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Soualiga News II (3316)

Police recruits to continue training at Emilio Wilson Estate shooting range

CUL DE SAC - In connection with the training presently ongoing for the recruits of the Police Force of Sint Maarten (KPSM), the entire community is hereby informed that a section of the property of the “Emilio Wilson Estate” will be used as a shooting range.

The section of property that will be used is the same section that was formerly used as a shooting range.

These trainings will take place on Saturdays from 08.00 a.m. until 12.00 p.m. The community should take good note of this information and pay attention when in the area. (Police Force Sint Maarten)

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Suspect arrested on drugs and weapon charges

BETTY’S ESTATE - On Saturday March 14th at approximately 04.40 p.m. a police patrol was sent to a home on Betty’s Estate road to intervene in a dispute. On the scene the officers knocked on the door of the home which was immediately opened by a female.

At the same time the investigating officers smelled the strong scent of marihuana coming from the inside of the house. As the officers continued there investigation they noticed that the female became quite nervous and started behaving suspicious.

The officers then spoke to the male occupant of the house who also behaved quite suspicious. Suspecting that illegal drugs were in the house a search was done in the house.

During this search a large amount of ammunition, a Taser, weighing scales, several plastic bags containing a large amount of marihuana and other drugs paraphernalia was found and confiscated.

The 29 year old male victim was arrested on the spot and taken to the Philipsburg Police Station where he remains in custody for further investigation.  (Police Force Sint Maarten)  

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OSPP CALLS FOR AN URGENT OPERATIONAL AUDIT TO BE DONE AT THE HARBOUR GROUP OF COMPANIES

POINT BLANCHE – The One St. Maarten People’s Party (OSPP) under the leadership of Lenny Priest says he has been following with keen attention all the activities that have been taken place at the harbour group of companies over the last couple of years.

“In a media report some time ago the CFT (Ed Committee for Financial Supervision) stated that the Harbour Group of Companies refused to open its books for the government of St. Maarten, the shareholder of the company. Based on the 2013 financial statements acquired by one of the dailies many irregularities were mentioned in the article. Perhaps it is time for us to revisit that article again. It was stated that the board members were paid approximately U.S. $ 8,000.00 a month for attending only four meetings for the year; advances in the tune of some $ 160,000.00 were given to employees and last but not least the loan agreement between St. Maarten Crane Co. N.V. a subsidiary of St. Maarten Harbour Group of Companies and Octavio Holdings, Inc. established in Panama with a whopping interest rate of 8%, the highest amongst all the loans at the harbour.    

"In September of 2012 the Cruise Terminal building was expanded adding two commercial spaces and increase the size of the office of the CEO. During a debate in parliament one of the MP’s stated that the project was costing the harbour some $ 1.3 million dollars, a hefty sum of money for that project. The OSPP would like to know what the cost of this expansion was.  Who was the general contractor and the sub-contractor involved in this project? Was there a lobbyist involved? If yes, how much was this lobbyist paid and who is the lobbyist? Is the lobbyist a member of parliament or affiliated to any of the parties in parliament or independent members at this moment?

“In a previous press release we stated that whatever happens in the dark will surely come out in the light. We also talked about ship jumpers, church jumpers and now party jumpers and that all of them are doing it for their own personal interests and certainly not for the people.

“On the front page of one of the dailies on March 6, 2015, the headline stated that a major seafront project ready to go ‘full steam’, St. Maarten Quarter Development NV. These investors have met with the government and the parliament of St. Maarten and have made a beautiful presentation. All indications are that this project is good for St. Maarten, it will provide employment opportunities for our people and it is good for our tourist product. The article also stated that the general contractor for this project is Ballast Needam. The OSPP wants to know what type of guarantees are there to make sure that the local contractors would participate in this project and after it is completed that our people will find employment at this establishment.

“Too often we hear when a presentation is being made to the government that employment opportunities will be given to our people only to find out that it was only part of the presentation to sell their plans. But that the investors have different ideas about the participation of the local contractors and their employment plans once they have all the permits and guarantees from the government.  The only persons who benefits outright from these types of projects are our scrupulous politicians and the lobbyists. Most of the times if not all the times the politicians are in the pockets of these investors and would not raise a finger when irregularities are brought to their attention

“It is very ironic that while all the celebrations were taken place regarding the St. Maarten Quarter Development project  on March 9, 2015 Zebec Development N.V. wrote an article in the other daily indicating that they are embroiled in litigation with the harbour in the tune of some 100 million United States dollars. This project also indicated that the economic impact would be significant just like St. Maarten Quarter Development N.V.

“The OSPP would like to know why the harbour engaged in a project development (Harbour Village) with Zebec Development N.V. in 2010 knowing that they had made some commitments some eight years ago to St. Maarten Quarter Development N.V.  Could St. Maarten in particular, the harbor carry out these two major projects at the same time?  Was the same land/waterfront going to be used by the two developers? Why does one project have priority over the other since both of them indicated that the economic impact for St. Maarten would be significant? Are there lobbyists involved in these projects also? If yes, who are these lobbyists and are they affiliated to any of the parties or members of the government?

“While we agree that St. Maarten must take a lead and not be caught with her pants down once Cuba opens up, we should not do it recklessly and definitely not for the sake of some lobbyists and scrupulous politicians. The OSPP strongly supports parliament issuing an urgent instruction to the government to have an operational audit done at the harbour, better late than never. Many of the concerns of the people would then be brought to light for once and for all. The people still wants to know amongst other things about the security contract with Checkmate with an increase of 2.2 million United States dollars. This issue should not be swept under the rug because of the St. Maarten Quarter project that is about to come on line.    

“Let’s get serious St. Maarten we need an operational audit done at the St. Maarten Harbour Group of Companies and let the chips fall wherever they have to,” OSPP Leader Lenny Priest said in a press release. (OSPP Party)    

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UPDATED: Permanent Committee on Education and Youth scheduled to meet Friday with the St. Maarten Lions Club

PHILIPSBURG – ThePermanent Committee of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports Affairs (CECYSA) of Parliament, will meet in public session on March 20 instead of March17

The Permanent Committee meeting is set for Friday at 9.00am in the General Assembly Chamber of the House at Wilhelmina Straat #1 in Philipsburg.

The first agenda point is a presentation by the St. Maarten Lions Club regarding under-age drinking and parental responsibility.  The second agenda point is the approval of the decision lists CECYSA Parliamentary Year 2014-2015, no. 1-6.

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 120, via Pearl Radio FM 98.1, the audio via the Internet www.pearlfmradio.com and via www.sxmparliament.org. 

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Dutch Quarter community and surrounding neighbourhoods invited to Mobile Health Clinic on 19 March

GREAT BAY (DCOMM) – The Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour (Ministry VSA) Collective Prevention Services (CPS), would like to inform the community that the Mobile Health Clinic Bus, will be in Dutch Quarter near the Mc. Donald’s establishment on Thursday afternoon, March 19 to carry out screening of persons who are interested.

Residents of the Dutch Quarter area and surrounding environs are invited to come out between 4.00pm to 7.00pm to this community outreach activity.

Screenings for glucose, cholesterol levels, blood pressure, weight and BMI, hip and waist ratio, will be carried out on the spot.

The visit to the various districts is to raise individual awareness on healthy lifestyles, health determinants and health disparities, and to raise individual awareness on healthy lifestyles.

The primary mission is to deliver prevention services to the people of the nation. 

The mobile health bus will be visiting a district each month or according to health calendar observances of the department.

If any Non-Governmental Organization’s would like to collaborate activities with CPS, please feel free to contact Collective Prevention Services 542-2078 / 3003, Coordinators; Nirmala Vlaun, Public Health Nurse This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.   and Swinda Richardson, Public Health Dietician/Nutritionist This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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Meeting for Calypsonians Friday night

PHILIPSBURG - The St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) is calling on all registered calypsonians and road march contenders for Carnival 2015 to attend a very important meeting on Friday evening, March 13.

The meeting will be held at the Government Administration Building at 7:00pm. All registered singers are urged to attend the meeting where vital information will be exchanged as it pertains to their respective shows.

The Senior Calypso Eliminations and Senior Roadmarch Competition will be held on Saturday, March 28 in Celebration Palace on the Bush Road. (SCDF)

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Maintenance window tonight for 2G mobile voice and data service

POND ISLAND – TelEm Group’s mobile provider, TelCell, today (Ed Thursday, March 12) informed customers and the public about an expected interruption in TelCell’s voice and data mobile service due to a scheduled maintenance window tonight (Thursday).

The maintenance window will affect 2G voice and data service only, therefore mobile voice and data customers utilizing the 3G network will not be affected.

The maintenance window will be used to replace faulty cards associated with the Enhanced Base Station Control (eBSC).

Work will commence at 11:00 pm and is scheduled to be completed at 2:00 am Friday morning.

The maintenance window is being coordinated by Manager, Network Operations, Mr. Julien Lake. (TelEm)

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Permanent Committee on Environment scheduled to meet Friday with Nature Foundation

PHILIPSBURG – ThePermanent Committee of Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure of Parliament, will meet in public session on March 13

The Permanent Committee meeting is set for Friday at 10.00am in the General Assembly Chamber of the House at Wilhelmina Straat #1 in Philipsburg.

The agenda point is related to a presentation by the Nature Foundation of St. Maarten on a proposal to protect trees.

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 120, via Pearl Radio FM 98.1, the audio via the Internet www.pearlfmradio.com and via www.sxmparliament.org. 

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Government remains committed towards its vision for a “one-stop shop” concept for its products and services

SIMPSON BAY - The Department Head of the Public Service Center, Emilia Thomas recently returned from a working visit to the Netherlands, where she visited the public service centers in the Municipalities of The Hague, Zoetermeer and Stichtse Vecht. 

The purpose of the visit was to (re)-establish working rapport with said municipalities in view of Government’s commitment to improve its efficiency and vision to further expand its services to the public by creating a “one-stop shop” operation. The visit to the Netherlands was co-coordinated by Perry Geerlings, Director at the Office of the Minister Plenipotentiary in The Hague.

Thomas said that the trip was extremely successful. We were able to view first-hand the front- and back office operations at the respective centers. Presentations were made by various management teams about their operation’s success as well some of their challenges.

One of the highlights during the visit was that to the Call Center at the “Stadsdeelkantoor Centrum” in The Hague. Call Centers in the Netherlands are part of the normal operations at the public service centers. The purpose of these centers is to assist all citizens by providing pertinent information about all government services and products.

This information can range from inquiries with regard to the application of processing of a passport; to a citizen reporting about uncollected household waste, making an appointment for a service or informing about requirements for applying for study financing just to name a few. 

It was an impressive operation that we were able to witness at these Centers. The use of (innovative) modern technology, online- and digitalized service processes are standard, which ensures that effective and efficient services are provided to all.  Government’s ICT Information Analyst, Caren Matthew also travelled along on this working visit to witness first-hand how the systems used there could work within the Government of Sint Maarten’s infrastructure.

Thomas said that the way we provide services to our citizens are changing especially in view of new technological advances. The visit clearly underscored the need to focus on improving access to government services and information through the integration and the seamless workflow of the various processes.  As stated before, this form of service delivery aims to bring government services and information together in a way that it is easily accessible to all. Citizen’s service satisfaction is our ultimate goal. This is the premise on which the Public Service Center St. Maarten was established.  

Thomas said that it is our intention going forward to learn from the experiences and make use of the expertise as witness at the public service centers in the Netherlands.

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Minister Bourne-Gumbs calls on nation to join DOET by becoming a volunteer to build a better country

PHILIPSBURG – Minister of Education, Culture, Youth & Sports Hon. Rita Bourne-Gumbs on Tuesday evening made a public appeal calling on the nation to join the organization DOET which is in the process of attracting volunteers.

“I hereby call on you to join DOET, in taking a positive approach towards building a better St. Maarten for yourselves and our children. 

“Demonstrate your confidence by fully supporting, the initiatives of this organization. In doing that, we will surely get one step closer to nurturing the unity among St. Maarteners. We do have a lot to accomplish on our journey for greatness, as the world continues to pay close attention.

“Via DOET and other similar initiatives we can all ease the challenges we face in our society. All it will take is a little effort.

“As a unified people, let’s organize and help make the difference with enthusiasm and determination to follow through with our efforts. We will only have total success at improving our precious little St. Maarten, with progressive critical efforts from all of our people.

“Please do not hesitate to step up to your individual responsibility to help make that difference for yourself and our children.

“Remember we can indeed achieve anything we put our minds to, as we work together to lift St. Maarten to greater heights. May God continue to bless us all, and Bless St. Maarten,” Minister Bourne-Gumbs said on Tuesday.

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