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Soualiga News II (3974)

Leniency regulation if overstaying free period ends on first of July

SABA/SINT EUSTATIUS - Due to the travel restrictions that were introduced on the 14th of March 2020 in connection with the COVID-19 crisis, there are people who were, at the time, forced to overstay the free period.

Therefore, earlier the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee (KMar), the Immigration and Naturalisation Service Unit CN (IND-CN) and the Public Prosecutions Office BES (OM BES) have jointly applied a leniency regulation for the group of people who, through no fault of their own, overstayed in the Caribbean Netherlands. Now that the travel restrictions have been lifted for quite some time, the leniency scheme will be abolished completely on the 1st of July 2021.

The free period applies to people who are not residents of the Caribbean Netherlands. They can stay in the Caribbean Netherlands for a certain period of time without a residence permit or a declaration of legal status. The length of this period depends on the nationality of the person and the country in which the person lives. If someone overstays the free period, then this person can be fined at the exit check.

Non-residents of the Caribbean Netherlands who, on the 14th of March 2020, were still within their free period of stay in the Caribbean Netherlands, but were unable to leave due to the introduced travel restrictions, were not fined under the leniency regulation upon departure if the free period had been overstayed during the period of the travel restrictions. For, among others, Dutch citizens and citizens of the United States, it has been possible to return to their country of origin for some time now. Now that it is also possible for other nationalities to return, the leniency regulation will be abolished completely.

The abolition of the leniency regulation means for all non-residents that as from the 1st of July 2021 overstaying of non-residents on Bonaire, Saba or St. Eustatius will no longer be condoned. The various services in the immigration chain will then resume operations in accordance with the generally applicable legislation and regulations. The amount of the fine for overstaying the free period increases as the duration of the overstay becomes longer. (RCN Caribbean Netherlands)

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Commemeration slavery past and emancipation

SABA/SINT EUSTATIUS - The national commermoration of the Dutch slavery past is a national event that takes place on the 1st of July. On July 1st 1863 the Dutch State started with the phased abolition of slavery in the West-Indian colonies.

In that time there were about 12.000 enslaved persons on the Antillean islands. The abolition of slavery and the emancipation of the former slaves is also of relevance for the history and community of Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba.

This year the public entity Bonaire is organizing an islandwide commemoration in cooperation with the ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW).

The activities include a historical hike on June 26th with Boi Antoin to landhuis Yato Baco and a film evening with the film Sombra di koló (from film maker Angela Roe) with live music by Grupo Ashé. Access to the activities will be free but due to the limited number of seats it is wise to register early.

The programme for the Public Entity Sint Eustatius includes vafious competitions for students (coloring, poetry and writing essays) and the programme on July 1st includes a ceremonial commemoration and various events, such as “old time lunch”.

For more information

More information about the planned activities can be found on the Facebook page of the Public Entity Bonaire and for St. Eustatius on de Facebook page Government of Sint Eustatius. (RCN Caribbean Netherlands)

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Police makes several arrests for various offenses on June 17

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - A man with initials S.N.P.I. was arrested in the vicinity of Fort Willem around 12:45pm on June 17. It appeared that the suspect had entered his victim's residence and ill-treated the victim with a baseball bat.

During the attack, the victim suffered a fractured arm and several other injuries. The victim was then taken to the hospital where he was treated and send home.

Not long after returning home from St. Maarten Medical Center, the victim was attacked for a second time by the suspect who was still in the area. In the course of this second attack, the suspect also vandalized the windows of the neighbors. The suspect was arrested and is held in the Phillipsburg Police Station pending further investigation.

Police Central Dispatch received a call about 2:40 pm on Thursday afternoon regarding two young men who were in the process of stealing parts from a car parked in Cay Bay.

The patrol officers found the duo busy dismantling a car parked by the roadside. When questioned about what they were doing, the suspects with initials M.J. and M.S. acknowledged that the vehicle did not belong to them.

They were immediately arrested by the patrol. The suspects are held in the Phillipsburg Police Station pending further investigation.

The young man with initial V.A.P. for whom an arrest warrant was issued was arrested a week ago, was apprehended by Police on June 17 around 6:00pm in Union Farm Estate.

It appears that the suspect’s mother had filed a complaint a week earlier against her son after he assaulted her and destroyed several items in the house after an argument.

The suspect is held in the Phillipsburg Police Station pending further investigation. (KPSM)

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Traffic Alert: Disruption in Traffic Flow near Nazareth Road Dutch Quarter on Saturday

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – The Ministry of Public Housing, Environment, Spatial Planning, and Infrastructure (Ministry of VROMI), announces there will be an interruption with the traffic flow on the A.T. Illidge road in Dutch Quarter in the proximity to Nazareth Road on Saturday, June 19 from 7:00 AM until 12:00 PM.

Motorists are advised to be vigilant and observant of the traffic diversion directional signs.

Motorists coming from French Quarter and Belvedere will use the Bishop Road, Sucker Garden Road and/or Middle Region Road to get to their desired locations.

Motorists coming from Madam Estate to Dutch Quarter will use the Middle Region Road and continue on to their intended venue.

The road closure is in connection with the maintenance of the sewage pump pit.

Ministry VROMI apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause.

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STATIA COULD RECEIVE 100 JOHNSON & JOHNSON VACCINES IF UNVACCINATED STATIANS ARE INTERESTED

SINT EUSTATIUS (ORANJESTAD) - The Public Entity St. Eustatius can offer the Johnson & Johnson vaccine if at least 100 persons register for this vaccine. The Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports in the Netherlands (VWS) has indicated that they will send a batch of at least 100 Johnson & Johnson vaccines if sufficient Statians are interested.

Registration for this is possible until July 15, 2021. Compared to the Moderna vaccine, the Johnson & Johnson is a single shot vaccine while Moderna consists of 2 doses. The expiry date of the current stock of Moderna is September 2nd, 2021.

As it is not cost effective to send smaller batches of the vaccine, VWS can only guarantee 100 vaccines for now. This means that persons who are interested in getting the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, should register as soon as possible.

Moderna

The second round of vaccinations with the Moderna vaccine is coming to an end. Registration for Moderna is still possible through This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. before the 4th of August, 2021. In this case the first doses can be provided on a Wednesday before the 4th of August, 2021 and the second shot before the expiry date of September 2nd, 2021. If a person prefers to receive the Moderna vaccine, registration must be done soon.

Very high risk countries

Since last Monday, June 15th 2021, a new entry policy applies. The new policy entails the introduction of a list of very high risk countries. This list is already in place for the Netherlands and consists of mainly Asian and South and Central American countries. For Statia, the most relevant countries in this category are the United Kingdom, because of the Delta variant which is spreading there. In addition, the Dominican Republic and Suriname are now considered to be very high risk countries due to the Gamma variant. For those countries, the principle for non-vaccinated persons does not change. If they want to enter Statia, they must go into quarantine for a period of 10 days and should have a valid PCR test before arrival. A rapid antigen test at the end of the quarantine period will be taken.

For vaccinated persons coming from very high risk countries the rules are now stricter. Vaccinated persons coming from these countries must go into full quarantine for a period of 5 days, a valid PCR test is required before arrival on Statia and a rapid antigen test will be taken at the end of the quarantine. The Public Health Department will strictly evaluate the places where persons from very high risk countries go in quarantine to assure that a good separation is achieved.

The Public Health Department will not allow essential workers from very high risk countries to work under a protocol during their quarantine period.

Meanwhile, this risk based approach gives the Public Entity St. Eustatius the ability to go on with its opening process for the countries with a more positive development.

Low risk countries

More countries in Europe, but also countries close to Statia, became low risk countries recently. In most cases there is no direct flight from these low risk countries to Statia. St. Maarten is still a high risk country. Travelling from a low risk country through St. Maarten is a risk because the traveler can be exposed to the COVID-19 virus during the travel. This is the reason that the Public Health Department has set a norm for the transfer from a low risk country to Statia through high risk countries. If a traveler has a stopover of less than 5 hours in a high risk country, he or she is perceived as someone who comes from a low risk country upon entry in Statia. If the stop-over is longer than 5 hours, the traveler will be treated upon entry as if he or she visited a high risk country.

Children

The age limit for children from vaccinated parents who do not need to go into quarantine was lowered to 6 years in the new entry policy. It was concluded that the previous age limit of 12 years was too high as they will have interaction with other children when they are not in quarantine. This is especially the case in the holiday season when schools are closed. The children need to go into quarantine for 5 days upon arrival in Statia. (Statia GIS)

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Training of Safety & Emergency Teams of schools commences

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - Training of Safety & Emergency Teams (SETs) of elementary and secondary schools on St. Maarten starts on June 17, 2021 under the auspices of the Student Support Services Division and supported by UNICEF Netherlands.

In 2018, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport (MECYS) developed the “Safety and Emergency Response Guidelines for Schools” with the support of UNICEF Netherlands. This document provides guidance for disaster safety planning in schools, emphasizing the work to be carried out by School Safety Teams (SETs). It also outlines the do’s and don’ts before and during emergencies, suggesting possible steps for various hazards. SETs went on to draft their school safety & emergency plans under the guidance of the Student Support Services Division and with the support of UNICEF Netherlands.

The 1-day “Safe School Virtual Training” is aimed to support School Safety Teams in the implementation of the guidelines, providing basic disaster risk management knowledge as well as guidance on carrying out risk assessment and develop or update school safety & emergency plans.

At the end of the training, participants will be able to recognize the importance of school safety; differentiate the concepts of hazards, vulnerability, risk and resources as they relate to disaster risk management; apply tools to assess school safety of a given facility; and develop or update a School Safety & Emergency Plan.

This series of 1-day training sessions will be take place during the month of June and two days in August, to allow for the participation of the 24 SETs. School Teams were requested to select the date of their choice and register online for the training. The SSSD is quite pleased that 21 teams have registered.

The Head of SSSD and school safety focal point, Mrs. Olga Mussington-Service, stated that is so important that the SETs be given the tools they need and this training is another step in that direction. “We have a group of dedicated school staff & teachers who are committed to school safety and continue to go beyond the call of duty. I am so pleased that with the support of UNICEF Netherlands, we have been able to realize another aspect of our plan to elevate school safety on St. Maarten.”

Mussington-Service, who is also the acting chair of the Safety & Emergency Management Committee of MECYS, added that the SEMC continues to roll-out its plan together with MECYS stakeholders and with the support of entities such as UNICEF Netherlands. For the SEMC of MECYS it is not solely about Hurricanes but we are preparing our sectors for all possible hazards.

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Renewed procedure for establishing a new school in the Caribbean Netherlands

SABA/SINT EUSTATIUS - The recently introduced law ‘Meer Ruimte voor Nieuwe Scholen’ (More Room for New Schools) has been in force in the Caribbean Netherlands (CN) since June 1st.

This law modernizes the rules for establishing new primary and secondary schools. More attention is being paid to whether there is sufficient interest in a new school and whether it can offer sufficient quality.

Everyone in the Caribbean Netherlands is allowed to set up a school with education according to their own religion and/or philosophy of life. The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW) monitors the quality of education and funds public and special education in the CN.

The Dienst Uitvoering Onderwijs (DUO) (Education Executive Agency) is responsible for funding the new school. Conditions apply for this. In addition to a new school (for primary or secondary education), it is also possible to set up a new branch of an existing secondary school.

For more information

For more information about the procedures and conditions for establishing a new school, visit the website of OCW in the Caribbean Netherlands: https://english.rijksdienstcn.com/education-culture-science under the menu item ‘Set up a new school’. (RCN Caribbean Netherlands)

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Gasoline and Diesel Prices to be adjusted on Tuesday

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – On Tuesday, June 15, fuel pump prices will be adjusted for gasoline and diesel. 

The current price of unleaded gasoline is Naf.2.141 per liter, will be adjusted to the new price of Naf.2.172 per liter.

The current price of diesel is Naf.1.534 per liter, will be adjusted to the new price of Naf.1.560 per liter.

The Government of Sint Maarten regulates the prices of petroleum products by imposing a maximum price at which wholesalers and retailers can sell these products in the country to motorists.

At the international level, the prices of crude oil have experienced adjustments and local prices follow the international trend, and therefore prices are adjusted to reflect this. 

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Traffic Alert: Partial Lane Closure of Causeway Bridge on Thursday to Sunday

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – The Ministry of Public Housing, Environment, Spatial Planning, and Infrastructure (Ministry of VROMI), announces that one lane will be closed to motorized traffic on the Causeway Bridge.

On Thursday June 17 and Friday June 18, the traffic lane leading from the Airport road to Cole Bay, will be closed to motorized traffic from 10:00PM to 7:00AM.

On Saturday June 19 and Sunday June 20, the traffic lane leading from Union road, Cole Bay to the Airport, will be closed to motorized traffic from 10:00PM to 7:00AM.

The closures are in connection with the maintenance works that have to be carried out on the dividers between the road and the sidewalk. One lane will be closed at a time as noted above.

Motorists are advised to be vigilant and observant of the workmen that will be carrying out the civil works on the dividers, and therefore drive with caution.

Ministry VROMI apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause.

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CPS: Quitting Tobacco Reduces Risk of Severe COVID-19

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – Smokers face a 40 to 50 per cent higher risk of developing severe disease and death from COVID-19.

The World Health Organization (WHO) supports people quitting tobacco to reduce their risk of severe COVID-19.

The Collective Prevention Services (CPS), a department in the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, is also of the same opinion and encourages the smokers within the Sint Maarten community to also follow the same advice.

The WHO says that smokers can lower their risk from the coronavirus, as well as the risk of developing cancers, heart disease and respiratory illnesses.

Globally, roughly 39% of men and 9% of women use tobacco. The highest tobacco use rates among men are currently found in the Western Pacific region at 49%, and among women in Europe at 19%.

There are multiple ways that exposure to tobacco affects the health of people’s lungs worldwide. According to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) these include:

Lung cancer. Tobacco smoking is the primary cause for lung cancer, responsible for over two thirds of lung cancer deaths globally. Second-hand smoke exposure at home or in the workplace also increases risk of lung cancer. Quitting smoking can reduce the risk of lung cancer: after 10 years of quitting smoking, risk of lung cancer falls to about half that of a smoker.

Chronic respiratory disease. Tobacco smoking is the leading cause of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a condition where the build-up of pus-filled mucus in the lungs results in a painful cough and agonising breathing difficulties. The risk of developing COPD is particularly high among individuals who start smoking at a young age, as tobacco smoke significantly slows lung development. Tobacco also exacerbates asthma, which restricts activity and contributes to disability. Early smoking cessation is the most effective treatment for slowing the progression of COPD and improving asthma symptoms.

Across the life-course. Infants exposed in-utero to tobacco smoke toxins, through maternal smoking or maternal exposure to second-hand smoke, frequently experience reduced lung growth and function. Young children exposed to second-hand smoke are at risk of the onset and exacerbation of asthma, pneumonia and bronchitis, and frequent lower respiratory infections. Globally, an estimated 165 000 children die before the age of 5 of lower respiratory infections caused by second-hand smoke. Those who live on into adulthood continue to suffer the health consequences of second-hand smoke exposure, as frequent lower respiratory infections in early childhood significantly increased risk of developing COPD in adulthood.

Tuberculosis. Tuberculosis (TB) damages the lungs and reduces lung function, which is further exacerbated by tobacco smoking. The chemical components of tobacco smoke can trigger latent infections of TB, which around a quarter of all people are infected with. Active TB, compounded by the damaging lung health effects of tobacco smoking, substantially increases risk of disability and death from respiratory failure.

Air pollution. Tobacco smoke is a very dangerous form of indoor air pollution: it contains over 7 000 chemicals, 69 of which are known to cause cancer. Though smoke may be invisible and odourless, it can linger in the air for up to five hours, putting those exposed at risk of lung cancer, chronic respiratory diseases, and reduced lung function.

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

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