Soualiga News 3

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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A further 8,020 requests were withdrawn because no answer was received within a year.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.



15% of Dutch children don’t play outside, but class differences are sharp

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Some 15% of children in the Netherlands never play outside, according to research by play campaign group Jantje Beton.

The research, involving 12,000 parents, showed that children from the highest social class are least likely to play outdoors – in total 34% never did so. By contrast, just 6% of children with the most disadvantaged backgrounds only played indoors.

Children who never play outside could be at risk in their development, said Dave Ensberg-Kleijkers, the campaign group’s director. ‘Playing outside is good for your health, your self-confidence and intellectual development, and the way in which you relate to other children.’

On average, children spend 8.4 hours a week playing outdoors, but almost three in five play in the street, a playground or garden for less time than this. The researchers also asked parents what they considered to be the main barrier to playing outside.

In 50% of cases they said children preferred to play digital games indoors. In around one third of cases parents said there are no other children for them to play with. Traffic was an issue for 15%.


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