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Soualiga News (3017)

NV GEBE Provides Schedule Update on Electricity Restoration

PONDFILL, PHILIPSBURG - NV GEBE St. Maarten’s sole electricity provider — states that the majority of the population maintained power during Hurricane Gonzalo. NV GEBE services around 20,000 meter connections on the Dutch side of the island.

Now that Gonzalo is gone, power is being restored.  NV GEBE Chief Financial Officer Mr. Rene Gartner said the company’s crews have been working around the clock to restore electricity.  "We have a great team of people at NV GEBE who are committed to St. Maarten and the comfort and safety of its residents and visitors. Additional crews have also been hired to fortify the existing NV GEBE staff”.

Efforts were made in order to attend the priority areas such as Dutch Quarter, Middle Region, Belvedere, and other hard hit areas.  Because some areas were more affected than others their time frames for restoration vary.  Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Romelio Maduro assures the community that NV GEBE is doing all that it can do to make sure every client’s need is met.  From press releases to daily Facebook updates the company has been keeping its clients up-to-date and well informed. 

The damages were widespread so the restoration process will not be quick or easy.  “The safety of our crew and safety of our clients is our number one priority.  We are still taking reports and our crew is responding to issues accordingly.  In order to alleviate the extraordinary amount of service calls after Gonzalo, supplementary numbers were provided for clients to call for assistance. 

In addition to the toll free emergency number 1 844 432 3213, three additional numbers were added 1 721 546 1189, 1721 546 1193 and 1 721 544 3100.  There was a huge amount of damages caused by Gonzalo, so it took time to get to each location”, a NV GEBE press release read. 

The planned areas for restoration for work are:

District

Planned and scheduled

Delivered

St. Peters

23/10/2014

23/10/2014

South Reward

23/10/2014

23/10/2014

Dutch Quarter Mt. Willem Hill

26/10/2014

 

Madame Estate

24/10/2014

 

Middle Region

26/10/12014

23/10/2014

Sucker Garden Districts

26/10/2014

23/10/2014

Point Blanche

26/10/2014

 

Oyster Pond

27/10/2014

 


We will update the table as soon as further completions become known.  (Contributed by NV GEBE)

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Men’s Night of Praise Concert postponed to November 1st

PHILIPSBURG - The Philipsburg Methodist Church is finalizing preparation of their popular annual Men’s Night of Praise Concert which has been rescheduled for next Saturday November 1sr starting at 7:30pm sharp at the Philipsburg Methodist Chapel.

This concert was originally scheduled for October 25th but was postponed after the passing of Hurricane Gonzalo. 

Ticket holders for the October 25th date can be used on November 1st.

Come out and see the talented men of the Methodist Church singing and praising songs of worship such as Isidore York, Marvin Dollison, Jeffrey Richardson, Michael Ferrier, Don Froston, Denisio Mardenborough, Reverend Williams, The James Brothers, Reverend Brisset, Reverend Hunkins and the Men’s Night Praise Band along with many others.

The public’s contribution to attend to this dynamic concert is $10 at the door or from any member of the organizing committee and funds raised will aid annual church missions. 

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National Reporting Bureau on Human Trafficking continues to monitor local developments and take action when required

GREAT BAY – 18 October was observed as Human Trafficking Day within the Kingdom of the Netherlands.  Human trafficking is the acquisition of people by improper means such as force, fraud or deception, with the aim of exploiting them, and the Sint Maarten National Reporting Bureau on Human Trafficking (NRB) which falls under the Ministry of Justice continues to work to prevent the aforementioned from taking place on Sint Maarten.

The NRB has received several reports of possible cases of Human Trafficking. Those reports were all alleged cases of labor exploitation. None of those victims requested or was in need for shelter or special care. The NRB referred the cases to the Inspectorate of Public Health, Social Services & Labor and the Labor Department for the necessary investigations and possible actions.

The Minister of Justice recently approved and signed the “Temporary Residency” policy guideline. This policy guideline has been published in the National Gazette. The policy guideline establishes the conditions in which victims and witnesses of human trafficking can receive a temporary residency permit. This is one of the policy instruments implemented according to the action plan Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report 2014. Through the “Temporary residency” regulation victims are given the opportunity, and are being encouraged to assist in the investigation and prosecution of the offenders of human trafficking.

Currently the NRB is preparing for another public awareness campaign, and also periodically organizes information sessions for the representatives of immigrants, the business community and the tourism sector.

On a quarterly basis, the NRB visits all brothels and dance clubs throughout the country.  Information is provided about the NRB and how it can be reached should there be an issue of human trafficking.  A separate meeting is also held with the establishment owner.

Twice a week, the Mobile Control Unit of the immigration and Border Protection forms part of the Interdisciplinary Control Team, which carries out inspections of special selected establishments in the country.

The type of establishments that fall under this control are: Clubs, Hotels, Security companies, Daycare centers, Construction companies, Beauty salons, Car rental companies, Laundry cleaning companies and Restaurants.

The goals of these controls are: to enforce the labor and health regulations by the employers (working hours, safety measurements, overtime payment); to enforce that the Employers pay the social & health insurance of the employees; to enforce the national ordinance of admission & expulsion; to enforce fire safety measures and building codes; to enforce economic regulations (operational licenses, business licenses); and to establish whether the guidelines and rules against human trafficking are adhered to.

The NRB also works closely with the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Organization as well as Safe Haven and will meet twice yearly with family doctors, St. Maarten Medical Center, Community Police, Ambulance Services, and the Border Control/Mobile Unit with respect to information update/indicators regarding human trafficking.   

The Ministry of Justice has been working with Kingdom partners based on a Memorandum of Understanding which was updated in June 2011 and signed by the Ministers of Justice within the Kingdom.

In August, 2013, the Minister of Justice adopted a Plan of Approach from the National Coordinator for Human Trafficking for the executing of the agreements made in the MOU of the partners within the Kingdom, and also for the execution of the recommendations of the TIP Report 2013.

In September, 2013, the National Coordinator established the NRB as the executing agency for prevention and protection on Human Trafficking. 

Smuggling of migrants involves the procurement for financial or other material benefit of illegal entry of a person into a State of which that person is not a national or resident.

Virtually every country in the world is affected by these crimes.  The challenge for all countries, rich and poor, is to target the criminals who exploit desperate people and to protect and assist victims of trafficking and smuggled migrants, many of whom endure unimaginable hardships in their bid for a better life.

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Fire Department kicks off Fire Prevention Week on October 27

GREAT BAY – The Fire Department will be kicking off Fire Prevention Week 2014 on Monday, October 27 until November 1.

The awareness week is being organized by the Section Fire Prevention and Friends of the Island Government Fire Fighters.

The objective during the week is to raise fire safety awareness throughout the community.  The theme for this year’s week is: “Preventing and Acting in event of a Fire.”

Lectures are part of the schedule within the various districts.  Residents are asked to come out and learn about fire prevention measures which could save a life of a love one and also protect your property.

Awareness activities will also take place in the elementary schools.  The week will conclude with an open house at the Clem Labega Square. This will include firefighting demonstrations.  Other stakeholders will also be at the open house showcasing their products and services which are related to fire safety in some fashion or form such as extinguishers, fire alarms and fire insurance.

Residents are also encouraged to come out to the district information sessions about fire prevention. 

The dates and times of the sessions are as follows: Monday, October 27 at the St. Peters Community Center 7.30pm to 9.00pm; Tuesday, October 28 at the Dutch Quarter Community Center, same time as noted before; Wednesday, October 29 at the John Hodge Hall Cole Bay Methodist Building; Thursday, October 30 at the School in Middle Region; Friday, October 31 at the Lion’s Building in Sucker Garden.

The Open House will be on Saturday, November 1 and the general public is invited.  The open house will take place at the Clem Labega Square in Philipsburg from 9.00am to 6.00pm.

The awareness campaign also includes various radio interview programs.

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Public Prosecutors Office and Community Police bring Stop, Drop & Go to the Districts

SIMPSON BAY - To draw more attention to the project Stop, Drop & Go, last night, Tuesday October 21, 2014, prosecutor Karola van Nie and assistant prosecutor Ludwina Hodge along with Community Police Officers Daryl Chandler and Shawn Crispulo visited the Cape Bay area.

In Cape Bay, they went to talk to residents and distributed flyers, posters and wristbands. The residents of Cape Bay responded, without exception, positive to the project. Both the Prosecutors Service and Sint Maarten Police Force hope to have created more awareness on the project Stop, Drop & Go.

Stop, Drop & Go continues until next week (October 31, 2014). During this period, anyone can submit a firearm without being prosecuted for the possession of the firearm. 

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Tzu Chi, AUC, Diabetes Foundation to hold free health day, flee market this Saturday at ACE

CUL DE SAC - The St. Maarten Tzu Chi Foundation, American University of the Caribbean (AUC) Asian Medical Students Association (AMSA) and the Diabetes Foundation have teamed up to offer a free health day, flea market and vegetarian food sale this Saturday at All Children’s Education Foundation (ACE) school.

The free event, which targets the entire family, will start at 10:00am and run until 1:00pm.

Medical doctors-in-training from AUC’s ASMA will be at the event to provide free workshops on health and dental hygiene. The medical students will have stations where information will be provided and where persons can check their weight, height and blood pressure and learn about dental hygiene. A special group of students will also be on hand to provide information on sickle cell disease.

Additionally, the St. Maarten Diabetes Foundation volunteers will also be on hand to provide free blood pressure and glucose testing to the public.

A flea market with a range of clothing suitable for persons of all ages as well as household items, will also be on sale. There will be items for as low as US $2 each. All proceeds from the flea market will go towards keeping ACE pupils in school.

Come with empty stomachs because a range of vegetarian snacks and healthy juices will also be on sale at the event.

Tzu Chi Foundation will have a special table at the event where persons will be able to get more information on the foundation, sign up to become a member or purchase original Tzu Chi books, book markers and other original Tzu Chi items.

The partners decided to collaborate for the event to provide ACE pupils, parents, teachers and the public with useful health information that can benefit them, while offering a range of items for sale in a fundraising flea market.

Tzu Chi encourages the entire community to come out in numbers on Saturday to the joint event.

ACE School is located at Daisy Road # 2, just off L.B. Scott Road (opposite Cake House Supermarket entrance). Additional information can be obtained from Tzu Chi Commissioner Sandra Cheung at tel. 586-3091 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Urgent Plenary Session of Parliament to continue on Wednesday

PHILIPSBURG – The Monday urgent plenary session of the House of Parliament was that was adjourned will continue on October 22nd.

The plenary session is set for Wednesday at 10.00am in the General Assembly Chamber of the House at Wilhelmina Straat #1 in Philipsburg.

The agenda is the instruction of the Minister of Internal Affairs and Kingdom Relations given to the Governor of Sint Maarten to postpone ratification of the country decree in the appointment of the Ministers and Prime Minister.

This meeting was requested by Members of Parliament (MPs) Hon. Franklin Meyers, Hon. Tamara Leonard and Hon. Silvio Matser.

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 120, via Pearl Radio FM 98.1, the audio via the Internet www.pearlfmradio.com, and also via www.sxmparliament.org

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St. Maarten Cable TV and CableNet Update On Service Restoration Progress

MADAME ESTATE - St. Maarten Cable TV and CableNet’s technical team and office staff continue to work around the clock on fully restoring service. While areas fed by St. Maarten Cable TV’s underground plant were unharmed, customers from other areas are still experiencing the loss of Cable TV and Internet service from damages caused by Hurricane Gonzalo.

The aftermath of Hurricane Gonzalo has left St. Maarten Cable TV with six damaged satellite dishes. To date, there are 87 television channels out of a total of 138 back on air. The 50 Music channels and 6 Pay Per View channels were never affected.  St. Maarten Cable TV anticipates that the remaining channels will be restored in the coming days and periodic updates on the network will be sent via the media. 

Managing Director, Beulah Jonis stated, “Our technical department is working tirelessly to fully restore service to all areas. Some areas are awaiting GEBE electrical company to plant poles before St. Maarten Cable TV’s technical team proceeds.” Jonis continues, “The major damages to the network are to our secondary cables’ Figure-8 Feeder and to our drop cables. Areas that have major feeder cable damages are Dutch Quarter, Sucker Garden, Mary’s Fancy and Saunders (Hill), South Reward, St. Peters and Cole Bay area.” Crews have started working in the Sucker Garden, Cole Bay, Cay Hill and St. Peters areas since last week.

St. Maarten Cable TV customers are advised to turn to TV15 (channel 115) or WGN (channel 104) to verify whether their service has been restored. Another indicator is if their TV Guide channel is on. If ‘No Data’ is displayed on the TV Guide channel, it is an indication that the customer is either experiencing an area outage or an individual service problem.  

Customers who are experiencing service problems and have not already reported it are encouraged to do so by submitting an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with their account number, address and contact number. Customers may also call St. Maarten Cable TV’s Madame Estate office at 542-4361 but response time may be affected by the high volume of incoming calls.

Jonis concluded, “We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience caused as we continue to repair our equipment to provide optimum service to our customers. St. Maarten Cable TV’s office staff is handling incoming emails and assisting customers as calls are received. Credit will be issued to customers accordingly.”

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MP Tamara Leonard: Governor put in awkward position by Dutch Government

PHILIPSBURG – The recent instruction from the Dutch Government to Governor Eugene Holiday to carry out an invasive screening of candidate ministers in addition to the mandated security screening has put the governor yet again in a very awkward position where he has to choose between truly representing the people of St. Maarten and the one-sided interest of the Dutch Government, says United People’s (UP) party Member of Parliament Tamara Leonard.

“This instruction goes against a number of fundamental rights and freedoms guaranteed to the people of St. Maarten by our Constitution. The instruction seeks to invade the privacy of not only candidate ministers, but that of anyone who had come into contact with them. It goes further than the candidate ministers’ family and friends. It pulls in everyone. By virtue of this instruction everyone on St. Maarten will be under investigation as we are a small community,” Leonard said.

“Aside from this instruction from the Dutch Government being an insult and disrespect to the people of St. Maarten, it shows that the governor’s office is indeed a colonial tool. We as St. Maarteners have one of our own as the de facto head of our country in the form of the governor, but at the whim and will of the Dutch Government which so ever St. Maartener is holding that office has to decide whether to work with their fellow St. Maarteners or brutally against them,” Leonard said.

The MP said Governor Holiday as a ranked professional should not be used by the Dutch Government to execute its political witch hunt against the people of St. Maarten and its elected and soon-to-be-appointed representatives.

“What is very important at this juncture in the story of our young democratic country is for all St. Maarteners to band together and face down this insult and not splinter into those who are ‘for the Dutch’ and those who are for certain political parties. This instruction, the method used and the heavy handed approach of the Dutch Government must be condemned by St. Maarten as a whole,” Leonard said. 

“We are no longer a colony. We are not a public entity of the Netherlands. We are a free people – a status we fought long and arduously for, first in the salt ponds and then by referenda.  Every St. Maartener knows the history of this land we call home. Every St. Maartener knows that value of standing together in times of adversity. This is one of those times. Let us not be divided now by party or any line. Let’s stand strong as one St. Maarten,” Leonard said.

The boundless and limitless investigation seeks to cast doubt and gather hearsay to use against people who have opted to serve their country in the highest offices of the country. If this investigation is allowed to take root no one will want to take the lead to run for office, not because they lack integrity, but to avoid the invasion of their lives and that of people they hold close, Leonard said.

“Where do we draw the line? We draw it here and now. We cannot allow our laws and Constitution to be trampled on in this colonial witch hunt,” Leonard said. (Contributed by MP Hon. Tamara Leonard)

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Official Police Report: One man dies, two seriously injured during accident

ST. PETERS - On Saturday October 18th around 04.00 p.m. several police patrols, paramedics and fire department were sent to Coco plum road in St. Peters to investigate a very serious traffic accident.

On the scene the investigating officers encountered a white pick-up truck with license plate V-77 which had driven off the hill and landed front first on the street below. The driver was lying next to the vehicle and was in very serious physical condition.

A second victim was lying further up the hill and was not showing any signs of life.  The driver was treated on the scene by paramedics and then transported to the Sint Maarten Medical Center for further treatment while the other victim was pronounced dead by Dr. Douglas who arrived on the scene shortly after.

The scene was closed off by Traffic Department Officers to conduct an investigation as to the cause of the accident. The identity of the victim who lost his life has not yet been released. This investigation is ongoing. (Contributed by the Police Force Sint Maarten)

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