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Marechaussee makes arrest on suspicion of falsifying COVID tests

BONAIRE (KRALENDIJK) - The Royal Netherlands Marechaussee (KMar) on Bonaire arrested a 42-year-old woman on Wednesday, 6th of October 2021, on suspicion of forgery and/or fraud. The woman is suspected of being responsible for issuing several tens of false commercial COVID tests to people who were tested before their flight to the United States. This concerns both antigen and PCR tests. 

When the travelers concerned handed over the test results on Saturday the 2nd of October in order to check in for their flight, doubts arose about the authenticity of the documents. It soon became apparent that the agency under whose name the test results were issued was not aware of the group of travelers and never issued them a test result. The Royal Netherlands Marechaussee was called in for this.

The KMar has launched an investigation into the case and is working closely with the Dutch Caribbean Police Force (KPCN) and the Public Health Department of the Public Entity Bonaire (OLB). One suspect was arrested in this case, who has also already been detained.

By virtue of her position, the suspect was involved in conducting commercial PCR and antigen tests, further investigation should determine whether she abused her position to falsify the tests. The KMar is also investigating whether there have been previous incidents in which the suspect was guilty. (RCN Caribbean Netherlands)

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Presentation 2020 Annual Report of SER Curacao to the Prime Minister

SINT MAARTEN/CURACAO - Prime Minister Gilmar Pisas of Curaçao was presented with the first copy of the Social Economic Council's (SER) of Curaçao 2020 Annual Report on Monday, October, 4, 2021. The annual report accounts for the SER activities and results in the corona year 2020 and reflects on the need for a rapid transition from crisis management to sustainable recovery policies.

The foreword emphasizes that COVID-19 has increased the contradictions and uncertainties in Curaçao and that, unlike what has been the case so far, it is necessary to focus as a collectivity on the resolution of the structural factors that stand in the way of a balanced and sustainable socio-economic development of the island.

"The ever-growing and exacerbated by the corona crisis poverty gap, job insecurity, declining quality of labor, shortages in social sectors, backlogs in the implementation of public services and declining educational performance are symptomatic of the apparent collective inability and lack of decisiveness and urgency to remove structural institutional, legal and administrative barriers," the preface states.

According to the SER of the leeward island, it is therefore of great importance that "the causes of this are tackled and that substantial investments are made in welfare improvement and welfare growth: in future earning capacity, in security of work and income, in strong public services such as education, care and security, in restoring the confidence of citizens and entrepreneurs in the government, in more equality of opportunity and in a sustainable living environment, now and in the future."

Creative socio-economic program

The SER of Curaçao therefore expects that the coming period will demand much of our adaptability. "Global transitions, such as rapid digitalization, globalization and an aging population will bring about major shifts in employment between sectors and changes in the nature and content of work. To adequately cope with these transitions as a society, an ambitious, multifaceted and creative socio-economic program is needed to strengthen the agility and resilience of our economy and to offer people more security. It is important that promising trajectories, arising from the agreements made in the Kingdom context (the Land package Curaçao), are quickly taken up and implemented."

The SER of Curaçao considers it important, in the light of the above, to invest in necessary adjustments in the context of these major transitions: in training and (lifelong) development, in the organization and building an infrastructure to offer people the possibilities to remain employable in the current job or to guide them to new jobs that offer fair pay, security and control, and in improved social security. "Investments are needed now in our public sectors, in our future earning power through greater innovativeness and higher productivity, in greater inclusiveness through more equal opportunities and fairer sharing, and in a sustainable living environment, now and in the future, in short: in our prosperity."

Broad prosperity

"In doing so, we as a society must focus on broad prosperity, which involves basic questions that live among the population. Do I live comfortably and safely? What about the future of my children? Will I still be able to pay the bills at the end of the month? Does my study offer the prospect of finding a suitable job? Broad prosperity is about the quality of life and the quality of the living environment and the interaction between the two. It is essentially about three interrelated pillars: productivity, inclusiveness and living environment. These force us to look at economic growth in a different way that also takes serious account of social and environmental challenges."

Based on the ambition to allow everyone to share in that broad prosperity, the SER of Curaçao will focus on three areas in particular in the medium term:

- Investing in broad prosperity, public sector and future earning power

- Labour market, income policy and equal opportunities

- Budgetary policy

The SER: critical and constructive thinker

Starting from cautious hopeful signals that, as far as the acute health problems of COVID-19 are concerned, the worst is behind us, the transition should be made as soon as possible from crisis management to sustainable recovery policy. The SER of Curaçao will support this transition by continuing to think critically and constructively and by continuing to act as a problem solver. As a permanent advisory and consultative body of employers, employees and independent experts, the SER will support all steps towards the labour market of the future that offers people sustainable employment and income security and companies flexibility. The SER of Curaçao will monitor progress intensively in the coming period and, where necessary, formulate additional proposals.

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Easing of the suspension of the granting of foreign exchange licenses for transfers abroad

SINT MAARTEN/CURACAO - Considering the sound level and import coverage of the official reserves and the recent signs of recovery of the economies of Curaçao and Sint Maarten, the Centrale Bank van Curaçao en Sint Maarten (CBCS) decided to start with the gradual phasing-out of the suspension of the granting of foreign exchange licenses for transfers abroad taken in March 2020, in light of the large economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Effective October 1, 2021, the CBCS will resume granting foreign exchange licenses for transactions that result in an outflow of foreign exchange for amounts up to NAf. 300,000. All capital transactions with an amount of less than NAf. 150.000 can be executed without a license as usual.

In addition, special provisions will become effective for foreign investments by pension funds and insurance companies and the distribution of dividend and profit to nonresidents.

Details of the easing are provided in the following document: on the CBCS website: Easing of the suspension of the granting of foreign exchange licenses for transfers abroad1 . If the economic recovery continues and the official reserves and the import coverage remain adequate, a further easing will be implemented on January 1, 2022, while the restriction will be ended by April 1, 2022.

1

https://cdn.centralbank.cw/media/legislation_guidelines/20210929_easing_capital_restriction_october_1_2021.pdf

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World Food Day Guided tour and lecture at SXM Hillside and Eco Resort

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) - The Department of Community Development, Family & Humanitarian Affairs in collaboration with the SXM Hillside and Eco Resort (South Reward) is hosting a free nature hike and guided tour of the botanical garden and lecture on Saturday October 16, 2021, from 06.30am to 10:00am.

Participants will enjoy to a complimentary breakfast and refreshments. The family friendly hike starts can accommodate a maximum of 30 persons, therefore, interested persons are encouraged to register before Wednesday May 12, 2021.

Participants are encouraged to wear light clothing and proper shoes for the rugged terrain. Feel free to contact the department at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or contact the various Community Help Desks: 1721-5204315 (Cole Bay); +1721-5207651 (Dutch Quarter) for more information or to register. Registration ends on Wednesday October 13, 2021.

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PENSIONERS NO LONGER HAVE TO SUBMIT A ATTESTATIE DE VITA

SABA/SINT EUSTATIUS - As of the first of November 2021 an important change will take place for recipients of the General Old Age Pension (AOV) who live on Bonaire, Saba, St. Eustatius, Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten.

As of that date they no longer have to submit a proof of life (Attestatie de Vita, AdV) twice a year to the institution(s) from which they receive AOV. Provided that they reside on one of the mentioned islands and also receive AOV from one (or more) of the six islands.

From now on, the AOV paying agencies of the six islands will use data from the local civil register. This relieves pensioners of the former Antillean islands as they no longer have to submit an AdV twice a year. It is extremely important that they ensure that their data is complete and correctly registered with the civil registration’s office of the island where they live. This mainly concerns their address and marital status.

Retirees who live in the European Netherlands and who receive AOV from (one of) the islands must still submit an AdV twice a year in the usual period to the institution(s) from which they receive AOV. Retirees who live on one of the six islands but who (partly) receive AOV from the European Netherlands must, as usual, submit their AdV to the institution in the European Netherlands..

For questions about the new procedure on the six islands, the authorities concerned can be contacted.

In the Caribbean Netherlands, the RCN unit SZW can be contacted via the e-mail address This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. On Bonaire you can contact SZW by phone on +599 715 8888, on Sint Eustatius on +599 318 3376 and on Saba on +599 416 3804.

In Curaçao, you can contact SVB Curaçao via the e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by telephone on the number +5999 434 4000.

In Aruba you can contact SVB Aruba via the e-mail address This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by telephone on the number +297 527 2700.

On Sint Maarten you can contact the SZV Sint Maarten via the e-mail address This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by telephone via the number +1721 546 678. (RCN Caribbean Netherlands)

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“Preparing For the World of Work” workshop to be hosted by SSSD on October 7

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - It is not uncommon for many students to defer their tertiary education and pursue work opportunities after secondary school. Unfortunately, many of these graduates are often not properly equipped with the knowledge to secure jobs.

In response to this, The Student Support Services Division of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport has taken the initiative to create a workshop that will enable recent graduates, or students who are contemplating going into the workforce, to be more successful in job applications and interviews.

This free workshop, entitled “Preparing for The World of Work,” will be held online on October 7, 2021, from 5:00 P.M. to 6:30 P.M.

According to SSSD officials, this workshop will cover the main challenges youth encounter when trying to apply for jobs, and how to solve them. For example, participants will learn how to make a resume and cover letter that will list their educational background information and skills in a presentable and professional way. Participants will also receive advice on how to sharpen their interviewing skills and receive tips on how to ‘Dress for Success’. Participants will also be given tips to assist them in being successful in the workplace.

“The overall aim is to empower our youth with the tools to be successful in the workforce whether they remain there short or long term,” the SSSD officials noted.

Students are encouraged to register, in advance for the “Preparing For The World of Work” workshop so that an invitation can be emailed to them. Students may also click on the link on the Student Support Services Division Facebook page. If parents or students have any questions on these workshops, they can contact the Student Support Services Division at telephone 543-1235 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.

The Student Support Services Division (SSSD) provides services to students referred by the schools such as psychological services, counseling services, social work services, educational diagnostic services, speech language pathology services. SSSD also provides general services such as career services, parent sessions and crisis response.

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MP Wescot-Williams: "With the COHO not yet embodied, the St. Maarten Government is Already on the Path of Leading from the Country Package"

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - According to Member of Parliament (MP) Wescot-Williams, "information attributed to State Secretary Knops and the BZK Ministry, St. Maarten while not totally in compliance with all the set conditions will nevertheless receive the 7th tranche of the liquidity assistance from the Netherlands, which according to reports amounts to approximately 22 million guilders."

“For once, the approval of liquidity assistance for St. Maarten has come without too much drama and unnecessary rhetoric between the two Governments. Via media reports we learned of the approval of the 7th tranche, with a brief reference to St. Maarten compliance with most of the conditions attached to the 7th tranche. In the same reports we learned of the 7th tranche not being made available to Aruba and Curacao just yet,” the MP said in a statement on Sunday.

“Considering that it is usually St. Maarten that runs behind when it comes to conditions and compliance imposed by the Dutch Government, it is refreshing, but at the same time, peculiar that at this juncture, St. Maarten is ahead of the pack. No further mention has made of these conditions and whether all conditions henceforth are in the context of the country package and implementation agenda”, stated MP Wescot recently.

“With the COHO still underway to the Parliaments of the countries, with next year’s budget still in process, it leaves one to wonder what the strategy of the Government of St. Maarten is at this time.

“It seems to be heading in the direction of the Parliament having to rubberstamp both the COHO law and the budget for 2022, as we will be faced with “faits accomplis”. To get some idea of what is unfolding here, MP Wescot-Williams has submitted some pertinent questions to the Prime Minister of St. Maarten.

  1. What are/were the conditions relating to the 7th tranche of liquidity assistance?
  2. On the basis of what was the amount of approximately 22 million guilders calculated?
  3. Did the CFT provide advice regarding the 7th tranche? If so, what was this advice?
  4. Please provide an update of the financial position of the government of St. Maarten.”
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Parents Complain Supermarkets selling Alcohol to minors

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Over the last few of weeks, the Police Force of Sint Maarten received various complaints from parents about supermarkets selling alcohol to underage children.

Owners of these establishments are well aware that their licenses prohibit the selling of alcohol to minors. Furthermore, they are aware of the consequences of selling alcohol to minors as this is also stipulated in their license.  

These venues have to take into account that alcohol consumption by minors can be harmful to their health. Regular drinking of alcohol can lead to brain damage, disease, and alcohol dependence (alcoholism).

Responsible retailing practices are key to preventing illegal alcohol sales. But it takes more than just telling your staff not to sell to minors. Responsible retailers need specific policies, backed up by training and accountability.

Think for a moment, Selling Alcohol to minors is a criminal offense. (KPSM)

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Suspect arrested attempting to steal a car in Cole Bay

SINT MAARTEN (COLE BAY) - At approximately 12:10am on October 1, 2021, the police patrol received a report of an attempted vehicle break-in on Locust Tree Drive in Cole Bay.

At the scene, they found a man attempting to break a car window with the possible intent to steal the car.

The suspect with initials A.R.P.B. was apprehended through a swift action of the patrol. He is held by police pending further investigation. (KPSM)

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