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Nature Foundation Junior Rangers Experienced Informative Nature Exchange in Bonaire

SINT MAARTEN (COLE BAY) - The Nature Foundation Junior Rangers attended an informative nature exchange during the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance’s youth environmental exchange in Bonaire in October, in collaboration with STINAPA Bonaire and World Wildlife Fund.

The Junior Rangers; Marshall Leone from the Learning Unlimited school, Maya Speetjens from Milton Peters College, Nubia Stomp from St Dominic High school and Valerie Halley from the Caribbean International Academy, learned about the environmental issues the Dutch Caribbean islands are facing, marine conservation and the importance of our natural habitats.

At the end of the exchange, the junior rangers presented to the board and staff of the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance about their experiences and their gained knowledge. The Junior rangers performed great, “they did an amazing job presenting to DCNA, it was truly impressive, as speaking to press, scientists, and a lot of important people can be difficult” explained their leader Guillaume Lacome.     

The junior rangers learned about the wildlife on Bonaire, about the impact of plastic pollution, migratory birds and worked on their snorkel skills while learning about fishes, corals and marine life in general. Maya Speetjens mentioned that she learned a lot while she was snorkeling, including the importance of parrot fish for our coral reefs as they eat the algae which can suffocate the corals.

Valeri Halley explained about the importance of learning from others “not only did I get to learn about Bonaire’s nature, but I got to learn from other children and what they are doing for their islands, that was just great”. 

The Junior Rangers experienced basic living conditions, without electricity and internet, while camping in the Washington Slagbaai National park. Nubia Stomp mentioned “being where I was in Bonaire, without internet or cell reception made me realize how refreshing it is that I do not have an option to be staring at the screen of my Phone for hours and that I could have so much fun and still enjoy myself without it”.

Marshall Leone enjoyed the lifestyle and stated “On this Junior Ranger Exchange, I have experienced how much of a different lifestyle you can make for yourself. In the protected area that we stayed in, there was raw beauty that resulted from not polluting or damaging the habitat. This made me realize the human impact on nature and why we need to protect it”. 

The youth environmental exchange was made possible by the project sponsors Rabobank, World Wildlife Fund (WWF-NL), STINAPA Bonaire and the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA) together with a great and enthusiastic project team comprised of members from DCNA, STINAPA and Fundacion Parke Nacional Aruba (FPNA).

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Nature Foundation Junior Rangers on a birding trip with Board member and bird expert Binkie van Es in Bonaire.

 

 

 

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UP Board/ leader congratulate party founder on his acquittal

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) —The Board and Leadership of the United People's Party are happy at the news of the acquittal of Theodore Heyliger in connection with the so-called "Catfish" investigation.

After almost 10-years of being falsely accused of offering a bribe to former Member of Parliament Romaine Laville, Heyliger is now vindicated by the Court of First Instance who handed down its judgement on Thursday, November 14th.

"At this moment, my happy thoughts and grateful prayers are with Theo and his family, who continue to endure so much. Justice was slow but prevailed. I am happy that Theo and his family and the extended-UP family and supporters, can at least find some peace having overcome this victoriously," Leader of the UP MP Rolando Brison said

The UPP Board extends our sincere congratulations to Theodore Heyliger, our Founder and his family. We can only imagine the relief you must feel after the ordeal you have endured for years, being falsely accused.

UP Party President Silvia Meyers and her family like many other members of the board and party supporters also suffered the horror of seeing Heyliger and his family endure these accusations.

Meyers said Thursday evening "On behalf of the Board of the United peoples Party needless to say how delighted we are to know our Founder has been acquitted."

She said, "it is through God's continued presence in your life and his protective arms around you that we have been able to see the day where you are vindicated." Meyers said the UP Party remains steadfast and fully supports Heyliger in his continued legal battle to prove his innocence.

Heyliger has consistently been the largest vote-getter on St. Maarten and a central figure of the rebuilding of Dutch St. Maarten.

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Lyndon Lewis, Richard Patrick to run with UP in Parliamentary elections

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Police Inspector Lyndon Lewis and business professional Richard Patrick will be contesting the January 9 Parliamentary elections with the United People party. Both are no strangers to campaigning or public service. Lewis is a former candidate of the USP while Patrick is a former candidate of the SMCP.

Lewis, a married father of 5, is known for his vigorous defense of his colleague police officers and civil servants and private sector workers in general, while He defended their interests in court numerous times and claimed victories. He has a passion for rule of law and improving the justice chain on St. Maarten, which includes fair treatment of law enforcement officers.

Richard Patrick, a married father of 3, describes himself as deeply family oriented. From the age of 11, Richard developed an interest in politics. After becoming personally acquainted with politicians like Dr. Claude Wathey, Mr. Clem Labega and Mr. Edgar Lynch his interest in politics grew even stronger. He has worked in the hospitality industry for a total of 10 years and in the business sector for 7 years, all the while developing and maintaining respectable business relationships.

Both candidates expressed their thanks to the board and leader of the UP, MP Rolando Brison for showing his faith in them to run on the UP's list and advance UP's vision for St. Maarten. They pledge to continue putting country above self and to effectively communicate with the general public about how they intend to lead by example and effect real change if elected as Members of Parliament.

Richard Patrick

Richard Patrick

 

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47 applications filed with Schadefonds CN

SABA/ST. EUSTATIUS - Since April 1st, 2019, victims of violent crime on Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba are eligible for a one-off compensation payment from the Schadefonds Geweldsmisdrijven (Violent Crimes Compensation Fund).

Since the introduction of the fund in the Caribbean Netherlands (CN), 47 applications have been submitted. Applications that meet the conditions and of which the crime was committed on or after January 1st, 2017, are eligible for a financial contribution.

Of the 47 applications submitted, 14 cases have been settled. Of these, 11 applications were granted and 3 were rejected. The other cases are still in progress. In dealing with the cases, Schadefonds assesses whether it is plausible that the applicant (or his or her loved one) was the victim of a deliberately committed violent crime. The perpetrator does not need to be known or convicted.

The compensation payment is a token of recognition for the injustice done to the victim. The benefit must be considered as a compensation and is not intended to cover all damage resulting from the crime. Monique de Groot, director of Schadefonds Geweldsmisdrijven, is satisfied with these results: "I am happy to be able to contribute to restoring the confidence of the victims of violence in the Caribbean Netherlands. I very much hope that more and more victims will find us."

In addition to the regular scheme, the Schadefonds also provides one-off subsidies for preventative security measures. This temporary subsidy scheme is intended for persons or companies that fell victim to a robbery in which violence was used or threatened with. Applications can be submitted for robberies committed after January 1st, 2019. The temporary schema applies until 2022.

For more information about Schadefonds Geweldsmisdrijven, visit www.schadefondsCN.com. From now on you can also find an animation clip on this website regarding the application process.

Do you want to submit an application? Then go to the employees of Bureau Slachtofferhulp. They will gladly help you further. (RCN Caribbean Netherlands)

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‘Family and Diabetes’ primary focus for World Diabetes Day on November 14

GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – The 2019 theme for World Diabetes Day (WDD) on November 14 is ‘Family and Diabetes.’ 

Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs either when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces.

Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar. Hyperglycaemia, or raised blood sugar, is a common effect of uncontrolled diabetes and over time leads to serious damage to many of the body's systems, especially the nerves and blood vessels, which can lead to heart attack, blindness, kidney failure and lower limb amputation.  In 2012 alone diabetes cause 1.5 million deaths.

Worldwide 422 million adults are living with diabetes, which is four times what it was in 1980, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).  In the Americas, approximately 65 million people are living with type 2 diabetes, largely due to obesity. According to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), this number is more than double the world average, with women more affected than men. 

The Collective Prevention Services (CPS), a department of the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, would like the community to know that diabetes can be prevented and controlled.

Many people are not aware that they have type 2 diabetes, understand the risk factors, the signs/symptoms, and to seek prompt medical care if diabetes is suspected.

“Diabetes can be prevented through public health policies and lifestyle changes that support healthy eating, physical activity and healthy weights, and it can be controlled to prevent complications. If diabetes affects you or your family, make sure to follow a healthy lifestyle and adhere to treatment,” the WHO/PAHO reports.

For more information about diabetes, consult your general practitioner or contact the Diabetes Foundation of St. Maarten.

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Sint Maarten’s Day Celebrated in Grand Style

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS (DCOMM) – After four months of preparations and communication with participants, the Cabinet of the Minister Plenipotentiary commemorated the 60th anniversary of Sint Maarten’s Day with two separate events.

This year’s celebrations were mirrored to that of Sint Maarten in regard to the theme and contents.

On November 8th entrepreneurs, up and coming artist and professionals were showcased. Attention was given to the history and traditions of Sint Maarten, where the former Minister Plenipotentiary, Mathias Voges hosted the breakout session themed “back in the days”. Voges presented interesting historical facts and shared some of the island’s customs.

John Sandiford was the host for the entrepreneur’s breakout session, where local entrepreneurs of Sint Maarten descent were given the opportunity to relay to the large audience present, their road to doing business in the Netherlands.

Some of the entrepreneurs participating in this session included, M. Beauperthuy, Duarte Smith, Jerome York and Nazeth Smith.

Clifford Brown and Manukiel Edward, two Sint Maarten students studying dance in the Netherlands, presented the futuristic version of the ponum dance where the key elements were presented.

In this year’s setup, Sint Maarten culinary artists were afforded the opportunity to sell local dishes to the patrons in attendance. The dishes presented were the famous Johnny cake and chicken-leg, various local soups, rice and peas, coconut tarts and much more delicious delights. Guavaberry from Sint Maarten, Sint Maarten apparel and souvenirs were also for sale during the celebratory event.

At the official reception where various Ambassadors, representatives of the Government of the Netherlands, international organizations and Non-Governmental Organization’ (NGOs) along with a vast turn out of persons from the Sint Maarten diaspora in the Netherlands consisting of students young professionals and seniors alike, were witness to a well- rounded array of performances.

The evening program began with musical interludes by the Lady of Jazz herself Anastacia Larmonie accompanied by acoustic guitarist, Luis Larmonie, to the delight of all present. The traditional to the eclectic presentations of Sint Maarten music set the tone for what was to come.

Starting off the evening event, was daughter of the soil and professional songstress, Rachell Brown with her rendition of the Sint Maarten song which was to everyone’s delight a most memorable experience.

Reverend dr. Joan Del Sol Mead, of the Netherlands circuit of the Methodist Church did the prayers. Speakers for the evening were the director of the Cabinet of the Minister Plenipotentiary, Carol Voges, whom in her welcome address, highlighted the theme of ‘We Story,’ and its connection to the path Sint Maarten is on, with the clear message that through unity and mutual respect Sint Maarten will move forward.

There was also a spoken-word segment where Lysanne Charles and Edwina Hodge recited works they created specifically for the occasion.

One of Sint Maarten cultural icons here in the Netherlands, Violet Lake together with her group Gwendis, performed their skit representing the local market vendors of ‘back in the days.’

The Minister Plenipotentiary in her address eluded to the historical relevance of keeping both the tangible and intangible culture of Sint Maarten alive.

As the country transitions and moves forward, this is of major importance, the Minister said. Notwithstanding the many hiccups experienced over the past nine years, Sint Maarten as a young country was allowed its mistakes, but that in moving forward as a nation, we will get it right in the benefit of its people. She further emphasized the significance of embracing unity between the North and South of the island. Her main message being, “One island, one people, one destiny”.

The Deputy Minister Plenipotentiary, Michael Somersall, after giving the words of thanks, recited his rendition of a poem inspired by Maya Angelou in which his message to Sint Maarten was, WE WILL RISE. The MC for the evening was Kelly Busby.

The official reception was followed by a mini concert by a few Sint Maarten-very own Musical Ambassadors in the Netherlands, namely, Orange Grove who had the crowd on their feet and Kyle Brown, also known as DJ Spy, with his repertoire of artists from way back in the days to the present.

On the 10th of November, the Cabinet of the Minister Plenipotentiary held the first around the island relay race NL edition in the Zuiderpark, The Hague.

The intention of this new initiative is to engage students in sports and health related activities next to their academic studies and is set to be organized annually by the Cabinet of the Minister Plenipotentiary.

The organization of this event was led by a sports committee consisting of Alaine van De’Listle, Jamil Richardson and Kevin Javois, under the leadership of Minister Wuite.

The committee received assistance from Trisport, the top sport division of the municipality of The Hague, as well as USC and UPG.

In total seven teams registered, each team consisting of 11 runners. Teams participating came from the private and public sectors. Two universities registered and were among the top teams together with a team of the Kingdom Relations Ministry and the Runners Pack of The Hague.

Two local teams consisting of both young professionals and students also participated and were successful in placing first and second in the winner’s circle. The medals were presented to the winners by Sint Maarten Council of State member, Maria van der Sluijs-Plantz.

Both the Minister and Deputy Minister Plenipotentiary were amongst the runners. After the run, all present were treated to local Johnny Cake provided by the Johnny Caker in the Netherlands through the sponsorship of IS cleaning, a company owned by young professional Luis Hurrault and Bush tea. Duarte Smith sponsored the catering services through his company DIS.

Images of the 2019 Sint Maarten’s day celebration can be seen on the Cabinet’s Facebook page courtesy of Jeffrey Richardson, who was on hand to provide live streaming of both events.

The Cabinet takes this opportunity to extend a heartfelt thank you to the over 200 patrons that took part in, attended and sponsored this year’s celebration of ‘We Story’.

MinAGZ Sxm House Relay Race Capt of the Winning Team Kevin Javois

Captain of the winning team Kevin Javois (R) of the Sint Maarten Relay Race.

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Minister Plenipotentiary Jorien Wuite delivering her speech to 200+ attendees in celebration of ‘We Story’.

 

 

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Parliament showcasing paintings by local artists of the Art Craft Café Foundation

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – The Art Craft Café Foundation is a non-profit organization that was formed in 2015 to explore social, environmental and creative influences that contribute to a sustainable future for Sint Maarten.

The Art Café Foundations’ initial engagement commenced with the Art School where art classes are provided for all ages. The following art classes are offered: drawing and painting, screen-printing & design, sculpture & pottery. The foundation also host’s many events such as: Sip & Paint date nights, Birthday parties and many more.

In December 2018 the Art Café expanded the foundation by incorporating the development of the Waste Factory Sint Maarten, located on Front Street 3A, beside the Art Craft Café Gallery located, in Philipsburg. Ms. Tes Verheij is the founder and Managing Director of both the Waste Factory Sint Maarten and the Art Café School.

The Waste Factory is a one-stop shop for information, advice, education, the sale of environmentally friendly products  and a champion of a circular economy on Sint Maarten that embraces the 5 R’s of sustainable waste management, namely Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose, Repair & Recycle.

From October 2019 to April 2020 a selection of paintings from the Art Craft Cafe students will be prominently displayed in the lobby area, library and conference room at the House of Parliament.

The general public is invited to see the work of various artists of the Art Café displayed at the House of Parliament.

The Parliament of Sint Maarten exhibits the work of different local artists approximately every six months.

Previously the work of Ms. Beverly Mae Nisbeth was displayed. 

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Minister Wever worried: not enough homes are being repaired

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) — Minister of Public Housing, Environment, Spatial Development and Infrastructure (VROMI) Christopher Wever, in his capacity as Acting Minister of Public Health, Social Development & Labour (VSA) recently paid a visit to several homes that are being repaired as part of a pilot private home repair program.

The pilot program has forty (40) candidates, 14 requiring major repairs and 26 needing what contractors have identified as minor repairs. Minister Wever said he is pleased with the work being done for the home owners of the 40 houses was very critical of the conditions many others on the island are still living in post hurricane Irma and highlighted the need for more people to be assisted.

“I am concerned with the miniscule number of home owners being actually helped. The goal must be to restore all homes and assist as many people as possible, but at this rate it will be five years before we can actually see all the homes in the communities on St. Maarten fully restored,” said Wever.

Wever will be meeting with the representatives of the World Bank and the National Recovery Program Bureau (NRPB) to impress upon them that more people must urgently be added to the program for private home repairs. “We simply must do what we can to make this Christmas a Merry Christmas for the many people who have not had a good Christmas with their families since their homes were destroyed by hurricane over two years ago.”

According to Wever, more home repairs mean increased economic development as well and this should not be overlooked. The reality is that many homes are still in disrepair post-Irma and access to the resources that were intended to bring relief is still lagging.

He is concerned that based on the length of time it has taken for the people to receive assistance, many may have given up hope. “It is not easy for government with limited resources to provide the much needed assistance, I am aware of that but we must also realize that as difficult as it is for us to manage with limited resources, there are people out there who do not have any support at all and are suffering.”

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NATIONAL HEALTH FINANCING IN THE SPOTLIGHT ON ANGUILLA

SINT MAARTEN/ANGUILLA - BearingPoint sponsored 13th annual conference on health financing initiatives BearingPoint Caribbean looks back on the successful 13th edition of the Caribbean Conference on National Health Financing Initiatives.

The event took place in Anguilla from November 6 – 8. This years’ conference was hosted by the Anguilla Social Security Board and covered issues with a focus on ‘Fiscal Space and Sustainability Challenges in Health Financing’.

As a gold sponsor, BearingPoint was present along with representatives from 14 Caribbean nations and North America to discuss a range of topics and share knowledge. During the future-oriented conference, several authorities on the subject held presentations addressing health financing reform and challenges in Caribbean Social Security systems.

BearingPoint shared their learnings among attendees about the current implementation of the Multi Benefit Solution at the Anguilla Social Security Board. This IT project is to improve the efficiency of the social security processes.

This implementation, together with the implementation of the Multi Tax Solution for the Inland Revenue Department Anguilla, is part of an effort of the government of Anguilla to benefit from enhanced collaboration and information sharing within governmental organizations and between government and citizens.

The Anguilla projects are prime examples of the BearingPoint approach to digital government where different government organizations, services, processes and portals are joined and integrated into one single window or entry point with a simple and unified online access for citizens and businesses.

With the implementation of the IT solutions, that are part of BearingPoint’s Public Services Suite, Anguilla will overcome the complexity of public services, and make them more convenient with a customer driven service.

After winning the bidding process, BearingPoint Caribbean was brought in to implement the Multi Benefit Solution (MBS) in April 2019 and to provide guidance on the transition. On October 1st of 2019 BearingPoint Caribbean delivered the first release of the MBS for testing to the SSB.

This release encompasses the registrations module, customer accounts, and generic components. The implementation of the Multi Tax Solution at the Inland Revenue Department also started in April 2019 and is well underway with the first release also in the testing phase at the client. Both projects are coordinated from the BearingPoint office on Sint Maarten.

The office serves as a hub and plays an important role in the service delivery to the neighboring islands and other initiatives in the Caribbean region.

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Ms. Shadyra Francisca (BearingPoint Caribbean Associate Director and Country Leader Sint Maarten), (3rdL) Avinash Grootens (BearingPoint Caribbean Managing Director in charge of international business development) and (R) Menno Vinck (BearingPoint Caribbean Senior Manager Consulting) joined by representatives of the Anguilla Social Security Board.

 

 

 

 

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Sarah: Electoral Reform is a Must for Stability, But It Will Require A Nonpartisan Approach

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Without exception, every decree to dissolve the Parliament of Sint Maarten has mentioned electoral reform as a remedy and an action to be undertaken, leader of the United Democrats (UD) Member of Parliament (MP) Sarah Wescot Williams said in a statement on Friday.

“Every Government since 2010 has initiated some action with respect to electoral reform, even if it was the mere mention of the topic as one that deserved the attention of the Government and Parliament of Sint Maarten.

“During my tenure as Prime Minister of the country, I have pursued this matter and sought to execute motions to that effect, passed by Parliament in 2013/2014. 

“Since in Parliament I have initiated the establishment of an Ad Hoc Electoral Reform Committee (ERC) of Parliament, so that Parliament can take a lead in this matter. With the Terms of Reference for the ERC of Parliament back on track, hopefully this process can proceed without interruption as every elected representative-irrespective of which side of the fence one finds his/herself- agrees that this reform must come.

“We can not continue like this. Of concern is the current trend of an election every other year in a system that is premised on a Parliament that should last four years.

“In the whole matter of electoral reform, the right of Government to dissolve Parliament stands out as one of the most contentious. Particularly worrisome is the trend that article 59 of our constitution is subjected to the Government’s view and interpretation. Recently, the government decreed that the period of three months as established by the constitution can be violated if Government feels the circumstances warrant this.

“In the case of the January 2020 election, this transgression is “only” about six weeks longer than the constitutional 3-months period. But with the precedent created, where does it stop? What is an acceptable overrun of the 3-months period? What will it be the next time around?

“This matter and the “ship-jumping” phenomenon have severely weakened our ability as a country to effectively govern and give account for our governance after the constitutional prescribed four-year term.

“In addition, this instability is costing the country millions of guilders EXTRA for payment to departing politicians, new factions in Parliament and elections. All elected and appointed representatives of the people should join hands and address at least the two aforementioned matters as urgent aspects of electoral reform.

“I dare say that if this matter is tackled in a nonpartisan manner and all involved recognize the urgency and act accordingly, we can envisaged some changes to take effect with the installation of the new Parliament in February 2020.”

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