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Permanent Committee of Tourism & Economic Affairs to meet on Thursday about Moratorium Policy related to Public Transportation

PHILIPSBURG – The Permanent Committee of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport & Telecommunication of the House will meet in session on April 9.

The Permanent Committee meeting is set for Thursday at 2.00pm in the General Assembly Chamber of the House at Wilhelmina Straat #1 in Philipsburg.

The agenda point is the moratorium policy on taxi, bus and tour licences and the recommendation from the PricewaterhouseCoppers report on the policy.

Minister of Transportation Hon. Claret Connor is scheduled to be present for the committee House session.

Members of the public are invited to the House of Parliament to attend parliamentary deliberations. 

The House of Parliament is located across from the Court House in Philipsburg.

The parliamentary session will be carried live on St. Maarten Cable TV Channel 120, via Pearl Radio FM 98.1, the audio via the Internet www.pearlfmradio.com and via www.sxmparliament.org. 

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SCDF commends government on its position towards food safety

POND ISLAND - The St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) on Monday complimented Ministers Claret Connor and Rita Bourne-Gumbs for their remarks on World Health Day with regards to food safety.

The foundation executes a no-nonsense policy when it comes to food handling and food safety in Carnival Village. Booth holders go through rigid food handler courses and are subject to health inspectorate inspections throughout the course of Carnival.

Connor specifically mentioned in his World Health Day message the importance of food safety in protecting our tourism product and, by extension, the Carnival product as well. “We thank the Minister for mentioning Carnival in the same breath since this issue is of utmost importance to us,” the SCDF said.

“Their messages are exactly the point we've made on numerous occasions in taking our decisions to expel some booth holders from the village for infringing on the rules of food safety, though we received some flak for it.

“Minister Bourne-Gumbs and the personnel of the health inspectorate should be commended for keeping the standards high regarding food safety. Some may pout, but the public can take comfort in knowing that food safety, cleanliness and hygiene is not something the SCDF has ever or will ever compromise on.” (SCDF)

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Central Committee Meeting of Parliament scheduled for Wednesday surrounding August 29th alleged parliamentary election discrepancies

PHILIPSBURG – The House of Parliament will meet in a Central Committee session on April 8.

The committee meeting is set for Wednesday at 10.00am in the General Assembly Chamber of the House at Wilhelmina Straat #1 in Philipsburg.

This meeting was requested by Members of Parliament (MP) Hon. Leona Marlin-Romeo (Independent), MP Hon. Tamara Leonard (United People’s (UP) party) and MP Hon. Cornelius de Weever (Independent) back in 2014 in correspondence dated November 6 and 7.

The agenda point is a discussion with the Main Voting Bureau and the Civil Registry Department concerning alleged discrepancies that occurred during and in preparation of the August 29th parliamentary elections.  The Minister of General Affairs Hon. Marcel Gumbs will also be present for this sitting of the House.

The discrepancies noted are: at the Prison polling station; usage of foreign identification for voting purposes; discrepancies at specific polling stations in ballot counting; discrepancies of the lack of privacy during the supporting of the candidate list; discrepancies in the information given to political parties as it related to placement of campaign material.

Other points to be brought forward in the Central Committee meeting are: changes in the Electoral Law as it relates to having a structured chronological order; Increase of polling stations in 2014 in comparison to 2010; Implementation of electronic voting; If there any articles that are conflicting with each other?; and if there any articles wrongfully written? 

Members of the public are invited to the House of Parliament to attend parliamentary deliberations.

The House of Parliament is located across from the Court House in Philipsburg.

The parliamentary session will be carried live on St. Maarten Cable TV Channel 120, via Pearl Radio FM 98.1, the audio via the Internet www.pearlfmradio.com, and also via www.sxmparliament.org

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Tourist areas to receive 24-hour electricity for Easter. Three dead so far for Easter Weekend

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC – Tourist areas in the Dominican Republic should have been receiving 24-hour electricity from noon on Holy Thursday 2 April and this will run until midnight on Easter Sunday, 5 April.

This extra production of electricity according to media reports will costs close to RD$9 million.  The objective is to contribute to the enjoyment and relaxation of Dominicans and foreign tourists who are visiting the country over the Easter holiday weekend and to also ensure security and safety.

The Dominican Emergency Operations Center reported that nation-wide three persons have died over the Easter weekend so far.

Two accidents involved motorcycles, while a truck struck a pedestrian causing the third death.

123 people have been injured or affected, and 114 of them were involved in traffic accidents, and nine of them alcohol related.

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Plenary Session of Parliament scheduled for Tuesday about the St. Maarten Housing Development Foundation

PHILIPSBURG – TheHouse of Parliament will meet in a public plenary session on April 7.  This session is the continuation of the initial session that was held on December 22, 2014.  On March 24, the meeting was called, but was adjourned and is now being reconvened. 

The plenary session is set for Tuesday at 2.00pm in the General Assembly Chamber of the House at Wilhelmina Straat #1 in Philipsburg.

The agenda point is the request to the Governments Accountants Bureau SOAB to carry out a forensic investigation into the operations of the St. Maarten Housing Development Foundation (SMHDF); the decision of the board of the SMHDF to suspend several members of the management team and the request of the Honourable Minister of VROMI, Maurice Lake to the SOAB to withdraw the current process with immediate effect.

This meeting was requested by the following parliamentary factions: National Alliance (NA) Member of Parliament (MP) Hon. William Marlin, Democratic Party (DP) MP Hon. Sarah Wescot-Williams, United St. Maarten (US) Party MP Hon. Frans Richardson, and NA MP Hon. Christophe Emmanuel.

Members of the public are invited to the House of Parliament to attend parliamentary deliberations. 

The House of Parliament is located across from the Court House in Philipsburg.

The parliamentary session will be carried live on St. Maarten Cable TV Channel 120, via Pearl Radio FM 98.1, the audio via the Internet www.pearlfmradio.com and via www.sxmparliament.org. 

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Library staff is awarded with cataloging certificates

PHILIPSBURG - Three staff members of the Philipsburg Jubilee Library (PJL) were awarded with certificates for the completion of the Advanced e-course in Cataloging from the San Jose State University School of Information.

Each year the Philipsburg Jubilee Library adds approximately 2000 to 3000 books to its collection. The books on offer meet the needs of the general public, whether they are searching for books to read in their leisure time or want to do research for school projects. In order to make it easier for the general public to find the books they need, library staff must catalog each book according to certain cataloging guidelines set forth by the American Library Association (ALA).

The certificates which were awarded were received by library staff members Irmin Hughes, Maryland Powell and Joy Lambert, after following a six-month course. The library staff members would like to thank Mrs. Ans Koolen, who assisted them during their course.

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Ministry of Public Health advises community to take measures to prevent gastroenteritis as noticeable increase in cases has been observed

GREAT BAY – The Collective Prevention Services (CPS) department within the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, is calling on the community to take preventive measures to prevent getting gastroenteritis.

Gastroenteritis is the inflammation of the stomach and intestine, which is usually due to acute infection by viruses or bacteria or to food-poisoning toxins and causes vomiting and diarrhea. Fluid loss is sometimes severe especially in infants and intravenous fluid replacement may be necessary.

CPS via its surveillance has observed an increase in the number of cases, and is closely monitoring the situation in collaboration with the Inspection Department, and is calling on all sectors within the economy that are in the food preparation business to take additional measures with respect to handling and how food is prepared. 

The numbers observed by the surveillance team of CPS with the assistance of the Caribbean Public health Agency (CARPHA) review for the period of January to March 21st, 2015 (Epidemiological Week 1 to 11) is 179 suspected cases (81 in the age category 0 to 4 years of age and 98 in the age category 5 years old and above).

Viral gastroenteritis presents in children and adults several viruses such as rotavirus, enteric adenoviruses, astroviruses and caliciviruses including Norwalk-like viruses.

Viral agents such as Norwalk-like viruses are also common causes of epidemics of gastroenteritis among children and adults. The epidemiology, natural history and clinical expression of enteric viral infections are best understood for type A rotavirus in infants and Norwalk agent in adults and this is only known or confirmed with laboratory testing.

The associated symptoms arediarrhea, stomach cramps, vomiting, nausea, fever and headache.  The most common symptoms are vomiting and repeated episodes of diarrhea (three or more episodes within 24 hours). 

The causes and treatment of gastroenteritis can differ between children and adults. The latter is a preventive measure to ensure food safety and public health.

The most common causes of gastroenteritis in adults are the norovirus and food poisoningand it is self-limiting.

The infection can spread when bacteria found in faeces or vomit is transferred to other objects.  Bacteria can be transferred through poor hygiene. It is spread through contamination of hands, objects or food infected with the aforementioned.  The virus enters your body via your mouth.  Viral gastroenteritis may also be spread through coughing and sneezing.

For example, if someone does not wash their hands after going to the toilet, any viruses or bacteria on their hands will be transferred to whatever they touch, such as glass, kitchen utensil or food.

To prevent the spread of the infection, wash your hands thoroughly after going to the toilet and before eating or preparing food; clean the toilet, including the seat and handle, with disinfectant after each bout of vomiting or diarrhea; don’t share towels, cutlery and utensils with other household members; and don’t return to work until 48 hours have passed since your last bout of vomiting or diarrhea.

Consult your family physician if you have the vomiting/diarrhea so you can be referred to the lab to get a confirmation on the diagnosis and the virus type.

Practicing good food hygiene will help you avoid getting gastroenteritis from food poisoning.  You should regularly wash your hands, surfaces and utensils with hot, soapy water; never store raw food and cooked foods together; avoid cross contamination of foods; make sure that food is properly refrigerated; always cook your food thoroughly; and never eat food that is past its sell by date.

If symptoms persist for a prolonged period of time, the family doctor may consider blood and stool tests to determine the cause of the vomiting and diarrhea.

For more information call CPS at 542-2078, 542-3003 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

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Minister Plenipotentiary Fleming-Artsen receives courtesy visit from Dutch Second Chamber of Parliament Secretary General De Lange

THE HAGUE, the Netherlands - On Monday, March 30 Minister Plenipotentiary, Hon. Josianne Fleming–Artsen received a courtesy visit from the Dutch Second Chamber of Parliament Secretary General T.N.I. (Tim) de Lange.

Minister Fleming-Artsen described the meeting as fruitful and informative in connection with the current status of committees that exist in the Second Chamber.  De Lange also highlighted certain aspects of the Dutch First Chamber of Parliament.

The Minister and De Lange also discussed the upcoming Inter-Parliamentary Consultation (IPKO) that is scheduled for May 27-29 in The Hague, the Netherlands.

A delegation from the Parliament of Sint Maarten will travel to the Netherlands for the IPKO consultation.

De Lange was accompanied by Dutch Kingdom Relations Commission Assistant M.J. (Maya) Visscher-de la Combe.

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18-year old schoolgirl arrested suspected of beating 14-year old

ST. PETERS - On Monday, March 23rd 2015, an 18-year old schoolgirl reported herself to the police station in Philipsburg. She claimed she wanted to apologize to a 14-year old schoolgirl whom she fought with shortly before.

At that time police officers had no information about the fight this girl was talking about because there were no reports of the incident. Because it is not possible for the police to arrest someone without charges being pressed against them, the young girl was sent home.

On Wednesday, March 25th, a 14-year old girl came to the police station to file an official complaint of an incident which took place on Monday March 23rd. She told the police officers that she was harassed by an 18-year old in the vicinity of L.B. Scott road.

The 18-year old started hitting her until she fell to the ground where the 18-year old continued to beat her.  The victim lost consciousness during the assault and had to get medical assistance because of her situation.

The incident was taped by bystanders and posted on social media websites. After recuperating from the assault the victim decided to press charges against the 18-year old schoolgirl.

On Friday, March 27th, the 18-year old schoolgirl (suspect) was arrested by police officers in connection with this case and taken into custody by the Prosecutor.

The investigation by the police department continues. The principals of both schools the girls attend are cooperating in the investigation; the detectives have constant contact with them to inform them about the case.

Also the CPO of the St. Peters area is assisting the detectives with this serious case. (Police Force Sint Maarten)

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Results of the annual SMSEF Interscholastic Soccer Tournament for March 28. Next Game April 11

BELVEDERE - The day of soccer games of the SMSEF Interscholastic Soccer Tournament on Saturday at the Johan Cruijff Court started with some light shattered showers and cloud cover, but finished with blue skies and a bright sun. With only two full days of games left to determine this year’s finalists, the “heat is on” for the teams to give it their all.

Results of Saturday March 28, 2015:

Game 1: Category 7+U

Learning Unlimited Hotshots vs Sr. Regina: result 5 – 0 (at halftime 3 - 0)

Goal scorers L.U. Hotshots: Ajani Blake with 3 goals, Marnix Beishuizen and Marshall Leone with one goal each.

A solid performance by the players of L.U. Hotshots. Sr. Regina put up a good fight, however was unable to put one between the posts.

Game 2: Category 7+U

Leonald Connor vs Dr. Martin Luther King: result 2 – 0 (forfeit)

Dr. Martin Luther King was not able to field a team in time. A friendly game was played with the players that were present.

Game 3: Category 7+U

Learning Unlimited Strikers vs Sr. Magda Rockstars: result 0 – 4 (at halftime 0 – 1)

Goal scorers Sr. Magda Rockstars: Yannick Mingo and Owen Christian both with 2 goals. They were assisted by Jeremiah Telemacque and Daniel Tjon-Tam-Pau.

The game was 0 – 0 until just before halftime. Taking the lead late in the first half gave Sr. Magda Rockstars the confidence to really go for it in the second half.

Game 4: Category Girls 13+U

Leonald Connor vs Dr. Martin Luther King: result 3 – 2 (at halftime 1 - 1)

Goal scorers Leonald Connor: Jahnilla Priest, Karoline Quispe de los Santos and Dorothy James each scored one goal.

Goal scorers Dr. Martin Luther King: Shaney Joachim and Kaleisha Davis each scored one goal.

Dr. Martin Luther King started strong and scored first with a goal from its youngest player Shaney Joachim a.k.a. Faith after an assist by its oldest player Kaleisha Davis. For a while it looked like the team would cause an upset, however Leonald Connor regrouped in time to tie the score before half time. In the second half Leonald Connor was able to dominate the game a little more, but the game could go both ways until the final whistle.

Game 5: Category Girls 13+U

Hillside Christian All Stars vs Sr. Regina: result 2 – 0 (forfeit)

Due to miscommunication Sr. Regina unnecessarily forfeited the game. The team reported the day before that they were not able to field a team. The opponent was informed accordingly, however on game day the Sr. Regina team showed up to play. The team ended up playing a friendly game instead.

Game 6: Category Girls 13+U

Hillside Christian Angels vs Sr. Magda: result 0 – 2 (forfeit)

For reasons on known, Hillside Christian Angels was not able to field a team. Sr. Magda played a friendly game instead with the players present.

Game 7: Category 9+U

Sr. Magda Athletics vs Sr. Regina Masters: result 7 – 1 (at halftime 5 - 1)

Top scorer Sr. Magda Athletics: Gianni Fer with 4 goals and 1 assist. Useful players were Salim Fleming with 3 assists and Amani Vanterpool with 2 assists.

Goal scorer Sr. Regina Masters: Ishrael Charles scored the lone goal.

With today’s victory Sr. Magda Athletics secured a place in the 9+Under final scheduled for May 23.

Game 8: Category 9+U

Learning Unlimited vs Sr. Magda Energetics:  result 1 – 1 (at halftime 0 - 0)

Goal scorer Learning Unlimited: Connor Schripps-Ewing scored the lone goal after an assist from Sharky Nowek.

Goal scorer Sr. Magda Energetics: Jorginho Singodikromo scored the lone goal after an assist from Safin Basir.

It was a real nail biter for the two teams since a lot depended on the outcome of this game for both teams. Both teams really needed a win to have the best changes of making it to the consolation finals. Now they were totally depended on the outcome of the other games. Luckily for them, Sr. Regina New Stars managed to win from Leonald Connor and Combine Silly Shooters won from Charles Leopold Bell that same day. Therefore, Learning Unlimited and Sr. Magda Energetics will face each other again in the 9+Under consolation final scheduled for May 23.

Game 9: Category 9+U

Charles Leopold Bell vs Combine Silly Shooters: result 0 – 9 (at halftime 0 - 4)

Top scorers Combine Silly Shooters: Matteo van Bekkum had 3 goals, Quincy Busby and Xabel Dias both had 2 goals and 1 assist. Harrison Hobgood was a very useful player with 3 assists.

Charles Leopold Bell was well aware that a win was needed. The team, however, sadly had to miss its top scorer for this important game. Combine Silly Shooters played a solid game, with a good balance regarding its defense and offense. With today’s result Combine Silly Shooters secured their spot in the 9+Under final scheduled for May 23.

Game 10: Category 9+U

Sr. Regina New Stars vs Leonald Connor: result 4 – 3 (at halftime 2 - 2)

Goal scorers Sr. Regina New Stars: James Plas, Thomas Plas and Loet van Sleeuwen each scored a goal. The last goal in favor of Sr. Regina New Stars was an own goal by Leonald Connor.

Goal scorers Leonald Connor: Antony Gumbs scored 2 goals and Iverson Powell scored one goal after an assist by Dylon Seth.

Sr. Regina New Stars is a players selection of indeed ‘new stars’ that are developing their skills. The team, with the youngest age average in the 9+Under category, managed to win one game in pool play and lost two games already in the second round. All though this was not for the lack of trying, because the New Stars played every game with a lot of energy and passion. In their game versus Leonald Connor everything finally clicked. The team took the lead and even though their opponent Leonald Connor never gave up, they managed to secure a well-deserved win. Leonald Connor was still very much a contender until this game for a consolation final spot, however it needed a win to remain a contender. Sr. Regina New Stars victory spoiled their changes to great relief of Learning Unlimited and Sr. Magda Energetics, which now are secure regarding their spot in the consolation final.

Game 11: Category 11+U

Sr. Magda FC vs Dr. Martin Luther King: result 5 - 4 (at halftime 2 - 1)

Goal scorers Sr. Magda FC: Jaden Leonard with 3 goals, Jamir Cuvalay and Ceth Codrington with one goal each.

Goal scorers Dr. Martin Luther King: John Richardson, Malachi Serrant, Edelberth Sparen and Derik Neale each score one goal.

Sr. Magda FC took the early lead but was not able to hold on once the second half started. Dr. Martin Luther King managed to get on top with a score of 3 – 4. Sr. Magda FC had to give all it had to change the tide, but in the end it paid off. Both teams provided a great game for the spectators to watch.

Due to the Easter Break games will continue on Saturday, April 11, 2015.

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