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Soualiga Newsday Top Stories (2899)

Man Shot in Cole Bay, Police Investigating Circumstances

COLE BAY – A man was shot on Sunday night on Well Road in the residential district of Cole Bay.  Circumstances surrounding the shooting are unclear at this time, but a Police report is expected to be released later today, Monday, August 11.

According to preliminary reports, the man is from Curacao descent and either owns or operates a car wash in the vicinity of his home.

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The USp hosts General Public meeting Wednesday August 13

GREAT BAY - The United St. Maarten Party will be hosting a general public meeting this Wednesday on the Pondfill Road, next to Jimmy’s Barbeque at 8pm and is inviting its supporters and the general public to come out be part of this informative session.

“Come out hear their views and ideas, meet the candidates and leader in person and hear their vision for the future of St. Maarten,” President of the USp; Cecil Nicholas said. “We will be discussing the issues that are affecting the citizens of this country.”

Nicholas also pointed out that the current government coalition partners; namely the Democratic Party (DP) and United People’s Party (UP) have failed St. Maarten and its people miserably. “They continue to point the fingers at each other, each blaming the other for their failed performances as leaders,” the statement said. “These career politicians continue to keep their heads buried in the sand, while the quality of life of the people continue to deteriorate. Change they say, but how can they be about change when they have been in power for four (4) years with nothing to show but an unbalanced approach to governing that has left the people three steps behind and completely outside the circle of benefits and progress that St. Maarten has made over the years.”

This meeting, Nicholas says will give voters the perfect opportunity to pose their questions, air their concerns and also give their ideas on the direction they would to see St. Maarten go. “We believe that the right to vote is a privilege and voters should be properly informed before casting their vote and not tricked or coerced into doing so,” he said. “All are invited, all are welcomed.” (Contributed by the US Party)

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iLandGrub.com Latest Country Online Crave Signs Its First Restaurant Partner

PHILIPSBURG - iLandGrub.com, a locally owned website offering an online ordering platform for Caribbean restaurants, has officially signed up Jan’s Kitchen as its first restaurant partner to utilize its service.

“I chose iLandGrub because the marketing strategy is appealing and aligns with our goals” stated Darean Peters, manager of Jan’s Kitchen. “I also expect not only our restaurant to grow rapidly, but iLandGrub as well”. Darean continued to say that “other restaurants would definitely benefit from the online community and visibility. Also, the possibility to attract new customers via shared marketing efforts by iLandGrub.com on a local and regional scale”. Since the launch of its final beta stage in January of 2014, iLandGrub has been able to attract over 12,000 Facebook and Twitter followers across the Caribbean that are all eagerly waiting to utilize the service.

Technology has been the driving force in all aspects of business worldwide and iLandGrub’s online ordering tool will provide Caribbean restaurants with the opportunity to venture into the world of online sales and allow restaurant partners to expand their service to customers from a technological standpoint. Although iLandGrub will currently be servicing delivery restaurants only, restaurants offering takeout will also be able to utilize the service very soon enabling restaurants of all sizes to reap the benefits of online ordering.

“We are excited to officially have Jan’s Kitchen signed up and look forward to contributing to the growth of as many restaurants as possible in St. Maarten and throughout the Caribbean. Jan’s Kitchen is the perfect fit for our platform. Great local food at very affordable prices for the everyday person. Who wouldn’t want to be able sit on their couch and have crabback or curry chicken delivered to their door?” stated Meade, founder of the ambitious young startup.

Hungry users will be able to browse delivery restaurants serving their area via their computers, tablets, and smartphones. Benefits of online ordering in comparison to ordering by phone, besides the obvious saving of call credit, includes being able to scan an area for a variety of restaurants, track orders placed via the site, and receive SMS updates about the status of an order. “This is a great opportunity for the tech-savvy community in St. Maarten and other Caribbean islands to take advantage of the unbeatable convenience of ordering online which has been dominant and standard in many countries worldwide” stated Lindo, co-founder of iLandGrub. “St. Maarten has over 400 restaurants, all serving great food. Yet the average person who's looking for something new, goes through the time consuming process of searching via different ways for restaurants. At iLandGrub.com, we plan to make ordering from restaurants way more efficient”.

iLandGrub.com was founded by Duane Meade (24) in 2013, bringing on board Jaine Lindo (23) and Constantijn Asamoah (26) as co-founders in early 2014. Both Meade and Lindo grew up in St. Maarten and attended St. Dominic High School and Milton Peters College. You can keep track of new restaurants that are added to iLandGrub and any updates by visiting the website www.ilandgrub.com. (Contributed by iLandGrub)

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Ministry of Public Health Surveillance Unit Prepares to Inform Physicians on Ebola

GREAT BAY – The current outbreak of Ebola virus disease in West Africa poses a low risk for the Caribbean.  There are no cases of Ebola in the Caribbean.  Regional public health agencies have been told to continue to monitor the situation and be pro-active in preparing in the event the situation should change.

The Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour (Ministry VSA), discussed with regional health authorities on Thursday and Friday about the threat of Ebola with the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA).

The level of risk may change as new information becomes available.

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern with respect to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa that is in the States of Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria.

Ministry VSA Surveillance Unit (SU) is actively following the situation in West Africa and is in constant communication with Dutch, Regional and International Public Health Authorities.

Ministry VSA SU is currently preparing notices for physicians to ensure that clinical staff are alert as to the symptoms and signs that they should be looking for, to take a travel history, and that they practice appropriate, evidence-based infection prevention and control procedures at all times.

Ebola virus disease (EVD), formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever, is a severe, often fatal illness in humans.
This EVD outbreak has a fatality rate of 54%.  Early intervention is having a positive result on mortality as it used to be 90%.

EVD outbreaks occur primarily in remote villages in Central and West Africa, near tropical rainforests.

Ebola first appeared in 1976 in two simultaneous outbreaks, in Nzara, Sudan, and in Yambuku, Democratic Republic of Congo. The latter was in a village situated near the Ebola River, from which the disease takes its name.
Ebola is introduced into the human population through close contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected animals. In Africa, infection has been documented through the handling of infected chimpanzees, gorillas, fruit bats, monkeys, forest antelope and porcupines found ill or dead or in the rainforest.
Ebola then spreads in the community through human-to-human transmission, with infection resulting from direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes) with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected people, and indirect contact with environments contaminated with such fluids.

For further information you should consult with your family physician or call CPS at telephone number: 542-3553, 542-2078.

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Toastmasters hold Executive Club Officers Training Program

PHILIPSBURG - On July 29th 2014, Toastmasters of St. Maarten, District 81 – Area 26 under the leadership of Area Governor Donna Morrison-Wilson held part 1 of its Executive Club Officers Training Program. This training was held in order to give the executive officers of Area 26, the necessary tools needed in executing their tasks for the toastmaster year 2014/2015.

The club’s trained were the Disciples Toastmasters Club, Philipsburg Toastmasters Club and Soualiga Corporate Toastmasters Club. The facilitators were DTM Rolando Tobias, Advance Communicator Silver Donna Morrison-Wilson (AG) and Advance Communicator Bronze Joy Arnell. Topics covered were “Creating a Quality Club”, “Club Officers Roles” and “Leading the Club to Success.”

The participants were grouped to brainstorm on various topics during this very important training, which is mandatory by the Toastmasters International Organization and must be conducted twice during the toastmaster year. Many indicated that it was a valuable learning experience.

Toasmasterster of the evening was Assistant Area Governor Education and Training, Leona Arnell-Gibs, and closing and vote of thanks was done by Area Secretary, Linette Gibs.

The newly trained Officers are now equipped and prepared to lead their clubs to the recognized, President Distinguished status which is the highest that can be achieved by any clubs by the end of the toastmaster year June, 2015.               

Toastmasters International is the world leader in communication and leadership development. For more information feel free to visit www.caribbeantoastmasters.com or www.toastmasters.org.

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Minister Lourens-Philip Signs Financing Agreement for Promoting Studying in the Region

PHILIPSBURG - The Minister of ECYS, Patricia Lourens - Philip signed a financing agreement with USONA, represented by Drs. Angela Dekker, for the project ‘Promoting Studying in the Region’, which was initiated in 2011 and executed for the first time in 2012. This is the third time that students will receive scholarships for studying in the region. Among the recipients will be twelve students, studying at USM, who have been in the program before and have met all the requirements to continue receiving a scholarship. Other beneficiaries are studying at Monroe College and different institutions in the United States.

This project will be funded through funds made available by the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW), through USONA, for a total of Nafls. 329,518.00. Part of the funds will be used to establish a database for study opportunities (studiekeuzedatabase) in collaboration with the Netherlands, Aruba and Curacao. This database will facilitate students in their search for the study of their choice, both in the Netherlands and in the region, by offering a wide range of information as well as tests on career choice. The Division for Education Innovation will be responsible for monitoring this project.

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MINISTER OF JUSTICE GIVEN TOUR OF POLICE TRAINING CENTER

PHILIPSBURG - On Wednesday August 6th the Honorable Minister of Justice Dennis Richardson was given a guided tour of the ongoing project of the construction of a police training center, being carried out by the police department.

Present during this tour was the Chief of Police Peter de Witte, the Acting Chief of Police Commissioner Carl John and the Police Advisor Klaas Groen. The tour was at the facilities of the former B.B.W. building on the Sucker Garden road.

This building which is presently being rebuilt will be used as a police training center. At this training center there will be several class rooms where any type of theoretical instructions can be given. There will be an area where self defense classes and other practical classes can be given. A modern shooting range will also be installed in the training center.

The Minister of Justice was quite happy and impressed with the progress of the training center and urged the management team to continue their hard work in making this project a reality. (Contributed by the Police Force of Sint Maarten)

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Minister Lake says Public Housing needs to be restructured by holding those accountable for lack of action

BELVEDERE – Minister of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure (Ministry of VROMI) Hon. Maurice Lake, says the current functioning of the St. Maarten Housing Development Foundation (SMHDF) leaves a lot to be desired and needs to be restructured.

“I have been able for the past 12 months to meet with the board and management of SMHDF, but there hasn’t been any change coming for the tenants.  Even though government subsidizes the foundation, government has no influence.  Government cannot tell the foundation what to do, but can only recommend.

“I continue to receive complaints from tenants that nothing is being done to upkeep the homes that they live in.  And the lack of maintenance goes back years from what I have been told.  I have seen it for myself as well, and I am wondering why things have to take so long?  There are a lot of grievances amongst the tenants,” Minister Hon. Maurice Lake said on Wednesday.

Minister Lake says that there is a tremendous backlog in maintenance totaling Naf.7 million for the Belvedere housing development alone.

The Minister said that he will invite the SMHDF to a meeting to resolve what issues exists within the body, because those suffering currently are the tenants.

“I have spoken about this before.  The Belvedere Housing and Tenants Association BHOTA are still waiting to appoint a representative to the board of SMHDF. The association also has a role to play and needs to step up to SMHDF because they represent the tenants. Why is the appointment taking so long?  If there are internal frictions within the housing foundation, get those ironed out, who needs to go, should resign.

“You are not serving the people, the tenants as they should be served.  They are not getting the services that they should be receiving.  I attended a BHOTA meeting in Belvedere several months ago and heard the cries of the tenants.

“The SMHDF has approved monies for painting and repairs of the homes, but nothing is happening.  Why? The board needs to instruct management to carry out these approved projects.

“As Minister I can only recommend to management and recommend to the board and give my ideas, but change has to come to the benefit of the tenants and my energies will be focused on this approach,” Minister Maurice Lake pointed out on Wednesday.

The approach the Minister envisions is a housing policy with checks and balances and a performance agreement with respect to the board and management.

“I have already instructed my Cabinet to start working on a policy.  It will be an effective housing policy with a back to basics approach with a clear path from vision to an execution-able plan of action, and holding those accountable for non-performance.  The current situation is unacceptable,” Minister Hon. Maurice Lake concluded. 

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Theo: DP only interested in piggy-backing, not governing

PHILIPSBURG—Leader of the United People (UP) party Theo Heyliger on Tuesday asked the general public to ask themselves a very important question: What kind of political party chooses to contest an election and says it doesn’t want to win which means it has no interest in governing and doing good by the people? The answer, Heyliger said, is the Democratic Party of St. Maarten.

Heyliger said for weeks the DP has attempted to paint the UP’s call for an outright win and no coalition government as something bad for the country and for the people of St. Maarten. On the contrary, he said, the UP is confident in its abilities to lead this country into a brighter future with focus on issues (like healthcare) that matters to the people.

On the flip side, he continued, “you have the DP who has told the people that they are not contesting the elections to win and to govern. They are contesting the elections to be opportunists and hope for an opportunity to piggy-back with one of the larger parties,” he said, adding that the DP coming out against an outright win is the biggest contradiction in terms when looking at the political landscape over the years.

“The DP leader coined the phrase “win outright!” in her various campaign rallies when the DP was at the top of its game. All of a sudden, there is the need to put a political spin on it because the DP is not as relevant as it once was. All of a sudden “winning outright” is a terrible thing. Who are we kidding?” Heyliger asked.

Heyliger added that the DP took the people for granted when it brazenly called a press conference to lay down its “requirements” for a coalition partner.

“How presumptuous and insulting was this. The people have to realise that the DP sent them a clear message when that move: The DP is happy being a small party, is looking forward to piggy-backing, is comfortable with where it is as a party and has no courage to try to win. Most importantly, they said that nobody should bother vote for the DP because they are good as is. That last indirect statement we fully agree with.”     

Heyliger stressed that his party maintains that an unstable coalition government is not what the country needs.

“It is less accountable - who do you hold responsible for mistakes at the next election if there is more than one party in the government? Politicians can easily just say 'it wasn't us, it was them', reducing their accountability to both Parliament and the electorate. The DP apparently doesn’t have the stomach to govern, so we say give us the mandate, we are not afraid and after four years, you can hold us accountable and kick us out our let us continue to build this country,” Heyliger said. (Contributed by the UP)

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UP Board Jamaica Day Message

PHILIPSBURG - The board of the United People's Party (UP) is extending its best wishes to the Sint Maarten Jamaican community who will be celebrating Jamaica Day on August 6th.

"We extend best wishes and festive greetings to the Sint Maarten Jamaican community.  The UP family recognizes the indispensable contributions to the economic development of our nation," remarked the UP Board.

"Congratulations to the Government and people of Jamaica who will celebrate their 52nd year of independence.  We give thanks and praise for your achievements as an independent country, triumphant, proud and free.

"Independence day is a time when a country reflects and recommits itself and moving forward and upward.  Once again congratulations to the Sint Maarten Jamaican community," concluded the UP Board.

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