Soualiga News II

Soualiga News II (3321)

Jaramillo Appointed World Bank VP for LatAm and the Caribbean

SINT MAARTEN/WASHINGTON - Carlos Felipe Jaramillo, an economist and development expert with almost two decades of experience at the World Bank Group, has been appointed Vice President for the Latin America and the Caribbean Region, effective July 1, 2020. Mr. Jaramillo will manage Bank relations with 31 countries and a portfolio of ongoing projects, technical assistance and grants of almost US$32 billion.

Mr. Jaramillo will lead the Bank’s unprecedented response to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) crisis in the region. The pandemic has hit Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) hard. Millions of people are facing serious social, economic, and public policy implications. The poorest and most vulnerable people will suffer the most and it is crucial to do everything possible to mitigate that impact.

“The World Bank Group will play a critical and constructive role in our region’s recovery,” said Felipe Jaramillo, World Bank Vice President for the Latin America and the Caribbean Region. “We must rethink the future, not just go back to the same normal as before. That means making the changes needed to fuel growth, reduce poverty, and protect the environment.”

The World Bank quickly mobilized to support the health, social and economic response to the Coronavirus pandemic. Around US$700 million was quickly deployed in 14 countries in LAC to acquire gloves, masks, respirators, and other critical medical supplies. Over the next 15 months, the World Bank’s assistance to developing countries will reach US$160 billion. Much of this will benefit LAC government to better deal with the emergency.

Social protection programs will be more necessary than ever to help the poorest people and informal workers. Efforts must be made to preserve jobs and prevent those who recently climbed up to join the middle class from falling back down into poverty.

Prior to his current role, Mr. Jaramillo was the World Bank country director for Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia and Uganda, based in Nairobi. He was also senior director of the World Bank Group’s Macroeconomics, Trade and Investment Global Practice (MTI), where he led a global team of more than 450 economists. Since joining the World Bank in 2002, he served two terms as country director in the Latin America and Caribbean Region.

“It is an honor and privilege to be returning to the LAC region at this time to help our countries face the enormous challenges ahead,” Mr. Jaramillo said.

Mr. Jaramillo is a Colombian citizen. Prior to joining the Bank, he was a public servant in the Government of Colombia, holding offices in the Ministry of Finance, the Central Bank, the National Planning Department and the Ministry of Trade.

Mr. Jaramillo holds an M.A. and a PhD. in development economics from Stanford University. He has taught at the Department of Economics of the Universidad de Los Andes in Bogota and at the University of Maryland, College Park.


World Bank Group Response to COVID-19 (coronavirus)

The World Bank Group, one of the largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries, is taking broad, fast action to help developing countries strengthen their pandemic response. We are increasing disease surveillance, improving public health interventions, and helping the private sector continue to operate and sustain jobs. Over the next 15 months, we will be deploying up to $160 billion in financial support to help countries protect the poor and vulnerable, support businesses, and bolster economic recovery, including $50 billion of new IDA resources in grants or highly concessional terms.


Dutch State Secretary Reappoints Island Governor of Bonaire

BONAIRE (KRALENDIJK) - On the recommendation of the State Secretary for the Interior and Kingdom Relations Mr Edison Rijna was reappointed as the Island Governor of the Public Entity Bonaire by Royal Decree of April 24, 2020.

Mr Rijna has been the Island Governor of Bonaire since August 20, 2014.

Prior to that he was employed as the Deputy Island Governor of Bonaire. The reappointment takes effect on August 20, 2020 and aligns with the present term of appointment.

The State Secretary for the Interior and Kingdom Relations congratulates the Island Governor with his reappointment and looks forward to a constructive cooperation.


PJL Literacy Campaign in full swing. Deadline extended to May 29

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The Philipsburg Jubilee Library (PJL) is pleased to announce that applications for the 2020 Literacy Campaign are steadily coming in. To accommodate the request of some students and school managers PJL have decided to extend the deadline from May 15th to May 29th, 2020.

This extension to May 29th, 2020 will now also include a special prize for a family project. This will allow students in the same household to combine their creativity, talents and artistic competency to submit a joint project in keeping with the outline goal, which is to provide our members and prospective members with the opportunity to express their thoughts and feelings about their experience with Covid -19.

Should you have missed the information on the Literacy Campaign: “Whats on your mind about Covid -19”, we refer you the library’s website ( and Facebook page (stmaarten.Pjlibrary). We like to add to the information that there is no limit in the amount of words!

Your experiences and participation are important to us and will be rewarded in prizes for the most original, inspiring and intriguing applications.


NAGICO Branch Office to reopen on Wednesday

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) - NAGICO Insurances will reopen to the public as of Wednesday; April 13, following the announcement by the Prime Minister and Head of EOC; Silveria Jacobs on Sunday, to reopen businesses on the island in strategically planned phases.

In a statement, NAGICO indicated that while the green light has been given, to reopen their office immediately, NAGICO’s Management took the decision to officially re-open their doors to the public on Wednesday; May 13, to allow for certain health and safety measures to be fully implemented.

“The health and safety of our clients and staff is our top priority and as such following the announcement on Sunday, we have been using that time to make some infrastructural changes and implement certain health and safety protocols to ensure that we can conduct our business in a safe and smooth manner,” NAGICO said. “We will reopen our office on Wednesday and maintain our regular opening days and hours of Mondays to Fridays 8am – 5pm.”

Some of these health and safety measures includes: all visitors and staff will be required to wear a face mask at all times while accessing the building, social distancing measures will be enforced, everyone will be required to use the provided hand sanitizers prior entering the building and we will also limit the number of persons allowed inside the building at once.

“We also strongly advise our clients and visitors not to take children with them when visiting our office for their own safety as children are extremely vulnerable, and we would like to minimize their risk and exposure,” NAGICO said. “To help you minimize unnecessary interactions, we still encourage payment by online banking transfer if possible. A transfer can be done from the comfort of your home, using our website and online platform of your bank.”

We thank you in advance and are counting on your cooperation and adherence to these measures when visiting our office so that everyone can conduct their business in a safe and smooth manner.


Investigation into Illegal Jump-up continues

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - On Friday May 8th 2020, the police got in contact with three (3) individuals who were recognized by the police, participating in the illegal jump-ups that had taken place on Monday, 27 April 2020 in Dutch Quarter and Fort Willem, police said on Sunday.

These three persons with the initials O.H, S.N. and S.L who were all involved in the street party were ordered to report to the police station, so that they could be questioned as suspects by personnel of the detective department.

After giving statements to the detectives, the suspects were made to pay a hefty fine for their actions and were released. Two of the suspects who were also front-line workers were encouraged to show better examples in the future.

All those who took part in these illicit street parties should be aware that police will be making more arrests in this case in the very near future. (KPSM)


Saba lock-down to be lifted, reopening of businesses, churches

SABA - After four weeks of being confined to home, Saba is coming out of a lock-down at midnight today, Saturday. The reopening of bars, restaurants and churches is allowed after Saturday, 12 midnight, while all other businesses and services may open their doors on Monday, May 11. School will resume on May 18.

The introduction of the coronavirus and the first COVID-19 case, a local transmission, early April made it necessary for the Public Entity Saba to take drastic measures, also in light of the vulnerability of the small community and the limited medical facilities on the island. Per midnight April 12, a lock-down went into effect. Before that, schools had already closed as well as the island’s borders.

After four weeks of staying home, Island Governor Jonathan Johnson on Friday shared the good news to the community that the virus seemed to be contained and that the transition to opening back up would start. So far, all contact tracing, quarantine, and testing have brought forth negative test results, and there is no indication that the virus is spreading, as Saba remains at the two positive cases, with one now recovered.

Per Sunday, restaurants will be allowed to open for dine-in, and churches may also have mass while adhering to hygiene measures and physical distancing. All other services and businesses may reopen as of Monday.


The Public Entity Saba has sought contact with businesses to discuss best practices and safety measures that store owners are encouraged to implement once they reopen their doors to the public. Store owners received a letter in which they, and their employees, were greatly thanked for providing the community with groceries during the lock-down.

Suggestions offered as a guidance to the store owners when they reopen on Monday include: limiting the number of customers to facilitate adequate physical distancing (one client per 10 square meter), use of hand sanitizer before entering the store, having signage and markers to maintain the physical distancing at the cashier, promote payment by bank card, urge customers not to unnecessarily touch products, and to disinfect shopping baskets/carts.

Elderly customers should receive priority in the waiting line. Employees should hand sanitize often, and those who are unwell should be sent home.


Island Governor Johnson said in his address on Friday that he also met with church representatives to talk about the safety measures that need to be in place in order to once again have services, starting Sunday, May 10.

Churches are urged to limit the number inside and to take different measures to allow for sufficient physical distancing with markers. Other measures stated in the letter that the churches received included having hand sanitizers at the entrance and disinfecting of the benches.

Bars, restaurants

Owners of bars and restaurants received a letter from the Island Governor as well. Bars and restaurants may only have a maximum of 25 persons in their establishment. As suggestions to have a safe reopening, the owners were urged to thoroughly clean and disinfect the establishment before opening and to continuously disinfect all surfaces that are touched by the public and staff once they reopen.

The seating layout should allow for proper physical distancing and physical distancing between parties from various households should be encouraged. Other suggested measures included having customers sanitize their hands at the entrance and requesting people to pay with their bank card.

The Government administration building will reopen to the public on Wednesday, May 13. Preparations are being made to facilitate this. Saba’s borders remain closed and the 14-day quarantine period is still in effect for persons returning to the island.


Following a meeting with principals, teachers and the representatives of extra curricular activities this week, the decision was made to reopen schools, day care, and after school care and activities on Monday, May 18. The schools and organizations will communicate next week about the details on the manner in which the reopening will occur and what procedures will be in place.

Island Governor Johnson urged everyone to continue to adhere to the measures in place to ensure that all of efforts of the past weeks do not go in vain. “It is the responsibility of all of us to keep ourselves and each other safe.

I know that everyone is excited to be able to go swimming, driving, to church services or out to eat. Physical distancing, where possible, is expected of everyone as well as adhering to guidelines that government and business owners will have in place for their safety and the safety of the community. COVID-19 continues to be a threat. Therefore, while we are working towards having normal activities resume, we must continue to practice physical distancing and strict hygiene measures.”


Felicia Viola van Zanten Complex officially opened

SINT EUSTATIUS (ORANJESTAD) - The Felicia Viola van Zanten assisted living complex has been officially opened on Friday morning May 8th. The spacious one-bedroom apartments are assigned to 5 elderly persons who were on the waiting list. The 5 apartments, located in the Lodi district, have been newly constructed last year.

“I take this opportunity to make a special appeal to the residents of Lodi to make the new members of your community feel welcome. A community is defined by how it treats and cares for the elderly” says deputy Government Commissioner Alida Francis.

The apartments are intended for the elderly and ideal for assisted living. The number of rooms and the size are suitable for persons living by themselves. All homes are single story homes and easily accessible.

An Indication Committee including members representing the Queen Beatrix Medical Center, the Home Care Department and the Auxiliary Home for the Elderly and Disabled, have selected 5 eligible candidates.

Felicia Viola van Zanten was the first Social Workers in government service on Statia. Her vision was to have assisted living on Statia, for over 25 years ago.

Assisted living is more accustomed to the Statian way of living of the elderly than retirement homes, because the elderly, in general, wish to live at home as long as possible. It also fits within the broader transition of care on Statia, focused on a combination of professional and informal care and increased self-reliance.

With a financial contribution from the Ministry of Social Affairs, the renovation could take place. St. Eustatius now has about 105 homes where persons live independently but do receive daily care.

A recent inventory by the Social Domain Department confirms that demand is high. Government is currently looking for opportunities to further expand the capacity of assisted living apartments. Construction is planned to start during the course of this year, with the completion projected for early 2021. (Statia GIS)

Van Xanten ins1

Van Xanten ins2




Agriculture on Saba on the rise in times of crisis

SABA - Despite the challenging situation that the current corona pandemic causes and the lock-down that has been put in place, this crisis sometimes leads to good things, one of them being a higher local production of fruits and vegetables on Saba as a result of increased popularity of agriculture.

Production at the government owned Hell’s Gate Farm (the Farm) has grown over the past weeks with the help of some of the permanent workers and a number of volunteers. Vegetables and fruits like pumpkins, cucumbers, corn, sweet peppers, sweet potatoes, red potatoes, tania, papayas and bananas are being grown and distributed locally.

At the Garden in The Level (the Garden), a project of the Saba Reach Foundation, the faster-growing crops are being produced, such as tomatoes, lettuce, spring onion, sweet pepper, hot pepper, bok choy, broccoli, radish, kale, swiss chards, cabbage, water melons, cantaloupes and a wide range of herbs and seasoning.

The demand is definitely there, said Garden Manager Sam Frederick who has been delivering produce to people’s homes on Wednesday’s and Friday’s. Home deliveries were already taking place before the corona crisis, but with the lock-down, there is an increase in interest. In fact, the demand is often bigger than the supply, said Frederick.

“It would be good if we could boost produce to make sure that we have a constant and higher supply. People are constantly asking for fresh produce, while we can only make a limited amount of deliveries because of the supplies,” said Frederick.

Families in need

Some of the produce of both the Farm and the Garden goes to families in need, while the rest is sold at the various supermarkets and delivered at people’s homes. Eating locally grown vegetables and fruits is not only cheaper than imported produce, it is also healthier.

“Our products are daily fresh and they have not been on transport by boat from abroad. Also, we produce organic. It is important to eat healthy, it always is, but now even more so,” said Frederick.

The additional local produce is needed especially now with less fruits and vegetables coming to the island due to the corona crisis and the related measures, explained Head of the Agricultural Department Randall Johnson.

At the Farm, the efforts are aimed at increasing the production and making some investments that will increase efficiency such as covering the ground with weed cloth, a fully automated irrigation system and the construction of steps, said Johnson. Maarten Plante-Van der Horn is assisting at the Farm to further enhance productivity. The ultimate aim is to increase local food production on the long term.


Volunteers play an important role, both at the Farm and at the Garden. Volunteers Sue, Suzanna and Ingrid have been weeding and harvesting the crops, while Gerry and Paul are working on the steps at the Farm which is located on a steep piece of land.

The steps were worn and eroded so Gerry and Paul have been replacing and rebuilding many of the old steps and they also constructed wooden steps in many places.  

They plan to finish the job this week. Randall Johnson said the construction of the steps was important. “We need those steps because it is steep land, and you easily slip, especially when it’s wet. It also makes it easier to carry the produce up the hill,” said Johnson.

At the Garden, volunteers are also assisting with weeding and harvesting, and twice a week with the packing and distributing of the orders. The volunteers have special permission from government on certain days to work.

Local culture

Investing in agriculture as Saba has been doing is good for many reasons: not only to provide a source of healthy food and to offer employment, but also to keep this sector as a part of the local culture.

In the future, there will be more produce when the hydroponics/greenhouse farm at Rendez-Vous comes on line. The Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Fisheries LNV makes this project financially possible.

Commissioner Rolando Wilson, content with the developments, said that agriculture was definitely proving to be an asset, especially in these hard, uncertain times.

Multiple benefits

Commissioner Wilson said the benefits of agriculture are multiple and that is why it is important to keep investing, he said. “It means healthy, fresh and affordable food for our people. It provides employment, honest earnings that makes people feel proud.”

Backyard farming by residents has increased. Many residents already have a small garden where they plant fruits and vegetables, and many more are in the process of doing so. Residents see the benefits of growing their own produce, and it also gives them something positive to do during the lock-down.

A group of residents has started a Facebook page called Let’s Grow Roots where members share tips, invite each other to pick up and swap seeds and seedlings, give advice and inspire one another.

young visitor admires new plantings




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