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Soualiga News (3017)

Michael Ferrier’s Open Letter to the new Government and Parliamentarians

COLE BAY – Former candidate of the Democratic Party (DP) of Sint Maarten, businessman Michael Ferrier issued an open letter on Sunday wanting to send a message to the new Government led by Prime Minister Hon. Marcel Gumbs and to the new Members of Parliament who were elected on August 29th, 2014 in parliamentary elections.

“2015 is here! And finally, so is a new Government with as our new Prime Minister the Honorable Mr. Marcel Gumbs. This is a good thing. Mr. Gumbs and I go way back to the early seventies when I learned to fly and he was one of the young local Air Traffic Controllers in the Tower at the Princess Juliana International Airport.

“Marcel (if I may) was always a man with passion for what he does and about doing things "right" and in accordance with the rules. I have no doubt that he will be a good Prime Minister and wish him wisdom and much success. Of the other four Ministers in his not-yet-complete cabinet, I can say that Minister Dennis Richardson and Minister Martin Hassink have earned their stripes as professionals in the past year and a half and so to them I say: Welcome back and good luck.

“Minister Rita Bourne-Gumbs is without a doubt one of the more pleasant persons I know and professionally she seems competent, with her heart in the right place for the task she has accepted. Our new Minister of TEATT (Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transportation & Telecommunications), Claret Connor, was in my opinion one of the only beacons of hope on the greedy list and so I am very happy he has accepted to head this extremely crucial Ministry, where understanding what it takes to successfully merge the needs of the Private Sector (driver of the Economy) with those of Government, is so crucial.

“I am confident that Minister Connor, the son of the late great Clarence Connor, will do the right thing for St. Maarten.  I am also pleased to read in the local papers that our new PM has declared that the island's economy is a priority in 2015 and I look forward to him explaining and mapping out in layman's terms (for transparency sake) how amongst other things the COUNTERPART Policy (the so-called REASON for former DP Parliamentarian Cornelius de Weever's TREASON) will be applied so that indeed it will strengthen sustainable economic growth.

“From a businessman's point of view, if companies/enterprises will be forced to hire two persons to fill one position (when no suitable, qualified, motivated local person can be found and an Employment Permit for a foreigner has to be requested), it will stifle economic growth rather than help it. But I stand to be corrected if my understanding of the now infamous COUNTERPART Policy is faulty.

“Then to our Parliamentarians: I challenge you to make one of your first endeavors to be the changing of the Ordinance regulating benefits for former Ministers and former Parliamentarians (known as "Political Authorities"). AB 2010, GT no. 8 states in article 1d, that DISMISSAL of a Political Authority is: "the formal termination of the appointment as a Political Authority, BY ANY MEANS".  Now I can understand if during any four year term, should a Government fall and Ministers abruptly become unemployed, there is a "catch-net" in place to allow them to find new employment. But why should we the tax payers continue paying ex-Ministers and ex-Parliamentarians when their appointment, or the four year term to which they were elected ends?

“That COULD not have been the intention of the authors of the Ordinance, nor SHOULD it be. In the Private sector when someone accepts an employment contract for a specific term, they know that at the end of that term there is no more income. Yet I know of at least nine former Parliamentarians, whose term ended on October 10, 2014 (something they knew would be the case since at least October 10, 2010), that have formally requested Government to continue their benefits (95% for the first three months, 85% for the following seven months, 75% for the next 10 months and 70% for the remaining four months of the up to 24 month catch-net provision).

“This means that depending how many persons get re-elected or re-appointed, St. Maarten tax payers could be paying up to 30 Parliamentarians and up to 18 or more Ministers (including Ministers and Deputy Ministers Plenipotentiary) at any given time during the first two years after Parliamentary elections! With an average salary of "Political Authorities" set at approximately US $12,000 per person per month, this is a WHOLE HEAP of money.

“Taking a few lines from PM Gumbs' New Year's message: "Good Governance and Integrity are priorities to ensure the needs of the Community are met with the utmost of honesty and fairness; in order for St. Maarten to get where it needs to be, we need everyone to play their part; we will strive to set the ship right so that we can continue moving forward to becoming the great nation we all know St. Maarten can be".  

“I look forward our new Parliament and the Gumbs Cabinet to "play their part" to right the wrongs on St. Maarten and I look forward to all those "Political Authorities" (I will for now resist the temptation to name them), who so selfishly have availed themselves of the asinine loophole created by the Ordinance Regulating Benefits for those no longer in office, to hurry up and get a real job, so that the Gumbs Government can use the hundreds of thousands of dollars now "owed" to these "honorable" people, to plug other, more urgent financial holes in our 2015 and beyond country budgets,” Businessman and citizen Michael J. Ferrier said in an open letter on Sunday, January 4th, 2015..

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New Year’s Message from the Leader of the OSPP Party Lenny Priest

PHILIPSBURG – Leader of the One St. Maarten People’s Party (OSPP) Lenny Priest released the following New Year’s message on Sunday.

“My Fellow Citizens

“Once again another year has come to end and a new year has begun. Over the past year of 2014, it was not without the many challenges, which we had faced. As the people of St. Maarten; we have experienced a lot of setbacks and by speaking out on those issues that had affected us the most; it didn’t yield any sort of positive results or outcomes.

“The cost of living, here on the island continues to rise with no limit in sight. Those, who are in authority has repeatedly shown no type of effort or indication towards the citizens that any plans would be set in motion for a relief in the coming new year.  Namely the everyday small man, are the ones that are being greatly affected by the fact that nothing is being done to alleviate those increasing cost.  Various crimes have been taken place on many parts of the island, such as armed robberies in broad daylight as well as the snatching of chains and other valuables, just to mention a few.

“This is not the St.Maarten that many had come to know and love; we can no longer blame others for the ills and lack of leadership that have taken place on this island before our very own eyes. Like any developing nation, some of the events that are happening now can be expected but it can also be minimized by being more attentive to the needs of the people all year round and not just during election year when you need their votes.  

“There are so many people here on the island that goes hungry because the cost of living is simply too high; Many people continue to fall short on rent payments and there are those who simply cannot makes ends meet with the salaries that they are earning, while the prices of goods and services continues to rise, the salaries in particular the minimum wage, continues to remain at an all-time low.

“The parliamentary elections which took place on August 29th, 2014 that included six political parties that were vying for the fifteen seats in parliament. The people of St.Maarten decided to vote back into office the same leaders that sat in office from the previous four years; they’re the same elected officials that shame the people and did absolutely nothing to improve the quality of life here on the island. Yet, our voters put their faith once again in those elected officials and expect a different outcome this time around.  However they’ve already fallen short to the expectations of the people and have demonstrated that it’s not about you; the people of St.Maarten and that it’s about them, the members of parliament.

“This is the first time in the history of this island that this young nation has gone without an operational government for three months and change, since the elections.  The leader of the United Peoples Party and also the highest vote getter in the last election has yet again deceived the people. Time after time he has given empty goals and promises and by not assuming the position as Prime Minister, he has succumbed to the pressure of the Dutch Government and declined to take on this prestigious position, even though during his campaign on numerous occasions had said that he would take on that responsibility.

“Over the last six months crude oil have been steadily declining on the international market and has been at its all-time low over  the last five years. Most other countries have lowered their energy prices in some way or the other and thus providing their people with some type of relief. Nevertheless, our people are constantly being victimized by our elected representatives and by the management of GEBE N.V. Aren’t our elected representatives  from both sides of the aisles aware that by lowering the fuel clause on our energy bill it will result in the food as well as other goods and services prices decreasing?

“Isn’t this the exact thing that the members of parliament had so diligently promised the people, when they went door to door asking for their support election time? Imagine if the crude oil had increased over the last six months our fuel clause on our energy bills would have increased in the same way without any questions asked. Then what are the elected officials and management of NV GEBE waiting for to lower the fuel clause on our energy bills.

“There is no further injustice that you can do to your people than to refuse to help them, when you are in the position to do just that, says Lenny Priest leader of the OSPP. It seems that our elected representatives are hell bent on continuously punishing the people of St.Maarten with no apparent reason as to why such a lack of concern or gratitude is given towards the people who put them in office in the first place.  

“Nonetheless I am still hopeful that 2015 will be a good year for our people; and as people of this island, we have reached to a period that in spite of the bad treatment from the hands of our elected officials; we must continue to strive and be compassionate towards one another. We must be willing to share the little in what we have with others during this time of hardship as well as be each other’s keepers. By supporting the various organizations that do good things for persons who are not as well off or have yet to catch back themselves.

“The OSPP says, make yourself available to your country; St.Maarten needs you now more than ever to weather these hard times.  Don’t wait until more crime is committed to start screaming we must do something about the rise in crime on the island; now is the time to get involved! You never know that today it can be me but tomorrow it is you.  Remember crime has no boundaries and it doesn’t discriminate. Let’s continue to pray for this nation to improve the quality of life for all and not just for a few.

“The OSPP hereby wishes the people of St.Maarten a very prosperous New Year and together we will make St. Maarten shine again, but brighter. We will continue to be the voice of those who are voiceless in 2015 and to address the issues that are affecting the very fabric of this nation. May God bless this wonderful young nation, St.Maarten,” Leader of the OSPP Party Lenny Priest said in his party’s New Year’s Message on Sunday.

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Former Prime Minister says Government not communicating with the People

WILLEMSTAD, Curacao – Government is not communicating with the people.  Those were the sentiments uttered by former Prime Minister of the dismantled Netherlands Antilles Hon. Maria Liberia-Peters during a radio interview program at year-end, adding that the Government was just taking measures.

Liberia-Peters political party PNP, is currently a member of the coalition government in Curacao.

Liberia-Peters pointed out in her year-end address that the government has an issue communicating with the people of Curacao, and that this needs to change because the people need to know what the government is doing.

The former Prime Minister pointed out that back in the 1980s, government had weekly information programs that informed the people about the role of government, why certain decisions and measures were taken etc. 

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Misunderstanding leads to stabbing at Francis Bar

PHILIPSBURG: On Thursday January 1st at approximately 11:00 am the patrol was dispatched to Francis bar on the A. Th. Illidge road for a stabbing incident. On arrival both the victim and suspect both of Dominican decent had already left the scene.

The victim was already transported to the St Maarten Medical Center for medical attention. There he explained to the patrol officers that he had received a stab wound to his abdominal area.

According to the victim it was a minor misunderstanding that got out of hand. After being treated at the Medical Center he was released. 

An official complaint has been filed and an investigation will follow. (Police Force Sint Maarten)   

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Pope Francis' prayer intentions for January

VATICAN CITY (VIS) – The Holy Father's universal prayer intention for January 2015 is: “That those from diverse religious traditions and all people of good will may work together for peace”.

His intention for evangelisation is: “That in this year dedicated to consecrated life, religious men and women may rediscover the joy of following Christ and strive to serve the poor with zeal”.

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Motorists can collect number plates at the Public Service Center in Simpson Bay, conditions apply!

SIMPSON BAY VILLAGE - The management of the Public Service Center Department (PSC) hereby informs all motorists that the 2015 number plates can be collected at the Customer Care & Customer Information Desk at the Public Service Center.

The following conditions however apply:

  1. Payment of the 2015 Road Tax was made to the Tax Administration (Receivers’ Office) at the Public Service Center;
  2. Motorists must allow two days (following payment) before number plates can be collected;
  3. Motorists must present original proof of payment of the 2015 Road Tax.

Director of the Public of Service Center, Emilia Thomas stated that “the period for annual road tax payment is a very busy one for our administration. In anticipation of this period, we have decided to be proactive by offering another location, where motorists can collect their number plates”. It is our hope that this accommodation will help alleviate the long queues.

Information with regard to requirements and cost of the Road Tax for 2015, can be obtained by calling our Customer Care & Customer Information representatives at (721)-545-3380, by email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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47-Year Old Woman Arrested for Stabbing Husband

PHILIPSBURG - On Monday December 29th a 47-year old Haitian woman was arrested by the St. Maarten Police Force because she was suspected of stabbing her husband on Christmas day, December 25th.

The woman was placed in custody and detectives of the police force further investigated the case. She made a statement to the detectives in which she declared to have stabbed her husband multiple times during an argument.

After the incident took place the victim was transported to the St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) where he was treated by medical specialists.

He filed a complaint with the police officers. Based on this complaint the 47-year old suspect was arrested. (Police Force Sint Maarten)

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Walichi Basketball Association Shows Appreciation as Year End Approaches

PHILIPSBURG - As the calendar year comes to an end, it is only right to give thanks and look forward to a new year. It is for this reason that the board of the Walichi Basketball Association would like to take the time out to thank all who contributed in funds, their valuable time or just in in one way or the other.

We would like to thank all our sponsors, those who sponsored financially, via products or via their time. Our main Platinum Sponsor Motorworld and Jeep, Gold Sponsor Leonard Enterprise NV, Silver Sponsors GEBE NV and Kadaster, Bronze Sponsors such as MGM Consultants, Cash 4 Gold, Computech and Heavenly Water.

Other sponsors include Nagico, St. Maarten Harbour Group, Orco Bank, Plaza China, B&C Beverages, Amity Supermarket, Sky Supermarket, Twin Island Tours, Sweet Water NV and Louis Duzanson. Sponsors who assisted in our fun All Star Weekend are Lester de Graff, Hvack Solutions and Zhou Zhesen.

The Ladies Basketball Championship cannot run only on funds but on the tireless efforts of our "staff" and volunteers. From our table officials, referees, concession personnel, photographers, video editors, LBC Commentators such as "good ol faithful" Latoya Lake and Dennisio Duzong among others and of course AVS News family of Ricardo William, Renaldo William and Ms Altagracia. This league is run on the good will and heart of so many who support females and basketball. Thanks goes out to Ms. Marit Gumbs, Board Director and Mr. Elliot Laurence, Founder of the Ladies Basketball championship for also being vital in the running of this beautiful championship.

The league would not be possible without female basketball teams, thanks goes out to the coaches and players of our 5 teams Cash 4 Gold Lava Girls, Thunderz, MGM Lightning, Learning Unlimited School and Bush Tea Remedy in our inaugural season who have decided to support us by signing up and in doing so showcasing their talents.

Thanks to the fans for coming out each weekend on Saturdays at 6-7:30pm and Sundays from 3 -6:30pm at Melford Hazel Sports Complex in Sucker Garden to cheer on their favorite team.

We thank you from the bottom of our hearts and look forward to everyone's support in the second half of the season which starts on Saturday January 10th, 2015. (Walichi Basketball Association)

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January 2nd Working Day for All Civil Servants

PHILIPSBURG - All civil servants are expected to report to work on Friday, January 2. The Council of Ministers took a decision last week not to grant government's personnel the extra day off following New Year's Day. This day is not a public holiday.  

However, Prime Minister (PM) Marcel Gumbs encourages those civil servants who would like an extra day off to enjoy another long weekend, to request and seek approval for a vacation day via their department heads.  

The PM explained that 2015, from day 1, is a crucial year for St. Maarten and every facet of the public sector, as often that is legally required, is needed to address priority areas.  

PM Gumbs, on behalf of his cabinet, went on to wish all civil servants a happy, safe and productive New Year. (Office of the Press Secretariat, Government of Sint Maarten, Council of Ministers)

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Parliament in recess until January 1st. Meetings resume in the week of January 12

PHILIPSBURG - President of Parliament, Hon. Lloyd Richardson, MD informed Members of Parliament that the House as of December 22 is in Christmas holiday recess until January 1st.

Parliamentary sessions are to resume in the weeks of January 12 and January 26.

A parliamentary delegation will be traveling to Aruba for the Kingdom Parliamentary Relations Conference (IPKO) in the week of January 5.

The House of Parliament did meeting in an urgent plenary session on December 22 which will continue in the New Year.

Happy Holidays. 

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