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Soualiga Newsday Features (1574)

St. Peters Summer Camp Kids Visit Government Building

GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – On Tuesday, July 22, 2014, the St. Peters Community Council Summer Camp visited the Government Administration Building at Clem Labega Square with a group of forty children.

During their tour the youngsters had the opportunity to meet and greet the Council of Ministers.

The children were well prepared and knowledgeable about the Ministers.

They were able to name the Ministers and match them with their portfolio. The children asked a lot of questions.

They will make a final project of their visit as part of the Summer Camp programme. 

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Most of St. Maarten's problems stem from poverty says US Party

GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten - Poverty is a root problem in St. Maarten which has reproduced and given birth to more dangerous problems like; crime, illiteracy and teenage pregnancy to name a few. Alleviating or eliminating poverty should be a prime goal and for the government of St. Maarten, as all the problems stemming from poverty are present in our society; threatening our safe haven, livelihood and way of life.

“Poverty is defined "as the total absence of opportunities, accompanied by lack of education, physical and mental ailments, social instability and unhappiness. While we are not 100% afflicted by poverty, we must admit that we are seeing the warning signs," the Board of United Sint Maarten Party said.

"The increased crime rate wherein people are scared to carry out their daily routine, and are in constant fear of becoming victims of crime even in their very home, is evidence enough that poverty exists on St. Maarten. Another example is when you visit certain communities and you find up to six persons living in a one bedroom apartment with just the bare essentials to get by, that is poverty."

The Board also made reference to the constant increase in school fees and uniforms, for primary schools, which has placed parents in such a bind that they have to make a choice between paying their house rent and registering their child in school.

"A society cannot function effectively in a system where the more affluent persons progress because of the tax breaks and exemptions they receive, while the average Joe has to work extra hours, two jobs, back to back just to make ends meet. These are the situations that open the door for child abuse and other negative influences on our children. "

We firmly believe, there should be a referendum on this topic as the USp party is all about including the people in the decision making process. We do not believe that economic growth by itself will solve poverty, because the evidence in St. Maarten has been quite clear. We have had economic growth in St. Maarten, but at the same time we had growth in poverty too.

"Poverty will always grow despite how much economic growth has been achieved, if economic growth does not include the people themselves. Economic growth must go hand-in-hand with an increase in better living conditions and quality of life for a people; not just a limited few."   

"When politicians exploit the institution of Government for their own personal gains, it hinders government’s ability to play its true role. Politicians have used the institution of government to create imbalances, while bleeding the coffers of government to the point whereby Government cannot even balance its budget."

The USp Board alluded to the fact that even strategies used in campaigning for elections by candidates, have created a system in which people will forever be dependent on hand-outs. "They have allowed most institutions and persons in society to become dependent as oppose to creating an environment to encourage self-reliance and self-sufficiency. We need to 'teach people how to fish' or else the societal balance will be lost."

We the Board members of the USP realize that we have much to do, once elected to Parliament. "The problems we face cannot be fixed by patch work nor can it be fixed in a short time," the Board explained. "There are things that can and must be done in the short term, but it has to be part of a bigger plan, to get to the long term sustainable solutions."

As part of this plan, we are encouraging successful businesses and individuals in the community, to continue to give support to social causes and fulfil their social responsibility to assist in nation building because this too will in turn alleviate poverty and encourage community involvement."

 However, as a party and as a team, "we are prepared for the challenge, and if we as a people really want to reduce poverty and create a standard and quality of life that the people of St Maarten deserve, let US do is together."  (Contributed by the US Party) 

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UPNext to host youth panel discussion with unique twist

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten – UPNext, the youth movement of the United People (UP) party, will be hosting a youth panel discussion with a unique twist on Saturday, August 16. The event will be held at the Philipsburg Cultural and Community Center from 5:00pm until 9:00pm.

Several of the island’s youth groups will be invited to the discussion entitled “Youth Stand Up & Speak UP” which will feature all 23 of the candidates of the UP for the Parliamentary elections. President of UPNext Kinisha Kalla explained that typically a panel discussion of this nature might feature just a handful of candidates.

 

“But like our party and our party leader, we wanted to be new and innovative. So the invited groups will be presented with a unique scene in the Cultural Center. All of our candidates will be present on stage, but they will be in groups. There will be a group for education, a group for business/tourism, a group for general government matters ect. We have candidates with vast experience in several sectors, we want to give young people the opportunity to address them all,” Kalla explained.

 

She continued: “The question will be directed to whichever group and answered by our candidates. Our leader, Member of Parliament Theo Heyliger will have his separate times to weigh in on any topic if he so chooses. The format of the panel discussion will be different and interactive. We are very excited about it. We are excited to give young people the opportunity to question our candidates as well as meet with them informally afterwards,” Kalla added.

 

The youth panel discussion is just one of at least four events UPNext has planned for August. Currently running is the group’s awareness campaign in the form of a short video competition where young people upload to Facebook videos explaining why it’s important to vote. That competition closes on July 25 and winners will be announced at the party’s first public meeting on July 31.

 

“When we put this group together the intention was to ensure our young people understand that they are important to the process of governing and that their voices and opinions are important,” UP leader Theo Heyliger said. “They have been very active in the campaign and have plans to be very active after the campaign.

“They have plans in motion to remain contributors in their community long after the votes have been cast. UPNext consists of positively active young people and we encourage the entire community to show them support. I am looking forward to the panel discussion with high anticipation to hear from our country’s future leaders,” Heyliger added. 

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President Arrindell reminds public application process for Annual President of Parliament Award is open

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten – President of Parliament Hon. Gracita Arrindell would like to remind the general public that the application process for the Annual President of Parliament Award is open for public submissions. 

The application documents are on the parliament’s website.  Persons have until August 15, 2014 to submit their nominations.

The website address is: www.sxmparliament.org and can be found under the documents section on the right side of the site.  Select the link and you will be able to download the application form.

The purpose of the award is to honour young persons on Sint Maarten that are a great example to the youth and who have contributed positively to the community and the country.

Nominations can be submitted by any citizen of Sint Maarten who believes that the individual that he/she is nominating meets the criteria.

The eligibility criteria are: the candidate must have the Dutch nationality and/or has been legally residing in Sint Maarten for 10-years or more consecutively, and has been registered in the Civil Registry for that period of time; must be between the ages of 15-24 years; has made a worthwhile contribution to the development of the community and the country; these contributions/achievements must have taken place within the last three years; contributions/achievements must have been made while the individual was acting as a private citizen, not as an appointed or elected government official; and must have demonstrated capacity for leadership and ability to motivate.

An award committee will be established each year consisting of three members of Parliament.  Members of the committee will review the nomination documents prior to the selection meeting and select three nominees.

During the selection meeting, the President of Parliament selects the recipient of the award based on the recommendations of the award committee.

The award will be presented yearly to the recipient during the reception ceremony at the Opening of the Parliamentary Year.

Nominations for the Annual President of Parliament may be submitted to The Parliament of Sint Maarten, attention, Annual President of Parliament Award Committee, Wilhelminastraat 1, Philipsburg.

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SXM Airport Kicks off Fireman’s Week Monday

SIMPSON BAY, Sint Maarten - The Princess Juliana International Airport, SXM, Rescue & Firefighting Department (RFF) will be kicking off its Fireman’s Week with a series of activities starting Monday, July 21, 2014 through Sunday, July 27, 2014. The Department will also be celebrating its 19th year during said week, on July 25, 2014.

Starting with the hoisting of the flag in front of the terminal building followed by a march with drum band Monday morning, the Fireman’s Week will also feature a free glucose and blood pressure testing for all airport users.

This will be held on Monday, July 21 and Thursday, July 24 and will run from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. The booth will be manned by SXM RFF personnel who are also certified EMT’s and they will be administering the testing with equipment from SXM’s RFF department.

Children from Busybody Play School will first be treated to a tour of the terminal building, after which RFF personnel will take the children on a tour of the RFF facility. Following the tour, the firefighters will offer the children a special BBQ at the fire station.

Physical fitness is a requirement for firefighters and to “test” their level of fitness, there will be a Fireman’s Obstacle Course. The firefighters will be competing among themselves to see who can complete the obstacle course in the best time. Following the friendly competition there will be a breakfast for staff and the airport community.

The week will close off with perhaps the most anticipated activity: the Fireman’s Certification and Ranking Ceremony at which SXM firefighters will receive their insignia, as SXM officially transitions from the Dutch to the American ranking system. 

All firefighters who recently completed a 14-week training course, including four weeks of practical training and examinations in Canada, will receive their official Pro-Board seal certificates.

It will be recalled that a group of six SXM firefighters returned a few weeks ago from Canada, after successfully completing the National Fire Protection Association 1001 Fire Fighter levels 1 & 2 course. It is the third group to undergo such training, bringing the total so far to 18.

According to Penijn, Manager of SXM’s RFF, more training courses are planned for the staff in order to further equip them to discharge their responsibilities professionally.

“We have been sending groups of six and this is our third group,” he said, adding that new recruits as well as senior officers are given the opportunity to undergo training. This allows SXM to have certified and well-trained firemen. It is also important for growth possibilities within the department for the individual firemen,” Penijn said.

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DP Leader Sarah Wescot-Williams Leads Candidates in Removing Campaign Material from Roundabouts

CAY HILL, Sint Maarten - On Friday morning the leader of the Democratic Party the Prime Minister of St. Maarten the Honorable Sarah Wescot-Williams led candidates and supporters in removing campaign material from the Belair Roundabout.

Wescot-Williams and the DP Membership and supporters executed the instruction from the Minister of Justice that there would be no campaign material on roundabouts, resulting in traffic hazards.

Wescot-Williams stated that, although DP campaign material was the least obtrusive, the Democratic Party placed emphasis on transparency and integrity and therefore decided it was important to be the first and only party to adhere to the instructions of the Minister of Justice.

“Despite the fact that our campaign material is the least obtrusive compared to those of the other political parties that you see here, we thought it very important to be the first and only Political Party to uphold the request from the Minister of Justice. While many now tote integrity and transparency as a party of their political campaign the Democratic Party has and will always be upholding those principles, both during and outside of Parliamentary Elections.

“After my discussions with the Minister of Justice I thought it important to uphold the instruction and we will therefore be moving all campaign material from round- a-bouts,” commented DP Leader and Prime Minister Wescot-Williams.

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1st St. Maarten Boys’ Brigade Company to Regional Camp in Montserrat

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten - Six members of the 1st St. Maarten Boys’ Brigade accompanied by their Captain James Gumbs,  left St. Maarten on July 17 to attend the Boys’ Brigade Eastern & Southern Regional Caribbean Fellowship Executive Meeting and Biennial Boys’ Camp in Look Out, Montserrat.

During this time, there will be training of NCO’s (Non Commissioned Officers) and the General Meeting of the Regional Fellowship during which elections will be held to select the new executive of the Fellowship

In Montserrat, the boys will participate in several activities, with the highlight being a visit to the Montserrat Volcano Observatory where delegates can witness firsthand what it entails to monitor an active volcano, as well as scenes of the progression of volcanic activity over the years. 

The 1st St. Maarten Company extends its heartfelt appreciation to all those who have supported their fundraising efforts to get to Montserrat. Special thanks to the loyal supporters of the Philipsburg Methodist Church and corporate sponsors – Orco Bank, Telem, the Harbour Group of Companies and NV GEBE, for their trust and commitment to the organization. (Contributed by the St. Maarten Youth Council)

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NA Party Board Comments on Contracts for Small Contractors

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten - The Board of the National Alliance (NA) Party hereby acknowledges the decision of the Honorable Minister Maurice Lake to continue with the BASIC approach of former Minister William Marlin to grant contracts directly to small contractors instead of having them work under larger contractors as was the way in the past.

By granting the contracts directly to these local contractors, they can better build their business and provide not only for their families but for the families of their employees as well. The Board hopes that these contracts can be established for two to five year periods which would guarantee continued success of these entrepreneurs as was the intention of former Minister William Marlin.

Former Minister Marlin also requested from the entrepreneurs that ONLY local young men and women from the district be employed. Before leaving office the former Minister had given instruction to VROMI to make up the advice to grant two year contracts to local entrepreneurs for trench cleaning and district improvement because after all the trenches will always need cleaning and bush will always need trimming.

The contracts granted to the entrepreneurs would have included district cleaning along the internal roadways of the various districts.  (Contributed by the NA Party)

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Empty vases at cemeteries to prevent mosquito breeding after rain events; Help prevent dengue fever and chikungunya

GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – The Collective Preventive Services (CPS), a government agency under the Ministry of Public Health is calling on the community especially families who visit the cemetery regularly to empty flower vases because they collect rain water which are a potential mosquito breeding ground and pose a threat for dengue and chikungunya. 

Dengue fever and chikungunya are transmitted by the 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.

Minister of Public Health Hon. Cornelius de Weever, ‘Get Checked” campaign, is in line with CPS’s appeal in order to reduce breeding sites of the Aedes Aegypti mosquito.

Minister De Weever has also sought the assistance of his colleague from Ministry VROMI with respect to the repair of damaged graves where rainwater collects.

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

Actively destroy or dispose of tin cans, old tires, buckets, unused plastic swimming pools or other containers that collect and hold water. Do not allow water to accumulate in the saucers of flowerpots, cemetery urns/vase or in pet dishes for more than two days.  Throw out the water and turn them over every time it collects water.

Clean debris from rain gutters and remove any standing water under or around structures, or on flat roofs. Check around faucets and air conditioner units and repair leaks or eliminate puddles that remain for several days.

Change the water in birdbaths and wading pools at least once a week. The treatment of ornamental pools should be discussed with the experts. Fill or drain puddles, ditches and swampy areas, and/or remove, drain or fill tree holes and stumps with mortar and regularly treat and monitor.

Eliminate seepage from cisterns, cesspools, and septic tanks. Eliminate standing water around animal watering troughs. Flush livestock water troughs twice a week.

Check for trapped water in plastic or canvas tarps used to cover boats, pools, plastic bags, foam dishes or even plastic cups strewn on the road side.

Clean the dead leaves from banana and coconut trees.  Adult mosquitoes prefer to rest on weeds and other vegetation.  Homeowners can reduce the number of areas where adult mosquitoes prefer to rest on weeds and other vegetation.  Trim overgrown vegetation.

Check around construction sites or do-it-yourself improvements to ensure that proper backfilling and grading is realized to prevent drainage problems which can be a source for standing water.  Empty all construction containers such as blue tanks, buckets, paint cans etc.

Irrigate lawns and gardens carefully to prevent water from standing for several days.  If ditches do not flow and contain stagnant water for one week or longer, they can produce large numbers of mosquitoes. Report such conditions to the respective government agency. 

Mosquitoes can be kept out of the home by keeping windows, doors and porches tightly screened (16-18 mesh). Those insects that do get into structures can be eliminated with a fly swatter or an aerosol space spray containing synergized pyrethrum.

Adult mosquitoes prefer to rest on weeds and other vegetation. Homeowners can reduce the number of areas where adult mosquitoes can find shelter by cutting down weeds adjacent to the house foundation and in their yards, and mowing the lawn regularly. To further reduce adult mosquitoes harboring in vegetation, insecticides may be applied to the lower limbs of shade trees, shrubs and other vegetation. Screen off cistern outlets, cover and screen septic tanks properly.

The aforementioned measures should also be taken in and around the workplace, social gatherings and living quarters to eliminate mosquito breeding sources.

An increase in the mosquito population puts residents at risk. For information about dengue fever and chikungunya prevention measures, you can call CPS at 542-2078 or 542-3003. 

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President Arrindell meets with US Consul General James Moore

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten – President of Parliament Hon. Gracita Arrindell met with US Consul General James R. Moore recently.  Moore is based in Willemstad, Curacao.

“I welcomed the meeting with the honourable consul general.  These sessions are always very pleasant and informative from both sides.

“We spoke about several concrete issues pertaining to the Sint Maarten-United States of America relationship.  Parliament has always made available from the outset its conference room to accommodate US citizens who need to meet with the American Consul.

“This gesture is very much appreciated by the American Consul General and his support staff,” President of Parliament Hon. Gracita Arrindell said.

The US Consul General serves Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Saba, St. Eustatius, and St. Maarten.

 

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