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WEATHER WATCH: Possible two storms to impact Lesser Antilles in early August

SINT MAARTEN/CARIBBEAN – The first hurricane of the 2019 Atlantic season Barry has fizzled out, but the season still has four and a half months to go and the peak of the season still has to come.  The next two names on the list for the season are Chantal and Dorian.

All is Quiet

Crown Weather reported on Monday that for now and up to the end of July: “Looking beyond all of this, it is possible that we could see no tropical development right through all of next week as well. After that, the tropical development chances look to increase as we close this month and open up the month of August.”

Tropical system could Impact Lesser Antilles

Crown Weather says that early August the Lesser Antilles could experience its first tropical weather system for the season according to the long-term weather forecast model. “It appears that upward motion across the Atlantic Basin will increase by late this month leading to an increase in overall favorable environmental conditions. The very long range CFS model continues to show these favorable conditions and has been very consistent in showing a tropical system to impact the Lesser Antilles between August 1 and August 5.

Second tropical system could Impact Lesser Antilles

“In addition, the CFS model also shows a second tropical system potentially impacting the Lesser Antilles around mid-August. In fact, the CFS model shows this second tropical system ultimately impacting the Bahamas and riding up the US East Coast between August 17 and August 20.”

Potential storm activity in October

Crown Weather adds that October could also see storm activity during the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season. “So, while model guidance like the CFS model will never, ever get the exact details of the weather right, there are some concerning signals in the data that suggest that August, September and maybe even part of October could be quite busy.

“The forecast El Nino is not going to happen and its influence on the Atlantic Basin is now starting to fade. In addition, the Atlantic Sea Surface Temperature profile is trending towards one that is more favorable for tropical development.

“Finally, the level of shear as compared to average has fallen to near or below average across the Caribbean and the central and eastern Atlantic. All of these signals say to me that conditions may be favorable to even quite favorable for tropical development throughout August and September.”

SOUALIGA NEWSDAY WEATHER WATCH

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‘Tip of the iceberg’ as police officers fired after corruption and security inquiries

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Dozens of police officers have been dismissed from the force in recent weeks following investigations into corruption and breaches of official secrecy, amid warnings that the revelations represent the ‘tip of the iceberg’.

A report obtained by the AD newspaper said police divisions across the country were being infiltrated by organised crime, with 19 officers in Midden-Nederland based in Utrecht found to have criminal links.

Last week the newspaper revealed that the gang led by Ridouan Taghi, who is facing trial for drug dealing and organising a number of underworld killings, had connections with one of the most senior officers in Utrecht.

The officer was named in witness testimony seen by AD and has since been fired following an investigation. In Limburg a senior officer was suspended for ‘potentially unprofessional behaviour’ and three team members have been taken off duty, following an inquiry into four other police personnel who were suspended in April.

A 55-year-old member of Amsterdam’s police division was suspended and arrested last week on suspicion of corruption in office, tampering with computers and breaching official secrecy.

It is the seventh time in the last two months that a police staff member in Amsterdam has been suspended for professional misconduct; in the earlier incidents employees were sanctioned for stalking, fraud, dereliction of duty and misusing information from police computers.

Jan Struijs, chairman of the NPD police union, said the force needed to be made more resilient to criminal influences. ‘Our officers are being approached by stealth by criminals,’ he said. ‘It happens at every level. Officers need to be trained to deal with it in a good and responsible manner.’

Discrimination

The police have also been criticised for failing to tackle a culture of discrimination and bullying following the departure of Carel Boers, who was hired to advise the force on its diversity policy.

Boers said he had witnessed officers using derogatory language about citizens, including racial slurs, and being openly disparaging about colleagues from minority ethnic backgrounds.

‘It’s quite normal in the police for people to say: “You’re a Moroccan and I’m never going to trust you,” he wrote in a letter to justice minister Ferd Grapperhaus. He accused the head of the force, Erik Akerboom, of refusing to acknowledge or deal with the problem.

‘Akerboom’s leadership consists of systematically avoiding any kind of conflict. It is more important for him not to make mistakes than to do the right thing.’

(DutchNews)

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Community SMS Alert: A TEST will be carried out on Wednesday 17 July

SAINT MARTIN (MARIGOT) - As part of the preparations for the current cyclone season, the Community of Saint-Martin will test its SMS alert system on Wednesday, July 17, 2019.

“We inform people who are already registered on the Community website that they will receive an SMS from 93004 "TEST TEST TEST TEST".

“We invite people who are not yet registered to do so quickly, in order to receive alerts in case of major phenomenon,” according to a press release from the Collectivite.

Sign up on http://www.com-saint-martin.fr/alerte-sms.html

The Community of St. Martin thanks you for your participation, concludes the Collectivite Communications Directorate press statement.

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Take Action: Food wholesalers and warehouse depots requested to be storm ready

GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – Are You Ready?  Food wholesalers and warehouse depots are requested to have their facilities storm/hurricane ready by having a plan in place for the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season.

The aforementioned should be prepared to secure their properties in the event of a storm/hurricane threat, the Office of Disaster Management (ODM) said on Thursday.

National Disaster Coordinator/Fire Chief Clive Richardson is appealing to the business community to use the time now to prepare or review their current pre-storm/hurricane plans and contingency plans.

“The second named storm of the season has formed in the Gulf of Mexico – Tropical Storm Barry.  It is no threat to St. Maarten, but it is a stark reminder that we are in the hurricane season. 

“Every effort must be made to be prepared to take timely action in clearing the surroundings of storage areas of loose pallets and other materials in the event of a weather-related threat,” Richardson pointed out. 

Every business has a role to play in being storm ready for the hurricane season.

The formation of Tropical Storm Barry allows business owners and households to review their hurricane preparation plans and to adjust and address any weaknesses in those plans.

The primary objective is the protection of people first and foremost, property and surrounding residential areas second. This ODM message comes four weeks before the start – mid-August - of the peak part of the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season.

Materials such as plywood, shipping pallets, food pallets, and pieces of metal used to secure pallet shipments, can easily become flying missiles capable of impaling brick or wooden walls, zink roofs or anything in its way. 

It is the responsibility of the business owner to have plans in place to remove any materials and/or have them properly secured on the property where their business is located within a short period of time in the event of a storm/hurricane threat to the country.

When a tropical storm or hurricane watch is issued 48-hours before a system is forecasted to hit the country, businesses should activate their business resilience hurricane preparedness plans.

For general information about preparing prior to a storm/hurricane strike, visit the Government website: www.sintmaartengov.org/hurricane where you will be able to download your “Hurricane Season Readiness Guide’ and “Hurricane Tracking Chart.” Listen to the Government Radio station – 107.9FM - for official information and news before, during and after a hurricane.  For official weather-related information, check out the website of the Meteorological Department of St. Maarten (MDS): www.meteosxm.com

Remember, be storm ready! Are You Ready?

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NIPA receive laptops from ANTEK IT Solutions & Software

SINT MAARTEN (CAY HILL) - Lenovo has offered a set of Lenovo laptops to ANTEK IT Solutions & Software to be donated to the National Institute for Professional Advancement (NIPA). NIPA was selected because it is presently the next school profiting from Foresee Foundation's DigiTeenz project.

Foresee Foundation proposed to donate those laptops to NIPA as they are investing in upgrading the ICT infrastructure, equipping the school with a new network and advanced equipment. NIPA believes that ICT in education is important to equip their students with practical skills needed in the 21st century.

The three donated laptops will be used by students who do not own their own laptop and do not have access to a computer. Such students will be given the opportunity to borrow the laptops through the library/resource center at NIPA during school time and use them for presentations and assignments.

National Institute for Professional Advancement thanks Lenovo and ANTEK for the donation and commends them for investing in the education of the students of St. Maarten.

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Justice Ministers Judicial Top Meeting Concludes on Wednesday

SINT MAARTEN (MAHO) – The justice ministers from the four countries within the Kingdom of the Netherlands will conclude their two-day meeting on Wednesday.

The Four-party Judicial Top Meeting includes the Minsters of Justice from the Netherlands (Minister F. Grapperhaus), Aruba (Minister A. Bikker), Curacao (Minister Q. Girigorie) and Sint Maarten (Minister C. De Weever). The meeting takes place twice a year and started on July 9 under the chairmanship of Sint Maarten.

The justice ministers have been discussing law enforcement cooperation; the joint fight against cross-border crime; strengthening the judicial sector; increased law enforcement cooperation with the United States of America; strengthening border security of the islands; immigration and migrants.

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The Heat is on says the Meteorological Dept.

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY) - Temperatures throughout the month of June varied, said the Meteorological Department of St. Maarten (MDS) in their seasonal outlook for July to September. “Night-time temperatures were warmer than average while daytime temperatures were slightly below the average. The warmest day was the 29th with an average temperature of 29.2oC/85o F.

“On the 26th the maximum temperature reached 32.3oC/90o F making it the first heatwave day for 2019. The coolest day was the 1st with an average temperature of 25.8oC/78o F. The day with the most sunshine hours was the 12th (11hrs :48min).

“The day with the least sunshine hours was the 1st (6hrs:18min). The windiest day was the 28th, with a daily average wind speed of 13 kts. / 15 mph. There was a maximum wind gust of 29 kt/31 mph that same day. Partly cloudy skies prevailed throughout the month of June accompanied by episodes of Saharan dust.”

MDS adds that, “During the last month temperatures have soared across the globe. There are reports of very high temperatures in parts of Europe and even the Caribbean. In France a temperature of 45.1oC/113o F was reported and Jamaica reported 39.1oC / 102o F towards the end of June.

“There can be a significant difference between the temperature measured at the thermometer and what is actually felt by humans which is referred to as the heat Index. The heat felt is hotter if the humidity is high and winds are very light.

“Based on historical data at the Princess Juliana International Airport; hot days are considered days when the maximum daytime temperature reaches 32.3oC/90o F; very hot days when maximum reaches 32.7oC/91o F and any day when maximum temperature exceeds 33.6oC/92o F is considered extremely hot.

“On St. Maarten most hot days occur between the months of July to September. In July of 1991 there were 29 such days, August 1991 29 such days and September 2001 there were 27 such days. Heat waves are 3 or more consecutive hot days. The predictions for Jul-Aug-Sept. indicates that, this year the hot season will be hotter than the last two years.

“During extremely hot and humid weather, your body's ability to cool itself is challenged. It is important to know the symptoms of excessive heat exposure or heat exhaustion and the appropriate responses.

“Some of the symptoms are: Heavy sweating, weakness, pale, weak pulse, possible muscle cramps, dizziness and Fainting. ¨ If you work outdoors it is important to wear loose protective clothing, shades, hats, stay hydrated and take frequent breaks in the shade. ¨ At home check on the elderly, sick and those without air-condition. ¨ Never leave kids or pets in vehicles unattended.”

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UPDATE: One suspect dies. Off-duty female police officer confronts two-armed robbery suspects

CAY HILL (UPDATE) - On Friday morning July 5th the police chief and officers investigating of the attempted armed robbery at Econofood Supermarket learnt that one of the suspects in this case has died at the Sint Maarten Medical Center as a result of the wound he sustained during the shooting. The body of the victim in the meanwhile has been confiscated for further investigation.

Police Chief Carl John and his management-team will give cooperation to legally required investigation conducted by the Federal Detectives (Landsrecherche) in connection with the shooting of the two-armed robbers by an off-duty police officer at Econofood Supermarket on Welgelegen road which took place on Thursday July 4th at approximately 8.00 p.m.

The Chief of Police will definitely fully stand firm behind the heroic actions taken by the officer to protect those that were in the supermarket at time of the robbery. The officer’s action clearly shows that the job of a police officer is not as simple as it may seem and also shows how officers go beyond the call of duty by putting their life on the line to protect the community and the visitors to the island.

The officer in question was in the establishment while the robbery was taking place and decided not to back down but instead confronted both armed suspects using the service firearm. During this confrontation the officer managed to apprehend both suspects.

KPSM (Sint Maarten Police Force) is also sending out a very stern warning to those youngsters who are involved in any criminal activity to refrain from doing so, because KPSM will do everything within the boundaries of the laws to arrest you and bring you to justice.

KPSM will never stop. KPSM will without any doubt continue to serve and protect the community of Sint Maarten and the visitors to the island to the best of our ability, a statement from KPSM said on Friday morning.

KPSM also warns that threatening the employees of the organization as a whole or an employee as an individual is unacceptable. This criminal behavior will not be tolerated, and legal actions will immediately be taken against them.

In the meanwhile, KPSM is making sure that the officer in question receives all the necessary support and psychological treatment.

ARCHIVE - SINT MAARTEN (CAY HILL) - On Thursday July 4th at approximately 8.00 p.m. two armed robbers stormed into the Econo Food Market located on the Welgelegen road in Cay Hill, with the intention to rob the establishment, police said in a statement on Thursday evening.

While robbing the place an off-duty female police officer who was in the supermarket at the time saw what was going on. She immediately pulled her service fire arm and confronted both suspects shooting both of them.

Immediately several police patrols, detectives, Forensic investigators and paramedics were sent to scene to investigate what had taken place. The area was immediately cordoned off for the Forensic officers to collect evidence and detectives to speak to potential witnesses.

The suspects were treated on the scene by paramedics and then transported to the Sint Maarten Medical Center for further medical treatment. The identity of the suspects has not yet been established.

The investigation is in the preliminary stages and more details are unavailable at this time. As soon as more information becomes available the media will be informed. (Sint Maarten Police Force)

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Rotary Sunset Installs New Board

SINT MAARTEN (COLE BAY) - June 23rd, 2019, marked a proud day for members of Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunset as they celebrated their first change of board ceremony. Distinguished guests, such as the Assistant District Governor Marcellia Henry, Presidents and Secretaries of various clubs island wide as well as and well-wishers gathered at the Melange restaurant to share and engage in fellowship.

The day was filled with various activities while celebrants and invitees were delighted with a wonderful selection of breakfast delicacies as well as a filling lunch buffet. A tasteful selection of music played in the background was provided by the sounds of Lynroy Rey of Sweet Pan Entertainment. Mistress of Ceremonies, Malaika Maxwell, kept the crowd enthused throughout the event.

President Jaida Nisbett proudly gave notice and recognition to the hard work and dedication of all members. Following this acknowledgment, she particularly gave a distinction in recognizing members who displayed an outstanding amount of effort and commitment with the President’s Awards in areas that included fellowship, service above self, board member of the year and Rotarian of the year. The recipients respectively were Rotarians Katy Africa, Antoine Flanders, Kimberly Duzong and Jennifer Rombley. Member Rotarian Julie Ramchandani was given a Distinction Service citation, as she will be departing the club and the island.

The guest speaker of the day was Mr.Lenworth Wilson JR. CEO/ Co-owner of Gifted Foundation and the LAB tutoring center. Mr. Wilson presented his speech based on the club’s Four-way test; what it means and the actual impact and importance on our society as a whole. He also acknowledged the members’ vibrant energy, tenacity, and all that the club has done thus far.

President Jaida Nisbett and Assistant District Governor Marcellia Henry installed the incoming board for 2019-2020. The 2019-2020 incoming board is as follows:

President - Jaida Nisbett, Vice President - Kathy Africa, Secretary & President Elect - Elisia Lake, Treasurer - Lailoni Verwoord, Rotary Foundation Chair - Michelette Boasman, Sergeant at Arms - Tamara Wilson- Leito, Public Image Chair - Roylyka Roache, Club Administration Chair - Shemaiah Fleming, Club Membership Chair- Norrisa Anatol, Club, Service Project Chair - Kimberley Duzong , Club Fundraising Chair- Micheline Warner, Club Youth Service Chair - Jennifer Rombley, Club Disaster Relief Chair - Antoine Flanders.

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Preserving Culture A Unifying Force and Driver of Development

SINT MAARTEN (CUL DE SAC) - His Excellency drs. E.B. Holiday Governor of Sint Maarten delivered on the occasion of the Observance of the 156th anniversary of Emancipation Day on Monday, July 1, 2019 the following message at the Emilio Wilson Estate:

My Fellow Sint Maarteners,

Good afternoon,

Marie-Louise and I wish you a most Blessed Emancipation Day,

We bring you greetings in honor of the sacrifices and triumph of our forefathers.

Emancipation is one of the most significant events in Sint Maarten’s history. Emancipation marked the triumph of the indomitable will of the enslaved men and women of Sint Maarten to be free. A triumph, which redefined our collective destiny as a Sint Maarten people.

My fellow Sint Maarteners,

Emancipation had a profound impact on perceptions, notions, and traditions and helped to reshape the social, economic, political and cultural order of Sint Maarten. We the people of Sint Maarten, the sons and daughters of former slaves and slave-owners, have since realized major achievements, made possible by our collective efforts.

In doing so we created our Sint Maarten Culture. When we speak about culture, we are in fact speaking about identity. In speaking about identity, we are speaking about who we are as individuals and as a people. In speaking about identity, the best place to start is with our individual names. Our name is our identity, it is a window to our culture and to who we are as individuals and as a people. Our name connects us to our past and our past teaches us lessons for our future.

This fore day morning I mentioned the names of some of my pre emancipation ancestors, such as, Couba and Present, which seems to point to their West-African origin and heritage. These names, which refer to the day of birth and the circumstance of birth, suggest that our ancestors, in resistance to the renaming practices of slavery, tried to maintain their customs, traditions and culture of their forefathers. Other names of my pre emancipation ancestors include Francis and Madellaine, reflecting a break with their African naming traditions. That in keeping with the times they lived in. In recalling their names, I emphasized that we must identify, name, tell the stories of and as a result connect with the men and women of Sint Maarten’s Emancipation Movement.

In doing so I was guided by the belief that the common future of our country, of our people, is grounded in our connection, knowledge and understanding of our past. A glance into our past invariably reveals who we are today. How we got here, the land we live on, the structures that surround us, the foods we eat, the music we play, the way we speak and the very genes we carry have been inherited. In short, we are all carriers of the heritage and culture passed on to us by previous generations.

As carriers of the heritage of our ancestors, that is of their stories of struggle, sacrifice and emancipation, we are reminded that we have a collective obligation to our forefathers to protect and continue to build on their legacy. That is a legacy to stand for, protect and build a culture of freedom, equality, justice and brotherhood for the improvement of future generations. To fulfill our collective obligation, we must continue to build Sint Maarten based on the dignity and values of the individual, and on the entitlement of all individuals to fundamental rights and freedoms; that is we must continue to build our nation to secure jobs for our youth, eliminate poverty, and eradicate all forms of exploitation and oppression; that is we must focus on what we have in common as opposed to on our differences; that is we must work together if Sint Maarten is to prosper; that is we must unite as one people for our common cause: Sint Maarten.

Standing for and protecting Sint Maarten’s Cultural heritage is important. Important because our cultural legacy determines our destiny and our means to success. Important because the reason for Sint Maarten’s achievements over the years lies in its heritage, that is its natural beauty, our traditions, our history of courage, determination and resilience. A heritage that molded us into an island of resilient and friendly people.

Thanks to our heritage we have a rich Sint Maarten culture manifested in our food, drinks, music and dance. A cultural heritage preserved through the works of various cultural pioneers such as: Tanny and the Boys with String Music, the York Family with music through the steel pan, Lasana Sekou with National Symbols as well as with poetry about salt, Ruby Bute with her Market Paintings, Roland Richardson with his paintings of the flamboyant tree, Clara Reyes with the Ponam dance and others with our national drink, Guavaberry.

My fellow Sint Maarteners,

As I said, as carriers of the heritage of our ancestors, we have a collective obligation to our forefathers to protect and continue to build on their legacy.

I am in that regard encouraged by the efforts of government and various persons in our society to preserve, nurture and build on our cultural heritage. I therefore applaud the work of Voices and its leader Ms. N-ko-sa-sana Illis through the annual observance of Emancipation Day towards the preservation of our culture. I am particularly pleased, given the importance of national heritage as a unifying force and as a critical driver of the development of our nation.

I good Friendly Sint Maarten tradition I therefore close and hereby, also on behalf of Marie Louise, wish you a most wonderful and memorable 156th Emancipation Day celebration.

Thank you,

God Bless you, and

May God Bless Sint Maarten and Protect its coast.

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