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Six youngsters participate in this year’s summer job program

SABA (THE BOTTOM) - Six youngsters are taking part in this year’s summer job program, working for six weeks at the different departments of the Public Entity Saba.

Dareno Gomez, Tyreke Hassell, Vernisha Robinson, Tara Zagers, Nathaniel Johnson and Seth Libud all finished high school and wanted to do something useful during the summer time while at the same time learning new things, developing themselves, and earn a salary too. The youngsters did not all start at the same time with the majority starting a few weeks ago.

Tyreke Hassell works at the Laura Linzey Day Care Center and he loves it. “I like working with small children. They give you lots of energy and I enjoy it a lot when they learn new things. For example, this week they learn about the weather, the clouds, the rain, the difference between a cloudy and a sunny day, a hot and a cool day,” he said.

Vernisha Robinson works at the Tourism Bureau. “I like the atmosphere with my co-workers. I love receiving visitors and I enjoy sharing the activities and all the wonderful things that they can do while visiting my island,” she said.

Dareno Gomez still has to start his summer job, but he is very much looking forward to his job at Waste Management/the Sanitation Department. “I like to be active, have something to do, and make sure the place is clean. I will be helping on the trucks to collect trash, sweep the road, assist at the Waste Management Facility,” he said.

“These young people are very motivated and talented,” said Head of the Human Resources Management Department Brenda Tjipjes. “This is not only a working experience for them, but it also gives them the opportunity to see if they like working for the Public Entity Saba,” she said.

The youngsters have been doing very well, said Tjipjes. One of the interns, Tara Zagers, will even be staying longer at the Human Resources Management Department: she was offered a six-month contract. Nathaniel Johnson is sharing his talents between two departments, ICT and Legal & Safety. Seth Libud is good with figures and has been a great help at the Finance Department.

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Island Council demands more transparency

SABA (THE BOTTOM) - The Island Council is demanding more transparency from the Saba Government, and unanimously adopted a motion on Wednesday, August 10, obligating the Executive Council to give clarity on its decisions.

The motion of Members of the Island Council Carl Buncamper and Vito Charles of the WIPM party reminded the Executive Council that it has an obligation to provide information to the Island Council. This information is not only important in the interest of transparency, but it is also essential in order for the Island Council to duly carry out its tasks and fulfill its supervisory role.

This is known as the active information obligation, and it is stated in the general law that regulates the Caribbean Netherlands, called the WolBES. This law explicitly states that the Island Council may regulate which decisions of the Executive Council will be provided to the Island Council. “This is not something that we are making up; it is clearly stated in the law,” said Charles.

The motion resolved that, effective from its next meeting, the Executive Council will provide the decisions in the format that the Island Council has provided. Furthermore, the decision-lists will be provided to the Island Council and published on the website of the Public Entity Saba weekly and no later than 6:00pm of the day preceding the next scheduled meeting of the Executive Council.

The motion works retroactively: all outstanding decision-lists must be provided to the Island Council no later than October 1, 2022. “This will create another level of transparency and it will give clarity on the reasoning behind decisions. It is a good step forward,” said Buncamper, who read the motion during the 2021-year report meeting.

“We have been asking for years to get the decision-lists of the Executive Council. By publishing the decision-lists, the information becomes public and we, the people, can hold the government accountable,” said Charles.

WIPM Island Council Member Eviton Heyliger said that this would help the Island Council to better understand as to why decisions were taken and possibly even revise some decisions that proved to have a detrimental effect. “I can fully support this motion. I hope it will lead to more transparency and communication,” said independent Island Council Member Hemmie van Xanten.

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Island Council critical of Dutch law proposal

SABA (THE BOTTOM) - The Island Council wants to see more time given to duly respond to the Dutch Government law proposal on social security, and would like to see this response drafted together with Bonaire and St. Eustatius.

The Island Council unanimously adopted a motion to this extent during a meeting on Wednesday, August 10. The motion was submitted by Island Council Members Vito Charles and Carl Buncamper of the WIPM party and is the result of a draft law on social security that Minister for Poverty Policy, Participation and Pensions Carola Schouten sent to the Executive Council for input on July 14 this year.

Saba is expected is give its input to the law proposal, which addresses the direction of social security policy for Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba, by August 22. According to the motion, the law, when implemented, will have an “immediate impact on vulnerable, low-income and fixed-income members of society.”

The Island Council found that for legislation with such a long-term impact it was imperative that sufficient opportunity is given to provide an in-depth and complete response. Having to provide a response by August 22 that sufficiently substantiates Saba’s situation was deemed “unfeasible and therefore unacceptable.”

Social minimum

The motion pointed out that the islands have been asking for a social minimum to be established to ensure that the level of social security benefits is set to an amount which ensures a dignified standard of living.

However, the draft law that Minister Schouten sent for input does not refer to a social minimum or a reasonable standard of living, and it does not create a social security system that is equal to or would be acceptable in the Netherlands.

“We have been knocking on all doors in The Hague for years and 12 years later, there is still no social minimum. Still, the Dutch Government wants to pass a law on social security and pensions that affects everyone in one way or the other,” said Charles, who presented the motion during the meeting to handle the 2021-year report.

In the motion it was stated that the draft law varied significantly from the social security provisions of the Netherlands, and this only further exacerbated the inequality that exists within geographically different and distant parts of the Netherlands. “The islands’ inhabitants are treated as second-class citizens and it is not acceptable,” said Charles.

Joint response

The motion requested the Executive Council to ask the Minister for more time to prepare a response, to get in touch with the governments of Bonaire and St. Eustatius to draft a joint response to the social security law proposal, and to keep the Island Council informed during the process.

“We need to consult with everyone and properly respond. The matter is too important. The law proposal addresses major changes and has a big impact on people. Why rush it? It is not righteous. I hope that with this motion, we will create room for reflection and consultation,” said Buncamper.

“If we do something, let us do it right, and allow the islands whose inhabitants feel the impact to have a proper say,” said Charles. Independent member Hemmie van Xanten said the motion definitely had his support. “The law proposal is extremely important, especially for vulnerable persons. We need to consult with the other islands and prepare a proper response as islands,” he said.

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135 kids had fun in the sun at SMYC summer camp sponsored by Solstice

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY) - For the duration of 6 weeks 135 kids enjoyed sailing summer camp at the Sint Maarten Yacht Club sponsored by Solstice. The sailing camp combines sailing with watersports, informative clinics and of course a lot of fun! 

During the summer camp kids were taught a basic understanding of sailing, while having a lot of fun with their peers on the water. Sailing was not the only activity during the summer camp, as they also enjoyed water sports activities, clinics, and many games and puzzles. Every week had a specific theme, and the groups was divided in teams to create a healthy level of competition. 

Solstice’s sponsorship guaranteed that a number of underprivileged local youth got a chance to participate in the program free of charge. In addition, they provided inflatable paddle boards (one that can take up to 6 people!) and a swim platform with a slide. With the support from local businesses, like Tri Sport, Aqua Mania Adventures, Arawak Sailing and 12 Metres, the kids got the opportunity to participate in kayaking, snorkeling, water sports and boat excursions. 

With lunch provided from a variety of restaurants such as the Sint Maarten Yacht Club, Lagoonies, Captain D’s and Zeebest, the kids were able to enjoy substantial and healthy meals.

The Sint Maarten Nature Foundation visited the Sint Maarten Yacht Club for several weeks to provide an educational opportunity for the children to create awareness about the marine life of Sint Maarten and to highlight the dangers of pollution with the intention to enlighten the kids on how to preserve the environment.

The Sint Maarten Yacht Club was especially proud to welcome back 3 former students from the Sailing Program, who are currently abroad studying, to engage and support the upcoming youths on their sailing journey during the sailing summer camp. While experiencing the personal benefit of being able to teach, learn and earn as assistant sailing instructors.

“This summer camp was very beneficial to the participating kids because it gave them an introduction to sailing, which could lead to great opportunities in their futures. They could become passionate about the marine industry, the second largest income industry of Sint Maarten. For some it may have been more about the fun aspect and being out on the water with their friends, in the end, all would have learned personal skills and we hope to see them back sailing again.” Said head coach Sam Peeks.

The Sint Maarten Yacht Club is extremely grateful to the local community, businesses, and parents for all the support these past weeks. The Sint Maarten Yacht Club Sailing School will reopen on August 29th to welcome students back for another wonderful sailing season.

SMYC wed10 ins pix1

SMYC wed10 ins pix2

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Parking policy promoted, drivers receive blue disk

SABA (THE BOTTOM) - Special enforcement officers Alexandria Hassell and Thompson Thomas on Wednesday, August 10, were at the small parking lot in front of the Tourism Bureau in Windwardside to promote the parking policy. They handed out the blue parking disk and provided information about the new traffic ordinance to drivers.

In the coming period, Thomas and Hassell will be at the parking lot and other areas on the island on a regular basis to inform people of the new traffic ordinance, to hand out the blue disks and explain how it works. Drivers need to put the blue disk, with the time of arrival, visibly on the dashboard of their car.

A maximum two-hour parking is in effect at the small parking lot during the daytime. This is to avoid overcrowding and people parking their cars there for an entire day while they are at work at a nearby establishment.

The idea is for the small parking lot to accommodate short-term parking for people who want to go to a store or other establishment in the area. If people want to park for more than two hours, they can do so at the big parking lot. The same policy is in place for instance in front of the RBC bank. 2-hour zones are made known by a parking sign which states how long one is allowed to park and during which hours of the day the parking restriction is enforced.

Time of arrival

“We explain to people how to use the blue disk. It needs to display the time of arrival so we can check when people have arrived and when their parking time has expired,” said Thomas. The enforcement officers also tell people about the rules of the new traffic ordinance and explain to them that they are not allowed to park in the center of the small parking lot.

For now, the promoting of the parking policy is mainly informative, educational, but in the future, people can expect a warning letter or a fine when in violation of the rules. “Bit by bit we start enforcing so people can get accustomed,” said Hassell. “We are asking to community to work with us. This is all in the interest of safety,” she said.

The blue disk might be introduced for more parking areas on the island. People are reminded that they are also not allowed in are with a parking prohibition sign. In St. John’s, for instance, they need to park in the parking lot, and not along the road. In Windwardside there is a stopping prohibition in place from Chez Bubba up until Brigadoon, except for continuous loading and offloading of passengers and goods if this cannot be done elsewhere.

New traffic ordinance

The new traffic ordinance outlines different rules for parking. Cars are also not allowed to park when there is a yellow line or when they block someone in. This means that parking in the middle of the small parking lot is also not allowed, even for less than two hours. Within short, the enforcement officers are also able to remove obstruction on the road, such as car wrecks and will also start checking trucks that are transporting goods without a cover. This all to promote the proper flow of traffic on Saba.

The Island Council on May 5 approved the new Island Ordinance containing rules for traffic and road safety on Saba. The new ordinance went into effect one month after that. It regulates alcohol in traffic, speed limits, seatbelts and child seats, helmets, car window tint, unnecessary noise and mobile phones. The new ordinance will be implemented gradually to give people the opportunity to get used to the new regulations. Focus in the first year will be on awareness and educating the public. Full implementation of the ordinance takes place a year after adoption.

Parking policy promoted 01Special enforcement officers Alexandria Hassell and Thompson Thomas handed out the blue parking disc to drivers, along with information about the new traffic ordinance.

 

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Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard Seizes 1600 kilos of drugs and arrest eight persons

BONAIRE (KRALENDIJK) - Zr.Ms. Groningen, which is currently sailing for the Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard (DCCG) makes it quite difficult for drug smugglers in the Caribbean Region, the DCCG said on Tuesday evening in a press statement.

The patrol ship sailing in the region since April 2022, since then has added a great number of drug seizures to its list. On Monday, another go-fast vessel was intercepted with more than 1.600 kilograms of drugs.

The total amount of confiscated contraband now amounts to more than 5.500 kilograms for the Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard. The last quantity was confiscated on August 8th, after a smuggling vessel was intercepted.

The go-fast boat was discovered the night before by the Maritime Operation Centre (MOC) of the Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard. The MOC alerted the Zr.Ms. Groningen immediately. The ship was present the next morning in the area and launched both fast interceptors (FRISC’s), which intercepted the go-fast vessel.

Shortly before that, the crew on board of the go-fast threw the packages of drugs overboard when they realized they were being chased. Once Zr.Ms. Groningen was alongside, the go-fast was ordered to stop and the suspects surrendered.

The crew of Zr.Ms. Groningen and the Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard removed 66 packages with a total of 1.600 kilos of drugs from the water.

The eight suspects and the contraband have been handed over to the ‘Korps Politie Caribisch Nederland’ (KPCN) for further handling of the case. The contraband has now been destroyed.

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Showcase your Products/Services on August 26 at the Youth Entrepreneurship Fair

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The Sint Maarten Library and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in collaboration with the USM are hereby inviting young entrepreneurs in the age bracket from 12 – 24 years to participate in the Youth Entrepreneurship Fair on Friday, August 26, 2022. The fair opens at 9:00 a.m. and will end at 3:00 p.m. The Fair is organized in acknowledgement of ‘World entrepreneur’s day’, Sunday, August 21, 2022 and the location is St. Martin University, on Pond Island.

This invite is in addition to all youth entrepreneurs extended to the 3rd formers of all High Schools, and interested students at the NIPA, and USM. Invitations were sent to the high schools and we are looking forward to their visit and participation in the fair during an allotted time slot of two hours. Unfortunately, some schools still are on vacation, However, their students and other interested youngsters and persons are most welcome to swing by and learn, listen and support the activities at the Fair.

During the day, young entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to showcase and sell their products and services. The Sint Maarten library will exhibit all the books from a collection of more than 200 brand-new books related to young entrepreneurship and offer the opportunity to lend books. There is also the possibility of becoming a member or renewing membership. Institutions instrumental in establishing a business in Sint Maarten will present their services and answer questions. Other classrooms will host entrepreneurship board games and presentations on ‘How to become an entrepreneur in Sint Maarten?’. There will also be several raffles. All prices are related to the subject.

This initiative arose from a cooperation between the (Dutch) Royal Library, the Sint Maarten Library, and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry to encourage reading and learning more about the possibility of becoming an entrepreneur. The fair is in anticipation of launching a book about youth entrepreneurship in Sint Maarten later this year. The contents will be a combination of facts, experiences, and developments.

USM has willingly offered their facility for this initiative and together all three of us look forward to offering an exposure to youth entrepreneurship second to none. Participants on the day of the fair, must set up before 8:30 a.m. Folded tables and chairs will be available on request. Lunch and drinks will be taken care of.

Young entrepreneurs interested in showcasing their products and/or participating in the presentations are advised to contact the Sint Maarten Library (Phone: +1 721 542 2970 or Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) before August 13, 2022. Parents from students at school who will like to participate are kindly requested to ask permission from their school management to ensure that you adhere to the compulsory education rules and regulations.

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WITU Host Creative Exchange Event

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The Windward Islands Teachers Union (WITU) hosted a creative exchange for its members on Friday, August 5th.

President of the WITU Stuart Johnson said, "Assisting our members in any way possible will remain one of the primary goals for our members." 

Members of the WITU had the opportunity to make educational posters for their classrooms or offices with resources made available by the WITU. 

The event took place at the WITU's office from 12 pm until 6 pm with complimentary snacks and drinks. 

"Preparing classrooms for the start of each school year is a costly out-of-pocket expense many teachers face; this has not gone unnoticed by WITU. Hence, the activity will be an annual event," Johnson said. 

"I wish all teachers, management, and support staff a successful school year 2022-2023. While we remain in challenging times, I encourage you to keep the faith as our next generation is depending on us," Johnson concluded.

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New notary Bouterse sets up office on Saba, Statia

SABA/STATIA—Long-awaited notary services have been secured for Saba and St. Eustatius with the arrival of Marcia Bouterse. The two islands did not have direct access to a notary for a long time.

Bouterse recently met with Saba Island Governor Jonathan Johnson, Commissioner Rolando Wilson, Government Advisor Gerald Simmons and Mortgage Registrar Robert Zagers on Saba. She also visited St. Eustatius where she met with Government Commissioner Alida Francis. Notary Bouterse discussed her short- and long-term business plans with both governments.

Land ownership issue

During the meeting on Saba, Island Governor Johnson provided a detailed introduction to Saba's land ownership registration rights issue, including its historical development. Simmons shared ideas on possible solutions and a way forward for the Saba people who have land registration problems.

“Following the project that was started with the Legal Desk on Saba, a new project has to be worked on in collaboration with all stakeholders,” said Simmons. He mentioned the Kadaster in the Netherlands, the Housing Department of the Ministry of Interior Affairs and Kingdom relations (BZK), and the Public Entity Saba. “It is important that this project will be done in an inclusive way with the Saba community to ensure that the local historical knowledge of property rights is considered. The notary plays a very important role in this,” stated Simmons.

Service is needed

During her meeting with Bouterse, Government Commissioner Alida Francis spoke about the general perception that there is insufficient business on Statia and Saba to have a notary office permanently established. “I am convinced however that this service is needed as the island continues to develop.

The high demand for notarial services linked to the mortgage loans is a main priority now. However, I have encouraged Bouterse to inform the community of the wide range of services, including last testament, civil partnerships etc.,” she stated.

Gratitude
Government Commissioner Francis, Island Governor Johnson and Commissioner Wilson expressed their gratitude to Notary Bouterse for coming to St. Eustatius and Saba. The government representatives assured her that she has a strong partner in both public entities who will support and facilitate her in whatever way possible.

Bouterse has 16 years of professional experience working in the Netherlands and seven in the Caribbean region. She can be reached by phone at +1721 528 8884 and via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The notary’s office on Saba is located in The Bottom, next to the Own Your Own Home Foundation, Cobblestone Road 3C and in Oranjestad, St. Eustatius at Emmaweg 2 in front of the St. Eustatius Historical Foundation Museum.

Alida Francis and Marcia Bouterse During her visit to St. Eustatius, new notary Marcia Bouterse (right) met with Government Commissioner Alida Francis.

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Fabio Doralice Back to School Message

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – “As we embark on the new school year, the boards of the Le Sommet Foundation and the Haitian Association of Sint Maarten wish all students and teachers a productive and successful school year.

“To the teachers, you have the most crucial role of all...You hold the monumental task of shaping tomorrow's world by inspiring, guiding, and teaching our future generation today!

“Your work is invaluable, often overlooked, undervalued, and underappreciated. You are our true heroes, and we need you and your skill set more than ever. We thank you in advance for your hard work, dedication, and patience this upcoming year.

“To the parents, education starts with you, at home. You also are called upon to guide, inspire, teach, and support your children. Your role is exceptionally important, your teachings from home coupled with academic teaching from school are literally the pathway to your child's future success.

“To the students, you are loved and valued. We are cheering you on to succeed. The academic year ahead of you will present various challenges and opportunities, embrace them! We ask you to remain focused, this new school year is another opportunity to discover the potential within you.

“To the community... We too have our parts to play ... We are in times where we need more than we thought we did, more outreach, more support, more encouragement, more discipline, morals, and integrity.

“The famous quote says, "It takes a village to raise a child", more importantly, is the less popular African proverb "A child not embraced by the village will burn it down to feel its warmth." Let's look out for one another and be our "brother keeper." Have a Safe and productive school year,” Fabio Doralice, President of the Le Sommet Foundation and Vice President of the Haitian Association of St. Maarten said in a press statement on Monday.

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