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Soualiga News (5487)

January 2nd Working Day for All Civil Servants

PHILIPSBURG - All civil servants are expected to report to work on Friday, January 2. The Council of Ministers took a decision last week not to grant government's personnel the extra day off following New Year's Day. This day is not a public holiday.  

However, Prime Minister (PM) Marcel Gumbs encourages those civil servants who would like an extra day off to enjoy another long weekend, to request and seek approval for a vacation day via their department heads.  

The PM explained that 2015, from day 1, is a crucial year for St. Maarten and every facet of the public sector, as often that is legally required, is needed to address priority areas.  

PM Gumbs, on behalf of his cabinet, went on to wish all civil servants a happy, safe and productive New Year. (Office of the Press Secretariat, Government of Sint Maarten, Council of Ministers)


Parliament in recess until January 1st. Meetings resume in the week of January 12

PHILIPSBURG - President of Parliament, Hon. Lloyd Richardson, MD informed Members of Parliament that the House as of December 22 is in Christmas holiday recess until January 1st.

Parliamentary sessions are to resume in the weeks of January 12 and January 26.

A parliamentary delegation will be traveling to Aruba for the Kingdom Parliamentary Relations Conference (IPKO) in the week of January 5.

The House of Parliament did meeting in an urgent plenary session on December 22 which will continue in the New Year.

Happy Holidays. 


Marine traffic potential for Ebola virus disease scare in the Caribbean Region

PUERTO RICO/SINT MAARTEN – At the end of September there was an Ebola virus disease (EVD) scare in the Caribbean that took place in Puerto Rico when the Bermuda registered vessel Akwa Ibom from Nigeria arrived in port near-month end.  None of the crew members went ashore, however, a team from the island of Puerto Rico boarded the vessel to carry out some repairs, but EcoElectrica officials stated that the crew did not come into contact with the crew.

Country Sint Maarten may also at some point in time face a similar scare as other islands in the Caribbean have experienced such as The Bahamas, Jamaica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Puerto Rico.

The vessel also went to the Caribbean Netherlands island of St. Eustatius and left around October 2nd for Nigeria, according to Marine Traffic website.

The Puerto Rico Health Department took steps to find out if the vessel posed a health risk to Puerto Rico.  The ship left Puerto Rico at the end of September.  Prior to the ship docking, the United States Coast Guard carried out a pre-screening several days before the ship entered the territorial waters of Puerto Rico.

The U.S. Coast Guard also notified the Center for Disease Control that the ship was on its way to Puerto Rico, and this was done because the ship left a country at that point in time that had cases of Ebola.

The vessel left Nigeria bound for Puerto Rico carrying a consignment of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG).  The vessel docked at EcoElectricia’s power plant on the south coast of the island at Penuelas.

Other cases of Ebola virus disease scares in the Caribbean region was when four Nigerian students, who are attending the All Saints University and the American University of St. Vincent, arrived on the island without medical certificates proving that they do not have Ebola. They were held in isolation by the country’s health authorities.  The Chief Medical Officer then had to publicly ensure that there were no suspected or confirmed cases of Ebola in the country.

The Bahamas Health Minister Perry Gomez has dismissed a bogus report that a confirmed case of the Ebola virus had been confirmed after a European national died in that country.  The Minister said the report was untrue.

Jamaica health authorities also came forward to deny rumours of a suspected case of Ebola on the island.  It was rumoured that a 65-year old doctor, who had returned to the island from Trinidad & Tobago, was admitted to a hospital with a reported case of bleeding.  This person has since recovered fully and there was no diagnosis of Ebola. 



Chinese Consul General Qiman Calls for Action to Protect Chinese Merchants

CURACAO-SINT MAARTEN – The Chinese Consul General Chen Qiman stationed in Curacao has called on the Government of Curacao and law enforcement authorities to step up patrols and to take additional measures to protect the Chinese community on the island who have experienced a series of violent crimes.

In one incident, a 30-year old Chinese supermarket owner was killed almost a week ago.  Also in the past two weeks there were five additional incidents of violence against Chinese businesses that included children.

Many small businesses in Curacao are owned and operated by Chinese nationals, especially small supermarkets.

Consul General Qiman says the relationship between Chinese nationals and Curacao goes back over 100-years. 


Minister Bourne-Gumbs presents baskets for less fortunate to Pastor Smith

PHILIPSBURG - The Honorable Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports Affairs Mrs. Rita Bourne – Gumbs got off to a great start at her first day at work when she presented Pastor Smith who represented the clergy with 20 Christmas Boxes for the less fortunate in our community. This gesture is in the spirit of humanism which is about solidarity and the conviction that we belong to a single human family.

The Christmas Boxes, prepared by the Department of Culture, contained non-perishable goods and were made possible through the kind love offerings collected at the Annual Thanksgiving Service of 2013 and 2014 in collaboration with the St. Maarten Christian Council, St. Maarten United Ministerial Foundation and the Seventh Day Adventist Church.

The Thanksgiving Service is an annual undertaking by the government and the churches, and is in keeping with compassion, tradition and the expression of gratitude and love after the hurricane season and joy and light at the beginning of the Christmas season in particular towards the less fortunate in our community.

“Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed”. Proverbs 19:17


Government offices opened half day December 24

PHILIPSBURG - Due to the Christmas holiday, government offices will be closed half day on Wednesday, December 24 - Christmas Eve.
On behalf of Government, the Council of Ministers wish you and your family a safe and wonderful Christmas.May this season bring you health and happiness.

Wellness on Wheels (WOW) Programme Officially Launched

PHILIPSBURG - In celebration of the Wellness on Wheels Programme that is expected to kick off in 2015 onJanuary 28th, Collective Prevention Services at the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labor (VSA) hosted a short ribbon-cutting ceremony last week Wednesday in front of the Government Administration Building. 

A few words were given by Dr. Virginia Asin Department Head of CPS, R.M. Willemsberg Deputy Director/Chief Operations Officer, and Honourable Minister of VSA Cornelius de Weever. A sugar apple tree was planted and blessed to symbolically represent the launching of the WOW programme followed by a blessing of the Mobile Health Services Bus by Pastor Mulrose Toulon. Invited guests were then given the opportunity to have a tour of the bus given by CPS's registered nurse Shardina Blomont-Frederick. The bus consists of a waiting room, two examination room, and is wheelchair accessible. It will be offering information sessions and free screening opportunities for various communicable and non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, HIV, etc.

Minister de Weever thanked Dr. Asin who was essential in bring this project to life, Mr Willemsberg, Hans de Bruyne and the SZV Board of Directors  who financed the purchasing of the bus and assisted with coordinating the development of the bus, the American University of the Caribbean who have voluntarily dedicated their time and expertise to the programme, all staff at CPS for their contributions, Lionel Franchisca the bus driver, Alissa Rios who designed the bus, and all stakeholders who will be working together with CPS to bring prevention health services into the communities of St. Maarten free of charge.


Lizzy Lizard left me wanting more!

PHILIPSBURG - (By Melba A. Wescott) Lizzy Lizardby Robin Boasman is a colorful and very appealing book for children and for anyone who is fascinated with colors and animals. The main character of this oversized hardcover storybook is Lizzy Lizard.

Little Lizzy is one happy lizard in the animal kingdom. And because she radiates friendliness, all of the other animals that she meets on her one-day adventure in Philipsburg, at Great Bay Beach, at the Zoo on the Arch Road, along the Great Salt Pond, Long Wall Road, and in Little Bay, are inspired to be happy as well.

Lizzy Lizard proves that in order to gain a friend you must show yourself friendly and that showing yourself friendly to others is a very important aspect of a fulfilling life.

The various picture art of St. Martin’s history, culture, and natural environment such as the Great Salt Pond, the Soldier Crab, and the Pelican made me smile and I believe it will do the same for many who read this wonderland story to children or for their own enjoyment. 

Of course, boys and girls, ages four to nine, and even beyond, who will read the story for themselves will probably take a special delight in the conversations between Lizzy Lizard and her new friends, Iggy Iguana, Missy Mongoose, and all of the others.

The author’s writing style is clear and simple. The use of relatable words makes reading very easy.Lizzy Lizardleft me wanting more! 

Boasman, who is a primary school teacher, leaves room inLizzy Lizardfor much interaction between parents and their children, between older and younger sibling readers, and between teachers and day care workers and the little ones that they take care of.

It was also surprising how the author brought back many childhood memories for me, especially the experience of making new and different friends, and how that aspect of childhood and adulthood is very important. 

It might be no better time than during the holiday season to be like Lizzy, let’s decide to be happy no matter what is happening and go out to various places of adventure, good company and good cheer, and interact with others. Meeting different people is a wonderful thing.

Lizzy Lizardby Robin Boasman was published by House of Nehesi Publishers (HNP) in St. Martin and is available in bookstores. (Editor’s Note: Melba A. Wescott is the founder of the MellyMel Facebook information page.)


Residents urged to step-up mosquito prevention measures

GREAT BAY (DCOMM) – The Collective Preventive Services (CPS), an executing agency at the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development & Labour, is calling on residents to step-up mosquito prevention measures in order to keep the mosquito population down.

Residents are advised to step-up by taking measures at home and at their business to mitigate mosquito breeding such as the Aedes Aegyptimosquito.

It is the responsibility of residents, and business owners, to check around their homes, and businesses in order to reduce breeding sites of the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, and making themmosquito-free zones.

CPS is calling on residents to encourage and ensure that their neighbor (s) clean their yard in order to be more effective in eliminating breeding sites.

Mosquito foggingis one intervention of several, but the main measure is for every household and business to take action by removing potentialmosquitobreeding spots in and around their premises on a daily basis.

Homeowners should remove containers or turn them over; boat owners who have boats stored on land should make sure the drains are open for water to run out rather than accumulate creating a breeding ground for mosquito’s; spouts should be cleaned; overgrown vegetation should be cut; and old tires should be cut up.

Call for information on the Aedes Aegyptimosquitobreeding sites and respective preventive measures at 542-2078 or 542-3003 or emailThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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