Soualiga Newsday Focus

Soualiga Newsday Focus (1610)

Theoretical part of Driver’s License Exam Digitalized

GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – The Ministry of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Traffic and Telecommunications (TEATT), Driving Exams Department (DED) has commenced with a soft launch of its ‘Digital Theory Driving Examinations, and with the full launch scheduled for September 2nd, 2019’.

The Driving Exams Department has commenced with digitization which is about a five-year process. The department started off with the digitalization of the theoretical part of the exam which has been vetted by curriculum developers used by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports, and they are based on local and international standards.

The aforementioned automated process is also in use on the French side of the island as well as in Aruba and Curacao.

DED wants to move away from the current system and into the 21st century leading to a well versed and rounded driver with safety being number one on the public roadway.

Driver’s license applicants have 30 questions with a choice of 30 to 45 minutes. A number of applicants have passed the exam and have expressed satisfaction with the new system.

DED advises that applicants should not be nervous or overanxious. The timeframe to take the theoretical exam is sufficient.

The program allows the applicant to get their results instantly via email once they have entered their email address into the system. Applicants must have basic computer-use knowledge which facilitates the examination process. Under special conditions candidates with challenges can be accommodated if the candidates advised the Civil Registry in advance upon application for the exam.

The manual theoretical exam system will be phased out after September 2nd, 2019. The new system allows DED to quadruple the number of exams carried out in one day.

The process for the applicant has improved leading to a better customer service experience; the time from making the appointment to sitting the exam has been shortened considerably.

There are plans in the making to integrate the appointment system with that of the Civil Registry Department where it concerns notification of appointment via email. This should take place in the second half of 2019.

Driving schools are now more important than ever. They have been appraised of the new system that has been put in place and applicants will need to work more closer with the aforementioned in preparing for their exams.

The new system has not led to an increase in costs for applicants.


School Bus Annual Inspection Starts on July 23rd

GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – The Inspectorate of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Traffic and Telecommunications (TEATT), Section School Bussing, would like to inform school bus owners and drivers that the Annual School Bus Inspection will take place on July 23rd, 25th, July 30th, August 1st, 6th with the final inspection day being on August 8th, 2019.

School bus owners are asked to visit the department at Juancho Yrausquin Boulevard #6 during office hours Monday through Friday or call 721-527-3825 or 721-542-4519 to make an appointment to have their busses inspected. Busses will be inspected by appointment only.

The Annual School Bus Inspection will take place on the Ring Road across from Bluepoint from 9.00AM to 11.00AM and 1.00PM to 3.00PM.

School bus owners as well as the drivers must be present during the school bus inspections and are required to have their original documents as well as copies of all their valid documents available during the inspection.

The documents required are: a valid, in color, driver’s license and valid driver license category for the vehicle for all drivers of the motor vehicle; valid motor vehicle insurance and valid inspection card.

Additionally, a fire extinguisher with valid inspection card and stored properly, a valid, fully stocked first aid kit. Chamber of Commerce registration for the owner/operator, spare tire and tools are to be in each vehicle.

School bus owners need to have the route the bus operates on display on the bus as well. All the aforementioned must be in order prior to the inspection process.


‘Use natural pest controls to fight oak processionary caterpillars’

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Council pest controllers have been urged not to use vacuums or poison to remove oak processionary caterpillars as they risk causing environmental damage.

Conservation agency Vogelbescherming Nederland said biological solutions that encourage natural predators such as insects, birds and bats to feed on the caterpillars were more effective.

The agency has published model letters which people can send to their municipality pressing them to fight the spread of the caterpillars by more eco-friendly methods. The larvae of the oak processionary moth are covered in poisonous hairs which, when shed, can cause itching, swelling and breathing difficulties if inhaled.

Vogelbescherming said councils should hold off from mowing roadside verges and cultivate plants such as clover, honeysuckle and dead-nettles to sustain predators. The municipality of Wapenveld said it had reduced the infestation of oak processionary caterpillars by 85% since adopting biological pest control.



Founder of German cancer clinic guilty of causing deaths of three patients

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – The founder of an alternative cancer clinic where three patients died during treatment has been given a two-year suspended jail sentence for causing their deaths.

Klaus Ross treated mainly Dutch patients who had not responded to conventional treatment at his clinic in Bracht, just across the border near Venlo. Prosecutors asked for Ross to be jailed for three years after two Dutch and one Belgian patient died while being treated with 3-Bromopryuvate (3BP), an experimental drug which is being developed at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore but has not been approved for clinical use.

Ross was accused of giving dangerously high doses to five patients, two of whom survived but were left ‘severely ill’. The three who died were a 55-year-old man from Apeldoorn, a 43-year-old woman from Wijk en Aalburg and a 55-year-old Belgian woman.

The court in Krefeld was told that many of Ross’s patients were terminally ill by the time they came to him. He is not suspected of killing them deliberately.

Alternative clinicians in Germany are allowed to take blood samples and administer drugs by infusion, in contrast to the Netherlands, where they can only carry out these procedures under the supervision of a doctor.



Special care centre proposed for returning jihadi children: AD

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Older children who were born to Dutch jihadists and return to the Netherlands may be housed in a special care home, reports the AD.

There are currently 210 children in Syria and Turkey with Dutch nationality through their parents, around a tenth of whom are thought to be older than nine.

These children, who were not born in the IS ‘caliphate’, may have had combat training or been forced to have taken part in dangerous activities, sources in Dutch secret services and the child protection board told the AD.

The paper says the child protection board is considering a special childcare centre for these older children, with 24-hour monitoring and specialist assistance to assess their level of trauma and whether they might pose ‘dangers to society’.

Last year, at least 14 children returned to the Netherlands, all younger than nine and none have been put in a home so far.



Education minister calls for board of Hindu school in The Hague to step down

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Education minister Arie Slob has threatened to withdraw funding from a Hindu primary school in The Hague that has been at the centre of accusations of financial mismanagement.

The board at the city’s Algemene Hindoe Basisschool (General Hindu Elementary) is accused of misappropriating cash meant for educational materials and spending it on other facilities such as pupil transport.

Education inspectors also criticised the standard of teaching at the school as ‘well below standard’, particularly in the early years. Slob has said the ministry will stop the school’s funding unless it replaces the governing board, in a move that has overtones the ministry’s efforts to force the resignation of the board at the Cornelius Haga Lyceum, Amsterdam’s only Muslim secondary school.

The Hindu school in The Hague tried to persuade a court to block publication of the education inspectors’ report. The school has been run by an interim head, Edu Dumasy, since February after the previous board stepped down.

Dumasy told NRC that his team was working hard to address the issues raised by inspectors and had produced a 16-point plan identifying improvements. He says the interim board should be given time to turn round the school’s fortunes.

He admitted he faced a ‘chaotic situation’ when he took over in February, but the problems were being addressed. ‘On my first day there were five fights in the school playground,’ he said.

‘We all agree that something had to change.’ He said order and security had been restored on campus and the school was financially secure. ‘Everything is being fixed,’ he said.



Man with €68,000 in his pocket jumps into river to avoid police

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – A man caught by the police with €68,000 may not yet have been hung out to dry – but the cash has.

Rotterdam police revealed in a tweet that a man who could not explain the presence of thousands of €50 notes in his pocket chose to jump into the Nieuwe Maas river.

Unfortunately, his suspicious behaviour meant that he was arrested anyway, and the police have laid out all of the money to dry in the station.

‘What do you do if you have €68,000 in your pocket that you can’t explain to police right in front of you?’ said the force in a tweet.

‘A man on the Prinshendrikkade saw just one way out: to jump into the water with the money.’

In answer to another tweet, a police officer revealed that if the man cannot properly explain the presence of the cash, it will be confiscated by the state.



Minister to withdraw funding from Islamic school if board does not change

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Education minister Arie Slob has announced that he will stop funding to the Cornelius Haga Lyceum, an Islamic middle school in Amsterdam, if the current board remains in place.

Slob announced that only a new school management can ‘put the educational quality, operational management and finances in order’ after a critical report from school inspectors was made public.

This report said that the current board’s ‘policy and management is damaging for the foundation, the school and the pupils because it will not distance itself from people with a controversial reputation when it comes to promoting citizenship’ and criticised financial misconduct among senior staff.

‘All pupils deserve good education, regardless of what school they are at’ said Slob in a statement. ‘There is maladministration at the Cornelius Haga Lyceum, and in addition, directors do too little to promote citizenship at the school.

This is why we need a new board.’ If this new management is not announced within the first few weeks of the next school year, he said, public finance would be withdrawn.

However, he told the NOS broadcaster that the crackdown was unrelated to the fact that it is one of the Netherlands’ two Islamic middle schools, saying that a protestant or non-faith school would be treated just the same if it did not follow the law.

The Haga Lyceum has been the focus of long-running controversy about its connections with Islamic preachers, including British imam Haitham al-Haddad, who has been criticised for his views on Jews, homosexuality and female genital mutilation.

Earlier this year, the AIVD briefed Amsterdam mayor Femke Halsema that it was being influenced by ‘undemocratic groups’, prompting her to freeze funding. The school has taken a combative approach, trying to block publication of the last inspection report through the courts and announcing that a former PVV politician would become interim director as an April Fool’s joke.

It has always denied being influenced by radical elements, and the inspectors’ report found no evidence that it was indoctrinating pupils along Salafist lines. It has not yet responded to Slob’s statement.



Collision between planes at Schiphol ’caused by ATC error’

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – A mistake by air traffic control is believed to have caused two passenger planes to collide on the ground at Schiphol airport on Tuesday.

Local news outlet NH Nieuws said it had obtained a recording from the ATC tower of the incident, in which an easyJet Airbus A320 and a KLM Boeing 737 collided at low speed as they were being pushed back from the departure gates.

Nobody was injured. In the audio fragment, the air traffic controller is heard apologising to the pilot of the easyJet plane straight after the collision happened at 7.15am.

‘Misunderstanding,’ he says, ‘I thought you were parked on the H-pier, but it’s now [gate] D25.’ EasyJet flights usually take off from the H-pier, but the plane in question had been given permission to park at the D gates.

NH Nieuws published a subtitled video of the incident without sound to protect the air traffic controller’s identity. The aviation police has interviewed both pilots, the ground controller and the air traffic controller on duty as part of their investigation into the incident.

Police have said alcohol did not play a role. It is the second time this year that aircraft have collided on the ground at Schiphol during pushback. An investigation is ongoing into the previous incident in February between two KLM planes.



Not with a ban but a whimper: only most dangerous fireworks to be outlawed

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – The Dutch government is expected to stop the sale of the most dangerous fireworks from next year’s New Year’s Eve but steer clear of a complete ban.

Sources in The Hague have told broadcaster NOS that an announcement is expected on Friday. The government is expected to announce a ban of fireworks in the most dangerous ‘F3’ category, such as ‘Chinese rolls’ of multiple firecrackers – although the vast majority of fireworks on sale to consumers are in the lower ‘F2’ safety band.

This would be a disappointment to the OVV Dutch safety board and police, which have called for more comprehensive bans. Last year, 400 people across the country needed hospital treatment for injuries caused by setting off fireworks themselves.

However, if the number of injuries does not fall, the government is understood to be considering more restrictions. Leo Groeneveld, chairman of firework sellers’ organisation Belangenvereniging Pyrotechniek Nederland told the NOS that a partial ban would not make much difference.

‘I don’t understand this at all,’ he reportedly said. ‘The category that will be banned, F3 or Cat3, is such a small part of the collection, less than half a percent, and not even the most dangerous.

I don’t think it’s a great idea.’ He claimed that other types of firework such as flares caused the most injuries. Police also told the NOS in a written reaction that they were disappointed and felt that ‘mayors, police staff, first aiders and doctors are not being listened to by the government’.


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