PHILIPSBURG – Minister of Public Housing, Environment, Spatial Planning and Infrastructure (Ministry VROMI) Hon. Maurice Lake met with members of the Progress Committee paid on Thursday afternoon in what turned out to be a farewell meeting as it was the last time that the committee would be meeting with the Ministry VROMI.
The committee was put in place after Sint Maarten became an autonomous country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands with the task of reporting on the plans of approach that are legally needed to ensure a proper functioning country status.
The Committee has demonstrated its satisfaction with the work that has been done and has recommended that the Ministry puts in place some form of an external reporting committee or bureau, which can continue to monitor and report to the Minister to ensure that the good work that has been achieved through the cooperation and supervision by the Progress Committee doesn’t decline.
The Committee was moreover very pleased to have received the Project Plan Domain Affairs, which is a policy document pertaining to the granting of government land in long lease. This policy was basically the last outstanding document needed to finalize the task of the Committee as it pertains to Ministry VROMI.
Minister Lake was very satisfied with the achievements of the Ministry as he is the third Minister with whom the Progress Committee had discussions on the way forward and moreover the fact that under his watch the project was brought to its finalization.
To quote the words of the Committee, “Ministry VROMI should be used as an example for other ministries on what can be achieved”.
Minister Lake thanked the members of the Committee for their assistance in bringing about positive change to Ministry VROMI and expresses the hope that other Ministries would use VROMI as an example of what is administratively needed to make Sint Maarten a proper functioning country within the Kingdom.
GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – The Collective Prevention Services (CPS) of the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour observes that for several days it has been very warm, and recommends to the community to take action during such warm periods.
CPS is calling on the community to monitor closely friends, family members and co-workers with respect to heat stress and to minimize their exposure risk.
The Minister of Public Health Hon. Cornelius de Weever, via his ‘Get Checked’ campaign, strongly recommends to the community to take measures to avoid heat exhaustion.
Heat-related illnesses occur as a result of heat exposure. Hot conditions put your body under a lot of stress. Physical activity stresses the body even more. When heat is combined with physical activity, loss of fluids, fatigue, and other conditions can lead to a number of heat-related illnesses and injuries. Death is even possible.
Certain individuals, such as the elderly (people 65+ years of age), infants and young children up to four years of age, the obese, and those with chronic medical conditions are at increased risk for developing heat-related illness.
The six main factors involved in causing heat stress are: high temperatures; humidity; lack in movement of air; radiant temperature of the surroundings; heavy clothing; and physical activity.
To reduce the possibility of heat stress, you can use air-conditioning, fans to circulate the air and reduce physical activity; increase the frequency and duration of rest breaks; and schedule tasks to avoid heavy physical activity during the hottest parts of the day.
Drinking cold water regularly; wear lightweight clothing which allows moisture to evaporate quickly; rehydration; using sunscreen.
Knowing what to look out for in heat stress is important to avoid life threatening situations. Serious heat stress conditions cause the victim to become disoriented and unaware of their condition.
The major heat stress injuries and illnesses are: heat rash (on the skin, a bumpy rash which itches severely); heat cramps (painful muscle cramps caused by a loss of salt through excessive sweating); heat syncope (sudden fainting); heat exhaustion (as a result of inadequate salt and water intake); heat stroke (the deadliest of all heat stress conditions, the victim’s skin is hot, red and dry, their pulse is fast and may complain of headache or dizziness).
For further information you should consult with your family physician or call CPS at telephone number: 542-3553, 542-2078.
PHILIPSBURG - On initiative of Emil Lee, candidate #4 on the Democratic Party list, the Open Government Partnership agreement has been endorsed by the DP and all candidates on the 2014 slate.
“Open and transparent government is not solely a state that St. Maarten should aspire, but it is rather the duty of all government officials and civil servants to commit to such. We, of the DP welcome this initiative, believing that talking the integrity talk alone is not sufficient. We also recognize that this is a global issue and many efforts around the world have been made to give content to integrity as a norm. We gladly associate ourselves with these initiatives.
It is with this kind of contribution in mind that the DP embrace candidates who subscribe to this vision. Emil Lee is definitely one of those. We will also continue our 'You Can’t Buy My Vote” campaign’, Prime Minister Wescott-Williams announced during the signing of the pledge by The DP SXM team.
Open Government Partnership was launched in 2011 to provide an international platform for domestic reformers committed to making their governments more open, accountable, and responsive to citizens. Since then, OGP has grown from 8 countries to 64 participating countries. In all of these countries, government and civil society are working together to develop and implement ambitious open government reforms.
The principles of this agreement involve heightened levels of government transparency, citizen involvement, and financial disclosure by politicians in order to achieve a government that the citizens can have confidence in trusting.
In order for St. Maarten to be able to join this growing worldwide integrity movement, St. Maarten will need to adopt a few laws. The members of the DP slate have signed a pledge to enact these laws once elected to Parliament.
Many of the steps that are required to join the growing League of Nations who joined the Open Government Partnership have already been put into motion by Prime Minister Wescot-Williams in her capacity as Minister of General Affairs and responsible for good governance and integrity. (Contributed by the DP Party.)
PHILIPSBURG – On Tuesday July 29th, the international launch for the book ‘Welkom op Sint Maarten!’ took place on Sint Maarten, where the authors of the book offered the first copy to the Prime Minister of Sint Maarten, Hon. Sarah Wescott-Williams. This was also be the official moment that the book will become available in the Netherlands but also in Belgium and in the UK, for Dutch speaking people who live there and who want to know more about the island.
"Welkom op Sint Maarten!’ is a practical handbook for families and trainees who (temporarily) move from the Netherlands to Sint Maarten. Before you can enjoy living on the island, there is a lot to do and prepare and arrange before one can move from the Netherlands: from arranging a dog passport for dog owners to writing out from the population registry.
After arriving on Sint Maarten a lot of activities and formalities are to be carried out. Where should one go? What to bring? The book also provides general information on Sint Maarten: a bit of history, flora and fauna, opening hours for the bridges, the national anthem of Sint Maarten and lots more interesting information.
In addition, much attention is paid to general information about Sint Maarten: what about the children's education? What about the value of local currencies and payment? Where do you go for a renewal of your passport? What about the electricity in Sint Maarten? Beaches, restaurants, hotels and leisure facilities on Sint Maarten: just to mention some topics that are outlined, mostly in a matter-of-fact-tone, but undeniably with lots of enthusiasm.
The book also includes a dozen elaborated conversion-tables, which make cooking and buying clothes for instance a lot easier. There are in an alphabetical Index in the book with contact information of agencies, clubs, schools and businesses. In short, a book that not only provides the mover a helping hand during and after the move, but also provides many tips for a pleasant stay in Sint Maarten.
The authors, three women residing on island of Sint Maarten, wrote a practical book full of interesting and necessary information for international movers. Although lots of information is provided in a matter-of-fact-tone, it does not lack a little humour, simply because these ladies succeeded in making Sint Maarten their ‘Friendly Island’ too.
People living in Holland can order a copy through webshops like Bol.com and FreeMusketeers.nl or in the official bookstores like Bruna and Libris. It will also be available through the Royal Libraries in Holland for those who are a member.
The ISBN number for the book is: 9789048434770. An interesting detail: although the costs of good and fast shipping to Sint Maarten are not negligible: thanks to sponsors the price of the book will be about the same as in Holland, especially for the people on Sint Maarten. (Contributed)
PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten – Minister of Public Housing, Environment, Spatial Planning and Infrastructure (Ministry VROMI) Hon. Maurice Lake is calling on the community and political parties to monitor the weather in the coming days.
There is a weather system located over 1400 miles east of the Southern Windward Islands.
The system according to weather sources remains organized, and could develop into a Tropical Depression.
“We have some bad weather out in the Atlantic Ocean several days away. It should be closely monitored by residents. I am also calling on the political parties to monitor the weather closely as well.
“The country is awash with political campaign paraphernalia from posters to billboards. Public safety is priority number one. I would like all political parties to review their planning at this point in time with respect to removing their billboards and posters in the event of bad weather,” Minister Hon. Maurice Lake said on Tuesday.
PHILIPSBURG - UPNext, the youth movement of the United People (UP) party has stressed that for young people, being a part of the performing arts is a lifestyle and this should be supported, not be dismissed by anyone.
The group pointed out that is was past time that St. Maarten got serious about its young talented youth and expressed pride in the fact that the party they represent has targeted a performing arts center as a priority.
“Every time we travel to other countries to perform, we perform in state-of-the-art facilities but can’t extend the same hospitality here if we want to invite or attract guests,” the group said.
Dance, they continued, is the top art form here practiced by young people, but they can’t execute the way they want to because of the lack of a facility. “Not only does dance teach technique and performance, but it also teaches passion, compassion, joy, manners, hard work, dedication, self-confidence, expression, thoughtfulness, team-work, and so much more,” UPNext said.
“Through dance and performing arts classes, students learn life lessons that can apply to any aspect of life. Worldwide Studies prove that children involved in the performing arts perform better academically and socially in school.”
The group assured that the intention of the UP leader Theo Heyliger is to construct a center that will be operated as a "high energy" learning environment where students of all ages receive quality instruction in all kinds of dance, musical theater, art, a space for the preservation of our oral history and performing arts classes.
“The aim is to provide classes, workshops, performances, and talent presentation for children of all ages and ability levels.”
The new arts center will be able to host a wide variety of community arts groups, performing arts educational groups, professional national touring acts (event tourism), dance competitions, and a wide variety of musical productions. “The performing arts center will be an investment for St. Maarten, its talented youth and its residents in general,” UPNext concluded.
UPNext was formed by the UP as the party’s link to St. Maarten’s youth. It currently has over 30 young members.
SINT MAARTEN – Brian McNoldy, Senior Research Associate at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science expects the current area of disturbed weather in the Central Atlantic Ocean to become a Tropical Storm and be in the vicinity of the Leeward Islands by Saturday. This is based on weather analysis of Monday, July 28.
The system is expected to become a Tropical Depression in the next few days.
If the system survives, it would become Tropical Storm Bertha. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) in its tropical cyclone formation potential five day map has Sint Maarten in its cone of formation area. The area of weather is less than 1900 miles east of the Windward Islands.
McNoldy says the environment ahead of the system is more favourable for development, and it’s too early now to say what intensity the system will be by Saturday.
The weather specialist added that this time of the year – end of July – marks the beginning of eastern Atlantic hurricane embryos and this typically lasts through mid-October. (SOUALIGA NEWSDAY REPORT)
PHILIPSBURG - The Democratic Party (DP) over the weekend has presented its 2014 Parliamentary Election Party Platform on the DP Healthcare vision. The platform highlights social security, pensions, the St. Maarten Medical Center and Mental Healthcare; items which are very much at play within the community of St. Maarten.
With regards to Social Security, the DP Party Platform mentioned that the government of St. Maarten, as advocated by the Democratic Party, has maintained the system of social security that encompasses sickness insurance and pensions; “Although this is a government responsibility, it is managed by the Social Security Administration (SZV). While this agency has come a long way, we must now direct our focus to cost effectiveness, prevention programs and health education,” mentioned the platform.
The Healthcare vision also mentions specifically pension reform; “Pension reform, while never a quick fix, is definitely a topic for further study. During the current government term, we have begun with pension system studies in order to determine the feasibility of providing affordable pensions in the future. The basic pension, as promised by the DP in 2010, has been increased annually. As part of the tax reform, we believe that an alignment with the pension amount should be pursued, granting pensioners a "tax-free" pension.”
Addressing the number of uninsured persons is also on the priority list for the healthcare platform, in particularly with regards to the National Health Insurance; “Much has gone into addressing the large number of uninsured persons. Originally, a National Health Insurance was seen as the solution to this phenomenon. During the past years much work has been done to develop a National Health Insurance (NHI). A transition of this magnitude however, cannot be taken lightly. The DP therefore prefers an introduction of the NHI in phases, making it a much more manageable process.”
The Party Platform also specifically mentions the providing of proper care at the St. Maarten Medical Center; “A multi annual plan for the SMMC should form the basis for any expansion or construction at this country’s sole medical facility, and should also include the expansion of specialist care, purchase of equipment, and the co-management of health care cost. The vision of the DP is that by 2020, most services for which residents must now travel abroad must be available on the island, which will also allow the medical facility to offer these services to the residents of the neighboring islands.
Finally, the Party Platform also specifically mentions the need to address mental healthcare for the country; “The state of the mental health of our population needs our urgent attention. The Mental Health Foundation with Government’s support has provided the first assistance to patients. However, we no longer can treat mental health in an uncoordinated manner. Stakeholders are putting the final touches to a Mental Health Policy Plan for St. Maarten. In this too, education and sensitization are factors that cannot be overlooked,” concluded the DP Party Platform on Healthcare. (Contributed by the DP Party)
PHILIPSBURG – St. Maarten Hospitality & Trade Association (SHTA) announced that the 9th annual Crystal Pineapple Awards (CPA) will be held on Friday November the 21st at the Sonesta Maho Beach Resort & Casino. Year after year, the Sonesta Maho Beach Resort & Casino has been the perfect setting for this annual gala event. “We sincerely appreciate the fact that Maho could once again accommodate our event. Throughout the years we have enjoyed the pleasant collaboration in making the event better with each passing year” said SHTA.
CPA was established in 2005 by the SHTA to recognize outstanding performance and those individuals, companies and organization which have made significant contributions to the tourism industry and the island as a whole. “In 2013 we had a record number of votes cast for the various categories and we hope to surpass it this year” said SHTA.
The nomination period will commence on the 1st of September and end on the 29th of September 2014. The committee will verify all the submissions and then select up to the maximum number of nominees per category, digitalizing them for voting. The link to the polling software will become available on our website and on facebook starting on the 13th of October until the 7th of November 2014. PricewaterhouseCoopers will, as each year, on a Pro-Bono basis, be in charge of tallying the votes and overseeing the entire confidential voting procedure.
The nomination form and the categories will be published on the SHTA website www.shta.com at a later date. SHTA encourages the community to visit us on facebook: “Crystal Pineapple Awards” or on our website.