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Minister Geerlings receives update from Cadastre

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) – Minister of Finance Hon. Perry Geerlings recently received an update of the state of affairs from the newly appointed director at the Land Registry Office Cadastre Shaka Lake.

Particular attention was paid to the ICAD new application system that the Cadastre is using on a daily basis in carrying out its work.

The ICAD system will increase efficiency when dealing with stakeholders such as Attorneys and Notaries, improve productivity within the organization and increase accuracy of information.

The new system will facilitate the processing of invoices, land transactions and allow for electronic payment for services rendered.

“The new ICAD system will lead to the improvement in the quality of work that is carried out by the staff as well as the service rendered to the public.

“We have to take advantage of new technologies out there in order to be able to offer a better service and have an overall view of land management within the borders of the country,” Minister of Finance Hon. Perry Geerlings stated.

Members of the Supervisory Board were also present in the meeting under the Chairmanship of the Board Louis Crastell Gumbs.

The Cadastre falls under the responsibility of the Ministry of Finance.

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EOC Deactivated. Community should remain vigilant

GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) - Prime Minister Hon. Leona Romeo-Marlin has officially deactivated the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) as of 6:30AM Saturday morning.

This decision was made in light of the lifting of the Tropical Storm Watch as of 2.00AM Saturday morning and further based on the final special weather bulletin issued at 11.00PM Friday night by the Meteorological Department of Sint Maarten (MDS).

Emergency Support Function Group 7 (ESF-7) has indicated that the three shelters that were selected, (Dutch Quarter Community Center, St. Peters Community Center and the Christian Fellowship Church in Cole Bay), have been officially closed as of 6.00AM Saturday morning.

Prime Minister Romeo-Marlin highlighted that based on the quick report by ESF-7, one person made use of the St. Peters Community Center in light of the potential rain threat that was expected from the passing of Hurricane Jerry.

Prime Minister Romeo-Marlin says, “I am grateful that once again the island of Sint Maarten/St. Martin was spared from any type of incidents and would like to thank the general public and the businesses for their cooperation during the closure of businesses and schools.”

“Please note that Government does not make these decisions lightly. The main priority of Government is to ensure the safety of all, and that will always be achieved with Government and the community it serves working together,” Prime Minister Romeo-Marlin concluded.

Based on the final special weather bulletin issued by MDS at 11.00PM Friday, the possibility of any significant impact from Jerry on Sint Maarten have reduced as convection associated with the system moves further north.

Prime Minister and Chairlady of the EOC advises the community of Sint Maarten to continue to remain vigilant as we are still in the peak of the hurricane season and to monitor the current activity in the Atlantic Ocean as it is currently very active with other weather systems.

Persons are urged to visit the Government website to learn more about hurricane hazards and how to adequately prepare for a storm/hurricane strike.

Visit the Government website: www.sintmaartengov.org/hurricane where you will be able to view the Hurricane Readiness Guide and download your “Hurricane Tracking Chart.”

Listen to the Government Radio station – 107.9FM for official information and news before, during and after a hurricane. And for official weather-related updates visit the website of Meteorological Department of Sint Maarten, www.meteosxm.com

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Two injured from Gas Explosion. Child also treated at the scene

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY) - On Friday September 20th, 2019 about 14.00, the Police Dispatch received a call concerning an explosion on Sister Modesta Road in the Simpson Bay area, near the White Swan Restaurant, police said on Friday night in a police report.

The Simpson Bay Patrol, Ambulance and the Fire Department were directed to the location and at the scene, they encountered two men with severe burns to their hands, face and torso.

After a brief investigation at the scene, the police discovered that the two men who were injured, works for a local cooking gas company and accidentally injured themselves while transferring cooking gas to one of the businesses in the area.

The two victims were treated at the scene, by the Ambulance personnel and later transported to the Sint Maarten Medical Center for further treatment.

A minor who was in the area, also suffered from gas inhalation and she was treated by the paramedics on location. An investigation into the cause of this accident is still ongoing. (Sint Maarten Police Force)

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KOOYMAN JOINS MAN UP CHECK UP PROSTATE CANCER AWARENESS CAMPAIGN

SINT MAARTEN (CAY HILL) - The Positive and Elektralyets Foundation are glad to announce that Kooyman will host their second Prostate Cancer Awareness Registration Drive on Saturday September 21st from 10am to 2pm on the AJC Brouwers Road.

“Kooyman is happy to lend their support and help shine the spotlight on Prostate Cancer Awareness. A hardware store is typically a man’s domain, therefore we are happy to participate in the Prostate Cancer Registration Drive and offer our male customers, the opportunity and convenience of registering to “Man Up” and “Check Up” all while continuing to run their daily errands, said Marketing Officer, Evencia Carty-Seabrookes.

“We encourage all our male customers to come on down to Kooyman and join the registration drive, where you can learn more about Prostate Cancer, Shop, save time and possibly save lives.”

The team at Kooyman commends the SMMC, Elektralyets and the Positive Foundations for their tireless efforts to promote awareness of this cause. As a company we have encouraged all our male staff to “Man Up and Get Checked” and we do hope that other companies join us in doing the same as well.

Members of the St. Maarten Medical Center along with the Positive and Elektralyets Foundation are encouraging men between that ages for 45 – 70 who have never done a PSA test to register during this event.  The SMMC has agreed to contribute the expertise to review the results of the PSA, a free consultation and perform a free ultrasound if necessary. However, the PSA test will have to be paid for at the lab or covered by insurance.

This September, The Positive and Elektralytes Foundations would like to get the men in our lives to talk about the prostate specific antigen (PSA) test with their doctor and make an informed decision about the best testing approach. “This September let’s turn awareness into action. Early detection is the key to saving lives through screenings like the Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) and the Digital Rectal Exam (DRE) which helps to identify prostate cancer in its earliest stages” concluded Shelly Alphonso and Mercedes “Eelektra” van de Waals-Wyatt, Presidents of the two foundations.

On September 22 at 7PM, the Christian Faith Ministries International Church in Dutch Quarter with be the host of a Man UP & Check UP Prostate Cancer Awareness Information session with guest speakers Dr. Ramos of the St. Maarten Medical Center and Dr. Rojas who will talk about erectile dysfunction.  Everyone is invited and encouraged to attend this free event.

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Pedestrian and motorbike rider injured in accident on the W.J.Nisbeth road

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The Police Traffic Department is investigating a traffic accident that took place on 17 September 2019 about 7:45 am on the crossing Walter J. Nisbeth Road and the N. Debrot Street whereby a pedestrian was injured, police said on Wednesday.

According to the information gathered at the scene, the driver of a car P-109 had given a pedestrian a chance to cross the street in the area of the Central Bank. At the same time a rider of a Yamaha motorbike was overtaking the vehicle and collided with the pedestrian.

Because of the collision, the pedestrian suffered bruises and laceration on her arm, head and stomach. After the collision with the pedestrian, the driver of the Yamaha Motorbike lost control and collided with the vehicle P-109.

The rider suffered injury to his body. Both victims were treated at the scene by the Ambulance Department and later transported to the Sint Maarten Medical Center for further medical care. The accident investigation is ongoing. (Sint Maarten Police Force)         

   traffic accident pis ins1 wed17 

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AN HOUR OF HOPE FOR CIBC FIRSTCARIBBEAN EMPLOYEES

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – Michael Ferrier, prostate cancer survivor, was the first to share his story as part of the Hour of Hope series launched recently at CIBC FirstCaribbean. During an intimate and interactive session, Mr. Ferrier shared his story, from his diagnosis in 2004 to treatment and cure, with bank staff. 

The male staffers were encouraged to get tested, and to start the conversations about prostate and men health issues in general. 

In collaboration with the Positive and the Elektralytes Foundations, the Hour of Hope series will continue through prostate cancer awareness month (September) and into October, breast cancer awareness month. The Hour of Hope series is part of the bank’s Walk for the Cure activities and its commitment to bring awareness and education. 

The two foundations have also merged their Pink, Phit and Phabulous walk with the bank’s Walk for the Cure which takes place on Saturday, October 5th, starting at 5:00AM at CIBC FirstCaribbean Mortgage & Loan Centre in Cole Bay. 

The walk will commence with a stretching session by the U 2 Can Move Fitness Program, also partners in this year’s Walk. The route of this year’s walk is Welfare Road over Simpsonbay Bridge, to Airport Road, over the Causeway Bridge to Union Road, and back to the Mortgage and Loan Centre. 

Persons wishing to make a contribution to Walk for the Cure can do so by visiting CIBC FirstCaribbean at their Philipsburg or Cole Bay branch via the walk’s donation drop boxes or CIBC FirstCaribbean Account C/A 10055400. 

Tickets are available for USD $10.00 at both CIBC FirstCaribbean branches. For more information, contact Walk Manager, Petra Abdul-Hamid at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or telephone +1 721-542-3511 ext 208. 

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NA MP Irion: Enforce existing laws while working to enforce plastic ban

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – National Alliance (NA) Member of Parliament (MP) Ardwell Irion questioned the tackling of the new legislation regarding a ban on single-use plastics after last Thursday’s Parliament meeting on the issue, the MP said in a statement on Monday. He stated that the current government’s position does not take into consideration existing laws related to waste management for Country St. Maarten.

In Thursday’s meeting, as has been the case several times, it was stated that new legislation is needed before St. Maarten can enact a ban on plastic. Single-use plastics are one of the largest contributors to landfill overfill and oceanic pollution and several countries in the world, including in the Caribbean region, have issued bans on their use. St. Maarten has been debating enacting such a ban locally for some time now, but MP Irion believes that there is a missed opportunity while the discussion continues.

“A ban on single-use plastics is incredibly important,” he states, “but St. Maarten has a Waste Ordinance in place which is not being effectively enforced right now. Waste collection has been and continues to happen in an ad hoc and inefficient way.”

On 23 February 1993 the Waste Ordinance for St. Maarten, then still a part of the Netherlands Antilles, was passed. The Ordinance outlines every area of waste management and their accompanying disposal requirements, ranging from residential waste to car wrecks, for both citizens and the public sector. Enforcing and complying with the contents of the ordinance is something Irion states the country has struggled with since prior to Hurricane Irma.

“There are no awareness efforts to inform the general public of this ordinance and how it states everyone should dispose of their waste,” Irion continued. “And this lack of knowledge contributes to our larger issue with waste on the island and that is, capacity. We need to seriously consider the existing structure for waste management. As we continue to grow in population size, both on-island and transient, waste production will also increase.”

Irion mentioned that residents in several areas on the island had frequent complaints about the timeliness of waste collection. In densely populated areas, and dependent on the contracted company, waste can sit for up to five days without collection. Irion speculated that an evaluation may be necessary to assess if there is enough capacity with the contracted companies to adequately handle the existing demand for waste collection. In addition, proper plans should be made on how the ban on single-use plastics will be enforced once the legislation is in place.

“A single-use plastics ban should be any country’s goal,” Irion concluded, “but making sure that what exists is actually working, combined with awareness campaigns for the general public, will make that transition smoother.”

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Sarah: “US Preclearance More Than Just a Presence at PJIA”

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Now the issue that is polarizing the community of St. Maarten is the planned US preclearance presence at the PJIA. Not the Dutch aid, or the pace of the Trust Fund Program, not the reconstruction of the airport, but US preclearance!

I am of the opinion that a US preclearance presence at our airport could be beneficial for the island. In fact, in all Government programs of recent times, US preclearance is mentioned, including the one that governs the current Government. I also can attest that since I was a member of the Executive Branch of Government, negotiations have been going on regarding US preclearance.

I think we have so polarized the issue, that no one is standing still by ALL what it entails, what it will require etc. There are for example some none airport related matters that need to be addressed as well. Safety, sovereignty, immunity, liabilities etc.

The latest statements from Government Ministers have even me confused and I can just imagine the general public. Given the status of such a project, I can imagine that we also have international partners scratching their heads.

Rather than requesting a meeting of Parliament on the topic, I have chosen the route of formally asking the Parliament’s approval to question the Minister(s) in a meeting of Parliament, specifically for that purpose.

Making use of this right of “interpellation”, is shorter, more direct and Ministers must come to Parliament prepared. This right is enshrined in our constitution and worked out in our Rules of Order.

The request from a member to have an interpellation must be motivated. My request is further motivated in the letter as submitted. The questions are usually sent to the Minister(s), once Parliament decides to call the Minister(s) in on the topic. But I have already provided these to Parliament in my request for an interpellation.

Letter to Parliament

Based on the Constitution of St. Maarten, article 63, sub 2 as further expounded on in the Rules of Order, article 68, sub 1, the undersigned, Sarah A. Wescot-Williams, Member of Parliament hereby requests parliament’s approval to invite the Prime Minister, the Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Telecommunication and Transportation, and the Minister of Finance to Parliament within the shortest possible time.

The reconstruction of the Princess Juliana International Airport is a matter of ongoing debate and concern. Statements by different minsters have unfortunately not contributed to putting to rest the prevailing sentiment that the plans to reconstruct the airport, the airport’s financing and the US preclearance plans, are not synchronized between the airport companies and their shareholders. In other words, we don’t seem to have our act together.

That several international partners are in one way or another involved in one or more of the abovementioned aspects, and the apparent lack of one vision from local authorities and stakeholders in my view place St. Maarten in a negative light and weakens the country’s position.

I hereby also wish to put forward the questions, I would like the abovementioned Ministers to provide Parliament with the answers to, if my proposal to call the Ministers to appear in Parliament is supported by Parliament:

  1. Is there a firm agreement between Government, PJIA and all other involved stakeholders on the WB/TF financing proposal for the reconstruction of the airport? If yes, please list name, function and date of approval.
  1. And again if so, what is the delay in proceeding in accordance with this agreement?
  2. Is the airport still desirous of seeking other financial options?
  3. If so, what are the terms and conditions for other potential financiers?
  4. Is the airport still engaged with potential financiers it had approached in the earlier stage of its reconstruction efforts? Are the interested organizations and or firms on hold or have these talks been terminated?
  1. Is it permissible under the WB/TF agreement to simultaneously pursue other options for financing?
  2. What is the current financial position of the PJIA(E)?
  3. What is the precise (re)construction plan or layout for the airport?
  4. Must or can a US pre-clearance facility be included in the plans at this time?

10. Do we already know what is required, financially feasible, and economically beneficial of the envisaged preclearance?

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USP Board calls on Governor to break his silence on government

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The board of the United St. Maarten Party (USP) on Thursday called on Governor Eugene Holiday to break his silence and tell the people of St. Maarten if Prime Minister Leona Romeo-Marlin has submitted her cabinet’s resignation now that she has minority support in Parliament.

The USP board said that since MP Franklin Meyers pulled his support from the UD/SMCP coalition, thereby throwing down government, the Governor has been silent in explaining the people the process.

"The government has fallen as we say locally. The government is busy spinning as if they are waiting to hear from Parliament to inform them that they do not enjoy the support of the majority in Parliament. In the meantime, the Governor, who has usually been diligent in these instances, is letting confusion reign by staying quiet," the board said.

The Governor, the USP said, has met with faction leaders and has not reported to the public. "The question is, has the Prime Minister tendered her cabinet's resignation and has the Governor accepted it," the board said.

"It is incredible that government collapses, there is no government, and the Governor isn't updating the people. We are calling on the Governor to break his silence. We are also asking that the now minority supported government cease and desist with any decisions in government," the board said.

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Man Up & Check UP Prostate Awareness Campaign Underway

SINT MAARTEN (CAY HILL) - The Positive and Elektralyets Foundation have partnered with the St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) to launch a Man UP & Check UP Prostate Awareness Campaign on St. Maarten.

The objective of the campaign is to break the taboo of Prostate Cancer on the island, educate and encourage men to talk of this disease with their health care providers and with other men in our community.

The campaign includes registration drives, information sessions, screening at the St. Maarten Medical Center for registered participants. Furthermore, there are public service announcements on local radio stations, radio and TV interviews, posters, banners and social media campaigns, t-shirts and electronic billboards awareness messaging.

The first registration drive is scheduled for September 14, 2019 at the Napa Auto Parts in Colebay, St. Maarten from 10 am – 2pm.  Members of the St. Maarten Medical Center along with the Positive and Elektralytes Foundation are encouraging men between that ages for 45 – 70 who have never done a PSA test to register during this event.  The SMMC has agreed to contribute the expertise to review the results of the PSA, a free consultation and perform a freeultra sound if necessary. However, the PSA test will have to be paid for at the lab or covered by insurance.

The next registration drive is scheduled for September 21, 2019 at Kooyman on the AJC Brouwers Road, St. Maarten from 10am -2pm.

On September 22 at 7PM, the Christian Faith Ministries International Church in Dutch Quarter with be the host of a Man UP & Check UP Prostate Cancer Awareness Information session with guest speakers Dr. Ramos of the St. Maarten Medical Center and Dr. Rojas who will talk about erectile dysfunction.  Everyone is invited and encouraged to attend this free event.

On September 28, 2019 SMMC with review the PSA results of the registered participants during a free consultation and perform an ultrasound if necessary.

Prostate cancer survivor Mr. Michael Ferrier and prostate cancer warrior Mr. Raymond Benjamin have graciously agreed to be the spokes persons for the Man Up & Check Up campaign. Mr. Benjamin along with Dr. Rojas candidly shared their personal and professional experiences on Speaking of Everything with Oral Gibbes earlier in September. Mr. Ferrier has agreed to be the voice for the prostate cancer awareness public service announcements heard daily on local radio stations. Both Mr. Benjamin and Mr. Ferrier are anxious to join the conversation to spread to message of prostate cancer – especially the importance of early detection.

Other contributors to the Man UP & Check UP campaign include Mr. Elvis Harrigan from Picture This Studio, Tashin Brown from International Liquors and Tobacco, Vita Malt and Ms. Francine Chance for the Fiji Water, NAPA Auto Parts and Kooyman, Speaking of Everything, local radio stations on St. Maarten and Viva Signs who are all excited about the campaign and its call to action for men on our island to help save lives through early detection.

Internationally, September is observed as prostate cancer awareness month with the light blue ribbon as the symbol. This September, The Positive and Elektralytes Foundations would like to get the men in our lives to talk about the prostate specific antigen (PSA) test with their doctor and make an informed decision about the best testing approach. “This September let’sturn awareness into action. Early detection is the key to saving lives through screenings like the Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) and the Digital Rectal Exam (DRE) which helps to identify prostate cancer in its earliest stages” concluded Shelly Alphonso and Mercedes “Eelektra” van de Waals-Wyatt, Presidents of the two foundations.

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