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Soualiga Newsday Top Stories (2897)

Workshop on the monitoring of drinking water and sampling techniques conducted by Inspectorate VSA

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten - Drinking water is a basic necessity for maintaining life. High quality and safety of drinking water is a must as mandated by the relevant drinking water ordinances. All parties involved in the production, distribution and surveillance of drinking water must synchronize their efforts to guarantee safe drinking water.

It’s in this light that a three day workshop was hosted by the Inspectorate VSA and opened by the Minister VSA, his Excellency Minister Cornelius de Weever, who stressed the importance of good and safe drinking water. The workshop took place from June 11 through 13, 2014 and was attended by SLS personnel, GEBE lab technicians, and a representative from Heavenly Waters, a representative from water management and Services and the inspectors of the Food Safety division.

The workshop consisted of two days theory and one day of practice. The subjects addressed were revision of relevant ordinances, sampling methods, laboratory analysis and reporting, surveillance, corrective actions and risk analysis.

The facilitators were Mr. Gerald Davelaar, BSc, Mr. Raymond Peterson of SLS Lab and Mrs. Ir. D. De Meza- Helena. All are experts in the field of drinking water monitoring. At the end of the workshop all attendants received a certificate of participation.

A working group consisting of all key stakeholders will be established to continue collaboration on the monitoring of the quality of drinking water on Sint Maarten and establish protocols and early warning systems in case of calamities. (Contributed by Inspectorate VSA)

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Sint Maarten Tier 2 Ranking in U.S. Trafficking in Persons Report 2014, But Progress Being Made

WASHINGTON DC/SINT MAARTEN - St. Maarten is a source, transit, and destination for women, children, and men subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor.  There are indications that some foreign migrant women in St. Maarten’s sex trade are subjected to debt bondage. Women and girls from Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and other countries in the region are the most vulnerable to sex trafficking. Other nationalities that are vulnerable to sex trafficking include women from Russia and Eastern Europe.

This information was released on Friday, June 20, 2014 in the annual 2014 Trafficking in Persons Report that the United States Department of State compiles annually about countries around the globe.  Tier 2 ranking is an indication that the country is not meeting the minimum standards of fighting human trafficking, but is striving to do so, and has results that you can point to to show that it’s doing a decent job, but could definitely improve.  Tier 3 ranking is a country that is not responding sufficiently to its trafficking problem, isn’t taking those affirmative steps forward.

The Netherlands is a Tier 1 country.  Tier 1 is a country that’s actually meeting the minimum standards of fighting human trafficking. The report says that the Netherlands is a source, destination, and transit country for men, women, and children subjected to trafficking in persons, specifically forced prostitution and forced labor. A significant number of underage Dutch residents continued to be subjected to sex trafficking in the country. Identified trafficking victims primarily originated from within the Netherlands and from abroad, including from Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, Nigeria, Guinea, Sierra Leone, China, the Philippines, and Vietnam in 2013; victims are also from other countries in Africa, Europe, and South and East Asia. Women and children are primarily subjected to sex trafficking, and men and boys are subjected to various forms of forced labor, including in the maritime sector, agriculture, horticulture, catering, food processing, and cleaning. Some victims were forced to commit crimes, including illegal narcotics trafficking. Domestic workers employed in the Netherlands remain vulnerable to forced labor, including by foreign diplomats posted there. Groups vulnerable to trafficking include unaccompanied children seeking asylum, women with dependent residence status obtained through fraudulent or forced marriages, women recruited in Africa and Eastern Europe, and East Asian women working in massage parlors.

The Government of St. Maarten does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, the report points out; however; it is making significant efforts to do so. The government established a national reporting bureau on human trafficking, conducted an awareness campaign, and launched an ant trafficking hotline in 2013. While the government initiated new trafficking investigations, it did not hold any trafficking offenders accountable during the year. Officials in St. Maarten did not proactively identify trafficking victims nor refer any potential victims for care. The government’s lack of victim identification in St. Maarten—despite a very large vulnerable population of illegal migrants and foreign women in prostitution, including women employed by licensed brothels—significantly hampered the government’s anti-trafficking efforts.

The government sustained anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts. St. Maarten’s June 2012 penal code prohibits all forms of trafficking in persons through articles 2:239-245 and prescribes penalties ranging from four to 24 years’ imprisonment. These penalties are sufficiently stringent and are commensurate with those prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. The government initiated two sex trafficking investigations against suspected traffickers in 2013, the same number of investigations as in the previous year. It did not launch any new prosecutions or convict any trafficking defendants in 2013; in the previous year, a defendant was convicted for sex trafficking at a regulated brothel.

The government demonstrated notable progress in its ant trafficking prevention efforts during the year. In September

2013, it established a National Reporting Bureau, with a staff of four, as the lead agency on human smuggling and trafficking. This Bureau launched an anti-trafficking hotline and awareness campaign in October of 2013 to inform potential victims and the public about forced labor and sex trafficking. The awareness campaign included a list of common trafficking indicators that was disseminated to media outlets and posted on a government website. The campaign also included public service announcements, brochures, flyers, and posters disseminated in local businesses and other official and public venues.

Observers reported that the government continues to conflate human trafficking with human smuggling as part of its ant trafficking response. In August 2013, the government adopted a national action plan on trafficking; the plan incorporated elements of the government’s anti-trafficking memorandum of understanding with the Government of the Netherlands and contained key recommendations on victim protection from the anti-trafficking community.

The government gave the Director of Immigration and Border Control the role of national anti-trafficking coordinator; the director also chairs the National Reporting Bureau. As part of the larger awareness campaign, the national coordinator conducted outreach with immigrant communities vulnerable to labor trafficking in 2013, providing them with information on how to report potential victims and trafficking crimes. The government reported that foreign women employed in the adult entertainment industry received anti-trafficking brochures and information on the new government hotline. The government did not launch any campaigns explicitly targeted at reducing the demand for forced labor or discouraging potential clients from engaging in the sex trade in St. Maarten.

The government has not identified incidents of foreign child sex tourism in St. Maarten, according to the US report.

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PM Highlights Rising Confidence in St. Maarten Economy at Opening of Breitling Boutique in Philipsburg

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten - The Prime Minister of St. Maarten the Honorable Sarah Wescot-Williams highlighted St. Maarten moving forward in terms of business and offering high-end products on St. Maarten during the opening of the Breitling Boutique on Friday.

The PM highlighted that the confidence in St. Maarten as the country continues to make its mark within the region in terms of business opportunity and a strong and stable economy; “Two persons have said to me during different occasions that there is no other place like St. Maarten and of course I agreed whole heartedly.

“I would like to congratulate all of you and in particularly our local staff in ensuring that the vision of bringing Breitling to St. Maarten will be a successful one and I am sure that that will be the case. Due to St. Maarten constantly seeking ways to reinvent ourselves is one of the main factors why we are here this evening? This is an example of reinventing ourselves; moving forward and seizing opportunities for St. Maarten.

“This is a show of confidence in St. Maarten and I thank you for that confidence. The region should take heed that St. Maarten is on the move, going forward due to the vision of the people of St. Maarten, the Business Community and the Government of St. Maarten. Let us work with Philipsburg and all of the other districts to make sure that we remain at the cutting edge of business within the region,” concluded Prime Minister Wescot-Williams. (From the Cabinet of the Prime Minister)

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NV GEBE Announces Commencement of Senior Citizen Utility Relief Program

PONDFILL, Sint Maarten - NV GEBE announced on Sunday that it has commenced its Senior Citizen Utility Relief Program.    This program aims to give assistance to the senior citizens 62 years and older. Senior Citizens that may be eligible for this program must apply and meet certain criteria’s in order to qualify. 

All applications forms can be picked up at NV GEBE Main Office and the Simpson Bay customer Service branch.  The ongoing registration for this program will officially close on June 30, 2014.  The relief will be given to the Senior citizen until the end of the year after which reapplication and re-assessment will be necessary based on the financial sustainability of the program.  

NV GEBE asks all interested seniors to read the registration form thoroughly and submit the completed form plus the requested documents to the receptionist at the Main Office in Philipsburg. 

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St. Maarten’s vibrant yachting industry to be promoted at Newport Charter Yacht Show

POINT BLANCHE, St. Maarten – Port of St. Maarten –St. Maarten’s vibrant yachting industry, the safe haven of Simpson Bay Lagoon and Great Bay will be promoted at Rhode Island’s Newport Charter Yacht Show,June 23-24.

The Newport Charter Yacht Show is one of only six charter-focused shows in the world.  This is the 32nd annual edition and attracts sailing and motor yachts, ranging in size from 80 feet up to the super yacht length of 150-225+ feet.

St. Maarten’s delegation to the charter show is headed by Tourism and Economic Affairs, Transportation and Telecommunications Minister Ted Richardson. The delegation includes representatives of Port St. Maarten.

Port St. Maarten will host the Newport Charter Yacht Show’s USSA/Welcome Reception on Monday, June 23 from 6.00pm to 9.00pm at the charter yacht show to entertain and inform yacht owners, captains, yacht brokers and industry representatives about the benefits of operating their charters out of St. Maarten.  

Port St. Maarten Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mark Mingo said St. Maarten will be showcased as one of the most pleasant and enjoyable yachting destinations.

“St. Maarten offers the perfect geographically position in the Eastern Caribbean, accessibility to duty free provisioning and frequent international flight links to all corners of the world. Those benefits are aside from the possibilities for repairs and maintenance available in the country,” Mingo said.

The charter yacht show’s schedule covers exhibition of the yachts, competition for its chefs, and seminars covering topics of interest to the industry.

Michelle Otero Valdes, a board certified maritime attorney at Chalos & Co., will present “The Climate on Crewing has Changed; The Maritime Labor Convention 2006 Enters Into Force”on Tuesday. Along with changes to captain and crew certifications for 2014, the seminar will explain the new regulations being implemented to protect marine workers.

OnWednesday, June 25, the American Yacht Charter Association (AYCA) will host its annual educational and informative seminar. Keynote Speaker, Gail Lowney Alofsin, a professor, sales/marketing executive and author will present tips from her just-released motivational bookYour Someday is Now.

For the “Destination” segment,Belle AimeeCaptain Mike French will present an informative multi-media overview of cruising in Fiji and the South Pacific.

AYCA's Legal/Technical Segment will round out the Seminar with a panel of five industry professionals discussing the topic "To Agent or Not to Agent … That is the Question."

Prior to the start of the show, OnSunday, June 22, Heather Kearsley Wolf, the CEO, founder and lead designer of Kearsley Couture, will divulge interior design secrets in her presentation "Understanding, Caring for and Specifying Fine Linens."

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Port St. Maarten congratulates Sint Maarten Winners of 2014 FCCA Children’s Poster Competition

POINT BLANCHE, St. Maarten – Port St. Maarten – Port St. Maarten Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mark Mingo would like to congratulate one of the first place winners in the 2014 Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) annual FCCA Foundation Children’s Environmental Poster Competition 10-year-old Diya Sachdev of M.A.C. Rev. John A. Gumbs Campus and third-place winner 15-year old Donna Ferreira.

13-destinations throughout the Caribbean and Latin American region participated in the contest.  The second first place winner is from The Bahamas.

Diya Sachdev’s poster, “Helping the Environment,” shows that helping the environment is just like cleaning your surroundings and that this simple action saves creatures, maintains a healthy society and promotes happiness for citizens and tourists.

“On behalf of the Board of Supervisory Directors, management and staff of Port St. Maarten, I would like to congratulate Diya Sachdev, her family and the M.A.C. Rev. John Gumbs Campus on this win for her school and St. Maarten as well as 15-year-old Donna Ferreira.

“The environment is a very important issue for our country, and our industry, tourism overall, stay-over and cruise, is partly based on the natural beauty of our surroundings.  We must therefore play our roles as stewards of our environment to make sure that our foot print left behind is very small.

“We must take the advice offered and portrayed in Diya’s poster and practice it every day, because each and every one of us makes a difference when it comes to our environment.  Once again congratulations to Diya Sachdev, her family and her school, the M.A.C. Rev. John. A. Gumbs Campus,” Harbour Group of Companies CEO Mark Mingo said on Sunday.  

Sachdev’s first place as a winner affords her an educational scholarship of US$3000, along with a donation for her school to purchase art supplies.

Third-place winners will receive US$1000, with the same amount going to the winners’ of the schools for art supplies.

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First Caribbean donates to Art Saves Lives, Summer Intensive begins June 23rd

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten - Local Award winning dancer Nicole C. De Weever of Art Saves Lives received a donation from First Caribbean Bank in support of Art Saves Lives 2014 Summer Intensive Program.  Mr. Dwight Williams represented the bank in handing over the donation and applauded Ms. De Weever on her efforts to give back to her community. Art Saves Lives continues to receive donations in support of their second annual Summer Intensive which begins on June 23rd.

ASLP continues to raise funds to bring this project to fruition to serve local youth who are interested in a career in the arts and strengthen the performing arts on St. Maarten. 

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Police arrests three teenagers suspected of home break-ins; Items confiscated

CAY HILL, Sint Maarten - On Thursday June 19th at approximately 10.45 a.m. a Philipsburg Police patrol was sent to Bison drive in Cay Hill to investigate a case involving three suspicious young men possibly involved in several break-ins in that area.

These young men were arrested by the police patrol shortly after they were caught with several possible stolen items in their possession. These items included a laptop computer, cellular phones, photo camera, pearl necklace and wristband, watches, gold rings, ear-rings along with other items they could not give an acceptable statement regarding who they belonged to or where they got them.

The suspects were C.C. (19), J.G. (15) and N.O.M. (15). They were all taken to the Philipsburg Police Station and handed over to the Detective Department. The items that were found were found in their possession were confiscated for further investigation.  (Contributed by the Police Force of Sint Maarten)

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Library Opens Registration for Annual Summer Program

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — Parents and kids, the Philipsburg Jubilee Library will be hosting the third edition of its “Wake Up, Stay Active, Be a Reader” Summer Program, for children ages 7 - 12 from July 16 to July 31.

Activities during the summer camp will include:  hiking, sports activities, nature watches, movie nights, storytelling, juggling, arts & crafts and much more.

Registration is required at a cost of only NAF 50 and will run from Wednesday, June 18 at the library, during opening hours, until space is filled. The library will be accepting 15 applicants for children ages 7-9 and 15 applicants for children ages 10 – 12. Space is limited so parents and children are required to sign up as early as possible. Once parents complete the registration process they will be given a detailed program along with permission slips for the various activities.

For more information, please contact Maryland at 542-2970.

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Rotary Installs First Set of Banners, WHO NEEDS TOURISTS? WE DO!!!

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maareten – The Rotary Club of St. Maarten, continuing its tourism awareness project, installed the first set of Tourism Awareness Banners along the Pondfill on Saturday night.

Maria Buncamper-Molanus, President of the Rotary Club of St. Maarten, stated, “Tourism is everyone’s business here on St. Maarten. Everyone who lives and works on St. Maarten is either directly or indirectly involved in the tourism business. This awareness campaign is geared at helping everyone understand just how important tourism is to our economy. We hope these banners, along with others to be installed soon, will help promote a greater understanding of tourism in our community”.

Also present for the initial installation of the Tourism Awareness Banners were Rotarians Pierre Decelles and Aadu Abel as well as incoming Rotary President Deepak (Danny) Ramchandani and incoming Secretary/President-Elect Jeffrey “Soc” Sochrin. Ramchandani added to Buncamper’s sentiment saying, “This awareness campaign will continue for the next three years, with next year’s focus being on the youth in our community and how tourism effects them. Look for many continued initiatives in the new Rotary year which begins on July 1st, all geared helping the youth in our community understand that Tourism is our Business”.

Buncamper-Molanus continued, “Before the end of June several other awareness items will be launched which all involve our children. I wish to thank all of our sponsors including our main corporate sponsor, MNO Vervat St. Maarten, for their assistance with this historic project for St. Maarten.”

For more information about the Rotary Club of St. Maarten, please contact the Rotary Club of St. Maarten Press Officer at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit the website www.rotarysxm.org

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