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UPDATED: Young driver loses control of vehicle dies in accident

SINT MAARTEN (COLE BAY) – The police in a brief report on Sunday morning stated that a young person died early Sunday around 1.00am when the vehicle he was driving slammed into a wall on Union road after he lost control.

On Sunday evening, the Sint Maarten Police Force (KPSM) provided additional information related to the accident.  The victim with initials T.J.W. (30-years old) was driving at the time towards the French border,  Due to excessive speed, the driver struck a wall near a daycare center.  

The driver died at the scene and had to be extracted from the vehicle with the assistance of personnel from the Fire Department.  KPSM expresses its condolences to the family and friends of the driver. 

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MP Marten-Heyliger: communication, cohesion is lacking. Stimulus package not discussed

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Parliamentary Faction Leader of the United People (UP) party MP Grisha Marten-Heyliger on Friday said communication and cohesive efforts by the coalition leaves a lot to be desired as St. Maarten is in a fight to keep its residents safe from the Coronavirus.

She stressed that once the new Council of Ministers is sworn in, this lack of communication and cohesiveness must be remedied to yield effective governing that the people of St. Maarten expects in these uncertain and crisis-driven times. “Communication cannot be underestimated in these times when people expect answers from their representatives,” she said.

Marten-Heyliger said she is not in agreement and not satisfied with decisions being made by the EOC, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance with regards to COVID-19, in particular since coalition partners have yet to be apprised about the stimulus package that has somehow made its way into the public domain. “A stimulus package that is obviously lacking in a lot,” she said.

“Almost three years after Irma, a plan should be in place that can be put into action to counter sudden outside shocks to our economy. A round table session is necessary with our partners such as the SHTA which represents so many hotels and businesses, our taxi associations, Chamber of Commerce and the banks. Community representation should also be included so our people are heard from. This is a world crisis and we need to be ready to re-engage on the world stage,” MP Marten-Heyliger said.

The MP said that she is particularly concerned about health care in the face of the Coronavirus. She said while the EOC consists of important players in managing infrastructure and emergency response, professional health care and advice is not presence on the EOC. “Are we not listening to doctors? Are there any doctors on the EOC? Are medical professionals being heard?” she asked. “The impression from the doctors and medical professionals I’ve spoken to is that there are still too many people in frontline service, exposed to the virus. We are acting as if we have endless resources.”

Bottom line, MP Marten-Heyliger stressed, is to “remove as many of our people out of harms way because government cannot raise the dead. And let’s get a realistic and sound plan for economic recovery because the economy is something we can influence and control.”

She added that two coalition meetings since being sworn in, is unacceptable and that this will change once the new COM is sworn in. Additionally, the MP added that the incoming COM will also understand that they answer to Parliament and Parliament answers to the people. “Communicate with us so that we can communicate with the people. We will have 4 years to get this right so communication is key,” she stressed again.

The MP explained that a coalition meeting was held on Friday and she recommended that moving forward these meetings will be held twice a week. “We have to structure these meetings in order to have a holistic approach to the country’s economy and health care in the midst of a pandemic. People need to know that their government is planning properly and cohesively. I have said from the beginning I am not a ‘ja-knikker’. Information must flow in a timely manner in order for informed decisions to be made.”

She continued: “We’ve been in government for one-and-a-half months now. I’m not the type to boast or act like a know-it-all. I came in humble as a novice open to learn and gain experience. The reason I was quiet is because information was not forthcoming to me from any source. LIVE sessions on Facebook and interviews are conducted divulging information much to the surprise of many, and definitely without input. This is not the way.”

“I need the people of St. Maarten to know that I’m simply doing my job as an MP. If COM cannot justify why they made a particular decision, I won’t be playing politics and rubber-stamping anything. My one request to the incoming COM is that Communication should be clear and consistent. I will inform the people accordingly since they are my boss. We answer to St. Maarten,” MP Marten-Heyliger said.

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Burglar arrested Friday afternoon

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - On Thursday March 26th, 2020 about 02.00pm, the police patrol arrested the burglar F.L. on the Back street in Philipsburg, police said on Friday in their crime report.

The suspect was taken into custody after burglarizing a home on the 14th of March 2020. After being detained he was brought over to the police station in Philipsburg where he is being held for questioning. (KPSM)

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No magic answer: Efteling theme park appeals for help to pay salaries

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – The Efteling amusement park has applied for government help to pay the salaries of its 3,300 staff, the company confirmed to NPO radio news on Thursday.

The park has been closed for almost two weeks under government measures to halt the spread of coronavirus and fears that the closure will be extended beyond the initial April 6 deadline.

The Efteling generates some €500,000 in turnover on an average day and ‘we can’t just magic that from nowhere,’ spokeswoman Laura van de Bos said. The Efteling has appealed to the government’s emergency fund to help pay salaries of workers now stuck at home as well as those of seasonal staff – based on their average earnings last year.

The closure of the Noord-Brabant amusement park has also had a major impact on its regional suppliers, said to number around 1,000, who have also lost work, NPO radio said.

(DutchNews)

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Sheep not gardeners keep weeds in check at Soestdijk palace

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – A herd of sheep is going to help keep the grass in check in the grounds of the royal palace of Soestdijk, public broadcaster NOS reports.

Shepherds Werner and Ester Floor, who keep their sheep in the nearby national park Utrechtse Heuvelrug, have been contracted to curb out-of-control weeds and grass several times a year.

The fact that the herd is local and travels on the hoof means the maintenance can be classified as ‘sustainable,’ a palace spokesman said. ‘We want to create more natural value in the land around the palace and the sheep will be a good influence.

It also fits in with our ambition to make the Soestdijk the first energy neutral palace and estate.’ Soestdijk dates from the 17th century but only got its present shape in the early 19th century, when two wings were added, modelled on the palace of the czar in Pavlovsk near St Peterburg.

It ceased to be a royal residence following the death of its final inhabitant prince Bernhard, the spouse of the former queen Juliana. The palace, which is now owned by developers Neyer Bergman Erfgoed groep, is currently closed for renovation.

The plans have been thrown doubt however because they include a housing project on the estate. This would involve destroying part of the woods which date back to the 17th century when Willem III was stadtholder and ‘represent great historical and cultural value,’ province officials said.

(DutchNews)

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Fire Dept. administrative offices closed until further notice

GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – Disaster Coordinator and Fire Commander Clive Richardson, said on Thursday that the administrative offices of the Fire Department at the Fire & Ambulance Department in Cay Hill are closed to the general public until further notice.

The decision was taken in order to help minimize COVID-19 infection of frontline personnel, fire fighters and their families.

The department needs every member of its staff in order to be able to provide the necessary services during this national emergency.

For those who have any questions you can call 543-1318/543-1316/542-1215/542-1217.

The first responder emergency #919 remains operational for emergency calls.

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POSTPONED: Virtual Continuation Plenary public session of Parliament about National ordinance establishing a new Code of Criminal Procedure

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten – The House of Parliament was scheduled to sit in a Virtual plenary public meeting on March 27, 2020, however this has been postponed until further notice.

This Public meeting was to be a continuation of the meeting which was adjourned on March 20, 2020. The Minister of Justice was to be in attendance.

The agenda point was:

  1. Ontwerp van Landsverordening houdende vaststelling van een nieuw Wetboek van Strafvordering (Wetboek van Strafvordering) (IS/1189/2018-2019 d.d. 19 juni 2019) (Zittingsjaar 2018-2019-129)

(National ordinance establishing a new Code of Criminal Procedure (Code of Criminal Procedure) (Parliamentary Year

2018-2019-129))

Due to measures taken to mitigate the coronavirus (COVID-19), the House of Parliament is currently closed to the general public until further notice.

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PJIAE secures 5,000 Protective N-95 masks for medical professionals at the frontline of St. Maarten’s fight against COVID-19 infections

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY-AIRPORT) – Airport officials at PJIAE have secured 5,000 (N-95) masks for medical and staff after overcoming impossible odds to get them to St. Maarten.

While doctors and nurses globally, continue to complain about the chronic shortage of protective masks, similar shortages at health care facilities on the island will soon be wiped out – thanks to PJIAE where Airport officials personally met a KLM flight from the Netherlands on Tuesday, with a shipment of masks on board.

According to PJIAE CEO, Mr. Brian Mingo, N-95 protective masks have been obtained with the help of counterpart officials at Schiphol Airport in the Netherlands.

The specialized protective masks were ordered by the Airport authority for its own use more than six weeks ago when the airport began to make its own contingency plans in the event of a worsening scenario regarding the spread of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).

“Somehow our order of protective masks was delayed because of the worldwide shortage, but when we explained the dire situation that our own medical teams on St. Maarten were finding themselves with a shortage of masks, Schiphol did the generous thing and filled part of our order from their own needed supplies,” said Mr. Mingo.

The Airport chief said he was “most grateful” to Schiphol, not only as a corporate partner to the Airport, but also as a supportive company, assisting another company where it can. He appealed to other companies on St. Maarten to follow this example of assisting each other to help contain the spread of the virus on the island.

“It is in the best interest of all of us to work together as one by following the instructions of the Prime Minister and government and most of all by following the health practices and especially by practicing social distancing, washing of hands and keeping hands away from our faces,” said Mr. Mingo.

He said in the case of the respirator masks for the Health Sector, he believes the medical teams there who are currently in the frontline of treating sick patients and keeping the virus at bay in the isolation units are deserving of any help they can get.

“It is possible for some persons to work from home or remain at home and not be exposed, but there are also those persons who, due to the nature of their work, have to be out every day and are facing the risk of infection every day and are also putting their loved-ones and families at risk as a result. Anything we can do to help minimize the risk for them, is not just good corporate citizenship, but just good sense,” continued the Airport CEO Mr. Mingo.

Mr. Mingo said while he was able to make good use of his contacts at Schiphol Airport to secure the shipment of face masks for St. Maarten’s medical personnel, it was also the persistent work of PJIAE’s Safety and Security Officer, Mr. Connally Connor and Executive Consultant, Mr. Emile van der Weerd, who did not give up on their attempts to locate the specially designed masks when they were told time and again that none were presently available.

“Mr. Connor is also head of the COVID-19 Task Force at PJIAE which we put together in mid- February in anticipation of these developments,” said Mr. Mingo. He said with the assistance of Mr. Connor and his team, various protocols have been put into place at PJIAE to protect personnel, visitors, members of the public.

“We recently walked the Prime Minister and other government officials through these protocols that we have put in place and she was satisfied that we are taking all the necessary precautionary steps we can to help contain the spread of the virus, at least from this port of entry,” continued Mr. Mingo. Among the steps taken at PJIAE:

  • Managing the spread and risk of COVID-19 to all passengers and visitors to and from PJIAE including the installation of an isolation unit and 12 new hand wash stations.
  • Mitigating and managing the impact on the economy of St. Maarten together with the Prime Minister, the EOC and international COVID-19 agencies.

PJIAE Executive Consultant, Mr. Emile van de Weerd said the presentation of protective masks to the St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) is really a call to action for other companies on the island to play their part and continue to play their part in a combined effort to contain the COVID-19 for obvious economic and social reasons. He especially appealed to hotel owners and the hospitality sector to follow the example of major hotel chains around the world who have also taken amazing steps to assist their respective communities to contain the spread of COVID-19.

“We are already seeing how hospitals and other medical facilities worldwide can quickly become swamped through lack of resources to accommodate large incidents of infections in the community, therefore we have to be especially careful to follow government guidelines and protocols together in a concerted way,” said Mr. Emile van de Weerd.

The Airport advisor said the efforts made by Mr. Brian Mingo to secure delivery of the N-95 respirator masks should also not be under stated. “The CEO was dogged in his determination and motivated us to find a way when it appeared that no way could be found to have them deliver to St. Maarten this week,” said Mr. Emile van der Weerd.

Mr. Brian Mingo said of the PJIAE gesture, “In the end we are all in this together. If we can all do our part to keep the spread to a minimum, we can quicker recover and rebuild our airport, our economy and our St. Maarten,” he said.

The Airport chief concluded that the protective masks will be delivered directly to the Ministry of Health (VSA) so that distribution can be centralized in a coordinated and safe way.

sxm airport arrival of flights with masks

Offloading of shipment of N-95 respiratory masks from KLM flight to St. Maarten.

 

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