Soualiga News II

Soualiga News II (3067)

KNMI experts meet Island Council, discuss earthquake, volcano monitoring

SABA - The Saba Island Council on Thursday, January 23 met with representatives of the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) Elske de Zeeuw-Van Dalfsen and Reinoud Sleeman.

Discussed with volcanologist De Zeeuw-van Dalfsen and seismologist Sleeman was the KNMI work on Saba to monitor seismic and volcanic activity. The main conclusion was that there is no reason for concern.

The KNMI experts were on Saba this week to inspect and service the measuring equipment installed on different parts on the island. The KNMI has seismic equipment on the airport, in St. John’s, Windwardside and The Bottom. Also, at the first two locations Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) instruments are installed. A third GNSS is expected to be installed on the North Coast at a later stage. All instruments transmit the collected data to KNMI in real time.

No out of the ordinary seismic activity has been measured on Saba that could indicate a change in dormant Mount Scenery volcano. “There is no cause to be worried about the volcano,” De Zeeuw-Van Dalfsen said.

De Zeeuw-Van Dalfsen and Sleeman on Thursday installed a GPS (Global Positioning System) receiver next to the Satel building in The Bottom. The GPS receiver instrument measures its precise location on the ground, allowing to track it if the location is moving. The KNMI experts collected the data of the temperature measuring equipment at the hot spring opposite Green Island on Wednesday. No reason for alarm at the hot springs either, assured De Zeeuw-Van Dalfsen. “Everything seems to be very stable. The temperature has been a constant 82 degrees Celsius.”

The Members of the island Council posed a lot of questions to the KNMI experts. They asked in detail about the measuring and monitoring system, the occurrence of earthquakes in the region, the possibility of volcanic activity and the erosion that affects Saba.

Asked about the recent series of earthquakes near Puerto Rico, the experts explained that the situation in Puerto Rico is special because of its location near a micro plate wedged between the North American and the Caribbean tectonic plates.

The earthquakes near Puerto Rico are caused because the tectonic plates are constantly moving. The measuring equipment installed on Saba has been picking up the earthquake signals near Puerto Rico, but there is no cause for alarm locally.

De Zeeuw-Van Dalfsen and Sleeman said that people on Saba can always reach the KNMI if they have questions or if they want to report feeling a tremor or smelling a volcano-related odor. The information of the GNSS systems and seismometers on Saba, and the region, can be found online on the website



SMDF Director visits Mental Health Foundation

SINT MAARTEN (CAY HILL) - St. Maarten Development Fund (SMDF) Director Ms. Makhicia Brooks was given an informative tour of the Mental Health Foundation (MHF) accompanied by MHF Interim Director Ms. Eileen Healy, MHF said in a press statement. 

The visit was aimed at getting SMDF better acquainted with the various services offered at the foundation and shedding light on importance of mental health care on St. Maarten.

SMDF Director Brooks also met with the staff at the foundation where topics including their various roles at the foundation, patient care and the ongoing challenges were discussed.


Statia enters new administrative phase in preparation for elections

SINT EUSTATIUS - On February 15th Mr. Marcolino Franco and Mr. Mervyn Stegers will both end their tenure as respectively Government Commissioner and Deputy Government Commissioner on the aforementioned date when a new administrative phase will begin with a main focus on preparations for the 2020 elections of the Island Council. This phase will be led by Mr. Marnix van Rij, who has been appointed by the Council of Ministers as the new Government Commissioner together with his deputy Mrs. Alida Francis.

Mr. Mike Franco and Mr. Mervyn Stegers took office two years ago when the Temporary Act on Neglect of Duty in St Eustatius (Tijdelijke Wet Taakverwaarlozing Sint Eustatius) went into effect February 6th, 2018 resulting in the administrative intervention by the Dutch government. The first phase focused on rebuilding the island’s infrastructure as well as reorganizing its civil service core. “Statia is on the right track. Almost all of the infrastructural and organizational projects are in the implementation phase or will be completed in 2020”, states Mr. Franco.

Franco and Stegers are of the opinion that a great deal has been achieved these past two years and acknowledge that there is still work to do. “Civil servants and the wider community are encouraged to continue working together in order to achieve these very important milestones in Statia’s development”, states Mr. Stegers. To ensure a smooth continuation of the process Franco and Stegers along with the Directors and Unit Managers of the Public Entity St. Eustatius will work together to ensure there is a smooth transfer of the tasks that have already been set in motion and nearing completion.

Mr. Marnix van Rij and Mrs. Alida Francis will officially take over the current tasks effective February 15th. Mr. van Rij was a member of the First Chamber from June 2015 until June 2019 and a partner at Ernst & Young until July 2019. In his current function he is a strategic advisor for the Ministry of Interior and Kingdom Relations in the Caribbean Netherlands on Bonaire.

The new deputy government commissioner Mrs. Alida Francis was born and raised on St. Eustatius and has been working in the Caribbean for thirty years. In her latest position she was employed by RCN communication and she made an important contribution to the reconstruction of St. Eustatius after Hurricane Irma. (RCN Caribbean Netherlands)


Consultant delegation EU program visits Saba

SABA - A delegation of European Union (EU) associated consultants visited Saba this week for meetings with the Public Entity Saba, Saba Electric Company (SEC) and the Saba Conservation Foundation (SCF).

The visit of the consultants of Expertise France from St. Maarten had to do with the Resilience, Sustainable Energy and Marine Biodiversity (RESEMBID) program for the Caribbean of the EU. It concerns a program of 40 million euros for 12 countries and territories in the Caribbean.

Saba is one of the participating territories in this regional program for the next few years. The other countries and territories are Anguilla, Aruba, Bonaire, British Virgin Islands (BVI), Cayman Islands, Curaçao, Montserrat, Saint Barthélemy, St. Eustatius, St. Maarten and the Caicos Islands.

The program has three areas of focus: marine biodiversity, sustainable energy and resilience. Saba will focus on the first two areas. The program aims to support the sustainable human development efforts of the Caribbean Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs).

Expertise France, which acts as the executive committee, is visiting the 12 countries and territories that are taking part in this program. The RESEMBID team members and sectoral experts are consulting with institutional and other stakeholders that are working to advance national and community development in the areas of resilience, sustainable energy and marine biodiversity.

In the case of Saba, meetings were held on Monday, January 20 with the Public Entity Saba, on Tuesday, January 21 with SEC and on Wednesday, January 22 with the SCF. The meeting with the Public Entity Saba included Commissioner Rolando Wilson, Island Secretary Tim Muller and Head of the Planning Bureau Bobby Zagers and contact person and EU Territorial Authorizing Officer Menno van der Velde.

Van der Velde gave a power point presentation in the area of sustainable energy and the Saba Energy Strategy documents that cover 2014 to 2020 and 2020 to 2025.

During the meeting on Monday, the Saba delegation announced that it wants to develop a project proposal that will include the use of drones to protect the marine diversity in the waters surrounding Saba. Surrounding islands such as St. Maarten/Saint Martin, St. Eustatius, Saint Barthélemy and Anguilla will be approached to participate. With these islands’ participation, the area would be enlarged and the surveillance would become more effective. The drones would gather information on activities at sea, including illegal dumping and illegal fisheries, with the objective of protecting the marine biodiversity and resources.

Commissioner Wilson said about the visit of the EU delegation: “I am confident that, after talking to the visiting specialists, Saba will set up some interesting projects in the area of renewable energy and marine biodiversity. Fortunately, we have two competent partners on the island, SEC and SCF, to help us moving forward with this.”

On December 9 and 10, 2019, Wilson and Van der Velde were in Brussels, Belgium, where they attended a workshop on sustainable energy in the OCTs. The workshop was a follow-up to the implementation of the Energy Roadmap, of which Saba is a signatory.  During the workshop, Wilson and Van der Velde gave a presentation on Saba’s Energy Strategy and the progress that has been made on the Energy Roadmap.

On December 11 and 12, Wilson and Van der Velde attended a workshop that focused on the EU programs to reinforce the OCTs capacity to enhance the access of OCTs within the EU horizontal programs.




SINT MAARTEN (COLE BAY) - STORM, the newest spiritual child of author Loekie Morales, has been published in English by Beyond Kultura Events Foundation (BKE), BKE said in a press release on Wednesday.  Friday, January 31st BKE will host a public book launch at Pineapple Pete in Cole Bay at 7.00 pm. 

“’STORM’ describes Hurricane Irma through the eyes of two Sint Maarten boys from Belvedere and Dutch Quarter. Their dramatic, but also uplifting experiences right before and after September 6th 2017 have been recorded in a colorful hardcover, fit to read for anyone from the age of nine.  

“In addition to the remarkable story ‘STORM’, the book incorporates the winning Hurricane poems of the Beyond Kultura’s 2019 Writing competition. Winners include first time published poets like Denny Mo, Paula Lovell, Nicholas Russo, Chloe Ifrah, Grace Cheasley, Laura Richardson, and Walter Hellebrand. Both the story and the poems are illustrated by Penka Petkova.

“Thanks to mayor sponsors like the Central bank of Sint Maarten and Curaꞔao, The Prins Bernhard Cultural fund, The Windward Island Bank and The Nederlandse Taal Unie, class sets of STORM can be donated to the primary schools of Sint Maarten and Curaꞔao. These sponsors, as well as Loekie Morales’ own BKE foundation support stimulating comprehensive reading among the youth.

“The general public is cordially invited to the STORM book launch on January 31st at Pineapple Pete in Cole Bay at 7.00 pm.”


Stabbing Altercation over a scooter on the Soualiga Road

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - The police dispatch received several calls early Tuesday morning around 1.30 am, concerning a stabbing that took place on the Soualiga Road, police said on Wednesday in a report.

The patrol and ambulance who arrived on the scene encountered a man who had received stab wounds to his chest and lacerations to his body.

According to the information gathered at the scene, an argument began between two men, when the suspect with the initials M.A.G, took a scooter belonging the victim F.L. without permission.

F.L. had earlier parked his scooter on the side of the road close to a well-known bar and restaurant and went inside the bar. The suspect took the opportunity and left the scene with the scooter belonging to the F.L.

About 10 minutes later the suspect returned to the scene with the scooter and a altercation ensued between both men. During the fight the victim received a stabbed wound to his chest. He was also threatened with a machete during the fight that took place.

F.L. who was bleeding profusely, was treated on the scene and transferred to the Sint Maarten Medical Center. He didn’t suffer no life-threatening injuries and was later release after being treated.

M.A.G who was still on the scene was immediately arrested by the police patrol and brought to the police station. He was incarcerated pending further investigation. (KPSM)


Plenary Public session of Parliament about National Ordinance revision pension civil servants

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten – The House of Parliament will sit in a Plenary Public session on Thursday, January 23, 2019.

The Public meeting is scheduled for 14.00 hrs. in the General Assembly Chamber of the House at Wilhelminastraat #1 in Philipsburg. The Minister of General Affairs will be present.

The agenda points are:

  1. Incoming documents
  2. Ontwerp van Landsverordening tot wijziging van de Pensioenlandsverordening overheidsdienaren, tot wijziging van de Landsverordening leeftijdsgrens ambtenaren, alsmede tot intrekking van de Duurtetoeslagregeling gepensioneerden 1943 (Landsverordening herziening pensioen overheidsdienaren) (ZJ 2018-2019-121) (IS/205/2018-2019 d.d. 16 oktober 2018)

(National ordinance amending the National Ordinance on Pension for civil servants, amending the National Ordinance age limit civil servants, and repealing the Longterm Allowance regulation pensioners 1943 (National Ordinance revision pension civil servants) (Parliamentary Year 2018-2019-121))

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 115, via SXM GOV radio FM 107.9, via Pearl Radio FM 98.1 www.pearlfmradio.sxvia the internet www.sxmparliament.organd Parliament’s Facebook page: Parliament of Sint Maarten


SMMC receives medical supply donation from Sky Princess

SINT MAARTEN (CAY HILL) - St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) recently received  generous donation of medical supplies from Sky Princess Cruise Ship during its call to St. Maarten. The donation included brand new, high quality isolation gowns, bandages, band aids, glove boxes, urinary supplies, intravenous infusion sets, ambubags, and blood transfusion line.

“On behalf of SMMC’s Management and staff, I would like to extend heartfelt thanks and gratitude to Sky Princess and its staff for this very useful and generous donation to the hospital and by extension, the people of St. Maarten, the surrounding islands and our visitors. This donation definitely aids in our mission of providing quality care, close to home”, said SMMC Medical Director, Dr. Felix Holiday. 


Central Committee meeting of Parliament about the 2018 annual report of the SER

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten – The House of Parliament will sit in a Central Committee meeting on, January 22, 2020.

The Central Committee meeting is scheduled for Wednesday at 14.00 hrs. in the General Assembly Chamber of the House at Wilhelminastraat #1 in Philipsburg. Representatives of the SER will be present.

The agenda point is:

Annual report 2018 of the SER (IS/1225/2018-2019 dated June 25, 2019)

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 115, via SXM GOV radio FM 107.9, via Pearl Radio FM 98.1, the audio via the Internet, and Parliament’s Facebook page: Parliament of Sint Maarten.


Immigration personnel meet their French side counterparts and visit ports of entry

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - In the context of maintaining a good working relationship between the Dutch and French side immigration departments, a working visit was arranged on Friday January 17th 2020 with their counterparts on the French side.

The visiting group from Dutch Sint Maarten consisted of personnel from the Immigration and Border Control and KMar.

The immigration personnel visited different departments on the French side, under the guidance of their colleagues of the French side Immigration (SPAF). During the tour, the group from the Dutch side was able visit the following centers:

-Detention Center in Concordia

-Anguilla- St. Barths Seaport in Marigot

-Seaport in Galisbay

-Le Esperance airport at Sandy Ground.

The colleagues from the Dutch side officers were later introduced to their French counterparts. During this meet and greet the French legislation, work processes and work systems were explained. (KPSM)

POLICE immigrat port visit ins1

POLICE immigrat visit in2


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