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Arrest Team brings in Suspect for involvement in Middle Region Shooting

SINT MAARTEN (COLE BAY) - On Wednesday, September 30th,2020 the Detectives arrested a suspect with the initials C.B. in connection with an ongoing investigation into a shooting that took place on the Middle Region Road on Monday, September 28th,2020. 

During this incident that took place, approximately 11.10 am, in the morning, the victim with the initials O.R.M., 32 years of age, was shot after having an altercation with the suspect on the Middle Region road.

The arrest was carried out in the area of Cole Bay without incident by the police arrest team. The suspect is being held at the police station pending further investigation. (KPSM)

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Eight New Positive COVID-19 Cases. 88 Active Cases. 84 in Home Isolation

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - As of September 30th, there were eight (8) persons who tested positive for COVID-19; bringing the total active cases to eighty- eight (88). The total number of confirmed cases is now six hundred and sixty- seven (667).

The Collective Prevention Services (CPS) are monitoring eighty- four (84) people in home isolation. Three (3) patients remains hospitalized at the St. Maarten Medical Center and one (1) patient is isolated and being monitored. The total number of deaths due to COVID-19 remains at twenty- two (22). 

The number of people recovered since the first case surfaced on St. Maarten remains at five hundred and fifty- seven (557). Two hundred and six (206) people are in quarantine based on contact tracing investigations carried out by CPS of persons who may have been in contact with any of the active cases.

CPS has tested 1041 travelers arriving at the Princess Juliana International Airport, (PJIA) and 2725 people throughout the community. As the numbers continue to fluctuate, CPS will continue to actively execute its contact tracing measures.

Minister Panneflek emphasizes on the importance of being vigilant; by wearing our masks, practicing social distancing, sanitizing your hands frequently, washing your hands with soap, and refraining from mass gathering’s. Collectively we will flatten the curve. 

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MP Buncamper commends Minister of VROMI Doran for re-acquiring portion of RFA land

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - In reply to a letter received from United Sint Maarten Party (US) Member of Parliament (MP) Claudius “Toontje” Buncamper of the US Faction in parliament, Minister of VROMI, Egbert Doran responded to the various questions posed and suggestions made by the MP.

MP Buncamper, referring in his letter to the property currently being exploited by Rain Forest Adventure (RFA), questioned the Minister on, among other things, “the illustrious plans for agriculture/reforestation of the Cul de Sac area” and suggested that “we take back at least two thirds of the lands”, seeing the need to have land available for agriculture and that the property was acquired for such purposes, including a natural park.

The Minister informed MP Buncamper that there are no known plans for agriculture and that the agreed reforestation program was carried out between July 2017 and May 2018. In the development agreement between RFA and country St. Maarten it is stated that RFA together with country St. Maarten will jointly develop a number of programs, one being for the reforestation of all indigenous plants and trees on St. Maarten.

There is no mention of agricultural plans or programs in the Development Agreement. However, the reforestation programs was realized when RFA and Environmental Protection in the Caribbean (EPIC) worked together on a BEST 2.0 European funded project. The project resulted in the reforestation of three sites on St. Maarten, one being the grounds of RFA on which some 300 indigenous trees were planted and are being maintained by RFA.

Minister Doran, in his response, also informed the MP that a request was filed by RFA to relinquish or give back a substantial part of the leased land to government. Although the precise dimensions of the piece of land that will be relinquished is still being concluded, it looks like it will be approximately 44% of the property.

The department of domain affairs is in the final stages of handling the request. The Minister emphasized that property of RFA was not acquired for agricultural purposes; the Development Agreement states that it is for the purpose of an “Eco-Adventure and Nature Park”. RFA falls within two zoning areas: “Nature” and “Green Park”.

MP Buncamper commended Minister Doran for re-acquiring part of the property and hopes that, if not all, a substantial part of it will be used for agriculture.

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POSITIVE REPORT FROM SOAB FOR SSRP INCOME, UNEMPLOYMENT PROGRAMS

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - The Government’s accounting Bureau (SOAB) has returned a positive report to Minister of Finance Ardwell Irion on the St. Maarten Stimulus and Relief Program (SSRP - income and unemployment support programs for April, May and June 2020), providing a clear indication that the programs initiated by Minister Irion are functioning and being managed properly.

The programs were put in place to locally absorb, as best possible, the unexpected economic and social shock delivered to world economies by the COVID-19 Pandemic. The purpose was to provide financial assistance to businesses that are severely affected and to create a social safety net for citizens who risked losing their jobs. The income support program includes income support to sole proprietors, vendor license holders, independent bus and taxi drivers who are facing revenue losses due to COVID-19.

The SOAB was tasked by Minister Irion to verify if the administration, internal review and payments of the programs by the St. Maarten Development Fund (SMDF) were executed in accordance to the specific articles of the Ministerial Degree related to this government initiative.

To complete its objective as assigned by the Minister, SOAB had to undertake several administrative actions including, but not limited to:

  • Determining if all persons that have received income and unemployment support, received the amount of NAf 1, 150, their eligibility, documents submitted ect.
  • Determine if rejected applicants for support were indeed denied due to non-compliance of requirements.
  • Determine if SMDF used and applied stipulated criteria.
  • Assess SMDF manner of disbursement of funds from the programs ect
  • If separate bank accounts were created and maintained for both programs
  • If communication with applicants was thorough and detailed with relevant information.

Key to the report was SOAB’s determination that all persons that have received income or unemployment support from SMDF for the period mentioned above, have received the amount of NAf 1,150 as stipulated in the Ministerial decree. The SOAB managed to verify this by obtaining an overview of the bank transactions that includes all funds distributed up until July 27, 2020.

In total there were 340 individual approved applicants for the income and support program from April to July of which SOAB tested 174 (51%) approved applicants. This sample accounted for NAf 483,000 (50%) of the total amount distributed by government to the SMDF for this program. There were 282 applicants for the unemployed program for the same period of which SOAB tested 143 of the approved applicants (50%). This sample accounted for NAf 430,100 (50%) of the total amount distributed by government to the SMDF for the unemployment program.

The SOAB also verified the total amount of subsidy SMDF received from government for the SSRP programs, to the tune of NAf 7,687,380 from the government of St. Maarten. “We received the general ledger of the SMDF in which the transactions pertaining to both the income and unemployment programs are recorded. We noted that all selected applicants for both the income and unemployment support programs were recorded in the ledger,” the SOAB informed the Minister.

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14 New Confirmed COVID-19 Cases. Eight Recoveries. 80 Active Cases

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - As of September 29th, there were fourteen (14) persons who tested positive for COVID-19; however there was a recovery of eight (8) persons; bringing the total active cases to eighty (80). The total number of confirmed cases is now six hundred and fifty- nine (659).

The Collective Prevention Services (CPS) are monitoring seventy- six (76) people in home isolation. Three (3) patients remains hospitalized at the St. Maarten Medical Center and one (1) patient is isolated and being monitored. The total number of deaths due to COVID-19 remains at twenty- two (22).

The number of people recovered since the first case surfaced on St. Maarten remains at five hundred and fifty- seven (557). One hundred and ninety- six (196) people are in quarantine based on contact tracing investigations carried out by CPS of persons who may have been in contact with any of the active cases.

CPS has tested 1041 travelers arriving at the Princess Juliana International Airport, (PJIA) and 2710 people throughout the community. As the numbers continue to fluctuate, CPS will continue to actively execute its contact tracing measures.

Minister Panneflek encourages all to remain positive as we work towards our goal of reducing the spike. Remain vigilant and continue to wear your masks, practice social distancing, sanitize your hands frequently, wash your hands with soap, and refrain from mass gatherings.

ARCHIVED - SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - As of September 28th, there was one (1) person who tested positive for COVID-19; however, there was a recovery of seventeen (17) persons; reducing the total active cases to seventy- four (74). The total number of confirmed cases is now six hundred and forty- five (645).

The Collective Prevention Services (CPS) are monitoring seventy (70) people in home isolation. Three (3) patients remains hospitalized at the St. Maarten Medical Center and one (1) patient is isolated and being monitored. The total number of deaths due to COVID-19 remains at twenty- two (22).

The number of people recovered since the first case surfaced on St. Maarten is five hundred and forty- nine (549). One hundred and seventy- one (171) people are in quarantine based on contact tracing investigations carried out by CPS of persons who may have been in contact with any of the active cases.

CPS has tested 1034 travelers arriving at the Princess Juliana International Airport, (PJIA) and 2686 people throughout the community. As the numbers continue to fluctuate, CPS will continue to actively execute its contact tracing measures.

Minister Panneflek hereby informs the public that we have retrospectively received negative results from the lab of 702 persons who were tested; hence the sharp increase in the number of persons tested throughout the community.

ARCHIVED - SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - As of September 27th, there were eleven (11) persons who tested positive for COVID-19; increasing the total active cases to ninety (90). The total number of confirmed cases is now six hundred and forty- four (644).

The Collective Prevention Services (CPS) are monitoring eighty- six (86) people in home isolation. Three (3) patients remains hospitalized at the St. Maarten Medical Center and one (1) patient is isolated and being monitored. The total number of deaths due to COVID-19 remains at twenty- two (22). 

The number of people recovered since the first case surfaced on St. Maarten remains at five hundred and thirty- two (532). One hundred and thirty- five (135) people are in quarantine based on contact tracing investigations carried out by CPS of persons who may have been in contact with any of the active cases.

CPS has tested 1029 travelers arriving at the Princess Juliana International Airport, (PJIA) and 1985 people throughout the community. As the numbers continue to fluctuate, CPS will continue to actively execute its contact tracing measures. 

ARCHIVED - SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - As of September 26th, there were six (6) persons who tested positive for COVID-19; increasing the total active cases to seventy- nine (79). The total number of confirmed cases is now six hundred and thirty- three (633).

The Collective Prevention Services (CPS) are monitoring seventy- five (75) people in home isolation. Three (3) patients remains hospitalized at the St. Maarten Medical Center and one (1) patient is isolated and being monitored. The total number of deaths due to COVID-19 remains at twenty- two (22).

The number of people recovered since the first case surfaced on St. Maarten remains at five hundred and thirty- two (532). One hundred and twenty- two (122) people are in quarantine based on contact tracing investigations carried out by CPS of persons who may have been in contact with any of the active cases.

CPS has tested 1026 travelers arriving at the Princess Juliana International Airport, (PJIA) and 1960 people throughout the community. As the numbers continue to fluctuate, CPS will continue to actively execute its contact tracing measures.

Minister Panneflek urges all to keep the faith, hold strong and do not lose sight of our goal to flatten the curb. Continuous practice of the implemented guidelines will result in a COVID free Sint Maarten.

ARCHIVED - SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - As of September 25th, there were nine (9) persons who tested positive for COVID-19; however there was a recovery of fifteen (15) persons; reducing the total active cases to seventy- three (73). The total number of confirmed cases is now six hundred and twenty- seven (627).

The Collective Prevention Services (CPS) are monitoring sixty- nine (69) people in home isolation. Three (3) patients are hospitalized at the St. Maarten Medical Center and one (1) patient is isolated and being monitored. The total number of deaths due to COVID-19 remains at twenty- two (22).

The number of people recovered since the first case surfaced on St. Maarten is five hundred and thirty- two (532). One hundred and twenty- two (122) people are in quarantine based on contact tracing investigations carried out by CPS of persons who may have been in contact with any of the active cases.

CPS has tested 1013 travelers arriving at the Princess Juliana International Airport, (PJIA) and 1946 people throughout the community. As the numbers continue to fluctuate, CPS will continue to actively execute its contact tracing measures.

In continuous efforts to control the spread of the virus, wear your masks, practice social distancing, sanitize your hands frequently, wash your hands with soap, and refrain from mass gatherings.

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Coast Guard routine patrols at sea

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY) - Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard units routinely patrol the waters of St. Maarten and at the bays and around coast lines in keeping with our responsibility for patrol and controls at sea, the coast guard said in a statement on Friday.

“These patrols will be carried out frequently to control vessels on the COVID-19 measures for visiting vessels, social distancing, exceeding maximum persons on board of a vessel, valid shipping documents and also speargun fishing.

“During these inspections vessels of which the captain does not have the correct shipping documents on board are subject to fining. Therefore, the Coast Guard urges all captains to have their shipping documents with them and that passengers on board maintain themselves to the COVID-19 measures.

“Vessels must at all times adhere to the number of persons on board as indicated on their registration documentation. The Coast Guard also reminds fishermen that fishing with a speargun is not allowed by law.

“The speargun will be confiscated and the fishermen can receive a fine. The Coast Guard also urges all boat owners to service their vessel regularly. Make sure you have enough safety equipment on board to ensure the safety of life at sea, such as: life jackets, flashlight, first aid kit, enough water, fire extinguisher, VHF radio or charged mobile phone.

“Avoid dangerous situations at sea with your boat. In situation that assistance is needed, Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard alarm number is 913. The Coast Guard wishes you a pleasant and safe maritime experience.”

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Another death recorded due to COVID-19. Two new Positive cases. 79 Active cases

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - The Honorable Minister of Public Health Social Development and Labour (VSA) Richard Panneflek expressed his deepest sympathies to the family and friends of the person who succumbed to Covid-19. He wishes the family much strength during their time of grief.

As of September 24th, there were two (2) persons who tested positive for COVID-19; unfortunately there was another death recorded, bringing the total deaths to twenty- two (22) and the total active cases to seventy- nine (79). The total number of confirmed cases is now six hundred and eighteen (618).

The Collective Prevention Services (CPS) are monitoring 74 people in home isolation. Four (4) patients remains hospitalized at the St. Maarten Medical Center and one (1) patient is isolated and being monitored.

The number of people recovered since the first case surfaced on St. Maarten is 517. Ninety (90) people are in quarantine based on contact tracing investigations carried out by CPS of persons who may have been in contact with any of the active cases.

CPS has tested 1013 travelers arriving at the Princess Juliana International Airport, (PJIA) and 1931 people throughout the community. As the numbers continue to fluctuate, CPS will continue to actively execute its contact tracing measures.

Minister Panneflek expressed that today’s registered death occurred late last week, but is now confirmed that it was attributed to COVID-19. 

Please remain vigilant and continue to wear your masks, practice social distancing, sanitize your hands frequently, wash your hands with soap, and refrain from mass gatherings.

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One new COVID-19 Death. 22 New Positive Cases. Five Recoveries. 78 Active Cases

SINT MAARTEN (PONDFILL) - The Honorable Minister of Public Health Social Development and Labour (VSA) Richard Panneflek expressed his deepest sympathies to the family and friends of the person who succumbed to Covid-19 today. He wished the family much strength during their time of bereavement.

As of September 23rd, there were twenty- two (22) persons who tested positive for COVID-19, there was a recovery of five (5) persons, bringing the total active cases to seventy- eight (78). The total number of confirmed cases is now six hundred and sixteen (616).

The Collective Prevention Services (CPS) are monitoring 74 people in home isolation. Four (4) patients are hospitalized at the St. Maarten Medical Center and the total number of deaths due to COVID-19 has increased to twenty- one (21).  

The number of people recovered since the first case surfaced on St. Maarten is 517. Eighty- three (83) people are in quarantine based on contact tracing investigations carried out by CPS of persons who may have been in contact with any of the active cases.

CPS has tested 1009 travelers arriving at the Princess Juliana International Airport, (PJIA) and 1929 people throughout the community. As the numbers continue to fluctuate, CPS will continue to actively execute its contact tracing measures.

Minister Panneflek expressed that the jump in positive cases today are results that reflect testing done over the past three (3) days, as there was a backlog at the laboratory. In efforts to control the spread of the virus, wear your masks, practice social distancing, sanitize your hands frequently, wash your hands with soap, and refrain from mass gatherings.

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Three new Positive COVID-19 Cases. Seven recoveries. 62 Active Cases

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - As of September 22nd there were three (3) persons who tested positive for COVID-19, however there was a recovery of seven (7) persons, bringing the total active cases to sixty- two (62). 

The total number of confirmed cases is now five hundred and ninety- four (594).

The Collective Prevention Services (CPS) are monitoring 59 people in home isolation. Three (3) patients remains hospitalized at the St. Maarten Medical Center and the total number of deaths due to COVID-19 remains at 20. 

The number of people recovered since the first case surfaced on St. Maarten is 512. Fifty- seven (57) people are in quarantine based on contact tracing investigations carried out by CPS of persons who may have been in contact with any of the active cases.

CPS has tested 1009 travelers arriving at the Princess Juliana International Airport, (PJIA) and 1894 people throughout the community. As the numbers continue to fluctuate, CPS will continue to actively execute its contact tracing measures.

Although we are witnessing a decrease in the number of active cases, Minister Panneflek reminds the public that there is still much work to be done. Continue to wear your masks, practice social distancing, sanitize your hands frequently, wash your hands with soap, and refrain from mass gathering as our main goal is to achieve zero active cases in Sint Maarten. 

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Cabinet of Justice Staff Member Recovering from COVID-19 at Home

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - On Monday, September 21st, 2020, a staff member of the Cabinet of Justice advised the Minister of Justice Anna E. Richardson that Collective Prevention Services (CPS) had shortly confirmed that they tested positive for COVID-19. Thursday, September 17th, 2020, was the last day the staff member was on the job.

Considering the close contact between the staff member, Minister Richardson and the cabinet staff were contacted by CPS on Monday, September 21st, 2020, and advised to quarantine immediately, which they did. As such, the offices of the cabinet of Justice are being cleaned and sanitized.

Notice of the positive case was given to the Council of Ministers, the Secretariat and persons who have been in close contact with Minister Richardson and her cabinet staff within the past four days to advise them of this development. “Although my cabinet staff and I are in quarantine, we are working from home and will continue to execute our duties within the health perimeters as prescribed by CPS,” stated Minister Richardson.

At this present moment, Minister Richardson nor any of the other staff members have symptoms of the COVID-19 virus. Minister Richardson stated that she will rest and remain hydrated by drinking lots of fluids such as herbal tea and water along with intake of vitamin C. She plans to expose herself to healthy portions of sun light and continue to stay positive in faith.

“I am bidding everyone to stay healthy and continue to take the necessary precautions to remain safe. All persons still working in the government administration building are reminded to uphold mask wearing protocols while less than 2 meters away from others and hand sanitize regularly. Know that this is a situation that is affecting the entire world and not just St. Maarten, as such we will pull through this. The staffer and her family remains in our prayers and is wished a speedy recovery,” Minister Richardson concluded.

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