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Soualiga Newsday Latest News (1328)

Armed robbery at Trendy Shop on Back Street

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten, POLICE HEADQUARTERS - On Friday May 16th at approximately 07.00 p.m. the Central Police dispatch received a call from Trendy Shop on the Back street stating that shortly before an armed robbery had taken place at that establishment.

Police officers were immediately sent to the scene to investigate what had taken place. On the scene the investigating officers encountered the victim who had been tied up by the suspects with tie-straps and tape.

The victims stated that two unknown men had come into the establishment asking to use the bathroom. Once inside one of suspects pulled a fire arm and threatened to use it. The armed robber put the gun to the head of the store manager forcing him to hand over the cash. The robbers also took the manager’s telephone and several new phones.

After committing this act the robbers fled the scene. The Special Robbery Unit is investigating this case.

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Economic department temporarily lifts moratorium on vending permits

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten – The Department of Economic Licenses and the Control Department that falls under the Ministry of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transportation and Telecommunication, hereby informs a temporary lifting of the moratorium on vending permits as of May 15th until June 1st.

The Ministry TEATT is of the opinion that in the general interest and preservation of the economic development of the market, guidelines are established for the issuance of vending permits.

Minister of Ministry TEATT Hon. Ted Richardson in reviewing the policy and taking into consideration that the country is heading into the low season, has lifted the moratorium that was established on February 17th, 2014, for a two week period, from May 15th to June 1st.

After the 1st June date has surpassed, the moratorium will be in place for a period of one-year, until May 31st, 2015.  Only vending permits for less than 21-days, are exempted from this moratorium (e.g. Carnival and special events).

For applicants who submitted the required documents and information prior to the implementation of the moratorium, those will be processed.  Incomplete requests cannot come into consideration for a vending permit.

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Public invited to community dialogue sessions next week in Cul de Sac, Little Bay, Belvedere and Simpson Bay/Cupecoy

GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – Next week four Community Based Dialogues sessions are scheduled.  In order to continue to engage the community with respect to the development of the National Development Program, the first session for the week is on Monday, May 19 for residents of lower and upper Cul de Sac.  The session will be held the Seventh Day Adventist Church from 6.30pm to 10.30pm.

The second session is for the residents of Little Bay and surroundings scheduled for Wednesday, May 21 at the Christian Hillside Asha Stevens Campus in Cay Hill during the same aforementioned hours.

The third session is for the residents of Belvedere and will take place on Thursday, May 22 at the Belvedere Community Center, 6.30 pm to 10.30pm.  This session was originally planned for this past Monday however due to inclement weather it has been rescheduled. 

The fourth session is for the residents of Simpson Bay, Beacon Hill and Cupecoy on Friday, May 23 at the same time as the other sessions.  A venue will be announced next week.

This micro and macro public consultation process with community stakeholders will continue until the end of June with communities, schools, the private sector, unions, non-governmental organizations, and Government.  The majority of voices reflecting the diversity of the country’s society will be captured.

The persons who attend these dialogue sessions have the opportunity to engage in fruitful discussions about what affects us socially, economically, culturally, and environmentally throughout the country.

In addition, persons will be able to find solutions which will help to improve the lives of those who live in the country.  The thoughts and ideas expressed in these dialogues will be captured into the National Development Plan.  The contribution made to the development of this plan will hopefully make persons feel a sense of ownership for putting this document in place.

The National Development Plan is facilitated under the auspices of the project, “Building a Nation: Sint Maarten National Development Plan & Institutional Strengthening.”

The Ministry of General Affairs, Department of Interior and Kingdom Relations (BAK) are providing key support for the NDP process along with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

For further information please refer to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., and/ or call 542-0897.

PHOTO CUTLINE: Residents at a Community Based Dialogue session.

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Nine and 10-year olds invited to sign-up for bike-a-thon by May 19

GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – In Commemoration of Vaccination Week of the Americas (VWA), the Collective Prevention Services (CPS) Section Youth Health Care of the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, has planned several activities including a bike-a-thon for Saturday, May 24th.

The objective is to bring awareness as it related to vaccination and health.  CPS Section Youth Health Care will be organizing its 1st bike-a-thon that will start at 7.00am on May 24 at the Vineyard Office Park and end at the Baby Wellness Clinic opposite Grand Marche on the Bush Road.

Children nine or 10-years of age can take part in the bike-a-thon.  Those interested in participating should contact CPS Youth Health Care at 542-3003 or 542-2078 for an application form which must be submitted on Monday, May 19.

Breakfast will be provided at the end of the bike-a-thon.  Once a person registers for the event they will receive a T-shirt.  The event is free of charge for participating children.

The bike-a-thon activity is in line with Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labour Hon. Cornelius de Weever’s “Get Checked” campaign which promotes good health for all ages.

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Community Based Dialogues for Belvedere and Billy Folly to be Re-scheduled

GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – After five successful Community Based Dialogues sessions, the National Development Program process of country Sint Maarten, is continuing with its community based dialogue sessions. The Monday evening session organized for Belvedere had to be rescheduled due to the inclement weather.

Residents and stakeholders were invited to come out to the Billy Folly Community Dialogue session on Thursday, May 15, however due to unforeseen circumstances; this will be rescheduled for another date.

This micro and macro public consultation process with community stakeholders will continue until the end of June with communities, schools, the private sector, unions, non-governmental organizations, and Government. The majority of voices reflecting the diversity of the country’s society will be captured.

The districts where Community Based Dialogues took place were Simpson Bay, Cole Bay, Guana Bay, St. Peters and Dutch Quarter. 145 residents in total took part in the first round of discussions.

Upcoming dialogues will be held in Belvedere, Billy Folly, Cul de Sac, Little Bay Area, Lowlands, Madame Estate, Middle Region, Philipsburg, Point Blanche, Sucker Garden, South Reward, Oyster Pond and Zagersgut.

The persons who attend these dialogue sessions have the opportunity to engage in fruitful discussions about what affects us socially, economically, culturally, and environmentally throughout the country.

In addition, persons will be able to find solutions which will help to improve the lives of those who live in the country. The thoughts and ideas expressed in these dialogues will be captured into the National Development Plan. The contribution made to the development of this plan will hopefully make persons feel a sense of ownership for putting this document in place.

The National Development Plan is facilitated under the auspices of the project, “Building a Nation: Sint Maarten National Development Plan & Institutional Strengthening.”

The Ministry of General Affairs, Department of Interior and Kingdom Relations (BAK) are providing key support for the NDP process along with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

For further information please refer to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., and/ or call 542-0897.

PHOTO CUTLINE: Residents giving their input during the Community Based Dialogue session.



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Prime Minister Wescot-Williams: “We As a Country and a Community Need to Work to Combat and Mitigate the Effects of Climate Change”

MEXICO, PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten - The Prime Minister of St. Maarten the Honorable Sarah Wescot-Williams highlighted the importance of addressing issues related to Climate Change and St. Maarten’s ability to respond to these issues.

The Prime Minister’s comments were made in the context of her recent meeting at the Association of Caribbean States Heads of State conference which she recently attended in Mexico, where Climate Change was highlighted as a top priority; “I established that we as St. Maarten need to be part of discussions regarding Climate Change and its undeniable effects on St. Maarten.

“We as a country and a community need to work together to combat and mitigating these effects and we need to place this issue central: we need to focus on this and not think that we should leave this to other generations to cope with. During the ACS conference the Nobel Prize winning physicist Mario Molina gave a presentation at the summit and underscored this issue significantly. St. Maarten as a small island needs to be conscious as well on mitigating the effects of Climate Change. St. Maarten is a Small Island Developing State and we need to realize that, in the context of Environmental Sustainability, we need to focus on mitigating the effects Climate Change will have on us.

St. Maarten now has an Energy Policy which will guide our transition to a cleaner energy and we will implement this step by step. Aruba for example has a goal in mind how they want to use sustainable energy to power their island and St. Maarten is no different and we are currently doing the same,” commented Prime Minister Wescot-Williams.



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NIA performs at Chamber Gala Event

PHILPSBURG—National Institute of the Arts (NIA), which recently celebrated its first year of existence, brought movement to the Chamber of Commerce’s (CoC) 35th anniversary Gala event on Wednesday, May 7, at the Westin Dawn Beach Resort & Spa.

The gala event formed part of a series of planned events celebrating the 35 years of the CoC existence.

Co-Director of NIA, Arlene Halley said, “It was a great honor to be a part of such an event, to have a platform to showcase St. Maarten's cultural excellence in the arts. As an institution, we offer a wide array of art forms, reflecting the cultural diversity and artistic excellence of our island, for both children and adults to immerse themselves in.”

NIA’s dancers presented two specially choreographed pieces by NIA instructors Peggy Oulerich and EoIia “Bibi” Ada, along with Co-Directors Arlene HaIIey and CIara Reyes, which displayed their artistic versatility and style. The music for these numbers was edited by Hans Minnaert.

Reyes said that the development of the pieces presented at the CoC event was a great experience, because it entailed four choreographers coming together to create what they feel are signature pieces for NIA.The concept for the choreography was born after receiving an invitation to perform at the 45th anniversary of St. Maarten Carnival’s Youth Extravaganza.

“Our presentation was well received and our students were extremely proud of themselves. Showcases such as this demonstrate to them that their hard work during classes and rehearsals pay off. The first piece was a folkloric number, which reflected the dances of old time St. Maarten, while the second piece was a modern, sophisticated piece which was much more eclectic and incorporated contemporary movements and African and Folk styles,” stated Clara Reyes, Co-Director of NIA.

The students, management and staff of NIA congratulate the Chamber of Commerce on their 35th year of service to St. Maarten.

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Kingdom Council of Ministers names Chief Public Prosecutor for Bonaire, Statia and Saba

CARIBBEAN NETHERLANDS – The Kingdom Council of Ministers in The Hague, the Netherlands, on Friday, May 9 has appointed Henry J.E. Hambeukers as Chief Public Prosecutor  as of July 1, 2014.  The nomination was made by Dutch Minister of Security and Justice Opstelten.  Hambeukers was appointed public prosecutor serving in Caribbean Netherlands since August 1, 2013.

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Sint Eustatius executive council needs to ensure that budget remains balanced

ORANJESTAD, Sint Eustatius – Achieving a balanced budget in 2014 will be a challenge, according to Age Bakker, chairman to the board of Financial Supervision (College financieel toezicht Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba – Cft). It will be important for the executive council to take timely measures, if revenues turn out to be lower than expected, or in case expenses show an escalation. Both councils confirmed that based on their respective responsibilities they will continue to intensify efforts to furthering the successes achieved in financial management in recent years.

On Monday, May 5th the Cft visited Sint Eustatius and met with the executive council and the island council. During the visit of the board to Sint Eustatius, Mr. Hyden Gittens was introduced as a new board member of the Cft. He is the successor of Mr. Max Pandt, who was a much appreciated member of the Cft since the onset of financial supervision. Both councils expressed their appreciation with the recent nomination of Mr. Gittens and expressed confidence in continuing the good communications between the government and the Cft.

Execution of the budget

As recent reports show indications of short falls in revenue compared to budget projections, the Cft admonished Sint Eustatius to be proactive in taking measures, so as to avoid a deficit position at the end of 2014. In this way recent improvements achieved in the Island’s financial management can be sustained. In the discussions between the Cft and the executive council it transpired that due to some disappointing developments in local revenue collection, as well as unforeseen increases in personnel costs, including overtime payment, the achievement of a balanced budget in 2014 will be a challenge. The executive council is fully aware of the situation and stands ready to take timely corrective measures if needed.

The executive council, in collaboration with the finance department is in the process of finalizing the 1st quarter reporting for 2014, and will submit this, along with any request from budget amendments for evaluation by the Cft. The Cft will be able to react in more detail after receiving the budget amendment and the report of the first quarter of 2014. During the meeting with the island council, parties also agreed to improve the timely distribution of the quarterly financial reports among all members of the council.

Further strengthening of financial management needed

In order to improve the monitoring of the budget execution and enable the administration to take timely action, the information flows from the financial administration need to be improved. The Cft will closely monitor the progress of Sint Eustatius to strengthen its financial management.

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Age Bakker (Cft): ‘Careful monitoring is needed to keep the budget 2014 balanced’

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten - The execution of the 2014 budget is well on its way, according to the Board of financial supervision (College financieel toezicht - Cft) but careful monitoring is needed. Moreover, the multi-year estimates are under pressure due to the deficits over the period 2010-2013 that need to be compensated no later than 2015. Finally, the payment arrears to the APS and SZV require Government’s immediate attention.

The Board visited Sint Maarten on May 6th, which was the third visit to the Wescott-Williams III administration. Meetings were held with the acting Governor, the Minister of Finance, the Council of Ministers and the financial committee of Parliament. Main topics of discussion were the execution of the 2014 budget, sustainability in public borrowing as well as public financial management.

2014 budget execution

The first three months of 2014 show that the budget 2014 was realistic on the revenue side. So far, revenue is up 3 million compared to the current budget. However, the fiscal year 2013 was closed with an ANG 20 million deficit that needs to be compensated no later than in 2015. Furthermore the plans to cut expenditures on personnel and healthcare have not resulted in any draft legislation or decision making by the Council of ministers, which puts severe pressure on the budget 2015. Both healthcare and personnel expenses show a significant increase and the personnel expenses already consume 45% of the budget. ‘Close monitoring of revenues and expenses is necessary to ensure that the year 2014 ends with a balanced outcome’, states Cft Chairman Age Bakker.

Borrowing for capital investments

During the first quarter of 2014, the Cft has approved three loans that total ANG 143,5 million of which ANG 60 million, or 3% of GDP, is for new capital expenditure projects. A further ANG 43,5 million was financed for capital expenditures in 2011 and 2012 which will be used to strengthen the reserves and liquidity position. Finally, an ANG 40 million loan was approved to refinance and finalize the new Government building. Sint Maarten has indicated that it wants to borrow an additional ANG 30 million to purchase the Emilio Wilson Estate. Cft is awaiting the budget amendment that, after adoption by Parliament, will be sent to the Cft for its advice. The Cft and the minister of Finance will further discuss the possibilities to sustain the current healthy debt ratio.

Public financial management

The Cft will continue to focus on the improvement of public financial management, which is another important pillar of the Kingdom Law of financial supervision. In particular, it was discussed with Government that the payment arrears to the APS and SZV will need to be cleared before the budget 2015 is presented to Parliament.

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