Soualiga News 3

Soualiga News 3 (1948)

Former Board Member Ordered to Pay Damages to Girobank

SINT MAARTEN/CURACAO - On January 25, the Joint Court of Justice ruled on appeal that a former Girobank board member is liable to the company on account of personal culpable handling of a serious nature.

The former board member was ordered to pay over USD 7 million in damages to Girobank. This ruling in favor of Girobank comes after years of litigation beginning in July 2015. The case was brought to court after an investigation, which was launched following the issuance of the emergency regulation, yielded indications of fraud.

The CBCS welcomes this ruling, seeing that now also at Girobank, a former board member has been held liable for the damage caused by his wrongful actions.


St. Martiners Tell Stories from Their Lives in New Oral History Book

SAINT-MARTIN (FRENCH QUARTER) - French Quarter, St. Martin – The Les Fruits de Mer association has published a new book, Stories of St. Martin. In this book, twelve St. Martiners tell stories from their lives in their own words. Each story captures a unique part of life on St. Martin, and each story captures a unique voice. They are stories of work, hardship, accomplishment, and inspiration.

“Reading this book is like sitting down with a neighbor while they tell you a story,” said co-editor Jenn Yerkes. “It’s a great way for St. Martiners of all ages to share the living history of this place, from major events to daily life back in the day. The stories really come alive because each one is told in a unique voice.”

These stories were recorded on St. Martin between 2016 and 2021. Topics include salt and salt harvesting, storms and renewal, work and service, and local traditions. Each one is part of an oral history tradition on St. Martin that stretches back hundreds of years, and continues today. This important process has preserved knowledge, customs, and culture, including the local language, by passing them down from generation to generation.

“We are excited to publish this book in French as well as English,” added co-editor Mark Yokoyama. “People living here who don’t speak the island’s mother tongue don’t have many opportunities to learn about the lives of St. Martiners. We hope this book promotes deeper understanding and connection.”

Free copies of Stories of St. Martin will be given away at Amuseum Naturalis on Saturday, January 29th from 9am to noon thanks to sponsor Delta Petroleum. Amuseum Naturalis is a free museum of nature and heritage located in French Quarter, St. Martin. It is open every day from sunrise to sunset.

The book is also available as a free download from and for purchase worldwide at Teachers and youth group leaders interested in copies are encouraged to contact Les Fruits de Mer at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Companies or individuals interested in sponsoring copies for schools are also encouraged to contact the association.

The Les Fruits de Mer association has published twelve books about St. Martin nature and heritage. All are available in both English and French. The association is currently working to develop new books on local topics for all different ages. Their long-term goal is to give a free book about St. Martin to every student on the island, every year they are in school.

Stories of St. Martin was produced with support from the Collectivité de Saint-Martin, the Agence nationale de la cohésion des territoires, and Delta Petroleum.

Stories of St Martin

Stories of St Martin collects twelve stories told by St. Martiners in their own voices.

Histoires de Saint Martin

Stories of St. Martin is available in a French-language edition, Histoires de Saint-Martin.




Prime Minister Jacobs congratulates Mia Mottley on victory at the polls

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - On behalf of the Government and the People of St. Maarten, the Honorable Prime Minister Silveria E. Jacobs extended congratulations to newly sworn-in Prime Minister of the Republic of Barbados, the Honorable Mia Mottley following the overwhelming results of the recently held elections.

In a letter sent to Prime Minister Mottley today, January 20, Prime Minister Jacobs stated, “As a fellow female leader in the region, your exemplary form of leadership has become a beacon for many of us to follow. Your trailblazing first term has been accentuated with efforts to not only broach Caribbean issues internationally but underscore the importance of regionalism and self-determination as well. In so doing, you strengthened our collective voice and navigated one of the most challenging times in our most recent history.”

“As you embark on this second term, I wish to emphasize the longstanding and amicable relationship between our two countries and the great good that can be achieved through collaborative efforts in achieving our common agenda. Your people have validated your leadership. Continue to lead and inspire with wisdom and grace”, concluded Prime Minister Jacobs.


Follow-up inspection of corona support by businesses starts in February

SABA/SINT EUSTATIUS - In February 2022 a follow-up inspection will take place in the Caribbean Netherlands regarding the corona support measures that were carried out from March 2020 through October 2021 by the RCN unit SZW. Through the 'SZW Emergency Regulation' and the 'EZK compensation' a total of about 98 million EUR of emergency support was paid on Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius. Companies selected by random sampling must provide further documentation to prove the information they declared on their application form.

Over 900 entrepreneurs in the Caribbean Netherlands made use of one or both support measures up to and including October 2021.The corona support was provided on the basis of information provided by the applicant, who signed for having provided it truthfully. This method was chosen at the time so that the affected companies and employees received the support as quickly as possible. It required honesty from the applicant. Companies had to submit a change form when their situation changed compared to the time of their application and report if they suspect that they have wrongly received compensation.

In the meantime, the RCN unit SZW contacted the applicant only in case of doubt or signals of incorrect use of the regulations. If it turned out that the amount paid out was too high, in many cases this was settled or reclaimed in good consultation. The Public Prosecutor’s Office BES took up cases where there was suspicion that incorrect data had been supplied on purpose.

The follow-up inspection will take place in February 2022. Companies selected by random sampling will be informed about the follow-up check by letter before the 1st of February. The Labor Inspectorate of the RCN-unit SZW carries out the investigation in cooperation with the Dutch Labor Inspectorate. The purpose of the follow-up inspection is to check whether the relatively simple system of aid regulations has worked. In addition, of course, a check is made on the legitimacy of the money received.

The support measures

The Emergency regulation SZW and the Contribution EZK were created at the beginning of the corona crisis to support entrepreneurs in the Caribbean Netherlands in their wage costs and fixed expenses. From the 13th of March 2020 until the12th of October 2021, approximately 700 employers used the SZW emergency regulation, to be able to keep a total of 3535 employees in service. In addition, the incomes of 1,079 independent entrepreneurs were supplemented and 585 former employees who could not keep their jobs, received a benefit through the regulation.

The ‘EZK Compensation’ was a subsidy from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Change to help entrepreneurs pay their fixed costs during the crisis. The financial relief consisted of six successive arrangements of which 901, 563, 457, 419, 453 and 290 entrepreneurs made use respectively. Both regulations ended in October 2021, when it was clear that the economy had recovered. (RCN Caribbean Netherlands)


Continuation Plenary Session of Parliament about Draft National Ordinance 2022 Budget

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The House of Parliament will sit in a plenary public session on Thursday, January 20, 2022.

The plenary public meeting, which was adjourned on Wednesday, January 19, 2022, will be reconvened on Thursday at 11.00 hrs. in the General Assembly Chamber of the House at Wilhelminastraat #1 in Philipsburg. The Council of Ministers will be present.

The agenda point is:

  1. Ontwerplandsverordening tot vaststelling van de Begroting van het land Sint Maarten voor het dienstjaar 2022 (Landsverordening begroting 2022) (IS/352/2021-2022 d.d. 8 december 2021) (ZJ 2021-2022-152)

(Draft National Ordinance stipulating the Budget of the Country for the year 2022 (National Ordinance Budget 2022) (IS/352/2021-2022 dated December 8, 2021) (Parliamentary Year 2021-2022-152)

Due to measures taken to mitigate the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the House of Parliament is only allowing persons with an appointment to enter the Parliament building.

The parliamentary session will be carried live on St. Maarten Cable TV Channel 115, via SXM GOV radio FM 107.9, via Pearl Radio FM 98.1, the audio via the internet, and Parliament’s Facebook page: Parliament of Sint Maarten, with a link to the Live stream.


Plenary Session of Parliament about Draft National Ordinance 2022 Budget

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – The House of Parliament will sit in a plenary public session on Wednesday January 19, 2022.

The plenary public meeting is scheduled for 10.00 hrs in the General Assembly Chamber of the House at Wilhelminastraat #1 in Philipsburg. The Council of Ministers will be present.

The agenda points are:

  1. Incoming documents
  1. Ontwerplandsverordening tot vaststelling van de Begroting van het land Sint Maarten voor het dienstjaar 2022 (Landsverordening begroting 2022) (IS/352/2021-2022 d.d. 8 december 2021) (ZJ 2021-2022-152)

(Draft National Ordinance stipulating the Budget of the Country for the year 2022 (National Ordinance Budget 2022) (IS/352/2021-2022 dated December 8, 2021) (Parliamentary Year 2021-2022-152)

Due to measures taken to mitigate the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the House of Parliament is only allowing persons with an appointment to enter the Parliament building.

The parliamentary session will be carried live on St. Maarten Cable TV Channel 115, via SXM GOV radio FM 107.9, via Pearl Radio FM 98.1, the audio via the internet, and Parliament’s Facebook page: Parliament of Sint Maarten.


Caribbean Airlines to Introduce Pre-Order Meal Service on Select Routes

SINT MAARTEN/TRINIDAD & TOBAGO - From January 27, 2022, Caribbean Airlines will introduce a pre-order meal service, on select routes, which will give customers more choice and an authentic taste of the Caribbean when they fly. This new offering is part of the airline’s focus on enhancing the customer experience, which is the overarching theme of its 2022 campaign: “Reset Expectations”.

Customers can select from a range of meals and snacks at affordable prices, which can be bought at the time of booking their flights and up to 36 hours before the scheduled departure time. Passengers who purchase Economy Flex fares can pre-order meals at no additional cost and Business Class meals remain inclusive.

In commenting on the new service, Caribbean Airlines acting Chief Operations Officer, Nirmala Ramai stated: “2022 is all about re-calibrating what we do and offering our customers a revamped experience. With the pre-order meal service, our customers can choose their own meals from our range of sumptuous offerings. The menu incorporates a fusion of Caribbean and Western cuisine including doubles (curried chickpeas and bara) bake and fish, an array of wraps, delicious options for vegetarians and children.”

Meals will be available for sale via the Caribbean Airlines website, mobile app, Reservations Sales and Service centre and travel agents from January 27, for flights from February 01.


New book claims to solve mystery of who betrayed Anne Frank

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – The hiding place of Anne Frank and her family in Amsterdam during World War II was probably given to the Nazis by Jewish notary Arnold van den Bergh according to a new book which claims to solve the 77-year-old mystery.

The Betrayal of Anne Frank, by Canadian writer Rosemary Sullivan, is based on the work of a cold case team led by a former FBI agent who spent years trying to solve one of the most enduring mysteries of the war.

The teenage diarist and her family went into hiding on 6 July 1942 but they were found and deported in August 1944. Most died in Auschwitz, Anne and her sister Margot in Bergen-Belsen.

There have been many theories about who betrayed Anne Frank and the seven others in hiding and the name of Arnold van den Bergh appears on earlier lists of possible suspects.

Van den Bergh was a member of the Joodse Raad, or Jewish Council, which was set up in 1941 ostensibly as an organisation for Jewish self-government. In fact it was an instrument for the occupiers to facilitate the smooth selection and deportation of Jews.

The team looked at some 30 possible scenarios, including the one that the family was found by chance. ‘We can say that 27 or 28 of them are extremely unlikely or impossible,’ journalist Pieter van Twisk, one of the Dutch researchers, told the Volkskrant.


The theory is based on an anonymous letter that was delivered to Otto Frank after the war. The cold case team failed to trace the original but did find a copy of the text made by Otto in the family archives of a policeman involved in an earlier investigation.

The note says that the family’s hiding place was ‘given to the Jüdische Auswanderung by door A. van den Bergh, who lived at the time near the Vondelpark… The JA had been given a whole list of hiding places by him.’

Van den Bergh, the book claims, probably told the Nazis about the Frank’s hiding place to keep himself and his own family safe.


‘As a founding member of the Jewish Council, he would have been privy – to addresses – where Jews were hiding,’ former FBI officer Vince Pankoke told CBS.

‘When Van den Bergh lost all his series of protections exempting him from having to go to the camps, he had to provide something valuable to the Nazis that he’s had contact with to let him and his wife at that time stay safe.’

Otto only went public with the existence of the note in 1964, during a second investigation into the family’s betrayal. At the time the claim was dismissed as slanderous towards Van den Bergh, who had died in 1950.


The book suggests that Otto did not press the issue out of respect for Van den Bergh’s children and because he did not want to do anything to stimulate anti-Semitism.

‘Perhaps he just felt that if I bring this up again, with Arnold van den Bergh being Jewish, it’ll only stoke the fires further,’ Pankoke said. ‘But we have to keep in mind that the fact that he was Jewish just meant he was placed into a untenable position by the Nazis to do something to save his life.’

Emile Schrijver, director of the Jewish Historical Quarter organisation in Amsterdam, told the Volkskrant the book had thinned out the number of theories about the betrayal considerably. ‘Of all the theories, you can say this one is the most likely,’ he said. ‘But the last word has not yet been spoken.’

Watch the CBS documentary on the cold case investigation. The Anne Frank house organisation in Amsterdam said on Monday in a statement that it was not involved in the cold case investigation, but it had shared its archives and museum with the team, as well as its own 2016 investigation into the arrest of the people in hiding.

‘At the Anne Frank House we aim to tell the life story of Anne Frank as fully as we can, so it’s important to also examine the arrest of Anne Frank and the seven other people in the secret annex in as much detail as possible,’ said director Ronald Leopold.

‘The cold case team’s investigation has generated important new information and a fascinating hypothesis that merits further research.’ The book, The Betrayal of Anne Frank, is published by Barnes and Noble and goes on global release on Monday.



Cabinet increases funding for Groningen earthquake victims after chaos

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – The cabinet has agreed to allocate an extra €250m to improve homes in parts of Groningen affected by earthquakes after the initial €220m fund ran dry on the first day following a flood of applications.

Long queues formed in towns and villages in the northern province on Monday at council offices where people could claim up to €10,000 per household for renovations.

Hans Vijlbrief, the junior minister charged with sorting out the Groningen gas problems, told MPs on Friday that the new allocation of cash will allow everyone entitled to the grant to make a claim.

‘I really regret the way things have gone and said on Monday that I would do my best to solve it,’ Vijlbrief said.

The money is intended to help people in the northern province improve their homes, many of which have been damaged by earth movements caused by 50 years of gas extraction in the Slochteren gas field.

Production is being wound down in the northern province, but last week residents were hit with a fresh blow when the government said it needed to extract 7.6 billion cubic metres in 2022, twice as much as expected.


Much of extra gas will be exported to Germany, where around five million homes are connected to the Groningen gas grid, after measures to improve energy efficiency across the border fell short of expectations.

Groningen’s provincial assembly has urged the government to reverse a decision to double the amount of gas produced in 2022.

The king’s commissioner for Groningen, René Paas, has also apologised for the handling of the subsidy scheme and said he was considering taking the government to court if it pressed ahead with more gas production.



Cafes and bars all over NL will open on Saturday, in defiance of the rules

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Café, bar and shop owners all over the country say they plan to reopen as normal on Saturday, no matter what the government says about relaxing the coronvirus rules in Friday’s press conference.

The big Dutch papers have all been out and about, gathering reactions. A round-up Laurens Meyer, described by the AD as one of the most influential bar owners in the country, told the paper the Netherlands has become the ‘laughingstock of Europe’ with its lockdown, while the rest of the EU is open for business.

‘The lockdown has had its day all over the place,’ Meyer said. ‘Resistance is growing. People have had enough. More and more mayors are admitting that they won’t enforce the rules if bars open.

If politicians are sensible, they will announce on Friday that bars can open until 5pm. That would take the heat off.’ The Dutch, Mayer said, are flocking to Belgium and Germany to spend their money and ‘that is where our income is going’.

‘We just don’t have any motivation left to remain shut,’ he told the AD.


The NRC headed to border area known as the Achterhoek, where the council has agreed to turn a blind eye to shops reopening, even though the government is set to announce that they can again accept clients by appointment.

Sports shop owner Wouter Mecking points that just 15 minutes away over the border everything is open as normal. ‘That is where people are going out to eat, to Ikea, while here we are going bankrupt,’ he said.

Almost every shop in the village of Ulft will be opening its doors on Saturday as a statement, Sandra Lupoeter of lingerie shop La Familia said. ‘I’m going to cut clients hair again on Saturday,’ said hairdresser Marc Bolder.

‘This is a demonstration. It is time to say “guys, this is no longer a solution”,’ he told the paper.


RTL looked at Zutphen and Valkenburg, where shops and restaurants are also opening in defiance of the rules, and with the local authority’s tacit blessing. ‘We want to show we can do it safely,’ said Remy Koppel, of Café Camelot.

‘We have done everything we can, listened to the rules and danced to the pipes in The Hague. But now we have had enough.’ Valkenburg mayor Daan Prevoo has said he will not take action against the retailers who do open.

‘Everyone has the right to demonstrate, and this is what I consider the shopkeepers’ action to be,’ he told RTL Nieuws. The Valkenburg protest is taking place on Friday from 10am to 4pm, ahead of the press conference.


The Volkskrant focuses on Gouda, where the council has written to prime minister Mark Rutte warning him that ‘we cannot sell [this strategy] any longer’.

Mayor Pieter Verhoeve, the city’s aldermen, councillors and local business associations have all called on the government to relax the rules considerably.

‘A lockdown is a last resort, but we should not be getting used to emergency legislation,’ Verhoeve told the VK.

‘This lockdown is out of all proportion. We can no longer sell the fact that the Netherlands is the only country in Europe which is shut. Social unrest is reaching a peak.’


The Telegraaf spoke to psychologists in an effort to find out why the Dutch are so stubborn about not sticking to the coronavirus rules. Evolutionary psychologist Mark van Vugt told the Telegraaf that people who have been vaccinated and had a booster want something in return for doing their bit for society.

‘We are of course known for our consensus culture, where everyone has a say,’ psychologist Jeffrey Wijnberg pointed out. ‘It does not help that support for the measures is crumbling and people are far less understanding,’ said VU University professor Paul van Lange.

‘And that is all to do with people thinking that hospital numbers are okay and that the Netherlands is following much tougher policy than our surrounding countries.’ ‘The Netherlands has a relaxed culture, where we don’t tell each other off,’ he said.

‘We are more tolerate of behaviour that deviates from the norm.’


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