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COVID-19 CURFEW EXTENDED UNTIL OCTOBER 1. BUSINESS CLOSURE FROM 11.00PM

SAINT-MARTIN (MARIGOT) - Despite the decline in the number of COVID-19 cases in the territory of Saint-Martin, the hospital continues to receive COVID-19 positive patients. The Delta variant is still the dominant virus in circulation.

As a result, the Prefect has decided to extend the curfew until Friday, October 1, 2021. The new hours of this curfew are from 11 pm to 5 am. For now, only vaccination is proving to be an effective solution in the fight against the COVID-19 epidemic.

People who are not yet vaccinated can, if they wish, they can make an appointment at the Louis Constant Fleming Hospital in Concordia via www.santé.fr website.

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Two suspects arrested for stolen vehicle possession while at the beach

SINT MAARTEN (GUANA BAY) - On September 24, 2021, at approximately 1:00am, a police patrol spotted a gray i10 parked on Guana Bay Beach in the cover of darkness. Upon further check of the car, it became apparent that the car was likely stolen as the vin number was tampered with.

The driver and passenger with initials T.I.T.D. and A.L.C. respectively could not give a proper account about how they obtained the vehicle. They were arrested and taken to Philipsburg police station where they are held for questioning.

The vehicle was confiscated pending further investigation.

The Police Force of Sint Maarten KPSM reminds the public to avoid purchasing potentially stolen vehicles. Many stolen vehicles are resold well below their actual value. Some buyers have no idea that the vehicles were stolen until it is too late. At that point, the buyers are at a double disadvantage, because the vehicle will be confiscated, they could be arrested for being in possession of stolen goods, and monies will be lost.

KPSM has been working together with French side counterparts to halt the vehicle thefts on the island.

Law enforcements from both sides of the island have intensified controls on all vehicles that are presumed stolen. (KPSM)

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Time Management workshop being held by SSSD on Sept. 28

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Many students are challenged by the constraint of time and if time is not managed properly, it can be detrimental to their success. Realizing that lost time cannot be regained and that students need all the assistance they can get to be successful, the Student Support Services Division (SSSD) of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport has put together a free online workshop for students to address this matter.

The workshop entitled “Making Your Time Count” will be held on Tuesday, September 28, 2021, from 5:00 PM to 6:30 PM.

This workshop is aimed at students in the last two years of secondary school and recent graduates.

According to SSSD officials, some students may indicate that they do not have enough time to get done what needs to be done but it is a matter of prioritizing and limiting distractions. They added that students today face many distractions such as gaming, electronic devices and multi-media and time management is even more important.

“Proper time management can make a difference between success and failure academically,” said SSSD officials, while stressing that is up to the students themselves to do.

Participants in this workshop will critically analyze aspects of their daily activities with the aim of being able to maximize on or use their time more efficiently. Some tips and tools will also be highlighted so that students can get more out of life.

Students are encouraged to register, in advance for the 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.

Student Support Services Division (SSSD) provides services to students referred by the schools. These services consists of psychological services, counseling services, social work services, educational diagnostic services etc. SSSD also provides career services to students and parent education sessions.

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Minister Richardson visits the Care and Security House in Haaglanden

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS - As her work visit continues, on Wednesday, September 22nd, 2021, Minister Ana Richardson visited the Care- and Security House in Haaglanden or the ‘Zorg- en veiligheidshuis Haaglanden’.

The Care- and Security House is a network organization that brings the justice and care organizations such as the police, the municipalities, the prosecution service, the youth protection services, and the healthcare facilities together to tackle complex safety and security issues in neighborhoods.

The categories of crime varies and can be multifaceted. For this reason, a multi-disciplinary approach is often needed to be most effective. The Care- and Security House is a meeting point for all relevant stakeholders and organizations connected to a specific case where they can dissect and discuss specifics of a case or matter. Combining the efforts of all organizations involved ensures that the particular case can be viewed from all angles and the best collaborative, but customized approach can be used.

During the meeting Mr. Sander Jongenburger, deputy manager at the Care- and Security House said: “We work from an assumption that if you really want to help people, you have to put different pieces of the puzzle together. We bring all the partners together to complete the picture, after we work to make a complete plan of action.”

The Care- and Security House’s main tasks are rendering advice, monitoring cases, and connecting the relevant organizations. They focus on domestic violence, child abuse, high risk and mentally disturbed behavior, radicalization, extremism and other complex problems within their community. This 4-pillar approach is relatively new and was introduced in 2020.

There are various factors that contribute to our youth taking a path of crime, and it will take a village to re-direct them back to the right direction. Upon the return of Minister Richardson, she intends to have a meeting with the Minister Health, Labor and Social Services (VSA) and the Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports (ECYS) to share her findings of these meetings.

“The goal is to forge stronger collaborative efforts between ministries in creating a preventive and supportive approach that will strategically address the various circumstances that are contributing to the high rise of at-risk youth in our communities,” stated Minister Richardson.

The Care- and Security facility was very welcoming and eager to share their organization’s structure and best practices with the Minister of Justice. The main purpose of the Minister’s trip is ultimately to forge relationships with organizations in the Netherlands who are willing to work with Sint Maarten in matters that the Netherlands deals with as well.

This avoids constantly having to reinvent the wheel for matters that we all encounter in the Dutch Caribbean and the Netherlands. This also broadens the opportunities for our youth on the island where they can be encouraged to participate in programs in the region, the Netherlands or elsewhere.

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Drunken man arrested for causing accident and damaging police vehicle

SINT MAARTEN (SUCKER GARDEN) - Police Central Dispatch Center received several calls about a traffic accident on Sucker Garden road on Tuesday, September 21, around 2:40pm. The patrol found at the scene that the driver of a blue i10 had struck a red Hyundai Tucson that was coming from the opposite direction.

When communicating with the driver of the i10, police noted that the driver had been driving while intoxicated. The driver was arrest by police for driving under the influence. The driver violently resisted his arrest and damaged a police vehicle in the process.

He was evenually handcuffed and taken to the police station. This investigation is ongoing. (KPSM)  

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Trust Fund says it Never Received a US$45 Million Social Housing Project Request from SMHDF

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - On behalf of the Steering Committee of the Sint Maarten Trust Fund for Recovery Reconstruction and Resilience, the Secretariat wishes to inform the public that no project of US$45 million for social housing initiated by the Sint Maarten Housing Development Foundation (SMHDF) has ever been received or tabled for consideration by the Trust Fund’s Steering Committee.   

Under Trust Fund procedures, project proposals are submitted to the Steering Committee by the Government of Sint Maarten based on its priorities.  The authority to allocate funds to projects rests with the Steering Committee of the Trust Fund, not with the World Bank.  

As of today, the Trust Fund has financed the repair of 269 units of social housing and another 64 units of the SMHDF stock are intended to be rebuilt under the Emergency Recovery Project I.  In addition, at its meeting of July 14, 2021, the Steering Committee allocated US$20 million for a potential housing project at the request of the Government of Sint Maarten; the modalities of this project are being developed. 

Also, an institutional analysis of SMHDF completed in 2020 provided actionable recommendations to SMHDF to improve its financial performance. Trust Fund financing is aimed at investment financing for reconstruction and resilience, not at the provision of subsidies.

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Minister Ottley invited to serve as member of the Committee on Credentials at PAHO/WHO

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - The Directing Council of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), 73rd Session of the Regional Committee of the World Health Organization (WHO) for the Americas, has invited the Honorable Omar Ottley, Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labour to serve as a member of the Committee on Credentials of the 59th Session, from September 20th- 24th, 2021.

The PAHO Directing Council meets annually to discuss constitutional, program policy, administrative and financial matters, elect Member States to serve on Boards and Committees, and present awards.

As a member of the Committee on Credentials, Minister Ottley will work with representatives of two other Member States to evaluate all the Delegations' credentials. The role will also require reporting on pending accreditation.  

Accreditation is an essential step in the procedural process. It recognizes those Member States eligible to vote on critical public health program policy matters relevant to the Caribbean and Latin American countries.

The epidemiological situation resulting from the current COVID-19 pandemic and related public health restrictions preclude the possibility of holding the Directing Council in its traditional in-person format. Thus, it will be held virtually, using video conferencing technologies.

"This invitation brings me great joy because it provides another opportunity for knowledge transfer among members of the Caribbean, Pan American Region and the world by extension," said Minister Ottley. "It also allows Sint Maarten to build on its thriving relationship with PAHO/WHO and it showcases the island's commitment to continuous progression."   

The Government of Sint Maarten is currently working with PAHO/WHO on various projects to combat public health issues and improve the country's response in key areas such as non-communicable diseases, mental health, and disaster preparedness.

For more information, contact the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour+712-542-0349, visit the office at Government Administration Building, Soualiga Road #1 Pond Island, Great Bay or view the website http://www.sintmaartengov.org/Pages/default.aspx

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Police holds information sessions at schools to bridge the gap

SINT MAARTEN (CAY HILL) - In an ongoing effort to bridge the gap between the Police Force of Sint Maarten KPSM and students of Sint Maarten, a group of police officers is conducting a series of information sessions at several schools.

On September 16, 2021, two of police officers made a presentation at Learning Unlimited Preparatory School. Majors J. Boyrard and I. Woodley with the police K-9 Oscar demonstrated how an arrest is made via the police K-9 deployment.

After, they explained to the students the types of police dogs and their skills.

The KPSM management team expresses gratitude to Learning Unlimited for inviting the officers. (KPSM)

POLICE TRAINING LEARNING UNLIMITED FRPG

POLICE TRAINING SMALL KIDS

 

 

 

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Sekou, Badejo praise historic African Union / CARICOM Summit 2021

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) - Two of St. Martin’s authors, Lasana Sekou and Fabian Badejo, have praised the historic Africa-CARICOM Summit held virtually on September 7, 2021, said their publisher HNP.

The summit was hosted by Kenya and chaired by Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta under the theme “Unity across Continents and Oceans: Opportunities for Deepening Integration.”

The event was attended and addressed by the heads of state and government of the African Union and CARICOM member states. Heads of regional integration secretariats and institutions of CARICOM and Africa also attended.

“This is the unique culmination of continuous efforts by the people of Africa and the Caribbean to solidify the historical, cultural, and blood connections that they share across centuries,” said Sekou, a poet and publisher.

“It is the spirit of the African connections so concretized by Garvey that lives on among us,” said Sekou. The pan-African and pan-Caribbean themes of Sekou’s poetry have long been reviewed in critical journals and books.

“Blood is indeed thicker than water,” noted Badejo. “Throughout history, the longing for reconnection between Africa and the African Diaspora has never waned.”

The longing and connectedness—often against great political and social odds and even violence—may be subtle as hush-hush stories in Caribbean families about an African ancestor, to defiantly speaking African-based Caribbean languages; “from folk songs of longing sung in Carriacou for centuries, to Cuba’s decades-long role in the liberation of southern African countries,” said the writers in a joint statement.

“Just as Europe, and in particular the UK, has special relations with its diaspora, especially in the USA, so too it should be considered natural for Africa to have similar special relations with people of African descent in this part of the world,” said Badejo.

The late, great Barbadian poet and historian Kamau Brathwaite, who lived and worked in Ghana and Kenya at the onset of his career, understood this from a personal and professional point of view, Badejo explained.

“So did many others understand and inform this point of view practically and intellectually, from David Walker to Marcus Garvey, from Queen Mother Moore to Kwame Nkrumah,” said Badejo, who is also a journalist and cultural critic.

The summit produced proposals to further strengthen the ties between the two regions. These include direct air links between destinations in Africa and the Caribbean and visa-free travels for the citizens of African and CARICOM countries.

“The Leaders indicated support for the establishment of a CARICOM/Africa public-private partnership dedicated to mobilizing resources and deploying them in critical cutting-edge projects, including renewable energy, the creative industries, and digital technology … (And) the contribution of the African Medical Supplies Platform (AMSP) in making vaccines available to CARICOM was lauded,” according to CARICOM news.

Sekou said that “It is key for the general populations to see themselves as the foundation of this official level summit. What this multilateral cooperation will achieve over time, including ‘wielding global bargaining power,’ widening the diasporic reach to include non-CARICOM members in the region and institutions of Brazil and other nations of the Americas, is invariably based on people’s movements.”

“It is the same people’s movements and consciousness that produce activists and artists such as St. Martin’s Thomas Duruo and Carlos Cooks, Trinidad’s Claudia Jones, Jamaica’s Bob Marley, Antigua’s Dobrene O’Marde, or Barbados’ Ambassador to CARICOM David Comissiong. And that’s just to name a few of the many who have been about this pan-African liberation business,” said Sekou.

While on September 7, CARICOM “proposed the creation of a Forum of African and Caribbean Territories and States,” both authors said that for St. Martin to critically tap into the opportunities that are sure to open because of the initiatives proposed at the summit, the nation has to act on Nkrumah’s dictum and seek political independence.

“We are at a critical time when we must join the comity of nations coming together to build and rebuild the world to benefit our people. We can only do this if we attain political freedom,” Sekou and Badejo stressed.

This first Africa-CARICOM Summit was a giant step towards pan-African unity, which will facilitate political, economic, educational, cultural, and technological cooperation, Sekou and Badejo said.

“We applaud the vision of all those who made this summit possible on both sides of the Atlantic and encourage them to intensify their efforts to achieve the goal of reuniting the African family at home and abroad,” they added.

It has also been proposed at the Africa-CARICOM Summit for September 7 to be observed annually as “Africa-Caribbean Day.”

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MP Emmanuel questions Doran about re-locating people from landfill to FOGA

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Independent Member of Parliament (MP) Christophe Emmanuel on Wednesday dispatched a letter to the Minister of VROMI Egbert Doran with a number of questions regarding the reported relocation of persons living on the landfill to brand new homes to be built at the area known as the Foga Housing Development Project in Sucker Garden.

Emmanuel said in his letter to the Minister that persistent rumors and unconfirmed reports must be addressed post haste as there were existing plans for the area. One of his 10 questions to the Minister queried if there is any validity to the report that persons living on the landfill will each be compensated financially to move as well as the legal status of these individuals.

“The facts I know of is that the former leader of the National Alliance signed off on the Foga project in the area of the Melford Hazel Sports Auditorium to provide homes for young professionals returning home from college and other service professionals in the justice chain for example. About 32 homes I believe were to be constructed. The question now is what happened to those plans and if they were changed why. I hope the Minister uses the opportunity to clarify this issue,” MP Emmanuel said.

The MP asked Minister Doran the following questions:

  1. What were the original plans intended for development of the so-called FOGA Housing project area?
  2. If this area was intended for homes, please explain what type of homes (low cost?) and how many homes?
  3. Has any infrastructure preparation been carried out in the area in preparation for construction of the homes? If yes, what were the costs attached hereto and please explain these works. If not, please explain why not.
  4. Is it still the intention of the Ministry of VROMI and/or the Minister to stick to the original intention for development?
  5. Has the Ministry and/or the Minister of VROMI changed the plans for the FOGA area? If yes, please indicate how?
  6. Is it the intention Minister of VROMI to re-locate the persons currently residing on the Philipsburg landfill (the dump) to the intended new homes at FOGA?
  7. If yes, how many people does this involve? Are they legal residents? Was their current homes built legally on the landfill? What about citizens who have been waiting on the provision of affordable homes?
  8. Is it the intention of the Ministry and/or the Minister of VROMI to pay these persons to re-locate? If yes, why and what is the compensation? And from where will government derive these funds?
  9. If the answer to question 6 is yes, please indicate if the Council of Ministers has approved this decision and when.    
  10. If the answer to question 6 is yes, is it the intention to let the people who also operate businesses on the landfill, to do so at FOGA as well? Were these businesses operating legally on the landfill?
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