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Five years after being sworn in, the Dutch king and queen are good for business

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – King Willem-Alexander and queen Maxima are good value for money and have considerable added value for the Dutch economy, the Financieele Dagblad reported on Friday.

Five years ago, when Willem-Alexander was sworn in as king, he pledged to do more to boost the Dutch economy and business leaders are convinced he is having an impact, the paper said.

Corporate executives, ambassadors and senior civil servants have told the paper that the royal couple are keen to see their visits to companies followed up, to make sure the firms are put in touch with the right people for financing or alliances.

‘Since the visit, we have had one new order after another,’ one entrepreneur from the Frisian city of Sneek said. ‘It is unbelievable.’ A royal visit is seen as an unofficial stamp of approval and that means a turnover boost, the paper said.

The Dutch royal family cost the taxpayer some €40m a year and it is impossible to say what sort of a return that generates. However, trade missions to China and Australia generated at least €700m in new contracts.

In addition, the king’s state visits always have a strong business element, the FD said.

Sources told the paper that the king and queen will focus extra attention on energy transition and on citizen cooperatives in the coming years.


Meanwhile, the royal family’s website states that the king does not have any shares in companies which are Koninklijk, or royal. This means, the Telegraaf points out, that the king does not invest in KPN, Philips or Shell.

However, the family has been long thought to be major investors in Shell and the website refers to the king, rather than his mother Beatrix, the paper points out. (DutchNews)


Traffic temporarily back to normal along W.G. Buncamper road

PHILIPSBURG - The Police Department in consultation with the Ministry of VROMI is announcing the following; As of Friday April 20th 2018 between 4.00 p.m. and 6.00 p.m. the W. G. Buncamper road will again be opened for traffic in both directions.

All barricades and traffic signs placed during the trenching will be removed. The trenching of W.G. Buncamper road has temporarily stopped in connection with the scheduled carnival parades. After the Carnival period these works will continue.

All drivers should take keen note of this traffic measure and drive carefully as the traffic goes back to normal. (Sint Maarten Police Force)


15-years demanded for 21-year old in Diamond Hill stabbing

COLE BAY - The Public Prosecutor (OM) requested a lengthy prison sentence of 15 years for A.L. (21), suspected of stabbing to death Garibaldi Zorilla during a heated brawl on Diamond Hill in Cole Bay in July 2017, the OM said in a statement on Thursday.

“The Public Prosecutor has charged A.L. with the manslaughter of Zorilla, causing severe bodily injury to two other young men involved in the fight and public violence. The Public Prosecutor deemed these acts pointless acts of violence, in which a young man lost his life.

“The Public Prosecutor found it proven that A.L. was the main aggressor and that he was the one in possession of the weapon used to stab Zorilla 7 times causing his death. A.L.’s DNA was found under the nails of Zorilla.

“The Public Prosecutor pointed out that in spite of having two prior convictions and serving jail time, A.L. had not changed his behavior pattern and showed no remorse for his actions.

“The Public Prosecutor requested a conditional prison term of 1 month and 100 hours community service for I.W. (25) and J.S (24), who was part of A.L.’s circle and were involved in public violence. The Public Prosecutor found that there was not enough evidence linking I.W. and J.S. to the manslaughter of Zorillla nor to the bodily injuries suffered by the two other victims.”


Carnival 2018: CPS calls on community to adhere to hand hygiene and cough etiquette during flu season

GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – With large numbers of people gathering at Carnival related events and activities on a daily basis, the Collective Prevention Services (CPS), a department of the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, is calling on Carnival revelers to practice hand hygiene and cough etiquette as a prevention action to prevent the spread of infectious diseases such as influenza to family and friends.

Symptoms of the flu include sudden onset of fever, cough (usually dry), headache, muscle and joint pain, sore throat and a runny nose. The cough can be severe and can last two or more weeks. Most people recover from fever and other symptoms within a week.

However, influenza can cause severe illness or death in high-risk groups such as pregnant women at any stage of pregnancy; children younger than five-years; people older than 65-years; people with chronic medical conditions such as HIV/AIDS, asthma, heart and lung diseases and diabetes; people with increased risk of exposure to influenza, which includes health care workers.

Keeping hands clean through improved and frequent hand hygiene and cough etiquette which are two of the most important steps one can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. Washing your hands should take at least 40 to 60 seconds.

Many diseases and conditions are spread by not washing hands with soap and clean, running water. If clean, running water is not accessible, as is common in many parts of the world, use soap and available water. You can also use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 per cent alcohol to clean hands.

Your hands should be washed before, during, and after preparing food; before eating food; after using the toilet; after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

Flu viruses are thought to spread mainly from person to person through the coughing, sneezing, or talking to someone with the flu.

Flu viruses also may spread when people touch something with the flu virus on it and then touch their mouth, eyes, or nose.

People infected with the flu may be able to infect others beginning from day one before symptoms develop and up to five to seven days after becoming sick. That means you may be able to spread the flu to someone else before you know you are sick.

Preventive actions entails: try to avoid close contact with sick people; cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze (cough etiquette); throw the tissue in the trash after you use it; clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.

CPS wants everyone to enjoy the festive season in a healthy manner. Happy Carnival 2018.


United Women’s Book Club points out the fundamentals of reading

ST. MARTIN (MARIGOT) – “Because we consider reading to be both fundamental and vital to the mind, we at the United Women's Book Club are a diverse group ranging from the ages of 25 and older,” Founder Danielle Chance said on Thursday in a media statement.

“We are passionate and very creative especially during our post-read discussions, an element that we are keen on keeping alive. It was a humble beginning, in October of 2015, we were only a handful, mostly family members, but with time and having fortified the foundation of the club, we were able to open our doors to the other women who shared the same interests in reading.

“We gather once monthly, to discuss a book previously chosen by one of the members. We rotate each month giving room to a very efficient system. During the reading period, we stay in touch, we communicate and plan.

“Our goal is to send a clear message to the community, reading is not only to build your vocabulary. Reading brings people together, it's a time of sharing, it enhances social skills but it is most importantly empowering,” Chance concluded.

Feel free to contact the club for additional information at their Facebook page: United Women Book Club.


Carnival 2018: Help prevent mosquito-borne diseases. Wear light colored clothing at dusk and use mosquito repellent

GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – The Collective Preventive Services (CPS), a government department under the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, is calling on the community as well as visitors to wear light colored clothing at dusk; wear long sleeve shirts and pants; and use mosquito repellent to prevent being bitten by an infected mosquito that could possibly be carrying a mosquito-borne disease such as dengue, chikungunya or zika.

It’s the Carnival season, and visitors and residents are out and about enjoying the Carnival festivities. Due to recent rainfall, taking the aforementioned preventative measures into consideration can assist in preventing one from getting a mosquito-borne disease.

Mosquito-borne diseases such as zika, dengue fever and chikungunya are transmitted by an infected/diseased female vector Aedes Aegypti mosquito.

The Aedes Aegypti mosquito is distinguished by its markings. The body of the mosquito has alternate black and white horizontal stripes. The Aedes Aegypti mosquito lays her eggs in clear (clean) stagnant water. Within eight days the mosquito can complete its life cycle from egg, to larvae to pupae and to and adult mosquito.

Persons are also requested to keep their homes, yards, neighborhoods and work environment free from potential mosquito breeding sites.

An increase in the mosquito population puts residents at risk. For information about mosquito-borne diseases prevention measures, you can call at 542-1122, 542-1222, 542-1322 and 542-1570; or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Police conducts house search of suspects. Gun and other items seized

DEFIANCE - On Tuesday April 17th two male suspects identified with initials A.G. and K.C.J.B. were arrested after an intense chase through the hills in Defiance by police officers suspected of an attempted armed robbery which took place earlier that day.

On that same day, in connection with this investigation and with permission and of the Judge of Instruction and the Public Prosecutor, two separate house searches was done.

The house searches were done at the homes of the suspects in Bishop hill and in Defiance. During the search at the home of the suspect in Bishop Hill a handgun was found along with other items possibly used during this attempted robbery.

The gun and other items were confiscated for further investigation. (Sint Maarten Police Force)


ARIN seeks Caribbean candidate for board of trustees

SINT MAARTEN/MIAMI - Persons from the Caribbean seeking to contribute to the governance ecosystem of the global Internet can now volunteer for an appointment to the board of trustees of the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN). The call for volunteers will close on April 30 at 5 pm EDT.

ARIN is one of five registries worldwide that coordinate Internet number resources. Its region spans the United States, Canada and many countries in the Caribbean. The move by ARIN is intended to address the absence of any representation of the Caribbean region at the board of trustees.

"This is in keeping with the ARIN bylaws, which allow the board of trustees at its discretion to appoint an additional voting member to the board for a term not to exceed one year so as to provide more diversity in the board's composition," ARIN said in an April 12 online post.

In March, the seven-member ARIN board formed a special committee to recruit and recommend potential candidates for the appointment of an eighth member, from the Caribbean.

It is the first time that ARIN is using its bylaws to improve Caribbean regional representation at the highest level of its leadership. The development appears to be part of a deliberate strategy by ARIN to invest in policies and practices that are more representative of its entire service region.

“We recognise that our policy development process can only benefit from the inclusion of more voices and perspectives from our constituents in the Caribbean,” ARIN President and CEO John Curran said at the registry's public policy meeting in San Jose, California last October.

Since then, two women from the Caribbean have been appointed for the first time to ARIN's next-highest decision making body, the Advisory Council.

Advisory Council members voted to appoint Barbadian-born Alicia Trotman for a one-year term, starting January 1. Trotman, a senior administrator at Barbados’ national telecommunications regulator, described the decision of the council as “a big step forward for Caribbean representation” at the regional Internet registry.

Jamaican-born Kerrie Ann Richards was also appointed as an interim member to fill the remainder of the unexpired term of David Huberman, who resigned from the council effective November 17, 2017. Richards' term ends on December 31.

In February, to further engage its stakeholders in the Caribbean, ARIN launched an ongoing series of workshops designed to raise awareness of ARIN services and to better understand the needs of the region.

On April 19, ARIN is launching a dedicated Caribbean Forum, which will run in parallel with the regional meeting of the Caribbean Network Operators Group, to be held in Miami from April 18 to 20. The registry has also announced plans to expose an even wider Caribbean audience to its mission and community later this year. 

"The needs of the Caribbean can be very different to those of the US and Canada. For number policy decisions to best reflect the entire ARIN Community, those decisions must include perspectives and participation drawn from the Caribbean," said Wooding.

The ARIN call for volunteers to serve on its board of trustees is open to anyone of Caribbean background. No ARIN affiliation or membership is required in order to be considered. But the organisation's website specifies that the desired skill set of potential appointees includes demonstrated leadership experience, relevant board experience, and experience in relevant industry sectors, such as Internet or Telecommunications.

"I am really happy that this has happened, although it is unfortunate that it took so long," said Bill Woodcock, who served on the board for 15 years before voluntarily stepping down at the end of 2017.

“ARIN used this appointment mechanism at the beginning of 2017 to bring a woman onto the board, and in the election at the end of 2017, ARIN members elected a woman for the first time in twenty years.  So we’ve seen that this path works to overcome the almost insurmountable advantage incumbents have in ARIN elections. I think it’s completely logical to use it again to solve the geographic representation problem that we still face. I think it’s great ARIN is finally moving to get someone from the Caribbean onto the board, and I’m confident that it will lead to the Caribbean being represented in elected seats in the future," he added.

An ARIN board meeting is scheduled to take place during its public policy meeting, to be held in Miami from April 15 to 18. BY GERARD BEST


Be aware of Sexually Transmitted Infections

GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – The Collective Preventive Service’s (CPS) calendar of health observances, focuses on Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) during the month of April, reminds and encourages the community to take a proactive approach to prevent STIs, and continue to make healthy choices.

CPS, which is a department within the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, is calling on the populace to get checked, treated and comply with the advised preventive measures. Sexually Transmitted Infections are real and present. STIs do not discriminate. Individuals should also be well informed in order to make wise choices.

CPS encourages individuals to be more responsible for their own health and their partner's health, make proper use of condoms or abstain.

STIs are infections that are spread primarily through person-to-person sexual contact.  STIs are infections that are likely to be transmitted while having unprotected sex.  Transmitted means that the infection is passed on from one person to another person.

If you may have been exposed to an STI, you should consult your general practitioner and get tested; or if you have ever had unprotected (without a condom) sex (vaginal, anal or oral) with someone whose status you don't know, consult your general practitioner and get tested. For good sexual health care, consult your family physician.

There are more than 30 different sexually transmissible bacteria, viruses and parasites.

The most common conditions they cause are cancer, gonorrhea, chlamydial infection, syphilis, trichomoniasis, chancroid, genital herpes, genital warts, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and hepatitis B infection.

Practicing safer sex is important as it decreases the chances of transmitting sexual infections.  Safer sex means taking positive action to lower the risk of sexually transmitted infections. You can lower your risk of becoming infected with an STI by using a condom male or female the right way every time you have sex.

Unsafe sex results in unplanned consequences. Be responsible for your health and your partner’s make an informed choice such as one can choose to abstain, be faithful and continuously and correctly during any and all sexual activities.

For STI information you can also contact your local Family Physician, and the Sint Maarten AIDS Foundation. Enjoy life, be well informed and comply!


Youth Extravaganza to feature 25 young acts

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - Youth Extravaganza 2018, organized by Teen Times for Carnival 2018, will feature 25 acts by St. Maarten’s talented youth across performing arts disciplines. The show will be held on Monday, April 23 and is being billed as the night the youth take over Carnival Village since they will be on Carnival break. Showtime is 8:00pm. The event is sponsored by TelCell.

The crew of Teen Times, no strangers to talent events being the annual hosts of Talent Showdown, has structured a line-up of acts that will give young people of varied talents the opportunity to showcase these talents on stage. Organizers stressed that Youth Extravaganza will not be a competition, just strictly a display of young talent.

Teen Times Coordinator Roosje Rommy-Richardson said following the passing of Hurricane Irma, the group knew that it would not be feasible to host its annual Interscholastic Talent Showdown in late 2017.

“We could have left the event until late 2018, but our young staff was a bit restless and wanted to jump right back into it. Their friends were bugging them about Teen Times doing something. Our last event was June 2017, prom Night, and they are used to us doing more by now. So we kinda knew the Carnival Foundation was looking for a group to organise the Extravaganza after a few years of disappointments. Having the experience in organising talent events, we said hey, why not put our stamp on the Youth Extravaganza. And here we are.”

Asked what Teen Times brings to the table as new coordinators for this event, she said Teen Times Talent Showdown has actually been around longer than the Youth Extravaganza has and after watching a few negative outcomes of that event over the past three or four years, the group decided to approach the St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) with a request to host this year's event with one simple goal: to positively showcase our talented youth. Something we have been doing for 22 years.

“We take pride in our history and what we have done for St. Maarten's talented youth. We bring experience with these events and a reputation of positive, clean, constructive and uplifting content - this true for our newspaper, our talent events, our community service projects, our prom, with us it's across the board.”

For this year’s event Teen Times simply wants the youth to go out on stage and remind St. Maarten that the island is blessed with great young talent.

CUTLINE: Skillful Band will be performing on Youth Extravaganza 2018.

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