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Soualiga Newsday Features (2222)

COM Meets with Company that provides Emergency and Lifeguard Services

GREAT BAY – The Council of Ministers (COM) received a presentation from Geovanni Sprott, Executive Advisor/Director of TuckSpro N.V. regarding services provided by the company, which possibly complement Government responsible services.

TuckSpro N.V. provides emergency and lifeguard services, as well as, medical transport services; all personnel employed are certified.

For its lifeguard project, TuckSpro has presently 15 lifeguards certified by the American Lifeguard Association. Sprott stressed the importance of constructing lifeguard towers manned by lifeguards and emergency service workers, as most beaches on St. Maarten have ‘swim at your own risk, no lifeguard on duty’ signs.

This initiative will provide additional safety and service to tourists and visitors in general, as well as to school children while on field trips and Jet Ski users in particular. In overall it will aid in the improvement of the St. Maarten tourism product by providing sufficient and timely emergency and safety services.

Concrete proposals on the various services are to be provided by TuckSpro and presented to the Council of Ministers in order to determine how Government can assist.

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NOTICE TO THE COMMUNITY WHEN BUYING A PREVIOUSLY OWNED VEHICLE

PHILIPSBURG – POLICE HQ - The Police Department is sending out a serious warning to those persons in the community wanting to purchase a used or second hand motor vehicle.

For some time there has been an increase in the amount of stolen vehicles such as cars, motorcycles and scooters on the island. Many of these vehicles on numerous occasions, after being stopped and checked by police, resulted to have been stolen.  

These stolen vehicles are then resold to others at a cheaper price. The advice from the police department to all those persons wanting to buy a used (second hand) motor vehicle is to ask the seller to provide you (the buyer) with his/her valid picture identification and all documents for the vehicle in question or at least a copy of them.

These documents should include documents of ownership of the vehicle, insurance documents, and a valid inspection card with correct name of the seller and the VIN-number of the vehicle.

The VIN-number on these documents should correspond with that on the vehicle. The buyer should be convinced that the VIN- number on the vehicle has not been tampered with (letters or numbers changed).

If the VIN-numbers do not correspond or the seller cannot produce these documents, the police department advises the buyer NOT to purchase the vehicle. The vehicle might probably be stolen.

A “bill of sale” is not sufficient proof that vehicle is in the hands of the rightful owner. The purchasing of a used or second hand vehicle is solely the responsibility of the buyer. (Contributed by the Police Force of Sint Maarten)

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Democratic Party Releases Party Platform on Nation Building

PHILIPSBURG - The Democratic Party of St. Maarten released its National Platform on Nation Building on Wednesday, highlighting the DP’s accomplishments and vision for developing the nation and national identity of St. Maarten. The platform states that the common thread through its manifesto is the concept of nation building; building a strong nation and a strong national identity; “The ‘Red Thread’ throughout this manifesto is nation building. It’s the line that connects Education, Community and Families.

In 2010, the DP promised, if elected to office, that a vision for St. Maarten’s future would be developed in collaboration with the people. This promise was realized with the commissioning of the National Development Plan for St. Maarten in 2012. This plan will be completed in 2015, but already the results of the engaging in "democratic dialogue” are evident, as district after district is encouraged to formulate their part of the Vision. The DP remains committed to building our young nation with the input of all.

“St. Maarten is a country rich in the diversity of its citizens.  The future of such a diverse country relies on the cooperation and commitment of every resident of our nation.  The DP does not believe the future can be founded through the politics of division and discord, but that a successful nation will be one of shared community,” emphasizes the Democratic Party vision for National Development.

The platform continues by stating that through the DP’s vision, true harmony of the St. Maarten community can be achieved; “St. Maarten’s small size is another reality, requiring that our people closely share places to live, places to work and places to play. With our leadership and proven record of job creation, development of recreational facilities and housing revitalization, a connected and harmonious National Community can be achieved.

“The DP is so convinced that our country's strength lies in a united country, that it has incorporated in its articles of incorporation the objective to promote social cohesion as a core value.

This can be achieved by promoting the culture of St. Maarten as a common objective and stimulating inclusion,” concluded the Democratic Party Platform on National Development. (Contributed by the DP Party)

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Bob the Builder Playschool Introduces Parent Committee

BETTY’S ESTATE - The Bob the Builder Playschool may well be one of the only playschools on the island with a functioning Parent Committee. Officially started in November 2013, the BTB Parent Committee was established with the goals of enhancing the school in regards to its education, activities and environment, while giving parents the opportunity to volunteer and assist the people who have a direct impact on their child's development; the teachers and Director.

In 2006 Charlotte Jacob took over as the new owner and Director of Bob the Builder and has made many strides in improving the overall quality of education provided. An immensely dedicated and caring Manager, Director Jacob realized last year that it was only fitting that the school create a formal parent committee to assist in further strengthening Bob the Builder’s progress.

President of the Parent Committee Ludmila York-Duncan noted that ‘starting a parent committee was easy with the dedicated parents we had. Many of us have access to resources that could improve the quality of education and care our children receive at Bob the Builder and so working on this committee means contributing not only to the institution itself but also to the development of our children. And nothing is more important than our children.’

The Bob the Builder Parent Committee’s managing board includes President Ludmila York-Duncan, Vice President Donna Reid and Secretary Erika Richardson. In addition to the managing board, there are a number of important subcommittees namely Education, Events and Building and Grounds made up by fellow committee members Janale Nisbett, Shanell James, Justin Rosen, Dianne Ignacio and Everonique Levenstone.

A few of the Parent Committee’s goals for the end of 2014 include the construction of a garden to teach the children about agriculture and the hosting of a family fun day and toy drive to raise funds for the school.

Persons interested in enrolling their children in Bob the Builder or information on starting a parent committee may call (721) 548 3839 or visit www.btbnursery.com.

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Laser 101 Organizes Second Political Discussion for August 25 with Political Leaders

MADAME ESTATE - Laser 101, a station of Philipsburg Broadcasting Network, has decided to host a 2nd political discussion. This decision was made due to the amount of requests the station received from its listeners after the political program with the four candidates that was aired last Saturday August 16th.

The requests received were to invite the party leaders so that they can also participate in a discussion. The station complied and sent out an official invitation to all parties that directly or indirectly have representation in the present parliament, requesting the leaders to attend.

At this point of time three party leaders have confirmed their attendance. This discussion will take place on Monday August 25th from 7:00 PM until 9:00 PM

The host leading this discussion will once more be Glen Carty.

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Rhoda addresses youth on language of instruction

GREAT BAY - What obstacles does a child face in being taught Mathematics, Geography, Biology, and other subjects in a language that is foreign to him or her?

How is it that a Dutch technical assistant, who went to school in his country in Dutch, can function perfectly in our society, speaking and writing English fluently, and in many cases, better than someone born and bred here?

These were among the questions Dr. Rhoda Arrindell answered when she engaged a group of young (and a few not so young) St. Martiners recently regarding the language of instruction in our schools.

Research all over the world has shown that teaching children in their heritage language (or mother tongue) lays the foundation for them to learn other languages and subjects with less difficulty, thus improving their chances of success at school, she explained.  

The issue of language policy is one that will form part of a more comprehensive draft Education Reform Law, which Arrindell, who is contesting the parliamentary elections of August 29, as the #14 candidate on the UP Party list, will be tabling for legislation, if elected.

 

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PM: “Parliament must work; it must understand the issues and work towards taking a stand and representing the people”

PHILIPSBURG - Prime Minister Wescot-Williams; “The Prime Minister of St. Maarten the Honorable Sarah Wescot-Williams again reiterated that, as Citizens voting for the 2014 Parliamentary elections, people will be voting for Parliament and not for a Council of Ministers; “I keep trying to explain what and who people are voting for on August 29th.

“The people of St. Maarten will vote for fifteen members to the Parliament of St. Maarten. Once those persons are elected they will be there for four years unless you have a political impasse in which the Government decides to dissolve Parliament. On the basis of that Parliament, any majority can then decide who will be in the next Government. No one is voting for a Minister, Prime Minister or otherwise.

“Our system does not function like that. After persons have voted for members of Parliament the majority can decide to appoint anyone to the position of Minister. Basically the emphasis here should be on the persons elected to Parliament because they will be the one who decide who governs us. Ministers are not decided during campaigning but are decided by a majority of Parliament who then decides who will be Minister. You have to wait to see the outcome of elections in order to know what the formation of Parliament will be and on the basis thereof we will see who will be responsible for the different areas.

The Prime Minister also highlighted the responsibilities Ministers have with regards to Parliament; “It is the right of Parliament to amend, approve or disapprove the Budget of the Country. By approving the Budget Parliament is giving the Government the mandate to execute on the basis of an approved budget. Parliament also has the right to initiate a law; a member or more members can come together to draft a law and present that to Parliament. Thirdly Parliament has the right to question Government. Parliament can also have an inquiry into a topic or an issue.

“The Ministers are responsible to Parliament and not to the Prime Minister. In our system the ministers are independently responsible for their actions. If the majority of Parliament decides that the minister does not enjoy the confidence of Parliament then the minister has to do the honorable thing and resign.

“Just last week there was an article in one of the daily newspapers that spoke of some of the matters that were highlighted to politicians. One of those items is the matter of the tax system, but what the article overlooked is the fact that in our country status it is the Minister of Finance who is responsible for our tax department and he or she would have to initiate whatever process is necessary to change the tax system. I have seen several Ministers sign off on various projects that fall outside of their portfolios and deciding on things without the Council of Ministers being aware of this.

“Parliament must work; it must understand the issues and work towards taking a stand and representing the people. The same with Government owned companies; it is really the people who own the Government owned companies through Government being a majority stakeholder. Government being the shareholder and owner a Minister is the shareholder representatives. Now you have Government owned companies that operate in my opinions too much with the political wishes of the Minister,” concluded Prime Minister Wescot-Williams. (From the Cabinet of the Prime Minister)

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Tzu Chi provides relief to St. Peters fire victims

ST. PETERS - The St. Maarten Tzu Chi Foundation has provided relief supplies and emergency financial aid to the 15 individuals who were affected by the devastating fire in St. Peters on August 2. 

Eight volunteers visited the fire site on Sunday, August 10 to meet with fire victims as well as hand over the relief items to the members of the six families who were affected.    

Donated to the families were boxes of clean clothing; 15 envelopes with emergency cash relief and 15 containers each with rice, cornflake, milk, sugar, oil, spaghetti, face towel, toilet paper, soap, toothbrush, biscuits, peanut butter and bread etc. Six zinc sheets, which had been requested by one of the families whose home had been partially destroyed, were also donated.

Tzu Chi had originally visited the site the day after the fire on Sunday, August 3, where the information from the various families had been recorded. 

Volunteers used the opportunity to share some inspiring words of encouragement to the fire victims.  

Tzu Chi Commissioner Sandra Cheung said the foundation had been grateful for the opportunity to have been able to assist victims of disasters in their time of need.

New Tzu Chi Commissioner volunteer Yamile Bastidas gave an insight into the history of the foundation and how it began by Taiwanese Master Cheng Yen and 30 housewives who set aside US $0.02 cents of their grocery money daily to help the poor in their villages.

Bastidas said it was this sincere gesture of love that has spread across the world over the past 48 years and is the inspiration behind Tzu Chi’s efforts. She said the community of St. Maarten is fortunate to have the blessing of Tzu Chi in the country carrying out the same pure love.

The foundation recruits members (donors) and volunteers in St. Maarten, whose monthly contributions are used to help the needy in the community. “We believe that with our effort of love, we will create a better community,” she told fire victims.  

Cheung encouraged recipients and their neighbours to look out for each other and not to wait for a disaster to offer a lending hand to others. The 15 recipients were so touched and appreciative of the kind gesture from the foundation and its volunteers that they pledged to be of assistance to others. Some began the blessing field by donating whatever they could to be able to assist others, even as they themselves were being helped. The devastating fire may have destroyed their homes and belongings, but it did not destroy their conscience, love and care for others. The fire victims have become more compassionate.

At the end of the relief volunteers interacted with the various families with sign language song “One Family.”

Tzu Chi volunteers promised to follow up with the fire victims by visiting them the second Sunday of each month.

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DP Presents Its Party Platform on Fiscal Policies

PHILIPSBURG - The Democratic Party on Thursday highlighted its Fiscal Policy as part of its 2014 Party Platform for the upcoming Parliamentary Elections. The Party Platform highlights the simplification and harmonizing of the tax system and the preference for indirect taxation, which would include the abolishing of the Turn over Tax in Favor of a Value Added Tax; “The DP believes that political parties should present their vision to the electorate. However, we are also very conscious that programs and plans are subjected to the finances of the country. On the topic of taxes therefore, we believe that simplification of our tax system is still very much needed. A simpler, more harmonious tax system supported by an improved tax organization can, in the opinion of the party, improve compliance and yield more income for government thus eliminating the annual search for new and untested taxes and fees.

“The party prefers indirect taxation. The Turn Over Tax (TOT) however in its current form is harmful to business and costly for the consumer.  If we abolish the TOT and impose a type of VAT (value added tax), we can eliminate the profit tax, lower the wage tax, and exclude certain products and services from tax levies. We must ensure, however, that low-income earners, who do not pay wage tax, do not end up subjected to a higher cost of living due to the tax on food and other consumer goods.

“This way, we can create a stronger tax infrastructure.  One that more equitably spreads the burden, fairly assesses the taxpayers, and eliminates the need for draconian collection methods.  We believe this is a more effective and fair tax structure that will strengthen this country’s financial position for the very long term,” highlighted the Democratic Party Platform on Fiscal Policy. (Contributed by the DP Party)

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Minister Lake applauds NV GEBE for Providing Relief to seniors

PHILIPSBURG – Minister of Public Housing, Environment, Spatial Planning and Infrastructure (Ministry VROMI) Hon. Maurice Lake, applauds NV GEBE for remaining on track and providing seniors of the country who qualified relief which should be seen in their monthly utility bills. 

Minister Lake took note of a NV GEBE press release announcing the news this week.

“NV GEBE has kept its promise to the seniors in our community.  There was a lot of speculation in the country, but NV GEBE lived up to its word. 

“I have been informed that there was an attempt within the company by a person or persons to sabotage this whole relief program.  This is very unfortunate.  I have always stated do not play politics with our senior citizens.

“I have been concentrating on the issues of our seniors, and won’t be deflected from those trying to play political games with our seniors,” Minister Hon. Maurice Lake said on Wednesday.

NV GEBE will also be carrying out an awareness program geared towards the senior citizen population about cost saving measures such as changing their light bulbs to LED.

General relief for household consumers and the business community is being worked on, Minister Lake added.

Minister Lake commends Princess Juliana International Airport for stepping up to the plate to help the country’s seniors who make use of the John Larmonie Center on the Pondfill.

“As a good corporate citizen, SXM Airport is giving back to the country and in particular our seniors.  The airport will support the project to provide an ‘accessible railing’ as well as remodeling the kitchenette at the center. We must treat our seniors with respect and provide for them whereby they live a comfortable life in their senior years.

“We have a lot to give thanks for what our seniors have done for our community and building the Sint Maarten nation.  We have a responsibility to give back to them,” Minister Hon. Maurice Lake concluded.

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