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Soualiga News (2951)

Fire Department issues holiday season safety guidelines

GREAT BAY – The holiday season has started.  The Fire Department would like to issue several guidelines to the public in order for everybody to celebrate the holiday season in a safe manner incident free.

In connection with decorations: do not overload outlets; do not put flammable decorations next to surfaces that will get hot; test Christmas tree and outdoor lights before hanging them.

Keep your Christmas tree moist if you purchase a real tree.  At the end of the holiday season, do not burn your tree, and do not put the tree near to open flames or hot surfaces.

With respect to fireworks, these can only be sold by a licensed retailer; persons under 18 may not purchase fireworks; minors may not use fireworks unsupervised; and fireworks should be used according to the instructions.

Fireworks can only be sold from December 29 to 31.

Fireworks can only be used on December 31, 2014 from 10.00pm to 2.00am, January 1, 2015.

The management and staff of the St. Maarten Fire Department would like to wish the populace of the country a safe and incident free holiday season with family and friends. (Dept. of Communication)


CPS Section Youth Health Care Vineyard Office Park Location Closed

GREAT BAY – Due to personnel capacity problems related to sickness, vacation and maternity leave, the Youth Health Care office at the Vineyard Office Park, will be closed to the public from the 1st of December through the 9th of January.

Scheduled visits to the schools for vaccination rounds will continue.

Clients from children age four and up who already have an appointment at the Vineyard Office will be contacted to reschedule their appointment or to reschedule their appointment to the Baby Clinic location.

The baby clinic will remain open to the public. The baby clinic is located behind Guardian Group Fatum insurances near the Bush Road roundabout.

To make an appointment the client can call 543-0295.



By Terrance Rey

SINT MAARTEN - There has been a lot of debate recently about airlines and the airline industry. Especially the cost of airline tickets for travellers. For us here locally, St. Maarten as a destination has been the center of

discussion on what should be done to attract more airlines to our island. But we have to understand a vitally important factor in the airline business. The only real reason any airline would fly to St. Maarten is to make money. Airlines are not in the business of promoting any tourist destination. Airlines exist to make money for their shareholders in the form of profits, plain and simple.

Many airlines have increased or are in the process of increasing flight capacity at the expense of leg room and continue to increase fares despite lower fuel costs because they are in the process of recouping the losses they sustained from the reduction in air travel brought about by the 'Great Travel Recession' of the past decade.

The management of most airlines have become forward-looking and see that the present recovery of economies in the United States and Europe is the perfect opportunity to make as much extra cash as possible. The money people save at the gas station as a result of declining oil prices can be
used for air travel.

One of the problems with development of more air travel to St. Maarten is the seasonal flights that only occur during the winter months from North America and Europe. St. Maarten needs to promote itself as a year-round tourist destination that will encourage the seasonal flight operators to make a change to all year-round operations.

Getting the airlines to cooperate with this objective will take incentives. The negotiations may be a bit tricky in maintaining compliance with US and European restrictions on government subsidies of airline
companies and St. Maarten’s government’s budgetary restrictions are certainly no help either. But the government of St. Maarten could and should make new deals with major carriers from the US and Europe, especially Scandanavian-based airline companies, such as Finnair, looking to expand their operations internationally.

This means paying the airlines to come to St. Maarten. This could be a financial stretch for a government that is seeing decreasing tax income and less revenues for businesses with the state of the present economy. But this strategy has worked well for Curacao and many more thousands of airports around the world. So why not St. Maarten?

St. Maarten needs to look at new markets that have established airlines such as the Arab Gulf states. China and South Korea have developed a growing airline industry. Certainly, not every person in China can come to St. Maarten, but a growing number of wealthy Chinese would see St. Maarten
for its attractiveness that even the vastness of China cannot offer in terms of climate and its natural environment.

Finally, advertising will make people want to come to St. Maarten and the airlines will cater to their client’s desires with more flights to St. Maarten. Again, this could be a bit of a financial burden on businesses
that are not making the revenues they once enjoyed but every other Caribbean tourist destination will be doing the same thing. The competition for tourist dollars in the Caribbean and elsewhere will
certainly increase tenfold the coming years and St. Maarten needs to be at the forefront of innovative marketing developments to attract new visitors to the island.

The good news is that the 'Great Travel Recession' is essentially over in the USA, Canada and Europe. But is the 'Great Travel Recession' over for St. Maarten as well? Higher employment rates and more disposable income in the USA alone will mean more tourists for St. Maarten and our island has all the accommodations, natural beauty, activities and night life that make the island attractive to tourists. However, the island will have to spend lots more money to increase inbound air travel and get back to the
levels of tourism revenues that the island previously enjoyed in the booming era up to ten years ago.

By the way, it is important that tourism authorities on St. Maarten select the right media to promote the island and attract new visitors and make it worthwhile for airlines to fly to St. Maarten. Here is an example of a good media platform to Because it is really necessary that we put St. Maarten back on the map as the preferred destination for the major airline carriers.


Businessman and former Commissioner Ferrier comments on Dock Maarten Great Bay project

POINT BLANCHE – Businessman and former Commissioner of the Democratic Party (DP) Michael Ferrier has weighed in on a daily newspaper headline of past Saturday, about the construction of Dock Maarten’s ultra-yacht pier that would cater to giga-yachts with lengths of more than 100 meters.  Port St. Maarten has initiated a court case against Dock Maarten saying that the current works are in violation of its concession agreement that it has with the Government of Sint Maarten. (See related story on this site).   

Mr. Ferrier states the following: “The front page headlines on Saturday November 29, 2014 speaks volumes of how this particular (Government owned!!!!) group goes about its business. Government and its wholly/partly owned companies are there to FACILITATE private enterprise, while providing core services to the citizens and visitors of the country.

“NOT bully them, intimidate them, or seek to destroy them in an effort to improve the profit margin of the involved Government owned company and certainly not to possibly create income streams for those in charge, or politically affiliated.

“The St. Maarten Marine Trades Association (SMMTA) of which I am a Board Member, has in the past years repeatedly sounded the alarm about the Harbour Group of Companies using its SLAC affiliate (daughter company)'s regulatory authority to negatively impact the economic wellbeing of private sector enterprises involved in the Marine Trade on the island and to compete with these private sector companies by "regulating" their very existence, while playing "Pacman" with their businesses.

“I do not know Evans Deher's children or grandchildren to be one of those local families that roll over and plays dead when bullies walk into their yard. Harbour Group of Companies: Are YOU "ready"?,” the former Commissioner and business man Michael Ferrier stated in an oped piece he released on Sunday afternoon.


Safety tips for holiday shopping

GREAT BAY – As part of the Minister of Public Health’s Hon. Cornelius de Weever ‘Get Checked’ campaign, every parent's number one concern this holiday season should be to make sure that whatever it is you buy for your child this year, it's safe. Therefore, make sure you check the safety information of toys before you purchase it.

Every year Collective Prevention Services (CPS), a section within the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, as part of its calendar of observances, highlights and creates awareness where it concerns safeholiday experiences for the entire family.

Before purchasing or giving any gift, particularly one intended for a child, double check to make sure it does not pose a hazard by reading the safety conditions attached to the gift.

Here are some safety tips for holiday season shopping: select toys suitable for a child's age, abilities, skills and interest level; for infants, toddlers, and all children who still mouth objects, avoid toys with small parts, which could pose a fatal choking hazard.

Avoid toys that have sharp edges and points, especially for children under age eight; do not purchase electric toys with heating elements for children under age eight; read the labels that give age and safety recommendations and use that information as a guide in your holiday shopping.

One of the most important gifts of all to give a child is time spent with you as a parent this holiday season.

Safeholiday shopping.


Central Committee and Plenary Sessions of Parliament scheduled for Monday about Parliamentary Committees

PHILIPSBURG – The House of Parliament will meet in a Central Committee and Plenary session on December 1st.

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

The agenda point is an advice regarding the installation and composition of the Committees of the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).

The Plenary session is scheduled for 10.00am.  The first agenda point is incoming documents.

The second agenda point is an advice regarding the installation and composition of the Permanent and Ad Hoc Committees of Parliament.

The third agenda point is an advice regarding the installation and composition of the Committees of the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).

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 sessions will be carried live on St. Maarten Cable TV Channel 120, via Pearl Radio FM 98.1, the audio via the Internet, and also via


Law Enforcement Top Officials Meet at the Border with Prefect Chopin

COLE BAY - The Prefect Phillipe Chopin, representatives from the French Justice Department and the Commander of the Gendarmes met with the Chief Public Prosecutor Karola van Nie, the Acting Chief of Police Commissioner Carl John, and Chief Inspector Geronimo Juliet from the Immigration Department at the Causeway /border round-a-bout, in order to inspect how the control was going.

During this meeting the main topic was the working relation between both parts of the island, explaining and agreeing that this is definitely the way of jointly working together in combating crime and any other illegal activity on the island. Karola van Nie stated that she was very proud to see how the two justice departments were working together to improve the working relations.

During the control a total of 204 vehicles were checked, 24 fines were given, 12 vehicles were towed and 12 persons were arrested in connection with their illegal status on the island.  The controls will continue indefinitely.  (Police Force Sint Maarten)


Minister Lake would like a Council of Ministers Vote on Vorst Property Purchase

PHILIPSBURG – Minister of Public Housing, Environment, Spatial Planning and Infrastructure (Ministry VROMI) Hon. Maurice Lake said on Thursday that the current Council of Ministers (COM) should be the one to conclude the Emilio Wilson Estate purchase and the Vorst property in Cay Hill.

“I was not surprised by the comments of our Prime Minister about the Vorst and Emilio Wilson land purchases.  The Council of Ministers is made up of seven members not just one who has a difference of opinion for political reasons.  

“I am not here to play politics but to make decisions in the best interest of this Country.  The Prime Minister has her own political hidden agenda and we can't mix the two together as a representative of the Council of Ministers.  

“Even though the Emilio Wilson Estate documents have a lot of discrepancies, the Prime Minister seems okay to move forward on this, but we need to follow the proper procedures but not the lowering of the price for the Vorst property.  As a caretaker Government at this point in time, we started the process and these two issues are nothing new, let's decide on how to move forward on these same two issues.

“I am in the process of preparing an advice for next week’s Tuesday Council of ministers meeting for everyone to vote on.  It should be a Council’s decision on how we decide on the Vorst proposal instead of the Prime Minister deciding for the entire Council.  

“The Prime Minister is definitely not talking on behalf of my person as Minister of VROMI. The majority in the Council was concerned with the price, now the Vorst family wants to lower the price in the best interest of the people and now it comes to decision making and negotiation for a lower price the Prime Minister doesn't want to make a decision.  

“We need people in Government who are going to make firm decisions in the best interest of this Country and its people. Election time is over, now we need to put aside petty politics and raise the bar to take our people to a next level.

“In closing, I would like to see the format of the Council of Ministers meeting changed to where we discuss more the issues and have constructive discussions and take decisions in the best interest of the people.  

“I also would like to see another agenda point added by the Prime Minister where we discuss what the Ministers would be discussing in the Press Briefings the next day in order to avoid these types of statements being made by a Prime Minister.  Say one thing during the Council of Ministers meeting and then decide for everyone in the press briefing.

“I don’t agree with the Prime Minister’s approach that the current Council of Ministers should leave it up to the next COM to complete the Vorst property.

“It was government business that started within the current COM and it should be completed under this Council.  Let COM decide whether it should be left to the next team of ministers. This is nothing new and has been dealt with by this Government for the past few months,” Minister Hon. Maurice Lake said on Thursday.



St. Maarten Cable TV Announces Rate Change Effective January 1st, 2015

MADAME ESTATE – Effective January 1, 2015, St. Maarten Cable TV customers will notice an increase to four (4) cable packages. As programming costs continue to escalate, St. Maarten Cable TV finds it imperative to implement a slight increase to its programming packages in order to continue operation and also provide the best service options to customers.  

St. Maarten Cable TV is required to inform customers of all changes to rates at least 30 days prior to rate changes. We, therefore, are announcing that the following monthly package rates will increase:

Basic Service will increase from $40.95 to $44.25 (increase is of 10% on the programming)

Solid Gold Package will increase by 8% from $10.50 to $11.35

Platinum Plus Package will increase by 8% from $12.60 to $13.60

HBO/MAX PAK will increase by 8% from $10.50 to $11.35

Managing Director, Beulah Jonis stated, “We have been focused on controlling costs. However, an integral part of our ability to provide programming to our customers is also the most expensive part of providing service. As we have experienced in the Cable industry, programming costs continue to escalate. This makes it essential for St. Maarten Cable TV to bring the rates in line with the cost of providing the service to our customers.”

Customers with questions regarding this notice should contact the Madame Estate St. Maarten Cable TV office at 542-4361 seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.  or by visiting our St. Maarten Cable TV office from Monday to Friday between the hours of 8:15 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. (St. Maarten Cable TV)



SUCKER GARDEN - Ministry of Public Housing, Environment, Spatial Development and Infrastructure (VROMI) held a public meeting with the residents of Sucker Garden last Friday in efforts of communicating project plans for a drainage project, which includes the hard surfacing of Chincactus Road and Chincactus Drive in the Keys.

The ongoing project has started this week and is estimated to be fully completed by late January 2015 (weather permitting), stated Public Works Project Leader, Alfredo Pantophlet, who also noted that the meeting was “well attended” and residents were “thoroughly informed” through a presentation and Q&A.

The drainage project will alleviate flooding in the area to an extent and is not to be assumed to prevent flooding, especially in severe inclement weather. Residents were tipped on initiatives that would assist in preventing such circumstances for their neighborhood, such as refraining from disposing of waste in the trenches, which is a contributing factor to preventing water flowing in the low-lying area, with rapid water flow from the hill sides during heavy rain fall.

Pantophlet indicated that the latter doesn’t only apply to persons residing in the Keys, but that it is a significant initiative that needs to be exercised by all residents of St. Maarten to alleviate flooding possibilities and encourage community responsibility. (Dept. of Communication) 

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