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Minister Richardson visits the Care and Security House in Haaglanden

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS - As her work visit continues, on Wednesday, September 22nd, 2021, Minister Ana Richardson visited the Care- and Security House in Haaglanden or the ‘Zorg- en veiligheidshuis Haaglanden’.

The Care- and Security House is a network organization that brings the justice and care organizations such as the police, the municipalities, the prosecution service, the youth protection services, and the healthcare facilities together to tackle complex safety and security issues in neighborhoods.

The categories of crime varies and can be multifaceted. For this reason, a multi-disciplinary approach is often needed to be most effective. The Care- and Security House is a meeting point for all relevant stakeholders and organizations connected to a specific case where they can dissect and discuss specifics of a case or matter. Combining the efforts of all organizations involved ensures that the particular case can be viewed from all angles and the best collaborative, but customized approach can be used.

During the meeting Mr. Sander Jongenburger, deputy manager at the Care- and Security House said: “We work from an assumption that if you really want to help people, you have to put different pieces of the puzzle together. We bring all the partners together to complete the picture, after we work to make a complete plan of action.”

The Care- and Security House’s main tasks are rendering advice, monitoring cases, and connecting the relevant organizations. They focus on domestic violence, child abuse, high risk and mentally disturbed behavior, radicalization, extremism and other complex problems within their community. This 4-pillar approach is relatively new and was introduced in 2020.

There are various factors that contribute to our youth taking a path of crime, and it will take a village to re-direct them back to the right direction. Upon the return of Minister Richardson, she intends to have a meeting with the Minister Health, Labor and Social Services (VSA) and the Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports (ECYS) to share her findings of these meetings.

“The goal is to forge stronger collaborative efforts between ministries in creating a preventive and supportive approach that will strategically address the various circumstances that are contributing to the high rise of at-risk youth in our communities,” stated Minister Richardson.

The Care- and Security facility was very welcoming and eager to share their organization’s structure and best practices with the Minister of Justice. The main purpose of the Minister’s trip is ultimately to forge relationships with organizations in the Netherlands who are willing to work with Sint Maarten in matters that the Netherlands deals with as well.

This avoids constantly having to reinvent the wheel for matters that we all encounter in the Dutch Caribbean and the Netherlands. This also broadens the opportunities for our youth on the island where they can be encouraged to participate in programs in the region, the Netherlands or elsewhere.

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10-Year Old Child almost bitten by dog in Ebenezer. Police warn dog owners

SINT MAARTEN (EBENEZER) - In recent months, Police have received several complaints about dogs running out of their yards and attacking people on public roads.

On Tuesday afternoon, September 21, at approximately 4:30pm, Police Central Dispatch received another such call about dangerous dogs running loose in Ebenezer. Upon arrival, police officers were told by a resident that her 10-year-old daughter was almost bitten by the neighbor's dogs walking while she was walking home.

According to other residents this was not the first time the dogs had attacked or bitten someone.

Dog owners were again instructed by police to keep their dogs in their yards and were warned of the consequences if the dogs are not kept in their yards.

Police remind dog owners to keep their dogs under control at all times. It is illegal for a dog to “get out of control”, bite / attack someone or create a reasonable fear that the dog will bite someone.

It is, therefore, important that you keep your dog under control at all times and everywhere.

A dog is considered dangerously out of control if it:

- Injures someone or another animal

- Makes someone worried that the dog might injure him /her.

(KPSM)

police dangerous dogs

 

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Drunken man arrested for causing accident and damaging police vehicle

SINT MAARTEN (SUCKER GARDEN) - Police Central Dispatch Center received several calls about a traffic accident on Sucker Garden road on Tuesday, September 21, around 2:40pm. The patrol found at the scene that the driver of a blue i10 had struck a red Hyundai Tucson that was coming from the opposite direction.

When communicating with the driver of the i10, police noted that the driver had been driving while intoxicated. The driver was arrest by police for driving under the influence. The driver violently resisted his arrest and damaged a police vehicle in the process.

He was evenually handcuffed and taken to the police station. This investigation is ongoing. (KPSM)  

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Trust Fund says it Never Received a US$45 Million Social Housing Project Request from SMHDF

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - On behalf of the Steering Committee of the Sint Maarten Trust Fund for Recovery Reconstruction and Resilience, the Secretariat wishes to inform the public that no project of US$45 million for social housing initiated by the Sint Maarten Housing Development Foundation (SMHDF) has ever been received or tabled for consideration by the Trust Fund’s Steering Committee.   

Under Trust Fund procedures, project proposals are submitted to the Steering Committee by the Government of Sint Maarten based on its priorities.  The authority to allocate funds to projects rests with the Steering Committee of the Trust Fund, not with the World Bank.  

As of today, the Trust Fund has financed the repair of 269 units of social housing and another 64 units of the SMHDF stock are intended to be rebuilt under the Emergency Recovery Project I.  In addition, at its meeting of July 14, 2021, the Steering Committee allocated US$20 million for a potential housing project at the request of the Government of Sint Maarten; the modalities of this project are being developed. 

Also, an institutional analysis of SMHDF completed in 2020 provided actionable recommendations to SMHDF to improve its financial performance. Trust Fund financing is aimed at investment financing for reconstruction and resilience, not at the provision of subsidies.

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Minister Ottley invited to serve as member of the Committee on Credentials at PAHO/WHO

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - The Directing Council of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), 73rd Session of the Regional Committee of the World Health Organization (WHO) for the Americas, has invited the Honorable Omar Ottley, Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labour to serve as a member of the Committee on Credentials of the 59th Session, from September 20th- 24th, 2021.

The PAHO Directing Council meets annually to discuss constitutional, program policy, administrative and financial matters, elect Member States to serve on Boards and Committees, and present awards.

As a member of the Committee on Credentials, Minister Ottley will work with representatives of two other Member States to evaluate all the Delegations' credentials. The role will also require reporting on pending accreditation.  

Accreditation is an essential step in the procedural process. It recognizes those Member States eligible to vote on critical public health program policy matters relevant to the Caribbean and Latin American countries.

The epidemiological situation resulting from the current COVID-19 pandemic and related public health restrictions preclude the possibility of holding the Directing Council in its traditional in-person format. Thus, it will be held virtually, using video conferencing technologies.

"This invitation brings me great joy because it provides another opportunity for knowledge transfer among members of the Caribbean, Pan American Region and the world by extension," said Minister Ottley. "It also allows Sint Maarten to build on its thriving relationship with PAHO/WHO and it showcases the island's commitment to continuous progression."   

The Government of Sint Maarten is currently working with PAHO/WHO on various projects to combat public health issues and improve the country's response in key areas such as non-communicable diseases, mental health, and disaster preparedness.

For more information, contact the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour+712-542-0349, visit the office at Government Administration Building, Soualiga Road #1 Pond Island, Great Bay or view the website http://www.sintmaartengov.org/Pages/default.aspx

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Police holds information sessions at schools to bridge the gap

SINT MAARTEN (CAY HILL) - In an ongoing effort to bridge the gap between the Police Force of Sint Maarten KPSM and students of Sint Maarten, a group of police officers is conducting a series of information sessions at several schools.

On September 16, 2021, two of police officers made a presentation at Learning Unlimited Preparatory School. Majors J. Boyrard and I. Woodley with the police K-9 Oscar demonstrated how an arrest is made via the police K-9 deployment.

After, they explained to the students the types of police dogs and their skills.

The KPSM management team expresses gratitude to Learning Unlimited for inviting the officers. (KPSM)

POLICE TRAINING LEARNING UNLIMITED FRPG

POLICE TRAINING SMALL KIDS

 

 

 

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Sekou, Badejo praise historic African Union / CARICOM Summit 2021

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) - Two of St. Martin’s authors, Lasana Sekou and Fabian Badejo, have praised the historic Africa-CARICOM Summit held virtually on September 7, 2021, said their publisher HNP.

The summit was hosted by Kenya and chaired by Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta under the theme “Unity across Continents and Oceans: Opportunities for Deepening Integration.”

The event was attended and addressed by the heads of state and government of the African Union and CARICOM member states. Heads of regional integration secretariats and institutions of CARICOM and Africa also attended.

“This is the unique culmination of continuous efforts by the people of Africa and the Caribbean to solidify the historical, cultural, and blood connections that they share across centuries,” said Sekou, a poet and publisher.

“It is the spirit of the African connections so concretized by Garvey that lives on among us,” said Sekou. The pan-African and pan-Caribbean themes of Sekou’s poetry have long been reviewed in critical journals and books.

“Blood is indeed thicker than water,” noted Badejo. “Throughout history, the longing for reconnection between Africa and the African Diaspora has never waned.”

The longing and connectedness—often against great political and social odds and even violence—may be subtle as hush-hush stories in Caribbean families about an African ancestor, to defiantly speaking African-based Caribbean languages; “from folk songs of longing sung in Carriacou for centuries, to Cuba’s decades-long role in the liberation of southern African countries,” said the writers in a joint statement.

“Just as Europe, and in particular the UK, has special relations with its diaspora, especially in the USA, so too it should be considered natural for Africa to have similar special relations with people of African descent in this part of the world,” said Badejo.

The late, great Barbadian poet and historian Kamau Brathwaite, who lived and worked in Ghana and Kenya at the onset of his career, understood this from a personal and professional point of view, Badejo explained.

“So did many others understand and inform this point of view practically and intellectually, from David Walker to Marcus Garvey, from Queen Mother Moore to Kwame Nkrumah,” said Badejo, who is also a journalist and cultural critic.

The summit produced proposals to further strengthen the ties between the two regions. These include direct air links between destinations in Africa and the Caribbean and visa-free travels for the citizens of African and CARICOM countries.

“The Leaders indicated support for the establishment of a CARICOM/Africa public-private partnership dedicated to mobilizing resources and deploying them in critical cutting-edge projects, including renewable energy, the creative industries, and digital technology … (And) the contribution of the African Medical Supplies Platform (AMSP) in making vaccines available to CARICOM was lauded,” according to CARICOM news.

Sekou said that “It is key for the general populations to see themselves as the foundation of this official level summit. What this multilateral cooperation will achieve over time, including ‘wielding global bargaining power,’ widening the diasporic reach to include non-CARICOM members in the region and institutions of Brazil and other nations of the Americas, is invariably based on people’s movements.”

“It is the same people’s movements and consciousness that produce activists and artists such as St. Martin’s Thomas Duruo and Carlos Cooks, Trinidad’s Claudia Jones, Jamaica’s Bob Marley, Antigua’s Dobrene O’Marde, or Barbados’ Ambassador to CARICOM David Comissiong. And that’s just to name a few of the many who have been about this pan-African liberation business,” said Sekou.

While on September 7, CARICOM “proposed the creation of a Forum of African and Caribbean Territories and States,” both authors said that for St. Martin to critically tap into the opportunities that are sure to open because of the initiatives proposed at the summit, the nation has to act on Nkrumah’s dictum and seek political independence.

“We are at a critical time when we must join the comity of nations coming together to build and rebuild the world to benefit our people. We can only do this if we attain political freedom,” Sekou and Badejo stressed.

This first Africa-CARICOM Summit was a giant step towards pan-African unity, which will facilitate political, economic, educational, cultural, and technological cooperation, Sekou and Badejo said.

“We applaud the vision of all those who made this summit possible on both sides of the Atlantic and encourage them to intensify their efforts to achieve the goal of reuniting the African family at home and abroad,” they added.

It has also been proposed at the Africa-CARICOM Summit for September 7 to be observed annually as “Africa-Caribbean Day.”

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MP Emmanuel questions Doran about re-locating people from landfill to FOGA

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Independent Member of Parliament (MP) Christophe Emmanuel on Wednesday dispatched a letter to the Minister of VROMI Egbert Doran with a number of questions regarding the reported relocation of persons living on the landfill to brand new homes to be built at the area known as the Foga Housing Development Project in Sucker Garden.

Emmanuel said in his letter to the Minister that persistent rumors and unconfirmed reports must be addressed post haste as there were existing plans for the area. One of his 10 questions to the Minister queried if there is any validity to the report that persons living on the landfill will each be compensated financially to move as well as the legal status of these individuals.

“The facts I know of is that the former leader of the National Alliance signed off on the Foga project in the area of the Melford Hazel Sports Auditorium to provide homes for young professionals returning home from college and other service professionals in the justice chain for example. About 32 homes I believe were to be constructed. The question now is what happened to those plans and if they were changed why. I hope the Minister uses the opportunity to clarify this issue,” MP Emmanuel said.

The MP asked Minister Doran the following questions:

  1. What were the original plans intended for development of the so-called FOGA Housing project area?
  2. If this area was intended for homes, please explain what type of homes (low cost?) and how many homes?
  3. Has any infrastructure preparation been carried out in the area in preparation for construction of the homes? If yes, what were the costs attached hereto and please explain these works. If not, please explain why not.
  4. Is it still the intention of the Ministry of VROMI and/or the Minister to stick to the original intention for development?
  5. Has the Ministry and/or the Minister of VROMI changed the plans for the FOGA area? If yes, please indicate how?
  6. Is it the intention Minister of VROMI to re-locate the persons currently residing on the Philipsburg landfill (the dump) to the intended new homes at FOGA?
  7. If yes, how many people does this involve? Are they legal residents? Was their current homes built legally on the landfill? What about citizens who have been waiting on the provision of affordable homes?
  8. Is it the intention of the Ministry and/or the Minister of VROMI to pay these persons to re-locate? If yes, why and what is the compensation? And from where will government derive these funds?
  9. If the answer to question 6 is yes, please indicate if the Council of Ministers has approved this decision and when.    
  10. If the answer to question 6 is yes, is it the intention to let the people who also operate businesses on the landfill, to do so at FOGA as well? Were these businesses operating legally on the landfill?
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Ballet Classes Collaboration between NIA and Bronxville Ballet

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The National Institute of Arts (NIA) kicked off the new school year 2021-2022 in September once again with a very special collaboration between the Bronxville Ballet NOT FOR SALE (BBNFS), director Ana Dimas and Arts Saves Lives’ director Nicole de Weever. “For the second time Ms. Dumas selects NIA for this beautiful program” says Director of NIA, Arlene Halley.

The Bronxville Ballet NOT FOR SALE is Ana Dimas’ nonprofit foundation that takes its name from the notion that the best things in life are indeed, NOT FOR SALE. The best things in life should be given away.

In Ana’s desire to give back to the community, she is collaborating with studios around the world offering the joy of Ballet to those in need or with special needs, the hope of Ana’s program is of having the girls learn new skills, gain a positive self-image and have a chance be a “princess”.

Last year Ana not only sponsored 10 classes for the students but with the assistance of Nicole de Weever, NIA received nothing less than 25 “Princess” dresses, custom made, and hand delivered from New York by Nicole de Weever.

The response this year has been so overwhelming, once the class was posted to NIA’s Facebook page, that Art Saves Lives, Ms. Nicole de Weever, will match Ms. Dimas’ donation and support the classes until the month of December. An extra 26 dresses have been donated by Ms. Ana bringing the total to 46 ballerinas

The participating “princesses” receive their dresses when they sign up which they joyfully sport every class. Due to the COVID-19 prevention measures the students are split into 3 classes: 3-5 year, 5-7 and 7-9 years old. Last year Ms. Arlene announced excitedly to the donors the enrollment of four additional ‘prince charming’.

Through these kind donations NIA will be able to continue ballet classes free of charge for 46 young ballerinas from 3 years to 9 years old until December 2021. NIA hopes that more benefactors will come forward and support these efforts until the end of the school year. Donations can be made to NIA by contacting the school at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

It is with heartfelt gratitude that NIA would like to thank the Bronx Ballet NOT FOR SALE and Art Saves Lives, Ana and Nicole, for the continuance of this wonderful initiative towards our St. Maarten children and for promoting the art and benefits of Ballet especially in these difficult times when it is so needed to bring some joy to the little ones and a touch of Magic.

NIA CLASS

NIA Ms. Ana Dimas handing over ballerina dresses and donation to Ms. Nicole

Ms. Ana Dimas handing over ballerina dresses and donation to Ms. Nicole.

NIA Nicole delivers ballerina dresses and donation to Director of NIA Arlene Halley

Nicole delivers ballerina dresses and donation to Director of NIA Arlene Halley.

NIA CLASS 2

 

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Another scooter rider struck and injured again on the Nisbeth road

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - A scooter rider suffered a fracture of the right thigh after a collision on Nisbeth road yesterday afternoon, the police said in a statement on Friday. At approximately 06:30 pm on September 09, 2021, Central Dispatch received several calls of a traffic accident involving a motorcyclist who was injured in what appeared to be a near head-on collision with a white SUV.

Following the preliminary inquiry, it appears that the driver of the white SUV which was at the side of the road was given an opportunity by other drivers to drive onto the road in order to head towards Salt Pickers Roundabout.  

Meanwhile, a scooter rider was overtaking several vehicles from opposite direction and crashed head-on into the white SUV. The scooter rider was attended to by ambulance personnel at the scene and then transported to St. Maarten Medical Center for further medical treatment. His injuries are not life threatening.

The Police Force Sint Maarten continues to warn scooter, and motorcycle riders, motorist about their behavior in traffic, especially during the busy hours of the afternoon. Serious accidents keep happening and the severity of the damages has and may eventually again result in the death of the rider or someone around them. (KPSM)

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