstrated by our candidates and the level of seriousness displayed by all."

Presentations and subsequent discussions on the above mentioned topics lead to several concrete proposals, which the DP is committed to pursue:

- Screening of Parliamentary candidates elected to office.

 - Establishing by law an Ethics Committee of Parliament.

- Tax deductibility of political donations, specifically.

Board members of the DP were also pinned during the Camp Red event.

This coming week promises to be another eventful DP week with:

The annual July 24th Wreath laying at 8.30 am, in front of the Administration building, commemorating the birthday of the late A. Claude Wathey, co-founder and first leader of the DP; Wednesday, July 23, at 6 pm, DPnPROUD youth meeting, and Friday afternoon, Red Splash at a venue to be announced. (Contributed by the DP Party)

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