Soualiga News

Soualiga News (2410)

Eric Brakke New Head of SZW

SABA/ST. EUSTATIUS - As of July 30th, 2018 Eric Brakke will be the new Head of the RCN-unit of Social Affairs and Employment. Mr. Brakke previously worked at the Ministry of Justice and Security and at the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Kingdom Relations. He has extensive experience in the Caribbean parts of the Kingdom.

Eric Brakke succeeds Margreth de Groot who held this position for the past four years. Mrs. de Groot will still be in the Dutch Caribbean for the transfer in August. (RCN Caribbean Netherlands)


ICWI Looking to the Next 50 Years

SINT MAARTEN/CARIBBEAN - As the hurricane season enters into its second month the region is on high alert following the highly active 2017 season, which saw multiple islands severely affected by Category 5 Hurricane Irma, and Hurricane Maria.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, The Insurance Company of The West Indies (ICWI) was proud to play a critical role in the rebuilding process across the islands who suffered hard blows from the active hurricane season.

The ICWI Group, which was affected in four of the eight territories in which they operate, worked extremely hard to settle the hundreds of property and motor claims that were presented after the significant devastation that affected their policy holders.

In 2017 more than ever, ICWI kept its promise to always be there for their clients in their time of need. “Our mandate is to ensure that our clients are protected in the face of severe loss and disaster. As we move into our 50th anniversary, ICWI will continue to protect our clients and financial assets with one of the region’s most prudent and robust reinsurance programmes,” Paul Lalor, President of ICWI has stated.

Citing the company motto “Serving You Is All We Do”, Lalor declared that the customer-centric culture reinforces clients’ trust in the company to provide well-needed assistance in the face of a catastrophe.

“Our clients work hard to buy their house, car, or develop a business they envisioned having their whole lives. ICWI’s role is to provide the assurance that their possessions and dreams are protected, even in the midst of disasters such as hurricanes,” added Lalor.

“We are proud to report that despite the many issues surrounding the rebuilding efforts in these territories -- including sourcing estimates from property adjusters, mechanics, and contractors, as they too were affected by the storm – our experienced teams in these islands worked closely with their clients to settle the claims and to get them back on their feet as quickly as possible,” Lalor explained.

Regional meteorologists have predicted that the 2018 hurricane season will be as active as last year’s but Lalor is confident that ICWI, with the valuable experience gained in 2017 is even better prepared to handle any eventuality.

“Our staff is second-to-none, and I believe with their qualifications, experience and the resilience they all showed during the last quarter of 2017 they will propel the company to be even stronger, and more innovative than we have been in the region over the last 50 years,” President Lalor added.

“We have built ICWI on a policy of excellent service, prudent underwriting and an unwavering commitment to offering our clients security that is second to none in the region. We are planning for the next 50 years and we would like to thank all our existing clients across the Caribbean for their support and we look forward to being here for many new customers in the years to come.”

ICWI Building


Bible University to Host Orientation on Thursday Night

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Grace Hill Bible University (GHBU) SXM Campus will be hosting an Orientation Night on Thursday July 26 at 7:00 pm at Heaven’s Touch International Church in Hope Estate, opposite the SOL Service Station in Sucker Garden.

The 12-year-old Biblical training institution is headquartered in New Jersey and is accredited by the Global Accreditation Association for Biblical Institutions.

Dean of SXM Campus, Dr. Orlando Wilson said that the school has consistently produced highly qualified, employable and passionate people in the areas of Christian Education, Theology and Counseling.

“Persons interested in further advancing their studies or those who want to be better equipped to serve their church and community are welcome to enroll in GHBU,” he said.

He added, “the orientation exercise is designed to reconnect the community with the university. We want persons to know that we survived the Hurricane and we are fully operational with many new programs. Make the most of this opportunity before the new semester starts by attending the Orientation Session and picking up your information packet.”

Courses offered are at the Associate, Bachelor, Master and Doctorate degree levels. The tertiary institution fosters a strategic balance of theoretical and practical studies with internships and missionary trips abroad.

Administrator of the SXM Campus, Dr. Nicole Francis-Cotton, who is pioneering a successful Masters Degree in Counseling Program, said there is a critical need for counseling and qualified counselors on St. Maarten/St. Martin.

“The only way you will know if GHBU is the right fit for you is by attending the Orientation Session on Thursday July 26th. There are many gifted, emphatic and wise people in our society but some of them just need to be formally trained and released in the nation,” she noted.

Ahead of the Grace Hill Bible University’s Orientation Session on Thursday July 26, 2018 at 7:00 pm, Dr. Francis-Cotton encouraged the general population to come out with an attitude of expectancy.

“Come out expecting to receive answers to your questions on higher education, how to become equipped and develop your natural talents and abilities. It is a free session and an investment worth making in your personal development.”

For more information, please call telephone number 1-721-524-8731, 1- 721-523-2456 or 1-721-580-9335.

CUTLINE: GHBU class of 2018 graduates with the Honourable Minister of Education, Mr. Wycliffe Smith.

Graduation Pic 2 2018




Real Estate Company calls for immediate resolution regarding Kadaster challenges

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY) – Arun Jagtiani, Founder, Owner and Broker at Island Real Estate Team, on Wednesday issued a statement about the challenges being faced at the Land Surveyors Office & Mortgage Registry also known as Kadaster.

Jagtiani statement reads as follows, “I have complete confidence in the current Council of Ministers of Country Sint Maarten that they understand the seriousness of the current "problems" at the Kadaster office.  I expect that they will act with a sense of urgency to ensure a solution is found immediately. 

“As of this week, the "problem" has escalated to a point whereby the 3 Civil Notaries on the Dutch side of the island have issued a joint statement informing the public that they must temporarily postpone the execution of all transfer deeds.  This means for the moment no one can sell real estate! 

“Not only does this spell disaster for the real estate industry and my personal livelihood, it also could mean the complete collapse of the St. Maarten economy if this "problem" is not resolved in the very near future.  Right now it seems unthinkable that this "problem" will be allowed to grow to a point where it completely cripples the economy, but then again, I never thought this "problem" would reach to where we are now.

“I don't want to get into the various conspiracy theories I have heard about why this "problem" exists but I do want to stress the importance of it being resolved ASAP.  Our economy is in recovery mode, and not allowing real estate transactions to close is blocking significant revenue for government coffers (transfer tax). 

“The current "problem" is also preventing large amounts of money from circulating within the local economy, essentially taking the wheels off of our economic vehicle and making it impossible to continue traveling on the road to recovery.  I believe government has the obligation to ensure the wheels of economy are always able to turn.

“There are countless spin off affects from every real estate transactions including transfer taxes, real estate commissions, insurance policies, contractors, housekeepers, gardeners, etc...  More important to realize is how dependent some people might be on needing to sell their real estate. 

“At any given moment there could be people within the community who desperately need to sell their property in order to meet their basic financial needs.  In a few extreme cases the consequences of not selling a property can be as drastic as life or death.

“This is a VERY bad look for us as a country, and you can't imagine how embarrassing it is trying to explain this current situation to international clients.  This being said if resolved quickly no one will remember this in a few months.  However, if left unresolved for another few months we might never recover, and our island will be remembered as the land where incompetence ruled and destroyed. 

“I speak of doomsday scenarios just to make sure everyone understands how important it is for this matter to receive immediate attention.  I honestly believe our Council of Ministers understands what is at stake here and will take action in a timely manner to remedy this situation thereby preventing any further damage to our economy.”  


Philipsburg Jubilee Library closed for inventory August 6 & 13

PHILIPSBURG — The Philipsburg Jubilee Library will be closed on Monday July 30th, Monday August 6th & Monday 13th, 2018, from 8 am to 5pm, to continue salvaging materials before the peak of the Hurricane season and the possible departure of our current building.

The Philipsburg Jubilee Library cannot withstand another hit from a passing hurricane and under current conditions of rain-fall and humidity the situation is causing the further deterioration of the materials. 

Thus the regular inventory works are scheduled and may continue in order to store all materials as much as possible within limited time as the hurricane season has commenced. 

The library would like to apologize for the inconvenience this may cause to our loyal patrons. Patrons who have to return items scheduled for both days will be compensated as the system is programmed to automatically renew their materials.

However, as of Tuesday July 31st, Tuesday August 7th & Tuesday August 14th, 2018, during opening hours 9 am to 5pm we will continue our services.

We will continue offering customers access to our limited range of library materials, namely the children’s collection and a small selection of Adult Fiction and Non- Fiction, our Internet Café, DVD’s, photocopying, a lounge area, and a newly improvised study area in the garden under the tent. 


Recall for certain Ritz Cracker Sandwiches and Ritz Bits Products

SINT MAARTEN/CARIBBEAN – There has been a voluntary recall in the United States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands by Mondelez Global LLC, of certain Ritz Cracker Sandwiches and Ritz Bits products.

According to Mondelez Global LLC, there is the potential of the presence of Salmonella in the products.

Salmonella is a microorganism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, the elderly, and those with a weakened immune system.

The recall by Mondelez Global is a precautionary measure, based on the ingredient supplier’s recall.

Consumers who have these products should not eat them and throw them away.

This recall is limited exclusively to the products listed in the grid below, available at retail stores nationwide. No other Mondelēz Global LLC product is included in this recall.


RitzRecallChart Embedded 1700x5004


Dutch Minister Blok multicultural fallout continues. Academics, artists slam polarisation

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – A letter calling for more diversity in the foreign affairs ministry which was sent by civil servants to foreign minister Stef Blok was actually signed by 200 people, according to broadcaster NOS.

The existence of the letter first emerged at the weekend. In it, civil servants say the ministry is not taking on enough people with a bi-cultural background and asks for support at a senior level to improve the situation.

‘Diplomacy – our profession – is based on the fact that different nations and cultures can live in peace… if we listen to each other and continue to talk,’ the letter states. ‘We would like our department to reflect that thought and be an organisation in which people of different cultural backgrounds… work and feel at home.’

Sources told NOS that the letter is not directly linked to Blok’s much criticised comments about multicultural societies and refugees but that it is an indirect answer. Its publication followed Blok’s apology for his statements, made to a group of Dutch workers at international organisations.

A spokesman for the ministry said Blok is planning to meet civil servants to discuss the issues. Meanwhile, a group of actors, academics, journalists and writers have written an open letter in the Volkskrant outlining their fears about the increasingly polarising statements made by politicians.

Historian Geert Mak and comedian Claudia de Breij are among the signatories to the letter which states Blok’s comments are feeding racism. ‘What the foreign minister is really saying is that every immigrant is a potential risk to social peace in this country because there is no such a thing as a society in which different cultures live together peacefully,’ the letter states.

‘Xenophobia, a euphemism for the hatred of foreigners, is something he takes “a pragmatic” view of.’ Acceptable in debate They go on to urge political leaders to stop moving the boundary of what is acceptable in debate.

‘Stop promoting the division into a fictitious ‘us’ and ‘them’, the letter ends. ‘The effects on our society are destabilising, polarising and are having a real effect on real people, people who are just as ordinary as any other Dutch person. And who, like any other Dutch person, deserve to be represented with respect by their government leaders.’ (DutchNews)

This is an unofficial translation of the open letter signed by some 60 academics, writers, artists and actors criticising the way politicians are deepening divides in society.

‘Behave yourself or go’ – Mark Rutte (prime minister) ‘Anti-racist demonstrators are attacking our way of life’ – Raymond Knops (junior home affairs minister) ‘Social security and Dutch citizenship have to be earned’ – Klaas Dijkhoff (VVD MP) ‘Immigration and globalisation brought the clash of civilizations to ‘our home’.

The ‘ordinary Dutch’ were left bereft, as if the elite had taken away their freedom and equality and given them to the newcomers.’ – Sybrand Buma (CDA leader) These are only a few of the comments that politicians and MPs have made about our society over the last couple of years.

Last week foreign minister Stef Blok added a new low: ‘Give me one example of a multi-ethnic or multicultural society, where the original population still lives (..) where there is peaceful cohabitation.

I don’t know of any.’- Stef Blok We are extremely worried. Politicians belonging to the parties that make up our government are actively calling for a split in society and seem to think this is normal behaviour.

Comments that would have been unthinkable twenty years ago are now aired with impunity. What the foreign minister is really saying is that every immigrant is a potential risk to social peace in this country because there is no such a thing as a society in which different cultures live together peacefully.

Xenophobia, a euphemism for the hatred of foreigners, is something he takes ‘a pragmatic’ view of.

Politicians are increasingly positioning themselves at the far end of the scale in the debate about migration, integration or identity and fail to see that by doing so they are adding weight to the forces that favour racism, inhuman and discriminatory behaviour towards immigrants.

Every time a politician – someone responsible for the well-being of all Dutch citizens – airs these views the racist elements in our society feel vindicated. Even if he backtracks. Even if he makes half-hearted excuses, or fudges or retracts.

The words are out there and can’t be taken back. They have taken root in our society. It is comments like this that are putting pressure on our peaceful society. It is comments like this that undermine society and create and strengthen division.

It is comments like this that legitimise racists and extreme right-wing radicals and their hate campaign against everyone who is different. Dear politicians, we are calling on you to take responsibility.

Stop pandering to the ever-growing xenophobic and racist fears in our society. Stop pushing the borders of what is decent in the social debate. Stop promoting the split of a fictitious ‘us’ and ‘them’.

The effects on our society are destabilising, polarising and are having a real effect on real people, people who are just as ordinary as any other Dutch person. And who, like any other Dutch person, deserve to be represented with respect by their government leaders.

Meredith Greer – Writer Tirza de Fockert – Councillor GroenLinks Amsterdam Lieke Marsman – Poet Claudia de Breij – Comedian Akwasi – Rapper Eric Corton – Actor / Presenter Jurjen van de Bergh – Political commentator / Founder of De Goede Zaak Tinkebell – Artist Persis Bekkering – Writer Maurice Seleky – Writer Joyce Brekelmans -Journalist Nadia Bouras – Universitity Lecturer, Universiteit Leiden Raja Felgata – Founder Kleurrijke Top 100 Sylvana Simons – Founder BIJ1, councillor Amsterdam Christine Otten – Writer / Journalist Janneke Stegeman –Theologian Mona van den Berg – Photographer Hans Krikke – Director Samenwonen/ Samen Leven Amsterdam Nieuw West Amma Assante – Politician Ahmet Polat – Photographer Sunny Bergman – Filmmaker Murat Isik – Writer Glenn Helberg – Psychiatrist Babs Gons – Poet Dolly Bellefleur – Dolly Bellefleur Massih Hutak – Writer / Rapper Ingeborg Beugel -Journalist / Filmmaker Anke Laterveer – Writer / Presenter Claartje Kruijff – Theoloog des Vaderlands Olave Nduwanje -Lawyer, Activist and politician Marjolein van Heemstra – Writer dr. Ellen-Rose Kambel – Director Rutu Foundation for intercultural education Dylan Meert – Programme maker at Pakhuis de Zwijger Dave Ensberg-Kleijkers – Education administrator / Author Zoë Papaikonomou – Investigative journalist and author Annebregt Dijkman – Investigative journalist and author Barbara Vos – Programme maker at Pakhuis de Zwijger Egbert Fransen – Director Pakhuis de Zwijger Joost Baars – Poet Geert van Itallië -Director Melkweg Etchica Voorn – Author Anja Meulenbelt – Writer / Politician Izaline Calister – Singer Matthea de Jong –Programme maker Nikki Dekker – Writer / Radio maker Milou Deelen – Journalist Malou Holshuijsen – Presenter BNNVARA Joshua Livestro – Chief editor Jalta, Publicist Stan Veuger – Economist at American Enterprise Institute, visiting lecturer at Harvard University Robert Vuijsje – Writer Karin Spaink – Columnist Ronald Giphart -Writer Bénédicte Ficq – Lawyer Mano Bouzamour – Writer Robert Alberdingk Thijm – Screenwriter Norbert Ter Hall – Film director Jean-Marc van Toll – Author Devika Partiman – Social activist Marleen Stikker – Founder of the de Waag Society Natascha van Weezel -Journalist Samora Bergtop – Actrice Hans Laroes – Journalist / Chief editor Bart Chabot – Poet / Writer Simon(e) van Saarloos – Philosopher / Writer Elias Mazian – DJ Geert Mak – Writer Elsbeth Etty – Columnist


Reminder School Bus Annual Inspection Starts on July 30

GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – The Inspectorate of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Traffic and Telecommunications (TEATT), Section School Bussing, would like to remind school bus owners and drivers about the Annual School Bus Inspection that will take place from July 30th to August 2nd, 2018.

School bus owners are asked to contact the department at 520-4064 to make an appointment to have their busses inspected. Busses will be inspected by appointment only.

The Annual School Bus Inspection will take place on the Ring Road across from Bluepoint.

School bus owners are also asked to be present during the school bus inspections and are required to have their valid documents available during the aforementioned.

These documents are a valid driver’s license for all drivers; a valid insurance and valid inspection card. The Fire Extinguisher inspection card must also be valid and in its proper place on the bus. The first aid kit must be in good condition.


U.S. Ambassador makes courtesy call on Governor

SINT MAARTEN (HARBOUR VIEW) - Ambassador of the United States to the Netherlands, H.E. Pete Hoekstra (R) paid a courtesy visit to Acting Governor Reynold Groeneveldt (second to right) in the company of the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United States, H.E. Henne Schuwer (L) and Chief of Mission of the United States to Sint Maarten, Margaret Hawthorne (second to left).

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