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Caribbean Netherlands delegation at CANTA membership meeting

CARIBBEAN NETHERLANDS - Recently a delegation from the Caribbean Netherlands (Bonaire, St. Eustatius, Saba) field of education participated in the 26th meeting of CANTA (Caribbean Association of National Training Agencies) in Trinidad & Tobago.

CANTA is the coordinating institution that supervises the uniform implementation of competency-based training and its examination and certification within the CARICOM area. The Caribbean office of OCW (RCN / OCW) has been an associate member of CANTA since last May.

The regular members of the CANTA are members of CARICOM. Because the islands of the Caribbean Netherlands are not members of CARICOM, RCN/CW had to join CANTA as an associate member.

The membership of CANTA is part of the transition to English as the language of instruction on St. Eustatiusas ofthe school year 2015-2016. Thanks to this membership,RCN/ OCW remains well informed of developments withinregionalvocational education, for the benefit of the high schools on St. Eustatius and Saba.

In addition, this membership is good for knowledge exchange with CARICOM members and the purchase of teaching materials. Saba has been using Caribbean programs successfully for several years.

Participation in the CANTA meeting was combined with a visit to the MIC Institute of Technology in Port-of-Spain. This institute offers technical (vocational) education for businesses in Trinidad & Tobago, in addition to the commercial production of engineering materials. (RCN Caribbean Netherlands)

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Disaster Coordinator Richardson says we have much to be thankful this hurricane season

GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – Disaster Coordinator Fire Commander Clive Richardson, is thankful that once again the nation has been spared the full onslaught of a major hurricane for the 2015 Atlantic hurricane season.

The six-month 2015 season comes to an end on Monday, November 30.

Storm activity for the season was as predicted below average activity. 

The season ended with 11 named storms, four of which became hurricanes and two of those became major hurricanes (Category 3 or stronger on the Saffir-Simpson Scale).  The average numbers are 11.5 named storms; 6.1 hurricanes; and 2.6 major hurricanes.

“Our country prepared for two storm systems, namely Danny at the beginning of August and Erika near the end of the same month.

“The national disaster management system comprising of 10 Emergency Support Functions representing the seven government ministries went into action on those two aforementioned occasions when those storm systems were to posing a possible threat to the country.

“National preparations were taken in the event that either storm system would make landfall, but we were lucky that both systems veered away.

“I would like to thank the people of our island nation for taking the necessary preparations during the 2015 Atlantic Hurricane season when it was advised to do so. 

“I would like to thank the island’s disaster management team and emergency support functions for their role played in preparing the country and taking the necessary actions required during two weather related events in August.

“In conclusion, we have much to be thankful, and as the 2015 season comes to an end, we look ahead in preparing for the 2016 Atlantic Hurricane season,” Disaster Coordinator Clive Richardson told the Department of Communication (DCOMM) on Monday.

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MP Lake seeks answers on decisions taken by previous Minister of VROMI

ST. PETERS - Member of Parliament Maurice Lake commends the Marlin Cabinet for looking into projects that during the last minute before the swearing in of the new Cabinet, were signed off by the former Minister VROMI without a plan being in place.

“The new Minister of VROMI will also pay attention to these matters. As a representative of the people and a former Minister of VROMI, I was very amazed by the outgoing Minister of VROMI list of accomplishments in his thank you letter to the people since being Minister of TEATT and Minister of VROMI. This is not a tit for tat, but the people should know what is what.

“It is sad to note that all his accomplishments was for ongoing projects and most of them he changed the plan since I was Minister about 11-months ago, and all he could have done was to initiate them for 11 months instead of completing any of these projects for the people. My question is what he was doing in the 11 months in office other than changing former plans and listening to others make decisions for him.

“As a Member of Parliament, and I would like the new incoming Minister of VROMI to look into this; if a decree and letter was given to a hotel developer for 4'300 square meters of land at Kim Sha Beach in return to develop the joint sewage plant project for the area of Cole Bay and Marigot?

“Government has a responsibility to protect our beaches and not giving them away. How can we give away 4'300 square meters of our beach to a hotel developer if this is indeed the case? As the school children are saying, the hotel developer that has received the land has apparently informed La Bamba (a tourist and local hot spot) that they need to vacate the area once they get the people’s beach. This is simply amazing coming from the former Minister of VROMI who should be protecting small businesses instead of closing them down, if this is really so.

“As a representative of the people, I am pleased to hear that the Prime Minister is carrying out an inventory of all these outstanding projects that the former Minister praised himself about in a thank you letter to the people and take them back for the people among other matters and decisions that were taken.

“Government needs to look at the other alternative plans with other local landowners for the joint sewage plant for the island in which the agreement between the Dutch and French side should be finalized in December 2015.

“This Government will be getting back to basics.  We have to stop giving away our beaches, historical parks and landfill, and start working in the general interest of the people.  We need to start making firm decisions not for self-interest, but instead in the general interest of the people of St. Maarten.”

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Two persons arrested on drug charges

DUTCH QUARTER - Two persons were arrested on drug charges by the Multi Disciplinary Team on Wednesday November 25th at approximately 12.15 p.m., at a home on Quillitor Drive in Dutch Quarter.

While driving through the Dutch Quarter area the patrol recognized a man who is known to purchase drugs in that area. Shortly after, this same man was seen leaving a house on Quillitor Drive and the officers noticed that he had something clutched in his hand. While controlling this man a transparent plastic bag containing a small amount of cocaine was found.

This man was arrested on the spot for the possession of illegal drugs.  The Emergency Dispatch was informed of the developing situation and several other patrols were sent to assist in the investigation.

A search of the house which this suspect was seen leaving was done and during this search of this house a considerable amount of cash, cocaine and cellular phones were found and confiscated for further investigation.

A female resident of the house in question was also arrested for further investigation. (Police Force Sint Maarten)

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St. Maarten Cable TV Apologizes For Extended Maintenance Outage

MADAME ESTATE – St. Maarten Cable TV experienced complications during a scheduled upgrade of their headend’s electrical system to accommodate the increased capacity on Tuesday, November 24, 2015. The expected maintenance window was between the hours of 1:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. St. Maarten Cable TV service interruption lasted throughout the morning and all channels were restored shortly after 11:30 a.m.  Internet service was restored by 7:00 a.m.

Managing Director, Beulah Jonis stated, “We sincerely apologize for the unexpected delay of service restoration and the inconvenience caused.”

For additional information, customers are encouraged to visit the company website at www.sxmcable.com. For cable inquiries, billing assistance and service calls, customers may call 542-4361 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Gamali Benjamin Foundation continues to remain vigilant

PHILIPSBURG – In a press release distributed to the media on Monday by the Gamali Benjamin Foundation (GBF), the following statements were made by the aforementioned:

“On behalf of the Gamali Benjamin Foundation (GBF) we would like to make mention that we are remaining vigilant to the ongoing case concerning our fallen hero; Officer Gamali Benjamin. We would like to thank our men and women in blue for working tirelessly, not only on this specific case but to ensure that the persons responsible will be brought to justice.

“It seems that this year our police force has been affected, yet again by the recent passing of Officer Moceda Egen, who succumbed to her battle with cancer. We extend our sincere condolences to the families, colleagues and friends through this time of bereavement, of this young dynamic lady who had a great future ahead in wanting to serve and protect. May her soul rest in eternal peace.

“We are now faced with the saddened news of the Officer Vernon Ranis who was severely injured involving an accident on the LB Scott Road. The injuries to his foot as was stated were severe and we join with the community in wishing him a speedy recovery as he receive all medical attention needed.

“In spite of all the negativity surrounding our local police force, on a more positive note, we hereby extend sincere congratulations to our Chief of Police Mr. Carl John. His dedication and hard work over the years has proven, this position will be in which he will continue to ensure that our streets are safe once again for the people of this country and visitors to our shores. We ask for his continued guidance, strength and endurance, as the men and women in blue display the characteristics of respect and integrity while upholding our laws, to serve and protect.

“As we are now in the finalization stage of the Gamali Benjamin Foundation, a foundation created in honor and in the memory of our fallen police officer; the late Gamali Benjamin. Whereby our purpose is to assist in the future education of the late Officer’s son and other child/children who may fall victim to such unfortunate tragedies.

If you would like further information or ways to assist this organization please feel free to contact any of our board members Mr. Nikhil Kukreja, Mr. Ellinger Paul, Mr. Alston Lourens, Mr. Rensley Henson andMs. Marinka Gumbs at email: atThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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MP Lake: A New Chapter has begun. Congratulations to the newly sworn-in Marlin Cabinet

ST. PETERS - “I would like to congratulate the Marlin Cabinet who was sworn in on Thursday, 19thNovember.  A new chapter has been turned over for the people of Sint Maarten,” Member of Parliament Maurice Lake said on Thursday in a statement to the media.

“We can look forward with confidence that this new team will get the job done.  We have a team with experience of Cabinet members who come from public and private sectors.

“With respect to the Minister of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure, the person who accepted this position passed the screening process without any issues.

“Unfortunately, a complaint was filed with the Public Prosecutors Office and this has prevented the candidate incoming Minister for Ministry VROMI not to be sworn in on November 19th. The person must be held accountable for his/her actions for tarnishing a person's good name and costing the taxpayer’s money with such an action.

“This is dirty politics at play which is very sad.  I have always preached, we need to raise the bar and bring politics and governing up to a higher level.  The people deserve better, but God is good and the truth shall be revealed in the coming days. What goes around comes around.  Always do good to the people. This is just another way to try and slow down another Minister from hitting the ground running with priority projects and quick wins for the people. But for every set back there is a comeback.

“I would like the Public Prosecutor to finalize its investigation as soon as possible so the position of Minister VROMI can be filled quickly.  Congratulations to the Marlin Cabinet and to my coalition partners as well,” MP Maurice Lake said on Thursday.  

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Official Police Report: Motor Cycle Officer Seriously Injured. Driver of Van also a Police Officer

CUL DE SAC - The police traffic department is presently investigating a serious head-on collision involving a motorcycle police officer and a small van driven by another police officer.

The call came in to the Emergency Dispatch Center around 08.45 p.m. on Sunday October 15th, informing them of the collision which took place on the L.B. Scot in the vicinity of the Sheik Supermarket.

The call also stated that the motorcycle officer was severely injured and needed immediate medical attention. The female occupant of the van driven by another police officer suffered a small wound to her head which also needed medical attention.

The scene was closed off and traffic in and out of Sint Peters was diverted for the emergency services to attend to the victim and conduct an investigation. Both victims were treated on the scene by paramedics and then transported to the Sint Maarten Medical Center for further treatment.

The doctors stated during treatment of the motorcycle officer that his left foot was seriously damaged and partially severed and that he would need immediate surgery. After coming out of surgery the doctors stated that the condition of the officer was stable and would recommend at a later stage if he would be flown abroad for further medical attention.

The police traffic department is conducting an in depth investigation to determine exactly what caused the accident. As more information regarding the condition of the officer becomes available the media will be informed. (Police Force Sint Maarten)

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Ferrier: Time will tell.....

COMMENTARY - In the two daily papers, as well as in the on-line e-papers of Thursday, November 12, 2015, I read about the encouragement given by some Parliamentarians to 4 ex WINAIR employees, in their quest to start up a new airline company.

That in itself is a positive thing. But for MP Frans Richardson to trash WINAIR and by extension, its remaining 123 mostly local, loyal, hardworking, professional staff, is mind boggling and just plain wrong.

To insinuate that WINAIR is not 100% local because Holland holds the slightly less than 8% of the shares that belong to the now Dutch Entities Saba and Statia, while Country St. Maarten owns more than 92%, is outright ludicracy.

Moreover MP Frans, nor any of the other MP's that tripped over themselves in their rush to show support for the 4 gentlemen, found it necessary to say even one positive thing about our National Airline owned by the very people these MP's represent!

How refreshing it would have been to hear Members of Parliament praise WINAIR and its staff for offering these 4 locals the best training money could buy and for contributing to the economies of St. Maarten, Saba and Statia for over 53 years with a safety record that is second to none.

Maybe when the next election comes around, the employees of WINAIR, their families and friends will all remember which politician said what. Finally, I am sure that WINAIR welcomes any level-playing-field competition.

Personally I am convinced of its ability, performance, expertise and know-how to take on any such competition.

Time will tell.....

Michael J. Ferrier

COMMENTARY, the comments made here are the sole responsibility of the author.

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MP Lake is awaiting answers from the Caretaker Government for the Landfill, Cadastre, and USM

ST. PETERS - MP Lake has sent letters through the President of Parliament to the Caretaker Government to get the long awaited answers that was promised to Parliament.  

“The first request for answers is from the meeting with the outgoing Minister of VROMI Claret Conner. The first meeting was called on Wednesday, September 9, 2015 but couldn't proceed due to illness of the Minister but the next day he was on a flight to Miami looking at another company for the Waste to Energy Facility.  

“The meeting was called again for Friday, September 18, 2015. This meeting was adjourned. The outgoing Minister of VROMI promised that he would submit the answers to Parliament in writing before September 25th, 2015.  By letter of October 28, 2015, the outgoing Minister informed Parliament that he couldn't provide the answers on September 25, 2015.  

“The meeting was supposed to continue on October 1, 2015 but was postponed upon the request of the outgoing Minister due to urgent reasons. Parliament never heard from the outgoing Minister again about providing the answers to the landfill. I didn't expect this from the former Minister who has integrity and transparency high on his list."

The MP sent another letter to the outgoing Minister of VROMI and Minister of Finance about the status of the recommendations and documents that the Ombudsman had requested from the Cadastre. He also would like to know if the board fired the former Managing Director. If yes, who then is paying his rent at the apartment at this point in time? What is the status of filling the position of the Managing Director position at Cadastre?

In closing, MP Lake would like to know if the University of St. Martin (USM) has been legally officially recognized.

“The Caretaker Government promised to legally recognize our National University and increase the subsidy on the draft budget 2016. I would like to know what is the amount that Government has provided in the budget for USM. The University of St. Martin initially requested an increase in subsidy in the amount of NAF. 700.000.00. This amount was in line with subsidizing solely the teaching personnel cost.  

“One should bear in mind that the Teacher's Education Program (TEP) was a request of the Government of St. Maarten who wanted to promote local teachers.  And this makes a loss of approximately NAF 500.000.00 yearly which has been known for quite some time. The University is currently paying the Government's desire to have local teachers.  It is a national shame how the caretaker Government is playing politics with our University.

“The caretaker Ministers have to live up to their promises of providing the answers to Parliament and USM before they leave office, especially for the Gumbs led Government that has integrity, transparency and accountability high on their list.”

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