Soualiga News 3

Soualiga News 3 (956)


SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – All across the region staff of CIBC FirstCaribbean threw open its doors with extra wide smiles welcoming clients with food, drinks and loads of other giveaways.

From the first one in to the last one out, clients were feted and fed as the regional bank toasted clients on Client Appreciation Day marked across the banks 16-member regional footprint on June 13. The bank’s senior executives fanned out across the various business units from early to give an extra special welcome to those visiting the various locations to conduct transactions.

The bank’s Chief Executive Officer Colette Delaney in the Cayman Islands for the official opening of the bank’s newest location at Health City Mall, also took the opportunity to meet clients to thank them for their confidence in regional financial institution.

In earlier remarks, the CEO reminded staff the only reason bank existed was because of our clients. “Imagine what would happen to CIBC FirstCaribbean if people stopped coming to us to make their financial dreams a reality! There’d be no reason for us to be here, would there? Every client is important to us and it is up to us to make them welcome. Each of us must never lose sight of the end point of all our efforts – the client,” she noted.

Executives and country heads did a number of meet-and-greets with clients throughout the day and also took part in serving specially prepared refreshment to the steady stream of clients filing into the various banking halls.

Chief Administrative Officer Neil Brennan spent the day in St. Lucia engaging with clients at the bank’s Castries branches. He also joined Branch Manager, Smerna Pompelis, Customer Service Manager Angelina Nathaniel and Country Support Officer, Kestan Jn Baptiste, in making a special presentation to the bank’s oldest customer Ms. Laurie Levexier, a resident of the Marion Home for the Elderly.

Steelpan music filled with banking halls at the Sunset Crest, Warrens and Sheraton branches in Barbados as talented musicians Keifer Kinch and Hashim Durant serenaded clients as they did their banking. Over at Broad Street, the season’s latest calypsos kept clients rocking as DJs Sugar and Spice entertained staff and clients alike. There was also a lively karaoke session with some clients belting out their favourite numbers.

In St. Maarten, clients were welcomed with tokens of appreciation. Customer, Darren Wilson, was the lucky winning of a lunch with his branch manager and refreshments and giveaways were given throughout the day at both Philipsburg and Cole Bay branches.

In Dominica, the sweet sounds of the Siserou Singers coupled with giveaways and refreshments made for an extra special banking experience there for clients.


Ministry VROMI Traffic Alert: Speed Bump Repair near Chesterfields and Bobby’s Marina

GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – Ministry of Public Housing, Environment, Spatial Development and Infrastructure (Ministry VROMI), announces that maintenance works will be carried out on the traffic speed bumps along the public road near Chesterfields Restaurant and Bobby’s Marina.

These works will take place on Thursday, June 20. Motorised traffic will be restricted to one lane at each traffic speed bump.

Motorists are advised to pay close attention as workmen and equipment will be busy at both locations as mentioned above.

The public and motorists are advised that tampering by removing barricades or any Government property is punishable by law.

Ministry VROMI apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause.


Thousands of rejected migrants unable to return to their home countries

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Thousands of rejected migrants are stuck in the Netherlands because their home countries have refused to take them back, according to figures from the repatriation service Dienst Terugkeer en Vertrek (DTV).

The statistics, published by the Telegraaf newspaper, showed that 2,310 requests to take back a foreign national who had been refused permission to stay in the Netherlands were turned down between 2014 and May 2018.

A further 8,020 requests were withdrawn because no answer was received within a year. During 2018 the DTV’s efforts to repatriate failed migrants failed more times than they succeeded: 1,760 requests were granted while 2,410 requests were refused.

Algeria was the country that refused the largest number of requests, while Afghanistan, Morocco, Iraq and Iran frequently failed to respond. DTV spokesman Lennart Wegwijs said the number of migrants affected was less than 10,000 because some people were the subject of more than one request.

‘For some people we have made repeated requests and in some cases, we have made applied to several countries for the same person. I can’t say how many people it actually involves. I don’t have those figures.’

Migrants who have exhausted the application and appeals process are required to leave the country within 28 days, after which they lose all right to accommodation and other state support – unless they co-operate with their removal.



Tax on savings places ‘excessive burden’ on savers, court rules

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – The tax on savings which was introduced in 2001 is unfair and could lead to people paying too much, the Dutch Supreme Court said on Friday.

The asset tax assumes people in earn interest on their savings and they have to pay 30% tax over that fictitious amount. In practice, however, the interest on savings is far less and in some cases people’s savings are actually going down because of the tax.

Dutch taxpayers lobby group BvB took the issue to court, focusing the case on a number of tax returns from 2013 and 2014 when the assumed increase was 4%. The court on Friday said it partly shared the lobby group’s concerns.

Generating a 4% return in 2013 and 2014 was not possible without taking a lot of risks, the court said. If the actual return on risk-free investments such as savings accounts and state bonds is lower than the amount paid in tax, then the state is placing an ‘excessively heavy burden’ on taxpayers, the court said.

The state, the court said, would have to compensate taxpayers for their losses, but did not say how this should happen. Tax expert Arjo van Eijsden said taxpayers should not automatically except their money back.

‘Every taxpayer will have to show that the tax has placed an excessive burden on them,’ he told the AD. The tax on savings currently generates €4bn to €5bn a year for the treasury.


Tax minister Menno Snel said in April the cabinet is looking into ways of cutting the amount of tax paid by people whose assets are primarily in the form of savings One option would be to levy tax based on the actual interest earned on savings, while continuing to tax property and other investments at the fictitious rates, Snel told MPs.

Snel says he hopes to present the plans to parliament along with the rest of the budget in September. The system was first amended int 2017 to introduce three different tax rates based on how much individuals had in the way of savings.



‘No one wants to see fences on the border,’ Dutch king tells Ireland

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Dutch king Willem-Alexander has told a state banquet in Ireland that the Netherlands is well aware of the far-reaching implications of Brexit for Ireland.

The king and queen Maxima are on a three day visit to Ireland and the king made the speech at a banquet hosted by the country’s president Michael Higgins.

‘The UK’s decision [to leave the EU] is something that Ireland and the Netherlands both regret and respect. It also compels us to work together to safeguard the things we value most dearly,’ the king said in his address.

Ireland, the UK and the European Union are the guardians of the Good Friday Agreement, the king said. ‘The spectres of the past cannot be allowed to return. No one wants to revisit the era of the Troubles.

No one wants to see fences on the border.’ The Netherlands, he said, is well aware of the far-reaching implications of Brexit for Ireland and for everyone on the island. The Netherlands will continue working with the country and ‘all our partners in Europe on solutions that safeguard the interests of both Ireland and Europe’.

The visit, accompanied by a trade mission aimed at enhancing the potential for economic cooperation between the Netherlands and Ireland, ends on Friday in Cork.



Number of centenarians in the Netherlands stabilises

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – There were 2,189 people aged at least 100 in the Netherlands at the beginning of this year, nine up on 2018 but down 36 on 2017, the national statistics office CBS said on Wednesday.

The figures show that the number of centenarians in the Netherlands is stagnating – their total had increased for years but is now fairly stable at around 2,200. This may be due to the drop in the number of live births in 2019 and the recent flu epidemics, the CBS said.

Some 85% of the centenarians are women and most live in the provinces of Zeeland and Zuid-Holland, the CBS said. The CBS said it expects a further increase next year, because of the 1920 post WWI baby boom.

The oldest person in the Netherlands at the moment is Geertje Kuijntjes who will soon turn 114.



American arrested at Schiphol with gun and ammo in his rucksack

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – A 35-year-old American national was arrested at Schiphol airport on Monday morning after security guards spotted a gun and ammunition in his hand luggage during the routine checks.

A spokesman for the airport’s military police said it is rare that someone tries to bring a gun through security. ‘We do find weapons from time to time, but that is usually a knuckle duster or a small penknife,’ the spokesman told broadcaster NOS.

The police are now investigating why the man was carrying the gun in his rucksack. He will appear in court on Wednesday, police said.



Central Committee meeting of Parliament about draft Kingdom Law Disputes Regulation amendments by Aruba

PHILIPSBURG – The House of Parliament will sit in a Central Committee meeting on, June 11.

The Central Committee meeting is scheduled for Tuesday at 11.00 hrs. in the General Assembly Chamber of the House at Wilhelminastraat #1 in Philipsburg.

The agenda point is: Discussion on the proposed draft amendments by Aruba with regard to the Kingdom Law Kingdom Disputes (IS/1035/2018-2019 dated May 22, 2019).

Members of the public are invited to the House of Parliament to attend parliamentary deliberations. 

The House of Parliament is located across from the Court House in Philipsburg.

The parliamentary session will be carried live on St. Maarten Cable TV Channel 115, via SXM GOV radio FM 107.9, via Pearl Radio FM 98.1, the audio via the Internet, and Parliament’s Facebook page: Parliament of Sint Maarten.


Slow down: Fast food delivery drivers to go on road safety course

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – A number of Dutch fast food companies have agreed to send their delivery drivers on a road safety course in an effort to cut down the number of accidents, but the big three companies have not yet signed up.

The move is part of an agreement between traffic safety organisation Veilig Verkeer Nederland, the organisation for food delivery firms NLVVM, and insurance company Vereende.

Last year food delivery drivers were involved in 116 accidents. In more than half of the cases the driver had to be taken to hospital by ambulance. ‘The fast food sector is working with young people.

They are among the groups which form the biggest risk as far as traffic safety is concerned. Companies need to take this into account and make an effort to guarantee the safety of their drivers,’ a spokesman for Verkeersveiligheid Nederland said in a statement.

The fast food companies which are members of the NLVVM include Domino’s Pizza, Febo, Spare Rib Express and Taco Mundo. So far Thuisbezorgd, Deliveroo and Uber Eats have not joined the initiative, NOS said.

The parties have also agreed to move towards paying the drivers an hourly wage instead of an amount per delivered meal in order to stop speeding, the broadcaster said.



Dutch courts ban third motorbike gang, No Surrender to be closed down

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Judges in Assen have banned the motorbike club No Surrender, saying it presents a threat to public order. ‘A large number of the No Surrender members are or have been structurally involved in numerous serious criminal offences,’ the court said in its ruling.

Intimidation, public violence, blackmail, illegal weapons possession and firearms and drugs offences are among the crimes involving club members, the court said. The ban includes all chapters and brotherhoods, because the club’s strongly hierarchical set-up means different units cannot operate independently.

The ban is the third imposed by the Dutch courts on so-called outlaw motorbike gangs. At the end of last month, civil court judges in Utrecht said the Dutch arm of motorbike gang Hells Angels should be banned and broken up, ending years of legal action by the public prosecution department.

The courts had earlier banned biker gangs Satudarah and Bandidos, although the Bandidos ban was partially overturned on appeal.


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